Virginia Tilley

Bantustans and the unilateral declaration of statehood

From a rumor, to a rising murmur, the proposal floated by the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Ramallah leadership to declare Palestinian statehood unilaterally has suddenly hit center stage. It’s no exaggeration to propose that this idea, although well-meant by some, raises the clearest danger to the Palestinian national movement in its entire history, threatening to wall Palestinian aspirations into a political cul-de-sac from which it may never emerge. Virginia Tilley comments for The Electronic Intifada. 

Whose Coup, Exactly?

Mutual accusations are hurled by Abbas and Haniyeh that the other side launched a coup against the legitimate authority. An international community worried by the ‘coup’ accusation might endorse the Fayyad government as the seemingly correct position. But the ‘coup’ claim stumbles over a basic problem — that Abbas’s appointing a new prime minister was itself entirely illegal. The new ‘emergency government’ is illegal, too. Virginia Tilley analyzes the situation and assesses the international community’s options. 

On the Academic Boycott of Israel

In very exceptional cases, an academic boycott comes onto our agenda. This happens when a country’s universities are recognized as central players in legitimizing a regime that systematically inflicts massive human rights abuses on its own people and any pretence that the universities are independent fortresses of principled intellectual thought becomes too insulting to the human conscience. But since universities in many oppressive regimes fit those criteria, in practice a second condition is required: their faculties have the freedom to act differently. 

Taken for a Ride by the Israeli Left

It may seem odd that many people working hard for a stable peace in Israel-Palestine find veteran Israeli activist Uri Avnery so immensely irritating. The reason stems from his moral contradictions, all too common to liberal Zionism: that is, while taking an unflinching moral stand against racist abuses of Palestinians, he somehow drops the same principles in assuming that Israel itself has a right to preserve its “Jewish character” at the expense of Palestinian rights. 

The Case for Boycotting Israel

It is finally time. After years of internal arguments, confusion, and dithering, the time has come for a full-fledged international boycott of Israel. Good cause for a boycott has, of course, been in place for decades, as a raft of initiatives already attests. But Israel’s war crimes are now so shocking, its extremism so clear, the suffering so great, the UN so helpless, and the international community’s need to contain Israel’s behavior so urgent and compelling, that the time for global action has matured. A coordinated movement of divestment, sanctions, and boycotts against Israel must convene to contain not only Israel’s aggressive acts and crimes against humanitarian law but also, as in South Africa, its founding racist logics that inspired and still drive the entire Palestinian problem. 

"If You Will It, It is No Dream": Embracing the Anti-Apartheid Struggle in Israel/Palestine

Debate and reportage from Israel-Palestine continue anxiously to focus on the symptoms, rather than the deeper direction, of the conflict. Media controversy whirls about how the Palestinians can navigate the immense challenges of the Gaza withdrawal, the electoral challenge from Hamas, and whether the PA can contain wildcat militancy. It even still whirls about whether the Sharon government intends to withdraw West Bank settlements or build them up-an impressively naive concern. But these controversies distract us from an underlying reality far more earth-shaking.