Saturday, May 01, 2010

Boycotting Arizona?

Amanda Marcotte discusses the possibility in an extremely thoughtful post. Now, as y'all know, I'm very skeptical of boycotts. But so is Marcotte, and she lays out her generic skepticism in ways that really resonate with my own suspicions:
I’m usually against “boycotts”, mostly because they aren’t really boycotts. Most calls to boycott that I encounter have no objective in mind except to give the boycotter cause to feel morally superior. Most so-called boycotts are utterly useless in exerting pressure, and the targets are neither harmed nor seem to give a shit. For instance, the calls to boycott the Superbowl because of the Tim Tebow ad. What was that supposed to accomplish? CBS wasn’t quaking in their shoes. Most boycotts have no goals, no leadership, no real effect. When I asked people who were claiming to boycott Roman Polanski’s movies to punish him for raping a 13-year-old, I asked them if they really thought that Polanski was going to feel that and then....well do what, exactly? He can’t unrape her. He’s probably not going to stop fleeing from the authorities. The answer was usually, “Well, I just can’t allow myself to give money to him,” which is basically a moral argument about picking up a taint from engaging someone who did something wrong. Not that I’m criticizing that per se. I think there’s value in some kinds of moral repulsion, which is why most of us don’t want to kick around with rapists and murderers. But avoiding something because it repulses you isn’t a boycott.

Boycotts have to be targeted, specific, and wide-reaching to work. The Montgomery bus boycott is the reason people like the idea of boycotts, but you have to look at why it was effective. First of all, a specific goal for the action was outlined, which was ending the segregation policy on city buses in Montgomery. The organizers realized that to have a broad impact, they didn’t need broad action. Specificity wasn’t sacrificed to make a general statement. Second of all, the boycott created consequences for those with the power to change things. Surprisingly few calls for boycotts do this. Third, there was leadership and organization. The message of the boycott was very clear to those feeling the effects of it.

So yeah, I think that is mostly right. Many of my problems with the BDS movement against Israel track these problems: a huge swath of it does seem premised on the signaling of moral outrage more than in creating concrete consequences (I think I more leery of this sort of behavior than Marcotte is -- place me on the Nussbaum side of the Nussbaum/Kahan debate over whether disgust is a useful emotion for pressing progressive social change). The goals of the movement are neither unified nor generally specific -- I've heard the goals characterized as everything from forcing the dissolution of Israel as a Jewish state and its replacement by a single state (reasonably specific, but also morally bad), to boycotting until a negotiated settlement is reached (vague, and also not entirely in Israel's hands), to boycotting until Israel ceases violating international law (still vaguer, as international law is ambiguous, indefinite, and doesn't have any truly widely accepted adjudicators with the authority to make pronouncements), to boycotting until Israel becomes a "responsible global citizen" (vaguest of all).

So is Arizona different? Marcotte lays out the case.
This is why I think a broad boycott of Arizona has the potential to work. First of all, it’s specific. (Repeal this law immediately.) It links the consequences to the law, and the consequences have the potential to be strongly felt, as Rachel explains in the video. It’s widespread, with people from all walks of life and all angles providing leadership on this issue. And it’s organized behind a lot of leadership. You have celebrities speaking out, politicians joining the boycott, pundits encouraging it, even sports writers! It has legs, in other words. Plus, it’s very clear that this has nothing to do with hating on Arizona or some errant issues that are attached to it. Just as the bus boycotters weren’t saying that buses were bad, boycotters here are making it clear they love Arizona, but they will have nothing to do with it until they change their ways.

Not bad, but I'm still dubious. There are a couple of issues that still pull at me. Most notably, I'm not convinced at the ability of the boycott to maintain such a narrow target profile. The state just passed two more racially suspect ordinances, one prohibiting accented teachers from teaching English (my suspicion is that a Georgia drawl won't be targeted), the other barring ethnic studies programs. Are reversing these part of the boycott? What if we get one repealed, but not the other two? The problem is on both ends: maintaining cohesion, but also the ability to "call off the dogs" when Arizona does what it's putatively being asked to do.

Similarly, Arizona legislators met late last night and modified the immigration bill significantly, both clarifying that the police could only inquire into the immigration status of someone lawfully detained (so not someone asking a cop for directions), and also deleting "solely" from the provision purportedly restricting the use of race as grounds for immigration suspicion. Is that sufficient to make the law acceptable? Is that sufficient to get the boycott called off? Are these questions equivalent to each other? Presumably a boycott is not considered a justified response to any policy disagreement, but only the most outrageous deviations from moral conduct. A serious problem I have with boycotts is that once they get rolling, unless they are extremely disciplined with regards to the aims and organization, it becomes very tempting to try and use them as a brute force club to try and mold the target into the wielder's ideal utopia -- a far cry from the surgical, targeted use originally contemplated.

Moreover, one of the reasons boycotts tend to be high-risk strategies is that until they reach some critical mass, they almost always are counterproductive. Amanda is right as far as she goes that the boycott movement isn't motivated by hatred of Arizona. But that doesn't mean it won't be perceived that way. The Arizona legislation comes at the intersection of two heavily victim-oriented ideologies: White protestant American conservatism, which tends to see itself as perpetually besieged by smug outsider liberal elitists, and anti-immigration sentiment, which of course sees the entire nation as under attack by a wave of hostile immigration. Given the availability of those two mentalities, it is quite likely that the first response of Arizonans to a boycott will be to close ranks against the "assault". Of course, given enough momentum, a boycott could simply slam past that resistance, in which case it works anyway. But it is a calculated risk at best. And I think the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which was intensely local and whose target was far narrower than an entire state, consequently had a far more reachable tipping point than the boycott Arizona folks.

So I do think that Amanda makes some solid points that make the Arizona case a closer call than most other boycott movements. But ultimately, I'm still very dubious, and prefer greatly that we allow the burgeoning legal challenges to take their course before resorting to the very blunt, high-risk, and difficult to control boycott process.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Mearsheimer Lists His Good Jews

The Jerusalem Fund recently invited University of Chicago Professor and Israel Lobby author John Mearsheimer to lecture on the subject of "Righteous Jews vs. New Afrikaners". In other words, good Jews versus bad Jews -- a subject I've already given my thoughts on (Hussein Ibish has a more broad-scale dissection of the talk). So dispense with what's been said. More evocative to me is who Mearsheimer groups into each camp:
American Jews who care deeply about Israel can be divided into three broad categories. The first two are what I call “righteous Jews” and the “new Afrikaners,” which are clearly definable groups that think about Israel and where it is headed in fundamentally different ways. The third and largest group is comprised of those Jews who care a lot about Israel, but do not have clear-cut views on how to think about Greater Israel and apartheid. Let us call this group the “great ambivalent middle.”

Righteous Jews have a powerful attachment to core liberal values…..To give you a better sense of what I mean when I use the term righteous Jews, let me give you some names of people and organizations that I would put in this category. The list would include Noam Chomsky, Roger Cohen, Richard Falk, Norman Finkelstein, Tony Judt, Tony Karon, Naomi Klein, MJ Rosenberg, Sara Roy, and Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss fame, just to name a few. I would also include many of the individuals associated with J Street and everyone associated with Jewish Voice for Peace, as well as distinguished international figures such as Judge Richard Goldstone. Furthermore, I would apply the label to the many American Jews who work for different human rights organizations, such as Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch.

On the other side we have the new Afrikaners, who will support Israel even if it is an apartheid state…..I would classify most of the individuals who head the Israel lobby’s major organizations as new Afrikaners. That list would include Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, David Harris of the American Jewish Committee, Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Ronald Lauder of the World Jewish Congress, and Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America, just to name some of the more prominent ones. I would also include businessmen like Sheldon Adelson, Lester Crown, and Mortimer Zuckerman as well as media personalities like Fred Hiatt and Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post, Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal, and Martin Peretz of the New Republic. It would be easy to add more names to this list.

These lists are ... well, they're bizarre. I think grouping Abe Foxman with Mort Klein is a little difficult to swing; and grouping David Harris with either is also hard to swallow as representing anything real.

On the side of the "righteous Jews", things get even hairier. Norman Finkelstein and Phillip Weiss "care deeply about Israel"? In what respect? Have they ever said anything to that effect? My understanding is that both Finkelstein and Weiss are quite vocal in wishing for the end of Israel as a Jewish state. It seems baffling also to group committed boycott supporters like Klein, with avid and outspoken opponents like the folks at J Street (who have correctly noted the BDS movement's fundamental incompatibility with the pursuit of peace and justice). Indeed, this conflation seems to be part of the broader attempt to sabotage J Street by associating it with names, ideas, and ideologies it has quite clearly repudiated and finds abhorrent.

Beyond picking at who is grouped with who, there are some deeper problems. As might be apparent, these broad lumpings really don't get at the heterogeneity of views in the Jewish community; they serve less to demarcate good and bad actors as they serve as proxies for Mearsheimer's political priors. I should be clear that there are bad people who are Jews -- Mort Klein being an obvious example -- but I don't see it as emblematic of some broader Jewish pathology the way that Mearsheimer does. The move here is to flatten distinctions amongst the Jewish community, then label huge swaths of it as either infected or moral cowards. Sweeping generalizations are not becoming.

Finally, of course, I recoil at the notion that Norman Finkelstein be considered a righteous anything, let alone a righteous Jew who is somehow a deep friend of Israel. For the most part, Mearsheimer's good Jews are a rather horrible bunch, whose commitment not just to Israel, but to basic norms of democratic equality and peaceful co-existence is questionable to say the least. It is notably that the one group he is ambivalent about (J Street) is also the one most firmly committed to an actual, concrete peace policy aimed at securing justice for both Jews and Palestinians. The list, in other words, reveals more about what Mearsheimer's moral ideals are than they do about whose policies we should seek to emulate.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Connecting Racism and Anti-Semitism

Statement of Robert Fine and Claudine Attias Donfut regarding their establishment of a forum to discuss the intersections between racism and anti-Semitism:
Our ESA Network on Racism and Antisemitism brings together, into a common forum of discussion, research activity in each of these areas. An informing idea behind setting up this network is that a prevailing current in the sociology of race has been that of a black-white binary which excludes other forms of racism that do not fit this binary. Our conviction is that an explicit connection between racism and antisemitism (and other intra-European racisms) helps us redress such exclusions. We also recognise that prevailing currents in study of antisemitism have generally not led scholars to situate this phenomenon with the context of racism more broadly but rather to view antisemitism sui generis as an independent phenomenon. Our belief is that Sociology can play a more universalistic role in overcoming tendencies toward particularism and that the broadening of our sociological imagination will flow from recognition of connected sociologies.

The connection between racism and antisemitism may appear uncontroversial, almost banal, but today any sociology that seeks to connect the phenomena of racism and antisemitism must be willing to confront serious resistance arising from a number of related sources. On the one hand, there are specialists who have an interest in maintaining a kind of sub-disciplinary specialization and in saying that this form of racism is real whilst that form of racism is minor or marginal or not real at all. There are emphatic theories of difference that construct walls between one form of racism and another and find it difficult to recognize the sheer versatility of racism. There are standpoint epistemologies that say that only the victims can properly understand the racism or antisemitism directed at them and slip into paradigms of competitive victimhood that refuse to acknowledge the victimization of others.

In relation to antisemitism, most social scientists acknowledge that antisemitism was a major issue in the past but there are many who deny that antisemitism is any longer a significant issue in the present and argue that antisemitism has become more rhetoric than reality. They may embrace a philosophy of history that sees the new Europe as having overcome its darker, nationalistic temptations; or they may say that the conditions in Europe that once led to antisemitism have now been superseded and Islamophobia and other racisms have substituted for antisemitism. There is a temptation in sociology to resort to the symbolic erasure of antisemitism and disregard the mythological images antisemitism inherits from the past, because they are unwanted reminders of the subterranean streams of European civilization.

In terms of political argument it is sometimes said that the charge of ‘antisemitism’ is employed dishonestly as a means of deflecting attention from the allegedly racist character of Zionism and the Israeli state. It is said that a focus on Jews as victims of antisemitism serves to obscure the wrongs Jews themselves commit as victimisers. In these political debates we have to acknowledge that anti-racists can represent concern over the ‘antisemitism’ question mainly as a smokescreen for racism against Moslems, Arabs or Palestinians; and conversely we have to acknowledge that anti-antisemites can represent ‘antiracism’ as an ideology of those whose hostility to Israel is antisemitic in its effects if not its motives.

In the face of all these resistances, which we only touch upon here, our conviction is that the project of connecting racism and antisemitism – which is not at all the same as identifying them – is worth doing. Racism and antisemitism evolved together in European societies as coeval manifestation of how Europeans at once turned on non-Europeans outside Europe and on one another within Europe. To see their connectedness today is our way of keeping in mind the universalistic promise of the sociological imagination.

Very interesting. I lend my full support.

Israeli Diplomat Attacked in Britain

The Israeli government is expecting a rather strong condemnation after this:
A lecture given by Israel's Deputy Ambassador to Britain Talya Lador-Fresher at the University of Manchester deteriorated Wednesday into violence when pro-Palestinian protesters stormed at the diplomat in an attempted attack.

The protesters were waiting for Lador-Fresher outside the lecture hall, but this did not deter her from entering as planned. Immediately upon her exit, the protesters lunged at the diplomat, prompting security guards to whisk her back into the hall. Following a consultation on the site, it was decided to escort her out of the premises in a police car.

The deputy ambassador was removed from the hall and into the police vehicle. However, this did not block the protesters, who surrounded the car and climbed on the hood, trying to break the windshield.

Lador-Fresher ultimately was taken away from the scene safe and sound.

Of course, if anyone gets arrested, we can expect to see some thugs protesting on behalf of the attackers. That will be the usual joy to behold.

UPDATE: At the very least, the statement by the University of Manchester is quite tone-deaf:
A Manchester University spokesman said: “The University is fundamentally committed to freedom of speech, exercised within the law. It follows that it should also allow peaceful and lawful protest to take place on its campus.

“We took all reasonable action to put appropriate security measures in place for this meeting, including a complete lockdown of the building, a high-level security presence, ID checks at the door and ticket-only arrangements.”

I think, being charitable, that the spokesman is not saying that surrounding the ambassador's car and bashing on the windshield is a "peaceful protest", but rather that the University's security arrangements were designed to allow both the diplomat to speak and for "peaceful and lawful protest" to occur. Still, it certainly could be interpreted as a dismissal of the violent nature of the attack here. Given the current atmosophere in British universities, it is fair to ask that their officials take a more unambiguous line on these sort of issues.

Pulling for Cards

Oh, Republicans. One day, they're upset because Democrats want Black people to vote. The next day, they're livid because Obama is purportedly not considering Black candidates for the open SCOTUS seat (as noted, Leah Ward Sears has shown up on several lists of potential nominees, though I don't think she is being considered all that seriously. Ann Claire Williams' name has also bounced across my browser).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Long Arm of Democracy

Arizona's new "immigration law" -- a targeted slap at Latinos and one that flings the door wide open towards racial profiling -- is a travesty upon the nation. But if there is a glimmer of good news, it is that it may not last long. Kos reminds us of the California GOP's experience with Proposition 187, another immigrant-bashing piece of work which resulted in the decimation of the state's Republican Party as Latinos flocked Democratic. Early polling looks like the same dynamic will occur in Arizona, from a situation where Republicans could get a solid 40% of the Latino vote, to an era where they'll be lucky to break 30%. And in a region of the country where the proportion of Latino voters continues to rise, this is no small thing.

Consider also this story:

I’ve got nothing, and it’s open thread time, so let’s talk about my Mother. She’s 74 years old, brown (US citizen from Mexican parents), and tough as nails. She spends her winters in a small town near Tucson, a few miles from where she grew up.

Since the Arizona immigration law passed, I’ve been thinking about what’s going to happen the first time she’s pulled over and asked for her papers. The results of my thought experiment aren’t pretty. To say that she’ll be unintimidated by the local cops is a gross understatement. My concern is for the officer who pulls her over, as well as the police department and town that she’ll sue. Life gets a little dull for the retired, and the family joke is that Mom has a titanium grudge carrier, so I expect she’ll do her part to bankrupt her local municipality, and enjoy doing it.

Mom’s a proud Goldwater Republican. She was happy with Reagan, voted for Bush II in 2000 (but not in ‘04), and has long been active in the local Republican party. But I can say with absolute certainty that she will not vote for a Republican, for any office, ever again. She’s the proudest person I know—proud of her family, her achievements in life, and her Mexican heritage. And, whatever else this new law is, it is profoundly disrespectful. I don’t know if this law will kill the Republican party in Arizona, but I can assure you that they’re already dead to her.

Sometimes, democracy sucks. But sometimes, when democracy sucks, it swings back around later and punches the suckers in the face. And that's a good feeling.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pulling for Votes

I first saw the story about President Obama's appeal to African-Americans, Latinos, and young voters when David Bernstein petulantly called it a "blatant appeal to racial demography". I'm not entirely sure what that means, nor am I sure why it's a bad thing to ask young folks or people of color to vote. But I figured it was anomalous.

Apparently not, as the conservative Washington Examiner is also calling it a "diss" to "White guys". And again, I'm not sure what the problem is supposed to be, beyond the ongoing conservative misunderstanding that anytime someone mentions a racial category, it's an example of racism in one form or another. Maybe the issue is supposedly that one couldn't issue an appeal to White voters in the same way. But aside from that not necessarily being true, it's also quite clear that politicians (of all parties) appeal to White voters all the time (even if they sometimes mask the language -- barely).

Shove It

In my intermittent role as musical adviser to political bodies, I have to say I'm baffled as to why the Tea Partiers haven't adopted Santigold's Shove It as an anthem. Listen to the chorus:
We think you're a joke/
Shove your hope where it don't shine. (x4)

And, if you listen to the version with Project Pat, he appears to say something about government making promises, but turning around to "rob our pockets".

What's that you say? Tea Partiers are unlikely to listen to Santigold and Three Six Mafia? Pshaw!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Oboe Players are Per Se Not Ordinary

Some truly lazy journalism by the Washington Post:
From the moment Stevens announced April 9 that he would leave the court, President Obama, Senate Democratic leaders and sometimes fractious liberal advocacy groups have united behind Obama's assertion that the new justice must be, like Stevens, someone who "knows that in a democracy, powerful interests must not be allowed to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens."

That thinking has continued even though none of the perceived front-runners on the list to replace Stevens would seem to embody Obama's requirement that the person have a "keen understanding of how the law affects the daily lives of the American people."

The "front-runners" being referred to here are Garland, Kagan, and Wood. I don't know enough about Garland and Kagan's background to speak to them, but I am baffled as to why Judge Wood can be so casually dismissed as being disconnected from ordinary Americans. A significant part of Judge Wood's background involves her experience as a working mother, raising three kids while trying to advance her professional career. She was somewhat pathbreaking in this role at the University of Chicago (not just for writing the university's first sexual harassment policy).

I think what's going on here is just some bored writer presuming that anybody whose C.V. includes the title "professor" and whose extra-curriculars include playing in an orchestra simply can't be considered an "ordinary American". But Judge Wood's efforts to succeed as a working mother have resonance, I believe, with many people across the country. There is no reason why that should be waved away.

If The Tea Party Was a Black Movement

Tim Wise asks us to imagine what would happen if the Tea Party was a Black movement:
Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters —the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protester — these black protesters with guns — be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans? Because, after all, that’s what happened recently when white gun enthusiasts descended upon the nation’s capital, arms in hand, and verbally announced their readiness to make war on the country’s political leaders if the need arose.

Imagine that white members of Congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit on one of those congressmen for not voting the way the black demonstrators desired. Would the protesters be seen as merely patriotic Americans voicing their opinions, or as an angry, potentially violent, and even insurrectionary mob? After all, this is what white Tea Party protesters did recently in Washington.

Imagine that a rap artist were to say, in reference to a white president: “He’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun.” Because that’s what rocker Ted Nugent said recently about President Obama.

Imagine that a prominent mainstream black political commentator had long employed an overt bigot as Executive Director of his organization, and that this bigot regularly participated in black separatist conferences, and once assaulted a white person while calling them by a racial slur. When that prominent black commentator and his sister — who also works for the organization — defended the bigot as a good guy who was misunderstood and “going through a tough time in his life” would anyone accept their excuse-making? Would that commentator still have a place on a mainstream network? Because that’s what happened in the real world, when Pat Buchanan employed as Executive Director of his group, America’s Cause, a blatant racist who did all these things, or at least their white equivalents: attending white separatist conferences and attacking a black woman while calling her the n-word.

Imagine that a black radio host were to suggest that the only way to get promoted in the administration of a white president is by “hating black people,” or that a prominent white person had only endorsed a white presidential candidate as an act of racial bonding, or blamed a white president for a fight on a school bus in which a black kid was jumped by two white kids, or said that he wouldn’t want to kill all conservatives, but rather, would like to leave just enough—“living fossils” as he called them—“so we will never forget what these people stood for.” After all, these are things that Rush Limbaugh has said, about Barack Obama’s administration, Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama, a fight on a school bus in Belleville, Illinois in which two black kids beat up a white kid, and about liberals, generally.

Imagine that a black pastor, formerly a member of the U.S. military, were to declare, as part of his opposition to a white president’s policies, that he was ready to “suit up, get my gun, go to Washington, and do what they trained me to do.” This is, after all, what Pastor Stan Craig said recently at a Tea Party rally in Greenville, South Carolina.

Imagine a black radio talk show host gleefully predicting a revolution by people of color if the government continues to be dominated by the rich white men who have been “destroying” the country, or if said radio personality were to call Christians or Jews non-humans, or say that when it came to conservatives, the best solution would be to “hang ‘em high.” And what would happen to any congressional representative who praised that commentator for “speaking common sense” and likened his hate talk to “American values?” After all, those are among the things said by radio host and best-selling author Michael Savage, predicting white revolution in the face of multiculturalism, or said by Savage about Muslims and liberals, respectively. And it was Congressman Culbertson, from Texas, who praised Savage in that way, despite his hateful rhetoric.

Imagine a black political commentator suggesting that the only thing the guy who flew his plane into the Austin, Texas IRS building did wrong was not blowing up Fox News instead. This is, after all, what Anne Coulter said about Tim McVeigh, when she noted that his only mistake was not blowing up the New York Times.

Imagine that a popular black liberal website posted comments about the daughter of a white president, calling her “typical redneck trash,” or a “whore” whose mother entertains her by “making monkey sounds.” After all that’s comparable to what conservatives posted about Malia Obama on last year, when they referred to her as “ghetto trash.”

Imagine that black protesters at a large political rally were walking around with signs calling for the lynching of their congressional enemies. Because that’s what white conservatives did last year, in reference to Democratic party leaders in Congress.

Hmm. For some reason, it's difficult to imagine that.

I think that particularly the image of the armed Blacks descending on DC is the one wherein the differences are most stark. There are some principled supporters of an expansive Second Amendment who have properly noted the history of gun restrictions as a method of White supremacist governments nationwide to maintain a monopoly of violence in a bid to keep the Black population suppressed.* But in the eyes of many, a Black man with a gun is the very threat that White people need their guns to keep at bay. White gun owners are patriots, Black gun owners are simply thugs (the Boondocks used to do some incredible riffs on this). The Black Panthers are rarely seen as emblematic of "authentic Americans".

* This doesn't have no relevance to the contemporary gun control debate, but it can be over-stated. I think the fact that gun control has historical connections to racist domination is important, but not as important as the clear preferences of the Black community in governing their own communities.

Two Face

Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi: "We are not against Jews, but against Zionism."

Gadhafi, same visit:
During their visit, the Israeli Arab delegation asked the Libyan leader to voice an initiative among Arab states to invite Israeli Arabs to visit, and to accept them as students in their various universities.

Ghadafi responded to the request as saying that Libya would be happy to enroll Israeli Arab students in its schools.

Is that request open to Jewish Israeli students as well? No? Why not?

Could be it be -- unequal sentiments towards Jews? If you're interested in cultural exchange with Israelis, it has to be with all Israelis.

(We'll skate on by whether or not unilateral opposition only to Jewish nationalist aspirations is consistent with not being "against Jews" in any meaningful sense).