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British AUT getting 'down wiv the kidz'

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    British AUT getting down wiv the kidz http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=570880 By Julie Burchill Prejudice is one of those things - like
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2005
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      British AUT getting 'down wiv the kidz'
      http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=570880

      By Julie Burchill

      Prejudice is one of those things - like white shoes or Germans - for
      which there are very few excuses made. If someone is stingy (stinginess being
      the halitosis of the soul, as I always say) there's always some do-gooding
      bystander who'll stand up for them and say 'Oh, but they're just scared of
      being poor/they used to be poor!'

      If someone's a child abuser, even, some jerk will pop up and pipe 'Ooo,
      it's not their fault - it probably happened to them, too, when they were
      children! The abused abuse!' Which is patently untrue to anyone with even the
      flimsiest grasp on mathematics in general and fractions in particular; around
      three quarters of child abuse victims are girls, but three quarters of child
      abusers aren't women, are they? D'oh!

      But you won't find many people trying to explain why a person is
      prejudiced. 'Oh, they're just ignorant!' is the best you'll get. And it may
      well be true. Which is why the sight of 'clever' people showing prejudice
      seems singularly grotesque. What's THEIR excuse?






      I'm asking this right now because a couple of weeks ago, on April 22nd,
      Britain's Association of University Teachers - an organization representing
      over 48,000 professional swots - voted to ban all contact with two Israeli
      universities, and asked its executive committee to consider a boycott against
      a third, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

      Israel was accused of being 'a colonial apartheid state' worse than
      South Africa, a 'regime' worthy of 'removal', and its universities of
      repressing academic freedom. Needless to say, this show of spite received
      rapturous applause; well, Britain IS currently playing host to the biggest
      ever annual number of violent anti-Semitic attacks, both on people and on
      property, since the 1930s. Who can blame the teachers, so conscious of their
      uncoolness, for wanting to get 'down wiv the kidz'? They're too respectable to
      daub swastikas on a synagogue - but it sure feels good to band together and
      bully them Israeli academics!

      Just imagine; for once, the swots aren't having their books ripped up in
      front of them by a gang of thugs - THEY'RE the ones doing the ripping. But if
      we learnt nothing else from the Shoah, you'd think we'd have learned that the
      seductive power of herd-mentality cruelty can suck in the most unlikely
      people; it sucked in the Germans, for instance, almost all of them, a nation
      thought by many to be the most cultured and civilized in Northern Europe. And
      now, sixty years after the rough-necked Brits showed the cultured Krauts the
      true meaning of civilization, we are going through our own dark night of the
      anti-Semitic soul.

      In one way this turn of events is as unexpected as it is cruel - after
      all, in this country it tends to be academics who react to anything from mild
      censorship to book-burning with 'That's how Hitler started!' That they are now
      doing something Hitler would thoroughly approve of, and did - barring contact
      with Jews - seems to have escaped them. But in another way, it makes logical,
      horrible sense. It's not so long since English academia saw nothing wrong with
      having Jewish quotients as a matter of course, lest the 'best' universities be
      over-run by those unnaturally smart Heebs. Far from flying in the face of
      English academic freedom, maybe the latest haters are simply reverting to
      type.

      I've always loved being English - but more and more these days, living
      through this latest, almost post-modern plague of anti-Semitism with a
      'caring' face, I wish it was a club that I could resign from, as opposed to a
      flag I carry in my blood. Trust me, with all your trials and tribulations, you
      lot don't know how lucky you are. Because you will never, ever be ashamed of
      and embarrassed by your country the way I am increasingly ashamed of and
      embarrassed by mine.

      You're too damn good-looking for your own good, you're humourless and
      you don't know the meaning of 'please' and 'thank you' - but you're not
      bullies, and you never will be. It makes me sad to think that just a few years
      ago, I thought that last thing about my people, too. I don't anymore.

      Julie Burchill is a columnist for The Times of London.
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