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Israel Academia Monitor

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Anti-Israel Activities of Israeli Academics

and other Academic-Related Issues

 

 

Reprints of anti-Israel articles do not represent the position

of IAM, and they are being reproduced as a public service

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IAM supports the universal tradition of academic freedom that is an indispensable characteristic of higher education in Israel. At the same time, it is concerned by the activities of a small group of academics--sometimes described as revisionist historians or post-Zionists, among other labels--who go beyond the “free search for truth and its free exposition” (to quote the American Association of University Professors) that is the hallmark of academic freedom. Exploiting the prestige (and security) of their positions, such individuals often propound unsubstantiated and, frequently, demonstrably false arguments that defame Israel and call into question its right to existence.

 

 
 
We are happy to announce the publication of the study Academic Freedom in Israel: A Comparative Perspective; it compares academic freedom in Israel with that enjoyed by faculty in three academic leaders- Germany, Great Britain and the United States. This first of a kind research, is systematic, detailed and meticulously referenced.
The study indicates that, contrary to the view of radical scholars and their liberal supporters, the Israeli academy has enjoyed far greater freedom than its counterparts in the comparative cases. Indeed, in all three countries a combination of case law, ethic codes and strong oversight by boards of directors and politicians who appointed them have prevented radical faculty in public universities from abusing and subverting academic privileges to push an activist political agenda.
Not countervailed by academic duties and a need to account to the public and its elected representatives, the expansive sense of academic freedom has hurt Israel’s academic standing in the world. Liberal arts and social science, in particular, have been trending well below global averages, jeopardizing Israel’s overall competitive quest.
We hope that the study will spur a long-overdue debate on how to restore much- needed balance between academic freedom and the broader interests of the society and the state.
 

First IAM Round table in Tel Aviv and videos from the IAM roundtable, May 3, 2013 

The 2nd IAM event "BDS Campaign Against Israel" 2014 and Audio


A unique opportunity to purchase the IAM book on Academic Freedom

     
            
                              

Click to view whole articles:
(Extract) 
Israelis in Non-Israeli Universities
 
11.12.19
New Platform for Debunking Israel at Harvard Law School's Mizrahi Legal Studies Conference
 
Mizrahi Jews, the descendants of Jews from Arab and Muslim countries, are the center of a new initiative. A newly-emerging field, Mizrahi Legal Studies, is having its first-ever international conference at Harvard on December 10-11, 2019. The central tenet of the conference is that the identity of Mizrahim has "traditionally been neglected in legal academia". One of the organizers is Lihi Yona, a doctoral student at the Columbia Law School, a Shusterman fellow, and a former student at the University of Haifa where she co-founded an Arab-Jewish student political movement.
All the panels at the conference discuss the following issues: Mizrahi Interventions in Political/Legal Thought; Mizrahi Legal History/ies; Mizrahi Methodologies; Knowing Mizrahi Identity: Criterions, Records, Adjudication; Mizrahi Jews and Jewish Law; Shas; Mizrahi Discrimination and Clinical Education; Mizrahi Representation and Speech Regulation; Spatial Dimensions and Mizrahi Positionality.
According to conference guideline, the first wave of legal writing on Mizrahi issues has focused primarily on the "absence" of Mizrahi Jews from Israeli law, "Despite a robust tradition of critical writing on Israeli law, as well as prolific research in Mizrahi Studies in other disciplines such as history, sociology, and anthropology, the Mizrahi perspective has been traditionally neglected in Israeli legal academia."
The conference keynote speaker is Prof. Yifat Bitton, a pioneer in the field, who's Hebrew language article, "Mizrahis and Law: Absence as Existence,” published in Mishpatim Law Review, in 2011. Her thesis is "The Mizrahi population is discriminated in Israel. This population, which is suffering from ongoing and proven discrimination, is invisible in Israeli law and is not recognized in it as a category of discriminated groups.” Bitton notes that the Israeli Prohibition of Discrimination Law indicates that the judicial system reflects and at the same time allows ignoring its existence in Israel as a discriminated group.” She calls this phenomenon, "denial dynamics" which "allows hardship to the structure in which the struggle of Mizrahim for equality is a limited struggle, and the analysis of the use of the law to prevent discrimination reflects these limitations in a sharp and systematic way. "
The conference brochure shows a photograph of the 1971 Black Panther's movement demonstrating in Haifa, while holding signs "How long would a ten member family reside in one room?" The Panthers were protesting the dire living conditions of the poor. The fact that the conference is using a dated image of the Mizrahhim is telling. It allows Bitton and her cohorts to conveniently ignore that in the past forty years since the Black Panthers were founded, the Mizrahim have made tremendous progress. Some of the wealthiest Israelis are Mizrahim, and many Mizrahim have also reached the top positions of the political, cultural, financial, and legel realms of Israeli life. Bitton herself was a candidate for a position on the Supreme Court until the media disclosed she is a member of the New Israel Fund International Board, a politically-tainted organization.
The conference is hosted by the Harvard Julis-Rabinowitz Program on Jewish and Israeli Law. Its director, Prof. Noah Feldman, has been writing articles postulating that a Palestinian democracy is possible and that Islamic law is compatible with democracy. As befitting an activist professor, the conference has a political agenda of building a Palestinian-Mizrahi alliance. This has been a long staining goal of radical Israeli scholars like Yehuda Shenhav who, as well known, went to great length to “prove” that the Mizrahim are “ Arab Jews.”
To push for the new alliance, the conference invited papers on the "Mizrahi positionality and identity vis-à-vis Israel/Palestine." Several speakers address the issue. Yael Berda, a partly Mizrahi, will be speaking of "Reversing Internal Colonialism – Towards Administrative Principles of Affirmative Inclusion" Berda's scholarship is mostly focusing on entry permits obtained by Palestinians to travel or work in Israel; Lana Tatour, Palestinian Israeli, will speak on On "the (Im)possibility of Palestinian-Mizrahi Alliance". Tatour is a Palestinian citizen of Israel, who was a post doctoral student at the Hebrew University and received grants from the AVI Fellowships for Ph.D. Studies; British Friends of Hebrew University; and the Anglo-Israel Association; Alexandre Kedar, of Ashkenazi origin, speaks of "Mizhrahi Jews under the Israeli Land Regime: Between Asheknazi Founders and Indigenous Palestinians"; Fady Khoury, a Palestinian Israeli and a Doctoral student at Harvard Law faculty and formerly a student at the University of Haifa, presents "The Ambiguity of Segregation Regulation in Israel in Relation to Palestinians and Mizrahim." Khoury has been a Palestinian human rights lawyer living in Israel.
The conference, not surprisingly, is "Drawing on critical race theory and critical legal studies," which suggests that empirical evidence is highly unlikely. As IAM repeatedly reported concerning the neo-Marxist, critical scholarship, it tends to lean on polemics rather than evidence.
Focusing on the Black Panthers intends to draw the connection between Mizrahim and Palestinians as expressed in the article "When Israel’s Black Panthers found common cause with Palestinians," published by the Palestinian Electronic Intifada earlier this year. It uses the same photograph of the Black Panthers. It interviewed Black Panther founder Reuven Abergel, who reatrated the fact that the Black Panther's demonstrations were taken place because people were incredibly poor. He said, “The movement came from the people who were suffering. It all started from the pain... The reality was so hard. We didn’t have time to sit and plan. We protested because it was a response to the difficulties we faced in our everyday lives." Another Electronic Intifada interviewee was Sami (Shalom) Chetrit, a Mizrahi scholar who wrote a book on the Mizrahi experience in Israel, titled Intra-Jewish Conflict in Israel: White Jews, Black Jews. Chetrit has told The Electronic Intifada that around 55 percent of Mizrahi children have dropped out of school during the time the Black Panthers was founded. “Kids were just on the streets and no one really cared,” Chetrit said. Likewise, 80% of welfare-supported families were Mizrahim. “It was not just quantitative poverty; they were also deprived of their families and structure. The family and community structure that was so strong in their countries of origin completely collapsed... People [Mizrahim] who came from very stable communities for many years found themselves living in slums. It all happened in front of your eyes, within four or five years, hundreds of thousands of people suddenly had no community. Their whole lives collapsed,” Chetrit said. The purpose of the article is to show how the Mizrahim have been treated badly by the authorities, just like the Palestinians.
The conference invites all those who are "interested in the inner-Jewish racial rift," ignoring the fact that the extensive intermarriage levels in Israel have shrunk the ranks of the Mizrahim. As noted, the need to resurrect the Black Panthers movement and the socio-economic reality which existed in the early 1970s is a symbol of the desperation of the conference organizers. Ironically, the only large identifiable “pure” Mizrahi group are the followers of Shas, an ultra-orthodox Mizrahi party, who harbor extreme anti-Palestinian positions. In fact, Shas has been a constant fixture in the right-wing Likud coalition.
To admit this reality would, of course, undermine the critical, neo-Marxist approach of the conference organizers. With no empirical limitations on their writings, they can indulge in the old dream of “Arab Jews,” a.k.a. the Mizrahim, ready to create an alliance with the Palestinians.
General Articles
 
04.12.19
The Dispute Between the US Department of Education and the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies Program
 
IAM reported in October, that the US Education Department has alerted the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies program which is supported by Title VI funds, that it might be unauthorized and may not qualify to receive the grants. Federal funding is conditioned that the given center or program is a "National Resource" for foreign language, providing a full understanding of areas, regions, or countries for research and training in world affairs by teaching foreign languages and cultures to American students, required to develop a pool of experts "to meet our national needs." It also added that "It is unlawful for institutions of higher education to use Title VI funds differently."
The Education Department raised a number of concerns:
That of over 6 thousand students enrolled in the program only 960 took foreign language courses.
There are collaborations with academic departments not aligned with the requirements and are not eligible for the grants.
Many of the topics taught have little or no relevance to Title VI, for example, Iranian art and films such as “Love and Desire in Modem Iran and Diaspora;” "Mihri Hatun: Performance, Gender-Bending and Subversion in the Early Modern Ottoman Intellectual History"; or, "Radical Love: Teachings from Islamic Mystical Tradition." These should not be subsidized unless they help students in Middle Eastern languages.
The program appears to be lacking balance and doesn't include, for example, historic discrimination faced by religious minorities in the Middle East, including Christians, Jews, Baha'is, Yazidis, Kurds, Druze, and others. There is a clear effort to present the positive aspects of Islam, such as an outdoor concert series "Islam, music, and social change," but no effort to present the positive aspects of Christianity, Judaism, or other religions in the Middle East.
The program offers very little attention to "understand the geopolitical challenges to U.S. national security and economic needs." Instead, it emphasizes "advancing ideological priorities," such as presenting "dominant American frameworks," or American "aggressively capitalist environment.”
In response, Terry Magnuson, the UNC vice chancellor for research, wrote a letter where he included a list of all the courses of Fall 2019 by Duke-UNC Middle East. He stated that the Consortium "deeply values its partnership with the Department of Education and has always been strongly committed to complying with the purposes and requirements of the Title VI program." He noted that the figures that were given by the Dept. of Education concerning student enrollments were wrong because students who enrolled in both fall and spring semesters were counted twice. He also added that according to the Modern Language Association Database, enrollment in the Consortium’s Urdu courses is the highest in the US, enrollment in Arabic is 8th highest, and enrollment in Turkish is 8th highest.
Magnuson referred to the Dept. of Education's warnings that the Consortium fails to develop a pool of experts in foreign languages "for the benefit of U.S. national security and economic stability,” and that cultural events like Iranian art and films should not be funded. His response was that the Consortium has organized dozens of educational programs related to security and economic issues in the Middle East and events featuring former national security officials. The Consortium also organizes an array of programs on cultural and historical subjects that are closely linked with the Consortium’s language programs. Students in language courses are required to attend Middle Eastern films and engage with Middle Eastern arts to improve their language acquisition. Contrary to the Dept. of Education assertion, he wrote, the Consortium has organized programs on the persecution of the Yazidis, Armenian Christians, Iranian Baha’is, and other minorities in the Middle East, and these are also covered in the Consortium’s coursework. As for the positive image of other minorities, not only of Islam, the Consortium held activities such as on Christianity and Judaism in the Middle East. As for "advancing ideological priorities,” he wrote, out of more than 100 programs that the Consortium organizes each year, none of those activities mentioned by Dept. of Education were supported with Title VI funding. The Consortium does organize events presenting diverse perspectives and a wide range of views on many of the Middle East’s most challenging subjects.
Magnuson listed all the courses given by the Consortium in order to counter the Dept. of Education's allegations of abuse of Title VI funding.
But from this exchange, it seems that in their public letter, the Department of Education emphasized the cultural events which are publicized by the Consortium, rather than the actual coursework.
Looking at these events online, an explanatory note is posted, stating that "The Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies supports events that increase awareness of the history and cultures of the Middle East and Muslim civilizations, and values diverse perspectives that promote dialogue and understanding. Events listed here originate from a variety of campus units and community organizations. The listing of an event does not constitute endorsement of or agreement with the views presented therein”.
These cultural events, as noted by the Department of Education, present Iran, Turkey, and the Palestinians in a positive light while the US and Israel, when they are mentioned, are sometimes presented negatively. Out of the many events posted online, IAM selected examples on such topics.
Palestinian events:
Palestine Solidarity Week was held on October 11-18, 2019 at Duke University.
Discussion: “Teaching Palestine: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and Academic Freedom” with Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi from San Francisco State University, was held on October 21, 2019, at UNC.
Artist Talk: Photographer Rania Matar was held on October 23, 2019, at UNC. Matar is a Lebanese/Palestinian/American.
Ackland Film Forum: Mussolini’s Sister on November 5, 2019, at UNC by Dir. Juna Suleiman, Palestine, 2018 about a Palestinian woman from Nazareth.
Countering Hate: Overcoming Fear of Differences” series: “Painful Hope: An Israeli Settler and Palestinian Activist in Dialogue” November 13, 2019, at UNC, Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger, an Israeli, and Shadi Abu Awwad, a Palestinian.
Ackland Film Forum: 3000 Nights, on November 19, 2019, UNC by Mai Masri, Palestine, about a Palestinian woman, Layal who "finds herself incarcerated in a top security Israeli prison."
Lecture: Colonizing Imagination: Early Photography and Palestine, with Professor Issam Nassar, on November 22, 2019, at Duke University. Focusing on the representation of Palestine in early photographic practices.
Israeli-related events:
Discussion: “Start Up Nation: Cybersecurity and Israel’s strategic partnership with the United States” with Samantha Ravich, Chair of the Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies on September 23, 2019, at Duke University. A conversation with Samantha Ravich, on cybersecurity and Israel’s strategic partnership with the United States.
Discussion: “US-Israel Relations: Between the White House, Congress, and the Israeli Government” with journalist Amir Tibon, on October 29, 2019, on the "growing split between Democrats and Republicans, as well as between the White House and Congress, on the issue of Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
A Conversation: “Israel, the United States & the Middle East: Threats, Challenges and Opportunities” with former Israeli Minister Tzipi Livni, on October 23, 2019, at Duke University.
Lecture: David Makovsky and Ghaith Al-Omari on November 18, 2019, at Duke University, on Arab-Israel Relations.
Advancing ideological priorities:
Lecture: “Human Rights, Faith, and the Border” with Imam Omar Suleiman, on September 23, 2019, Duke University. Suleiman was recognized by CNN as one of the 25 most influential Muslims in America.
Humanities in Class Webinar: “Understanding the Modern Middle East" with Akram Khater, on April 21, 2020. "Far too often, the Middle East appears as doubly alien... at least two centuries of Orientalist representations, and decades of American military interventions, have all fed into the notion of the Middle East as turmoil-laden, sectarian and tribal pre-modern world." Going beyond these stereotypes.
Workshop: Been Here, Still Here: Muslims and Islamophobia 101, on November 14, 2019, at Duke University, to "understand the critical role Islam and Muslims have played in the history of the US."
Iranian Cultural events:
Film Screening: Finding Farideh on September 4, 2019, Persian with English Subtitles Iran’s entry for the international feature film category in the 92nd Academy Awards (the Oscars) in 2020.
Persian Art Center in Carolina: The Life and Poetry of Wise Sanai with Maryam Tabibzadeh September 15, 2019, a presentation on Sanai, a Persian poet.
Persian Art Center in Carolina: A Study of Mysticism in Persian Poetry and Literature with Mr. Sadegh Hosseini, October 13, 2019, a study of mysticism in Persian poetry and literature.
Film Screening: Homework, November 7, 2019, Persian with English Subtitles. a documentary Abbas Kiarostami directed in 1989 after realizing he was having difficulties assisting his son with his homework.
Persian Art Center in Carolina: “Poetry of Entanglement and Barbed Seats in Farhadi’s Cinema” with Ehsan Sheikholharam. November 10, 2019. Poetry readings by the audience and live Persian music.
Film Screening: #63: The Story of Boulevard, on December 5, 2019. Persian with no subtitles. A documentary about Keshavarz Boulevard, one of Tehran’s important streets.
Persian Art Center in Carolina: “Dancing of Words and Tones: The Fusion of Music and Poetry in the Persian Culture” with Hamid Yazdani, December 8, 2019.
Performance: Celebration of Winter Solstice, December 8, 2019, Graduate Student Association of Iranians at Duke University featuring Persian music, poetry, and dance.
Interestingly, according to Magnuson, these events are not sponsored with Title VI funding. Still, it is clearly evident that the Consortium does not intervene to balance the biased events. To recall, the Tzipi Livni lecture was met with interruption by pro-Palestinian activists. Likewise, Palestinian Solidarity Week has not been countered by something like Israeli Solidarity Week, or similar.
While the US Ministry of Education should examine the figures given by the Consortium, it should also make a decision whether it is acceptable for Title VI funded institutions to allow Middle Eastern interest-groups to influence their teachings by hosting events as part of their programs.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
28.11.19
BDS is Just a Symptom: The Real Cause of anti-Israel Animus is Hiding in Social Science Paradigms
 
As the most visible symptom of anti-Israel agitation, BDS has attracted considerable attention. The Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy, as well as numerous organizations in the United States and Great Britain, have been actively fighting BDS. The Ministry’s website states that such efforts strive to undermine “Israel's legitimate position as a national home for the Jewish people.”
However, the anti-BDS effort does not touch on the broader issue of how Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is presented in the vast academic literature on the subject.
Those familiar with the sociology of knowledge of Karl Mannheim know that ideology impacts the production of knowledge on a given topic. Nowhere is Mannheim's dictum more applicable than in the rise of the critical, neo-Marxist paradigm in the social sciences. An umbrella term for varied approaches such as New Criticism, Marxism, deconstruction, and post-colonial theory, it has become the most prevalent paradigm in liberal arts in the contemporary academy. The problem with this paradigm is that it doesn't value rigorous research. For the practitioners, repeating a lie over and over again makes it a truth that needs no evidence.
According to the paradigm, Israel is a par-excellence example of a colonial state which Great Britain and Western imperialists foisted on the indigenous Palestinian population. Consequently, the paradigm does not recognize the legitimate rights of Jews to their country. Some of the critical, neo-Marxist practitioners, including Israeli academics, go so far as to describe Israel as an apartheid state. Not surprisingly, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), has become a hotbed of anti-Israel advocacy thinly disguised as scholarship. For instance, during the 2019 MESA convention, Marc Lamont Hill, a professor of Media Studies and Urban Education at Temple University, Philadelphia, delivered the keynote address. Hill has no background in Middle East studies, but a long history of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic expressions. Hill astonishingly told MESA members to join BDS even if it means the end of the organization. "If MESA must fall for Palestinians to be free, let MESA fall!" Already at the 2018 conference by the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), Lamont Hill spoke of Israel as a white supremacist nation and also spoke in favor of BDS.
Deplorable as this incident is, it pales in comparison to the cumulative damage that the academic output guided by the critical, neo-Marxist paradigm has done to the image of Israel. Middle East courses are popular electives among a range of liberal arts students, including those in media and journalism programs, political science, and international relations. Little wonder that younger and college-educated Americans have more negative attitudes toward Israel than older cohorts who lack a college degree, according to opinion polls.
Challenging the dominance of the critical, neo-Marxist paradigm in Middle East scholarship is daunting. As a rule, liberal arts should be a “marketplace” of ideas, but how can such a market func'tion in a field that is lopsidedly biased against Israel. Creating Israel studies programs, an idea that was popular in the early 2000s, proved ineffective or, in some cases, backfired, when radical Israeli scholars were invited to teach in the program. By all accounts, the initiative made only a slight dent in the negative academic narrative.
Without tackling the root cause of academic animus, the anti-BDS initiative cannot fully succeed.
Hebrew University
 
21.11.19
[Hebrew U] The Double-Headed Professor Amiram Goldblum
 
Professor Amiram Goldblum is a renowned pharmaceutical scientist at the Hebrew University Jerusalem (HUJ) whose many discoveries have been lauded in the scientific world. Goldblum and his team at the Institute for Drug Research have discovered 27 new molecules that activate a special protein and have the potential to treat fatty liver disease, obesity, diabetic nephrotoxicity, and to heal wounds.
However, astonishing as it may sound, Goldblum has earned a reputation for egregious attacks on the State of Israel and the IDF.
Goldblum has called pro-Israel activists "Nazi dogs," and refused to teach them. In July, the news reported that Goldblum called IDF soldiers who demoted an Arab building "Jewish terrorists” and wished for a “lighting bolt” to strike them down. Goldblum’s political polemics are extreme, in March, referring to a comment by Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State, he used foul language and wrote the following comment: “So you Idiot Evaneglists, the most stupid religion on this earth and as dangerous, if not more, than extreme Islam - ask yourselves where was your God when the Nazis killed 6 millions of us, including 1.5 million children ? I can tell you where YOU were then, you murderers of Jews and Blacks, YOU - sons of the most despicable KKK - you did not allow Jews to flee from Europe to the US, you bitches. Go to hell, Evangelists with your crazy religion. You are supporters of bloodshed and racism, and for that very good reason, lots of Jews HATE you.”
Goldblum's Facebook page is replete with hatred towards religious Jews while, unsurprisingly, full of expressions of support for Arabs.
Recently, Goldblum decided to pen a new revision of history. According to him, the ongoing war between the Palestinians and the Israelis is a result of Jewish settler's provocations. He proposes to destroy the homes of "Jewish terrorists." He points out to the cases of Jewish terrorism against Palestinians, such as the Israeli "settler" Baruch Goldstein, following his 1994 Hebron Cave of the Patriarchs Massacre. "Using provocations in order to elicit retaliation from the Palestinians has been a cornerstone in the settlers’ methods of expanding their control." For Goldblum "This wasn’t the first time: the Hadassah Convoy Massacre, in which Arab forces killed 77 Jewish doctors and nurses on April 13, 1948, came four days after Zionist paramilitary militias, Irgun and Lehi, committed the infamous massacre in the village of Deir Yassin." Goldblum adds that "The settlers have internalized and improved upon the method." Goldblum accepts the Arab version, that the Hadassah Convoy Massacre was a result of the Deir Yassin Massacre, and ignores that on March 2, 1948, the Hadassah Hospital received a phone call from an Arab, warning that the hospital would be blown up. Although it didn't happen, two weeks later, during a press conference, Abdul Kader al-Husseini, the leader of the Arab forces in Jerusalem, threatened that Hadassah Hospital and the Hebrew University would be captured or destroyed. This was a month before the Deir Yassin Massacre, when Palestinian attackers targeted the road to Hadassah hospital on a regular basis.
Naturally, Goldblum’s dislike of Jews attracts neo-Nazis. His article was picked up by the "Jew World Order: Jewish Supremacy 卐" a website created among others, by “true Hebrew Semite Israelite Christians, who wish to spread the truth to the people of the world about the criminal murderous Khazars, that fraudulently call themselves Jews, a Rothschild Invention of satanic origins. The word Jew was invented in 1770. All historical and Holy books were re-written to convince us of the fake identity and history of the Jew." Not surprisingly, Jew World Order also embraces Shlomo Sand’s Khazar theories.
As well known, Israel has a very permissive academic freedom policy. Scores of radical scholar-activists have used it to push fanciful theories that have painted Israel as an apartheid state, a colonial state, a fascist state and so on. However, Goldblum’s use of invectives and attacks on people of faith, be it Christians or Orthodox Jews stand out. Such language would not have been tolerated in the American academy where a few professors were fired for using highly derogatory language against Jews and Israel on their social media platforms. At the very least, the Hebrew University authorities should censure Goldblum for his pernicious attacks on all those he disagrees with.
Tel Aviv University
 
14.11.19
TAU Anat Matar and Academia for Equality - Are They Promoting Human Rights?
 
Dr. Anat Matar, TAU senior lecturer emerita, has more time than ever to engage in political activism. As IAM noted, she is a veteran radical activist who spent most of her academic career engaging in radical causes which left her precious little time to engage in research in the field for which she was hired. So much so, that she was never promoted beyond the rank of senior lecturer. She, along with a number of radical scholars at TAU whose political activism was supported by the Israeli taxpayer. Among others, she co-edited the book Threat: Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israel, in a field she has no expertise. Even worse, she promoted BDS against Israel, for years.
These days, she is also involved with Academia for Equality (A4E) which she co-founded, a group “dedicated to advancing equality and democratization of Israeli academia and society.” In 2017, a delegation from A4E travelled to Istanbul to support Turkish academics imprisoned by the authorities for voicing political opinions. As well known, Turkey jailed thousands of academics, journalists, and civil servants for criticizing President Erdogan and his brutal treatment of Kurds and dissenters. A4E wrote, “In the summer of 2015, following the collapse of the peace process between the Turkish government and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Turkey launched a brutal attack against the Kurds, which included the bombing of entire cities identified with the PKK, as well as the raping and massacring of civilians. Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to flee their hometowns.”
A4E used their visit to compare Israel to Turkey, stating that “in Israel, too, we have been experiencing more and more violations of the freedom of speech and open academic inquiry in recent years: conferences and lectures have been cancelled due to party pressures; faculty members have faced threats after making statements that challenge the status quo; and, of course, the formulation of the “code of ethics” has aimed to ban academics from voicing political opinions on, or showing support for, the academic boycott of Israel.”
At a June 2018 conference at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Matar and her team introduced the so-called “complicit academy” database. That is, documenting Israeli "academic institutions’ repression of dissent", as well as "institutionalized racism against Palestinian students and faculty". It also registered "collusion with the settlement project", and "military research and development". It also looked at "hasbara operations abroad". The database also included tracking "repression and resistance in the Palestinian academy, and international academic institutions’ collaboration with and critique of their Israeli peers."
In a new open letter which Matar recently published, she wrote that "We would like to extend an open invitation to colleagues from Palestine, the Palestinian diaspora, and from around the world to get in touch with us and consider us as potential hosts for talks and lectures." Matar promises that since Academia for Equality is not affiliated with an individual institution it is able to host academics "who wish not to violate BDS guidelines".
The activities of the Academia for Equality in general and Matar’s position in particular, are a breathtaking exercise in double standards. Israel has never attested Israeli students or faculty for voicing opposition to official policies. If Matar lived in Turkey she would undoubtedly be in jail. In Israel, as noted, she received a salary for essentially full-time political activism.
Palestinian academics and students are not so lucky. The Palestinian Authority arrests students suspected of protesting the PA, particularly if they challenge the dominant Fatah position. According to reports, since the beginning of the current academic year, the PA arrested 12 students and then released them. The student-run Facebook group The Voice of Palestinian Students, has documented some five additional arrests by the PA forces in October. The Palestinian Authority has not held any general election since 2005 which means that the Palestinian People are not participating in the democratic process.
For Palestinians in the Gaza Strip it is even harsher. The Hamas rulers of the Strip have kept the population under a brutal political dictatorship. According to Human Rights Watch, imprisonment and death sentences are routinely used against all those who are perceived to be enemies of the authorities. Democracy does not exist, and the rare protest is met with deadly force.
If Matar and the Academia for Equality were really interested in democracy and human rights, as they claim, they could bring the poor record of the PA and Hamas to public knowledge. However, this is not likely to happen because the group is dedicated to the proposition that “the Palestinians cannot do anything wrong and the Israelis cannot do anything right.” The scurrilous comparison between Israel and Turkey in their treatment or academics is just one more step in this direction.
Matar's latest book in Hebrew is No Moral Ground: On the Poverty of Ethics. For her, morality is left-wing. Her main concern now is that the "ongoing deterioration into the abyss" on the political level, might lead to the end of the Left.
But Matar and her comrades on the radical-Left are in fact promoting contradictions. The Palestinian national struggle is no way near to the Philosophy espoused by the Left. And this is the moral bankruptcy of Matar and her ilk.
Israelis in Non-Israeli Universities
 
07.11.19
Israel's Radical Fraternity is Operating on UK Campuses
 
An interesting development had occurred in the past two decades. Several Israeli radial academics, from Ben Gurion University, among others, have relocated to British universities. Paving their way is the generous donations that wealthy Arab countries have made to universities over the years. Arab Gulf money which buys influence is a topic discussed in many articles, such as "Saudis donate most to UK universities" and "Some of Britain's top universities are becoming no-go zones for Jews, Baroness Deech claims”. It is quite possible that some of this money is used to recruit Israeli anti-Israel academics.
The list of activist-Israelis who found university positions in Great Britain is rather long. To name a few, Ilan Pappe, formerly of the University of Haifa, was invited to the University of Exeter as a Professor of History and Director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies. Pappe was one of the original “New Historians” who went on to “prove” that Israel has committed Nazi-like atrocities against the Palestinians. Naturally, this secured him this prestigious job.
Another example is Eyal Weizman, Professor of Spatial and Visual Cultures, who founded and directed the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths University of London. In 2010 he founded the research agency Forensic Architecture. His book The Least of All Possible Evils, examines the damage following the 2010 "bombardment" by Israel and it’s "regime imposed upon Gaza". Weizman "pieces together the systematic process of destruction, revealing the political atrocity within the debris." In his other book, Hollow Land, he “unravels” Israel’s transformation of Palestinian homes into a war zone under constant surveillance” and how Israel is using architecture “as lethal weapons in the formation of Israel." Of course, Weizman is a rising star among the pro-Palestinian cohorts.
Prof. Neve Gordon, a prominent anti-Israel radical from Ben Gurion University who compared Israel to the apartheid regime in South Africa, is now teaching International Law at Queen Mary University of London, a field in which he has no expertise.
Others like Moriel Ram followed suit. Ram HAS relocated to SOAS and UCL. Ram's M.A. at BGU titled "The Eyes that became a gaze: Mt. Hermon and Israel's geopolitical discourse," was co-supervised by Prof. Oren Yiftachel. Like Gordon, Yiftachel has promoted the idea of Israeli apartheid. The "gaze" is a critical neo-Marxist term referring to Michel Foucault. Ram's Ph.D., also at BGU, describing the Golan Heights as a "Colonial Conquest," was supervised by Neve Gordon and Haim Yacobi.
Some find Ram's scholarship questionable, as one scholar complained, "Ram’s review regrettably fails [it is] replete with contradictions, misinterpretations, and mistakes." This scholar accused Ram of "flawed" reading, “unfounded, thereby doing disservice to readers”. In particular, the scholar noted that Ram is "evidently more concerned with raising alternative interpretations that have no foundation in the historical record than with the evidence itself."
Of late, Ram found a new venue to smear Israel. He is now researching Israel’s medical aid to Africa from 1957 to 1973. He states that Israel’s medical work utilized "health aid for its strategic interests" and mobilized medical knowledge, personnel, and infrastructure for “racializing” Africans, while "culturally dislocating itself from Africa." Ram suggests that Israel's medical knowledge is based on "data collection, manipulation of limited resource and governance of immigration in ways that reorganise cultural hierarchies and national identities." For Ram, Israel's "interventions in Africa" is a political exercise to gain influence. This paper was delivered at The Middle East Studies Association (MESA) 2019 Annual Meeting, a bastion of anti-Israel gathering.
As noted, Ram's expertise is the Golan Heights. For him, the “Israelification” of the Golan “entailed massive population displacement, spatial demolition, and European rebranding,” It is a “battle-tested template to how annexation could look like in the West Bank". President Donald Trump’s "blatant flaunting of international law in Iran, Jerusalem, and now the Golan" points to America's weakening. Ram also egregiously claims that "Britain and France tried to take over the Suez Canal in 1956, a scheme that also involved Israel’s active participation and occupation of the Sinai Peninsula."
Ram recently promoted the book Emptied Lands - A Legal Geography of Bedouin Rights in the Negev by Alexandre Kedar, Oren Yiftachel and Ahmad Amara. The book investigates the territorial conflict between the "settler Israeli state" and the "indigenous Bedouin" citizens, over ownership of lands in southern "Israel/Palestine". According to the authors, the "dead Negev doctrine" is used by Israel to "dispossess and forcefully displace Bedouin inhabitants in order to Judaize the region." The authors "reveal" that this is done "through manipulative use of Ottoman, British and Israeli laws." The Bedouins perform an "ongoing resistance to the Jewish state" over their "indigenous property." However, as IAM reported before, Yiftachel has testified as an expert in one of the trials on behalf of a Bedouin family, but the court dismissed the case over lack of proof of ownership. The presiding Judge censured Yiftachel for his sloppy research.
The harm done to Bedouin communities by the likes of Yiftachel cannot be exaggerated. As noted by leading scholars, some of the illegal Bedouin constructions are erected in dangerous locations unfit for residence, for example underneath high-voltage lines or next to industrial zones, such as Ramat Hovav, the petrochemical plant of hazardous substances. Some are even built on approved routes of future roads, military zones, or nature reserves, thus obstructing the planned development of the area. Families residing in unauthorized areas cannot benefit from public services enjoyed by the community at large, and they are unable to pay for travel to places for these services because of the physical distance. As a result, many Bedouin families with young children cannot enjoy the standard of living which they could have had. To solve this, Israeli governments appointed several committees to find accepted solutions, but the steady increase in the compensation tariff causes the Bedouins to think it is worth resisting the offers and wait for better offers in the future. Yiftachel and ilk encourage the Bedouins to "resist" Israel's proposed solutions.
The one-sided and tendentious representations of Israel as an apartheid state which maltreats the Palestinians, the Bedouins, and Arab citizens, feeds into the rising anti-Semitism in the UK. As well known, the anti-Jewish atmosphere in Britain is so bad that, by one account, a large number of Jews would leave the country if Labor wins power in the forthcoming election.
As Jews and Israelis, the members of the radical academic fraternity provide cover for the insidious anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic sentiments that have affected parts of the British society.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
30.10.19
Proposed 'Occupied Territories Bill' in Ireland and Ronit Lentin its Proponent
 
The Government of Ireland is debating whether to adopt a law that would prohibit business relations with Israelis because of the occupation of the West Bank.
The proposed Act, named the Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill, was first introduced in 2018. It has yet to be adopted by the Irish Government. The text states: "An Act to give effect to the State’s obligations arising under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and under customary international humanitarian law; and for that purpose to make it an offence for a person to import or sell goods or services originating in an occupied territory or to extract resources from an occupied territory in certain circumstances; and to provide for related matters." The penalties proposed in this Act, upon conviction on indictment, could lead to a fine of maximum €250,000 or imprisonment for a term of maximum 5 years, or both.
Israel rejects presenting as illegal the Jewish settlement in the West Bank. It states that in the ancient Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) Jewish presence has existed for thousands of years. It was recognized as legitimate in the Mandate for Palestine as adopted by the League of Nations in 1922, as "the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country". The Mandate specifically stipulated that, "The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in cooperation with the Jewish Agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands not required for public use". In fact, Some Jewish settlements, such as in Hebron, existed for many centuries, among other settlements. According to Israel, it is questionable whether the Fourth Geneva Convention applies de jure to territory such as the West Bank where no previous legitimate sovereign ever existed. Also, the case of Jews voluntarily living in their ancient homeland and alongside Palestinian communities does not match the kind of forced population transfers contemplated in the Fourth Geneva Convention. Equally important, the Additional Protocols describing as "grave breach" or "war crimes", of Jews living in Judea and Samaria were introduced only in 1977, as a result of political pressure by Arab States, to which leading States, including Israel are not party. Israel argues that in legal terms, the West Bank is best regarded as territories that have competing claims to, and that should be resolved in peace process negotiations
One of the leading proponents of the Irish bill is the Israeli-born Professor Ronit Lentin, a retired sociologist from Trinity College, Dublin, and a veteran pro-Palestinian activist. In an article published by the Irish Times earlier this year, Lentin posited that the "Deep empathy of Irish for Palestinians is in no way anti-Semitic." According to her, "Occupied Territories Bill and criticism of Israel’s colonisation are not attacks on Jews." Lentin postulates that "the settlements, from which products would be banned if the Bill becomes law, are considered illegal under international law." A lengthy exchange as Letters to the Editor of the Irish Times took place recently between Lentin and Alan Shatter, Ireland’s former Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, who opposes the Bill.
Lentin is the chairperson of Academics for Palestine and describes herself as, "a Palestine-born Israeli Jew, indoctrinated with the dual message of Jewish victimhood and Jewish supremacy throughout my youth, and a citizen of Ireland for the past 50 years." She explains the reasons for solidarity between Ireland and the Palestinians, that the "solidarity exists because of the human empathy between those who have been victims of colonial brutality. It continues the long line of Irish solidarity with oppressed peoples." Lentin belongs to a group of radical-leftists, as she claims, "Like increasing numbers of American and European Jews, I am an active supporter of Palestinian rights."
Lentin's expertise on race has led her also to accuse western states, including Ireland, of racism, as they refuse to take in illegal immigrants. Her co-edited 2009 book with her daughter Alana, also an expert on race, examines the democratic and "civilised" modern states, as "state racism appears to be here to stay [and] is more acceptable than ever before." Because of the "Immigration detention centres, the deportation of 'failed' asylum seekers and 'illegal' immigrants, racial profiling and the rolling back of liberties won by the civil rights movement are all examples of how state racism impacts on our daily lives." Their book moves on to investigate "the racialisation of 'terror'", where "the business of the war on terror at home echoes longer-running practices of state racism." Ronit and Alana's accusations of racism have prompted a barrage of anti-Semitic expressions against them, as Ronit admitted in a New York Times interview in 2004. ''My daughter has articulated it well in a paper she wrote for a lecturer at her university... It is very uncomfortable to live in Ireland as a member of an ethnic minority.'' One antisemitic letter said, ''If you don't like our treatment of refugees why don't you [expletive] to a more congenial location, like [Bergen-] Belsen.'' But Lentin holds the state itself as responsible, ''I'm increasingly looking at the state as racial,'' she said, and compared it to the current restrictions on immigration from non-E.U. countries. Most certainly, Lentin's accusations of Ireland as racist contributes to the increasing levels of anti-Semitism there.
While Ireland in general and Lentin in particular claim to be supportive of Palestinian rights, they deliberately decline to help the Palestinians on two issues. A delegation from the Irish Ministry of Foreign Affairs was hosted in Ramallah a few days ago, while on the same day, the Palestinian Authority blocked 51 online news sources. As reported by the international press, “In so doing, the Palestinian Authority confirms its refusal to accept media pluralism and its desire to eliminate all opposition by making it invisible to the public.” And not for the first time. But neither Lentin nor the Irish delegation have something to say against it. Likewise, another issue needs their helping hand. The Arab Israeli community is shattered by internal Arab crime. The Arab leadership is crying for help. Issawi Frej, former member of parliament, complained in a recent interview, “Only now, millions of shekels have been invested in voting campaigns in the Israeli Arab society. Campaigns through left-wing organizations, Jews who came to the Arab communities and persuaded residents to come out and vote. I want to see these left-wing organizations join and stand alongside the Arab society in its war against crime. I need them now. Give me a hand and help me restore security for the children and women in our community. Where are the left-wing organizations gone?" He asked. But neither the Irish delegation nor Lentin and her fellow-activists hear this cry.
The reason is simple, the purpose of the 'Occupied Territories Bill' is to attack Israel. However, as much as it would harm Israeli companies and the Palestinian employees, it could also harm Ireland, as several American officials warned that commercial relations with Ireland could be affected adversely. A price which Lentin and her pro-Palestinian camaraderie don't mind to pay.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
 23.10.19
TAU Rachel Giora among the Signatories Calling to Cancel Tzipi Livni's Talk at Duke University
 
Tzipi Livni, the former Foreign Minister of Israel, former Vice Prime Minister, and former Minister of Justice, is scheduled to speak at Duke University today, October 23, 2019. She is invited by DIPAC - Duke Israel Public Affairs Committee; Duke University Middle East Studies Center; Duke Political Science, and the American Grand Strategy program (AGS). Livni's talk is titled "Israel, the US & the Middle East: Threats, Challenges & Opportunities."
Duke University is a hotbed of pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel activities.
In 2012, Duke Students for Justice in Palestine publicized events for Israeli Apartheid Week with posters depicting an old Jewish woman lifting a miniature Palestinian soldier. The woman was gargantuanly proportioned which invoked old Jewish stereotypes. These images were quite unsettling. The poster was described as distasteful and anti-Semitic. Such posters never should have seen the light of day.
In 2017, Joyce Dalsheim, the author of Unsettling Gaza: Secular Liberalism, Radical Religion, and the Israeli Settlement Project, gave a talk on "The Anthropologist and the Settler: Updates From the Field in Israel/Palestine” Also in 2017, Helen Yanovsky, an Israeli filmmaker, discussed the "Human Rights on Camera in the Palestinian West Bank", on the Israeli NGO B’Tselem. Yanovosky has been a core member of the B'Tselem video project and discussed "the history of the project and the importance of cameras and filmmaking to Palestinians living under occupation.” Critics, however, accuse the organization of selective presentation of the complex realities of life in the West Bank, and, in some cases, of fabricating narratives which have no relation to reality.
In 2018 Swastika was found painted on top of students' mural at the Duke University campus.
Such anti-Semitic and one-sided presentations of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should come as no surprise. In September, the US Department of Education accused Duke University and the University of North Carolina Consortium for Middle East Studies, of making inappropriate use of Title VI, a federal program that funds international studies and foreign langue programs at universities. The Department of Education listed classes and activities which are way out of the mandate of the program that was envisioned as a training platform for diplomats and foreign policy specialists planning to serve in the Middle East. Ironically, the Middle East programs across the United States have also provided employment opportunities for scholars, many from Arab countries, who use it to promote anti-Israeli propaganda dressed up as academic research. Surveys of Middle East Studies Association (MESA), the largest professional organization of Middle East professors, have indicated that the field is top heavy with experts in the Arab-Israeli conflict, to the detriment of much needed review of other subjects.
Middle East programs have also attracted would be pro-Palestinian activists. Duke has large and vocal chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Students against Israeli Apartheid, and Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights. Among the many Facebook activities of the groups, several stand out as crossing the border between legitimate criticism of Israel into anti-Semitism. For instance, the SJP screen the documentary, the Lobby, which alleges that Jews control the American foreign policy. To top all this, the SJP lambasted the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for killing Palestinians. “Don't forget the victims of Israel and their AIPAC collaborators,” they wrote.
Equally unsurprising, SJP Lama Hantash took the lead in attacking Livni’s presence on the campus. Hantash, a Duke senior and the treasurer of the SJP branch, drafted an article "Don't bring an accused war criminal to campus" and a petition “Can't Learn about Justice from a War Criminal.” For Hantash, Livni is "wholly unqualified to serve in an educational capacity at any institution which values diplomacy over war crimes and peace over apartheid." Because as Foreign Minister and a member of the security cabinet, Livni "'played a key role in the decisions made before and during the three-week offensive' known as Operation Cast Lead". According to Hantash, Livni is "not simply an ethno-supremacist pundit endorsing Zionist settler-colonialism... rather, she is an unapologetic accused war criminal with blood on her hands. Hosting her for a lecture minimizes the lives and deaths of her victims while encouraging future reproductions of her crimes." Hantash urged "members of the Duke community, the academic community and the public stand in solidarity with the Palestinian victims of Israeli war crimes and demand the cancellation of Livni’s speech by signing our petition and lending your voice to the victims that Livni so eagerly and cruelly silenced."
Hantash didn’t mention that to make Israeli operations difficult, Hamas is deeply embedded with the local population. Its command and control centers are located in the basement of the al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City and mortar launchers and ammunition are positioned in schools, mosques and other public buildings. Operation Cast Lead was one of the three Israeli retaliatory actions to eliminate the danger of unprovoked rocket attacks, something that Hantash conveniently omitted.
To shield itself from charges of anti-Semitism and bias, the SJP at Duke, like many other pro-Palestinian activists likes to collaborate with radical Israeli academics. On this occasion, it solicited the signature of TAU Prof. Rachel Giora on its petition. Giora is one of the earliest proponents of BDS and has persisted in the BDS campaign, a fact that IAM has documented. This is also not first time Giora supports attacks against Livni. Tel Aviv University should have reigned in its radical faculty many years ago, still, better late than never.

Tel Aviv University

 
17.10.19
Fantastic News for TAU Shlomo Sand: Iran Embraces Your Book
 
TAU Prof. Shlomo Sand should be thrilled because his book The Invention of ‎the Jewish People, which was translated into Persian in January 2019, will be at the center of an event in Tehran. Iran's book news agency, IBNA, has announced a discussion of Sand's book on October 21. The event will be held in cooperation with Nashr-e No Publishing and Mardom-Nameh Magazine. Several Iranian experts - Hashem Aghajari, Hossein-Ali Nozari, and Dariush Rahmanian - will speak at the panel.
According to IBNA, the book is a "study of the historiography of the Jewish people" that generated a heated controversy upon publication, "partly due to its non-Zionist view." IBNA adds, that "The book concludes that the historical expulsion of Jewish people simply did not happen, that no one exiled the Jewish people from the region, and that the Jewish diaspora is essentially a modern invention."
Teheran Times which also wrote about the book, noted that "Sand tries to find historical evidence of the forcible exile of Jews from the area now bordered by modern Israel, and its surrounding regions at the study but as he couldn’t find any proof, he concludes that the expulsion simply did not happen and no one exiled the Jewish people from the region, and therefore the Jewish diaspora is a modern invention."
Sand, the retired Tel Aviv University professor, is not new to the Iranian regime. In 2009, he appeared on Iran's Press TV discussing his work, and repeated his performance on Press TV in 2013. On both occasions he bolstered the Iranian propaganda against Israel by stressing that the Jews were not exiled from Judea by the Romans in the first century, that this was a myth, and "even a lie." Jews were not expelled from Palestine and didn't want to go back to Palestine, “people don't admit it because of the nationalist modernity thinking that it was a homeland, the promised land." Israel wasn't a homeland for the Jews, and Zionism is a modern invention, "because Judaism couldn't accept a nation state that could be called Jewish state then Judaism is not Zionism and Zionism is not Judaism".
Sand is doing great in all the anti-Israel circles. In 2014 Sand told The Guardian, "I am aware of living in one of the most racist societies in the western world. Racism is present to some degree everywhere, but in Israel it exists deep within the spirit of the laws. It is taught in schools and colleges, spread in the media, and above all and most dreadful, in Israel the racists do not know what they are doing”. In addition to his books, Sand has been involved in a campaign to deny that some forms of anti-Zionism carry anti-Semitic overtones. In 2017 he published an Open Letter to the French President where he rejected the claim that anti-Zionism is "the reinvented form of anti-Semitism.” Press TV published Sand’s letter on its website.
On September 18, 2019, Sand participated at the conference in Bordeaux, France. The conference was promoted by the Union Juive Française pour la Paix (UJFP) which supports BDS. He spoke on "Judeophobia, Islamophobia, and Zionism.” The lecture was organized by several groups including Palestine 33-AFPS, (Association France Palestine Solidarité); FFIPP, (Educational Network for Human Rights in Palestine/Israel); and UJFP, among others
Prof. Anita Shapira, an expert on the study of Zionism and Israel at Tel Aviv University, has reviewed Sand's book in her 2009 article "The Jewish-people deniers." She wrote that this work is polemical, that he "contests the historical connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel. He argues that the Jewish people, to use his words, is an ‘invented’ entity or ‘implanted memory’ with no connection, in fact, to the land of Israel.” Shapira pointed out that “Sand bases his arguments on the most esoteric and controversial interpretations, while seeking to undermine the credibility of important scholars by dismissing their conclusions without bringing any evidence”. Shapira also argues that “the concept of exile is not necessarily related to expulsion but to the self-awareness of a people that had lost control over itself and its land. The Jews were no less ‘a people’ than the Romans or Greeks, which is how their contemporaries saw them.” Shapira concludes by stating that Sand's intention is to promote a new Israeli agenda, instead of a Jewish one in order to create harmony between Jews and Arabs. However positive his goal, “reconciliation between peoples makes necessary a mutual recognition of truth, not an artificial analysis that presents a fabricated front, a quasi-mask that hides the real differences. What Sand is offering is this kind of artificial analysis.”
According to his Tel Aviv University personal page, Sand's expertise between 1977 to 2004, has been French Intellectual History and Cinema and has no background in researching Jewish history. For personal gains, he chose to become a Jewish People denier, which is anti-Semitic. Tel Aviv University should have dissociated from him on two counts, fabricating history and abusing tax-payers money.
IAM would report on the Iranian review of Sand's book when reports become available.
General Articles
 
10.10.19
Middle East Studies and the U.S. Department of Education: The Duke-UNC Consortium Case
 
No doubt that the Middle East plays a significant role in American foreign policy. Shaping it requires a cadre of people educated in the arcane aspects of the region. The Middle East Studies have been created for this purpose and supported by the federal government, but over the years activist-scholars from the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) have been distorting the goal of providing objective knowledge.
Recently, the US Education Department has alerted two universities, Duke and North Carolina at Chapel Hill, that the Duke-U.N.C. Consortium for Middle East Studies program (CMES) which is supported with Title VI funds, is unauthorized and may not qualify as an eligible National Resource Center to receive the grants.
According to the Title VI of the Higher Education Act of 1965, the "Congress authorizes grants to protect the security, stability, and economic vitality of the United States" by teaching foreign languages and cultures to American students, required to develop a pool of experts "to meet our national needs." Title VI grants are made to institutions of higher education or consortia, for comprehensive foreign language and international studies centers and programs. Federal funding is conditioned that the given center or program is a "National Resource" for foreign language, providing a full understanding of areas, regions, or countries for research and training in world affairs. "It is unlawful for institutions of higher education to use Title VI funds differently."
The US Education Department raised a number of concerns regarding Duke-UNC Consortium program: First, that of over 6 thousand students enrolled in the program only 960 took foreign language courses. Second, there are collaborations with academic departments that are not aligned with the requirements of the National Resource Centers and are not eligible for the grants. Third, many of the topics taught have little or no relevance to Title VI, for example, Iranian art and film, “Love and Desire in Modem Iran;” "Amihri Hatun: Performance, Gender-Bending and Subversion in the Early Modern Ottoman Intellectual History"; or, "Radical Love: Teachings from Islamic Mystical Tradition." These should not be funded or subsidized by the American taxpayers under Title VI unless demonstrated they are helping American students to become fluent in Middle Eastern languages. Forth, the program appears to be lacking balance and doesn't include, for example, historic discrimination faced by religious minorities in the Middle East, including Christians, Jews, Baha'is, Yadizis, Kurds, Druze, and others. There is a clear effort to present the positive aspects of Islam, such as an outdoor concert series "Islam, music, and social change," but no effort to present the positive aspects of Christianity, Judaism, or other religions in the Middle East. Fifth, the program offers very little attention to "understand the geopolitical challenges to U.S. national security and economic needs." Instead, it emphasizes "advancing ideological priorities," such as presenting "dominant American frameworks," or American "aggressively capitalist environment.”
The debate over the abuse of Title VI is not new, IAM reported in February 2018 of a coalition of American Jewish educational groups which has written in request of amendments to Title VI. The groups’ concern was that federal funds "are being misused to promote biased, one-sided, and anti-Israel programming in our nation’s Middle East studies centers" as many recipients of Title VI funds "provide only a monochromatic –and biased, anti-American, and anti-Israel—perspective."
This bias was discussed also in 2016, in an article in the Weekly Standard, contemplating how "US Taxpayer Dollars Contribute to BDS Activity and Anti-Semitism on Campuses.” In 2014, the journal Inside Higher Education noted that a "coalition of Israel advocacy organizations concerned by what they describe as the prevalence of anti-Israel programming at federally-funded Middle East studies centers.”
As mentioned earlier, such trends have been promoted by the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), a hotbed of anti-Israeli activity. Unsurprisingly, MESA is also a bastion of academics like John Esposito who have been accused of whitewashing Islam.
In 2001, Martin Kramer, a Middle East expert, made the most comprehensive study on bias in the Middle East studies programs in his widely discussed book, Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America. Kramer postulated that "It is no exaggeration to say that America’s academics have failed to predict or explain the major evolutions of Middle Eastern politics and society over the past two decades. Time and again, academics have been taken by surprise by their subjects; time and again, their paradigms have been swept away by events. Repeated failures have depleted the credibility of scholarship among influential publics". Kramer requested to "probe how and why a branch of academe once regarded with esteem has descended to such a low point in the public estimate, and what might be done about it." Kramer urged amendments to Title VI funding, "Changes in Title VI can help erode the culture of irrelevance that has pervaded Middle Eastern studies. But no amount of tweaking this program can cure the more fundamental ailments that afflict the field. This healing can only be achieved by the guild: the physicians must heal themselves." For Kramer, Middle East studies "lack a culture of tolerance for diversity in ideas and approaches." He suggested, "it can be solved only by a deliberate effort to open Middle Eastern studies to debate."
As for the current crisis of the Duke-UNC Consortium, the latest report states that despite the concerns from the U.S. Department of Education over uses of Title VI grants, it received funding for the 2019-20 academic year. Still, it looks as if the Title VI grants for Middle East studies will be under a magnifying glass from now on.
This step has an effect on Israeli academia as well. For two decades, Israeli academics willing to bash Israel were recruited to teach and research by MESA scholars who abuse the Title VI grants, something IAM reported in length.
Criticism of Israel is, of course, a legitimate issue, but it needs to be balanced with criticism of the Arab world and Islam, something MESA members have prevented for too long.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
03.10.19
Israeli Scholars Defend BDS: Two Initiatives, by Moshe Zuckermann, and by Rachel Giora with Kobi Snitz
 
An interim report by Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, was presented at the UN general assembly on 23 September 2019. Articles 17 and 18 of the report are dealing with antisemitism and BDS. In article 17, the Special Rapporteur noted an increase of incidents in "what is sometimes called ‘left-wing’ antisemitism," in many countries. Of individuals who claim to hold anti-racist or anti-imperialist views, employ antisemitic narratives and sometimes even Holocaust denial, when expressing anger at the policies and practices of the Government of Israel. Some have "conflated Zionism, the self-determination movement of the Jewish people, with racism" and claim that Israel has no right to exist. In article 18, the Special Rapporteur noted that the "objectives, activities and effects” of BDS are “fundamentally antisemitic." The movement promotes BDS against those who they think "‘complicit’ in violations of the human rights of Palestinians by the Government of Israel." But in fact, the Special Rapporteur states that BDS, "one of its core aims is to bring about the end of the State of Israel." By often employing "antisemitic narratives, conspiracies and tropes in the course of expressing support for the BDS campaign". The Special Rapporteur emphasized that "expression which draws upon antisemitic tropes or stereotypes, rejects the right of Israel to exist, or advocates discrimination against Jewish individuals because of their religion, should be condemned."
Coinciding with the UN determination of BDS as anti-Semitic, Israel's Ministry of Strategic Affairs has recently published a report, “Behind the Mask: The Antisemitic Nature of BDS Exposed”. The report, which was presented to the European Parliament on September 25, 2019, showcased numerous examples of the antisemitic nature of BDS. Such as, calls for Jews to “go back to the ovens!”, accusations of poisoning water supplies, equation of Israel with Nazi Germany, and calls for the destruction of the Jewish State, among others. The report includes antisemitic imagery of Jews as pigs, octopuses, Jewish big noses, Jewish obsession with wealth, Jews as controlling the world and the global “Jewish lobby.”
Amid the efforts to define BDS as anti-Semitic, activist-academics in Western universities who are closely associated with Palestinians increased their efforts to defend BDS. IAM has reported on many cases since 2004.
One recent example was featured on September 18, 2019, by the Middle East Monitor, a media outlet run by Dr. Daud Abdullah, the deputy secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain and a lecturer of Islamic Studies at Birkbeck College U.K. The article discussed a German court-case which ruled unlawful the exclusion of a Palestinian organization from cultural events, on account of supporting BDS. The court constituted it is an “unequal treatment”. The ruling came four months after the German Bundestag voted in favor of a non-binding motion defining BDS as anti-Semitic. The court decision upheld the principals of freedom of speech, including the freedom to discuss and promote boycott campaigns, as protected speech. Claiming victory is the European Legal Support Centre (ELSC), representative of the German-Palestinian Women’s Association which was excluded by the City of Bonn for supporting BDS. Among the documents filed by ELSC's Attorney Ahmed Abed, was an expert opinion by Prof. Moshe Zuckermann, emeritus professor at Tel Aviv University. In his opinion, Zuckermann argued that anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel are three distinct categories which must be treated separately and that the attempt to portray the BDS movement as anti-Semitic is “manipulative and guided by ideological interests”. Arguably, Zuckermann himself is ideologically motivated.
Last but not least, another group of Israeli political activists among them academics have launched a campaign to undermine the Israeli attempts to prevent BDS. Some, like Rachel Giora and Kobi Snitz, are the earliest proponents of BDS. Gush Shalom, the Israeli peace group, reported the case, that in a recent hearing at the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Justice refused to reveal the identity of international law firms that help with anti BDS efforts in Europe. The Petition for freedom of information was filed by Attorney Itay Mac, demanding to disclose the details of the law firms' identity and the nature of the service which they give to the Israeli Ministry of Justice. The petition was originally filed by Mac in November 2017 along with “human rights activists” TAU Prof. Rachel Giora and Dr. Kobi Snitz of Weizmann Institute, among others.
For years IAM has reported on Israeli academics who advance their political agenda while being paid by the Israeli taxpayers. University administrators have been reluctant to put an end to this abuse for fear of backlash by the international academic community which can be easily mobilized to defend the “academic freedoms” of pro-Palestinian academics. The fear of international pressure contributed to the fact that Israel has the most liberal definition of academic freedom, a definition that would not be tolerated in other Western countries. The result is as sad as it is predictable: an outmoded social science curriculum where cutting edge subjects and methodology are pushed aside, to offer slots to radical activists. Despite poor international ranking for Israeli social sciences, nothing has been done to rescue the field.
Hebrew University
 
26.09.19
HUJ Yael Berda Delegitimizes Israel at a United Nations Meeting
 
Dr. Yael Berda is a lawyer teaching Sociology at the Hebrew University. Berda is also a political activist who uses her academic position to discredit Israel, a fact that IAM reported before. In her academic writing she focuses on Israel's permit system in the West bank and East Jerusalem, portraying it a "colonial form of power". Palestinian newspaper recently wrote she is convinced that the "security restrictions on Palestinians have nothing to do with security issues." For her, it’s racial segregation.
Berda has participated in June, at a United Nations meeting in Geneva, titled "the International Conference on the Question of Jerusalem.” Invited by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and sponsored by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, an inter-governmental organization with 57 member states. The participants looked for ways of “Preserving the cultural and religious character of Jerusalem,” under Palestinian control. The meeting criticized Israel’s policies and measures "aiming to change the character of Jerusalem". Other speakers included Ambassador Cheikh Niang, Chair of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People; ASG Samir Bakr, Assistant Secretary-General for Palestine and Al-Quds Affairs of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation; Ms. Carla Khijoyan, Program Executive for the Middle East; WCC Min. Ahmad Majdalani, Minister of Social Affairs of the State of Palestine; among others.
Berda's speech presented a very dire picture of East Jerusalem under Israel, blaming Israel alone. For Berda, it is Israel's "colonial control" and the residents are “under constant threat of violence". According to her, city tax is part of the "bureaucracy of the occupation", which is "an effective tool against Palestinians". She coined it "colonial bureaucracy" and "racial hierarchy." Berda absolves all Palestinian violence and blames Israel for "rampant arrests," where "youth might find themselves detained." The essence of her talk was that the Jerusalem Municipality, which collects high taxes, gives almost nothing in return, only the security forces are visible. For Berda, the "regime" separates between Palestinians and Palestinians, evidence the regime is not dedicated to security provisions but to other "colonial goals". For her, most of these activities are on administrative bases, such as the court orders and demolitions orders, that can be stopped with political pressure. “It can be incredibly affective if the administration has an active opposition,” she urged the audience.
Just before Rosh Hashana, on Saturday morning of September 28, Berda will speak at the University of Basel in a conference "Comparing Colonialism: Beyond European Exceptionalism" Her talk is "Bureaucratic Tools of Emergency and Citizenship in the Colonial Past and Present: Israel/Palestine and India." Berda investigates the bureaucratic classification of population, based on the "practices of identification, registration, mapping and zoning" and questions "how colonial practices, designed to control subjugated populations, have become organizing principles of the modern state". She will be discussing the "administrative colonial legacies" of the historical colonial rule, with the rise of contemporary colonial forms of power." In particular, Berda will focus on "Israel's military government over the Palestinians 1949-1966 in 'security zones', and its practices of population classification", comparing with "classification practices of Palestinians in Israel's contemporary military rule over the Occupied West Bank."
Similarly, in 2017, Berda was invited to deliver a lecture at Harvard University on Israel's anti-terrorism law. Berda discussed "the colonial origins of these security laws and their relation to citizenship." Berda provided an alternative analysis of the ways the anti-terrorism bill uses the emergency laws by the British Empire. According to Berda, this "legal toolkit" produced a triple bind between security, loyalty, and identity through bureaucratic means. Berda argued that the British colonial roots of security practices, which focus on "population management and its classification as loyal to the state, or suspicious," have formed the boundaries of citizenship. For Berda, the "institutionalization of British colonial emergency laws... deeply impacted the scope and authority of executive power to justify consistent violation to civil rights." by the contemporary state.
Berda, however, does not consider terrorism against civilians to be a major factor for instilling security measures.
Like many of her political comradery, she remade herself an expert on Israeli history. In the spring, she will be teaching a course at India's Jindal Global University on "State and Society from Mandate Palestine to Present day Israel." Berda is often invited to speak at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. Given her written record, it is not hard to imagine that her message would be stridently anti-Israel.
Barda's activist career included Machsom Watch and often represented members of the organization International Solidarity Movement (ISM, aka PalSolidarity). In 2004, Berda represented Ewa Jasiewicz, a British-Polish journalist who was detained at Ben Gurion Airport upon arrival, because in 2002, the journalist lived and worked in the West Bank city of Jenin. In an email published by the ISM, the journalist told a story of the son of the family she stayed with, who opened fire on Israelis a few months earlier. The journalist wrote: "I don’t get why activists can’t go and do the Knesset or something, or do a sophisticated politician bump-off like the PFLP?” These are the types Berda represented.
In 2005, after newspapers charged Berda with waging a war against Israel’s secret service she went to the United States for two months. As a lawyer, Berda represented more than two hundred Palestinians trying to obtain labor permits to enter Israel.
Like her other radical peers, Berda receives a salary from the Hebrew University, that is, from the Israeli taxpayer. Even a casual perusal of her activities indicates that she spends an inordinate part of her time traveling and giving talks to delegitimize Israel.
The university authorities are custodians of the public money that enables them to thrive. The question is whether in the case of Yael Barda the HUJ has been a responsible custodian.
Tel Aviv University
 
18.09.19
TAU Daniel Bar-Tal Responds to IAM: "Delegitimization of Me and My Contribution"
 
IAM encourages readers to respond to the posts and publishes them as a matter of courtesy.
Our previous post "The Delegitimization of Israel from the Academy: TAU Daniel Bar-Tal as a Case in Point" enraged Prof. Daniel Bar-Tal and prompted his response.
Bar-Tal wrote, "The reaction was expected because IAM is acting in the spirit of Orwell of "1984" that develops in Israel. The reaction derogates the research, the affiliation and then makes an absurd association with Galtung whom I met once in my life—all in the name of free speech and democracy." Bar-Tal continued, "Anyone who respects Israel, who supports democracy and cherishes moral values, has to be appalled by the activity of such an organization. But In Israel of today there are several organizations of this kind that delegitimizes free research and speech, that is coming with the objective of carrying valid research as well as practicing constructive patriotism. In the present zeitgeist in Israel I take into consideration that a bad thing may happen to me. But I promise to all of you that I will not be afraid and will not scale down my critical and opened minded academic work. Ill continue my line of research because it is our responsibility and obligation to shed light on all the social phenomena that bring bloodshed, misery and suffering in this world.”
Bar-Tal’s answer is in line with the tactics of radical activist scholars who accuse their critics as "Orwellians" who want to stifle all free discourse in the society. Such blanket accusations are convenient because they absolve activists of responding to the particular points raised in the post. Once critics are delegitimized as “Orwellians", their critique can be described as pages from the "1948" playbook.
Indeed, Bar-Tal has either failed to reply to the issues raised by the IAM post or responded in a highly deceitful way.
First, Bar-Tal does not explain how, after being hired to teach and research early childhood education, he ended up writing about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Indeed, despite his switch of disciplines, he was promoted and rewarded by Tel Aviv University. A good salary, steady promotion, not to mention a good pension upon retirement, is not exactly hard life. He was very lucky because the Tel Aviv university authorities were too scared to stand up to his career retooling. As IAM has been repeatedly reporting since 2004, Bar-Tal was not alone in taking advantage of the academic leadership's fear to confront their activist faculty.
Second, Bar-Tal had nothing to say about his research methods in his “Masada Complex" studies. Bar-Tal never considered the horrific terror attacks as an alternative explanation to the Israeli reticence to go ahead with the peace process. The Peace Index of Tel Aviv University clearly indicated that in 1993, the public support for the Oslo peace was quite high, but as the suicide bombings took a toll, the good will evaporated. More to the point, when Prime Minister Rabin tried to describe the victims as "victims of peace”, the public reacted with outrage. Bar-Tal and his peace camp comrades should be reminded that it was not the memory of Masada, but the trauma of watching the suicide attacks nightly on television that soured the Israelis on peace.
Third, Bar-Tal dismisses the importance of Galtung to his career. In fact, Bar-Tal cited Galtung and even declared him to be "the greatest peace researcher”. As for “meeting Galtung once,” in a 2012 post, IAM pointed out that in a 2006 conference which was organized by Bar-Tal, Galtung was invited to deliver the keynote address. It was during this lecture that Galtung made invidious comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany, a theme that he pursued before. While one Israeli scholar expressed dismay, Bar-Tal kept silent.
Finally, Bar-Tal simply has no answer to IAM's criticism
Tel Aviv University
 
12.09.19
The Delegitimization of Israel from the Academy: TAU Daniel Bar-Tal as a Case in Point
 
The delegitimization of Israel would have not been possible without the helping hands of Israeli intellectuals, notably some scholars.
Daniel Bar-Tal, the Branco Weiss Professor of Research in Child Development and Education at the School of Education at Tel Aviv University, has been discussed by IAM before. Despite his title, Bar-Tal spent little time researching child development. In fact, he switched his attention to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Bar-Tal recently wrote a short autobiography detailing his academic development in an article published by the American Psychological Association. Titled "The Challenges of Social and Political Psychology in Pursuit of Peace: Personal Account," he explained the shift in career. "The opportunity for the major shift came on my sabbatical at Vanderbilt University in 1981–1982. It was there that I began to conceptualize the phenomena of delegitimization, siege mentality, and patriotism that have absorbed me, especially observing them in Israeli society... Many Jews have seen Arab animosity and hatred as a continuation of European anti-Semitism. Moreover, Israeli Jews view the criticism of Israeli policies and behaviors regarding the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, especially in the context of the occupation, as an indication of world anti- Semitism." Bar-Tal mocked those beliefs because he viewed them as “hegemonic narratives”.
Bar-Tal explains himself as following: "Social scientists also have to recognize that they may pay a price, especially in certain societies, for their research questions and lines of research that advance knowledge, contradicting the hegemonic narrative of the regime. This is also the case in Israel. More than once did I have the honor of appearing on the black lists of various organizations that monitor academia, and I have been reprimanded by politicians who did not like the results of my studies. They thought that I was harming the standing of Israel in the international community. Fear of paying a price robs the mind not only of human beings, but also of scientists. It can affect their research in different ways. Thus, scientists have to be brave and independent in their science making.” In other words, Bar-Tal's "science" was trashing Israel while embracing the Palestinian narrative. More egregiously, he has done it under the auspices of the so-called Peace Studies movement pioneered by Professor Johan Galtung. Bar-Tal, for example, invited Galtung to keynote a conference at Tel Aviv University.
Anyone familiar with the history of Galtung’s Peace Studies knows that this was a cover for bashing Israel and accusing Israelis of all the ills in the region while absolving the Palestinians for any blame. In addition, Galtung turned to be a notorious anti-Semite. Late Prof. Robert S. Wistrich, an expert in research on anti-Semitism, wrote in his 2013 article, "Parallel Lines: Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century," that "Professor Galtung, a veteran anti-American and anti-Zionist leftist declared the notorious antisemitic forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, to be a serious text for understanding Israeli policy. If that were not enough, he also insisted that the main source of contemporary evils was Jewish-Zionist control of American politics, the banks and the media. For his skewed information, Galtung relied on the bogus statistics of a deceased American neo-Nazi, William Pierce." Wistrich added that Galtung even suggested in 2012, "that the Israeli Mossad was behind the cold-blooded massacre in Norway a year earlier by the lone gunman Andrei Breivik of seventy-seven Norwegian youngsters at a summercamp outside Oslo."
Galtung was one of the first to recognize that in order to deflect charges of anti-Semitism, he needs Jewish, or preferably Israeli academics to partner in his Peace Studies movement. Bar-Tal's self-proclaimed “epiphany” at Vanderbilt University made him an ideal candidate.
Bar-Tal took off to political activism. He became a member of the Israeli NGO Middle East Publications which publishes the Palestine-Israel Journal (PIJ) and became the co-editor of the journal between 2001 to 2005. He has been serving on the editorial board ever since. Notably, NATO's Partners for Peace program, UNESCO, the European Commission, Canadian Rep. Office, The Canadian International Development Agency, Austrian Development Agency, The Fund for Reconciliation & Development, and Ploughshares Fund, among others, have all contributed money to PIJ over the years. PIJ is also closely linked to the American A.J. Muste Memorial Institute For Nonviolence and Social Justice. Not surprisingly, Muste's grantees include several BDS groups. Not surprising, PIJ portrays Israel in a negative light while gives a pass to Palestinian aggression. From the Israeli side, Bar-Tal, Meir Margalit, Hillel Shenkar, and Mossi Raz, are all members of the Meretz Party and from the Palestinian side, Ziad Abu Ziad is a Palestinian politician. While Israeli NGO's are not allowed to take on politics, Meretz members are behind this NGO.
Bar-Tal's popular theory analyzing the Israeli psyche is known as the Masada Syndrome, allegedly because of their defeat by the Romans. Combined with a Holocaust syndrome, Bar-Tal postulates that Israelis developed a siege mentality and a sense of victimhood which prevents them from reaching peace with the Palestinians. Of course, the Masada theory enabled Bar-Tal to ignore the fact that it was the Palestinians, with the help of Arab countries, who rejected the 1947 Partition Proposal. After losing a war which they started, they embarked on decades of terrorism against Israel. He also ignored the key role of Iran in playing a spoiler in the Oslo peace process. As well known, after the 1993 agreement between the Palestinians and the Israeli Labor government, the Iranian leadership ordered its terror proxies - Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad - to launch a series of devastating suicide bombings which eroded the peace process and discredited the Israeli peace camp.
Bar-Tal has published articles blaming the Israelis for the deadlock in negotiations, stating, "We hope that the Israelis will choose the road of negotiation, peace process and reconciliation, rejecting the path of violent confrontation and continuation of the conflict. The Palestinians can do much to encourage this trend. Palestinian attacks against Israelis have to stop. Such attacks generate support for the hawkish candidates in the Israel elections. The Palestinians can indirectly decide who the next Israeli leader will be. At the same time, Israel has to stop all collective punishment measures against the Palestinians, such as closures, sieges, other restrictions and killing Palestinians. This will encourage moderates in that camp by assuring them that there is another way to solve the conflict rather than violence.” Bar-Tal’s effort to sound “balanced” is laughable. He tells the Palestinians to stop the “attacks,” his euphemism for the brutal suicide bombing by the violent jihadis.
Finally, Bar-Tal’s complaints about the “sacrifices” he made for challenging the “hegemonic” narrative sound particularly specious, he was promoted and rewarded by Tel Aviv University despite the fact that he did not research in the field for which he was hired. The administration of Tel Aviv University, or his colleagues at the school of education, did not dare to confront him. This situation, unfortunately, is not unique to Bar-Tal. Over the years IAM reported on numerous cases of scholars who turned their taxpayers supported positions into a platform for radical political activism aimed to delegitimize Israel. Unless the academic authorities in Israel stand up to such practices, new generations of activists would continue to abuse the Israeli taxpayers.
Israelis in Non-Israeli Universities
 
04.09.19
(Manchester U) Eyal Clyne: Middle East Centers as Agents of Zionist Hegemony
 
An interesting exchange was posted recently on the blog of the Forum for Regional Thinking. Shimon Shamir, professor emeritus of Middle East History at Tel Aviv University criticized the 2019 book by Dr. Eyal Clyne of Manchester University, Orientalism, Zionism and Academic Practice. Clyne, who interviewed Israeli Middle East experts, portrayed these experts as motivated by selfishness. Since experts see the creation and dissemination of qualified knowledge in Middle East studies as a “mission”, for Clyne, the "mission" is selfish because it involves receiving rewards from the state. It comes to strengthen the expert and expertise and provides more power and status. Shamir rejects Clyne’s assertion that the “mission” is an exercise in seeking the power that is reinforced by various strategies of "hegemony and authority building". Shamir takes issue with Clyne’s overall assessment that the “mission” is a latent expression of a desire for power and national recognition, combined with a "commitment to the state and security system of Zionist ideology". 
Even by the lamentably low standards of anti-Israel scholarships, Clyne's book stands out. He refers to scholars as studying and teaching "within the racist, militarist and capitalist bounds of their society," or, writing on the "imbalance of power (e.g. global imperialism, capitalism, global 'western' hegemony, or Israeli colonialism).” He claims that several Israeli Middle East Centers, "agents and agencies express manifest racist views, [such as] the propaganda works of Efraim Karsh or [Mordechai] Kedar". Clyne even describes Kedar of Bar-Ilan University, as a purveyor of hate statements. To prove Kedar’s alleged “hate speech,” Clyne misquotes Kedar: "The existence of a living Jewish people in a functioning Jewish state threatens the very raison d'être of Islam, which came into being Judaism obsolete', in a piece where Arabs and Muslims are also systematically conflated." But in fact, Kedar wrote that "The existence of a living Jewish people in a functioning Jewish state threatens the very raison d’être of Islam, which came into being TO RENDER [emphasis added] Judaism obsolete." Kedar continues, "For that reason, Arabs and Muslims will never accept Israel as the Jewish State." Kedar explained that "The religious reason is rooted in Islam’s conception of itself as a faith whose mission is to bring both Judaism and Christianity to an end and inherit all that was once Jewish or Christian: land, places of worship, and people. In Islam’s worldview, Palestine in its entirety belongs to Muslims alone because both Jews and Christians betrayed Allah when they refused to become followers of the prophet Muhammad. Their punishment is to be expulsion from their lands and the forfeiture of all rights to them.” Instead of debating Kedar over his statement, Clyne dismissed his argument as hate. 
Clyne is one of a large number of anti-Israel academic activists recruited to trash Israel, as noted in the November 2018 IAM report, "Employment Opportunities Abroad: Critics of Israel Wanted,” the transaction is mutually beneficial. The activist-scholars gain legitimacy by having an Israeli who asserts that Israel is an immoral apartheid state. The Israeli scholars get access to coveted research or teaching positions in a tight job market. 
Interestingly, Clyne’s Ph.D. supervisor at Manchester University, Prof. Erica Burman, is an expert on Developmental Psychology with Cognitive Studies and has been teaching developmental psychology, educational psychology, psychology of childhood, counselling and psychotherapy, human development, and qualitative and discursive research methods. She became a professor of Psychology and Women's Studies. She also co-founded with Ian Parker the Discourse Unit (transinstitutional and transdisciplinary center for the study of the reproduction and transformation of language and subjectivity). As can be seen, nothing in her background relates to Middle East Studies, yet, according to her university webpage, she supervised the thesis "Orientalism, Zionism and the academic everyday: Middle eastern studies in Israeli Universities (Eyal Clyne, full-time, PhD awarded 2016)." Not surprisingly, Burman is also an anti-Israel activist, she was among the signatories of the 2015, the Guardian ad calling for the boycott of Israel, titled "A Commitment by UK Scholars to the Rights of Palestinians," which was signed by 343 academics affiliated with UK academic institutions, pledging that: "Responding to the appeal from Palestinian civil society, we therefore declare that we will not: • accept invitations to visit Israeli academic institutions; • act as referees in any of their processes; • participate in conferences funded, organised or sponsored by them, or otherwise cooperate with them." Burman was also a signatory in a 2016 open letter by "psychotherapists, researchers and other mental health professionals, write to express our dismay at the decision of the Society for Psychotherapy Research (SPR) to hold its next international conference in Jerusalem." 
Clyne, did a review of Burman's colleague, Ian Parker's book Revolutionary Keywords for A New Left, noting that "Parker is an experienced Marxist activist... having surfaced in his years of activism in British radical-left groups," and also praised Parker for "maintaining anti-Zionism without racism.” 
Clyne has worked overtime to uphold his end of the transaction. In addition to publishing the above book, Clyne has been recently engaged in bashing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism. He has circulated a “protest” version of the IHRA definition which pro-Palestinian activists bitterly resent because it limits their ability to portray Israel as an irredeemable “racist," “apartheid," “colonial,” imperialist” state. The “protest" version is called "Anti-Palestinian Racism", and replaces the words “anti-Semitism”, “Jews” and “Israel” with the words “Palestinians”, and “Palestine." Clyne sent a version of the “bill” to the Jewish Voice for Labour. As well known, the Labour Party is embroiled in a scandal over its anti-Semitism. 
As for Clyne's statement that scholars are having a selfishly motivated mission, it takes one to know one. Middle East Centers in British universities are a hotbed for pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel activism often fueled by Arab Gulf money.
Hebrew University
 
29.08.19
HUJ Prof. Amos Goldberg Protecting Holocaust Denial for Political Gains
 
IAM reported that Prof. Amos Goldberg, a Hebrew University scholar of the Holocaust, has been a staunch political activist for many years. IAM covered in length some of his activities. 
In recent years, with the support of the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, Goldberg has been involved in Holocaust Reductionism, that is, comparing the Holocaust to lesser catastrophes thus enabling scholars to claim similarities between the two. This is a softer form of Holocaust denial. An example of this trend is the recent Goldberg's co-edited book with Prof. Bashir Bashir, published in 2018, The Holocaust and the Nakba: A New Grammar of Trauma and History. As Bashir and Goldberg stated in the introduction, that many Palestinians "find it hard to recognize the Holocaust and the suffering experienced by the Jews. Some prefer to ignore the issue, downplay its importance, or even deny the Holocaust entirely, dismissing it as the invention of a powerful Zionist propaganda machine. In many other cases, even when Palestinians or other Arabs do recognize the historical reality of the Holocaust, they acknowledge it as merely a matter of historical fact. In this view, the Holocaust doesn’t merit any empathy toward the Jews or isn’t linked to their conditions and fate." 
After explaining how many Palestinians refuse to acknowledge the Holocaust, the book contributors compare the Nakba to the Holocaust because this is the only way for Palestinians to relate to the Holocaust: "At times they view it as a deliberate distraction from their own suffering or as an event of which they themselves are the ultimate victims. As such, both the Holocaust and the Nakba, as dominant national narratives, serve to bolster exclusive identities within the two groups. For the most part, each group sees its own catastrophe as a unique event and seeks to devalue or even deny the catastrophe of the other. These two national narratives are, in fact, connected to two far greater narratives embraced by contemporary global culture." 
Instead of exposing Palestinian Holocaust denial, the editors prefer to establish the comparison between the Holocaust - the catastrophe befallen on the Jews when 6 million were murdered - to the Nakba, a self-inflicted loss in a war which they initiated. 
Earlier this month, Goldberg co-authored an article, "Distorting the definition of antisemitism to shield Israel from all criticism.” He lamented that the new definition of antisemitism, formulated by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), "initially sought to combat racism against Jews and Holocaust denialism, but its definition of antisemitism serves as a tool to silence all criticism of Israel." Goldberg explain this logic as "deployed by supporters of Israel’s occupation and nationalistic government in order to delegitimize anyone who dares criticize Israeli policies." As Goldberg sees it, it's an "attempt to silence criticism of Israel’s 52-year-old military occupation (one of the longest running in the world), which includes dispossession, humiliation, expulsions, and daily violence against Palestinians, plays into the hands of avowed antisemites." 
Goldberg argues that the IHRA definition is "catastrophic" because it is diverting attention from "real anti-Semites," and is silencing criticism of Israel and its "ethno-nationalist vision". Whereby viewing "Palestinians – residents of the occupied territories, refugees from the 1948 war, and citizens of Israel (as well as refugees from Africa) – as an existential danger. But the IHRA definition and its derivatives contribute precisely to that. Right-wing politicians, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli right-wing media, have understood that the focus of the fight against antisemitism has shifted from racist nationalists to criticism of Israel, and they use the IHRA definition for their purposes... the right understands very well the powerful potential of the IHRA definition, not only for the purpose of shielding Zionism from any criticism, but also for defending the occupation itself. Using the IHRA’s poor definition of antisemitism, they have succeeded in completely changing the discourse: rather than talk about the occupation, the Nakba, or its violation of national, human and civil rights, the dominant public discourse now revolves around what is or is not forbidden when it comes to criticism of Israel, and to what extent said criticism is antisemitic. In this reality, Israel no longer needs to defend itself against allegation — it has a free hand to throw around accusations." 
For Goldberg, the IHRA definition is unnecessary, because the idea that only Israel is targeted by this kind of criticism "is not only divorced from reality, it aims at creating a chilling effect. It suffices, for example, to take one look at the list of people charged by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which includes not a single Israeli, to ask ourselves whether there is a need for such a provision in the bill, apart from the desire to suppress any criticism of Israel." Goldberg is also unhappy because the New Jersey State Senate introduced a law based on the IHRA definition, adding a clause forbidding peace or human rights investigations to focus solely on Israel. 
Goldberg has been recently involved in attempting to persuade the German Parliament, the Bundestag, to drop their decision equating BDS with anti-Semitism. Not only circulated a petition, Goldberg has also published an appeal, which IAM translated from German by Google Translate. "An appeal from Israel to my German friends," in which he claims that adopting the IHRA definition "endangers the values of democracy." He argues that "I have often heard well-meaning German friends say that they understand my criticism of the policy of the Israeli government towards the Palestinians. Sometimes they even admitted to supporting them. But they did not want to say that out loud." For Goldberg, the "failure to distinguish between anti-Semitism and legitimate criticism becomes moral and intellectual convenience, even laziness. Benjamin Netanyahu announces annexation of large parts of the West Bank… Minister Bezalel Smotrich has suggested that apartheid should be the solution to the conflict with the Palestinians. Education Minister Rafi Perez expressed similarly." For Goldberg, the Germans are also paying the price for passivity. “I observe how the political system in Germany is rapidly eroding free speech when it comes to Israel and Palestine, and how public discourse derives from defamation and character assassination. Bundestag equates BDS with anti-Semitism." 
Goldberg complains that now in Germany, "Palestinians are forbidden to protest, scientists suspected of sympathizing with BDS are not invited to conferences... I warn my friends in Germany about our experiences in Israel: There is more trouble ahead if you vigorously defend the principles of democracy, freedom of expression and principled foreign policy." Goldberg continues, "Democracy needs active citizens, History teaches us, that protecting a democracy requires the courage of active citizens, because if too many decent people refrain from defending their underlying principles and rules, they will stagger or fall. Germans who appreciate these values and care about the integrity of Israel must now overcome their anxious hesitation and join the Israeli and Jewish democratic camps. They must muster the energy to distinguish between anti-Semitism and manipulation that should protect Israel from legitimate criticism of its violations.” 
Also in 2018, Goldberg contributed an article, an extended version originally published in 2012, to MADAR, the Palestinian Forum for Israeli Studies based in Ramallah. MADAR was established in 2000 by a group of Palestinian intellectuals and academics. Not surprising, it serves as an academic propaganda tool to attack Israel. In their journal Israeli Affairs (Issue no. 70), which focuses on the relations between Israel and Germany, Goldberg's article, translated to Arabic, criticizes the Yad Vashem Museum. The museum, according to its website, "presents the story of the Shoah from a unique Jewish perspective." Goldberg's problem is that "One can also wonder what groups and issues are included in this ‘Jewish perspective’ and in what ways? And which ones are left out?" For Goldberg, "the Yad Vashem ‘Jewish narrative’ is self-contained and is closed to any ‘otherness’ of historicity that makes the story much more complex, and therefore becomes, as I claim, a mythic narrative.” Goldberg protests it excludes non-Jewish otherness. 
Goldberg stated that, "Though very narcissistic and problematic,” this narrative of this victim group tends to adopt such a melancholic narrative, which makes sense in the Israeli context because the Holocaust is “the major pillar of current Israeli victimized identity." Because "According to the most updated comprehensive survey of Israeli Jewish identity conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute together with The Guttman Center for Surveys, 98 per cent of the Jewish population believe that it is ‘fairly important’ or ‘very important’ to remember the Holocaust.” Such a complete consensus, for Goldberg, "has proven itself to be an extremely powerful and useful diplomatic tool in gaining international support in the context of the Israeli-Arab conflict and in maintaining the occupation in Palestine." 
Another problem which Goldberg finds is that most video testimonies are in Hebrew. “The focus on Hebrew is therefore a Zionization of the ‘Jewish perspective’." Goldberg laments the "tendency to experience Holocaust memory by almost exclusively and entirely ‘identifying with the (Jewish) victim’ is a much broader cultural phenomenon that tends to dominate many of the major Holocaust representations.” Goldberg questions "why does the Israeli national (perhaps even chauvinistic) version of the ‘Jewish narrative’ so closely correlate to the global allegedly cosmopolitan Holocaust narrative." The answer is, according to Goldberg, that the state of Israel, “has used the memory of the Holocaust for decades to refute any criticism of its 1948 Nakba or the severe deprivation and violation of fundamental collective and individual human and civil rights of the Palestinians." Goldberg ends his piece by warning that excluding otherness will result in "extreme violence", that is the "basis of the fascist enterprise,” which is now “more than ever relevant to the Israeli context." 
Goldberg was hired to teach and research the Holocaust. But he spends much time and energy peddling Holocaust Reductionist theories. And, as IAM has emphasized, the taxpayers are left to sponsor his activities.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
22.08.19
Anti-Semitic Expressions as Legitimate Speech: the Steven Salaita Case
 
An article published by the journal Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, the official publication of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, deserves attention. "Regulating Rude: Tensions Between Free Speech and Civility in Academic Employment" was written by three authors, Lilia M. Cortina, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan; Attorney Michael G. Cortina, SmithAmundsen, LLC, Chicago, IL; and, Jose; M. Cortina, School of Business, Virginia Commonwealth University. 
The authors provide several examples of how free speech is curtailed in universities. One of their case-studies is Professor Steven Salaita. Like the general public, Cortina at al. assume that the Salaita story, as printed in the press, is a simple case of extramural freedom of speech by a professor. Think again. Cortina at al. rightly explain that in August 2014, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign blocked his academic appointment because of profane tweets about Israel. But they overlook Saliata’s long history of expressing irrational hate and contempt of Israel. 
Already in April 2001, Salaita charged Israel with undertaking one of the "most vicious civilian slaughters of this century." In August 2001, as a doctoral student, Salaita visited the West Bank and wrote an opinion piece in the Houston Chronicle, stating that Israel is fundamentally an apartheid state, because "Christians and Muslims are required to carry identity cards stating their religion, on which movement and privilege are predicated. License plates are also color-coded based on the driver's religion. Only Jews are afforded the full benefits of citizenship.” Salaita’s facts are outright lies, all Israelis carry identity cards stating their religion and all Israelis receive equal privileges. There are no color-codes for car’s license plates. All Israelis are afforded full benefits and citizenship. But worse, with regards to Palestinian suicide bombing which Salaita morally approves of, he affirms that “specific historical and political realities lead to violent actions… Palestinians revolt, sometimes with violence." 
In an article “Why Americans should oppose Zionism,” published by The Electronic Intifada in 2010, Salaita claimed that “Zionists always intended to ethnically cleanse Palestinians, a strategy they carried out and continue to pursue with horrifying efficiency.” 
He lists four reasons why Americans, and all people, should oppose Zionism (that is, the right of the Jews for a state of their own in Israel). To his mind, “Zionism is unethical and immoral”; “Zionism is racist”; “Zionism contravenes the geopolitical interests of the United States.”, and, “Zionism is fundamentally incompatible with democracy.” 
In 2013, just a short time before the cancellation of his appointment at the University of Illinois, Salaita has published an article, “Academics should boycott Israel”. In his view, the boycott movement, aka Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) has "the potential to topple a colonial empire… I will teach my son the history of Palestine. He will teach it to his children. Our stories will outlast Zionism." 
Salaita’s hate speech can be considered anti-Semitic because he negates Israel’s right to exist, as defined by the widely accepted Working Definition of Anti-Semitism that was adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) committee on anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial, in 2016. Some of the expressions of the Working Definition include: “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”; and, “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor”. 
The numerous Salaita’s tweets include the following: 
"Zionists, take responsibility: if your dream of an ethnocratic Israel is worth the murder of children, just fucking own it already." ; "Will you condemn Hamas? No. Why not? Because Hamas isn't the one incinerating children, you disingenuous prick." ; "Israel's message to Obama and Kerry: we'll kill as many Palestinians as we want, when we want. p.s.: fuck you, pay me."; "You may be too refined to say it, but I am not: I wish all the fucking West Bank settlers would go missing." ; "The IDF Spokesperson receives money to justify, conceal, and glamorize genocidal violence. Goebbels much?" ; "Israeli Independence Equals sustenance of the European eugenic logic made famous by Hitler." 
The purpose of bringing these examples of Salaita’s outright anti-Semitic expressions is to demonstrate that Zionist students would have felt extreme unease and intimidation facing Salaita in the classroom. 
Cortina et al. even suggested that if a university president felt that a professor had failed to act in an appropriate level of dignity, then the university could publicly dissociate and express their disapproval of such objectionable expressions, without having to cancel his appointment. 
The authors are wrong in their suggestion that Salaita’s job could have been saved. It is quite clear that Salaita is anti-Semitic and would have upset Jewish students. But more to the point, abusive language should not be tolerated, no matter which segment of the society it targets.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
14.08.19
Update on the BDS Proposal at the APSA section Foundation of Political Theory
 
Two weeks ago, IAM published a post about a new attempt to boycott Israel in the American Political Science Association (APSA) Annual Meeting. A group within the private APSA section, the Foundation of Political Theory, aka section 17, requested a discussion on BDS and brought a BDS resolution. 
A few days ago, Prof. Robyn Marasco, the chair of the APSA Foundation section, wrote a letter to members of the Foundation to clarify her position. She explained that a BDS proposal was brought to her by some members of the Foundation and they requested a discussion on this topic. She decided to have an open meeting. She explained that there will be no vote on the BDS resolution at APSA this year because based on the Foundations by-laws, votes on new policy can only take place at the business meeting. The business meeting is scheduled to lunchtime while the open meeting is later, in the evening. 
She explained about herself that throughout the years she has taken "no position on BDS or this particular resolution, neither in my capacity as chair of Foundations nor in my own scholarship. Never have I made any public statements about BDS." 
She added that the organization has not been “captured” by activists. 
But, Marasco may be unaware of the group Political Scientists for Justice in Palestine (PSJP), which "works to further BDS at APSA and the discipline overall." Marasco should note that some members of her Foundation, those who brought the BDS proposal, are members of PSJP. PSJP has a Twitter account and a Facebook group since 2014. The admins of the closed Facebook group of 118 members are all members of APSA, Isaac Kamola; Shirin Deylami, a council member in the Foundation; Ayten Gundogdu; Susan Kang; Eli Meyerhoff; and Meghana Nayak. 
Such a BDS activity at APSA is actually not a new one. In 2015, a group of Palestinian-engaged political scientists has hosted a workshop, "Politics at APSA: New Political Science, Anti-Apartheid Movements, and Israel/Palestine," during the APSA annual meeting. As indicated in the workshop brochure, the workshop was to question "Where is the line between the study of politics and an engagement with politics? What relationship should Political Scientists have with difficult political issues?" These questions were purposely pushing APSA to become "a viable space for political organizing", not wanting APSA's social fun'ction to "remain limited to professional development" alone. They wanted to focus on the "current debate about the conflict in Israel/Palestine and the growing number of academic associations taking explicitly political positions on the matter," and in particular, the boycott of Israel. The group was not happy that "APSA is prohibited from taking positions on political matters." Since the Caucus for a New Political Science published a condemnation of apartheid South Africa, they were hoping this workshop will "debate these political and professional questions concerning position-taking at APSA." In order to compare Israel to South Africa, they first had to establish the "relationship between APSA and the NPS to develop a shared understanding of what kinds of spaces exist within APSA for taking political positions." But they emphasized, "that this is not a workshop on the Israel/Palestine conflict." Leila Farsakh was scheduled to present BDS in "a comparative study of scholarly responses to the situations of South Africa and Israel". Farsakh has endorsed BDS in two petitions in 2014 and participated in a teach-in on "BDS and Anthropology" at Harvard University by "anthropologists and activists" who discussed "BDS strategy for justice," in 2016. The workshop brochure then proposed Sunaina Maira to orchestrate "an open discussion about solidarity organizing within universities and professional associations, specifically with regard to Israel/Palestine and academic boycott." Maira is a founding organizer of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI). Marasco should pay attention to how these activists work to "capture" APSA.
In response to our previous posting, some readers asked why IAM called the BDS resolution anti-Semitic. 
The answer is twofold: First, the resolution negates Israel's right to be a Jewish (and democratic) state. It states, "The conflation of Israel with either Judaism or Jewish people is both empirically inaccurate and ideologically objectionable to many Jewish people around the world." It doesn't matter if there are Jews who object to Israel, still, Israel is the state of the Jewish People. Negating this right is anti-Semitic. Second, it singles out Israel. It states, "It is true that the academic boycott resolution does specify and pertain solely to Israel." While they claim they might work to boycott other countries in the future. This is mischievous, if they don't want to be considered as anti-Semites, they should start with boycotting the most-worthy country to boycott first, and along with the list of countries to boycott, get down to boycott Israel. But targeting only Israel is anti-Semitic. 
Those who attend the open meeting should address these issues.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
08.08.19
'Scholasticide' Accusations against Israel: Birzeit University as a Case in Point
 
Academics are gearing up to attack Israel from another front. Accusations of "Scholasticide," that is, the "systematic destruction by Israeli forces of centres of education," are now resurfacing. It was coined in January 2009 by Prof. Karma Nabulsi, a former PLO representative and a professor in Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford. 
Nabulsi won "inspiring leader” by The Guardian University Awards in 2017, when she directed "The Palestinian Revolution", a bilingual Arabic-English digital teaching resource for exploring "Palestinian revolutionary thought and practice". The award was supported by HSBC Bank, which in Dec 2018, decided to divest from the Israeli company Elbit for human rights causes, claiming that HSBC “strongly supports observance of international human rights principles as they apply to business.” 
Borrowing the concept of "scholasticide" from Nabulsi, Prof. emeritus Herman De Ley, former director of the Centre for Islam In Europe at the University of Gent, Belgium, and a leading activist with the Belgian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (BACBI), announced that since last year BACBI launched a "global academics' solidarity campaign with our Palestinian colleagues and students.” He referred to a recent article by Amira Hass in Haaretz, "As Israel tightens entry rules, foreign lecturers at Palestinian universities forced to leave," De Ley accused Israel of "scholasticide policies... clearly driven by the desire to weaken our institutions and destroy the Palestinian future." There was another article by Hass in Haaretz two days later, "Israel’s Academy for Indifference," questioning why should Israeli professors and students care if Israel is subverting academic freedom and interfering with Palestinian universities hiring of foreign lecturers? 
In reality, things are a bit more complicated. Just days before the Hass Haaretz articles, on 2nd of July, Israeli security forces detained five Hamas operatives inside Birzeit University while raising money and recruiting activists. This was just another instance of a foiled Hamas attempt under the guise of students belonging to the Islamic bloc at Birzeit University. Members of the cell were arrested, and money was confiscated, including a vehicle funded by Hamas. The detainees were named as Ma'ad 'Abed, Muhammad Nakhla, Usama Fakhuri, Bara' Atzi, and Bilal Hamed. The purpose was to raise funds and recruit new Hamas operatives to execute terror attacks in Judea and Samaria, as Hamas tries to establish itself within the West Bank. Unsurprisingly, Hass did not mention the security angle of the story. 
Birzeit has a history of association with Hamas. Just recently, in March 2019, about 150 Palestinian students threw firebombs and rocks at Israeli soldiers who responded with tear gas and rubber-coated metal bullets. This protest broke out after Israeli forces, in a night-time raid, arrested three students at Birzeit University identified with the Islamist group. Shortly before that, in October 2018, the Israeli security services said it arrested 3 members of Hamas terror network that has been recruited by a network of Hamas military wing members in the Gaza Strip to carry out attacks beyond the Green Line. Their cell is alleged to have been established in 2015 and has been devoting efforts to recruit engineering students at Birzeit University. Two of the arrested Palestinians, 21-year-old Issa Shalalda and 20-year-old Omar Ma’soud, were active in the Hamas-affiliated Islamic bloc at Birzeit University. According to the Israeli security forces, the pair also underwent military training during their recruitment. Likewise, in March 2018 Israel arrested two Birzeit University students for receiving funds from Hamas. 24-year-old Omar Al-Kiswani and 20-year-old Yahya Alawi had received $178,000 after contacting Hamas operative in Gaza and members of the movement in Turkey asking them to cover Hamas activities at Birzeit University. 
In July Israel commemorated the 17th anniversary of the Hebrew University cafeteria bombing. Clearly, Israel's security concerns do not attract attention, instead, protesters present Israel as deliberately evil. Times Higher Education has reported on the prevention of visas, quoting Prof. David Palumbo-Liu, a long-time endorser of BDS for alleging of "privations Palestinians suffer" at the hands of Israel. Also quoting Amira Hass accusing Israel of the “onslaught against the Palestinian people is multisystemic." 
Even the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) tried to intervene by writing a letter "Arbitrary arrests of Birzeit University students," addressing the Israeli Prime Minister but ignoring Hamas recruit of students for the purpose of terrorism. 
These reports also ignore a racist law which surfaced in Birzeit University. In 2014, Hass attended the conference "Alternatives to Neo-Liberal Development in the Occupied Palestinian Territories – Critical Perspectives,” organized by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and the Center for Development Studies at Birzeit University. Hass was told to leave because Birzeit University has passed a law making it illegal for Israelis to be present on the university grounds. This was highly ironic because Hass has been one of the staunchest defenders of the Palestinians. 
Also worth noting that none of her articles paid any attention to the Hamas-Fatah bitter split inside Birzeit University. In December 2018, the University suspended all its activities for two days after a brawl erupted between the student blocs of Hamas and Fatah after Palestinian security forces wearing civilian attire attempted to arrest a student belonging to the Islamic Bloc, Hamas’ student wing. Gunshots were reported, but no one was injured. Enraged by what had happened, Birzeit students yelled at the security personnel and hurled insults about the PA, angering members of Fatah's student party, Shabiba. An altercation developed into a brawl. The school canceled courses for the next day, and classes resumed two days later. The Islamic Bloc members at the West Bank universities say they are constantly hunted by Palestinian security forces due to the students' school activities designed to raise money from students. Yet, students who are arrested are often charged with serious crimes such as sectarian violence, libel, defamation, or even receiving funds from illicit parties or possessing weapons. Hamza Abu Qaraa, a student and the Islamic Bloc's coordinator at Birzeit University, was also arrested in June 2018 by PA intelligence affiliates as they started shooting in the air, "they caught me, handcuffed me and beat me in the street." Abu Qaraa was held for 19 days. More than 400 students from various West Bank universities have been arrested during the school year, Abu Qaraa said. About 24 Birzeit students have been arrested since May, when the Islamic Bloc won student council elections for the fourth year in a row, in December 2018. 
But no one protests Palestinian security forces arresting students, only Israeli security forces. 
The timely accusations against Israel prompted also Israeli academics and peace activists to write a letter in protest to the leaderships of both the Hebrew and Ben Gurion Universities, stating "We are a group of faculty and emeriti concerned about the violation of the academic freedom of Palestinian universities as reflected in restrictions on exchange of students and lecturers with academic institutions abroad and employment of lecturers from abroad. As you can see in the attached documents, this is not a single harm. We appeal to you to raise your voices against the systematic violation of academic freedom. We are very anxious about violating our academic freedom, but academic freedom is indivisible to national affiliation, and just as we are anxious about our freedom, we must be concerned of its prevention from our neighbors. This is for moral and even selfish reasons: as history has taught us, those who are paralyzed while others are hurt end up being hurt as well." Prof. Amotz Agnon has initiated the letter. His partner Daphna Golan-Agnon has published an article a year ago, "Destroying Palestinian Universities" where she lamented that "Foreign lecturers as well as Palestinian lecturers who studied or taught abroad are being expelled from West Bank academic institutes with a form of bureaucratic violence." She ended her piece by questioning whether Israel’s "bureaucratic violence" would lead to similar restrictions imposed on Israeli students and academics. Evidently, De Ley and the BACBI campaign of "scholasticide" are gaining support. Haaretz published a piece "It is Time to Boycott Israeli Academia." 
According to Adalah, the NGO which deals with Palestinian minorities rights in Israel, between 2017 and 2019, four full-time foreign faculty members, and three part-time lecturers were forced to leave after Israel refused to renew their visas. In 2019, Israel denied entry to two international lecturers with Birzeit contracts. Adalah plans to take the case to the Israeli High Court of Justice. 
IAM will report on the case in due course.
 
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
31.07.19
New BDS Attempt Targeting the American Political Science Association Upcoming Annual Meeting
 
The 115th American Political Science Association (APSA) Annual Meeting & Exhibition will be taking place from August 29 to September 1, 2019, in Washington, DC. APSA is the leading professional organization for the study of political science and serves more than 11,000 members in more than 100 countries. It was founded in 1903 and brings together all fields of inquiry and regions to deepen understanding of politics, democracy, and citizenship. 
Last year, the conference also held a roundtable "BDS and Political Theory," which was described as a "conversation" on BDS. "This will not be a debate – we have no interest in giving another platform to BDS opponents – but an opportunity for political theorists sympathetic to BDS to advance and develop the critical, analytical, and normative stakes of the movement." 
William Clare Roberts of McGill University was the chair, and the speakers were C. Heike Schotten, University of Massachusetts Boston; Corey Robin, Brooklyn College and the City University of New York; Jakeet Singh, York University; Jodi Dean, Hobart & William Smith Colleges; Elisabeth Robin Anker, George Washington University; Jack Jackson, Whitman College; Kevin M. Bruyneel, Babson College; and, Dana Olwan, Doha Institute. Worth noting that the general director of the Doha Institute is Azmi Bishara, the former MK who is suspected of supplying information to Hezbollah. 
A summery of the proceedings of the roundtable were published in an article earlier this month, "Critical Exchange: Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) and Political Theory." 
The speakers are associated with the group PSJP @PS4PalJustice, described as "Political Scientists for Justice in Palestine works to further BDS at APSA and the discipline overall. Decolonize Political Science / Free Palestine!". The article thanks them for their work. 
Publishing the article just a short period before the annual meeting aims to influence participants and to generate interest in holding a session and a vote for BDS. Bruyneel, who is pictured wearing a Kaffiyeh around his neck, has also endorsed the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI), with some of his colleagues. He wishes "APSA to pass a resolution in support of a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. As a next step to that end, I endorse the passage of the following resolution by the Foundations of Political Theory section of APSA: ‘‘Be it resolved that the Foundations of Political Theory section endorses and will honor the call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions’’ (unpublished document)." The unpublished document appears below. 
The Foundations of Political Theory Section of APSA, aka Section 17, is a Private Section with 880 Members aiming to "advance the linkage of political theory and philosophy with political science as a discipline." A group within it recently discussed a BDS resolution which will be brought further to the Foundation and later to APSA. 
The Resolution is replete with distorted and bias information. It states that "We are acutely aware of the ways that Israeli academic institutions are complicit in Israel's settler colonization of Palestine, and the attendant ethnic cleansing, dispossession, military occupation, and apartheid policies that constitute this colonization. Moreover, we are cognizant of the ways that this colonization consistently violates the academic freedom of Palestinian students and faculty to attend school, conduct research, and make contributions to knowledge. The colonization of Palestine is the silencing of Palestinian scholarly contributions to knowledge." It then moves to resolve, "Be it resolved that the Foundations of Political Theory section endorses and will honor the call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Be it also resolved that the Foundations of Political Theory supports the protected rights of students and scholars everywhere to engage in research and public speaking about Israel-Palestine and in support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement." 
The Resolution is accompanied by a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) sheet. It asks "Plenty of other countries in the world engage in human rights violations. Doesn’t this academic boycott resolution single out Israel?" To which it answers, "No. It is true that the academic boycott resolution does specify and pertain solely to Israel; however, this does not mean that Israel is the only country worth boycotting or that other boycotts should not be undertaken of other countries elsewhere in the world." 
It asks, "Isn’t boycotting Israel anti-Semitic?" It answers "No. Israel is a state with many citizens, not all of whom are Jewish. Critiquing the actions of that state has nothing to do with criticizing or condemning its citizens, much less Judaism or Jewish people. Not only are not all Israelis Jewish, but not all Jewish people support Israel or aspire to become Israelis. The conflation of Israel with either Judaism or Jewish people is both empirically inaccurate and ideologically objectionable to many Jewish people around the world, who do not speak with one voice on the subject of Israel and are only presumed to do so by folks who think it reasonable to believe all Jews think alike." 
To the question "What about Palestinian violence?" It actually approves Palestinian violence. It says, "Palestinians have the right to defend themselves. All too often this internationally recognized right of self-defense is mobilized solely with regard to Israel and used to justify its massive, disproportionate, genocidal brutalities in, for example, the Gaza Strip in response to rockets fired by Hamas, or in the West Bank in response to teenagers throwing stones at soldiers. Yet the overall context of colonialism and occupation are never taken into account as the defining and precipitating factors of those rockets or stone-throwings. Palestinian violence can and should be understood as the exercise of the internationally recognized right of self-defense by a people facing eliminatory colonial and military violence." 
Clearly, the FAQ proves to be anti-Semitic because it postulates that Jews have no right for a state, and it does single out Israel. The FAQ sheet ends with the hope that the resolution is adopted, and we "inshallah, succeed in making some sort of political change, no matter how minimal." 
As a rule, APSA has very few panels devoted to the Palestinian question. Pro-Palestinian activists are now trying to push their anti-Israel agenda by setting up sections and panels using a page from their strategy in other professional associations. APSA community should be alerted to this blatant attempt to politicize it.
 
General Articles
 
24.07.19
Infiltration of "the Zionists" at Oxford University Conference on African Studies
 
A conference hosted by Oxford University's Africa Studies Center, on June 27-28, 2019, caused a stir. Five delegates have written an article "Zionism and the infiltration of global African studies," protesting how "Zionists and their apologists are infiltrating and co-opting the academy." 
The Oxford University conference, titled “Racialization and Publicness in Africa and the African Diaspora,” co-hosted with the School of Global and Area Studies, aimed to “address the contemporary problem of racialization in Africa and the African Diaspora.” The conference intended to explore how “people of African descent are racialized" as well as "why and how racial identities and categories are constructed, imagined and inscribed (in)to the social, political and economic processes, practices and relationships in Africa and the African Diaspora." 
But the five delegates who participated, Samar Al-Bulushi of UC Irvine; Zachary Mondesire of UCLA; Peter James Hudson of UCLA; Corinna Mullin of New School; and Jemima Pierre of UCLA, wrote their critique on the conference, that it was "co-opted into a project to legitimize the settler-colonial, apartheid state of Israel and 'black-wash' its racist policies and practices... in light of Israel’s ongoing attempts to normalize its relations with African states in coordination with US imperialism." 
Now, who are these five delegates? Three of them are pro-Palestinian activists with the BDS movement: Al-Bulushi is a signatory of "Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions," in 2015. Al-Bulushi already expressed anti-Israel sentiments in a co-authored article "Violent Rhetoric" protesting "Israeli brutality" against the Palestinians in 2013. Mullin signed the PACBI Statement "Campaign to Boycott the Oral History Conference at Hebrew University of Jerusalem," in 2013. Mullin legitimized Hamas murderous methods, in 2010, claiming that "the West, and often Israel, its civilization proxy, is constructed as ontologically innocent, rational and peaceful in nature, in contrast to the Islamist terrorist, who is inherently guilty, irrational and violent... jihad, misconstrued as an ideological concept. As these movements are reduced merely to the tactics/strategies they sometimes employ," ignoring the circumstances "such as brutal occupation, dispossession, daily humiliation and international isolation, and hence the motives behind their use." Pierre is the author of "Zionism, Anti-Blackness, and the Struggle for Palestine: Jemima Pierre on the Boycott", in 2015, which described "The Zionist dehumanization of Palestinians and its culture of anti-Blackness." Pierre has also written, in 2012, that "The Palestinian cry for dignity especially demands Black support," urging to "recognize that Palestinians are living under military occupation, a stifling and racist apartheid system." Likewise, Hudson and Mondesire also expressed pro-Palestinian, and anti-American sentiments. 
The five delegates, Al-Bulushi et al., complained that out of the 12 panels, two were part 1 and part 2 of “Notions of Diaspora and Homeland: The Impact of the Contemporary Emergence of Racism(s), Antisemitism(s), Nationalism(s) and White Supremacy in the Age of Globalization.” The problem is, that these two panels were organized by the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP) which is, "an advocacy body, not an academic organization." They claim that the founder of ISGAP, Charles Asher Small, is a "Canadian without a permanent academic position who holds a degree from St. Anthony’s College, Oxford." 
But, Al-Bulushi et al. should have checked their facts, a perusal at the ISGAP website reveals that Dr. Small is an accomplished academic. He was previously the Koret Distinguished Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and currently, is the Goldman Fellow at the Harold Hartog School of Government and Policy, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Moshe Dayan Centre for Middle East and African Studies at Tel Aviv University. In September he will be a visiting scholar – senior member, at St. Antony’s College of Oxford University. 
What Al-Bulushi et al. find most troubling is that in a January 2019 interview, Small described ISGAP as “an intellectual grassroots movement within the academy” whose main aims include fighting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a movement Small has equated with anti-Semitism. The ISGAP works by “conducting strategic research and providing intelligence” in order to “influence future generations of policymakers, scholars and community leaders.” 
Contrary to the Al-Bulushi et al. assertion, ISGAP posted information on its website about the panels explaining that this interdisciplinary panel aims also to examine the "re-emergence of white supremacy – which has a long history of impacting African and Jewish diaspora communities," among other issues. The speakers and lectures fit well with the conference themes. For example, MK Avraham Neguise spoke about the Ethiopian Jewish community. But for Al-Bulushi et al., he is a "Likud Party member of the Israeli Knesset." 
According to Al-Bulushi et al., at first glance the panel title seemed "innocuous" and even "properly scholarly, if slightly outdated, and appeared to fall within the expressed themes of the conference." Then they claimed that the ISGAP panel composes a "strange unit," while, admitting that "Many of the presenters on the two ISGAP panels were from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the United States." 
But, according to Al-Bulushi et al., "The HBCU connection is important” because “In recent years, the right-wing American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has been recruiting at Black colleges, targeting students and faculty interested in international politics. The AIPAC has sponsored travel to Washington DC to meet with politicians who are supporters of Israel, and provided all-expenses paid trips to Israel. Its aim is to cultivate sympathy for Zionism while driving a wedge between Black and Palestinian liberation struggles." Al-Bulushi et al. did not explain what is the relevance of this information to the conference. 
Al-Bulushi et al. have also claimed that Israel is "a state founded on ethnic cleansing and the dehumanization and dispossession of the indigenous Palestinian population." 
They warned the "future Black Studies and African Studies conference organizers who may encounter similar tactics by Zionist organizations." They are worried about the "potential backlash," and cannot "let the study of Global Africa be hijacked by Zionists." They cannot "support the defamation and desecration of the history of pan-Africanism by academic charlatans and agents of a racist, settler-colonial state... a continuation of Zionist racism, dressed up in the finery of academic language." 
Mullin and Al-Bulushi spoke in a panel on the ‘War on Terror’ in Africa and beyond. Mullin spoke about counter-terror in Tunisia, and Al-Bulushi spoke about East Africa Warscape. Al-Bulushi explained in an article, that in an Al-Jazeera film, “members of the Kenyan security apparatus report that they have received direct orders from the US government for the targeted assassinations of terror suspects.” So, for Albulushi, “Africans, rather than Americans, are the most visible agents of counterterror abuses.” 
Interestingly, A-Bulushi et al. voiced no criticism over a panel titled “A British National Dialogue on the Big Conversation of Racism: Beyond the Hidden Resistance,” which included only independent scholars with no affiliation. 
For those unfamiliar with the jargon, the "infiltration of the Zionists" is a shorthand for delegitimizing respectable scholars by pro-Palestinian activists. This is a new trend in the anti-Israel academic circles. We should expect more of this approach in the future.
 
General Articles
 
17.07.19
The Campus War Against Israel
 
Over the years, the academy has become a prominent venue for anti-Israel activity. Arab oil-wealthy states invested large sums of money in Western Universities, to buy influence. With Middle East Centers or Islamic Centers, it gave them the opportunity to teach a revision of history tainting Israel in a negative light, and to influence who would be invited to teach and research in the social sciences. Staunch enemies of Israel were recruited, as well as Israelis who are critics of Israel. For example, Ilan Pappe, Neve Gordon, Adi Ophir, Ariella Azoulay, Hagar Kotef, Merav Amir, Amir-Paz Fuchs, and Uri Gordon, among others, were all recruited to Western campuses upon publicly expressing post-Zionist (read: anti-Zionist) views. 
Last week, the New York Times published an article "Why Is There So Much Saudi Money in American Universities?" Which details Saudi investments in Western campuses, adding that the benefits to Saudi Arabia from these investments are clear. The Kingdom gets access to the brain trust of the world's top academic institutions when planning to modernize its economy. Equally important, the entree to Ivy League schools softens the image of Riyadh. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy, hostile to women and LGBTQ with neither free press nor freedom of expression. Its associations beyond its borders intend to present it as an honorary Western nation. According to Robert Jordan, an ambassador to Saudi Arabia under President George W. Bush, "It’s a way of spreading soft power... in the same way the U.S. has done for years around the world.” 
As it happens, last month, due to concerns of foreign money coming from China, among others, "Trump administration reviewing foreign money to US colleges," revealing that the "U.S. Education Department has opened investigations into foreign funding at Georgetown University and Texas A&M University as part of a broader push to monitor international money flowing to American colleges." 
Still, Western countries haven't investigated the hatred and attacks against Israel, largely brought by the Arab-invested money, along with the paradigm change in social sciences with the rise of post-modernist teaching. Interestingly, when working the other way around, investments made by China on Israeli soil prompted the U.S to object to such collaborations for fears of harming American interests. 
The war against Israel is also driven by some Jewish organizations, J-Street comes to mind in this context. Jewish American scholars deflect accusations of anti-Semitism. They are writing polemics against Israel while ignoring abuses of human rights by Arab regimes, including the Palestinians. By criticizing Israel alone, they subscribe to the notion that Israel can do no right and the Palestinians can do no wrong. One such a Jewish anti-Israel scholar is Rebecca L. Stein, an associate professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University who often publishes articles and books attacking Israel. In 2009 she was among a group of academics who signed a "call for divestment and pressure against Israeli apartheid" and in 2014 she signed a call "Operation Protective Edge: Stop the Carnage!" declaring that "We, the undersigned, are united in calling for an end to Israel's obscene assault on Gaza." 
Stein recently published a report on a new Palestinian initiative intending to defame Israel through scholarships. Billed as a collaboration between the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (known as the Doha Institute) in Qatar, which is headed by former MK Azmi Bishara - who sought refuge in Qatar after escaping allegations of spying for Hizballah - and Birzeit University (BZU). Inaugurated a Master's program in the field of Israel Studies, which began operating in 2015. The first round of some 30 postgraduate students is due to complete their studies in the summer of 2019. 
The purpose of the program is to "produce Palestinian knowledge of Israeli society” aimed at the "fundamentally remaking the dominant paradigm of Israel Studies as it has been configured in the United States and increasingly in Great Britain, with its proud 'advocacy' mandate on behalf of the Israeli state. Birzeit’s program turns this paradigm inside out, providing students with a radical alternative." 
For decades, institutions of higher education across the Middle East were teaching Hebrew and "Zionist ideology" to Arab students as part of a "know your enemy" educational paradigm. Such educational projects also existed in the 1970s, when the PLO research center in Beirut had its own educational program along these lines, teaching Arabic translations of foundational Zionist writings. 
Stein reveals the background behind the making of this program, which began informally in 2010 in conversations between Birzeit faculty and president, with the Ramallah-based Institute for Palestine Studies. Disagreeing weather to call it “settler-colonial studies,” or “Israel Studies,” it was later approved by the Palestinian Ministry of Education, and the funding was secured from Qatar. 
The program director, Dr. Munir Fakher Eldin, a historian of modern Palestine, declares that his "basic strategy" is to show students that "all of the atrocities of Zionism and the occupation are basically comparable atrocities." He explains that in one of his classes, "we don’t only speak about settler colonialism and the Zionist land grab. I also talk about capitalism, because settler-colonialism benefited from the history of private property." 
The program encourages students to continue to Ph.D. at Western universities to produce anti-Israel scholarships. One such a student is Izz Al-Deen Araj, during his MA studies, he "started to think about Israel as a settler-colonial society, not [merely] as soldiers...We understand the conflict through one model: settler-colonialism or apartheid". When another student, Marah Khalifeh, began the program, "Israel was something abstract: the enemy, the colonizer." Now with the "in-depth knowledge about Israeli society…It’s part of knowing your enemy, part of the knowledge of resistance." According to Khalife, "It’s all about the type of knowledge we are trying to produce. We are trying to produce a Palestinian knowledge of Israeli society… to create our own tools." 
One professor in the program is Magid Shihade, an Israeli Arab resident of the Galilee and an expert in postcolonial theory. Shihade has taught in the program from 2015-2018. One of his courses was on the "1948 Palestinian society and politics", teaching the history of "Israeli state-sponsored discrimination, de-development and de-education within its Palestinian communities." Another professor is Nabih, who also holds a faculty position at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. 
There is no regional equivalent of the Israel Studies program in Birzeit outside of Palestine due to fear of accusations of normalization with Israel. In fact, the BZU’s Israel Studies program has a strong anti-normalization stance and supports BDS. 
In striking contrast, in Israel, a Hebrew University Prof. David Levi-Faur, protested through the pages of the Academia-IL network, against Israeli security measures refusing to extend visas to foreign lecturers in the Palestinian territories, echoing an article by Amira Hass in Haaretz on the issue. “I do this also to say that we care, but also to ask for additional comments on the conduct of the Population Authority. Is it true that the abuse is only of Palestinians or is it the abuse of tourists and visitors because they are the 'other'? Are we indifferent…? It seems to me that the abuse is also committed against students and lecturers who come to Israeli universities. I believe that on the level of maltreatment of the 'other' by immigration authorities, Israel is high, alongside immigration authorities like the US and Britain." In response, long-time activist Dr. Efraim Davidi assured him, yes "there are those who deal with solidarity with the Palestinian universities! It is the organization of lecturers from the left in Israeli higher education: the "Academy for Equality". 
Now, the question is, when will the West take notice of the war against a single country, that is Israel, on its campuses?
Ben-Gurion University
 
11.07.19
"Standing Together" of BGU Dani Filc Initiating Civil Unrest
 
IAM has reported on how political activist-academics abuse their university tolerance and resources to push their political agenda. 
The Ethiopian protest following the killing of Solomon Tekah by an off-duty police officer is the most recent case in point. 
Although the general public did not realize it, the violent protest was adopted and apparently encouraged by radical left-wing groups. According to one Ethiopian protester, the groups that joined the protest were "inciting the young people of my community against the State of Israel... [they want to] see blood in the streets more than they want to help our community. They push themselves into any legitimate struggle and turn it into a struggle against the state.” 
One such a group is "Standing Together," which distributed ready-made placards. The images of "Standing Together" taking part in the protest didn't escape the international media, see below some examples, even Iran reported on these events. 
"Standing Together" is a political group formed by various activists and academics, among them BGU Prof. Dani Filc, Sapir College Dr. Yeela Raanan, TAU Prof. Roy Kreitner. "Standing Together" is registered in Israel as a Company for the Benefit of the Public (acronym: Halatz). 
In 2016, Filc explained the raison d'être of the new movement while it received financial support from Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, a German foundation associated with the German Socialist Left Party. Writing on the Rosa-Lux website, Filc stated that "Standing Together” is an “attempt to build a broad Left Jewish-Arab movement... [against] the attacks by the government on democratic freedoms and on the Arab-Palestinian minority." 
Filc also listed several events of civil unrest which his group initiated, sometimes collaborating with other groups: "'Standing Together' initiated a peace march in the center of Jerusalem (October 17th, 2015), attended by 2,000 Jewish and Arab participants (CNN Report). This was quickly followed by a Jewish-Arab rally in the southern Arab-Bedouin town of Rahat (October 31st) and in northern city of Haifa (November 1st), attended by hundreds. When the Right-Extremist group 'Im Tirtzu' launched a smear campaign against 'Breaking the Silence' and other organizations, 'Standing Together' organized in December 19th, 2015, a 3,000-strong march in Tel-Aviv (Times of Israel). Since November, they hold monthly Israeli-Palestinian peace demonstrations in the occupied territories, organized jointly with 'Combatants for Peace'. Hundreds attend these demonstrations, called the 'Freedom Marches.' (Jerusalem Post)." 
Filc also listed the plans for the future, "a rally in Tel-Aviv on May 20th, in support of the Arab-Bedouin unrecognized village of Umm El-Hiran. They have begun the planning of a long-term process towards a broad 'Equality March', to be held in late 2016, that will march from Nazareth to Jerusalem, bringing together, under one umbrella, the demand for equality for various groups in Israeli society: Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, immigrants from the former USSR and from Ethiopia, Mizrahi (‘Sephardic’) Jews, precarious workers, women, the LGBT community, etc." 
Filc ended his piece by expressing hopes that "Standing Together" will be the next Jewish-Arab political movement for both NGOs working together with electoral parties. "In order to combat apathy and demoralization, They need a political movement which occupies the vast empty space between the electoral parties on the one hand and the NGOs on the other hand. This Jewish-Arab movement will be inclusive, pluralistic, activist-based and democratically operated. hopefully ‘Standing Together’ will be the beginning of such a movement.” 
Obviously, Filc forgets that teachers are not allowed to take up political activities, as published by the Ministry of Education in 2009, that the "teaching staff, as being trusted and responsible for students, must be seen as impartial, including in private communications, as neutral and objective as possible. He must act with restraint and tolerance, and not encourage or give preference to one political position or another." While it is accepted that campuses host student chapters of political parties, still, members of staff affiliated with these parties may find themselves preferring students from their own party, while rejecting students affiliated with the opposition. Such cases could present bias. 
The list of activists in “Standing Together” is composed of current and former students. There are four student chapters, Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University, Ben Gurion University, and the University of Haifa. By recruiting students, Filc and his comrades use university facilities and resources. 
Filc is a longstanding political figure who was once elected to the board of directors of Meretz. The Meretz website lists his activities. He is currently affiliated with the Communist Party which recently announced the publication of his new book, co-authored with MK Dov Khenin. 
The academic-political nexus of Filc is also evident in his supervision of graduate students. Filc was a second supervisor of a Ph.D. thesis of Dr. Abed (AlKader) Kanaaneh at the Hebrew University, who wrote a dissertation on "Hezbollah in Lebanon: The Muqawamah as a Contra-Hegemonic Project" under the supervision of Prof. Eyal Zisser and Filc. Zisser is a renowned expert on Syria and Lebanon, but Filc is a medical doctor focusing on academic-medical topics. Not surprisingly, Kanaaneh is a member of the Communist party and Hadash, as well as the former parliamentary advisor of MK Dov Khenin, and the director of the department of equality policy of Sikkuy, the Association for Civil Equality in Israel. 
As a radical left wing activist, Filc writes academic papers on the "Political Radicalization in Israel: From a Populist Habitus to Radical Right Populism in Government" which analyzes the "process of radicalization of the Likud party". And also co-authored an article with Dr. Amit Avigur-Eshel, another member of Meretz. 
The political activism by academics is unethical because the Israeli taxpayer is essentially subsidizing their political agenda, which in return instigate civil unrest.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
03.07.19
Pro-Palestinian Activists Take-Over Professional Associations in order to Promote BDS: BRISMES As a Case in Point
 
In recent years IAM wrote of the many attempts by professional associations to endorse the boycott of Israel. Last year IAM reported that the leadership of the American Studies Association (ASA), was "taken-over" by a group of BDS activists, supported by the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI). 
Another attempt was thwarted last week when the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) has voted in favor of BDS during the annual general meeting (AGM) in Leeds. The resolution was proposed by BRISMES Council Member Prof. John Chalcraft from London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and seconded by Dr. Rafeef Ziadah of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). According to the BDS resolution, BRISMES endorses "the call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions until these institutions publicly end their support and complicity in violating Palestinian rights as stipulated in international law". 
Charlcraft is a veteran anti-Israel activist. In 2007 he wrote an opinion piece in the Guardian, "Should we vote for a boycott" advocating for a boycott. Since then he has signed many petitions endorsing BDS. In 2009 he was a signatory in a letter to the editor of the Guardian, urging the UK Government to revoke its support for any new agreements with Israel, as well as urging the European Parliament to refuse to any upgrades of EU benefits to Israel. In his article "Israel's Bankrupt Politics," first posted in 2009 and updated in 2012, Chalcraft describes Israel as a "settler society adopting the colonial languages of cultural superiority, and based on the expulsion and dispossession of the indigenous Palestinian-Arab population, whose nationalist resistance is often called terrorism." He ends his piece with a direct call for BDS. 
His 2015 MESA paper "The BDS Movement and the Question of Radical Democracy" focuses on BDS and explores "the radically democratic characteristics of the movement" which deserves recognition. Charcraft also "draws out homologies between the BDS movement and other democratic movements of recent origin in the region." 
Suzanne Morrison, Charcraft's Ph.D. student in LSE, have submitted a thesis on "The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement: Activism Across Borders for Palestinian Justice", in 2015. 
In the 2017 Middle East Studies Association (MESA) annual conference, Charlcraft organized a panel, Protest in the Contemporary Middle East and North Africa: strategic interaction perspectives, where he presented the paper "Transnational activism and Veolia: A dynamic interaction analysis," discussing the French environmental and transport services, Veolia, which withdrew in 2015 from participating in the Jerusalem Light Rail. His paper begins with the first challenges to Veolia’s involvement in 2005-6 and aims "to shed light on the causal mechanisms at work: how did actions by the BDS movement translate into pressures on Veolia? What activist strategies were viable and effective? How were actors reconstituted over time? The case-study aims to shed light on the possibilities and limits of the BDS movement, to offer tools for studying transnational activism, and to address debates about strategic interaction perspectives on protest." 
The perception that Israel can do no right and the Palestinians can do no wrong also occurs in the recent BRISMES annual conference. For example, on the 26 June, a panel titled Interdisciplinarity, Academic Freedom, Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, and Palestine, was organized by Chalcraft. The first paper, "A praxis of solidarity: Palestine, Stop G4S and the Prison Industrial Complex" was presented by Rafeef Ziadah of SOAS; next paper was "BDS and the Boycott of Study Abroad Programs to Israel" by Bill Mullen, Purdue University; Followed by "The Academic Boycott Movement in the US: Academic (Un)Freedom and Decolonizing Palestine" by Sunaina Maira, of the University of California, Davis; and then "Transnational Solidarity with Palestine: lessons about the articulation of struggles from participatory action research" presented by Chalcraft. Not even a single paper opposing BDS was presented. In fact, the program is replete with anti-Israel papers, not one presenting Israel in a positive light. All papers on Israel/Palestine were in favor of the Palestinians and no criticism was offered. 
Another BRISMES council member is Nicola Pratt who has posted on Facebook on the eve of the 24th of June, after the vote, that "The British Society for Middle Eastern Studies made history today by being the 1st UK scholarly society to vote to endorse the academic boycott of Israeli universities until they end their complicity with the occupation and violations of Palestinian human rights. It’s so rare that I’m on the winning side that I can’t believe this has happened." Various Palestinians and pro-Palestinian colleagues have congratulated Pratt for her success, her FB friend Ronit Lentin, an anti-Israel academic- activist, wrote, "Mabrouk comrades!! Shukran." Pratt responded to another FB friend that "MESA next I hope." 
Pratt has already hit the news once. In 2010 an Israeli student of Pratt, Smadar Bakovic was completing an MA in Warwick University, Department of Politics and International Studies and Pratt was her assigned supervisor. After noting that Pratt chaired an anti-Israel event on campus, Bakovic discovered that Pratt was a vocal advocate of BDS. Bakovic requested to be assigned to another supervisor but was refused. Later that year Bakovic received her grade from Pratt, a pass. Bakowic accused Pratt of under grading her due to anti-Israel sentiments. In her feedback, Pratt wrote Bakovic, that she had the tendency to "adopt Israeli/Zionist narratives as thought they were uncontested facts." Bakovic decided to appeal against her grade and requested a regrading. After seven months the Complaints Committee agreed to have her dissertation re-marked and in 2011, she was awarded a distinction. 
But the BRISMES case has a twist. Immediately after the announcement that BRISMES is endorsing the boycott - which was first published by the Middle East Monitor, a media outlet dedicated to attacking Israel - the officers of BRISMES have published a notice on their website explaining that BRISMES "has not endorsed the academic boycott of Israeli Institutions as advocated by BDS.” While the AGM has voted in favor of a boycott, “This vote is not binding on the Society". 
BRISMES was established in 1973 "to encourage and promote the study of the Middle East in the United Kingdom... and to bring together teachers, researchers, students, diplomats, journalists and others who deal professionally with the Middle East." In reality, it was highjacked to promote pro-Palestinian agenda and to besmirch Israel, acting against British interests.
Tel Aviv University
 
 27.06.19
Omar Barghouti: Milking the Tel Aviv University Cow
 
Tel Aviv University has a long history of supporting politically-motivated scholars, a trend on which IAM has frequently reported. 
One such an example is late Prof. Marcelo Dascal, a professor of Philosophy and a former Dean of Social Science at TAU who recently passed away. As reported in Haaretz, Dascal resided in those years in Jaffa where he was busy facilitating Jewish-Arab gatherings at his home, aimed at condemning violence on both sides. Omar Barghouti, who co-founded the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), was one of Dascal's students. In 2001, Barghouti has joined the MA program in Philosophy which jump-started his activist career. 
It didn't take long for Barghouti to enter the philosophical circles with the help of Prof. Anat Biletzki, Dascals' colleague from the Philosophy Department and a leading political activist in her own right. In 2003, Barghouti joined Dascal, Biletzki and other TAU Philosophers and traveled to Turkey to participate in the World Congress of Philosophy. Interestingly, Barghouti was listed as coming from Palestine although he was studying in Israel. While the main topic of the conference was philosophical, there were plenty of political undertones. One panel, "The Opposition between Universalism and Politics in the Sphere of Human Rights" was organized by Biletzki, and featured Barghouti, among others. 
Barghouti, who studied at TAU for nearly a decade, until 2010, became quite active in academic circles. His first publication appeared in a book, The New Intifada: Resisting Israel's Apartheid, edited by Roane Carey, in 2001. Barghouti who described himself in the book as a doctoral candidate in philosophy (ethics) at TAU, contributed the chapter "Palestine's Tell-Tale Heart.” He started off by discussing the short story by Edgar Allen Poe, "The Tell-Tale Heart,” about a person who killed an old man because he couldn't bear his vulture looking eyes and dismembered his corpse, Barghouti compared Israel to the "tell-tale heart of the old Palestine after it was dismembered." Barghouti moved on to assume that Israel exaggerated the threats it faces, he then negated Israel's right to exist by stating that there are "problematic assumptions: that Jews are a nation, and that such a nation has a right to exist as such in Palestine.” 
During his studies at TAU, he published 27 articles in Counterpunch, a radical leftist publication known for its extreme hostility to Israel. 
From the very beginning, Barghouti's work was anti-Semitic. For example, his article "The spirit of Auschwitz" which was published in Al-Ahram in 2002 states that: 
"several Israeli policies evoke a strong analogy with the Nazis." 
"Some of the wicked practices of the Nazis in concentration camps were even imported, wholesale and unabashedly, by Israeli army officers." 
"The victims of one of history's worst crimes against humanity are increasingly resorting to some of the same tools of racist hatred and collective punishment to complete the job that the founders of Zionism had envisioned: a 'pure' Jewish state." 
"The victims of the Holocaust are victimizing the byproduct victims of the Holocaust yet another time." 
Another article, "'The Pianist' of Palestine: Reflections on Israel’s ubiquitous abuse", published by the Electronic Intifada in 2004, discussed the Oscar-winning film "The Pianist," declaring: 
"I could not help but compare the Warsaw ghetto wall with Israel’s much more ominous wall caging 3.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza in fragmented, sprawling prisons." 
"Many of the methods of collective and individual 'punishment' meted out to Palestinian civilians at the hands of young, racist, often sadistic and ever impervious Israeli soldiers at the hundreds of checkpoints littering the occupied Palestinian territories are reminiscent of common Nazi practices against the Jews." 
"Unsettlingly similar to the way persecuted Jews were marked during the Holocaust, young Palestinian have been tattooed by Israeli soldiers during the current intifada." 
Soon after, Barghouti contributed a chapter to Dascal’s co-edited book in philosophy, Controversies and Subjectivity, published in 2005. Barghouti's chapter "Ethical implications of de-dichotomization of identities in conflict" was illustrating the 9/11 attack and brought examples of cases, reflecting on the "New York calamity". One of his listed cases was of a Holocaust survivor from the Warsaw Ghetto and Maidanek concentration camp. Barghouti described the Holocaust survivor as she reflected on the news which filtered back during the Second World War, that the Russians were "indiscriminately bombing German cities with a massive toll of civilian lives", to which the Holocaust survivor replied "I wanted the Germans to die… I knew I wouldn’t live, so I wanted them to die, too. We cheered the Russians. We wanted them to destroy anything and everything German. We wished [the Germans’] death every second of the day because we faced death every second of the day". Clearly, Barghouti intended to present the Holocaust survivor as evil. 
It is clear why Barghouti used the legitimacy of TAU to publish material that was anti-Semitic, even before the widely adopted international definition of anti-Semitism. What is difficult to understand is why Tel Aviv University not only put up but evidently encouraged this student to engage in anti-Semitic calumnies under the guise of academic research.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
20.06.19
When BDS Meets anti-Semitism
 
In May, IAM reported on a group of sixty Jewish and Israeli scholars who signed an open letter to German political parties, requesting not to equate BDS with anti-Semitism. They argued that supporting BDS is supporting Palestinian human rights, therefore, conflating the two is "incorrect, unacceptable and a threat to the liberal-democratic order in Germany." The group insisted that Palestinians "refrain from violence when opposing the occupation of their land and the ongoing discrimination and oppression they are exposed to. BDS is essentially a non-violent movement, which protests serious human rights violations." 
Their reference to the BDS movement as non-violent is misleading. Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin, a left-leaning American-Israeli researcher, formerly of BGU, has written in 2011, that methods of disruption such as "Heckling of Israeli Orchestra in London spews hatred, not solutions". The hecklers were "shutting down the BBC’s broadcast of the performance, I felt all sorts of prickly anger." She concluded that "the assault on people’s attempt to be knowledgeable, makes me doubt how informed the hecklers themselves are. It is frighteningly clear that a cheap, one-sided reduction of the conflict to a message of 'hate all things Israeli' will lead to dangerously reductionist solutions. If you want to change their minds, don’t force them – convince them." 
BDS activists hating "anything Israeli" was evident at the violent incidents which took place at King’s College London in Jan 2016. Pro-Palestinian activists raided a talk by an Israeli speaker, Ami Ayalon, former head of the Security Agency who switched to peace activism, breaking windows, throwing chairs and setting off multiple fire alarms. These violent forms of BDS activism fit the global definition of anti-Semitism. 
American campuses have looked at evidence suggesting that violence is present during BDS protest. A year ago, the Algeminer editors published the "2nd Annual List of the Most Challenging North American Campuses for Jewish Students" for 2017. There are approximately 400,000 Jewish undergraduates at colleges and universities in North America. The report establishes that "high percentages of Jewish students say they have witnessed, experienced or heard antisemitism on their campus." The report finds that "those campuses with the most active Jewish communities are also home to the most antisemitism." The report also refers to the success of the BDS campaign as a significant factor. In particular when there is an active presence of both anti-Israel groups and pro-boycott faculty members, creating a hostile environment. Also, the Amcha initiative, a group protecting Jewish students on North American campuses, published in late 2017 a study revealing “How Faculty who Boycott Israel Increase Likelihood of anti-Semitism”. Their report brings the first empirical evidence to explain how faculty promotion of an academic boycott of Israel is different from other advocacy on campus and poses a threat to Jewish students. 
Going back to Germany, another attempt to dissuade the German government from equating BDS with anti-Semitism was expressed in a letter, this time signed by 240 Jewish and Israeli scholars, disseminated by the BDS movement. While repeating the claim that BDS is non-violent, they ignore the amount of hostility, intimidation, and harassment by BDS supporters. 
But the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that “Germany is accused of downplaying anti-Semitic attacks by Muslims”. The German government blames mostly the far-right for anti-Semitism, even the annual al-Quds Day demonstrations in Berlin have been classified by the authorities as forms of far-right anti-Semitism. Last month, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said that supporters of far-right groups were responsible for about 90 percent of the 1,800 recorded anti-Semitic incidents in in 2018, a 20 percent increase from the previous year. This goes in contrast to a 2016 survey of hundreds of German Jews who had experienced anti-Semitic incidents when 41 percent said the perpetrator was "someone with a Muslim extremist view," and 16 percent identified their aggressor as someone from the far left. Only 20 percent identified their aggressors as belonging to the far-right. According to Daniel Poensgen, a researcher at the Department for Research and Information on Anti-Semitism (RIAS) "It means we can’t really use the official statistics on anti-Semitism in Germany." He gave an example for the German confusion when the German court ruled that anti-Semitism was not the motivation behind the attempt by three Palestinians to set fire to a synagogue, later the higher court affirmed this ruling. 
Unlike Germany, an Austrian report on anti-Semitism included a section on "Imported antisemitic narratives" which surveyed the "imported" or "immigrant" anti-Semitism in a nationwide representative survey by 300 interviews. The respondents, including two groups of Turkish and Arabic speakers, almost consistently agreed with anti-Semitic statements more than the general Austrian population. For example, the respondents were given a statement, "If the state of Israel no longer exists, then peace prevails in the Middle East." In response, 76% of Arabic speakers and 51% of Turkish speakers agreed with this statement. These results indicate a greater level of anti-Semitic feelings coming from Arabic and Turkish speakers, respectively. 
In Germany, no such distinction is measured. The vote of the German Bundestag declaring that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic and therefore illegitimate has spurred another confrontation. Those who fight against BDS expect the German government to adopt this motion, and those in favor of BDS, such as pro-Palestinian activists and scholars, including some Israelis, write petitions against it. 
The intense debate shifted the focus to Peter Schaefer, the director of the Jewish Museum in Berlin (JMB), who expressed support with the petition and, following criticism, quit his job. In response, Prof. Amos Goldberg of the Hebrew University, a pro-Palestinian activist who equates the Palestinian Nakba to the Jewish Holocaust and one of the initiators of the petition, wrote an email (below) to fellow-activists expressing support with the museum director: "What we’re witnessing is pure incitement, designed to intimidate the JMB and others into silence. It’s an outrageous assault on the freedom of speech and on the principle and value of a free, fair and open discussion. Goldberg ended with a plea, "consider contributing to the several discussions on twitter... These are simple steps but might be highly influential." 
IAM will report on the developments in Germany in due course.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
13.06.19
Case Study on Three BDS Activists Working for Israeli Universities: Tom Pessah, Ronnen Ben-Arie and Merav Amir
 
IAM has been reporting on academic BDS for years. BDS in general, including the academic BDS, has prompted the Israeli Knesset to pass the Anti-BDS Law in July 2011 entitled "Law Preventing Harm to the State of Israel by Means of Boycott." By the definition of the Law, "Boycott" is a civil wrong. "He who knowingly publishes a public call for a boycott against the State of Israel, where according to the content and circumstances of the publication there is a reasonable probability that the call will lead to a boycott." 
Universities, like all other institutions, are expected to abide by the anti-BDS Law. 
Still, IAM found three examples of academic BDS propagators with direct ties to Israeli universities. 
Dr. Tom Pessah has been pursuing postdoctoral positions at the Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University and has taught two courses: "Ethnicity and 'Race' – A Global Perspective" at the Sociology and Anthropology Department at Ben-Gurion University, and "Violence and Politics – Selected Topics" at the Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University. Pessah is a sociologist from the University of California, Berkeley. His 2014 Ph.D. thesis focuses on internal debates regarding ethnic cleansing within settler colonial societies. Pessah's endorsement of BDS began before the anti-BDS Law was passed. In 2010, a bill in "Support of UC Divestment from War Crimes," referring to Israel, was co-authored by Pessah. Also, on October 29, 2018, in a teach-in at the University of Michigan, titled "What is BDS? And Why Does it Matter?" Pessah spoke as an expert on the BDS movement. As reported by the press, Pessah said: "BDS has been a model of solidarity from my knowledge of participation in the movement... You see many Palestinians, many Jews, many Israelis working side by side, acknowledging the rights of Palestinians." 
Dr. Ronnen Ben-Arie is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Minerva Center for the Rule of Law under Extreme Conditions at the University of Haifa and an adjunct lecturer at the Technion Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning. Before the anti-BDS Law, Ben-Arie was among the signatories in a 2010 letter to the rock band Pixies urging them to "postpone your performance in Israel." In another petition, Ben-Arie was a signatory to "Dissident Israelis support Marrickville BDS plan" that was published in April 2011. After the Law was passed, Ben-Arie is promoting divestment from Israel in a co-authored book, From Shared Life to Co-resistance in Historic Palestine, published in 2017. The book asks "In what ways can we divest from settler arrangements in the present-day? Exploring the Zionist takeover of Palestine as a settler colonial case." The book suggests "How do we contribute to the decolonisation of Palestine?" And charges Israel with an "attempt to eliminate native life involved the destruction of Arab society"; "settlerist process of dispossession of the Arabs"; "elimination of shared life", among other accusations. The book offers an "Arab-Jewish co-resistance as a way of defying Israel's Zionist regime, to oppose "an unacceptable state of affairs." The book discusses "possible futures," exploring ways to divest from Israel, as mentioned before. 
Dr. Merav Amir is a senior lecturer in Human Geography at Queen's University Belfast who is often involved in academic publications of Israeli universities. Recently, she co-edited the Tel Aviv University Minerva Humanities Journal Mafteakh Issue 13. The Journal aims to create an open "political lexicon". In 2012-2013, Amir was a fellow at the Hebrew University Davis Institute. In 2014 Amir participated in the journal Public Sphere of the Tel Aviv University School of Political Science. Amir is a long-time supporter of BDS. She was a contributor to the 2012 book The Case for Sanctions Against Israel. In 2015, Amir was described by a Dutch-Palestinian initiative as "an activist in the BDS movement." She is also one of the initiators of a 2016 petition "Jews Across Northern Ireland Support Sanctions Against Israel," stating clearly "We support boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, as called for by Palestinian civil society." The petition also claims that "The State of Israel does not represent the Jewish people" and protests against those who "conflated Jews with Zionists, which is frankly offensive." 
The case study of the three BDS activists shows quite clearly that university authorities do not keep a close watch on their faculty. Since universities are supported by the tax payers, it behooves them to pay attention to the laws which are passed by the Knesset.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
06.06.19
Scientists Protest Against the 50th International Physics Olympiad in July in Tel Aviv University
 

The 50th International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) 2019, is taking place on July 7-15, 2019 in Tel Aviv. The IPhO 2019 is organized in collaboration with Tel Aviv University's Faculty of Exact Sciences and the Ministry of Education. 
The IPhO is an annual international physics competition for secondary school students aimed to enhance the development of international contacts in the field of school education in physics. The first IPhO was held in Warsaw (Poland) in 1967 to create an event which prizes the knowledge in physics of the best students around the world. Participating countries take a turn in hosting the IPhO, an event which is typically organized by the Ministry of Education, the local Physical Society or another appropriate institution of the country where the competition is being held. The competition lasts for two days, one devoted to theoretical problems, and the other to experimental problems, with at least one full day of rest in between. 
Like all international events in recent years, the competition which is due to be hosted in Israel next month is provoking a barrage of opposition and protests by the Palestinians and their allies. This time, twenty scientists from various universities around the world, including Prof. George P. Smith, the 2018 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, wrote an open letter to the organizers to protest against holding it in Israel. 
The letter explains that the event is promoted by the "denial of Palestinian human rights, including the right to education." The group of scientists claims that "Under the present circumstances, citizens of many countries are de facto excluded from entering Israel and attending the IPhO, not to mention Palestinian students from the West Bank and Gaza... The people in Gaza live under a harsh blockade, students and academics cannot leave even if they have a scholarship to study abroad. The people in the West Bank live under military occupation, and are routinely detained by Israeli forces." To prove their point the group of scientists provides one-sided reports from Haaretz and B’Tselem. 
They end their letter with a plea: "We call on all students and mentors from all over the world not to participate to the next International Physics Olympiad in Israel and to stand for Human rights of the young Palestinian pupils and students, including their right to education. We call on the boards of other International Science Olympiads to refrain from organizing their future contests in Israel, as long as it continues its military occupation and apartheid policy, in defiance of international law." 
As often the case, among the signatories are two Israelis: Emmanuel Farjoun, Professor of Mathematics, Hebrew University; and, Dror Warschawski, Biophysicist, Research Associate at the National Center for Scientific Research, Paris, and at Université du Québec à Montréal. 
The group of scientists ignores the fact that members of the Olympiad include countries such as Iran, Kuwait, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, among others. By singling out Israel alone and ignoring countries with a far worse record of abusing human rights, the group of scientists follows in the footsteps of anti-Israeli activists who perfected the tactics of double standards. The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism holds that such double standards amount to anti-Semitism. 
Interestingly, Prof. Farjoun, one of the signatories, is a long-time activist of the radical anti-Zionist group Matzpen. Another signatory is Prof. Dror Warschawski, the son of Michel Warschawski, another long-time Matzpen activist. While the virulently anti-Israel group Matzpen disbanded decades ago, its message has been propagated by academic-activists around the globe.

Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
30.05.19
Tackling Anti-Semitism and BDS
 
With the rising number of anti-Semitic incidents on a global scale, a number of initiatives to tackle the problem have emerged, drawing a link to the BDS movement. 
Earlier this month, the Florida Senate has unanimously approved a bill prohibiting anti-Semitism in Florida public schools and universities. The legislation determines that students or employees or "institutional policies motivated by anti-Semitic intent [should be treated] in an identical manner to discrimination motivated by race.” Based on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition, the bill describes anti-Semitism as following: A certain perception of the Jewish people, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jewish people; Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism directed toward a person, his or her property, or toward Jewish community institutions or religious facilities. Like the IHRA definition, the bill also provides examples of anti-Semitism, such as: Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews, often in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion; Accusing Jews as a people or the State of Israel of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust; Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interest of their own nations. The bill also provides examples of anti-Semitism related to the State of Israel, such as: Applying a double standard to Israel by requiring behavior of Israel that is not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation; Delegitimizing Israel by denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination and denying Israel the right to exist. The American version, in addition to the IHRA definition, also includes: Peace or human rights investigations focusing on Israel alone. 
The bill now awaits Gov. Ron DeSantis to sign into law. DeSantis referred to the bill in a recent appearance, stating "we have an anti-Semitism bill, which is one of the strongest in the nation, that I’ll sign into law, actually I think I will sign it into law when we’re in Jerusalem doing a Cabinet meeting." DeSantis, however, has met with strong opposition to signing the bill in Israel, when a watchdog group and a number of media outlets, filed a lawsuit against him and the members of the Florida State Cabinet, because meeting in Israel violates the Florida state constitution and state open government laws requiring Cabinet meetings to be held with public access. DeSantis arrived in Israel for a few days with some 90 members of the state trade delegation and signed agreements with various Israeli companies in a number of fields such as space, agriculture, water, and cybersecurity. DeSantis also visited Ariel University to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Ariel University and Florida State University. In Israel, DeSantis joined Florida Atlantic University, the University of North Florida, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, and Miami Dade College, as they signed an MOU with the University of Haifa. 
The University of Haifa has also recently hosted Prof. Melvin L. Oliver, the president of Pitzer College in Claremont, California, who defied internal pressure to boycott the exchange agreement with Haifa and vetoed the vote. Oliver has given a keynote lecture at the University of Haifa annual board of governors meeting. In an interview, Oliver notes that the BDS motion began when Prof. Dan Segal, the adviser of the local chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, has led the campaign to suspend Pitzer’s program with Haifa. Segal’s BDS motion was one of the first and was faculty-led. Shortly afterwards, an initial BDS vote was passed by the Pitzer faculty, and then the students' governance body has voted to suspend the following semester of the Haifa program. At the same day, Oliver announced that he would veto the resolution. Oliver adds that a boycott of Israel "sets us on a path away from the free exchange of ideas, a direction which ultimately destroys the academy’s ability to fulfill our educational mission." Oliver notes it was an uncomfortable situation for Jewish students who felt singled out for "having positions that SJP gave to them or were assumed to have as defenders of Israel." 
But drawing a direct link between BDS and anti-Semitism occurred on May 15, when the German Bundestag became the first parliament to pass a resolution designating BDS as anti-Semitic. The resolution states that the campaign to boycott Israeli goods along with the “Don’t Buy” stickers, recalled "the most terrible chapter in German history." It argues that the pattern of arguments and the methods used by BDS activists is anti-Semitic. It resolved not to fund an organization which questions Israel’s right to exist, calls for a boycott of Israel, or actively supports BDS. 
The resolution comes after a “growing unease” of the German Jewish community, as anti-Semitism has increased tremendously in recent years. 
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union party, and it's Social Democratic coalition partner, along with the liberal party and the Greens, have brought the resolution to the Bundestag. 
In response, the Palestinian BDS National Committee issued a statement condemning the "anti-Palestinian, McCarthyite and unconstitutional resolution." They urged "people of conscience" to defend the "sanctity of universal human rights and freedom of expression by protecting the right to BDS". The BDS Committee also declared that BDS “rejects all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism" and that the academic and cultural boycott of Israel is "strictly institutional and does not target individual Israelis.” But contrary to these claims, IAM noted in April, individual Israeli scholars were in fact targeted when they were disinvited to a conference in South Africa, due to pressure from BDS activists on the organizers. None of the Palestinian BDS leadership intervened to oppose the targeting of individual Israelis which contradicts the published goals of BDS. 
Interestingly, some radical academics joined the criticism of the German parliament. Some sixty Jewish and Israeli scholars, many of them who research Jewish history and anti-Semitism, signed an open letter, "A Call to German Parties not to Equate BDS with Anti-Semitism." According to the group, supporting BDS is actually supporting Palestinian human rights and the conflation between supporting BDS and anti-Semitism is "incorrect, unacceptable and a threat to the liberal-democratic order in Germany." The group insisted that Palestinians "refrain from violence when opposing the occupation of their land and the ongoing discrimination and oppression they are exposed to. BDS is essentially a non-violent movement, which protests serious human rights violations." 
To isolate BDS from the Palestinian violence against Israelis and Jews is misleading. The group also failed to warn the BDS leadership that the South African conference which boycotted Israeli individuals breached the published goals of the BDS movement, making such incidents anti-Semitic.
Hebrew University
 

HUJ Daphna Golan-Agnon Accused by Students of being Biased and Aggressive

23.05.19
In March 2019, IAM was contacted by an international student who studies at the International School of the Hebrew University. The student claimed an anti-Israel and anti-Semitic atmosphere on campus. The student also felt been treated differently and discriminated against, for being visually Jewish. But the student was unable to provide IAM with any written material to prove this case. In general, IAM is cautious when approached by students who may be unhappy with their grades only to blame the institution for political bias. 
A few days ago, the media reported a complaint by students from the same International School at the Hebrew University, titled "Hebrew University’s International Graduate Professor Spouts Anti-Israel Rhetoric," as well as "Hebrew U. Prof Accused of ‘Systematic Misinformation,’ Political Bias.” This time the student provided proof, including a print-screen of an email arriving from Prof. Daphna Golan, who teaches this class, saying: “I am not sure why you are studying in my course – but both of your handouts are disgraceful... You are a student whose presence in class is very disturbing to the whole group and your remarks are very unpleasant. I am sorry I had to read your unpleasant and not intelligent papers. You got zero on both.” The print-screen shows this email was also sent to the program director Rula Abu Zayyad. 
The media also interviewed another student from this class who said in response about Golan, that “The way she had attacked him [the student] was not okay... everyone in class was upset by the way she spoke to him.” The friend from class added that the assigned paper of this student was actually professional. “You could tell that the professor was very biased and aggressive to people whose positions weren’t the same as hers.” 
A perusal at the syllabus of Golan's course "The Role of NGOs in Promoting Human Rights and Transitional Justice" reveals a one-sided picture and excess of activism. Students learn "the importance of the Nakba for Israelis and Palestinians." Golan’s reading assignment presents the Palestinian narrative alone and refers to Palestinian and Israeli NGOs protecting Palestinians rights. There is no effort to include the Israeli point of view. 
Hebrew University is failing its duty to promote a more balanced view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is especially regrettable because many American universities have taken steps to curtail the one-sided presentations driven by pro-Palestinian activists on campus. 
Also, with regards to discrimination, Hebrew University should seriously look into all these cases by speaking to all the students participating in Golan's class. It should re-evaluate the student's assigned paper by an external examiner in order to determine whether the failing grade was a political bias on Golan's part. Whether it is or isn't, her use of language aimed at this or other students is unacceptable. 
IAM will report in due course on further development of this case.

General Articles
 
14.05.19
Protest Over the Summer Special Issue of Israel Studies
 
A special summer issue of the journal Israel Studies, "Word Crimes; Reclaiming The Language of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict," created the academic equivalent of a hurricane. Edited by Donna Robinson Divine, a professor emerita of Jewish Studies and Government at Smith College, the issue covered the one-sided vocabulary used these days to describe Israel as an apartheid state, a colonial usurper in the Middle East, and a country which commits war crimes toward the Palestinians. Divine explains that Israel, once a trope for self-sacrifice and solidarity, now "stands accused of practicing apartheid, genocide, ethnic cleansing" and colonialism. The issue explores this "lexical transformation" and describes "how and why it acquired its totemic standing". 
For those familiar with the history of social sciences in the West, the answer is quite simple. In the 1970s, driven by political and social upheavals, the dominant positivist paradigm was replaced by the neo-Marxist, critical approach, which, over the years, painted Israel as a purely colonial power with no historical rights to the land. Unsurprisingly, the new paradigm depicted the Palestinians as the victims of the colonial machinations of the Jews and their Western allies. Edward Said’s Orientalism became the icon of the new paradigm. With the wealthy Gulf States investing in Middle East Centers on Western campuses, the new paradigm was spread globally. Equally important, this investment enabled them to influence who would be hired or invited to lecture in the Middle East Centers and the Israel Studies Departments, hence, the critics themselves. 
A discussion of the merits of the two paradigms to depict the realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is legitimate and, indeed, desirable. However, the critics chose to ignore all this, and instead chose to attack the scholarship of the journal contributors by writing that the journal "ignores basic standards of academic scholarship, is heavily slanted in favor of Israel and relies on contributions from lightweights in the field." So much so, that Prof. Ian Lustick, who serves on the board of the Association for Israel Studies (AIS) stated that "the board would 'reconsider' its relationship with the journal". 
In a public letter to the AIS, the group of critics voiced their concerns, "we were dismayed" because the issue "fell far short of standards expected of academic journals... we believe has done serious damage to the reputation of the journal, and could cast a long shadow on the AIS and the field." Because the issue features essays on key terms in "critical scholarship of Israel/Palestine". They argue that "The castigation of intellectual categories as 'word crimes' is not a starting point for a good-faith discussion: it is a call to arms. By describing terms as 'linguistic transgressions' and scholarship as lacking in 'sanity', the issue made clear that its aim was not to contribute to vigorous debate, but rather to police and shut down this debate." The critics also claimed that "barely a third of the 17 contributors to the issue could claim academic expertise in the subject they were writing on. Disciplinary boundaries are not sacred, but the selection of so many non-specialists (including non-academics)." 
The critics argue that "It is not clear why an archaeologist was chosen to write on "Human Rights", and a communication professor served as an expert on "Apartheid". The essays made minimal and inadequate reference to relevant scholarship. The pieces on “Anti-Zionism” and “Occupation” did not have a single footnote. The essay on “Arab-Palestinian Refugees” failed to refer to key works by Benny Morris, Yoav Gelber, Walid Khalidi, and other scholars. The essay on “Colonialism” did not engage the rich literature on settler-colonialism from the last 15 years. These are a few examples of the numerous and pervasive failings of the issue. Overall the special issue read as a partisan and polemical exercise in advocacy rather than serious scholarship." 
The critics also issued a veiled threat: "Inability to make the distinction between advocacy and scholarship could threaten the future of the AIS as a vital scholarly space for research and discussion of contemporary Israel. The journal Israel Studies must undergo a serious overhaul to address these concerns in order to save its reputation and prevent such failures in the future. If such effort is not undertaken, the AIS should end its sponsorship of the journal and disaffiliate from it." 
As noted, a proper debate on the issue of academic coverage of Israel, and the Arab-Palestinian conflict is long overdue. In the meanwhile, three notes are in order. 
The critics railed against the fact that some of the contributors did not have the proper qualifications to write on the subjects. They should be reminded that many of the radical scholar-activists, which IAM covered for almost two decades, switched from their original disciplines to write about the Arab-Israeli conflict. For instance, Prof. Daniel Bar-Tal who was hired to teach and research child development and education has switched focus to the conflict; Prof. Yehouda Shenhav who was hired to teach and research on the sociology of organizations ended up writing about the conflict. Indeed, the Israel Studies Association gave him a prize for this work; Dr. Anat Matar was hired to teach and research philosophy and not Palestinian prisoners; Avner Ben Amos, a researcher in education who switched to the conflict; Prof. Nurit Peled-Elhanan, a researcher on child education started lecturing on the conflict; Prof. Gadi Algazi is an expert of late medieval and early modern history and not the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; Prof. Shlomo Sand, an expert on French cinema and culture became an "expert" on Judaism; Among others. With the sole exception of IAM, no one has ever questioned the fact that they were not qualified to do so. 
The critics had complained that many of the articles did not follow accepted scholarly standards. They should be aware that the 2011 Evaluation Committee report by the Council of Higher Education on the Department of Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University noted that many of the faculty published in neo-Marxist, critical journals which did not maintain mainstream, (read: positivist) scholarly standards. 
The critics chastised the contributors for failing to refer to the key works on refugees such as Walid Khalidi or Benny Morris. They should be aware of the fact that Khalidi’s work on the refugees was criticized for lack of proper academic standards. As for Benny Morris, the question is what version of the 1948 story needs to be included. It is well known that after the failure of the Oslo peace process, Morris became disenchanted with the Palestinians and soon after revised his 1948 narrative about the refugees. 
In fact, as the list of signatories of the petition reveals, the critics themselves are not all coming from this field of expertise. 
In response, the journal editors Prof. Ilan Troen and Dr. Natan Aridan, wrote that the next published issues of Israel Studies would allow critics to analyze the "controversial" issue. This is the proper academic resolve. Using academic tools, critics should be able to debate. Calls to silence the opposition is nothing but charlatanism.
General Articles
 
09.05.19
The Latest Round of Academic Controversies
 
A number of controversies erupted recently stemming from the continuing efforts of some academics to mix politics with scholarly pursuits. 
Over the years IAM has reported on hundreds of cases in which academics mixed their political agenda with scholarship. TAU professor Yehouda Shenhav has been a leading figure among the political activists in the academy. Originally, a researcher of the sociology of organizations, he switched to focusing on his politics. 
Although retired now, he is still very much in the public view. Most recently, he attended the reception for Amir Makhoul who was released from prison after nine years. Makhoul was arrested by the Shin Bet in early May 2010, in an affair that stunned Israeli society. He was a prominent leader in the Arab community, a member of the Follow-Up Committee, as well as the head of Ittijah - the umbrella organization for the Arab society. His brother Issam Makhoul is a former member of Knesset of the Hadash party. Makhoul confessed to contacts with a foreign agent, a connection to the enemy during wartime, and serious espionage in favor of Hezbollah. The charges stated that he provided information about military bases and security facilities of the army, the Shin Bet and Mossad, to a Hezbollah man whom he met in Denmark. The presiding judges ruled that Makhoul befriended the "most bitter enemy" of Israel. 
Hezbollah’s record is well known. Under guidance from Iran, the organization has waged a bloody campaign against Israeli citizens and the IDF. Hezbollah chief, Hassan Nasrallah, has been very open about his desire to eradicate Israel from the map of the Middle East. The question is why Shenhav rushed to greet Makhoul. As IAM repeatedly noted, the irony is that the Israeli taxpayers provide Shenhav with the means to embrace enemies of the state. 
Another leading activist is BGU Prof. Oren Yiftachel. He recently participated in a conference organized by Middle East Monitor (MEMO), a pro-Hamas publication created to fill the "growing need" for supporters of the Palestinian cause. The conference focused on the Palestinian citizens of Israel, their history and the challenges they face in the "wake of Israel’s controversial Nation-State Law, which last year deprived the community of its right to national self-determination and effectively rendered 1.8 million people second-class citizens within Israel." 
Yiftachel discussed the "Israeli apartheid" and promoted political group A Land for All he co-founded. As reported by Al-Jazeera, Yiftachel's talk was about a "New stage in 'settler-colonial' process." Yiftachel was "comparing Israel with apartheid South Africa, whose government corralled the indigenous majority into self-governing 'bantustans'." Accordingly, Yiftachel said, "the Nation-State Law opens a new stage in the Israeli 'settler-colonial' process, which he called one of 'deepening apartheid'… Apartheid, of course, is illegal, it is a war crime, it is a crime against humanity." IAM has been reporting on his kind of lectures for close to two decades, including his trademark warning about “deepening apartheid.” Still, the likes of Al-Jazeera are always happy to quote him and other radical Israeli academics. 
In another controversial move, a group of political activists, among them several scholars, published their petition to the Israeli Supreme Court, against the Knesset, the Government, and the Attorney General, about the law “Israel and the National State of the Jewish People. 
Of course, there has been a robust debate about the new law. However, the signatories adopted a rather bizarre approach, calling it an “Ashkenazi petition.” They describe themselves as “Israeli citizens of Ashkenazi-Western origin” or “those to whom Western culture is a component of identity.” The petition states that it follows a petition by 60 intellectuals and academics of Mizrachi origin or the so-called “Mizrahi petition.” 
The petitioners repeat the assertion of the “Mizrahi petition” that the new law discriminates not just against the non-Jewish population of the country, but also against Jews of Mizrahi origin. The reason for that far-fetched assertion is that bill relegates Arabic to the status of a “second language,” which allegedly hurts the Mizrahim, by reflecting their “second class status.” It was Yehouda Shenhav, as a member in HaKeshet HaMizrahit, a group of Mizrahi academics, who published a book in the 1990s to the effect that the Mizrahim are “Arab Jews” whose Arab heritage was destroyed by the Zionist establishment. Framing the petition in the language of ethnic origin of Ashkenazi or Mizrahi, in order to argue against the new law, would not serve the petitioners purpose. Scholars should have known better, as they have a responsibility to the public. 
In fact, the study Academic Freedom in Israel: A Comparative Perspective indicated that faculty in Israel enjoy academic freedom which surpasses anything that their peers in public tertiary education could dream. Not incidentally, this state of affairs has distorted the teaching and research in social science. As a number of reports for the Council of Higher Education noted, some departments, notably in Ben Gurion University, are top-heavy with neo-Marxist, critical scholarship at the expense of the mainstream empirically-based research. Because neo-Marxist, critical research is not published in mainstream journals, Israeli social sciences score poorly in comparative evaluations.

Other Institutions
 
18.04.19
The Final Hurdle for the Ariel University Faculty of Medicine
 
After years of development, Ariel University announced that it opens the School of Medicine in the fall of 2019. However, In December 2018, the university had to put its plans on hold. Dina Silber, the Deputy ‎Attorney General, ruled that a ‎conflict of interest involving one member of ‎the Council for Higher Education (CHE) Planning and ‎Budgeting Committee (PBC) rendered invalid her vote in favor ‎of opening the medical school. However, in February, when IAM reported on "Ariel University Medical Faculty: The Battle between the Government and Universities is Coming to a Head," the CHE in Judea and Samaria overturned the decision by the PBC which blocked the establishment of the Medical Faculty. 
Another moment of doubts came on Monday, when the High Court of Justice heard a petition submitted by two scholars, Prof. David Harel of the Weizmann Institute, vice president of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and Prof. Alon Harel of the Hebrew University, claiming conflict of interest in the decision-making process of the establishment of the medical school. The petitioners claimed that Ariel decision was casting a "heavy shadow on the decision making process in higher education." Alon Harel stated that the petition is "against the corrupt process by which it was decided to establish the faculty of medicine in Ariel. My interest in petitioning the Court in this case is to protect the council of High education (Malag) from political pressures imposed by the Minister of Education, Naftali Bennet". 
Responding to the petition, the High Court ruled that since the CHE approved the establishment of the Faculty of Medicine on April 11, 2019, it is at the hands of the PBC to deal with the budgetary issues at the latest by July 2019. The High Court ruled to delete the petition but urged Ariel University to notify students that the budgeting for the actual operation of the Faculty has not yet been allocated. 
The same day, a team of researchers from Ariel University won praises for their research. Professor Shiri Navon-Venezia, from the Molecular Biology Department, presented a research at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease in Amsterdam, which found that petting zoos could be a breeding ground for drug-resistant superbugs. The results of the study were quoted by the international media. Petting zoos are very popular in the West where there is also a growing awareness of superbugs. 
Now the question is if Ariel University Faculty of Medicine is about to overcome the final hurdle.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
11.04.19
The Debate over Student-Soldiers at the HUJ Campus and the Threats to Boycott
 
A couple of weeks ago, Professor Barak Medina, the Hebrew University rector, announced that the IDF has chosen the Hebrew University for the Havatzalot Program, in which soldiers study for an undergraduate degree. Some fifty exceptional students would participate in the combined program of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies with a specialization in Political Science and either, Philosophy, Economics, Mathematics or Computer Sciences, combined. Medina said that he sees an advantage in the integration of Arabs and soldiers and that it could benefit both sides. 
Hebrew University's good news has upset the radical academic fraternity. For example, the group Academia for Equality has published a letter describing the Hebrew University move "an attack on the principle of academic freedom in Israel." According to them, "such instances of militarization of the academic space,” disrupts normal academic life. The group claims that the army is "intervening in academic content in clear violation of the principle of academic autonomy and equality in access to higher education." Their letter also reveals that the group conducts a project which "consists of documenting and monitoring through our 'Complicit Academy' database". The group has threatened the Hebrew University that unless the program is terminated, it would urge international academics to boycott the Hebrew University. "Academia for Equality believes that if the plan is executed and becomes a normalized reality this should have severe implication on The Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s international standing and on the entire higher education system in Israel." The group specifically urged its peers to take the following steps: "Putting on hold any 'business as usual' communications with Hebrew University authorities" and "Considering the standing of current as well as planned professional cooperation and exchange in light of this development."
One member of Academia for Equality is Dr. Anat Matar, a long-time activist of Boycott from Within. For Matar, a Philosophy professor from Tel Aviv University, “students in uniform are a dissonance, they are a grating noise that if we have not yet developed an ear sensitive enough to hear, we should do it urgently." 
The Boycott Law which the Knesset passed in 2011, offers remedies against those who threaten a boycott of Israeli institutions. It is not clear whether the law can be applied to the Academy for Equality, but the Hebrew University should treat such threats seriously. To recall, the Ben Gurion University’s leadership and faculty mobilized the international academic community to protest against the closing of the Department of Politics and Government which intensified the calls for a boycott. 
Israel and its allies abroad have faced an uphill struggle in combating BDS initiatives around the world. It stands to reason that this effort should start at home.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
03.04.19
The Battle over BDS in South Africa: an Analysis
 
At a 30 March 2019 meeting, the Council of the University of Cape Town rejected the motion to adopt a BDS resolution and referred the matter back to the Senate. The Council noted that a number of issues required clarification including a full assessment of the sustainability impact of the Senate resolution which was adopted two weeks earlier, and a more consultative process was necessary before the matter could be considered any further. The Senate resolution which required the vote of the Council stated: "UCT will not enter into any formal relationships with Israeli academic institutions operating in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as well as other Israeli academic institutions enabling gross human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories". 
But the BDS activists don't always wait for a vote. A few months ago, BDS activists threatened to "blow up" a conference if Israelis took part in it. This threat prompted the conference organizer to ask the Israeli scholars not to participate. To recall, in November 2018, IAM reported on this international conference which disinvited three Israeli scholars due to pressure from the BDS movement. The conference, "Recognition, Reparation, Reconciliation: The Light and Shadow of Historical Trauma" took place in December 2018 at the University of Stellenbosch. The chair of the organizing committee, Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, was responsible for disinviting the Israeli scholars. Prof. Shifra Sagy of Ben Gurion University, whose research deals with the possibilities for promoting understanding and dialogue between groups in conflicts, is one of the three Israeli scholars who was disinvited. She explained that "The organizer of the conference contacted me and told me about the difficulties she was facing. At first, she reported that it had worked out, but later she called to apologize and said it wouldn't be possible for us to appear... The [BDS] activists sent a letter to the organizers and threatened to 'blow up' the conference if Israelis took part." Sagy also mentioned that a researcher has canceled a scheduled meeting with her due to BDS. Gobodo-Madikizela and Sagy have actually known each other for years as they have both worked extensively in reconciliation and dialogue. Gobodo-Madikizela explained her reasons, “I have been thrown on the horns of an ongoing dilemma. On the one hand, I want to protect Stellenbosch University from protests and ensure that this conference, which I have worked so hard to organize, goes well, and not allow any organization to control how discussions are conducted, and what conversations are permitted. On the other hand, knowing that the flare-up is because of Israeli participation, I wanted my Israeli colleagues to understand the pressure that this imposes." 
But Gobodo-Madikizela has a longstanding connection to Israeli academics, dating back to 1998 when she worked with Dan Bar-On, the late professor of psychology. “I hosted Bar-On the previous year, when he visited South Africa to observe the public process of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. And his colleague Sami Adwan, the Palestinian Professor of Education. For Gobodo-Madikizela both Adwan and Bar-On are among the "leading figures in peace scholarship and activism that seeks an alternative form of engagement to the one that dominates Palestine-Israeli relations", she said. "The late Bar-On’s book on the children of Nazi perpetrators influenced my own work and became one of the foundational pillars in my scholarly pursuits,” she added. She never wanted to silence or isolate Israelis – quite the opposite. "We, of course, believe in academic freedom, and we believe in the right to boycott, given the role that this played in our own struggle against apartheid. But I also know that our conference was not the appropriate vehicle for the application of the boycott”. 
Soon after the incident, Stellenbosch University officials tried to deny capitulating to BDS. In a statement on 30 November, Wim De Villiers, Stellenbosch University's rector and vice-chancellor, presented the disinvitation as a misunderstanding by the Israeli scholars. “When the first statement expressing opposition to the participation of Israeli speakers came to the attention of the organizers, a strategic decision was taken to remove the names of individuals and their institutions from the website as a precautionary measure to prevent academics and their institutions from being targeted, and to prevent the conference from derailing.” The Israeli scholars were still appearing in the program, he explained, but the “Israeli delegates decide to withdraw their participation as a result of circumstances beyond the control of the university and the conference organizing committee”. Obviously, Gobodo-Madikizela did not disclose to him that she specifically requested Sagy not to come. 
To overcome the distrust by the Jewish community, during a meeting in January 2019 between Stellenbosch University and South Africa Jewish Board of Deputies the parties announced that "The University will, as in previous years, continue to welcome Israeli scholars." 
The Israel Academic Boycott is a program of the University of Cape Town Palestinian Solidarity Forum which was founded in 2010 and has promoted an academic boycott of Israeli academia ever since. South Africa is hospitable to BDS for a number of reasons. The Jewish population in South Africa is diminishing, currently numbering less than 80,000, while the Muslim population is increasing amounting to one million. The Palestinian influence is gaining strength. The PA has had strong ties with South Africa, but since 2015 so does Hamas. In a 2015 visit, Khaled Mashaal, the Hamas leader, received red carpet treatment and was introduced to many important players including the South African President Jacob Zuma. Although South Africa's governing political party, the African National Congress (ANC) has had informal liaisons with Hamas for a long time, this visit represented a significant warming up. ANC announced that "There are those who think that by ignoring any of the players it will bring the region closer to a peaceful solution. Our experience in South Africa was that the process of negotiations involved all players irrespective of their views and beliefs." 
in December 2018, the ANC signed an agreement with Hamas’ Foreign Minister Mahmoud Al-Zahar. The agreement seeks to “introduce practical steps in mobilizing the international community to pressure Israel to end its occupation of Palestine, including working towards the full boycott of all Israeli products”. Also that month, South Africa’s National Freedom Party leader, Ahmed Munzoor Shaik Emam, tabled a draft resolution calling for the unconditional downgrade of the South African Embassy in Tel Aviv. 
The BDS activists recruited a number of key players. In his recent article "UCT Must Take ‘Moral Stand’ And Boycott Israeli Institutions," Richard Falk, former UN Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestine Territories (2008-2014), and emeritus professor of International Law at Princeton University, wrote in favor of the boycott, a day before the UCT Council voted: "it is important to appreciate that the academic boycott that Palestinians have called for and that your Council is considering boycotts complicit Israeli institutions, but it does not interfere with the activities of individual academics." Contrary to Falk's assertion, as noted earlier, Israeli individual academics were in fact targeted at the University of Stellenbosch conference in December. 
Falk, who is Jewish, has offered some convoluted explanations as to why target Israel alone: "As far as singling out Israel, there exist special justifications for the emphasis on Israeli wrongdoing. It should be remembered that Britain exerted control over Palestine as ‘a sacred trust’ on behalf of the international society until the establishment of the United Nations. At that point, the UN took over the responsibility to find a solution for Palestine in a manner that existed with respect to no other country in the world. The failure of the UN and international diplomacy to find a solution after seven decades reinforces the positive argument for relying on the role of civil society, which should be a decisive encouragement for the Council to endorse the Senate decision and so move with the flow of history toward freedom, justice, and the protection of basic human rights;" he wrote. As a long-time professor in international law, he should be aware that the Palestinians and their Arab States allies rejected the 1947 UN Partition proposal and started a war soon after, but he has not mentioned it. 
Another Jewish activist recruited by the BDS activists is Mitchel Joffe Hunter, member of South African Jews for a Free Palestine. In his article "Why Jews support academic boycott of Israel", he claims that Jews who support the calls for Palestinian liberation are not anti-Semitic. That, "academic boycott is an expression of Jewish ethics." While "Antisemitism is a form of racism against Jews as Jews, [the call for a boycott] is not a targeted attack against Jews or Jewish organizations but against Israeli state sponsored institutions.” 
Not surprising that Hunter mentioned that, "Jewish Israeli academics also support the academic boycott such as Rachel Giora, a professor of linguistics at Tel Aviv University and prominent Israeli feminist. Hunter quoted from her letter in 2009 to an academic boycott meeting of British academics stating that "in fact Israeli academia is no different from any other Israeli institutions, and in many cases it plays an active if not vital role in supporting Israeli apartheid practices against the Palestinians... the growing number of Israelis who are now supporting cultural and academic boycotts will rejoice in your achievements". 
On the other hand, there are some calls opposing the boycott, such as Rhulani Thembi Siweya, member of the ANC who announced that "BDS-SA undermines South Africans." According to her, it is a "reckless manner in which the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement in South Africa (BDS-SA) handles the Israel-Palestine conflict." They "selectively discriminate against entrepreneurial and business opportunities by corporations linked to Israel." if this is not challenged, it "may lead to a huge collapse of the South African economy". She questions "Why is BDS-SA so willing to sacrifice its fellow South African workers for its own self-serving position... It is strange that the BDS-SA selectively singles out only the Israeli “occupation” — part of a geographically disputed area still subjected to a two-state peace process — while South Africa continues to enjoy bilateral trade relations with many other “occupations"". BDS-SA has been deafeningly silent about other occupations in the world. "Something does not add up here. Closer to home, it’s a disgrace that on our own continent, in Libya, we still have slavery... This is slavery of fellow Africans on our continent. Why is BDS-SA silent on this?" Moreover, she noted, "Israel continues to be the Palestinian Authority’s most important trading partner. In fact, Palestinian Authority officials were recently seen at a meeting sitting around a table that has on it, several juice bottles, all products from Israel. How does BDS-SA call on South African companies to boycott Israeli products while Palestinian leaders themselves are not boycotting those same Israeli products?" 
But as mentioned earlier, the main concern here is that BDS activists threaten to "blow up" conferences hosting Israelis. This should be acknowledged by the universities administrations. IAM will report on the developments in South Africa in due course.
General Articles
 
27.03.19
Would President Trump's Executive Order Stop Antisemitism on Campus?
 
Last week President Trump signed an executive order protecting freedom of speech on campus. Trump said he was taking a "historic action to defend American students and American values that have been under siege". The president declared it is the first step the administration intends to take in order to defend students' rights. According to Trump, universities that seek taxpayers dollars should promote free speech, not silence it. However, opponents describe this step as "alarming" fearing it could leave federally funded research vulnerable to political influence. 
While there are questions on how it would be implemented, the executive order should have a strong impact on the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel sentiments on campus. 
Some of the many instances were reported by the student group, Tikvah: Students for Israel, at the University of California, Berkeley. The University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) has refused to host their guest speaker, Danny Ayalon, a former Knesset Member and the Israeli Ambassador to the US from 2002 until 2006. CMES, Tikvah argues, is hosting countless of anti-Israel events, and has shown an "undeniable pattern of double standards and anti-semitism". Tikvah also published a long list of anti-Israel events which CMES hosted in 2017 and 2018. For years, CMES is known for holding anti-Israel views. To recall, the former CMES chair invited Israeli Professor Neve Gordon for a sabbatical, to write his notorious book Israel's Occupation in 2004. The only Israeli speakers they invite are the likes of Profs. Oren Yiftachel and Lev Luis Grinberg. In 2017 Tikvah reported also that CMES Prof. Hatem Bazian posted a number of tweets targeting Jews. One tweet which he shared had a picture of an Orthodox Jew, with the wording: "Mom, look! I is chosen! I can now kill, rape, smuggle organs and steal the land of Palestinians ‘Yay’ #Ashke-Nazi". Another tweet showed North Korea’s leader wearing a yarmulke, saying "God chose me," and "I just converted all of North Korea to Judaism. Donald Tlump (sic): Now my nukes are legal and I can annex South Korea and you need to start paying me 34 billion a year in welfare." Bazian later apologized for the antisemitic tweets. 
Many campus cases were documented, some have even reached the court. Last week, the California State University agreed to settle the legal case Volk v. Board of Trustees, which charged it with antisemitism. It involved two Jewish students, Liam Kern, and Charles Volk, alleging that university officials prevented Hillel from participating in the fair "Know Your Rights" in 2017. They claimed the organizers deliberately excluded Hillel from the fair, and no action was taken against the organizers. Kern and Volk also alleged that the university failed to respond effectively to other anti-Semitic incidents on campus. In Spring 2016, Hillel invited Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat to speak on campus. Barkat’s speech was disrupted and eventually shut down by "a mob of near-violent activists screaming antisemitic epithets through megaphones." As part of their settlement CSU will publish a statement acknowledging that for many Jews, Zionism is an important part of their identity. The university must also hire a coordinator for Jewish student life and refer cases of religious discrimination to an outside investigator. It would also have to allocate $200,000 to support education outreach efforts promoting viewpoint diversity. 
In a 2011 litigation which was dismissed by Court, Jessica Felber a student at Berkeley, sued the regents of the University of California, alleging they tolerated the "development of a dangerous anti-Semitic climate" on the UC campuses, and "failed to adopt policies, regulations, and procedures to protect Jewish students from threats, intimidation, and harassment" by members of two student groups, Students for Justice in Palestine (“SJP”) and the Muslim Student Association (“MSA”). Based on the court proceedings, a violent incident took place during the Israeli Apartheid Week in March of 2010, when Felber participated in an event called “Israel Peace and Diversity Week,” and held a placard reading "Israel wants Peace". Another student, Husam Zakharia, a leader in SJP, allegedly rammed a shopping cart into Felber intentionally, causing her physical injuries that needed medical care. Felber had previously encountered Zakharia more than a year earlier, at a political rally, where Zakharia allegedly spit at her and yelled, “you are disgusting.” Felber recounted being fearful to walk on campus alone. The proceedings also mentioned that in January of 2011, SJP and MSA protestors disrupted a speech by the Israeli ambassador, which resulted in indictments brought against eleven students. The District Court Judge who first dismissed the case on free-speech grounds, had credited the university administrators with taking the steps to ensure the students' rights were protected and to minimize the protests' potential for violence. 
Too early to note if the tide is turning, but Jewish and Israeli, students and faculty should pay close attention to how the executive order would affect their rights.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
21.03.19
The Annual Ritual of Israeli Apartheid Week Challenges Western Universities
 
As IAM reported previously, the BDS movement has been gearing up to the annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW). The official media of the Palestinian Authority just announced the inauguration of the 15th international IAW, on Saturday the 16th of March, planning to host "more than 80 events in 40 cities across Europe, North America and Palestine." The IAW is expected to feature protests, lectures, film screenings, music, and cultural events in more than 200 cities worldwide. It officially kicked off in the "occupied" Palestinian city of Al-Bireh, where the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) convened the Sixth National BDS Conference, "a grassroots, civil society gathering with over 900 participants." The movement, which is sustained by many groups, originated in Canada in 2005. 
While pro-Palestinian activists are busy depicting Israel in negative lights all year round, in February and March they double their efforts. It is possible to deliberate in which country Palestinians are exercising the most strategic influence. Canada and Ireland are leading the list, but the U.K, France, Switzerland, Italy, Australia, Finland and Austria, and others, are following. 
Activists claim that Israel is an apartheid state, that Israel was from its inception a racist endeavor, see examples below, and worse. This evening, the University College London Friends of Palestine Society is hosting on campus "A Witness of Genocide," charges that promote hostility and prejudice against Israeli and Jewish students, leading to their harassment and victimization. 
In 2016, The British Government adopted, and shortly after other countries followed, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. The contemporary examples of antisemitism include denying the Jewish people their right to self‐determination by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor; and, applying double standards by requiring of Israel to behave in ways that are not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation. By adopting this definition universities such as the University of Exeter and University of Central Lancaster, have canceled IAW activities. 
Anti-Semitism aside, there are also concerns of links to terrorist activities. The Israeli Prime Minister's Office has recently published a brochure titled "Terrorists in Suits” which details the ties between NGOs promoting BDS and terrorist organizations. The report notes that the BDS initiative, which is led by a network of Palestinian NGOs, is linked to Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The report examines thirteen NGOs worldwide, such as the Boycott National Committee (BNC), the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) PACBI), Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Al-Haq, Addameer, Defense for Children International - Palestine (DCI-P); North American NGOs – American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Samidoun; UK NGOs – Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA), Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), the Palestinian Return Center (PRC); Belgian NGO – European Coordination of Committees for Palestine (ECCP); South African NGO – BDS South Africa. These NGOs employ thirty terror operatives, identified in the report, most of whom served time in Israeli prisons and some were even involved in deadly terror attacks. For example, the BNC is formed by a coalition of 28 Palestinian groups, among them the Palestinian National and Islamic Forces which include Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Islamic Jihad. According to the report, there are two NGO operatives active in the UK who are members of Hamas, named as Zaher Birawi and Muhammad Sawalha. 
Activists claim that IAW and BDS events are protected forms of free speech. But it should be noted that some activists harassed and shouted down pro-Israeli speakers. IAM covered violent incidents such as at the University College London, where Jewish students were barricaded in a small room. In King's College London, they faced a barrage of abuse from pro-Palestinian activists and in another incident at King's College London during a talk about peace negotiations by Ami Ayalon, windows were smashed, chairs thrown and people assaulted. The meeting was stopped and the building was evacuated by the police. 
Much to their credit these universities took a stand against the violent disturbance. But all universities should follow by making sure that pro-Palestinian students should not benefit from their double standards. Even more to the point, colleges should exercise vigilance in not allowing terrorists or terror groups to hide behind legitimate activities.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
14.03.19
BDS, Israeli Apartheid Week and the Accusations of Antisemitism
 
The Palestinian BDS movement has published its schedule for the upcoming Israeli Apartheid Week in the U.S and Europe, on March 16 and 18, 2019 respectively. Unlike in previous years, the number of events seems to be smaller. Still, Israeli and Jewish students and faculty need to be on alert. 
Wealthy Arab states as well as the universities themselves, sponsor these Israeli Apartheid events. For example, the Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate, the main governing body for Tufts undergraduate students, has passed various resolutions on March 10, among them approving the supplementary funding requests from student organizations. Students for Justice in Palestine, for instance, sought $3,520 to cover speaker costs for events during Israeli Apartheid Week. Another group, the Arab Students Association, sought $3,460 for additional speaker costs for Israeli Apartheid Week, which was also approved by the TCU Senate. 
Pitzer College Council will be voting today whether to suspend Pitzer’s only study abroad program in Israel with the University of Haifa. 
There are some pro-Israel successful cases, for example, the Columbia College Student Council voted down a referendum supporting BDS, on March 10. 
However, not all Israelis agree on what is good or bad for Israel. A few days ago a group of Israeli and international scholars, led by Dr. Yaara Beneger-Alaluf, and Prof. Amos Goldberg, have written an open letter to the Academia IL Network titled "Stop false accusations of Antisemitism in Germany!” They complained against the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Definition of anti-Semitism. They also lamented that BDS is often perceived as anti-Semitic. In their words, "As you probably know a battle over the definition of antisemitism and its relations to harsh critique of Israel, opposition to Zionism and support of the BDS, is being waged in Europe and America." The battle, "rather plays into the hands of the right-wing forces who wish to reduce the space of free speech when it comes to a discussion over Israel." 
The group's open letter postulates that the conflation between criticism of the state of Israel and anti-Semitism "obscures valid critique of Israel’s war crimes and violation of human rights, undermining the Palestinian struggle for freedom and equality and discriminating against the Palestinian community in Germany by preventing Palestinian people to freely express their opinions, their grief and sorrow. In light of both the increase in anti-Semitism and racist crimes in Germany and the escalation in Israeli violence against Palestinians, we urge the German authorities, media, educational and academic professionals and institutions to act responsibly and put an end to this manipulative and dangerous conflation." 
Contrary to their assertion, the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism states clearly that "criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic," but it certainly accuses of double standards of those targeting Israel alone. If they were actively promoting human rights for Palestinians by criticizing Hamas and the other violent groups for breaching human rights of Palestinians, that would have been acceptable, but ignoring Hamas and targeting Israel alone is classified as antisemitic. 
In many of the Israeli Apartheid Week events, Palestinian activists chant “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”. Benger-Alaluf and her fellow-activists might assume that these chants mean freedom for all, but they do not. They stipulate the obliteration of the Jewish state. Last month, antisemitic posters with images of pigs were posted on Tufts campus, stating "Destroy Israeli apartheid forces and Amerikkkan pigs which fund it. Free Palestine." Do Benger-Alaluf and ilk claim this is not antisemitic? 
IAM reported that Goldberg is a Holocaust scholar at the Hebrew University who actively promotes the equation of the Nakba to the Holocaust. 
Benger-Alaluf is a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. Her Ph.D., completed in 2018 at the Freie Universität Berlin, is The Emotional Economy of British Seaside Holidaymaking, 1870-1918. Her 2013 MA thesis at the Hebrew University Department of Sociology and Anthropology, supervised by Prof Eva Illouz, was titled "Commodification of Emotions in Tourism: Exploring the Production of Relaxation in Club Med Resorts". Even if Benger-Alaluf’s core interest is the sociology of leisure, supporting BDS is considered a good career move when looking for a position in a Western university, given their singular preoccupation with the Palestinians.
The IHRA Definition of antisemitism is: "Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor. Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation. Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis." In other words, singling out Israel while ignoring others is antisemitic in nature.
 
Hebrew University
 
07.03.19
Research on Palestinian Martyrdom: from the Hebrew University to New Zealand University
 
Mariam Abdul-Dayyem and Efrat Ben-Ze’ev, two researchers from the Hebrew University have published their findings on the concept of Shahid, in the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. Abdul-Dayyem, a Palestinian from East Jerusalem, conducted the research while studying for an MA at the Department of Sociology. She previously studied at Birzeit University. Prof. Ben Ze'ev is an associate fellow at the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace. 
Shahid is the Islamic martyr who sacrifices his/her life. The concept is part of a collective heritage of Muslim communities, since the early stages of childhood, taught and discussed at home and school as an integral element of public life and space. The research is based on Abdul-Dayyem's two periods of fieldwork, first, a year-long at Birzeit University in 2007–2008 and second, in various locations in the West Bank, from May to December 2017. 
As explained in the introduction, before starting the research, Abdul-Dayyem was concerned that studying in a Jewish institution would be interpreted by the Birzeit students as a betrayal. Due to her hesitation, a Birzeit cafeteria worker, “known for his patriotism”, offered to assist her in locating interviewees. She was then confident to approach students, introducing her research topic and mentioning her affiliation with the Hebrew University. 
In the first period, Abdul-Dayyem interviewed students with diverse levels of religiosity, secularity, and conservatism. Nine of them had no political affiliations, two were associated with Hamas, three with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, one with Fatah and one with the Communist Party. All of them were studying for BA and ranged in age from 19 to 27 years. 
During her interviews, there was generally an admiration for the shahid’s willingness to sacrifice him/herself for the collective. The subjects emphasized that the sacrifice was for "the people” and that "such a sacrifice makes for a more meaningful death.” They even described it as “beautiful”. The researchers noted that the concept of Shahid is relevant for all Palestinians, secular and religious, Christian and Muslim. 
The authors explored the concept of the Istishhadi, when, "he or she who commits a suicide attack against those viewed as invaders." The authors noted that the term is relatively new and appeared in the Palestinian public scene since the early to mid-1990s, following the Oslo Accords, when suicide bombing began. While the authors admit the act was controversial, their interviewees were exploring its positive sides. 
The authors revisited the topic in the second period of research, a decade later, to reassess the role of the Shahid as an icon. This time they focused on the use of new media and digital culture. Thirty-six people were interviewed, both in cities and villages. Abdul-Dayyem's interviewees were activists, journalists, scholars, and students. 
The authors noted the impact of major political changes that had taken place from 2007 to 2017. Attempt to gain independence failed; “the Palestinian Authority was still struggling to func;tion under conditions of a very limited level of sovereignty. The Hamas-Fatah divide grew deeper and the prolonged Israeli siege on Gaza, with intermittent incursions, attacks and killing, continued for an entire decade." Following the Arab Spring, the Middle East has transformed into civil wars, “attracting the media’s attention away from the Palestinian cause".
Only one interviewee was negative about some aspects of martyrdom. Salaam, a 26-year-old activist, and journalist from a village near Jenin was explicit in her rejection of the "veneration of a ‘death culture.’" Salaam stated: "Historically, we promoted the death culture through funerals, through the glorification of the shahīd’s mother, through posters, through calling him a hero. I am against calling him a hero. He should be called a victim, especially if he was a child. They spread the idea of death and it is very ugly, even through the slogans in funerals and demonstrations—‘with soul, with blood, we sacrifice you, ya shahīd’. If someone wants to grieve, it is Ok to grieve; it is your right. It is normal to see someone crying if she lost her son. It is not normal to see her trilling. We spread the death culture. The struggle was used to spread a culture of death. It can be so until you are personally effected. Once you are effected, it stops being your culture. If I will lose my son, I will stop promoting this culture, I will stop yelling these slogans." 
The authors noted that Salam’s attitude is not necessarily embraced by the bereaved families. Salaam thought that "Palestinians should also re-think the representations they used because they address non-Palestinian audiences." Salaam stated "We do not have an awareness of social media conventions. We still post the blood and bodies’ images. It effected the Palestinian cause negatively. Israel has an electronic army and uses social media to deliver its messages in order to tell the Israeli narrative. We still post photos of bodies that make people turn away. Death, blood, bodies no longer arouse identification", Salaam's position, according to the authors, may indicate that "the shahīd and the istishhādī as icons have lost some ground." Based on Salaam's account, the authors questioned if there was too much emphasis on blood scenes, part of the "death culture" which invading daily life, and particularly the media. And, that too little attention is being paid to individual choices as well as to the impact of death on bereaved families. For the authors, "the ideas associated with a culture of death may not be understood by a ‘foreign audience’, nowadays far more exposed to footage coming from the OPT." 
In their conclusion, the authors were not sure whether there was a decline in the role of the Shahid as an icon and were "hesitant to argue that the shahīd has lost its symbolic value altogether. We have witnessed the flexibility of this icon, which has taken on a variety of meanings that often seem incompatiable [sic]. Moreover, the shahīd was present in the early days of Palestinian nationalism, waned and re-emerged. It is likely that the shahīd will not disappear altogether, but time will tell what new forms it will acquire." 
Conducting research on this matter with Palestinians could be more confusing than expected. 
When Ben-Zeev researched for her Ph.D. thesis in the late 1990s, one of her Palestinian interviewees told her: "Whoever comes to talk with us about our problems from the other side, is first and foremost from the other side. We suspect him and keep suspecting all the time... because this data, whatever is written down, will help the other side. Therefore, I mean generally, therefore, people will hide certain things. Certain people will hide things." Strange as it was, Ben-Ze’ev, is a life-long pro-Palestinian activist. For example, she was a signatory to the statement in 2014 by Israeli academics, stating they “wish it to be known that they utterly deplore the aggressive military strategy being deployed by the Israeli government. The slaughter of large numbers of wholly innocent people is placing yet more barriers of blood in the way of the negotiated agreement which is the only alternative to the occupation and endless oppression of the Palestinian people. Israel must agree to an immediate cease-fire, and start negotiating in good faith for the end of the occupation and settlements, through a just peace agreement.” It said. 
Abdul-Dayyem is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Otago, New Zealand. Her topic is the impact of social media on social movements within the Israel-Palestine conflict. But New Zealand is not really detached from the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. 
The NZ Palestine Solidarity Network is quite active. In May 2018 it hosted Palestinian author Dr. Ramzy Baroud, who spoke on "Reclaiming the Palestinian Narrative," about his work and his latest book The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story. In similar veins, another lecturer questioned: "Are Palestinian people tangata whenua?" Explaining that "Tangata whenua is a peculiarly Aotearoa New Zealand term used by Maori to self-describe and by non-Maori to describe those whom they believe to be indigenous to the land." 
Exploring the issue of Palestinian resistance and Sumud, Dr. Nijmeh Ali completed her Ph.D. thesis last year at the University of Otago, titled "The Hidden Potential of the Palestinian Resistance in Israel: A Grounded Theory Study on Resistance among Palestinian Activists in Israel". According to the abstract, 
After nearly seventy years of adopting the same tools of protest, either by taking part in the Israeli political system through participation in elections or practicing cultural resistance, Palestinian activists feel that they are at a critical juncture, questioning their choice of tools for protest and the efficacy of being an integral part of a political system that oppresses them, hoping to bring change from ‘inside’. The question of effective resistance methods seems to be more acute in the shadow of political, economic and social changes, both among the Israelis and the Palestinians in Israel. These dynamic contexts invite us to investigate the strengths and weaknesses of the Palestinians in Israel in their ability to bring about social change. After years of employing certain tools within the citizenship approach, and the tension between the most appropriate and the most effective methods of protest, it is timely to evaluate their effectiveness and to look to further possible scenarios. It also opens the door for examining the hidden potential of Palestinians in Israel in reshaping the political power structures in Israel. This project, therefore, influenced by resistance theory and constructivist grounded theory as research method, tracks the experiences of Palestinian activists in Israel, their understanding of Sumud and their potential in constructing Palestinian resistance and its potential in transforming the power structure in Israel. 
Ali is a former teacher of civics and pluriculturalism at the Hebrew University Gilo Center for Citizenship, Democracy and Civic Education which was founded and directed by Prof. Dan Avnon. 
New Zealand's University of Otago is becoming the center for terrorist sympathizers. Prof. Richard Jackson from the National Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies is the editor-in-chief of the Journal Critical Studies on Terrorism. The journal, "calls for critical reflection on the state and direction of terrorism research... [since] much of the new research – and much of the early research on political terrorism – fails to meet rigorous standards of scholarship. Related to this, it is also possible to discern a growing and deep-seated sense of unease about the progress and consequences of the global war on terror". Having this approach in mind, Jackson published a paper "Confessions of a Terrorist Sympathiser". Where he stated that "I am a terrorist sympathizer because I can understand how a young woman from Gaza might consider that she has no real future, nothing but daily humiliations, the continued threat of being shot by an Israeli soldier or firebombed by a settler, or being arrested and tortured by the police." 
There is a question to ask, is New Zealand taking the Palestinian side? In December 2016 a United Nations Security Council resolution, co-sponsored by New Zealand, stated that Israel's settlement activity was a "flagrant violation" of international law and had no legal validity. Shortly after, a number of New Zealand's leading academics on conflict resolution and Israel-Palestine slammed the New Zealand government for "dangerous double standard," for not being harsh enough against Israel. 
Stephen Daisley, the renowned New Zealand novelist, wrote in October 2018, in his blog on the Spectator, that "The progressive West must stop fetishizing Palestinian extremists", referring also to New Zealand. 
IAM shall report on these developments in due course.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
28.02.19
BDS Analysis: When Radical Academics Whitewash anti-Semitism Palestinian Students Pay the Price
 
BDS is in the front row again from various directions. In the U.S., the faculty of Pitzer College voted in November to end the college's study abroad program with the University of Haifa. The College Council which shapes college policy is scheduled to meet on March 14, where members would discuss the issue and vote. 
Prof. Ron Robin, President of the University of Haifa and the chairman of the Association of University Heads (VERA), wrote, while visiting Los Angeles on a fundraising trip in December 2018, to express his sorrow: "It is sad for me to see that one academic institution is helping to boycott another, in the wake of the pressure of a movement that waged a violent campaign against the citizens of one country. It is ironic that the Senate of Pitzer College chose to boycott the University of Haifa - a model and example of excellent research and teaching in coexistence, multiculturalism, patience, inclusion and cooperation." Rubin called the boycott "a bizarre decision" and expressed hopes that eventually sanity would prevail. He added that while walking in the Getty Museum, not far from Pitzer College, he "was delighted to come across a presentation about the common denominator of the three monotheistic religions." In an interview two days ago, he chose not to discuss the Pitzer College boycott and instead emphasized the grey boycott, in which without any explanation, overseas faculty refuse to collaborate with Israeli peers. He would have liked to see Israeli universities making a “moral” case by stressing their diversity and inclusiveness. For example, in his own university, Arab students make up one-third of the student body. Rubin expressed reservations to the government's measures against the BDS movement, such as promoting anti-BDS legislation and urged: “We need to promote the role of universities in creating an inclusive meritocracy in Israel.” 
The BDS war in Germany is equally intense. Last month, three events in support of BDS were canceled in an effort to stomp out what is seen as a cover for antisemitism. One of the events was featuring the pro-BDS activist Shir Hever (the son of HUJ Prof. Hannan Hever), who was slated to speak on “Israel’s Right-Wing Friends in Europe and in the US.” The event was hosted by the Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East (EJJP), with the Palestinian Community of Germany, and BDS Bonn. In this regard, on March 09, 2019, the German foundation, Dr. Roland Röhl-Stiftung, will be awarding the Göttingen Peace Prize to the EJJP which supports BDS. The ceremony will be taking place at Göttingen University. The Jury awarded EJJP for their ultimatum demands from Israel: "Israel's complete withdrawal from the occupied territories and the destruction of all Israeli settlements located there; Condemning any violence against civilians in the conflict, no matter which side committed; Israel is recognized within the 1967 borders; Recognizing the right of the Palestinians to found its own state in the Gaza Strip, West Bank and in East Jerusalem; Recognizing the right of both states to have Jerusalem as their capital; Israel is called upon to play its part in resolving the Palestinian refugee problem and is committed to negotiating a fair, and practical solution." 
Opponents of the BDS movement argue that BDS is anti-Semitic. One such an opinion was recently expressed by Prof. Evan Gerstmann, a political scientist from Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts in Los Angeles. In his "Why An Academic Boycott Of Israel Is Hypocritical," he argued that while some supporters of the boycott are Jewish, it does not mean the movement isn’t anti-Semitic. Seeking to punish Israel while holding fire on many of the world’s worst human rights violators is "inherently anti-Semitic." 
Indeed. Prof. Daniel Segal who put forward the Pitzer College boycott resolution, and a key activist for the boycott of Israel at the American Anthropology Association, is Jewish. Segal is also a member of the academic advisory councils of both Jewish Voice for Peace and Open Hillel. Interestingly, supporting the BDS movement bore fruits, Segal was accepted in March 2018 by the Palestinian American Research Center (PARC) to a seminar, as one of a dozen US faculty members who participated in the Faculty Development Seminar on Palestine, held from June 20 to July 3, 2018, in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Activities included "visits to Palestinian universities, research institutes and cultural institution as well as roundtable discussions, tours of historic cities and meetings with Palestinian colleagues." 
After wall-to-wall accusations of anti-Semitism against EJJP, radical Israeli academics have written a letter opposing such charges. They claim that "Supporting Human Rights is not Antisemitic and describe themselves "As Jewish and Israeli scholars.” The implication here that being Jewish gives them the immunity from accusations of anti-Semitism. In fact, The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism does not identify the origin of the anti-Semitic perpetrator. 
In Britain, a group of radical Israeli academic sent a letter in September 2018, to the Jewish Voice for Labor. The letter claimed that since the election of Jeremy Corbyn to head the Labor Party he has been "subjected to sustained attacks for his supposed friendliness to antisemitism. We reject the substance of these accusations completely." The group expressed their support to fighting anti-Semitism: "it is absolutely necessary to repudiate antisemitism while also standing up for Palestinian rights and for socialism.” At the same time they accused Israel of trying to "stifle debate" about its "systematic oppression" of the Palestinian people and the "catastrophic impacts" of the military occupation. They chastised the Israeli government for labeling supporters of Palestinian human rights as "enemies of the state, traitors, and, increasingly antisemitic." For them, the IHRA definition of antisemitism is a "highly-politicized and flawed... This document can be dangerously instrumentalized to afford the Israeli State immunity against criticism for grave and widespread violations of human rights and international law." However, contrary to the group's assertion, the IHRA definition of Antisemitism states clearly that "criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic." 
The group ended the letter stating: "We stand for human rights." While any group vouching for Palestinian human rights should be lauded, their support for human rights is misleading. They do not criticize the Palestinian factions Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and others, known for grave breaches of human rights on a daily basis. The United Nations and human rights group singled out Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad for, among other things, using civilians as human shield and locating military outpost in public spaces such as hospitals, schools, and mosques. BDS supporters have never mentioned such violations, making their critique of Israel alone a clear case of double standard. 
As Gerstmann stated: "it is admirable that many Jews want to hold the Jewish state to a higher standard than other countries.” But they need to be equally critical of Palestinian violation. Ironically, by proposing to boycott the University of Haifa, which has a large Palestinian student body, they would be hurting these students as well.
Hebrew University
 
20.02.19
HUJ Political Activist Disguised as Academic: Dr. Ofer Cassif is Hadash Party Knesset Candidate
 
IAM reported many times about Dr. Ofer Cassif, one of the most radical academics in Israel. For years he took advantages of the lax higher education system to preach his anti-Israel politics. Serving as a member of the political bureau of the Israeli Communist Party, he finally won the third place in the Hadash party, making him a candidate for the Knesset. BGU Dr. Efraim Davidi, Noa Levy, and Dr. Yeela Raanan were also competing. 
Cassif's courses in Political Science at the Hebrew University and the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Academic College have mirrored his politics: "Capital and Government"; "Capital, Government and Social Justice"; "Cinema and Politics"; "Fascism - Past and Present". In 2015, Cassif was quoted calling Minister Ayelet Shaked "neo-Nazi scum," and in 2016 he was recorded on tape by a student, claiming that the Israeli government's laws are quite similar to that of Germany in the 1930s. 
Cassif has been a long time activist. He was the first army refuser to be jailed during the first Intifada. In 2002 he was among the signatories in a petition by Palestinian activists, "Urgent Call to World Civil Society: Break the Conspiracy of Silence, Act Before it is too Late." The undersigned stated they "believe that a full-scale Israeli offensive throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) is imminent and that such an unprecedented attack demands from global civil society an unprecedented response. For this reason, we urge global civil society – including human rights organizations, solidarity groups, and individuals – to take immediate direct action to stop Israel’s all-out war against the Palestinian people". 
Cassif's 2006 Ph.D. thesis, On Nationalism and Democracy: A Marxist Examination, at the London School of Economics and Political Science, departs from Rosa Luxemburg's statement that "Historical development toward a universal community of civilization will, like all social development, take place in the midst of a contradiction". In his view, the contradiction is the spreading of nationalist particularism and the support for democracy. He stated that his thesis "shows that both democracy (as we commonly understand it today) and nationalism are strongly embedded in modern conditions (primarily capitalism)" are having "inherent contradictions." His solution is, "What is urgently needed, I argue, is a form of democracy that could transcend the contradictions latent in modern capitalism." Such a democracy "must be a socialist one in which the means of identity production are collectively owned." 
As a lecturer at the Hebrew University he was invited, in 2009, to speak in a conference about "Israel between democracy and ethnocracy," at the Institute of Political Science of the University of the Republic, Uruguay. As well as participated in the annual Marx Forum, along with other political-academic comrades. 
But the peak of his political career was in 2011, when he participated in a joint Hadash and Communist Party delegation who met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) in Ramallah. Abbas said in the meeting "The PLO is working to gain UN membership for a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital." 
IAM reported that in 2012, Cassif was appointed the head of the International Relations Committee of the Communist Party. The Party's announcement stated that "Comrade Cassif is a member of the Political Bureau of CPI. He previously served as parliamentary assistant to the late comrade Meir Vilner, and was the first to be jailed for refusing to serve in the Occupied Palestinian Territories during the first Intifada. On the whole, he was jailed four times in Israeli military prisons." 
In 2013 IAM reported on Cassif who was invited, as a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, to the15th International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties held in Lisbon, Portugal. In his lecture, Cassif stated that the Israeli colonization of the territories is getting deeper and crueler. "Natural resources like water and land are regularly robbed by Israeli Zionist authorities for the sake of Jewish settlers; Palestinians’ freedom of movement, worship and assembly are strictly limited; peaceful demonstrators and non-violent protesters are often arrested, beaten, and occasionally even shot; and trees, fields and other assets owned by Palestinians are burnt and damaged on a daily basis by Jewish settlers, while Israeli soldiers and other officials ignore that fascist vandalism – as if we were talking about KKK in Alabama under George Wallace... The brutal colonialist regime that Israeli Zionist governments have been retaining for decades in the Palestinian occupied territories is accompanied by vicious capitalist and racist policies in Israel proper." 
During his long career as a lecturer, Cassif hasn't published anything academic. He has a semi-academic paper in the journal Theory & Event, in 2015 "The War with Gaza Did Not Take Place," postulating there was no war with Gaza, "but an atrocity; no conflict with Hamas but an assault by Israel on the people of Gaza." He charges Israel with war-crimes and determines that "The next stop, then, should be The Hague." For Cassif, it's all Israel's fault. "The Nakba was followed by the imposition of military rule on Arab-Palestinian citizens from 1948 to 1966, and their systematic discrimination and marginalization ever after. Along with the 1967 occupation of yet more Palestinian territories came the criminal establishment of Jewish settlements in 'them. The racism within Israel feeds into justification of the occupation by representing the colonized/occupied as 'inferior,' 'barbarian,' or 'primitive.'" 
The fact that Cassif was appointed a lecturer of politics and government at the prestigious Hebrew University, is attesting to the failure of the appointment committee which is marred by political favoritism in contrast to academic values and spirit. The committee should be investigated for the breach of confidence, to make sure that such an abuse of the academic privileges cannot happen again.
General Articles
 
14.02.18
Ariel University Medical Faculty: The Battle between the Government and Universities is Coming to a Head
 
Yesterday, the Council for Higher Education (CHE) in Judea and Samaria turned around the decision held last week by the Planning and Budgeting Committee (PBC) of the CHE blocking the establishment of the Ariel University Medical Faculty. Dr. Avichai Mandelblit, the Attorney General, said that the PBC vote was not binding and that the issue could be brought to the CHE Judea and Samaria for a vote. In a short time, though, the CHE Judea and Samaria is due to join the main council. Mandelblit stated that the required next step is for the general assembly of the CHE to vote on the issue. 
The PBC vote last week voided its previous decision in 2018, to give the go-ahead for Ariel University Medical Faculty after it was determined that Dr. Rivka Wadmany-Shauman was in a conflict of interest. She voted to back the proposal while negotiating a position at Ariel University. As a consequence, the PBC has held another vote and aborted the Ariel plan. Naftali Bennett, the Minister of Education and the Chair of the CHE, stated in response that he "does not intend to give up" and that "he will fight the university cartel until the establishment of the medical faculty." 
In Israel, sixty percent of the new physicians who receive a license have studied abroad, some of them in institutions with a lower level of training than in Israel. The number of doctors in Israel per 1,000 residents is significantly lower than the OECD average. However, for many years, universities have objected to increasing the number of students in their faculties, claiming that there is a shortage of clinical fields - departments in hospitals where training takes place. Until recently, the issue of clinical fields had been ungoverned, and no systematic mapping had been carried out. A critical report by the State Comptroller on the subject led the CHE to make a mapping, and the work is close to completion. In this regard, Ariel has already agreed with hospitals that the training will be carried out and stressed that this will not come at the expense of the clinical fields of other universities. Ariel also stressed that since it already runs pre-medical studies at the university, it has about 40 suitable laboratories. 
In December 2017, an evaluation committee was appointed by the Minister of Education, to ensure a high quality of study that meets international standards. Among the members of the committee were Prof. Arnon Afek of Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer and the committee head, Prof. Haim Breitbart of Safed College, Prof. Shimon Glick, Prof. Ester Priel of Ben Gurion University and Prof. Yonatan Halevy of Shaare Zedek Medical Center. Bennett decided to set up a medical faculty in Ariel as part of a plan to expand the university at an investment of NIS 400 million, to build ten more buildings which multiply the built-up area of the university. "I am proud to continue the important process that we started about a year ago," the minister said. "The establishment of the new faculty in Ariel will enable more professional jobs, without compromising the quality of studies.” 
IAM already reported in August 2018 about the debate within the Council of Higher Education (CHE) which is also political in nature. Professors Yossi Shain of TAU; Mouna Maroun of Haifa U; and Yeshayahu Talmon of the Technion, strongly criticized Bennett, accusing him of dictating decisions to the committee using "extraneous considerations” and not following proper procedures. The three protested Bennett's decision to allow the Interdisciplinary Center to grant Ph.D.; to establish a medical faculty at the Ariel University paid by the billionaire Sheldon Adelson; and to appoint his own people as public representatives to the PBC, such as Adv. Zvi Hauser and CPA Shimon Yitzhaki. 
The PBC member Prof. Yeshayahu Talmon of the Technion was quoted as saying "there is an ongoing process of blatant political interference in the conduct of the PBC." According to him, "all the new PBC members have been appointed by Bennett and now his supporters have a majority of 4 to 3 who vote according to what he wants, and they can pass any decision they want. The democracy has pretty self-destructive tools and this is one of them." Talmon said that the process began with the approval of the Interdisciplinary Center to award doctoral degrees "when the PBC was bypassed" and went on in the argument concerning Yitzhaki's appointment "when the minister's vote impacted the vote of the Council." According to him, there are difficult questions that were not answered regarding the establishment of the Medical Faculty, including whether there are enough places for clinical training. An unnamed source at the PBC said that "right-wing billionaire Sheldon Adelson is a contributor to the IDC and Ariel University." 
The opponents to the Ariel plan, the Deans of the other universities medical schools, announced that if the Ariel Medical Faculty does not open, they shall raise the number of new students in the upcoming year by 70 - the number Ariel is supposed to train. In their letter, they accused the PBC of blocking their initiative to increase the number further. Ariel University responded: "We are pleased that following the Ariel plan to open medical studies in the coming academic year in October 2019, the veteran medical schools have awakened and are now ready to increase the number of students. This is after years of explaining why this can not be done, as the Director General of the Ministry of Health, the State Comptroller and the Director General of the PBC said. " 
The PBC spokesperson rejected the allegations: “In total contradiction to what has been claimed, the decision-making process regarding the Ariel medical school was thorough, deep and flawless. The first decision on the matter was adopted in November 2017. The plan was examined by a committee of experts... that unequivocally recommended establishing the school at a meeting that lasted about three hours and that was devoted only to the subject, and which was conducted according to the procedure." The claims of partial information are not correct, said the statement. "Prof. Zilbershats is determined to act with full force to solve the doctor training crisis and no background noise will deter her from that important goal.” The statement added that the PBC “is working with the Health Ministry to arrange the matter of clinical fields as soon as possible.” It also announced that “there is no political intervention in the work of the committee... decisions are made solely in a businesslike fashion and for the benefit of the higher education system.” 
The elected Dean to the proposed Ariel Medical Faculty is Prof. Shai Ashkenazi, until recently Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Israel Medical Association, who serves as a senior physician at Schneider Children's Hospital, and the chairman of the Israel Association of Pediatrics. He noted that devising the curriculum for the Ariel medical program is close to completion. "More than once, newspapers wrote that this school was opened in a haste, but the truth is that the first meeting of the steering committee was held on May 19, 2014, more than four years ago. We consulted with Deans in the United States and built an advanced curriculum." Ashkenazi states that "Ariel University was not in any conflict of interest, and the attempts to make this claim were intended to prevent the advancement of the school, which is vital in light of the acute shortage of doctors who have completed their medical studies in Israel." This is the first time Ashkenazi is serving as Dean, but he has more than forty years of experience in medical school management teams. 
Health economist Prof. Gabi Ben-Nun of Ben-Gurion University, who headed a committee that examined the needs of personnel in the health system, said that "Due to the shortage of medical doctors, there is a place for establishing another faculty. An opening of a faculty does not give an answer to tomorrow, because the training of a doctor takes seven to eight years and more years of internship, but those who look ahead must plan far, and in this respect, the opening of this faculty is an important step." 
IAM shall report on the developments in due course.
Anti-Israel Conferences
 
07.02.19
Holocaust Inversion Facilitated by Van Leer Jerusalem Institute to be Presented in a Conference in UMass Amherst in March 19, 2019
 
For over a decade, the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute has facilitated the work of a number of scholars whose aim is to minimize the scale of the catastrophe of the Jews in WWII by comparing the Holocaust to the Palestinian Nakba. The Holocaust equivalence serves two goals. It absolves the Palestinians and their Arab allies from any blame for starting a war which intended to destroy the nascent State of Israel, and shows that the former Jewish victims had become the “new” Nazis perpetrator. In this new paradigm, best described as the “Holocaust inversion,” the Palestinians became the “new Jews.” 
The Holocaust inversion paradigm would be on display at the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in a panel discussion on March 19, 2019 on the book The Holocaust and the Nakba: A New Grammar of Trauma and History, edited by Bashir Bashir and Amos Goldberg. Prof. Bashir Bashir of the Open University of Israel and Prof. Amos Goldberg of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will be speaking. Prof. Alon Confino, the Director of the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies at the UMass Amherst, is the organizer of the event and the moderator. Confino reviewed the Bashir-Goldberg book when it first appeared in Hebrew in 2015, and wrote: "Whether one accepts Israel’s justifications of what occurred in 1948 and continues to occur to this day or not, the state of Israel is not a neutral party with regard to the suffering of the Palestinians, in contrast to the Palestinians who had no role in the Holocaust." 
One of the architects of the Holocaust Inversion is Prof. Amos Goldberg from the Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University and a research fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. Since 2008 Goldberg "was among the initiators of an encounter group of Jews and Arabs Studying the Holocaust Together. Following these encounters, he and Prof. Bashir Bashir edited The Holocaust and the Nakba: Memory, National Identity and Jewish-Arab Partnership. Another volume they co-edited together was the (completely different) English book: The Holocaust and the Nakba: A New Grammar of Trauma and History published by Columbia UP 2018." 
Goldberg is a veteran activist member of the group Ta'ayush, an Arab-Jewish partnership of Israelis and Palestinians "striving together to end the Israeli occupation and to achieve full civil equality through daily non-violent direct-action." The use of non-violent means is questionable. 
Photograph by Abir Sultan, Flash 90, February 2010. 
On February 26, 2010, Goldberg was pictured by the press participating in a demonstration in Hebron with anarchists and masked men. Arutz 7 reported of "Palestinians and left-wing activists are rioting in Judea and Samaria." In a week of escalated violence, Palestinians were throwing stones at Israeli soldiers. The tensions in Hebron spilled over onto Jerusalem, nearing a third Intifada. 
Bashir offers an explanation of how they came to develop the Holocaust inversion. Interviewed about the book, Bashir recalled how the project started in Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, when Palestinian school teachers were learning about the Holocaust. Bashir insisted that they include the Nakba in their learning. "When we decided to do this book, my condition was that it needed to address not just the Holocaust, but the Holocaust and the Nakba together. If you are in the Israeli context and you want to discuss the Holocaust with Jewish and Palestinian teachers, it is entirely flawed to do so without intimately connecting the Holocaust and the Nakba, since the institutions of the state treat the Holocaust as an exceptional and unique event, instrumentalizing it to defend the hegemony of Zionism... Palestinians are not responsible for the Holocaust but the Zionist movement and the state of Israel are very much responsible for the Nakba," Bashir argued. He added, "the Holocaust is largely a past, albeit a very important and traumatic one whereas the Nakba is an ongoing reality for Palestinians. We need to put the Holocaust and the Nakba together in a historical context tied to phenomena such as colonialism, nationalism, state-building, and ethnic cleansing." Bashir explained another purpose of the book, "to recognize that it was not perpetrated against Jews alone, but also against Roma, homosexuals, and the disabled." Bashir emphasized, "Putting the Holocaust and the Nakba together in a common frame disrupts this exceptionalism and is meant to provoke new thinking." Bashir also added that "when the sirens blare on Holocaust day in Israel, it is hard to bring Palestinians in Israel to participate in the ritual of standing silence, because many know that it is part and parcel of a larger monopolization and instrumentalization of the Holocaust that serves to justify the very serious discrimination, racism, and oppression exercised against them as Palestinians." 
Indeed, Goldberg adopted the new thinking suggested by Bashir. In January 26,2011, in a lecture titled "Franz Fanon in the Warsaw Ghetto: Writing the history of the victims from a post-colonial perspective,” Goldberg began by discussing an article from 2000 by Harvard historian Charles Maier. Maier argued that in the twentieth century there were two conflicting narratives of catastrophe, one is the Holocaust and the other is Post-Colonial. "The Holocaust is perceived in this sense as a catastrophe perverted to barbarism, lurking at its doorstep, if we let the reactionary forces to return. The obvious conclusion is that if we adhere to our liberal democratic values, strengthen the values of civil society, fight against anti-Semitism and racism, and moderate radical political tendencies, we are safe from the catastrophe." But, as for the identity of the West, Goldberg argues, the postcolonial theory is much more critical, "because in the heart of the liberal democratic state, in the modern thinking of enlightenment the catastrophe already lies. The involvement of democratic states, and the West in general, in factories of mass violence, disgraceful exploitation, colonial policy of oppression and torture, as well as racism emerging from the modern rational discourse, all indicate that even the liberal democratic state with the tradition of enlightenment and rationalism are not immune to crimes that the West tries to forget and from responsibility it seeks to escape." 
This is not the only case of Holocaust inversion. In 2016, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute convened a special seat in a conference titled "To Study and Teach the Holocaust and Genocide in a Context of Conflict and Trauma," organized by Goldberg and Confino. The invitation read: "In this special session, taking place as part of the Fifth Conference of the International Network of Genocide Scholars, we will try to clarify whether a state of perpetual violence influences how we think about the Holocaust and other instances of genocide and how we study them. We will try to answer such questions as what the connection is between trauma, violence, writing, and Israel/Palestine as the space we live in, whether the questions are interpretive, narrative, or ethical. Does the violent present in Israel/Palestine influence the narrative of the past that we recount? Is there a connection between representations of a past of mass violence in the Modern Era, in research in academe or museums, and the Nakba and the denial of Palestinians’ human rights today, and if so, what is the nature of that connection? Does the narrator have a special responsibility toward the present, and if so, what is it? Or perhaps we must ask totally different questions, even questions that negate the validity of this session." 
Goldberg posits that Jews in the Holocaust unconsciously identified with their Nazi oppressors and, given the opportunity, would become perpetrators themselves. 
Even by the shoddy academic standards of critical theory of which Goldberg follows, this is an inexcusable exercise in speculation.
Anti-Israel Conferences
 
31.01.19
SOAS Center for Jewish and Israeli Studies Portrays Israel in a Negative Light
 
The Center for Jewish Studies at the School of Oriental and Asian Studies (SOAS), headed by Dr. Yair Wallach, is hosting a lecture series "After Oslo," to mark the 25th anniversary of the Oslo Accords. The aim of the five lecture series is to discuss the "cultural, social and political ramifications of 'Oslo' as event, structure and effect." The invitation states that "Rather than revisiting the 'failure' of the Accords, we will focus on how they continue to shape the reality of those living in Israel-Palestine." 
The Center, established in the 1990s, is "committed to the promotion of Jewish and Israeli Studies through scholarship, teaching, book launches, workshops, public events, conferences and symposia, debate and discussion." The Center is situated at the Department of Near and Middle East Studies within the Faculty of Language and Culture. 
The first in this series is "Preventing Palestine", the two speakers are Dr. Seth Anziska of the UCL with Dr. Ahmad Khalidi of Oxford University; The next in line is "Raw Sovereignty: how military rule and occupation re-shape Israeli democracy" with the speaker Eyal Chowers of Tel Aviv University; Following, is Sana Knaneh, with "Two Sided Story", a special film screening and discussion with Bassam Aramin, Robi Damelin and other members of the Forum of Palestinians and Israeli Bereaved Families for Peace; The next is "Eggs and dispossession: organic agriculture and the new settlement movement?" and the speaker is Hagar Kotef of SOAS; The last in the series is "Between Apartheid and Peace: Confederation for Israel/Palestine?" with the speaker Oren Yiftachel of Ben Gurion University. 
At first glance, the conference seems like a legitimate academic exercise. All the speakers have positions in respectable academic institutions, but a more detailed perusal shows that the line-up is highly biased as it includes speakers who are left-wing at best and radical political activists at worse. For instance, IAM has written extensively about Oren Yiftachel, one of the first Israeli scholars who made a comparison between Israel and the apartheid regime in South Africa. Hagar Kotef, another radical scholar-activist has been a subject of the IAM critique a number of times. 
The choice of Dr. Seth Anziska, the author of the book Preventing Palestine; Anziska reflects a similar bias. He claims that the "Egyptian-Israeli peace came at the expense of the sovereignty of the Palestinians, whose aspirations for a homeland alongside Israel faced crippling challenges." For Anziska, it's all Israel's fault, by introducing a "restrictive autonomy, Israeli settlement expansion, and Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon, the chances for Palestinian statehood narrowed even further." As Anziska put it, "The first Intifada in 1987 and the end of the Cold War brought new opportunities for a Palestinian state, but many players, refusing to see Palestinians as a nation or a people, continued to steer international diplomacy away from their cause.” Numerous books on the failure of Oslo have been published in the 25 years since the agreement. Many have pointed out that the real culprit for tripping up Oslo have been the Iranians and their Palestinian proxies, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The 1993 Declaration of Principles between Israel and Arafat was a tremendous shock to the Iranian regime; in early 1994, the leaders in Tehran devised a plan to undermine the agreement by launching multiple, devastating suicide bombings which, over time, eroded the faith in Yasser Arafat's ability to control the territories, let alone complete the deal. The U.S. State Department that designated Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad as terror groups had mentioned this fact, but Anziska, in his eagerness to blame Israel, does not.
At the very least, Dr. Wallach could have invited another speaker to balance the panel and shed light on the real reasons for the failure of Oslo. But, given his choices from the previous years, the head of the Jewish Center is not interested in a balanced presentation of the Oslo Agreement or, for that matter, any other topic related to Israel. SOAS is a known hotbed of anti-Israeli radicalism, and it probably requires personal courage and academic integrity to host a well rounded discussion of Israel. As a result, the series of lectures bear no resemblance to the self described mission of the Center to promote a civilized discourse on Israel. To the contrary, the seminars follow the path of extreme anti-Israel radicalism which portrays the Jewish state as an epitomizing the radical-leftist version of the "cardinal sin:" colonialism, imperialism, apartheid, subjugation, exploitation, and so on. 
Regrettable as this state of affairs is, it is not surprising. Some observers have noted that radical-leftism is a virtual religious belief system. As with all religions, it needs to denote a series of sins to separate the flock of the righteous from the evil ones. By vesting Israel with the "cardinal sin", it turns the Jewish state into the ultimate Evil.
Anti-Israel Conferences
 
24.01.19
Seminar on the "Nakba" to Host Shlomo Sand and Ilan Pappe in Switzerland in April 2019
 
In April 2019, a two-days seminar for high-school teachers of history will be taking place in Lausanne, Switzerland. The title, originally "1948: Knowing and Teaching the Palestinian Nakba ("Catastrophe"), was changed to "1948: The origins of the Palestinian refugee problem". Planned for October 29 and 30, 2018 at the Haute Ecole Pédagogique (HEP) in Lausanne, after a public outcry the seminar was suspended and rescheduled to April 29 and 30, 2019. 
The original invitation stated that "In Palestinian memory and historiography, the word [Nakba] sums up the exodus of 726,800 Palestinians, the destruction of nearly 800 villages, the confiscation of their property, the blocking of their return, the creation of the State of Israel.” 
The seminar is organized by the Teaching and Research Unit of Humanities and Social Sciences of the HEP. The invited speakers are Jean-Benoît Clerc, a teacher-trainer at the HEP in Vaud; Elias Rafik Khoury, a Palestinian historian and interpreter; Ilan Pappé, professor of History at the University of Exeter and Director of the European Center for Palestine Studies; Philippe Rekacewicz, a cartographer, and associate researcher in the Department of Anthropology, University of Helsinki; Elias Sanbar, the Ambassador of Palestine to UNESCO; Shlomo Sand, emeritus professor of General History at Tel Aviv University; and Pascal de Crousaz, Middle East specialist at the University of Geneva Global Studies Institute. 
In July 2018, Cesla Amarelle, the head of the Department of Training, Youth, and Culture in the Canton of Vaud, spoke to the HEP administration about the seminar, explaining that she was concerned about "the balance of views." The HEP received complaints from Professor Jacques Ehrenfreund, who holds the chair in the history of Jews and Judaism at the University of Lausanne. He told Swiss media that "the Nakba, which means much the same as the word Shoah, in Arabic, was used, to a large extent, to counter and reproduce the Holocaust for partisan purposes." He also said that "organizing a seminar on this theme on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel is quite outrageous. "I have no problem with all aspects of the 1948 events, but it must be done in a balanced way, with specialist historians and not activists." 
The participation of the historians Pappe and Sand is especially objectionable. Sand in particular is known for two of his books: The Invention of the Jewish People, which shows that Israeli Jews aren’t a "people" and therefore their claim to Palestine is questionable, and How I Stopped Being a Jew, a short polemics announcing Sand resigning as a Jew because a state which defines itself by religious or ethnic group cannot be considered democratic. 
The Department of Training, Youth and Culture stated that as a general rule, "it does not interfere in the curriculum of a school but it observes, at all times and for all schools, the respect for political neutrality and scientific objectivity". 
Following the intervention, the HEP Board of Directors, through its rector, asked to suspend the seminar. "We tried to provide an additional reading by contacting the historian Elie Barnavi (former Israeli ambassador to France), the rector explained. "But we did not receive an answer and the deadlines became too close. We decided to suspend this seminar." Believing that the criticism had reached an unprecedented scale, Guillaume Vanhulst, the rector of the school, explained: "I must guarantee a serene debate so that this seminar does not degenerate into a political forum, or verbal pugilism," he retorted, assuring that this training will take place later, with these participants and others. 
However, except for the change of title, with the addition of Pascal de Crousaz to balance the event, the speakers are the same. Professor Ehrenfreund is right, both Pappe and Sand are more activists than scholars. 
As Sand himself admitted, "I chose this subject after I got tenure. I could not make an academic career in Tel Aviv with this kind of book. After getting a full professorship, I decided to take a risk". In a recent article, The Guardian wrote of Sand who "started his working life making radio sets in Israel before studying in France and his blue-collar past haunts his thinking." In particular his affinity to Communism. Since his early work on the French revolutionary syndicalist Georges Sorel, Sand, "inherits his doubts that workers need to be led to communist paradise." Sand's critics, such as Anita Shapira, the internationally acclaimed scholar, has written that Sand's polemics are based "on the most esoteric and controversial interpretations, while seeking to undermine the credibility of important scholars by dismissing their conclusions without bringing any evidence to bear." Sand's greatest supporters have an anti-Semitic background. Iran, for example, has recently announced the book, The Invention of the Jewish People, is being sold in Iranian bookstores. David Duke, the anti-Semite and Holocaust denier has written of Sand, "Well-known Jewish dissident Professor Shlomo Sand has admitted that Israel is the 'most racist state in the world'—and that Jews in the rest of the world all work to 'dominate' and 'control' their home nations’ policies to support the racist Zionist state." So much so that an Haaretz article questioned recently, "Why David Duke, David Icke, Louis Farrakhan and the Assad Regime All Love Shlomo Sand. And Iran, George Galloway, Gilad Atzmon and the Daily Stormer." 
While Ilan Pappe has been writing on the creation of the Palestinian refugees, his scholarship is dubious. One reviewer wrote, "This book combines an interesting narrative... together with sympathetic descriptions verging on apologetics, highly problematic omissions and outright distortions... This mix is a direct result of the author's political agenda of unmitigated identification with Palestinian nationalism and hostility to Zionism." In the New Republic, Historian Benny Morris named Pappe "The Liar as Hero", charging him as "one of the world’s sloppiest historians; at worst, one of the most dishonest." Another reviewer of Pappe has noted "Pappe’s poor writing... laden with errors, failures, absurd interpretations and unreliability". 
Other seminar participants include, Philippe Rekacewicz, a cartographer and a journalist with Le Monde Diplomatique. In 2007 he co-written an article "Jerusalem’s apartheid tramway" about two French companies involved in the construction and operation of the Jerusalem light railway. "It is promoted as a unifying project: in fact, it will be yet another way to isolate the Palestinians." 
Elias Khoury is a Palestinian author originally from Lebanon, in 1967 he moved to Jordan to become a researcher for the PLO. In his work he compared the Jewish ghettos to the Palestinian ghettos. 
Elias Sanbar is the Ambassador of Palestine to UNESCO. He is a Palestinian intellectual and activist, and the founder of the Journal of Palestine Studies (La Revue d'Études Palestiniennes). In a conversation with the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze in 1982, published as "The Indians of Palestine," Sanbar named racism as the central element in the creation of Israel: "Here, the Zionist movement consistently played upon a racist vision which made Judaism the very basis of the expulsion, of the rejection of the other." 
Evidently, such a list of speakers points out to the fact that the seminar is a political tool aiming to change history. Since the Palestinians cannot undo Israel, they try, with the help of obliging academics, to rewrite history in order to delegitimize the Jewish State. Exposing Swiss history teachers to a highly biased reading of 1948 is part of this tactic. No wonder the Swiss BDS group is following this story closely.
Hebrew University
 
16.01.19
Grant Paid by ISEF: Israeli "State’s Racist Project... Targeting of Palestinian Children" - by HUJ Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian
 
Last week the media broke out with the story "Hebrew U Professor to Give a Talk on Israel Using Palestinian Kids as 'Arms Laboratories'," about Prof. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, the Lawrence D. Biele Chair in Law at the Faculty of Law-Institute of Criminology and the School of Social Work and Public Welfare at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Chair in Global Law at Queen Mary University of London. 
Shalhoub-Kevorkian will be traveling to Amsterdam to give a lecture, on the 22nd of January, about Israeli security agencies who "market their technologies as 'combat proven'", based on "surveying, imprisoning, torturing and killing" then selling the knowledge to clients such as "states, arms companies, and security agencies." Palestinian children are used by Israeli "laboratory," as "unchilded disposable others, whose bodies are used to transfer knowledge and to market technologies of violence." Her lecture is based on the voices and writings of Jerusalemite children who "live under Occupation.” 
Three groups are organizing the lecture: FFIPP NL, an educational network for human rights in Palestine/Israel; Palestine Link, an organization of Palestinians in the Netherlands; and Gate48, a group of Israelis living in the Netherlands "who oppose the occupation of the Palestinian territories and call for its end." 
When asked, the Hebrew University said it didn’t fund the trip to Amsterdam and that she “accepted an invitation to speak at the conference on her own time and on her own dime.” 
But, as can be seen, for this research Shalhoub Kevorkian has received a grant from the Israeli Science Foundation (ISEF). Grant number 1019/16, as acknowledged in her latest article, "Arrested Childhood in Spaces of Indifference: The Criminalized Children of Occupied East Jerusalem", co-authored with Shahrazad Odeh, a HUJ human rights lawyer. The article accuses Israel of "colonial violence inflicted upon incarcerated children’s bodies" and discusses the "role of the Israeli politico-legal system in framing and constructing the racialization of children." The article demonstrates how the Israeli criminal justice system is "fundamental to the Israeli state’s targeting of Palestinian children". The authors argue that child arrest is "a political mechanism" in the "processes of colonial dispossession". The article emphasizes "the core role of the Israeli legal system in the state's racist project," and concludes by claiming that the Israeli legal system dismisses the "basic rights of the Palestinian child." 
On the 27 February 2019 Shalhoub-Kevorkian will speak on this topic at the School of Law, Queen Mary University of London. 
Her previous work is equally biased against Israel. Her 2009 article argues, "First, that Palestinian children living in the settler colonial conditions of the Palestinian home/land are increasingly targeted in the Israeli state’s eliminatory violence. Second, that denying children from their childhood and humanity relegates them to a death zone, a position that not only denies their suffering, but also constructs them as always already terrorist others who should be disciplined and violated." She wishes to place the "practices in a historical continuum of Israeli colonial violence, which has since the Nakba racialized the Palestinian people as ‘Others’ slated for elimination and attempted to strip them of their humanity. That child arrest practices are legally licensed offer a graphic and visible exercise of state violence, evidencing how laws enable the state and its agents to inflict violence in a ‘legal’, ‘securitized’ and ‘rational’ manner." 
Shalhoub-Kevorkian's 2015 book, Security Theology, Surveillance and the Politics of Fear, examines Palestinian experiences within the context of "Israeli settler colonialism" and explores how "Israeli theologies and ideologies of security, surveillance and fear can obscure violence and power dynamics while perpetuating existing power structures. Drawing from everyday aspects of Palestinian victimization, survival, life and death, and moving between the local and the global." She introduces and defines the "politics of fear" within Palestine/Israel. She examines the "settler colonial state's machineries of surveillance which produce and maintain a political economy of fear that justifies colonial violence." 
IAM reported on Shalhoub-Kevorkian anti-Israel approach before, as she was, in fact, working for the Palestinian Authority through the Ministry of Women’s Affairs' chapter of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA). The YWCA reported that in 2007, Shalhoub-Kevorkian published the study "Facing the Wall: Palestinian Children and Adolescents Speak about the Israeli Separation Wall" which showcased the "heavy price Palestinian adolescents have to face, both for being Palestinians and also for living in the shadow of the Wall. The recurring words of the Palestinian teenagers in that study were 'divider', 'apartheid,' 'snake,' 'dangerous disease;' all of which were revolved around the symbolic as well as physical reality of the Wall; a nightmare creeping into the dreams of Palestinians." YWCA also reported on a study by Shalhoub-Kevorkian, launched in Ramallah in 2010, "Military Occupation, Trauma and the Violence of Exclusion: Trapped bodies and lives. IAM reported that during Israel Apartheid Week 2011, Shalhoub-Kevorkian spoke about "Apartheid – Birth and Death in Jerusalem." 
It is true that Shalhoub-Kevorkian is traveling "on her own dime” as the Hebrew University has stated. But it is equally true that she received a grant, and uses her position at the top Israeli university to legitimize her radical views. Trying to find a balance between academic freedom and aggressive anti-Israel propaganda is not easy. It is incumbent on the university authorities to initiate a discussion on the subject. HUJ is a public university which is funded by taxpayers and thus is accountable to them and their elected representatives. By ignoring this fact, the university is defaulting on its duty of good citizenship.
Hebrew University
 
10.01.19
Ill-Treatment of a Student-Soldier by HUJ Carola Hilfrich
 
Last week, Kan TV News broke out with the story of a student in a course by Dr. Carola Hilfrich at the Hebrew University wearing IDF uniform claimed to be harassed by an Arab student. The soldier complained after class to Dr. Hilfrich who, in turn, lambasted her for being a soldier in the Israeli army, which hurts other students' feelings: "You can't be naïve enough to ask to be treated as a civilian when you are in uniform. You are a soldier in the Israeli army and people treat you accordingly," the lecturer said. Then the student asked: "Does it bother you that I'm wearing the uniform in class?" Hilfrich replied: "There are people whose civil society is as important to them as the army is to you, and you must accept their priorities as tolerantly as they accept yours.” The video recording of the incident clearly indicates that Hilfrich raised her voice at the student-soldier. 
Following the incident, the HUJ placed ads in various newspapers assuring students that they are welcome wearing uniforms and apologizing for the incident. Subsequent media reports revealed that the student-soldier was a former member of the student group Im Tirtzu; some even implied that the woman soldier staged the incident in order to trap the professor. These revelations were enough to prompt some HUJ faculty to circulate petitions in support of Dr. Hilfrich. Professor Asher Cohen, the president of HUJ issued a statement on TV Channel 2 News: “The Hebrew University embraces and supports students who serve as soldiers. Unfortunately, this happened because of the false manipulations and disinformation spread around this video, especially by the truly despicable organization called Im Tirtzu that created these manipulations... The army's most prestigious programs are run by us, we have always supported servicemen and will always support servicemen. And yet we live in very challenging times, of social networks, disinformation and false manipulations which can create a false impression... We did not abandon the lecturer. In my opinion, both the lecturer and the student are victims of the same manipulation done by that organization. There is also a third victim, the Hebrew University, and we wanted to end this saga and clarify. We also did not express an apology in the simplest sense. We said that we were sorry if someone was hurt." 
Claims about the alleged stunt operation by the Im Tirtzu is not relevant to the case. The complaint stands on its own; the student claims of harassment by another student and, regardless whether she is a right-winger, left-winger, or centrist, the professor needed to investigate the complaint just like any other complaint of harassment. Students should be treated as equal, regardless of their political affiliation. In fact, the various HUJ codes assure this right. The faculty who signed a petition in support of Dr. Hilfrich should also know that. But as IAM documented over and over again, Israeli social science and humanities faculty are skewed left-wing and tend to protect their radical peers. 
Unquestionably, Dr. Hiflrich has a long history of radical activism. In 2003, she was among Israeli Academics who supported students refusing to serve as soldiers in the occupied territories. In 2004, she was among the signatories of the Olga Document, recognizing the right to return. In 2014 she was among the academic signatories in the petition blaming Israel for the war with Gaza. 
Hilfrich is also not the only one who took offense to soldiers wearing the uniform. In 2007, IAM reported on a cinematography student at Sapir College who entered the class wearing IDF uniform and was ordered to leave by the Arab lecturer Nizar Hassan. The administration stood by the soldier. Soon-after the story broke out, petitions circulated in support of the lecturer, signed by dozens of Jewish and Arab university lecturers, praising Hassan as "a talented and courageous artist whose only sin was his attempt to maintain universal civic values, [who] pointed to the serious phenomenon of the great involvement of the army in campus life." Quite similar to the case of Hilfrich. 
In response to Dr. Hilfrich treatment of the soldier, Shmuel Slavin, a member of a committee monitoring the implementation of the Recovery Plan to the Hebrew University (part of the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education), sent a harsh letter in protest and also suspended his membership on the committee. The role of the committee is to supervise the recovery plan initiated by the Ministry of Finance for the Hebrew University, which was facing heavy financial deficits. The plan was launched in February 2018, and the state is expected to transfer to the Hebrew University a total of NIS 700 million over a decade. The plan also includes a reduction in the number of jobs, with the university committing itself to cover deficits in the amount of NIS 900 million, including by selling assets worth NIS 400 million. 
While Hebrew University is depended on the state for financial support, it is expected in return to treat with respect the taxpayers. To prevent such incidents reoccurring in the future, university administrations need to emphasize that students in uniform, regardless of their political affiliation, should be afforded equal treatment. Radical academics should be put on notice that they are violating the regulations by taking matters into their own hands.
Hebrew University
 
03.01.19
HUJ Yael Berda Sociology Courses are Political Activism Paid by the Taxpayers
 
IAM often reports about the new generation of political activists eager to gain tenure in Israeli universities. One such an example is Dr. Yael Berda of the Hebrew University's Sociology Department. 
Trained as a lawyer, Berda is a longstanding activist with Machsom Watch, a group that opposes Israeli checkpoints in Judea and Samaria. When studying for a PhD in Princeton University, Berda was a member of the Princeton Committee on Palestine (PCP) which "works to end the occupation in Palestine, defend Palestinian human rights, and raise awareness in the Princeton community about the Palestinian narrative." While in Princeton she also joined other Israeli academics from various American universities, who formed the Israeli Opposition Network, aiming to "oppose current Israeli Leadership" and to warn that the "election results threaten democracy and rule of law in Israel." 
Clearly, in her writing and activism Berda turns a blind eye to Palestinian violence against Israelis by opposing Israel's measures to thwart terrorist threats. As she said in an interview, about the years when she took the first legal case as an independent lawyer. "I was shocked by what I saw in the Military Courts. Not only was there a separation of laws for every population, but there was physical separation in the court between the entry of Jewish citizens and the entrance of Palestinian residents, and even separate seating areas. One of the soldiers told me, 'Why are you in shock? This is the territories - there are other laws here.'" 
On a regular basis, Berda is the organizer of demonstrations by a group of Israelis who march near the border-fence with Gaza waving banners in against the siege of Gaza. When Berda was interviewed she said "It is important for us that people on the other side see us, that they see there are different voices, and that they know that we think there is a need to talk about the right of return, about the Palestinian refugees. It must be part of an agreement. Until we talk about it - we can not end the conflict." 
Berda's political thought brought her to the group "The Two States, One Homeland," sponsored by the New Israel Fund, an initiative by Israeli journalist Meron Rapoport and Palestinian activist Awni Al-Mashni, a Fatah political activist. The group intends to present "a homeland shared by two people [while] each having deep historic, religious and cultural connections to the land." 
Already in 2006 Berda was recruiting students to volunteer in organizations such as Yesh Din and Machsom Watch, promising them NIS 1450 grant. As an MA student of Sociology, Berda was a teaching assistant to TAU Prof. Yehuda Shenhav at the Hebrew University's Campus-Community Partnerships for a Social Change, a project initiated by Daphna Golan-Agnon, Faculty of Law. The course "Bureaucracy, Governance and Human Rights" was taught by Shenhav, instructed by Barda with a guest lecturer Adv. Michael Sfard. The course intended to deal with "practice and management theory, while focusing on control techniques that have emerged within the context of the Israeli occupation in the territories." The historical roots, to try to place them within the "colonial context, especially the British and the French ones". In particular, the course focused on the "connection between race and bureaucracy," The course intended especially to "look beyond the shoulder of the worker in the civil service to try to understand the mechanism in which it operates. The course was defined as a seminar that combines theory and practice." In addition to Shenhav, "Sfard joined the course as a guest lecturer and legal adviser to Yesh Din. The students take action every two weeks in observations, in the project of Military Court Observers, a project of Yesh Din and in the Coordination Project of Machsom Watch. The students work with the assistance of the organizations in documenting, representing and liaising with the official authorities, while keeping a travelogue of activities. The students accompanied by Adv. Yael Barda, at the individual level and the group level. The students receive travel fee to the places of activity and an annual grant of NIS 1450. At the end of the year, each student submits an article based on the activities and experiences relating to the theoretical content of the course. Some of these articles were selected for publication in a book edited by Shenhav, Sfard and Barda, in partnership with the organizations." 
Clearly, Berda's scholarship is a configuration of her politics, as can be seen in her article published recently in the American Sociological Association's newsletter, Trajectories, based on the conference "Empires, Colonies, Indigenous Peoples". In Berda's paper, "Legacies of Suspicion: From British Colonial Emergency Regulations to the ‘War on Terror’ in Israel and India" she aligns herself with the latest academic trend accusing British colonialism for the failures of the former colonies. 
Berda's one-homeland solution is reflected in the argument, that the 1948 partition between the Jews and the Palestinians has turned the Palestinian minorities in Israel "into foreign and dangerous populations [which] were perceived as hostile because they were on the 'wrong' side of the border." In particular, she claims, the "emergency laws targeted certain problematic or 'dangerous' segments of the subject population". For Berda, Israel treats Palestinian political activists as terrorists. Again turning her argument into the context of race, she suggests that on racial grounds Israel prefers Jews. As "the laws targeted the subjects of the military regime who became Palestinian citizens of Israel. Emergency regulations were used against Jewish citizens only in a handful of cases." Claiming that her comparative study of emergency regulations, "illuminates the inherent tension of the liberal principle of 'the rule of law'", because it gives a "political legitimacy to infringe on civil rights, so long as the infringement abides by institutional standards". In principle, Berda postulates, "laws preserving security include potential infringement of civil and political rights to such a degree that democratic structure becomes hollow." One of her findings is that Palestinian "classification was also according to the degree of loyalty to the regime, or the suspicion of posing a security risk, which I call 'the axis of suspicion'. The classification and monitoring systems were critical because they enabled the colonial bureaucracy to use emergency laws as a practical tool of government." 
Berda claims that, "The attitude of the Israeli state apparatus towards the remainder of the Palestinian population blurred the boundaries between a security threat and a political threat, specifically regarding their status as an enemy population whose very citizenship was questioned until as late as 1952, when the Citizenship Law was passed." Berda postulates that Israel confuses between Palestinian terrorism and Palestinian political activities. She claims that Israel's definition of the "boundaries of terrorism, make participation in political activity in general and public events in particular, a risky affair for minority populations already perceived as dangerous by the regime." Berda takes her argument further by claiming that "offenses for supporting, identifying with, and abetting terrorism, are defined so broadly (with terms like 'terrorist act', terrorist organization', and 'membership of a terrorist organization') that political identity, belonging to a particular community, or residence in an area designated as 'terrorist infrastructure', can be enough to suspend one’s right to due process." 
Berda's conclusion is based on Oren Yiftachel's 2006 book, Ethnocracy: Land and identity politics in Israel/Palestin, as she ends by stating that the "legislation on political belonging and identity in Israel will enable a broad assault on the civil rights of not only Palestinians but also Jewish members of the opposition, changing the “ethnocratic” nature of the political regime." Berda suggests that the Israeli legislation will enable an assault on her and others for being the political opposition. 
From an academic perspective, her teaching reflects her political activism. Three course syllabi make a clear case: 
Her syllabus "Bureaucracy and State" The course "focuses on state bureaucracies, the institutional practices of the executive Branch and its political influence on the daily life of citizens. our premise is that organizations within state bureaucracy have great political power, that are not politically neutral. We will explore the bureaucracy of the state through a comparative lens and locate daily practices and routines that are created within particular historical, economic and cultural conditions and constraints (In Israel, US, India, The British and Ottoman Empires and more). We will learn to apply institutional and political theory to contemporary cases, particularly the relationship between bureaucracy, sovereignty and violations of citizens rights." 
Her syllabus "Sociology of Law" is teaching that "The sociological approach to the law suggests looking at legal structures, how the law turns into culture and ideology, on the political and social power of institutions. In this course, we will learn, through current and sometimes urgent and controversial issues, about how law, social institutions and economic and political practices are building each other. The course is critical of the tradition of the "Law and Society" movement and seeks to challenge concepts that consider the law an independent system that is somehow disconnected from the country's political economy and social life. In addition, the Law and Society movement saw in the law as a significant tool for a broad social and political change, and throughout the course we will also discuss the range of possibilities for social change offered by the reading materials and discussions in the classroom." 
Her course "Society in Israel" includes three field tours, The Supreme Court; Musrara - Following the Black Panthers; and The Politics of Archeology Tour of Silwan/City of David. 
Berda does not hide her ambition. In an interview about her return to Israel, Berda expressed her views, "I say to myself: 'Everything I do here is a contribution to both the policy and the way people perceive themselves.' I want to open people's mind to alternative thinking. People are afraid to open their mouths not to be accused for not being loyal enough, and I want to be the person they meet and tell them that it is possible to live here and expect full equality of rights for Palestinians, and that it is possible to bridge the gaps. "It's very hard because all day you're busy explaining the obvious, but I have no doubt that my life here means a lot more. It's to take part in the struggles and be active. And it's not just me but my children who go to a bilingual school and study Arabic. It is not enough just to live here, we have to struggle. There is a great struggle for the future, and in the meantime the democratic camp is losing. Therefore, I choose to live here to influence." 
Clearly, there is no reason why the taxpayers should sponsor political activism dressed as scholarship.
General Articles
 
 27.12.18
Outline for Law School Clinics by the Council for Higher Education
 
On the 23rd of December 2018, the Council for Higher Education (CHE) announced it has approved a new outline to regulate the Law School Clinics offered by universities and colleges to Law students. The Clinics provide practical training, and let students experiment legal counsel to various entities. There are 110 Clinics operating in 13 universities and colleges in Israel. Until now, the Clinics were not regulated and mostly worked in favor of left-leaning organizations. 
To recall, IAM reported in September 2016 of the "CHE to Review the Law Schools Clinics," after approving the findings of an International Committee commissioned to evaluate academic standards in the law study programs, a standard practice and an integral role of the CHE. The Committee included Prof. Edward B. Rock, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Committee Chair; Prof. Arye Edrei, Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law; Prof. Silvia Ferreri, University of Turin Law School; Prof. Lucie E. White, Harvard Law School; Prof. David Schizer, Colombia Law School; Prof. Stewart J. Schwab, Cornell University Law School. 
The Committee recommended on several issues of the Law Clinics: "It is desirable to establish that the budget of the Clinics should be taken from the institutions rather than from outside agencies; There is room to improve working conditions and the employment of staff in the clinics; There is a necessity of transparency in the selection process of the clinics' activities, especially when these are determined by external stakeholders; There should be an increased cooperation between clinic activity and staff at all the institutions and their research centers." When reviewing the University of Haifa clinic, the Committee concluded, "we found a lack of clarity vis-à-vis the goals and objectives and vis-à-vis the pedagogic fun'ction of educational clinics. Some of the clinics clearly fun'ction as NGO social organizations, and the clinicians are uncertain about the need to help students acquire skills. We also heard from the students that they wish to receive more skills, professional development, and legal experience from the clinics." The CHE announced that "In light of the recommendations by the International Commission with regards to the Law Clinics, the CHE is in a review process with reference to the above comments." 
Over the years, IAM reported on the one-sided political activism of some of the Law School Clinics. For example, in 2006 IAM reported that the TAU Law School set up a "Refugee Rights Clinic" involving the political organization "Physicians for Human Rights." In 2008 IAM reported that the Clinics were involved with "Gisha," the Israeli NGO protecting the freedom of movement of Palestinians, when serving on its board a number of academics, such as Prof. Kenneth Mann (TAU, Law), Prof. Yishai Blank (TAU, Law), Prof. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian (HUJ, Law), among others. In 2009 IAM reported that the U of Haifa Law Clinic took on the State Prosecutor. The Prisoners Rights Clinic at the U of Haifa was run by Adv. Abeer Baker who co-authored the book Threat: Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israel with TAU Dr. Anat Matar. Also in 2009, IAM reported that a number of Clinic staff spoke in a conference "Absence of Justice and State Accountability" of Adalah (the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel) designated for Arab Law students, with participants including Prof. Neta Ziv, the Director of Law Clinics at TAU; Prof. Michael Karayanni of the Faculty of Law, HUJ; Dr. Yousef Tayseer Jabareen, a Law lecturer at Haifa U; Dr. Hala Khoury-Bisharat of Haifa and Tel Aviv Universities and chair of the board of Adalah; as well as Adv. Abeer Baker. As described by Adalah, "Seventy law students from Israeli colleges and universities and Al Quds University and 25 human rights lawyers, academics and activists participated in the event." In 2011 IAM reported that Prof. Ziv was due to represent the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement in Montreal. IAM later reported a legal case lead by the TAU Law Clinic, which petitioned against a proposed law intending to deduct 20 percent of salaries of asylum seekers and create a special fund to hold the sums until the refugees departure from Israel. Critics have questioned whether the TAU clinic should handle such a project. 
IAM concluded the post by stating that if the CHE is reviewing the Universities' Law Clinics, it should make sure that their budget will be taken from the universities rather than from outside sources. This means that political groups will no longer determine the clinics' work. The need for transparency in selecting the Law Clinics' activities is highly important, as well as incorporating the work of the Law Clinics with that of the universities and other research centers. 
The following is the new outline adopted by the CHE to regulate the Law School clinics offered to Law students by universities and colleges: 
Heading the clinic system will be a faculty member in a regular academic track, who is employed full-time by the Institution. The head of the system will report on the activity of the clinics system to the dean and the faculty teaching committee. 
Academic responsibility for each clinic will be in the hands of the academic institution through the "academic supervisor" who is a faculty member or an adjunct lecturer who will be appointed by the appointing body of external teachers (teaching committee, appointment committee, etc.). In exceptional cases, the head of the clinic may be the academic supervisor of the clinic. The responsibility of all the events in the clinic will be the responsibility of the academic supervisor (academic supervisor or head of the Law School clinic system), who will report annually to the head of the clinic system on the activity of the clinic under his responsibility. The grade for each student will be given by the academic supervisor who will report to the head of the clinic system. 
Academic training in the framework of Law School clinics will take place in general at the institution. 
The activity within the framework of the clinic will be restricted to activities related to legal issues in the broad sense. 
Due to academic training, as long as it is given in the clinic, a credit point will be awarded for each semester hour. Due to clinical activity, an additional credit point will be awarded for at least 3 hours of clinical work (fieldwork, practical training) at the institution or outside of it. The clinic can be run on a semester basis or annual. The possibility of granting credits for clinics is only for a graduate degree. 
Choosing the clinic will be a free choice of the student. Admission to the clinic will be the responsibility of the academic supervisor of the clinic. A student will not be compelled to participate in a clinic that is contrary to his personal views. 
In each clinic, up to 25 students will participate. 
The areas of activity and contents of the clinics will be determined each year by the faculty teaching committee in coordination with the head of the clinic system and with the approval of the Dean. 
The criteria for determining the areas of activity of the clinics will be their pedagogical value. Formulation of all areas of activity and content in clinics will be carried out in a way that will not discriminate against students for any reason, and in accordance with the institution's regulations. The institution will allow every student to integrate into them, while maintaining freedom of opinion and expression and subject to academic freedom. 
The institution of higher education will ensure that if an outside body contributes financially to the institution in the context of the clinic, it will not have any involvement, either before the establishment of the clinic or after its establishment, in determining the contents of the clinic and its conduct, in electing the academic supervisor or in granting benefits to the students[2]. It will made clear that in any activity and publication, the clinic is affiliated with and identified with the institution. 
An appeal against a decision not to approve a clinic at the request of a body that has proposed it, will be transferred to the Dean's attention and decided by the authorized body at the institution which approves courses and curricula. 
The head of the institution will receive and coordinate the annual reports on the clinics that take place within the framework of the institution, including a report on bodies that proposed the establishment of new clinics, either approved or rejected during the year, and will transfer a copy of the report to the CHE.
About Us
 
20.12.18
Israel Academia Monitor - Court Case and Request for Support
 
IAM has reported in August 2013 and again in April 2014, on Dr. Amos Goldberg, a Hebrew University scholar of the Institute of Contemporary Jewry, "[HUJ Amos Goldberg] Critical Studies Find Converts among Holocaust Studies Scholars: What do Taxpayers Pay For?". Goldberg co-authored an article which compared the Holocaust and the Nakba. The article was published in the Journal of Genocide Studies which gave this comparison an academic legitimacy. One of the goals of IAM has been to document the writings of radical Israeli scholars who push to create the regrettable equivalence between the Holocaust and the Nakba (Catastrophe), a reference which Palestinians use to describe the 1948 War. Portraying the Israel Defense Force as a Nazi-like army has been very popular among radical academics who seek to delegitimize the State of Israel. 
The IAM post was accompanied by an illustrative picture, taken in 2010, of Goldberg participating in a demonstration with a group of anarchists and confronting the police. IAM credited the blogger Shahaf Pilovitz for the picture and added a hyperlink to his forum where it appeared. 
Two years later photographer Abir Sultan and the photo agency Flash 90 sued IAM over copyright infringement of the photo, requesting its immediate removal and compensation. Last week, after two years of court proceedings, IAM has lost the lawsuit and is now ordered to pay NIS 40,000. The plaintiff claimed that the picture contained a hyperlink leading to the original report which shows that Flash 90 holds the copyright for the picture. The Judge, without checking if this is true, accepted this false claim. In reality, the photograph did not contain such a hyperlink near it. 
It should be noted that according to the Israeli law, it is permissible to use a picture without permission if the picture is used for research and inquiry, which is what IAM has been doing. In court, IAM also claimed to be an "innocent infringer" because of crediting Pilovich who seemed to be the owner of the picture. IAM even provided a prior exchange with Pilovich who gave IAM permission to use his material. Now IAM has to fight for the truth to come out. 
Over the years IAM has worked hard to expose the writings of radical Israeli academics which delegitimize Israel in many different ways. The scholars-activists have compared Israel to a colonial state, apartheid state, and above all to a Nazi state. Even by the low-standards of morals equivalence, to imply that the Palestinians have been subjected to a genocidal campaign like the Jews of Europe is beyond the pale. 
IAM would like to appeal against this ruling. It is important to raise funds for this effort as IAM should not bear the burden alone. We are about to start a crowdfunding campaign, and will notify our readers once its operating. Please support IAM with any donation great or small. Thanks so much for your support.
General Articles
 
13.12.18
Israeli Scholars Protest Against Conflating Anti-Zionism with Anti-Semitism Could be Construed as Anti-Semitic
 
The growing incidents of anti-Semitism in the West has prompted the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) to conduct a survey on how Jews experience anti-Semitism across 12 EU Member States. "Experiences and Perceptions of Antisemitism – Second survey on discrimination and hate crime against Jews in the EU" was published as a report on December 10, 2018. The report points to rising levels of antisemitism in Europe. About 90% of the respondents felt that anti-Semitism is growing in their country; Around 90% felt it is particularly problematic online; And some 70% cited the public space, the media and politics as common sources of anti-Semitism; Almost 30% have been harassed, with those being visibly Jewish were most affected. 
To tackle this growing atmosphere of anti-Semitism, the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU has hosted a high-level conference on November 21, 2018, billed as "Europe beyond anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism – securing Jewish life in Europe". The European Jewish Congress, representing the official Jewish community organizations in 42 states, initiated the conference. The Austrian Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said at the conference, “I find it almost inconceivable that almost 100 years after the Shoah, such a thing as anti‑Semitism even still exists and that we continuously see newly imported anti‑Semitism in our society. It is all the more essential never to forget the past and to also raise awareness among subsequent generations that in Austria there were not only victims but also many perpetrators.” It is also noted that the political forces behind the comprehensive survey were First Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans and Commissioner for Justice Věra Jourová. In the conference, Jourová "underlined that the European Union was aware of anti‑Semitism being a serious problem that can only be combatted jointly. Societies should not stand and watch as anti‑Semitism is once again on the rise." 
However, a day before the conference took place, some 35 Israeli scholars wrote a public letter in response. "As Israeli scholars, most of whom research and teach Jewish history, we say to Europe: Relentlessly fight anti-Semitism to protect Jewish life in Europe, and allow it to thrive. Do so while maintaining a clear distinction between criticism of the state of Israel, harsh as it may be, and anti-Semitism. Don’t mix anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. And preserve free speech for those who reject the Israeli occupation and insist that it ends." The group expressed concerns over conflating criticism of the state of Israel with anti-Semitism, and in particular, over the official announcement of the conference by the Austrian government, which said: “Very often, anti-Semitism is expressed through exaggerated and disproportionate criticism of the state of Israel.” According to the group, these words "echo the anti-Semitism definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). Several examples of contemporary anti-Semitism attached to this definition, relate to harsh critique of Israel. As a result, the definition can be dangerously instrumentalized to afford Israel immunity against criticism for grave and wide-spread violations of human rights and international law – criticism which is considered legitimate when directed at other countries. This has a chilling effect on any critique of Israel." 
While the group urged Europe to reject "efforts to restrict free speech and to silence criticism of Israel on the false ground of equating it with anti-Semitism," it also stated that "Zionism, like all other modern Jewish movements in the 20th century, was harshly opposed by many Jews, as well as by non-Jews who were not anti-Semitic. Many victims of the Holocaust opposed Zionism. On the other hand, many anti-Semites supported Zionism. It is nonsensical and inappropriate to identify anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.” 
The scholars’ claim that many Jews rejected Zionism (and quite a few still do) is an ingenious distraction from the debate about the extent of overlap of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. 
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism which has been widely accepted in Europe and the United States, makes a clear distinction between criticism of Israeli policies and anti-Semitism. Even before IHRA, it was always understood that criticism of Israel should be allowed as part of a healthy democratic discourse. IHRA states that “criticism of Israel similar to that is leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.” But the group conveniently ignores this clear distinction to create the impression that IHRA and its supporters protect Israel. "Extending this fight to protect the state of Israel from criticism feeds misconceptions that Jews equal Israel – and are thus responsible for what Israel does.” 
By omitting the carefully worded distinction, the scholars push a false narrative banking on the fact that few of their readers would be familiar with the entire IHRA text. But this amazing dishonesty has an additional goal. As IAM has repeatedly documented, virtually all radical academics in Israel engage in criticism of Israel which far exceeds that of other countries. Indeed, reading this large literature one could conclude that Blaming Israel for everything is the norm, but criticizing Palestinian behavior is taboo. 
Clearly, by the standards of IHRA, the writings of radical Israeli academics should be judged anti-Semitic.
Tel Aviv University
 
 6.12.18
How Israeli Taxpayers Supported TAU Shlomo Sand, a Propaganda Mouthpiece for Iran, David Duke, Louis Farrakhan and the Daily Stormer
 
TAU Professor Shlomo Sand is no stranger to controversy. In 2009 he published the English translation of his book The Invention of the Jewish People. Using fanciful critical theories and outright historical falsifications, Sand asserted that the Jewish people never existed as an ethno-demographic entity. Rather, they were “invented” by nineteenth century Zionist entrepreneurs in order to justify their quest to create a Jewish country in Palestine. At the very least, Sand claimed, these so-called Jews in Eastern Europe were the Khazars who converted to Judaism between the seventh and the tenth century. 
Contradicting this claim, Prof. Shaul Stampfer of the Hebrew University's Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies, has researched the question and noted that the Khazar conversion is a legend with no factual basis. There was never a conversion of a Khazar king or the Khazar elite. Also, the fact that DNA testing totally disproved this thesis did not bother Sand. His response was "It is a bitter irony to see the descendants of Holocaust survivors set out to find a biological Jewish identity: Hitler would certainly have been very pleased! And it is all the more repulsive that this kind of research should be conducted in a state that has waged for years a declared policy of Judaization of the country.’” With the same disregard for scientific norms, he also claimed that the Yiddish, the language of East European Jews had no connection to German. 
In 2009 Sand was accused of anti-Semitism after comparing Israel's birth to rape. "I compare when I am speaking before Arab students the birth of the Israeli state to an act of rape. But even the son that was born of the act of rape... you have to recognize him... the existence of Israel I don't put in question today, you understand me?" He said. 
While Sand was totally discredited by scholars and lay critics, he has amassed a large fan club as noted recently in the Haaretz article "Why David Duke, David Icke, Louis Farrakhan and the Assad Regime All Love Shlomo Sand. Sand has also been a favorite of the propaganda machine of Iran, George Galloway, Gilad Atzmon and the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi outlet modeled on the infamous Nazi flagship. The Haaretz article concluded that Sand is considered a "first-rate authority on Jews by lots of first-rate Jew-haters," and that "Sand has the unique distinction of attracting an incredibly broad spectrum of anti-Semites who follow different schools of anti-Semitism, from theological to political to racial to cultural. Sand fun'ctions as the symbolic destination for an 'ingathering of the anti-Semites,' as it were.” 
Other critics of Sand have made the same point, as IAM repeatedly pointed out. Anita Shapira, the renowned professor of Jewish History wrote of Sand's book, it is an "attempt to drag history into a topical argument, and with the help of misrepresentations and half-truths to adapt it to the needs of a political discussion, and all this, ostensibly, under an academic mantle. Sand has written a sharp, pointed polemic drawing on much varied historical material which he re-kneads at will... Sand bases his arguments on the most esoteric and controversial interpretations, while seeking to undermine the credibility of important scholars by dismissing their conclusions without bringing any evidence to bear." 
What is less known is that Sand has been essentially saying the same things since he was a member of the now defunct, Matzpen, a radical organization which operated in the sixties and early seventies, when Sand was working as a telephone technician for the Israeli Post Office. His prospects have improved when, after obtaining a doctorate in French culture, Tel Aviv University hired him to teach in the department of history on French history and culture. After securing tenure, Sand, like many of his radical colleagues at Tel Aviv University, turned to writing on the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the infamous “Invention of the Jewish People.” As Sand admitted, "I chose this subject after I got tenure. I could not make an academic career in Tel Aviv with this kind of book. After getting a full professorship, I decided to take a risk." Indeed, it was because of academic legitimacy that the radical anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli fraternity made him a star. It is hard to imagine that this fraternity would have used him as a top exhibit if he was a telephone technician. 
Sand defines himself as a historian, but his scholarship belongs to cultural studies and cinema. Tel Aviv University is the cause for his confusion for recruiting him to the Department of History. See for example his publications. As described in his online biography, since 1984 and until his The invention of the Jewish People, in 2008, none of his books were scholarship of history: 
Matai ve’ech humtza ha’am hayehudi?, Tel Aviv, Resling, 2008. Hebrew. (The Invention of the Jewish People); 
Historians, Time and Imagination, From the “Annales” School to the Postzionist Assassin, Tel Aviv, Am Oved, 2004. Hebrew; 
Film as History – Imagining and Screening the Twentieth Century, Tel Aviv, Am Oved & Open University Press, 2002. Hebrew; 
Le XXe siècle à l' écran, Paris, Seuil, 2004. (The Twentieth Century on the Screen); 
Intellectuals, Truth and Power. From the Dreyfus Affair to the Gulf War, Tel Aviv, Am Oved, 2000. Hebrew; 
L'Illusion du politique. Georges Sorel et le débat intellectuel 1900 , Paris, La Découverte, 1984. (The Illusion of politics. Georges Sorel and the intellectual debate 1900); 
Likewise, his syllabi are evidently for teaching cinema course. Sand's syllabus in 2004, "Movies as Memorial Zones - Cinema and Colonialism" described as following: "The cinema was born at one of the highlights of colonial expansion of the late nineteenth century. A few years after its birth it began to film the occupied territories and the history of the white man in them. Over the past century, many thousands of documentaries and feature films have been reproduced in the West that reconstructed various chapters of the history of colonialism. Stories of the occupier's and ruler's contacts with the locals, the exotic or the dangerous, occupied the imagination of many directors and thus constituted a background for love affairs, adventures and emotional sagas. The process of de-colonization in the second half of the twentieth century began to change the narrative recipes, although many components of the cinematic-colonial view remained intact. The class will attempt to review some of the cinematic representations of the history of colonization and the national struggle against it. Through the audiovisual materials, documentary and feature films, we will try to learn about the nature of the West's attitude toward the occupied, its arrogance, its self-representation vis-à-vis the inferior "other" and its hidden and apparent fears in response to the rebellion of the occupied, etc. From the first Tarzan films, through Lawrence of Arabia, to the Battle of Algeria, Gandhi and Indo China, the ideological and emotional manipulations created by cinema and their differences will be examined in the historiographic discourse on the development of colonialism and de-colonization." The students are required to read a chapter in Sand's book Cinema as History. To Visualize and Direct the Twentieth Century (Am Oved: 2002), Hebrew. pp. 13-29. 
Sand's syllabus in 2005 is "Cinema as History: Fascism, Nazism and Racism." His course is detailed as "The central issue in this class will be: How did the cinema tell the history of Fascism and Nazism? With the help of cinematic, documentary and feature materials, the relationship between moving imagery and historiography will be examined. The focus of the discussion will be on the nature of the audiovisual representations related to general historical processes, the insights these representations contain, as well as their advantages and disadvantages vis-à-vis the written conceptualization mechanisms. How is cinema different as an agent of memory from the other "recollection" agents? Is in the case of the history of fascism and Nazism, cinema adds a layer of memory that would not have been found without it? What are the elements of knowledge about the past that the film offers and what kind of emotional and intellectual manipulation it contains? In what way the movie is different from textbooks? The purpose of the course is to answer these questions and to add and respond to others." 
Sand even found faults in his own research, admitting as much in the book: "Though the present work was composed by a professional historian, it takes risks not usually permitted or authorized in this field of endeavor. The accepted rules of academe demand that the scholar follow prescribed pathways and stick to the field in which he is supposedly qualified. A glance at the chapter headings of this book, however, will show that the spectrum of issues discussed herein exceeds the boundaries of a single scientific field. Teachers of Bible studies, historians of the ancient period, archaeologists, medievalists and, above all, experts on the Jewish People will protest that the author has encroached on fields of research not his own. There is some truth in this argument, as the author is well aware. It would have been better had the book been written by a team of scholars rather than by a lone historian. Unfortunately, this was not possible, as the author could find no accomplices. Some inaccuracies may therefore be found in this book, for which the author apologizes, and he invites critics to do their best to correct them." 
That anti-Semites and radical Israel-bashers would embrace Sand is understandable. What is more difficult to explain is why the academic authorities at TAU and other universities defended the radical scholars by hoisting the flag of academic freedom. Israeli universities are public institutions which are accountable to the taxpayers and their elected officials. Clearly, by providing Sand and others with academic respectability they failed their fiduciary responsibility.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
29.11.18
Hoist with their Own Petard? Disinviting Israeli Scholars from a Conference in South Africa
 
An international conference in South Africa has caused a stir. Several Israeli scholars were persuaded to withdraw their participation due to pressure from the BDS movement. "Recognition, Reparation, Reconciliation: The Light and Shadow of Historical Trauma" is scheduled to take place from 5 to 9 December 2018 at the University of Stellenbosch. The conference intended to "deepen understanding of trans-generational trauma, and develop strategies to deal with the repercussions of genocide, colonial oppression, and mass violence." 
On 27 November 2018, Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, the chair of the conference organizing committee, wrote to the conference delegates concerning the statement by the Palestinian Solidarity Group which called for Israeli academics to withdraw from the conference. She has been in conversation with the three BDS initiators, Roshen Dadoo, Armien Abrahams and Umesh Bawa, as well as with the Israeli academics, who "have all since rescinded their participation at the conference and will no longer be part of the programme." 
While she admits that "None of the Israeli participants we invited to speak at the conference represents the position of the state of Israel against Palestinians. Nor do they represent an 'institutional' position. On the contrary, they are academics who have been engaged in research and interventions that have involved disrupting the Israel narrative, nurturing a group of young students who are moving in fields that are beginning to challenge the status quo." Yet, in contrast, she adds that "The call to boycott is an important one. The problem is whether a distinction can be made to permit an Israeli academic to take part whose work clearly exposes, rather than normalizes, experiences that are painful and traumatic. Clearly, the rationale for the boycott does not call for the exclusion of someone whose work unambiguously exposes the very conditions that led to the call for a boycott, and the statement quoted above from the Palestinian Solidarity Group confirms this." If this is the case, then why did she succumb to the BDS pressure? 
Interestingly, Jacqueline Rose, a longtime supporter of BDS and another conference participant, responded to these developments by stating that while she supports an academic boycott, she does so conditionally. “Institutions not individuals; no exclusions based on ethnicity." She would have preferred to see Israelis, Palestinians and other Arabs coming together by "creating a space at the conference for this issue to be discussed openly and critically." Rose, one of the harshest critics of Israel, should not be so surprised that the BDS policies are not nuanced enough to her taste “to create a space" to discuss issues openly and critically. As a social scientist she should know that extremists such as the ones who drive the BDS campaign see the world in black and white terms. Originally, the conference was scheduled to host a panel on reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, titled "Can we empathize with the narratives of our enemy? Encountering collective narratives of the 'other' in the Israeli-Palestinian context," chaired by Prof. Shifra Sagy of Ben Gurion University with her PhD students. Sagy is in fact a long time peace educator. For example, a paper she submitted in 2017 is titled "Can we empathize with the narrative of our enemy? A personal odyssey in studying peace education" taking the reader "on a journey spanning some 30 years devoted to the author’s involvement in practicing, teaching and studying peace education." The author has been active in and out of the academia by participating, initiating, teaching and facilitating peace education projects. Sagy's writings have been partial to the plight of the Negev Bedouins and the Palestinians. As such they have fitted well with the general tenor of the social sciences in BGU which, as IAM repeatedly empathized, tend to occupy the discursive position that "Israel can do no right and the Palestinians can do no wrong.” 
Professor Chaim Hames, the newly elected Rector of Ben Gurion University denounced in the strongest terms the decision to disinvite the Israeli scholars. The Rector should know that leading scholars in the social sciences at BGU such as Neve Gordon, Oren Yiftachel and others, were the architects of the comparison between Israel and the apartheid regime of South Africa. Yiftachel is still around promoting the apartheid analogy. Gordon has pushed for BDS. How can one blame the South African academics without mentioning the Israeli ones?
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
22.11.18
Behind the European Assoc. of Social Anthropologists Boycott of Ariel U is Matan Kaminer
 
IAM reported in October that the president of the Israeli Anthropological Association (IAA) commended the European Association of Social Anthropology (EASA) for voting in support of opposing cooperation with the Israeli educational institutions situated in the "Occupied" Palestinian Territories, such as Ariel University. The "Israeli Occupation” prompted the decision for the boycott. Matan Kaminer, a PhD candidate at the University of Michigan and member of the IAA and Academia for Equality, was behind the motion submitted to the EASA members forum in solidarity for the Palestinians. 
In August, Kaminer and colleagues at the EASA proposed to the association as following: 
That on 12 February 2018 the Israeli Knesset passed a law extending the jurisdiction of the Israeli Council for Higher Education to academic institutions exclusively serving Israeli citizens but situated within the occupied Palestinian territory of the West Bank; That the establishment of academic institutions intended exclusively to serve the population of an occupying power in an occupied territory while denying service to the occupied population, is not only illegal under international law but violates the basic ethical norms of the academy in general and of anthropology in particular; Page 4.; That on 17 February the President and Vice-President of the Israeli Sociological Association (ISA) declared their association’s opposition to this step and refusal to cooperate with the aforesaid institutions; that on 2 March, the Executive Committee of the Israeli Anthropological Association (IAA) also declared its opposition to the law, and that on 26 June the membership of the IAA voted by a large majority to affirm its opposition to the law and its refusal to cooperate with the aforesaid institutions; That under the current political and legal climate in Israel, including the so-called “Boycott Law,” our colleagues in both the ISA and the IAA have run a significant risk by taking this principled stance. 
Therefore, EASA resolved: 
To express its own opposition to the establishment and regularization of academic institutions intended exclusively to serve the population of an occupying power in occupied territories, and specifically of institutions exclusively serving Israeli citizens situated within the occupied Palestinian territory of the West Bank, and to pledge its own non-cooperation with these institutions;. To express its solidarity with Palestinian academics and students suffering the brunt of these discriminatory and illegal policies as well as with the Israeli colleagues of the ISA and IAA who have taken a brave stance in opposing the same policies.” Before calling the Members’ Forum to vote, the Chair announces that, if the motion is approved, she will take the vote to the wider membership in an electronic poll. A number of people ask as to the rationale and justification for the decision, to which the Chair responds that it is her constitutional prerogative to do so when an important issue like this one may benefit from a wider consultation. 
In the end, 164 voted in favor and 0 voted against. 
It should be noted that Kaminer, like many of the political activists-turned-academics which IAM covers in length, is a long time political activist who started off as an army refuser. Kaminer, in his own words, "was slated for induction into the Israeli army in December 2002. After a year of volunteer work in a Jewish-Arab youth movement, I had made up my mind to refuse to enlist. Together with other young people in my situation, I signed the High School Seniors' Letter to PM Sharon, and to make myself absolutely clear I sent a personal letter to the military authorities notifying them that I was going to refuse. They let me know they weren't about to let me go: the army only exempts pacifists (at least that's what it claims) and I didn't meet their definition of a pacifist. So beginning in December I was sentenced by 'disciplinary proceedings'... to 28 days in military prison, three consecutive times. After my third time in jail, I asked to join my friend Haggai Matar, who was being court-martialed, and within a few weeks three of our friends, Noam, Shimri and Adam joined us. Now we are on trial and stand to get up to three years in prison for refusing the order to enlist." Because Israelis are "occupying a foreign land and oppressing another people in the name of preventing terror. People like you and me know that's just an excuse for furthering economic and political interests of the ruling elite. But it's not the elite that pays the price. The people who pay the price are in Jenin and Fallujah, in Ramallah and Baghdad, in Tikrit and in Hebron. They are the Iraqi and Palestinian children, hogtied face-down on the floor or shot at on the way to school. But they are also the Israeli and American soldiers, treated as cannon fodder by generals in air-conditioned offices, whose only way to deal with their situation is dehumanization." 
In fact, his role model was Tel Aviv University's Prof. Gadi Algazi, who in July 1979, was among 27 high school students who sent a letter to the defense minister announcing their refusal to serve in the "occupied territories." The authors of the letter defined themselves as "refuseniks of occupation", the first collective refusal letter. Some members of the group were sentenced to short prison terms following their refusal; The group's members were not sent to the territories and others released from the army. The most prominent was Algazi, who refused seven times to serve in the West Bank, after completing his basic training. After short period of imprisonment, he was tried in December 1980 before a military court. In a judgement that arose public debate, the court accepted in part some of his claims and advised to consider them in the future, yet sentenced him to one year imprisonment. In March 1981, Algazi's prison term was shortened in the wake of a public campaign for his release and after another confrontation, the IDF decided to exempt Algazi from regular service. 
Tel Aviv University was mistaken to appoint Algazi to teach students, because, as a political activist, Algazi was expected to turn his classroom and his students into an extension of his political ideology. The Aviv University has not learned from its mistake and appointed a new generation of radical faculty, as IAM often documented. Should Kaminer decide to return to Israel, he may try and follow in Algazi’s footsteps.
Israelis in Non-Israeli Universities
 
15.11.18
Employment Opportunities Abroad: Critics of Israel Wanted
 
IAM has occasionally reported on pro-Palestinian activists who recruit Israelis and Jews to defame Israel. Nothing is more persuasive than an Israeli academic crying out loud that Israel is an immoral, apartheid state. Ilan Pappe is a prominent case in point, along with Amir Paz-Fuchs, Uri Gordon, Merav Amir, Hagar Kotef, Eyal Weizman, among others. 
As expected, a new generation of academics have been groomed by tenured professors to continue with Israel bashing. Eyal Clyne (formerly Niv), the subject of the IAM report 
"[TAU, Anthropology, assistants to Prof' Haim Hazan] Eyal (Niv) Clyne & Matan Kaminer, anarchists and radical activists” in January 2011, is one of them. As MA students, Clyne and Kaminer taught the courses Introduction to Anthropology at Tel Aviv University in 2009-2010. Clyne has published an article "Honorary PhD in Victimhood for Alan Dershowitz" where he denounced TAU, "besides the fact that Tel-Aviv University is already entangled with the army, the arms industry," – it choose to further strengthen its ties with the movement for justifying the colonialization industry in its backyard; and besides that its xenophobia studies institution is a leading partner in the industry of the mystification of anti-semitism (and of course places all criticism of Israel under this banner); this is also a real case of academic disgrace." 
Clyne spoke at a conference at the Open University in Raanana, on "'Arab' experts: the crisis of representation and the Jews who mediate the 'Arabs'." Focusing on Israeli Middle East scholars. The "central tenet in the discussion is the claim that Arab-experts role does not originate from the need to define, limit and preserve the Arabs as enemy or lower class. On the contrary." His MA thesis, supervised by Prof. Dan Rabinowitz, was awarded summa cum laude. Rabinowitz himself has been a political activist for years, as IAM reported in 2008, he was participating in an anti-Israel seminar on Jerusalem in the Netherlands, as an Israeli who presents "the ‘normality’ of repression". Clyne's 2015 publication is exploring the everyday interactions of Palestinians working in Jewish spaces in Jerusalem. He postulates that "Palestinian labourers take pride in, and emphasise their identity as unequalled workers, with which they are welcome in the Jewish space. This identity is, at least temporarily, placed above the Arab/Palestinian identity, which is, of course, rejected and unwelcomed in the Jewish space, and with which they enjoy no benefits." Clyne continues, "paradoxically, the very perception of them being ‘good-workers’ depends precisely on their being Arabs... Nationalism is therefore a central category with palpable implications for the social being of Palestinian-labourers, not merely a matter of consciousness, and certainly not ‘false,’ as Marxism-based theories may imply." 
Clyne has moved to study at Manchester University where Prof. Erica Burman, a critical development psychologist supervised his PhD dissertation. Not incidentally, Burman is a long time anti-Israel activist. In 2002 she was a signatory to a petition of Jews renouncing Israel's 'Law of Return.' More recently she has been engaged with the BDS movement, for example, she is signatory to a petition, in 2015 of "more than 340 senior academics at UK universities have published a pledge not to cooperate with Israeli institutions". As reported by the Electronic Intifada, "other signatories include those whose academic work has nothing to do with Palestine and the region, but who have still felt compelled to take a stand," such as Burman. 
Clyne's PhD thesis "Orientalism, Zionism, and the Academic Everyday: Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies in Israeli Universities" explores the political in the field Middle East studies in Israeli universities. "I argue that the field functi'ons as an academic industry, and then I ask about its products, producers, consumers, etc. I also argue that it is powerful ‎agents/agencies and dynamics in society, such as national security agencies (broadly defined), ‎securitism, cultural-Capitalism, orientalism, socio-politics and the ‘demand’ for certain cultural ‎products... [T]he social import of ‘mizraḥanut’ (literally: orientalism) in the Israeli-Jewish society pervades and shapes the local academic field in a mutual relationship."‎ Now available as a book. 
Clyne’s latest article in the September 2018 issue of the journal CADAAD published by the University of Lancaster, continues the same line. Titled the “Ideology, the Nation and the Unsaid: Sensing the Mission in Israeli Middle East Studies” is purposed to "examine the discursive assumptions arising from a prevalent narrative in Israeli Middle East studies, as carrying a public mission. Drawing on Foucauldian, psychosocial and cultural critical discourse analysis, it deconstructs an interview with a key individual in the field to dislodge the political unconscious layers in the pivotal power knowledge agency, and draw conclusions about the politics of knowledge production, practices of academic elites, and the particularities of language with the specific cultural historical conditions in which it operates." Clyne defines the Middle East scholarships in Israel as "subjectified Zionist ideology, which are narrated with urgency, pride and missionary charges. First, the narrated mission expresses a cognizance, assumption or hope that MES students will shape the future of the (Zionist) society and state, and explicates an ambition for an ambiguous national intervention behind the scenes through habituation and authority-building. The ‘mission’ is then to ‘know’ and educate about the ‘Arab/Muslim,’ and thus contribute to ‘coexistence;’ yet, while simultaneously being articulated with exclusivist Zionist assumptions that perform the Zionist ownership of Israeli academia." 
As noted above, embarking on an academic career, Clyne intends to climb the academic ladder by focusing on themes such as Israeli employers humiliating Palestinian laborers or critiquing Israeli Middle East scholarship. In his view, this scholarship is an "interested hegemonic and academic discourse, as well as manifests a particular Zionist devotion". 
By providing employment to Israelis willing to criticize Israel, Western universities, notably British ones, are privileging a deeply radical scholarship which does not serve the academic goal of providing a balanced view of reality.
 
 

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