Yesterday he was in class teaching about human rights, when the sirens went off and everyone dashed down to a shelter for protection from an incoming rocket, fired from Gaza at Israeli civilians. My informant (thanks, AL) tells me Gordon has not yet commented on whose human rights were infringed yesterday. If this article of his is any indication, he's probably capable of saying it wasn't Palestinian violence at all; no, the poor Palestinians have been hoodwinked into misbehaving by devious Israelis who are provoking them so as to justify more repression.
(Mondoweiss is full of speculation these days: will Israel succeed in its evil ploy to brutally attack Gaza once more? They're doing everything in their power to sucker the Palestinians into provoking them. Here's one example, but there are lots of them at the site).
The Beer Sheva story gets better, however. On the same day two Palestinian Grad rockets hit the city, the University of Johannesburg became the first university in the world to boycott an Israeli university. I admit that my first reaction was to ask which of the two institutions would be harmed by the decision, but according to South African sources - indeed, according to a top UJ official - the answer is very clear: The South Africans will be harmed.
Ben-Gurion University however had been working with UJ on finding a method to clean algae that has infested South Africa's drinking water. The severing of ties meant the project was likely to come an end, leaving UJ without access to BGU's extensive water expertise. “There has been quite a lot of scare mongering that if the partnership breaks, South Africa will be confined to bad water quality,” Habib said. “The quality of our water is suffering because we are not spending the type of money on cleaning water that we need to, and not employing skill sets required.“We can deal with acid rain water in the region if we are prepared to spend money.”
Habib said individual professors from UJ would be allowed to keep up existing partnerships with BGU. "That is something for individual academics to determine, but it depends on whether BGU allows this or not.”
UJ's severing of ties with BGU came amidst talk of steep water tariff increases and a warning South Africa could run out of water within the next ten years if nothing was done to supplement water resources. The Environment and Conservation Association has said that by 2015, 80 percent of South Africa's fresh water would be so badly polluted that no purification process in the country would make it fit for consumption.The impending disaster that would be created by acid mine drainage, as well as by sewerage and industrial pollution, had on many occasions been brought to the government's attention, with no positive results, the association said.
The UJ Petition Committee said in a statement the university's senate had found “significant” evidence that BGU had research and other engagements supporting Israel's military, in particular in its occupation of Gaza.
Translation: the South Africans face an epic drinking water catastrophe. The Israelis could help, but since they occupy Gaza, they must be ostracized, no matter what the cost.
AL, a reader I've been talking to this morning, points out that this decision demonstrates the falsity of the fundamental assumption of economics and other academic models of human behaviour that people rationally prefer their own self interest. To which I'd add that it's not even a matter of self interest, it's the simple ability to recognize facts. If Israel occupies Gaza, who's shooting those missiles and why doesn't Israel arrest them?
(Ah, I forget: Israel wants the rockets so as to justify re-occupying Gaza which it already occupies).