Letters to the Editor, Opinions

Letter: The ACCRIP: Hypocrisy lives

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

To the Editor:

I was disappointed, saddened and, yes, outraged to read in the Dec. 3 Herald that the Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Practices voted to recommend that the University divest from “companies identified as facilitating human rights abuses in Palestine.”

What about companies identified as facilitating human rights abuses in, for example, China (one million Muslim Uighurs held for forcible indoctrination in internment prisons, and then there is Tibet), Myanmar (one million Rohingya forced to flee the country), India (actions against its Muslims), Pakistan (actions against its Hindus), Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq?


The intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy are appalling.

The only honest word to describe singling out Israel is: anti-Semitism.

The vote mirrors the dramatic, ugly rise in anti-Jewish sentiment and actions throughout Europe.

For Brown University to go along with that?  For shame.

Jeffrey Liss ’65

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  1. Ok, boomer.

  2. That the author accuses the ACCRIP at Brown of “intellectual dishonesty” is especially ironic given the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of his own argument. The author mentions China, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran as countries committing human rights abuses—but those are brutal dictatorships that do not enjoy the vast foreign aid and diplomatic cover the United States bestows upon Israel (Israel is the single largest recipient of US foreign aid; in 2018, Israel received $3.1 billion, more than double what the next-largest recipient received). Indeed, no country listed by the author enjoys more tacit approval of its actions than Israel, and politicians on both sides of the aisle kowtow to Israel, fearing outraged calls (like the author’s) of anti-semitism.

    The author uses a classic fallacy known as “whataboutism,” a propaganda technique employed by Soviet Russia and apartheid South Africa (that the author literally uses the phrase “What about” is especially telling, and speaks to a complete lack of self-awareness). When confronted by the UN over its brutal policies of hatred and discrimination, for example, South Africa deflected: “If SA practises discrimination so too do many Commonwealth countries. Why not cut aid to the Marxist dictatorship of Tanzania? Why not boycott the USSR?” In fact, more than a few apartheid apologists urged the global community to look to the abuses in the West Bank as examples of the UN’s so-called hypocrisy.

    Are there other human rights abuses occurring around the world? Yes. Should we as a society be doing more to address those? Absolutely. But the notion that Israel should somehow be insulated from moral criticism or financial consequence is ludicrous.

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