My Lords, the noble Baroness, Lady Deetch, has done an invaluable service by raising this issue. She has made a remarkable speech—albeit a little long.
Criticism of Israel is perfectly all right. We can criticise any country. However, it is intellectually bankrupt for some academics to pillory Israel as they have done. Inevitably, Israeli academics critical of their Government are also assailed. Yet Israel remains virtually the only country in the Middle East where freedom of speech does not fall outside the law. These anti-Israeli academics are somewhat one-sided. They make no mention of the outrageous attacks by Sudan on the innocents of Darfur. They ignore China for the occupation of Tibet and the suppression of inconvenient adverse opinions by the Government. They turn a blind eye to the slaughter of Palestinians by Palestinians—Hamas and Fatah—going on at this very moment in Gaza. They also ignore the cruelties heaped on intellectuals in Syria, Egypt, Iran, Libya and Saudi Arabia and countless other crimes against humanity.
The attitude of these academics is unfair and it cultivates extremism on both sides—a myopia which is wholly inconsistent with the standards that they supposedly support and which, in my view, is tantamount to the worst form of anti-Semitism.