Citing boycott, Jewish academic refuses to help Israeli child

Asked for info on horses, Dr. Marsha Levine tells schoolgirl she’ll answer ‘when there is justice for Palestinians’

Protesters urging a boycott against Israel in Melbourne, file photo (CC-BY SA Takver/Wikimedia Commons)
Protesters urging a boycott against Israel in Melbourne, file photo (CC-BY SA Takver/Wikimedia Commons)

An expert in the history of horses has rebuffed a request for information from an Israeli girl, citing as the reason for her refusal Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

Shachar Rabinovitch, 13, wrote recently to the British-American researcher Marsha Levine, who is Jewish, that she was doing a school project about horses and requested details about the domestication and breeding of early horse species.

According to a Facebook post by her mother, Shamir, on Monday, Levine replied: “I’ll answer your questions when there is peace and justice for Palestinians in Palestine.”

The academic, who used to work for Cambridge University, noted that she was “a member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians. I support Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions.”

She added: “You might be a child, but if you are old enough to write to me, you are old enough to learn about Israeli history and how it has impacted on the lives of Palestinian people. Maybe your family has the same views as I do, but I doubt it.”

Levine referred Shachar to the website of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, and in particular a page that lauded the work of Israel’s “New Historians,” who “have generally confirmed the conclusions of Arab historians… and conversely have disproved the assertions of the traditional ‘Zionist’ historians whose work has been shown to contain a lot of nationalist myth-making.”

The “New Historians,” who emerged in the late 1980s, challenged key aspects of the mainstream narrative of modern Israeli history, notably regarding the exodus of Palestinians from what is today’s Israel and Palestinian readiness for peace.

Shamir Rabinovitch (Facebook)
Shamir Rabinovitch (Facebook)

Shamir Rabinovitch described the academic’s response as “unbelievable.”

“The BDS movement is here,” wrote Shachar’s mother. “The reply that was sent to a 13-year-old girl is unbelievable, a girl who has not yet managed to kill anyone and, on the contrary, is quite supportive of world peace and brotherhood.”

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