Richard Silverstein reflects on the assassination of Gazan electrical engineer Fadi al Batsh in Malaysia: the only information available is Israeli; the incident resembles the assassination of Mohammed al Zoary last year. These extrajudicial killings beg the question: why does Israel kill academics and then protest academic boycott?
His answer: An Israeli professor “would never see the equivalence between him or herself and a dead Palestinian professor.”
By Tikkun Olam,
Yesterday, Israel’s Mossad assassinated Fadi al Batsh (English language report), a Palestinian Senior Lecturer in the Electrical Engineering Section, British Malaysian Institute, University of Kuala Lumpur (UniKL). He was originally from Gaza and earned his PhD in 2009 at the same institution. His school bio describes research interests:
He is the author and co-author of more than 25 publications in an international journals and proceedings in the area of Power Systems and Power Electronics. His research interests include FACTS devices, power converters, power quality, microgrid and renewable energy.
Israeli media are calling him an “engineer” which is Israeli security- speak for a weapons maker. In actuality, he was professor at a major Malaysian university.
Two Israeli assassins on a motorbike shot ten bullets, four of which struck him on the head and body, killing him instantly. He was making his way to the local mosque for early morning prayer. Imagine if a Palestinian militant assassinated an Israeli nuclear engineer as he emerged from prayer at a synagogue. The uproar would be immense and geshrei of anti-Semitism would be deafening. But apparently, Muslim prayer means nothing while Jewish prayer means everything.
In the Twitter thread linked above an Israeli wrote: “ten bullets? Why did they have to waste so many?” This is what passes for wit in today’s Israel.
A knowledgeable Israeli source likened this murder to that of Mohammed al Zoari, another Palestinian researcher accused of being a drone engineer who was, among other things, purportedly researching use of underwater drones. A Mossad hit team assassinated al Zoari in Tunis last year. The statement by the source and Israel’s Channel 10 news report confirm that al Batsh as well was murdered by the Mossad.
Keep in mind that these claims regarding the activities of the victims are one-sided and only offer the view of the Israeli intelligence apparatus which murdered him.
This begs the question: if the Mossad murders Palestinian academics with impunity, why is there any argument against the academic boycott of Israeli universities? It seems to me that it’s perfectly legitimate to argue that as long as Israel’s government assassins target the world’s academics, that Israeli educational institutions should be in BDS’ cross-hairs. If Israeli universities object to this, then they should pressure the country’s assassins to stop murdering professors.
That of course would never happen because Israelis isolate themselves from moral culpability. A professor would never see the equivalence between him or herself and a dead Palestinian professor.
It would also seem to me that such Mossad targeting might endanger Israeli academics who themselves specialize in the same engineering fields as those of the murdered Palestinian professors. What’s good for the goose…