|Ariella Azoulay invites the pro-Palestinian philosopher Jacques Rancière to TAU and he declines, in support of BDS|
Jacques Rancière is a French political philosopher, who supports the Palestinian cause while ignoring the fact that Palestinians had defied the UN Partition Resolution and initiated a war which they had the misfortune to lose. Considering that they were led by Haj Amin al Husseini, a close ally of Hitler, it is not hard to imagine what would have happened if the Jews had lost.
In a 2007 article Rancière mentions the movie Route 181: "in this sequence a barber in the Palestinian city of Lod narrates the massacre of Palestinians by the Israeli Army in a mosque during the war of 1948." In the same article he also mentions "(h)ere is one photograph from the series WB made by the French photographer Sophie Ristelhueber (image 10): it looks like a quiet pastoral landscape. But, like all the images of the series, it represents an Israeli blockade on a Palestinian road."
In another article from 2007 he explains "when a Palestinian filmmaker like Elia Suleiman makes a comedy about the daily repression and humiliation that Israeli checkpoints represent and transforms a young Palestinian resistance fighter into a manga character." (this is not a full sentence, please check).
In an interview in November 2006 in Le Monde Diplomatique he notes: "The Palestinians are a tragic example. It is a case of injustice, of obvious injustice. At the same time, it has seemed quite impossible for them to give a kind of political visibility to the injustice. They have not succeeded, of course, because too many people have hindered them from succeeding, but also they have not succeeded in building a political stage between us and them, a place for a political discussion about Israel. We all know that Israel will survive, whatever we think about the birth of Israel, what it meant, and [what] Israel [is] today. The question is, supposing I am a Palestinian, how do I imagine life in the Middle East where I have to live with Israel? This is what I think they could not do and it is tragic."
It is not surprising that Ariella Azoulay of the TAU Minerva Humanities Photo-Lexic project invited him and offered to co-sponsor his talk. As IAM repeatedly reported, Azoulay is a hard-line post-Zionist scholar who uses her art to smear Israel. It is thus highly ironic that Ranciere declined the invitation in solidarity with the boycott movement.
By Verso books
Jacques Rancière postpones visit to Israel following an appeal from Palestinian boycott movement
By Decca Muldowney / 25 January 2012
French political philosopher and leading intellectual Jacques Rancièrehas postponed a visit to Israel, where he was due to speak at Tel Aviv University, after receiving an open letter from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).
PACBI, in a letter published online, wrote to Rancière urging him “in the strongest terms” to cancel his visit to the university which they claim “is complicit in maintaining a regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid.” The letter went on to explain that Rancière's decision to ignore the letter would “violate the Palestinian call for boycott,” and, “constitute a blunt rejection of the appeal from over 170 civil society organisations that comprise the Palestinian BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement.”
Rancière was invited to Tel Aviv by, among others, Ariella Azoulay director of the Photo Lexic Research Group at the Minerva Humanities Center. In response to the letter from the PACBI, Rancière, who was due to give a lecture on 25 January, explained why he initially agreed to speak in Israel,
I accepted the invitation to contribute to the debate on the image, of a research group whose work on photography is closely related to the exposure of violations of the rights of the Palestinian people since the birth of the State of Israel.
However, he goes on to argue that the “intervention” of the PACBI has “changed the meaning of this visit,” by framing it is as a “breach of the boycott” and therefore a “public demonstration” of, “support to the State that is responsible for these violations and the situation of oppression of the Palestinian people.” He explains,
I am personally opposed to collective sanctions against all citizens of a State and against its researchers, without taking into account their own attitude towards the policy of this State. I have therefore neither respected nor violated a decision that I did not personally endorse. But it appears that in the present situation, the content of what I might say in response to the invitation that was sent to me has become completely secondary to this simple alternative.
Rancière's decision, and his struggle with the “dual demands” of an invitation from an Israeli institution may serve to once more reignite the debate surrounding the policies of PACBI and the tactics of boycott, divestment and sanctions. In their letter to Rancière, PACBI write that they believe, “that the only avenue open to achieving justice and upholding international law is sustained work on the part of Palestinian and international civil society to put pressure on Israel and its complicit institutions to end this oppression.” But why target universities? Does that not constitute a breach of academic and individual freedom? In their press release following Rancière decision, the PACBI tackle this problem head-on:
Jacques Rancière is 'opposed to collective sanctions against all the citizens and scholars of a state.' So are we. PACBI, like the Collectif Palestine Paris 8, AUDRIP, and the BDS France campaign, has no objection to dialogue amongst intellectuals of all countries, including Israel. What we cannot accept is the complicity of the University of Tel Aviv, and of all the other Israeli universities, with the segregationist policies of the Israeli state, and indeed, with its policy of military occupation. For this reason we firmly reject the exploitation by such an institution of the prestige of an intellectual ofRancière'sstature.
Following this line of thinking, Judith Butler, who has also heeded the calls of Palestinian civil society by refusing to speak in Israel, has called on us to question,
the classically liberal conception of academic freedom with a view that grasps the political realities at stake, and see that our struggles for academic freedom must work in concert with the opposition to state violence, ideological surveillance, and the systematic devastation of everyday life.
Heeding the call for academic boycott does not, however, mean never venturing inside Israel. In the summer of 2011, Slavoj Žižek spoke at Tolaat Sfarim café in Tel Aviv. The organisers of the talk pointed out that
He did so following the guidelines of the PACBI, stipulating that he will only speak at a venue that will publically renounce the occupation, and state unequivocal support for equal rights for Palestinians. In doing so, Žižek did not only support the Palestinian-led non-violent struggle for equality and freedom, but also showed how the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israeli oppression of Palestinians is not aimed at suppressing free-speech, or closing-off dialogue, but rather serve as a means to engage intellectuals and the entire artistic community in an honest conversation about the true mission of thinkers, artists, and activists around the globe: to unveil the ideological bigotry and mystification behind repressive regimes, and the pave the way for new paradigms of thought and action.
In choosing not to break the boycott, Rancière joins the ranks of many others who have publicly supported the tactic, including musicians Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, Elvis Costello, The Pixies and Verso writers Arundhati Roy, Eduardo Galeano, John Berger and Judith Butler.
BDS win: Jacques Ranciére honors boycott, shuns Israel
Distinguished French philosopher Jacques Ranciére became the latest public figure to honor theacademic and cultural boycott of Israel
this week by cancelling an upcoming visit, which would have
included a January 25 lecture
at Tel Aviv University (TAU).
The Shpilman Photography Collection, a would-be sponsor of Ranciére’s visit, announced the cancellation on its Web site Tuesday.
Its post specified that “Ranciére announced he will postpone his visit following the Palestinian call toboycot Israeli institutions which do not officially support the Palestinian struggle against the occupation.”
It also included Ranciére’s message to Dr. Ariella Azoulay of TAU’s Minerva Humanities Center, another tour sponsor, announcing his decision in French. A very rough Google Translate versionreads:
I accepted the invitation to contribute to the debate on the image of a research group whose work on the photograph is closely related to the reporting of violations of the Palestinian people since the birth of the State of Israel.
The intervention of a group dedicated to upholding by foreign researchers boycott of Israeli academic institutions has changed the meaning of the visit by making a public demonstration of rupture of the boycott, thus supporting the State responsible for these violations and the situation of oppression is maintained in which the Palestinian people.
I am personally opposed to collective punishment against all citizens of a State and in respect of its researchers, without taking into account their own attitude towards the policy of this State. I have neither respect nor to rape a decision to which I have not personally joined. But it appears that, in the present situation, the content of what I might say in response to the invitation that was sent to me has become completely secondary to the simple alternative, and it is not now for reasons of fatigue in my ability to respond satisfactorily to the dual requirement of the situation thus created.
I must therefore, by thanking the people who invited me and which I accepted the invitation, offer them to postpone the visit at a time when thinking about these issues has progressed and where I feel myself more able to give an answer politically and intellectually satisfying.
The “group dedicated to upholding by foreign researchers [of the] boycott of Israeli academic institutions” is presumably the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). On January 9 the organization wrote to Ranciére:
It has come to our attention at the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) that you will be giving a public lecture at the Minerva Humanities Center at Tel Aviv University on 25 January 2012. If our information is correct, then we urge you in the strongest terms to cancel your visit to an institution that is complicit in maintaining a regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid. Tel Aviv University in particular is a full partner in maintaining the military and security infrastructure of the Israeli state, as outlined in two recent reports.
As a prominent global scholar, you are certainly aware that Israel has flouted international law for several decades. Since the hegemonic world powers are actively complicit in enabling and perpetuating Israel’s colonial and oppressive policies, we believe that the only avenue open to achieving justice and upholding international law is sustained work on the part of Palestinian and international civil society to put pressure on Israel and its complicit institutions to end this oppression.
In 2004, inspired by the triumphant cultural boycott of apartheid South Africa, and supported by key Palestinian unions and cultural groups, PACBI issued a call for the academic and cultural boycott of institutions involved in Israel’s occupation and apartheid. We wish, in this appeal to you, to stress the importance of this Palestinian call; to underscore the rationale for the global boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, of which PACBI is a member; and to urge you to respect the Palestinian call for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel …
Ranciére’s decision follows a year of growing support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movementfrom academic figures, institutions, and organizations including South Africa’s University of Johannesburg, the United Kingdom’s University and College Union, andCanada’s National Campus and Community Radio Association, as well asnumerous artists and performers.
UPDATE: French BDS activists from several Palestine solidarity organizations have released a statement hailing Ranciére’s cancellation. Againvia Google Translate:
Jacques Rancière, political philosopher and a prominent intellectual, professor emeritus at the University of Paris 8, was recently invited to the University of Tel Aviv, Israel, to give a public lecture. The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) immediately asked him to cancel the conference.
Jacques Rancière, like us, is “opposed to collective punishment against all citizens of a State and in respect of its researchers.” The PACBI as the Collective Palestine Paris 8, and the AURDIP France BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israeli apartheid), does not condemn the dialogue between intellectuals of all countries, including Israel. We acknowledge, however, the University of Tel Aviv as all other Israeli universities, of complicity with the segregationist policies of the Israeli state, but also with its policy of military occupation. We rise, therefore, against the possibility that the prestige of an intellectual as Jacques Rancière used to such an institution.
BDS France welcomes today that Jacques Rancière has heard our call and canceled his trip to Israel. This is the first victory of the year for the cultural and academic BDS France, we hope followed many more. Jacques Rancière joins a long line of intellectuals engaged on the side of justice and human rights, such as Eduardo Galeano, Arundhati Roy, Andre Brink, Naomi Klein, Augusto Boal, Vincenzo Consolo, Henning Mankell, John Berger and Judith Butler. We reiterate our opposition to them with all collaboration with Israeli academic and cultural institutions, as this country will not respect the Palestinians’ right: the right to their land, the right to return for refugees and the right be treated like any other.
The Collective Palestine Paris 8
|1. ||The Palestinians|
| ||From Jeff Halper, Sent in 30-01-2012|
|2. ||Re: The Palestinians|
| ||From Israel Academia Monitor, Sent in 31-01-2012|