Thursday, May 26, 2011

Be On The Lookout For Intellectual Terrorism!

At least that is what the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI) seems to think.

Someone forwarded me a copy of IPCRI's latest request for money from its members:
Dear Friends of IPCRI

Not enough of you took this seriously. I know that I ask a lot. I know that you receive many requests from me. I know it is easy to ignore and that we are all asked all the time to support important projects.

The financial situation for the entire peace community in Israel and Palestine is become increasingly difficult. Traditional supporters such as European governments and Foundations are being frightened away from funding these activities because of the aggressive work of groups like Im Tirtzu which try to intimidate organizations such as the New Israel Fund and its supporters, and from the intellectual terrorism of the NGO Monitor which frightens donors to shy away and even completely cease the funding of Israeli and Palestinian peace and human rights NGOs.

We have become increasingly dependent on the support of individuals like you. Our levels of support and the amount of money we have to work with has become increasingly small. Months go by when we do not have salaries and we work as volunteers. In IPCRI we currently have more volunteers and interns than paid staff and all of the paid staff have taken pay decreases.

Please read the following and then open your heart and your pocket!
Intellectual terrorism!
Intellectual terrorism?

If you want to know what the heck "intellectual terrorism" is, you are not likely to get much help from the IPCRI.

That email only mentions the phrase once, and when I did a search of their website, the phrase did not come up at all.

I've heard of nuclear terrorism, cyber-terrorism and counter-terrorism--but this is a new one.

Each country has developed units that deal with each of those other forms of terrorism--is there a unit whose job it is to combat intellectual terrorism--and how would it work?

Would the Anti-Intellectual Terrorism Squad fight this scourge by countering it with facts--or is it so dangerous that one would have no choice but to suppress it altogether?

And what exactly did NGO Monitor do that has IPCRI so upset?
Did they call them names?
Did they attend one of their conferences and yell at the speakers so they couldn't talk?
Did they make an argument that IPCRI had difficulty countering?

We live in a time when terms such as "disproportionate force" and "war crime" are loosely used to refer to any military action one disapproves of. Ironically, on the flip side we are warned not to use a term like "terrorism" at all.

By adding the word intellectual to it, does the word terrorism now become kosher to use freely whenever someone makes an argument that is too difficult to refute or too strongly worded for our tastes?

Or maybe we will just have  to come to recognize the obvious:
One mans intellectual terrorist is another man's intellectual freedom fighter.

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1 comment:

NormanF said...

Anti-Israel NGOs don't like being held accountable.

No wonder they're upset.

It isn't like the good old days when they could post funding in complete anonymity and no one had any idea what they were up to.

If casting sunlight upon their activities is "intellectual terrorism," we definitely need a lot more of it.

There's something about groups that can dish out criticism against Israel but they can't take it.

Get used to it!