|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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. 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.
|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.
|Faculty of Marxism and revolutionaries|
|IAM has discussed in length the neo-Marxist, critical paradigm that penetrated Western universities since the 1970s. Among the deficiencies of the trend are the rejection of rigorous research and cherry-picking of facts while ignoring contradicting evidence. As IAM noted Israel followed suit. IAM also noted the revolutionary nature of such faculty who, instead of conducting research are investing much time on promoting revolutionary ideas. These activities are robbing students of proper education and wasting public money.
A recent post on Facebook by Academia for Equality, a group of faculty which disseminates such trends, is espousing revolutionary activities on campus. Titled "A few words about diversity and representation in the academia as potentially revolutionary," the post introduces the European bourgeoisie university and its parallel in Israel which "embodies the Zionist ideology and its bureaucratic establishment". It claims that the Israeli university is a "derivative of a semi-colonial regime" and since "Israeli students as a group are more reactionary than the general population... this is expressed both in terms of current affairs and the occupation policy of the government - in relations to the social problems." The post expresses hopes of recruiting new students and staff, and questions "will we succeed in exposing the Israeli student to the basic contradictions of the bourgeoisie and the Zionist ideology? Will we succeed in turning more pragmatic students into rebellious? From memorizers to argumenters?" In this sense, Mizrahim, Palestinians, Ethiopians, ultra-Orthodox as first generation of higher education, have "revolutionary potential". The post ends with an invitation to join the group. "In order to realize this potential, an organizational infrastructure is required, and this is one of the reasons we established the Academia for Equality. join us.”
In another example, Efraim Davidi of TAU and BGU, Avishai Ehrlich of the Academic College of Tel Aviv and Jaffa and Ofer Cassif of the Hebrew University, veteran radical activists, are preparing to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Karl Marx. The 11th annual Marx conference will take place in Tel Aviv under the auspices of the Hagada Hasmalit with the support of the Communist Party of Israel and Hadash. The invitation adds that Hagada Hasmalit also maintains the leading alternative Hebrew-language website of the "militant left" in Israel.
The meeting will discuss, among others, "the ongoing crisis of capitalism, Marxism and popular revolutions in the Middle East, Marx and philosophy, economics, culture, society and ecology, Marx and class strategies." The invitation boasts about "The significant participation of many young people and students is noteworthy, as is their special interest in the practical side of social activism and labor struggles." Efraim Davidi will speak about "Marx's 200th Anniversary, 170 Years of the Communist Manifesto - Marxism in Our Times"; Avishai Ehrlich will speak about "Marxism and Politics of Identities"; Yifat Solel, Haifa University Ph.D student will speak about "Cooperatives vs. Capitalism"; and Ofer Cassif will speak of "Marxism as Humanism."
In line with the plan to recruit a new generation of academic revolutionaries, Academia for Equality has been heavily promoted by members. Academic freedom is an important concept in the academy, but radical scholars have abused their privileges to indoctrinate students in the guise of teaching courses, as past IAM posts have indicated. Such abuses should not be tolerated.
|Dispute Over Unregulated Salary Increase by Universities and Colleges|
|A recent report revealed that negotiations have been taking place between Ayelet Shaked, the Minister of Justice, and the university presidents, over what is considered unregulated salary increases in public universities and colleges. A final agreement to enable disciplinary action against senior university and college officials should they be found responsible for approving or tolerating wage irregularities, is also being discussed.
Under the Budget Foundations Law, the Ministry of Finance's Supervisor of Wages is in charge of overseeing public universities and colleges and approving their wages. For over a decade now, the reports of the Comptroller indicate that many of the universities give their employees a salary beyond what the law allows. The Budget Foundations Law stipulates that entities funded or subsidized by the State may grant wages, retirement conditions, pensions and other financial benefits related to their work but change them only "in accordance with what has been agreed or applies to all civil servants or with the approval of the Minister of Finance.” The Ministry of Finance is entitled to demand a return of the excessive payments.
A 2016 report details the alleged wage irregularities in 2014 and enforcement in 2015. "Apparent wage irregularities" are cases in which the average (gross) salary of an employee climbed more than 5% above the growth in salary of his parallel in the public service when no explanation was given to the Ministry of Finance. The highest payback in 2014 was from Bar-Ilan University of more than NIS 2.9 million. Tel Aviv University returned almost NIS 228 thousand, for example, a head of department's gross monthly salary jumped from NIS 34,500 a month in 2013 to almost NIS 44,000 a month at 2014. An assistant to the university president who was hired under a special contract, earned NIS 36.2 thousand a month. Ben Gurion University has returned NIS 211 thousand and the Hebrew University - more than NIS 100 thousand. At the University of Haifa, two deans were listed with a salary of NIS 40.3 thousand and NIS 48.2 thousand. In the Hebrew University a few salary irregularities were reported, but they were concentrated in the administrative level. Several colleges had also alleged irregularities.
The universities argue that because of the uniqueness of their activities, they can not be tied to the regulations to which other budgeted bodies are subjected, and special regulations should be formulated for them. The universities demand that if wage irregularities are discovered in the future, they should be dealt with by the Council for Higher Education's Planning and Budgeting Committee, which is responsible for budgetary supervision in the higher education system. In addition, the universities and colleges require an "adjustment period", at the end of which the new regulations will apply. They also demand not to allow retroactive disciplinary action to senior officials who have provided wage irregularities in the past that the deliberations on their matter are still pending.
Israeli universities regularly appear on the list of bodies that grant unregulated wage increases to their employees. A report by the Supervisor of Wages relating to 2017, lists Tel Aviv University, the Technion, Bar-Ilan University, Ben-Gurion University, the Weizmann Institute of Science. In previous years the University of Haifa and the Hebrew University were also included. The report noted five unregulated wage increases which allegedly took place among leading staff at Ben Gurion University, 15 alleged unregulated salary increases at Tel Aviv University, and one each at the Technion, Weizmann Institute, Shenkar College, and Tel Hai College.
Currently, the Supreme Court is hearing a petition by the Committee of Heads of the Colleges regarding the authority of the Civil Service Commission to impose disciplinary action against senior university and college officials for approving salary irregularities. The petitioners argue that colleges are defined by law as "supported" and not "budgeted" institutions.
In response to the report the Committee of University Heads stated: "the Universities are supportive of transparency and criticism in all issues of salaries in the institutions and do not oppose regulations of disciplinary court. However, the structure of the academy differs in essence from other public bodies - and as was done at the Bank of Israel, for example, there is a substantial need to place the supervision with an objective external body, in order to prevent the improper exploitation of this tool by the government. The universities and colleges, with the support of the Planning and Budgeting Committee, sought to regulate the issue of supervision and to establish special procedures in accordance with the special nature of the academic institutions and their conduct, and to leave the supervision of the matter to the PBC, which was established in order to create a barrier between academia and the government and its purpose is to deal exactly with such issues."
The Committee of Heads of Colleges responded: "Committee of Heads of Public Academic Colleges, which includes 22 colleges, does not object to the disciplinary law regulations or to prosecute those who breach the regulations of the law of budget. The Committee presented to the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General, in several hearings and letters, legitimate arguments for changing the wording of the proposed regulations - in a way that would reflect the uniqueness of institutions of higher education. The Committee notes that this uniqueness is reflected in the Council for Higher Education Law and the government's decision to establish the Committee for Planning and Budgeting, to provide a barrier between the government and the institutions of higher education... It is essential that a disciplinary discussion will be held by an appropriate forum, which should include faculty and administrative staff of institutions of higher education, to give a proper answer to a court hearing. In other words, in the composition of the regular disciplinary court, at least one - and desirable even more - that members of the court shall be also senior academic member of the institution of higher education, from a list of the Council for Higher Education, so that the Tribunal may be able to consider the relevant academic aspects in the hearing. Therefore, adjustments are required regarding the sanctions that will be imposed and the parties to whom the Tribunal will be required to consult, as different from those exist for the civil service."
Justice Minister Shaked would have to determine if public universities and colleges which are financially supported by the government are entitled to have an external body served as a barrier to shield them from governmental supervision.
The courts would have to ultimately decide whether higher education is too unique to be considered part of the civil service. In doing so the courts need to take into consideration the structure of employment opportunities for academics as opposed to other civil servants.
Equally important, It is well known that many Israeli academics, especially in sciences and technology, have left the country to take up very well paid positions in the West. Indeed, over the past decade, there are a number of initiatives to fight this "brain drain” by enticing academics to return to Israel. However, none of this initiatives can work without offering salaries that are internationally competitive. More recently, the flourishing high-tech sector has enticed many from the academic community, not least because salaries go well beyond what is earned by the civil service.
IAM would report on the dispute in due course.
|Academia Accuses Ministers of Politization: The Pot Calling the Kettle Black|
|The political struggle between the academy and the government has reached a new hight. While the academy accuses the government of meddling in academic affairs, academics have been known for pushing a political agenda. IAM followed this politization since its founding in 2004. In particular, the social sciences have been used as a platform for political polemics instead of bona fide research. IAM has identified many cases of faculty, including Anat Matar and Rachel Giora at TAU, who essentially turned their tax paid positions to work as political activists.
However, this time around, it's the leadership of the higher education which is involved in questionable defense of activist scholars in the name of academic freedom.
For instance, Ofir Akunis, the Minister of Science and Technology blocked the nomination of Prof. Yael Amitai, a Ben Gurion University brain researcher, from serving as board member of the German-Israel Foundation, because in 2001 she signed a petition calling students in army reserve duty to refuse to serve in the Palestinian Territories. Akunis's move has caused a stir. The Committee of University Heads (VERA) petitioned High Court of Justice. Also, several petitions surfaced the internet, calling Akunis' intervention "a serious breach of the separation between political level and academia, and a direct threat to freedom of speech." Describing it a "witch-hunt," demanding the return of Amitai to the GIF board, and that the Minister will declare he will refrain from future political intervention in professional academic committees. "If he refuses, we demand that the GIF research grants are removed from his authority." The academics who signed the petition threatened: "We will not submit any grant proposals to the GIF. We will not accept the role of reviewers or committee members for the GIF." Yael Amitai, added fuel to the flames when she announced in an interview that she is a proud leftist, and refused Akunis’ offer to withdraw her name from the petition.
To make matters worse, the German paper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published an article by the notoriously anti-Israel journalist (and former Israeli) Joseph Croitoru, stating that "The Science Minister is considering the appointment of the right-wing Yehuda Skornick to the board of trustees, it is alarming. In 2002 Skornick has been elected as Tel Aviv’s representative of the right-wing movement 'Jewish leadership', which then was about to forming a bloc within the Likud party. From 2008 to 2009, he possibly was a member of the board of trustees of the settler organization "Jewish Head" which is attempting to proselytize secularists."
In another instance, Professors Yossi Shain, Mouna Maroun and Yeshayahu Talmon, representatives of the universities in the Planning and Budgeting Committee (PBC) of the Council for Higher Education (CHE), strongly criticized Naftali Bennett, the Minister of Education. They accused 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 PhD; to establish a faculty of Medicine 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.
Bennett said in response: "Minister Bennett broke the university cartel and it is not surprising that the universities are moaning about it. For years, the universities were run like a guild funded by tens of billions of taxes dictating everything. This is how we got the Hebrew University bankrupt and gigantic pensions, the empty Social Sciences and the Humanities - and all this at the expense of Israeli citizens. Now someone has moved their cheese." His office added "Bennett did not succumb to the dictates of the guild and led the authorization of doctorate to IDC Herzliya and the Faculty of Medicine at Ariel University.”
Much as it pains the academy, Bennett’s intervention may bring the Israeli tertiary education closer to the level of oversight that is customary for public universities elsewhere in the West. During its entire existence, the academy has resisted every measure to impose some oversight by the democratically elected officials of the taxpayers who foot the bill. The standard response has always been the same: any infringement on academic freedom would erode the quality of education and research in Israeli universities. However, even a cursory view of the international ranking indices which evaluate academic excellence, indicate the very opposite. With few exceptions, the quality of Israeli academy as a whole has deteriorated, especially in the social sciences. As IAM repeatedly demonstrated, the social sciences have been taken over by Neo-Marxist, critical scholarship and are ill-prepared to educate students to the demands of the twenty first century economy.
|Pro-Palestinian Activism Disguised as Scholarship in Australia: Sandra Nasr as a Case in Point|
|IAM has often reported on the abuse of the academic platform by Palestinian and pro-Palestinian academics to advance the Palestinian narrative.
A remarkable example was revealed when a group of BDS activists, members of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI), "took over" the leadership of the American Studies Association (ASA) without disclosing their intention to the association.
Australia has also experienced an abuse of the academic podium by Palestinian and pro-Palestinian activists. IAM received a copy of a recent letter addressed to the Australian Minister of Education (below), from the leadership of the Jewish community in Australia. The letter accuses Dr. Sandra Nasr who teaches history at the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle, Western Australia, of having a prejudicial attitude towards Judaism and Jews in her public statements and publications and making tendentious statements about Jews and Judaism.
For Example, Nasr's thesis, submitted in 2010 to the department of social sciences at Curtin University, Australia, "Tactical Terror: Israel in the Palestinian Territories," was subjected to a complaint to the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), evaluating it as a “crude prejudice and lack of scholarly rigour of the thesis (as now attested to by three independent academic scholars); apparent conflicts of interest by the two examiners; and the university’s … placing the thesis under permanent embargo in 2010”.
Sandra Nasr has collaborated with Leila Nasr, an LSE Human Rights blog editor. They presented the paper "Israeli land expropriation and resource colonisation in occupied Palestine" in Vienna, in the Austrian Conference on International Resource Politics in 2014. The paper asserted the "scope of forced Palestinian dispossession from their land amounts to resource colonisation by the Israeli government in support of its long-standing colonial-settlement project for the West Bank."
In an article titled "Delegitimising Through Dehumanisation: Palestinian ‘Human’ Rights Denied," published on the LSE Human Rights Blog on 4 December 2015, Sandra Nasr wrote that "Zionism, the ideological project to secure a Jewish homeland, relies upon notions of separateness, superiority and entitlement. It finds its origins in the ‘promise’ believed to have been made by God to ‘His people’ – Abraham and his descendants, the Israelites. According to this belief, they were to take the land by force, kill anyone who resisted, and take for slaves those who did not fight back (except in more distant towns which should just be cleansed)... The narratives present in the Torah – and, indeed throughout the Tanakh -- not only raise the Israelites to special status (‘a people apart’) above all other peoples of the Earth, but legitimises – and even requires – the ethnic cleansing of non-Israelites from the land of Canaan."
The article was taken down after pressure by students and groups such as the Community Security Trust, a charity protecting British Jews from antisemitism and similar threats.
And now, a recent Australian newspaper published an article in June announcing that TEQSA confirmed it was reviewing the complaint about Nasr’s PhD, but did not disclose any information about it. Likewise, Curtin University failed to refer to the complaint but commented that it had “assessed the PhD thesis in accordance with university contemporary policy and supported, at the time, a request that the thesis be placed under embargo. Once the university was made aware Dr Nasr had made public presentations about the thesis topic and findings, the embargo was lifted.” And the University of Notre Dame Australia said this investigation was “internal and confidential,” refusing to make further comments.
In response, Peter Wertheim, the chief executive of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry said that “No university that values its reputation would allow crude racism dressed up as scholarship to pass muster.”
IAM shall report further on the developments.
|Antisemitism and Pro-Palestinian Activism Dressed as Scholarship: Sigrid Vertommen of King's College London as a Case in Point|
|IAM noted before how Palestinian academics recruit Western academics to advance the Palestinian narrative. Here is another example of the trend.
The IAM post concerning Dr. Sigrid Vertommen of King's College London, "Israeli Sexual Violence and Aggression... Inherent to the Zionist Settler Colonial Project' According to a London Scholar," of January 25, 2018, prompted her to respond. But she failed to answer the allegations of antisemitism. Tellingly, however, she removed her antisemitic post from academia.edu, referring to it as "an op-ed piece that I wrote (and that was never published as an article) during the 2014 Gaza War." She does not explain why it was ok to be antisemitic during the Gaza War. Whatever her explanation, until IAM accused her of antisemitism it was posted on a platform serving academics for four years.
IAM totally agrees with Vertommen that criticism of Israel is part of academic freedom. However, antisemitism is not. King's College London, where she is a Marie Curie fellow, has recently adopted the IHRA Working Definition of Anti-Semitism, to make sure this distinction is observed.
Vertommen stressed in her response to IAM that "I emphatically oppose any kind of antisemitism." She also considers the IAM accusation defamatory. To recall, IAM posted the following antisemitic citations by Vertommen:
"Israeli Sexual Violence and Aggression... Inherent to the Zionist Settler Colonial Project."
For Israel, Gazan women "deserve to be annihilated simply because of their threatening ability to reproduce the next generation and to assure the continuance of the Palestinian people."
"the dominant Israeli discourse is urging the Israeli army to collectively eliminate the Palestinian population in Gaza."
"Gazans and Palestinians in general are being encouraged to die as quickly and massively as possible."
Her scholarship deals with medically assisted production of babies. In a recent blog post under the headline of "Researching Assisted Reproduction in Israel/Palestine: A Fertile Ground for Mayhem – by Dr Sigrid Vertommen," she wrote about being invited to lecture in Warwick University on 17 January 2018 and was accused of anti-Semitism by the Jewish community. In her post Vertommen failed to admit her citations are antisemitic and instead she claimed Israel's "racist" policies should be targeted. "The strategy of delegitimising critical inquiries of Israeli policies by falsely labelling them as anti-Semitic is not new. Yet, since the recent proposal by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance to adopt a new working definition of anti-Semitism, which includes targeting the State of Israel for its racist policies, this strategy has become even more rampant."
At times Vertommen contradicts herself. On the one hand, "My main argument is that Israel’s (in)famously pronatalist assisted reproductive policies have been co-produced within a Zionist demographic logic of elimination... by containing Palestinian fertility." But, on the other hand she says the opposite, "The Israeli government subsidises every citizen in the country – regardless of religious or marital status –for an unlimited number of IVF cycles."
An examination of her scholarship shows that while she claims to be researching Palestine/Israel, she only focuses on the Israeli government policy towards assisted reproduction and does not question Palestinian Authority policies towards it. She focuses on Palestinian prisoners sperm smuggling from Israeli prisons, but doesn't look at Palestinian prisoners in Palestinian prisons. She compares only one Israeli prisoner case in Israeli prison, that is of Yigal Amir, which she described as living in a "Splendid Isolation," to the many Palestinian prisoner cases. She refers to Jewish baby production and how it is perceived in the torah, yet she doesn't research what Islamic production means in the Quran. More puzzling is, she finds the centrality of reproduction in Judaism "myopic focus". This, again, is antisemitic when one doesn't judge other religions.
She also refers to an Israeli "gay collective opposing commercial surrogacy," but declines to refer to Palestinian gay community approach to commercial surrogacy. Neither does she question Hamas's.
Without having to explain her assumption that Israel is a settler colonial state, she accuses Israel of controlling population growth of the Palestinians. "Framing the Zionist project in Palestine/Israel as a settler colonial practice rather than a “mere” nationalist ideology, as is often the case, fundamentally affects the analysis of the role, function, and goals of population management. A settler colonial analysis presumes a demographic "zero sum game" in which the settler population can only be enlarged at the expense of the natives." Vertommen is wrong, there is enough demographic data showing the Palestinian population is on the rise since 1948.
All these peculiar assertions by Vertommen have one explanation, Vertommen is in fact a political activist working for the Palestinian cause, dressed in an academic garb.
In 2015 she participated and helped organize a conference hosted in Ramallah, Palestine, the "International Conference of Critical Geography." Readers should note that the term "critical" in these conferences means: a) there are no facts but polemics; and, b) there is no criticism of anything Palestinian. The conference organizers invited "progressive academics," to learn about an area "shaped by a long century of European settler colonialism and US imperialism".
In 2013 she signed, among Palestinian and pro-Palestinian academics, a letter by the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) addressing Lady Catherine Ashton, then head of the foreign affairs and security policy of the European Union, stating "We are writing to you with regard to the guidelines published recently by the EU on the eligibility of Israeli bodies for EU financial support which are designed to prevent projects in illegal Israeli settlements from receiving funding from the European Research Council and the forthcoming Horizon 2020 EU research funding programme. The guidelines were widely welcomed by researchers and citizens who had been deeply concerned that the EU was encouraging and funding collaboration between European universities and Israeli companies such as Ahava that operate in illegal Israeli settlements. Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory are illegal under international law and their continued existence and expansion lead to severe violations of the human rights of Palestinians."
In 2010 Vertommen spoke in an event "Jerusalem: occupied city" in Leuven, Belgium, organized by Palestine Solidarity groups. She talked about the "history of the country, with its occupation and violent confrontations, exposes the roots of the conflict in Jerusalem. Thus the Zionists, the mandate of the British, the occupation and the annexation of East Jerusalem... Israel continues to extend its city limits unilaterally in the area. The Jewish objective is to make Jerusalem as Jewish as possible by encouraging Jewish Israelis to live in Jerusalem. The life of the Palestinians is made unbearable in the area."
In recent years Palestinian academics from Western universities recruit non-Palestinian scholars to spread the Palestinian narrative. In this case, Vertommen abuses her position as a researcher of fertility and assisted production in order to advance her pro-Palestinian activism while espousing antisemitic tropes. King's College London should be aware of such phenomenon.
|Important Ruling in the U.S. on Academic Freedom|
|A recent ruling of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin is poised to challenge the political correctness movement which has prevailed on American campuses for more than three decades. In a 4-2 decision, the Court ruled in favor of a tenured professor from Marquette University who was dismissed for expressing a politically incorrect view according to the administration.
The case arose when John McAdams criticized on his blog an instructor Cheryl Abbate, who did not allow a discussion on gay marriage in her ethics class, because in her opinion, any argument against gay marriage is sexist and racist. McAdams, a tenured professor, emphasized that such a one sided approach stifles a free exchange of ideas.
It is well known that in the social sciences and humanities, the classroom serves as a “marketplace of ideas", teaching students the value of free exchange. According the German educator Wilhelm von Humboldt who coined the phrase, it is the mission of the universality to train students in this important skill. Ex-cathedra, free debate is the cornerstone of all democratic society.
The dominance of neo-Marxist, critical faculty in the social sciences has perverted the idea of the classroom as marketplace of ideas. Research has indicated that opposite views are not welcome, and in many cases are branded as creating a "hostile atmosphere.” In many cases some speakers were not allowed on campus or met with protest. Many of the demonstrators claim that the campus is a “safe place” to protect them from “hostile ideas".
The Wisconsin High Court ruling has implications beyond Professor McAdams and Marquette University. On many American campuses, a total embrace of the Palestinian cause is considered de rigueur while support for Israel is beyond the pale of political correctness. On many occasions, Israeli or pro-Israeli speakers are harassed to the point of being forced to leave the campus. Less documented but equally pervasive are the biases in courses on Middle East which are structured around the premise that “the Palestinians can do no wrong and the Israeli Jews can do no right.“ Hopefully, the Court ruling would make it easier for those student who challenge the politically correct version of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
|Misconduct of Education Scholars|
|An incident at Ben Gurion Airport put under the spotlight two Israeli scholars who teach in the Israel Studies Department at the University of Maryland.
A couple of weeks ago, a woman has mocked a Chabad rabbi at the Ben Gurion Airport as he helped a traveling businessman to put on tefillin. The incident was captured on a cellphone video and was posted on Facebook. In the clip which Gad Kaufman, the man who was donning the tefillin, posted online, the woman was seen lambasting and mocking the men, then laughing hysterically. She told them in Hebrew to “move because you are bothering me” and asked rhetorically, “Why are you doing this here? There are people here.” When asked to tone down, instead, she became even more aggressive to the point of appearing utterly bizarre. Kaufman, wrote on his post: “An amazing incident took place this morning at the airport, when I was politely asked by a Chabad man if I wanted to put on tefillin... I said yes, and then a woman with a crazy look jumped up and started cursing, harassing and disturbing! It is really shameful that being a Jew in this country means being persecuted by leftist Bohemians. If I were a Muslim or a Christian, would it be more legitimate for her?”
As it turns out, the woman who was screeching and flailing her arms is Pnina Peri who holds a doctorate in Education. She is a visiting Assistant Professor of Israel Studies and formerly taught at Israel’s Sapir Academic College. Peri describes herself as an expert in multicultural theories. In 2007 she published a book in Hebrew Education in Multi-Cultured Society: Pluralism and Congruence Among Cultural Divisions. One would expect an educator and an expert in multiculturalism to show more decorum, not to mention more understanding, for the orthodox group in the multicultural Israeli society.
But there is more to the story that meets the eye. Pnina Peri is the wife of Yoram Peri, the head of the Israel Studies Program and a former Israeli left-wing activist. Peri started his career as the editor of Davar, the now defunct paper of the Labor Party. He was also the vice chair and then president of the New Israel Fund (NIF), which has been accused by the Israeli government of espousing an extremely hostile anti-Israel line. Some critics note that the NIF adopted the position that “Jews cannot do any right and the Palestinians cannot do any wrong.”
Yoram Peri’s work echoes some of the NIF bias.
For instance, Peri has blamed the IDF for militarizing the Israeli society and sculpting the peace process. So much so that Ambassador Samuel W. Lewis, a persistent critic of Israel, adopted Peri’s critic. He noted that while Israeli military intelligence assessments first encouraged and reinforced peace process they "then gradually shifted to a highly skeptical view of the possibility of making peace with Yasser Arafat." Lewis postulated that Israel refused peace with the Palestinians because of the former military leaders were pushing for war. "For American readers, a subtext of Peri’s account of Israel’s travails is the broader lesson about what can happen to a democratic political system over decades of constant warfare of greater or lesser intensity. Perhaps inevitably, military leaders, active or retired, acquire great public prominence, while civilian politicians, nominally their superiors, shrink in perceived stature. In Israel it has become more and more difficult for either major political party to achieve political success without having a bevy of retired generals in its top posts. The United States has not fallen victim to this tendency, and the American military remains firmly subordinate to civilian leadership. Nonetheless, it is worth pondering the long-term implications of a worldwide “war against terror” without any definite horizon or foreseeable duration. Such an endless state of war against its various enemies has now weakened the fabric of Israeli parliamentary democracy and provides a strong argument for making every possible effort to reach a comprehensive peace soon."
In 2004 Yoram Peri told the Guardian that the Sharon plan to disengage from Gaza reflected the deep divide within the Israeli public. Peri provided a racist description of one camp while embracing the other. "The majority are western, secular, modern, future-orientated, while the settlers are fundamentalists who look back 2,000 years. They are xenophobic and anti-democratic."
In 2006 Yoram Peri was interviewed in the Forward during the trial of former Minister Haim Ramon, lamenting on the prosecution and police actions. Peri's explanation was outrageous. “When a country is dealing with a continued war against the Palestinians, it gets accustomed to doing things in a way that bypasses the law, bends democracy and generally does things that are unacceptable."
In a similar vein, also in 2006, in an article about the Israeli elections Peri provided a racist interpretation. "Like Le Pen, Haider and other right-wing leaders in Europe who preach hatred for foreigners and call for their expulsion, here, too, we have a radical right-wing Israeli leader who is prepared to forego land in the West Bank, and also of sections of the Land of Israel itself, on condition we "clean" the remain territory of unwanted foreign, non-Jewish blood.”
Pnina Peri seems to be ideologically compatible with her husband. For instance, she was among the signatories of a petition published on the 10th of July 2014, protesting "the conduct of the Israeli media and their coverage of events since the kidnapping of three Jewish boys in the Occupied Territories. The Israeli media has largely adopted the official position that conceals the reality of occupation as the main determinant of Palestinian behavior... While the Israeli pain received extensive coverage and was portrayed in human terms, the main headlines and news pieces ignored the names and the human dimension of the Palestinians injured in the same period. Furthermore, most of the media coverage of the riots involving right-wing Israelis described them as “legitimate demonstrations”, even though the rioters shouted racist slogans and incited and encouraged violence. In contrast, Palestinian protests were presented mainly as disturbances that endangered the safety of Jewish residents. Media institutions that have chosen to adopt the official line on the three boys’ abduction by immediately holding Hamas and the Palestinian Authority responsible... The coverage of Arab protest activity and the statements by Arab MKs has been hostile and dehumanizing, with no attention given to the reality of living under occupation for more than 47 years.”
Obviously such an ideology has landed her a position in her husband’s department where she is teaching a class on "Investigating Topics in Israel Studies; Israeli Society through History, Sociology and Art.” Her course deals with "The prolonged conflict with the Palestinians and Arab and states and Israeli occupation of the west bank for almost 50 years, had an impact on militarism, political life, centrality of religious-secular relations, gender relations and the Israeli culture as a whole. We will examine the way art and cinema has dealt, with certain cultural issues and what sociology can contribute to our knowledge.”
Her class performance, however, seems to be quite poor. A questionnaire about her teaching skills was published on the popular website Rate My Professors. While some students praised her pleasant demeanor, virtually all of them questioned her competence as a teacher. “She’s a really nice lady, but she finds it hard to comprehend that not all things can be categorized as either black or white — this caused a lot of tension between her and some students,” as one commentator stated.
But the airport incident raises a more important issue which Kaufman alluded to. What would have happened if Peri harassed and mocked a “person of color” instead of a Chabad rabbi? The Union of Orthodox Rabbi in America sent a letter of protest to the President of the University of Maryland, but there was no reply so far. It can be assumed that the University would waste no time in disciplining Peri. Ironically, not long ago, Melissa Landa, a Jewish lecturer in another department at the University was let go, allegedly because she was too pro-Israel.
If Peri is not fired, it would prove once again that there is a double standard in higher education in the United States. Academic authorities are quick to act to protect “persons of color" and other politically correct causes. But they drag their feet when it comes to punishing those who abuse Jews.
|Minister of Education and University Heads Reach an Agreement over Ethics Code for the Academia|
|IAM reported on a number of occasions on the ethics code that Naftali Bennett, the Minister of Education and the chair of the Council of Higher Education, commissioned in Dec. 2016. Bennett asked Professor Asa Kasher to propose the code.
After a yearlong negotiations an agreement is reached between Bennett and the heads of universities. The Code, as drawn by Kasher, will not be adopted and a law enacting it will not be passed by the Knesset. Instead, the Universities will adopt an institutional ethics code within a year, to be implemented as part of their institutional regulations.
Bennett expressed his relief by tweeting that "Common sense has won! Today we brought great news to Israeli academia. All Israeli universities have agreed to pass a code of ethics that will prevent politicization on campus. I congratulate the heads of the universities on this important conclusion." Bennett noted the five guiding principles to be adopted: 1. Prohibition of academic boycott. 2. Non-discrimination of students due to their political views. 3. Non-discrimination of lecturers due to political opinions. 4. Prevention to create party propaganda within the framework of the classroom. 5. Prevention to present a personal political opinion of any member of the faculty in a misleading manner, as if this were the position of the university. He ended his tweet with "Congratulations!"
To recall, already in 2012 Prof. Ziva Shamir, the former head of the School of History at TAU, has written an article on undue politicization which she had encountered. She described complaints received from students on how, for years, some academics abused their privileges at the university such as the office, free postal service, free fax/phone and research assistants, to promote the political party which they belonged to. She proposed an ethics committee to evaluate quality of scholarship: "It is imperative to create an ethics committee to examine the issue of proportionality and not just the quality of the arguments and their scientific soundness in research."
While a Code would have prevented these abuses, the academic community reaction to Bennett on the Academia-IL Network was furious.
Isaac (Yanni) Nevo from the Philosophy Department at BGU, explained that "the first principle - forbidding boycott - is of a completely different character. The issue of academic boycott is an issue that is deeply contested, and some support such a boycott as an expression of their political position. The prohibition is political interference in universities and the freedom of expression that prevails in them. Moreover, although this is not explicitly stated, and in light of the annexation measures already implemented through the Council for Higher Education, the purpose of this section is to enforce integration and cooperation with the Ariel Settlers' University (and other academic institutions in the settlements) by prohibiting boycott of them. In this principle, the politics of the settlements, the occupation and the creeping annexation, infiltrating, is disguised as a code of ethics, and enforced on the universities "with their consent." This is a sharp politicization of the university regulations under the cunning guise of the separation of universities from politics, which turns-out (not surprisingly) to be a selective separation as the Master wishes. The consent of the universities to this move, even if intended to take away the threat of legislation, constitutes a strategic failure for a limited tactical achievement. It is better for university senates, who will probably be asked to approve these principles and to create regulations following them, to entirely reject Bennett's code, as its acceptance heralds a new era of political persecution against opponents of occupation and annexation and a change into worse of the stature of universities as free institutions." Nevo ended his post by stating "To clarify this, the author reiterates that he will not cooperate with Ariel University or other settlement institutions in any way. I will not set a foot there and my signature will not appear on any document bearing their names. Any such cooperation constitutes, in my view, cooperation with the settlement enterprise, a violation of international law, and an illegitimate political act. If Bennett's code is passed, Minister Bennett and his many representatives at the CHE are invited to put me on disciplinary charges for a boycott. I will proudly accept the verdict."
Responding to Nevo, Prof. Uriel Procaccia of the Faculty of Law at TAU protested, "Aren't you falling in the trap that Bennett conceals from you and your ilk? From what you say we can understand that you are "ready to live" with four of the five principles of the code, but you are ready to get on the barricades as to the fifth principle. In my opinion, it is absolutely forbidden to "learn to live" with any principle of the code, not because the content of the "benign" principles are offensive (you are right, most of us agree with them and behave according to them anyway) but because university, the fortress of free thinking, musn't accept dictates from government officials with motives that are not part of the academic values that we believe in. And this you should know: the slope is slippery... a precedent will be set for government officials to dictate norms of morality and behavior to universities."
But the harshest critique came from the Academia-IL Network moderator, Prof. David Levi-Faur, the head of Federmann School of Public Policy & Government at the Hebrew University, who contended, "this is not a debate on ethics code but about academic populism of an extreme and mediocre politician. An example below is his message on Facebook a few days ago... Bennett is the worst Education Minister in the history of the State of Israel. The damage he has done and continues to do to the higher education system is indescribable. From the dismissal of Prof. Hagit Messer to the appointment of Yitzhaki. Disgrace.”
Others postulated that in order to deal with just a couple of cases of lecturers who abused their positions and preached their politics, there is no need for the entire academic community to toe the line with an ethics code.
There were supporters of the Code. Prof. Asher Cohen, head of the School of Communications, Bar-Ilan University wrote, "I am trying to understand why a lecturer will be allowed to praise a certain party in the name of freedom of speech. Let us assume for a moment that we are in elections (which In Israel lasts at least a semester...) And I teach a course 'The Foundations for Regime and Politics in Israel' (Which is indeed true), a course that even earned "exclusion" as belonging to political science and where things are permitted according to the previous proposed code that everyone opposed. Do you intend to say that occasionally, let's say, once in two lectures, I would be able to praise the Jewish Home Party (pardon the majority here ...)? And of course allow a discussion to students about the fantastic party? Perhaps I should surprise you: my praises of one party or another has nothing to do with the course, even though it is about the foundations of the regime and politics in Israel. I may teach about the parties in Israel, but not to praise a particular party. My freedom of speech is not harmed by this. Also, why in the same hour and a half multiply 26 that I receive during the year I am supposed to promote the party I support or the opinion I hold? This is how I act regularly in the course: In the early stages of every course I tell my students who I vote for and where I am located in the right-left, religious-secular continuums and so on. This is only for one purpose: From this point on, I make it clear to them and emphasize, you must constantly examine the extent to which my identity influences the way I teach, the choice of topics and the way they are presented and the way things sound. This is the only way they will develop a sense of criticism towards these topics."
Dr. Yaacov Bergman, School of Business, Hebrew University, a long time critic of the academy, titled his email "Opponents of the academic code of ethics - you're wrong!". He cited from a policy of one of the best universities in the world, the University of California, where its Board of Regents published a "Policy on Course Content" announcing that ØThe Regents are responsible to the people... They are responsible to ensure that public confidence in the University is justified. And they are responsible to see that the University remain aloof from politics and never fun'ction as an instrument for the advance of partisan interest. Misuse of the classroom by, for example, allowing it to be used for political indoctrination, [or] for purposes other than those for which the course was constituted... constitutes misuse of the University as an institution... It is the Regents' responsibility to the very concept of a University to protect the institution from the misuse of the classroom... Therefore, it is The Regents' policy that no campus, no academic college, no department, and no instructor distort the instructional process in a manner which deviates from the responsibilities inherent in academic freedom.Ø Bergman also cited another policy by the Regents titled "Policy on Statement of Ethical Values and Standards of Ethical Conduct" which specifically indicated that "All those engaged in research are expected to pursue the advancement of knowledge while meeting the highest standards of honesty, accuracy, and objectivity."
Bergman’s comments are important because they provide a comparative context to academic freedom in Israel. As IAM has proved over the years, social science scholars enjoy a highly permissive standard of academic freedom, a standard which would never be tolerated on public universities in the West. The result of this state of affair, as IAM illustrated, are lamentable. Low ranking in global academic indices, antiquated and outmoded courses offered in departments staffed with activists who use their tenured positions to propagate a political agenda. Despite poor evaluations by committees created by the Council for Higher Education, not much has changed. IAM identified substantial deficits in quantitative methods, networking analysis, rational choice theory and other cutting edge social scene offering which are standard in the West.
|The Battle over Ethics Code: Impact on Social Sciences|
|After a long struggle, an academic ethics code has been approved by the Subcommittee for Academic Development and Policy of the Council of Higher Education (CHE). IAM reported that Naftali Bennett, the Minister of Education and the Chair of the CHE has pushed for an ethics code since 2016 when he appointed Professor Asa Kasher to conduct it. Though, the accepted Code is a shorter version, consisting of five guiding principles. According to the CHE, the subcommittee recommendations are based, among others, on the decision of the CHE in 2010 to prevent students or lecturers from being rejected, silenced, excluded or discriminated against, due to their personal characteristics or views, including their political positions.
The subcommittee recommends that institutions of higher education should adopt an ethical code at their discretion and will be asked to report back to the CHE on how they handled formulating it.
The subcommittee approved the following guiding principles to be included in an institutional ethics code:
Prohibition on calling for an academic boycott of Israel and its academic institutions and/or an activity promoting such a boycott.
Prohibition of discrimination, favorably or negatively, of students due to their political views.
Prohibition of discrimination, favorably or negatively, of faculty members or candidates, especially in the process of initial appointment or promotion and in the process of appointment or election to an academic or administrative position, due to political views.
Prohibition of political party propaganda within the framework of tuition.
Prohibiting the presentation or publication of misleading personal political opinions as if it were an institutional position.
In accordance with the recommendations of the subcommittee, the CHE will call on institutions of higher education to act through their disciplinary regulations to enforce the Code.
The construction of an ethics code as well as the law banning the calls for boycott are in fact a reaction to a group of radical academics who have abused the academic platform in the last two decades. IAM, established in 2004, followed their activities closely.
There are several ways in which abuse occurred. Many academic activists used their classroom as a platform for their political views. Over years, IAM received complaints from students who noted that lectures were biased, one-sided and opposing views were not tolerated, or even punished. In one case, in the international MAPMES program at Ben Gurion University, a graduate student lodged a complaint of intimidation and harassment after requesting an even-handed approach in teaching.
Some academics went further, used research assistants and even university mailing privileges to pursue political causes. Professor Ziva Shamir, the former head of the School of Jewish Studies at Tel Aviv University hardly exaggerated when writing that these activists turned their university office into a branch of the political party with which they were affiliated with.
Radical academics abused tenure when they ceased to research and publish in the field for which they were hired. Instead, they devoted their time to producing polemics on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict thinly disguised as scholarship. Yehouda Shenhav, a sociologist at TAU who was hired to research and teach sociology of organizations, was an egregious offender, as IAM repeatedly documented. Daniel Bar-Tal was hired to teach on early childhood development and education at the TAU School of Education, is another example of a faculty who totally abandoned his field to concentrate on the conflict. Upon receiving tenure, Anat Matar, a senior lecturer in the Philosophy Department at TAU, totally abandoned research in order to concentrate on advocating for Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails. Matar urged the state to reclassify them as political prisoners.
Recruitment and promotion based on political views has been prevalent in social sciences. This practice, known as cooptation, is based on appointing scholars who use the neo-Marxist, critical scholarship, a marginal approach in social science at the expanse of the more common, empirically based positivist approach. In 2011 the Council of Higher Education appointed an international evaluation committee which concluded that the Department of Politics and Government at BGU was top heavy with neo-Marxist, critical activism to the point that core political science courses were not offered.
Finally, radical academics pioneered the BDS ideas in Israel, one such an example is Neve Gordon who called for boycott in 2009. Advancing political activism on the expense of scholarship, Gordon is currently on Sabbatical as a professor of International Law at Queen Mary University of London. Evidently, international law is not part of his training. Incidentally, the chair of International Law, Trade, and Policy is Professor Malik R. Dahlan, also the principal of Institution Quraysh for Law & Policy which is providing legal services to the Arab World. Previously, Gordon's book Israel's Occupation was written in 2004 during a sabbatical at the University of California, Berkeley, where Nezar AlSayyad has welcomed him and provided him with the necessary resources to write.
Not surprising, Gordon has declared "You won't silence us, and we will continue to talk politics in class," in response to the proposed ethics code.
The Code should address these wide ranging abuse of academic privileges. But so far, the Committee of University Heads (VERA) had decried it in the strongest terms, stating that the universities should not enforce the government's dictates. Having turned a blind eye to previous abuses, the position of the academic authorities does not come as a surprise. Still, this argument is specious in the extreme. The Israeli universities are public institutions funded by the taxpayer and are accountable to the elected officials, of which the Minister of Education is one. Equally to the point, by ignoring these academic abuses, the universities impoverished the Israeli social sciences which receive low ranking from the international evaluation bodies. Social sciences in the twenty first century are dynamic in the sense that graduates need top of the shelf skills in quantitative methods, rational choice theory and cyberspace skills. Instead, they receive an education which is sadly outdated.
|Pro-Palestinian Groups Create Intolerance on British Campuses
|In January this year a video questioning "Are we living in an age of #intolerance?" was posted online. The producer is the UK based Pinsker Center which promotes conferences and dialogues on various UK campuses. The Pinsker Centre was founded in 2016 after BDS activists violently protested the lecture of Ami Ayalon, the Israeli peace activist, at King's College London (KCL). "Campus debate had become toxic," they write, we "sought to create a vehicle which would serve as a platform for intelligent and reasoned debate about the contemporary Middle East. For two years, we have fought to challenge censorship and facilitate open debate. We have reached thousands of students at our panels, debates and lectures."
The Pinsker Center and several student groups invited Dan Meridor, Israel's former deputy prime minister and minister of intelligence, to speak on three UK campuses: On the 12th of February at KCL, on the 13th of February at Durham University and on the 14th of February at Oxford University. The topic of his lectures was "Israel and the Changing Middle East: Threats and Opportunities."
It should have been anticipated, based on previous experiences, that pro-Palestinian activists would try to sabotage the event. As been detailed in various media outlets, some 60 yelling crowd by the entrance, shouted “War criminal” and “Shame,” throughout the 90-minute lecture.
But even before the lecture, the KCL Israel Society has noted that soon after posting the lecture invitation, it began receiving dozens of fake requests to attend with names such as "nein Israel" and "Filasteen," as well as multiple fake requests using the name of a member of the KCL Israel Society. This should have served as a warning sign to what would follow. Interestingly, the KCL security officials had previously assured the organizers that members of the public would not be allowed to protest inside the campus building. However, Tamara Berens, the president of KCL Israel Society complained that “They let us down by betraying their promise and allowing people to enter... There were protestors present who had previously seriously intimidated students at other events.”
Before the lecture in Oxford University, the Oxford University Amnesty International Society published a call to the organizers urging them to withdraw their invitation to Meridor immediately "in the name of dignity, and of basic human rights," adding that "he is not welcome in our community." The group accused Meridor for "over 30 years Meridor has been party to grave breaches of international law while holding office."
Israeli speakers should get used to intolerance on British campuses, while pro-Palestinian lecturers suffer no interference at all. After the Ayalon event in 2016, KCL published a statement by Professor Ed Byrne, president and principal of King’s, who said: "We have a duty to uphold freedom of speech within the law and will fight against intolerance wherever it is found. Intimidating behaviour is completely unacceptable and goes against everything that we stand for at King’s. We do not, and will not, condone the use of any form of violent protest."
Arguably, KCL and other British campuses do not live up to the wonderful values of freedom of speech. Despite all the accolades about free speech they don't do enough to protect Israelis and Jews from the often violent protests of pro-Palestinian activists. This creates a double standard on campus where pro-Palestinian views are widely heard, but pro-Israeli opinions are stifled. Unless academic authorities live up to their declarations, they will perpetuate the current hypocrisy.
|US Educational Groups Urge American Higher Education Reform of Middle East Studies Programs|
|The Civil Rights Act, updated on July 28, 2017 appears under the title Types of Educational Opportunities Discrimination of the US Department of Justice. It notes that "The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the landmark legislation prohibiting discrimination in several areas including housing, employment and education. The sections of the Act relating to education are Title IV, protecting students from discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion or national origin by public elementary and secondary schools and public institutions of higher learning; Title VI, prohibiting discrimination by recipients of federal funds on the basis of race and national origin; and Title IX, permitting the United States to intervene in pending suits alleging discrimination. Additionally, the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 prohibits, among other conduct, deliberate segregation on the basis of race, color, and national origin."
Although the Civil Rights Act is clear, on January 24, 2018 a number of Jewish educational groups have written a letter to the U.S Senate Committee of Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions in support of amendments to Title VI of the Higher Education Opportunities Act. The groups concern is that federal funds "are being misused to promote biased, one-sided, and anti-Israel programming in our nation’s Middle East studies centers." Although in 2008 the Congress addressed this issue by requiring that recipients “reflect diverse perspectives and a wide range of views,” yet, many recipients of Title VI funds continue to support programs that "provide only a monochromatic –and biased, anti-American, and anti-Israel—perspective." The groups requested a clear enforcement of the Act.
Much of the abuse of federal funds and worse was discussed in 2016, by Endowment for Middle East Truth which published an article in the Weekly Standard, contemplating how "US Taxpayer Dollars Contribute to BDS Activity and Anti-Semitism on Campuses." It detailed the misuse of funding from the Title VI educational grant programs as an underlying factor in contributing to the growth of BDS and anti-Semitic activities on American college campuses.
All this was discussed also in September 2014 by the journal Inside Higher Education. The article reported 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." The coalition is lobbying for "changes in the Title VI program". Two main requests were reported: "recipients of Title VI funds to establish grievance procedures to address complaints that programs are not reflecting diverse perspectives and a wide range of views” and that the "U.S. Department of Education to establish a formal complaint-resolution process similar to that in use to enforce Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” The coalition published their report “The Morass of Middle East Studies” issued by the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law" which stated that already "Six years ago, Congress recognized the need for “diverse perspectives” in federally funded Middle East Studies programs. Congress had created the so-called “Title VI programs” in 1958 to address Cold War national security demands. After September 11, 2001, it was more important than ever to provide United States intelligence and armed services agencies with a pipeline of skilled workers. Unfortunately, Title VI programs were not serving their intended purpose." The statement referred to the H.R.4137 - Higher Education Opportunity Act by the 110th Congress which was introduced in 11/09/2007 to the House Committees of Education and Labor; Judiciary; Science and Technology; Financial Services by the Senate committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
The allegations about the bias actually go back to 2001. Martin Kramer addressed the maladies of Middle East studies programs in his widely discussed book, Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America which was published soon after the tragedy of 9/11. Kramer postulated that "it has been a long time since scholars of the Middle East looked critically at themselves. In the 1970s, the field underwent a wrenching crisis, prompted by Middle Eastern turmoil, academic radicalization, and budget cutting. It ended in a great shakeout and a shift of academic power. The new leaders of the field claimed to be more competent, and prided themselves upon possession of more potent paradigms for explaining and understanding the Middle East. They would not make the mistakes of their predecessors. For more than twenty years they have interpreted and predicted Middle Eastern politics with a supreme confidence in their own powers. Only now have hesitant voices been raised from within the ramparts, pointing to serious problems. They run even deeper than insiders are prepared to admit. 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 intended 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 concluded by calling for 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." Kramer wished that a new generation will emerge to save Middle Eastern studies, "they will have to cast aside the monopolizing practices of their teachers and actively promote intellectual diversity." For Kramer, Middle East studies "lack a culture of tolerance for diversity in ideas and approaches." he suggested that, "it can be solved only by a deliberate effort to open Middle Eastern studies to debate."
The repeated requests dating from 2001 to 2018 to amend Title VI funding, ring hollow. In fact, the latest appeal to the U.S Senate Committee, mentioned above, did not get any media attention. Instead, the news reports focused on "Why Trump’s pick to head the Education Department’s civil rights office is so controversial." Marcus who heads the Brandeis Center, already headed the Education Department’s civil rights office in the Bush Administration. But according to the media, Marcus's "ardent support of Israel" has "sparked protests" mostly by Muslim Advocates, which confirms a public anti-Israel bias intended to silence the debate.
The Middle East is a highly important part of the world and has played a huge role in American foreign policy. Shaping this policy requires a cadre of people who are educated in the arcane aspects of the region. The Middle East studies have been created for this purpose but over the years activist-scholars from the Middle East Studies Association have distorted the goal of providing an objective knowledge. It is incumbent upon Congress to assure that the original mission is preserved.
|Patronage in the Academia|
|Dr. Yaacov Bergman, emeritus faculty of HUJ Business School, is an expert on academic governance in Israel. He recently wrote to the Academia-IL Network community arguing that there is an excess of doctoral students in Israel. He explained that the universities budget is calculated based on the number of Phd graduates they produce. Bergman advised that the Planning and Budgeting Committee (PBC) "should seriously reconsider its PhD students criterion in budgeting the universities, with the intention of eliminating it altogether." And that the PBC should also "consider recommending to the universities that the PhD criterion be eliminated from those that qualify faculty members for the "Academic Extra (Toseffet)" in their salaries, as it may distort incentives significantly." In other words, the incentive, according to Bergman, is causing an excess of PhD holders in Israel while the higher education system can recruit only a trickle.
As a result, many PhD holders who seek employment at the universities are turned down. One question to the Academia-IL Network community was where is a list of openings in the Social Sciences and Humanities. Most answers were quite pessimistic admitting that in any given department, without a "patron" from within even the best of candidates will have little chances to win a position.
The problem of Dr. Galina Weinstein is a case in point. Academia-IL Network moderators introduced Weinstein, who is currently in search for an academic employment. Weinstein describes herself as following: "I completed my doctorate in 2000 at the Hebrew University in the field of history of physics, the Einstein legacy and the Special and General theory of relativity. After my doctorate I did several post-doctorate studies in Israel, Europe and the USA. I published three academic books in England and many articles... In 2004, Prof. Mara Beller, who was my doctorate supervisor, died of cancer. She was a good and dedicated supervisor who cared for me until 2004. Before her death she helped me get a GIF Foundation post-doctorate fellowship until 2007. After that I was left without an active supervisor in Israel, without a patron, which led me to a state of unemployment and lack of income despite my achievements."
Already in 2011 Weinstein published an article in the Hebrew media YNET arguing that the humanities in Israel are being degraded because of a the lack of academic opportunities. She stressed that "The number of professors in the humanities is declining and will continue to decline, the budget has been cut and some departments are in danger of extinction. Decision-makers talk about the return of brain drain, but the state does not invest in the evaporating humanities." The Keren Neubach Reshet Bet radio program "Seder Yom" in 2015 also discussed Weinstein's search for an academic position. Evidently, not much has changed since 2011.
There is, however, a possible source to the problem for Weinstein. She has published on her personal blog a complaint of plagiarism, a dynamic which could have caused her employment opportunities to diminish.
Whatever the source of Weinstein's predicament, it seems odd that the academy would use the institution of patronage to appoint scholars. The university should be a place where achievements are rewarded and not who you know.
|The University of Amsterdam: Home for Anti-Israel Activism|
|University of Amsterdam (UoA) has been the home of anti-Israel activism. A combination of a large number of Arab students and staff and the lack of interference by the university authorities made it a fertile ground for this activism.
UoA is a home of gate48, a group of former Israeli academics - a subject of previous IAM reports - which embraced the Palestinian narrative and tries to promote the boycott of Israel. This month, Gate48 is involved in organizing events at the UoA focusing on the centenary of the Balfour Declaration intending to present Israel in a negative light.
Erez Tzfadia of Sapir College, Israel's largest public college, was invited to UoA and gave a talk, "Beyond the Balfour Declaration: navigating everyday life in contemporary Israel/Palestine". Tzfadia's lecture dealt with "how colonization is shaped and reshaped in social and cultural practices and discourses within the dominant society – the Jewish society in Israel/Palestine" and how Israel - "To realize territorial control, practices of demographic engineering were implemented, including eviction of the ‘enemy’." Tzfadia's masterclass "Colonization, Culture and the Production of Space in Israel/Palestine" was organized by Noa Roei, the chairperson of gate48.
UoA has also hosted David Cronin who spoke on "Balfour’s Shadow. A Century of British Support for Zionism and Israel," detailing how Britain "facilitated the dispossession of Palestinians". Cronin is described as an Irish journalist and political activist living in Brussels, author of the Europe’s Alliance With Israel: Aiding the Occupation, and a contributing editor at The Electronic Intifada.
UoA PhD student Mikki Stelder is working on a thesis titled Queer Visibility and Visions of Palestine-Israel: On Pinkwashing and Resistance, she is also the author of "Zionist sexual politics and the formation of settler subjectivity". Not surprisingly, Stelder is a Palestine solidarity activist at the University of Amsterdam.
This is not new, among others, in 2015 UoA has held the conference "The politics of cultural freedom" which addressed "different questions in relation to the growing global boycott movement like: Should culture and art be regarded as standing “above politics” and therefore be spared the growing boycott against Israel? Is the cultural boycott inherently in conflict with freedom of speech and freedom of the exchange of ideas? Is it fair to compare Israel to South African apartheid despite the obvious differences? What impact can the cultural boycott have on the global struggle for Palestinian rights, justice and equality? How can Israelis be part of the global boycott movement?" Speakers included Omar Barghouti, Eyal Sivan, and Anne de Jong of UoA. Gate48 was a co-organizer.
While delegitimizing Israel is taking place by the UoA, pro-Palestinian initiatives are on the rise. Next month, on December 05, the UoA is planning to host Palestinian Ambassador Rawan Sulaiman, head of the Palestinian mission to the Netherlands and Thomas Seiler, the desk officer of the ‘occupied Palestinian territory’ at the European External Action Service. The public lecture titled "The EU and state-building in Palestine: EU policies and Palestinian perceptions," described in the invitation as, "since the 1993 Oslo Accords the EU, more than any other international actor, has heavily invested in the Palestinian state-building with the aim of helping the Palestinians build their own institutions". The invitation explains the "rationale behind this was that the building and well functioning of Palestinian institutions would lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state living alongside Israel in peace and security." The invitation also states that "This was also the rationale behind the Roadmap as well as the Palestinian former Prime Minister’s Salam Fayyad Plan entitled "Palestine — Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State”. Despite the fact that the EU was the main contributor to Fayyad’s plan, its member states failed to reach a consensus in the 2012 UN vote upgrading Palestine to a ’non-Member Observer State’." In particular this event aims "to take stock of the EU’s policies towards the Palestinian state-building, shed light on recent initiatives as well as analyse Palestinian perceptions towards them."
Also, UoA scholar Dimitris Bouris of the department of Political Science, is publishing a paper with the Italian Istituto Affari Internazionali titled "Imposing Middle East Peace: Why EU Member States Should Recognise Palestine." He implores the EU member states for a "clear paradigm shift," and "real revision of EU policies," as recognizing Palestine is "a moral duty." To his mind a "consensus in Brussels and pressure from big member states can help, acting as potential paradigm and norm setters while encouraging the bandwagoning of other states." By recognizing the state of Palestine, EU member states "would also force the US into action under the weight of an overwhelming international consensus." He argues "while Israel might react badly to this move... recognition would actually send a strong signal that the EU wishes to legitimize the state of Israel within the 1967 borders while clearly delegitimizing the occupation. In the long-term, recognition will help protect Israel from criticism as well as from the eventuality of a one-state approach which Abbas has again promised to endorse if the latest US peace plan is not successful." Bouris suggests that "Recognizing a Palestinian state is cheaper than maintaining (and paying for) the occupation. The EU spends around 500 million euro a year on Palestine." More to the point, "just as the EU’s differentiation policy has activated the Israeli research and economic community to put pressure on the government to resolve the dispute in order to allow them to receive EU grants and research funding, recognition might do the same with Israel’s broader political landscape by sending a strong signal that there is a cost to Israel’s continued occupation." Bouris postulates that recognizing the state of Palestine "will also help to strengthen moderate elements within Palestinian factions and parties".
It is worth noting that there are no positive conferences of Israel at the UoA and the Israeli perspective is not being presented. The authorities of UoA should make sure that activities pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are balanced. Regrettably, by refusing to get involved, they allow a group of pro-Palestinian activists to turn the university, a seat of prestigious learning, into a source of poisonous propaganda against Israel.
|Balfour, Churchill and the Rewriting of Israel's History|
|The marking of the Balfour Declaration Centenary has mobilized academic pro-Palestinian activists. For instance, Ilan Pappe and Avi Shlaim participated in panels such as "Britain and Palestine 1917-2017 One hundred years of broken promises" and "Palestine, Britain & the Balfour Declaration 100 years on."
As can be expected, these and similar events have intended to rewrite the history of the founding of Israel. In fact, efforts to rewrite the history have been associated with the so-called New Historians, a group of Israeli historians which included Benny Morris, Ilan Pappe and Avi Shlaim. Palestinian scholars have welcomed the Israeli academics because it legitimized their own narrative. The War for Palestine: Rewriting the History of 1948, published in 2001, was a case in point. The book included a chapter by Rashid Khalidi "The Palestinians and 1948: the causes of failure"; Benny Morris "Revisiting the Palestinian exodus of 1948"; Avi Shlaim "Israel and the Arab coalition in 1948"; and chapters by Laila Parsons; Eugene Rogan; Charles Tripp; Fawaz Gerges; Joshua Landis; and Edward Said wrote the "Afterword: the consequences of the 1948 war".
The book synopsis highlighted the contribution of the Israelis. "Since the late 1980s, however, a group of 'new historians' or revisionist Israeli historians have challenged many of the claims surrounding the birth of the State of Israel and the first Arab-Israeli war. The present volume was conceived as a contribution to the ongoing debate about 1948. The War for Palestine brings together leading Israeli new historians with prominent Arab and Western scholars of the Middle East who revisit 1948 from the perspective of each of the countries involved in the war. The resulting volume offers new material and new insights that add to our understanding of the historical roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict."
In a review of the book, Prof. Efraim Karsh noted that by Rewriting the history of 1948, the "Israeli academics and journalists who call themselves the 'New Historians' have been pushing this theme since the late 1980s... adds little new or original to these efforts except that they have invited some sympathetic Arabists and Arab academics, including Edward Said and Rashid Khalidi, to join in their efforts. The contributors whitewash the violent Palestinian attempt to abort the United Nations resolution of November 1947. They downplay the pan-Arab invasion of the newly-established state of Israel in May 1948." Khalidi speaks on the Arab side: "the Palestinian people were victims, regardless of what they might have done differently in this situation of formidable difficulty, and of the sins of omission or commission of their leaders." According to Karsh, "Khalidi and Said make no use whatsoever of archival source material and instead engage in sweeping and misconceived assertions about the origin and scope of the Palestinian exodus; others, such as Rogan and Fawaz Gerges, quote the odd docu'ment in support of their case." Avi Shlaim claims to have "overturned the myth of the Arab Goliath" during the 1948 War "but there is nothing here from the archives of the Israeli Defense Forces or its pre-state precursor, the Haganah. Benny Morris makes the IDF and Haganah foremost culprits of the Palestinian exodus but has not consulted the archives of these two military organizations." Karsh quoted Morris as saying, "when writing The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem 1947-1949 in the mid-1980s, I had no access to the materials in the IDFA [IDF Archive] or the Haganah Archive and precious little to first-hand military materials deposited elsewhere. Nonetheless, the new materials I have seen over the past few years tend to confirm and reinforce the major lines of description and analysis, and the conclusions, in The Birth and in a subsequent volume, 1948 and After, published in 1990." Karsh didn't mince words, "Morris inadvertently reveals the falsehood of 'new historian' scholarly pretensions. This group insists on tracing its origin to the opening of Israeli state archives in the late 1980s but now its foremost member admits to having written the single most influential 'revisionist' work without the use of the most important archives". Karsh mocked Morris who "made no use of the Israeli archives due to his own ignorance," after Morris admitted to "some of the material relating to the [Palestinian exodus] may have been open to researchers in the early and mid-1980s, when The Birth was written, but I was not then aware of its existence."
Distortions and falsifications are not new, Pappe was caught falsifying a quote by David Ben Gurion. When the NGO CAMERA contacted University of Exeter requesting the University to open an inquiry, Exeter refused.
When Morris reviewed Ilan Pappe's 2010 book The Rise and Fall of a Palestinian Dynasty: The Husaynis, 1700 1948 he noted Pappe's erroneous claim that "While the text of the Balfour Declaration remained unpublished, it was the subject of all kinds of rumors. But these were dispelled that February , when the British government made it public." But in fact the Balfour Declaration was already published in 1917 - one of the many errors Morris found in Pappe's book prompting him to declare, "At best, Ilan Pappe must be one of the world’s sloppiest historians".
Likewise, Shlomo Sand, another revisionist, stated that "Winston Churchill is said to have stated that 'An anti-Semite is one who hates the Jews more than is necessary'." Sand admits there was no proof it was Churchill," but according to Avi Shlaim it was Isaiah Berlin who coined the term: "What is anti-Semitism? Isaiah Berlin defined an anti-Semite as 'someone who hates Jews more than is strictly necessary!'" Sand attributed to Churchill another statement, "It is, however, true that he wrote about Jews in 1937, that 'they are inviting persecution...they have been partly responsible for the antagonism from which they suffer…The central fact which dominates the relations of Jew and non-Jew is that the Jew is 'different'. He looks different. He thinks differently'". But according to Churchill's official biographer Sir Martin Gilbert, it was not Churchill who wrote this but Adam Marshall Diston, the author of "How the Jews Can Combat Persecution." Churchill briefly employed Diston to write rough drafts for the popular press. Diston's membership in Sir Oswald Mosley's fascist party suggests his sentiments. However, Gilbert noted that Churchill refused to have Diston's article published because it was not his work and did not reflect his views, as Diston has too drastically departed from the guidelines Churchill had sent him earlier. Churchill's assistant wrote a note, "Mr.Churchill thinks it would be inadvisable to publish the article."
Such disregard for facts among the pro-Palestinian academics should not be surprising. They assert that the "official" version of events is part of the "hegemonic" narrative of history, which gives more weight to the Jews and other "hegemons" at the expense of the indigenous populations such as the Palestinians. Hence, they feel obligated to "correct" the record, notably by distorting history and pushing outlandish interpretations of other facts. Regrettably, this radical revisionism has created a narrative in the study of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict whereby the "Jews cannot do anything right and the Palestinians cannot do anything wrong."
|Polemics as Scholarship: The Case of Accusations of Ethnic Cleansing of the Palestinians|
|In May 2017 the University of Haifa banned the use of the term "ethnic cleansing" contained in the text of leaflets handed out by students on campus. The leaflets distributed for a Nakba Day events at the university organized by Hadash, a leftist Jewish-Arab party. A leaflet which mentioned an “exhibition of photographs of villages and cities that underwent ethnic cleansing in 1948" was not approved by the university authorities. In a letter to the organizers, Jenny Kurman, the dean of students, wrote that the words “ethnic cleansing” breached the terms of tolerance and undermined public order at the university.
Benny Morris, a New Historian, was the first Israeli scholar to mention ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948. Morris, who coined the term "partial ethnic cleansing" subsequently retracted this allegation. But Ilan Pappe, another New Historian, formerly of the University of Haifa, made the alleged ethnic cleansing the gist of his academic career.
After leaving Israel where his scholarship was throughout discredited, Pappe received a cushy job at Exeter University, England. Not incidentally, over the years, Exeter University received generous donations from countries in the Middle East. For instance, Exeter was recently criticized for its links to the ruler of Sharjah, the most conservative emirate in the UAE, who gave more than £8m over 20 years and was described as "the university’s single most important supporter" in the 2007 annual report.
There is a connection between recruiting post-Zionist scholars and Arab donors to Western universities, as Professor Anthony Glees, of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at Buckingham University, explained, "By donating to higher education institutions, Arab and Islamic states are able to dictate a research agenda and influence public opinion."
Other radical Israeli scholars have popularized the term "ethnic cleansing." Neve Gordon published an article, "Portrait of an occupation: Human rights of the settler" in Al-Jazeera co-authored with Nicola Perugini in Sept. 2016. The authors posited that "it is crucial to remember that state-sanctioned ethnic cleansing and ongoing human rights violations are what enabled the Jewish settlers to occupy the lands on which they live in the first place." In another article by Neve Gordon and Moriel Ram titled "Ethnic Cleansing and the Formation of Settler Colonial Geographies," the authors refer to ethnic cleansing as defined by the UN in 1994: "By ethnic cleansing we do not mean a genocidal campaign, but rather ‘a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas’ (United Nations, 1994)." Then the authors abandon the UN definition and move on to looking at a different realm of "settler colonialism" which they hoped to conjunct. As they wrote, "In order to advance this argument, we tap into the existing literature on settler colonialism."
Gordon and co-author failed to prove ethnic cleansing. Instead, they use Foucault's theory of biopower: "as we will show, the biopolitical techniques that were utilized were predominantly illiberal." While they repeated the term ethnic cleansing 62 times, not once they provided vigorous evidence that Israel ethnically cleansed the West Bank or the Golan Heights. Using statements such as "We now turn to demonstrate how the difference in the degree of ethnic cleansing shaped the two colonial geographies by outlining the differences in the production of space and the character of the legal regime in each region." Or, in another, "there appears to be a relation between the degree of ethnic cleansing and the precise configuration of law-preserving and lawmaking in the colonized space," they looked at the latter but not the former. In the end, the authors failed to prove that Israel had "a purposeful policy designed... to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas." As defined by the UN.
The self-serving scholarship of Pappe, Gordon and others, is not grounded in empirical reality. The 1948 war does not fit the model of ethnic cleansing defined by the United Nations. The war broke out after the Palestinians and their Arab backers rejected the 1947 UN proposal to divide mandatory Palestine into two entities, a larger Palestinian one, and a smaller Jewish one. The Jews accepted the proposal and were caught by surprise when the Palestinians, followed by Egypt, Jordan, and Syria attacked them. The belligerents were confident that they would vanquish the small and vulnerable Jewish community with ease. Had Pappe, and others bothered to look at the literature on the decision making of the Palestinian and the Arab countries, they would have found references to the coming victory over the Jews and the plans to expel them. That the Palestinian leadership was not prepared to tolerate Jewish presence should have been clear from the plans of Haj Amin al Husseini. As well known, al Husseini travelled to Berlin to discuss with Hitler the Final Solution of the Palestinian Jews. It was only the victory of the allies over the Rommel Army in El Alamein in 1942 which saved the Jews from a similar fate of their brethren in Europe.
As it happened, the overconfident Palestinians lost and suffered the fate of other losing belligerents. In the chaos of war some fled, some were forced to leave and some opted to stay. As the much-chagrined Morris now admits, there was no master plan to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians, and there was little "violent and terror-inspiring means" toward the civilian population.
Morris is the only New Historian who had the courage to admit that his early work might have overstated the case for ethnic cleansing. Pappe and the others have used polemics masquerading as scholarship to feather their academic nests. In the process they became pawned in the game of cash for scholarship.
|Anti-Semitism on the Rise: German Government Adopts the Working Definition of Antisemitism|
|The rising number of anti-Semitic incidents has forced decision-makers to seek solutions to the phenomenon. To recall, in 2005 the European Union Monitoring Center (EUMC) has proposed a “Working Definition of anti-Semitism” which confirms that anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism. It was later adopted by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights which replaced the EUMC. The Working Definition categorizes that certain expressions such as comparing Israel to Nazi Germany - known as the “nazification of Israel” - are considered modern or neo-anti-Semitism.
Unsurprisingly, opponents to Israel found the Working Definition controversial and tried to undermine it by claiming it limited the freedom of speech. For a while they were successful, IAM reported in December 2013 on the "Removal of the "Working Definition of Anti-Semitism" by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights." But the Working Definition received a new lease of life when the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), chaired by Romania's special representative Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu, adopted the Working Definition of Antisemitism in May 2016. Soon after the European Parliament adopted the Working Definition, Romania, as well as the US house of representatives.
Then in December 2016 the UK Government announced its plan to adopt the Working Definition and two months later, the University of Central Lancashire cancelled an event part of "Israel Apartheid Week" activity on its campus. The spokesperson for the university said it contravened the definition of antisemitism adopted by the government and was “unlawful”.
Recently, the German government announced it adopts the international definition of anti-Semitism. Figures on anti-Semitisms in Germany indicate that the decision is very timely. The German authorities recorded 1,468 anti-Semitic offenses in 2016, a 7.5 percent increase. Per the request of the government, a 311 page preliminary report published in April 2017 provides a breakdown of the incidents. Muslims are the most prevalent group among those accused of anti-Semitic offense. Researchers note that the Middle East conflict has spurred a high level for anti-Semitism among the Muslims. The findings are only partial, however, because only 18 imams volunteered to participate. The experts behind the study acknowledged that far more research is needed to determine the extent of anti-Semitic attitudes, including the impact of Muslim immigration to Germany.
The report concluded that anti-Semitism exists on both the extreme right and to a lesser extent on the extreme left as well as among Muslim communities. It pointed out that right-wing anti-Semites committed the greatest number of actual anti-Semitic crimes. And the experts were at pains to emphasize that anti-Semitism among people of Arab or Turkish backgrounds had less to do with their religion than with their socialization. Juliane Wetzel, researcher and the the Expert Group co-coordinator said that "A pilot study commissioned by the expert group about the attitudes of imams in Germany was unable to identify any radical anti-Semitism." After reviewing a substantial number of studies on the topic, the Expert Group said that while the traditional forms of anti-Semitism had somewhat declined, it was modern anti-Semitism, for example, criticism of Israel being extended to Jews in general, remained alarmingly popular. Politicians agreed that criticism of Israel is often used to justify anti-Semitism and that "Forty percent of the German population agrees with statements that attack Jewish people by way of remarks that are hostile to Israel." The Expert Group promised to release more findings on the growing modern anti-Semitism.
According to Deidre Berger, the director of The AJC Berlin Ramer Institute for German-Jewish relations, "The lack of a unified definition has led to anti-Semitic incidents being all too often ignored in recent years... The fact, for example, that the courts considered an arson attack on a synagogue in Wuppertal as non-anti-Semitic illustrates the necessity of a definition."
Absent a definition it would be harder for law enforcement to combat anti-Semitism. The importance of the Working Definition can not be overestimated.
|University of California Press One-Sided Recommended Reading |
| The University of California Press (UCP) announced a recommended reading to commemorate the anniversary of the Six Day War and promote the understanding of the occupation. The UCP announcement is biased against Israel, ignoring the historical background of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute, which include prior Arab assaults against Israel that culminated in the restriction of Palestinian polity. The UCP announcement includes the following statement: "Fifty years ago this week, the Six-Day War transformed the Middle East. Fought from June 5-10 in 1967 by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, the conflict lasted just six days, yet its impact endures today. For Palestinians, this year marks fifty years of military occupation. During the war, Israeli forces captured east Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories — the West Bank and Gaza — as well as the Golan Heights and Sinai. In observance of the fiftieth anniversary of the Six-Day War, we’ve selected a list of recommended titles for understanding the nature of the occupation, the reasons for its longevity, and its impact on Israeli and Palestinian lives, with the following deeply researched titles."
These are the recommended books: A Half Century of Occupation: Israel, Palestine, and the World’s Most Intractable Conflict by Gershon Shafir; Gaza: An Inquest into Its Martyrdom by Norman G. Finkelstein; Enclosure: Palestinian Landscapes in a Historical Mirror by Gary Fields; Israel’s Occupation by Neve Gordon; One Land, Two States: Israel and Palestine as Parallel States edited by Mark LeVine and Mathias Mossberg; Sustaining Conflict: Apathy and Domination in Israel-Palestine by Katherine Natanel; Struggle and Survival in Palestine/Israel edited by Mark LeVine and Gershon Shafir.
Gershon Shafir, Norman Finkelstein, Neve Gordon and Gary Fields are self-proclaimed neo-Marxists, who put much of the blame to the ills of the world on capitalism. Neo-Marxist cohorts cherry-pick evidence to fit their arguments while dismiss evidence which counter their arguments. All of the books present Israel in a negative light while none provide a factual historical account. Most importantly, they all downplay the role of Palestinian aggression. More to the point, most of the authors are also academic activists, some with a history of engaging in the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.
The following is an overview of the recommended books:
A Half Century of Occupation: Israel, Palestine, and the World’s Most Intractable Conflict by Gershon Shafir, 2017, The book has three chapters: 1. What is the occupation? 2. Why has the occupation lasted this long? 3. How has the occupation transformed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?. Much of the book is ignoring historical facts which lead to the loss of the Palestinians in a war which the Arabs have started. A good example of the author's twisted logic can be seen in the following statement: "I suggest that it is time to replace the Israeli assertion of being 'the only democracy in the Middle East' with the claim of being the 'most legalistic country in the Middle East'. This is not particularly surprising. After all, the Yishuv (the Jewish community in Mandatory Palestine) has been the long-term beneficiary of international legal bodies and frameworks. From the League of Nations' incorporation of the Balfour Declaration into the British Mandate for Palestine, through the UN General Assembly's November 1947 resolution to partition Mandatory Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, to the rejection of claims of Israeli aggression in Security Council Resolution 242 (which concluded the 1967 War), it has been a favored party and wishes to remain so in the future." (p. 23) First, the author does not provide evidence for the assertion that Israel is no longer the only democracy in the Middle East. Second, the author's reading of the history of the conflict is questionable. Israel was legally created by the international bodies he correctly named. But the Palestinians and their Arab supporters had rejected all these decisions and started wars which they had the misfortune to lose. At the very least ,Shafir should have informed his readers that in the dominant realist paradigm in International Relations, belligerents who lose a war suffer the consequences. Even if Shafir does not accept this paradigm, it is important that he explains why the Palestinians should be exempt from the rules of international relations. Absent such an explanation, the book is an emotional exercise in favor of the belligerent Palestinians.
Gaza: An Inquest into Its Martyrdom by Norman G. Finkelstein, 2018: Finkelstein became notorious for accusing the Jews of creating a "Holocaust industry" to subjugate the Palestinians, he had lost all academic credibility along with his academic position. Hardly chastened by the experience, his new book presents some of the same selective and, at times, tortured logic. The blurb for the book states: "Gaza is among the most densely populated places in the world. Two-thirds of its inhabitants are refugees, and more than half the population is under eighteen years of age. Since Israel occupied Gaza in 1967, it has systematically de-developed the economy. After Hamas won democratic elections in 2006, Israel intensified its blockade of Gaza, and after Hamas consolidated its control of the territory in 2007, Israel tightened its illegal siege another notch. In the meantime, Israel has launched no less than eight military operations against Gaza—culminating in Operation Cast Lead in 2008–9 and Operation Protective Edge in 2014—that left behind over three million tons of rubble. Recent UN reports predict that Gaza will be unlivable by 2020. Israel’s actions of the last decade. He argues that although Israel justified its blockade and violent assaults in the name of self-defense, in fact these actions were cynical exercises of brutal power against an essentially defenseless civilian population. Based on hundreds of human rights reports, the book scrutinizes multifarious violations of international law Israel committed both during its operations and in the course of its decade-long siege of Gaza. It is a monument to Gaza’s martyrs and a scorching accusation against their tormenters." Finkelstein's writing reflects another popular genre of academic apologists for the Palestinians, namely the eternal victim who is not responsible for any action. Not once does he mention that Hamas, a terror organization, has ruled Gaza with an iron fist. Finkelstein who lists all of Israeli violations of international law is quite shy about admitting that the military wing of Hamas, the Izzadin al Qassam Brigades has routinely dispersed its military assets among the civilian population, including schools and hospitals.
Enclosure: Palestinian Landscapes in a Historical Mirror by Gary Fields, 2017: The author put Israel in a colonial setting of land-grabbing, ignoring the legal title to the land by the League of Nations, as the following blurb indicates: "Enclosure marshals bold new and persuasive arguments about the ongoing dispossession of Palestinians. Revealing the Israel-Palestine landscape primarily as one of enclosure, geographer Gary Fields sheds fresh light on Israel's actions. He places those actions in historical context in a broad analysis of power and landscapes across the modern world. Examining the process of land-grabbing in early modern England, colonial North America, and contemporary Palestine, Enclosure shows how patterns of exclusion and privatization have emerged across time and geography. That the same moral, legal, and cartographic arguments were copied by enclosers of land in very different historical environments challenges Israel's current rationale as being uniquely beleaguered. It also helps readers in the United Kingdom and the United States understand the Israel-Palestine conflict in the context of their own, tortured histories". Quite clearly, the author views the entire conflict from the colonial perspective, a fashionable paradigm among radical academic critics of Israel. Fields does not bother to mention that this is not the only paradigm through which the creation of Israel has been explained. Not surprising, the author is an endorser of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.
Israel’s Occupation by Neve Gordon, 2008: As described by the author, "This first complete history of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip allows us to see beyond the smoke screen of politics in order to make sense of the dramatic changes that have developed on the ground over the past forty years. Looking at a wide range of topics, from control of water and electricity to health care and education as well as surveillance and torture, Neve Gordon's panoramic account reveals a fundamental shift from a politics of life—when, for instance, Israel helped Palestinians plant more than six-hundred thousand trees in Gaza and provided farmers with improved varieties of seeds—to a macabre politics characterized by an increasing number of deaths. Drawing attention to the interactions, excesses, and contradictions created by the forms of control used in the Occupied Territories, Gordon argues that the occupation's very structure, rather than the policy choices of the Israeli government or the actions of various Palestinian political factions, has led to this radical shift." But there is enough evidence to prove that Gordon is highly biased. For example, when he listed the initial efforts to improve the standard of living of the Palestinians after 1967, he wrote, "In the health field practices were introduced to encourage women to give birth at hospitals (a means of decreasing infant mortality rates and monitoring population growth) and to promote vaccinations (in order to decrease the incidence of contagious and noncontagious diseases)". While most people would applaud the progressive and beneficial measures improving the lives of the Palestinians, to Gordon they were instances of control mechanism. Also, Gordon was one of the first to argue that Israel is an apartheid state and in 2009 he called for boycotting Israel on the pages of the Los Angeles Times.
One Land, Two States: Israel and Palestine as Parallel States edited by Mark LeVine and Mathias Mossberg, 2014: The project was initiated in 2008 and later received support from the Swedish Foreign Ministry and the Swedish Research Council, orchestrated by Sweden's Lund University. The book description states that, "One Land, Two States imagines a new vision for Israel and Palestine in a situation where the peace process has failed to deliver an end of conflict. 'If the land cannot be shared by geographical division, and if a one-state solution remains unacceptable," the book asks, "can the land be shared in some other way?' Leading Palestinian and Israeli experts along with international diplomats and scholars answer this timely question by examining a scenario with two parallel state structures, both covering the whole territory between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, allowing for shared rather than competing claims of sovereignty. Such a political architecture would radically transform the nature and stakes of the Israel-Palestine conflict, open up for Israelis to remain in the West Bank and maintain their security position, enable Palestinians to settle in all of historic Palestine, and transform Jerusalem into a capital for both of full equality and independence - all without disturbing the demographic balance of each state. Exploring themes of security, resistance, diaspora, globalism, and religion, as well as forms of political and economic power that are not dependent on claims of exclusive territorial sovereignty, this pioneering book offers new ideas for the resolution of conflicts worldwide." Mark LeVine is a known supporter of the one-state solution, and the book which he co-edited essentially discredit the current two-state solution. Of course, academics can support whatever solution they prefer, but it is highly dishonest to construct a book which pushes one proposal only, under the guise of academic scholarship.
Sustaining Conflict: Apathy and Domination in Israel-Palestine by Katherine Natanel, 2016: The blurb states, "Sustaining Conflict develops a groundbreaking theory of political apathy, using a combination of ethnographic material, narrative, and political, cultural, and feminist theory. It examines how the status quo is maintained in Israel-Palestine, even by the activities of Jewish Israelis who are working against the occupation of Palestinian territories. The book shows how hierarchies and fault lines in Israeli politics lead to fragmentation, and how even oppositional power becomes routine over time. Most importantly, the book exposes how the occupation is sustained through a carefully crafted system that allows sympathetic Israelis to 'knowingly not know,' further disconnecting them from the plight of Palestinians. While focusing on Israel, this is a book that has lessons for how any authoritarian regime is sustained through apathy." This is an adopted version of the author's PhD thesis in SOAS, Gender studies. In a typical convoluted phrasing, she writes, "Yet despite its seeming polarity, normalcy at the (Jewish Israeli) end of the road relies upon and arises through the relations of power which necessitate agricultural subsistence within cityscapes, lock academics at Birzeit University within metaphorical and material prison cells, and fashion understandings of ‘freedom’ through experiences of oppression at the border. Read thus, continuity replaces disparity as occupation, colonisation and domination trace a thread binding Israel with Palestine and Jewish Israelis with Palestinians." But if this is not clear yet, the author aligns herself with the Neo-Marxist, critical scholarship, "including history (Shlaim 2000, 2010; Abu El-Haj 2001; Masalha 2003; Khalidi 2006; Pappe 2006; Pappe and Hilal 2010), sociology (Lentin 2000; Shafir and Peled 2002; Ron 2003), political economy (Gordon 2008; Hever 2010; Abdo 2011) critical geography (Yiftachel 2006; Weizman 2007) and activism (De Jong 2011; Richter-Devroe 2011, 2012; Weizman 2013)". No wonder the book has won the Palestine Book Award in 2016.
The book Struggle and Survival in Palestine/Israel, is a compilation of articles, moving from the British Mandate, to "a nation is born a nation is dispersed" to a questionable shared future, The book discusses figures such as Benni Gaon, Jonathan Pollack, Yigal Amir and Hillel Kook among others. It includes two chapters that stand out. The first chapter "Becoming a Hamas Suicide Bomber" by Bader Araj detailing with great sympathy the story of Na'el abu-Hilayel, a suicide bomber, recalled by his father the last meeting with his son "with mixed feelings of pride and sadness... He always cared about the afterlife, not this life... He realized his wish to die as a martyr". Na'el carried on his attack in 2002 when he wore an explosive belt packed with five kilograms of explosives and shrapnel, detonating himself on a crowded bus in Jerusalem. The attack killed eleven Israelis including five children. The author complained of the harsh actions taken by Israel against families of suicide bombers. Another suicide bomber discussed in this chapter is Maher Hubashi who detonated himself on a bus in Haifa in 2001. Both suicide bombers were working and earning an income. The author questioned the motives behind these suicide attacks whether they were religion, revenge and liberation. The chapter ends with praising the good personality of Maher and how he supported his family financially before his death. In the ending acknowledgements the author thanks the families and close friends of the two suicide bombers. The second chapter by Sonia Nimr, "Abdul Rahim Hajj Mohammad and the Arab Revolt" describes the "most respected leader of the Great Revolt" and his guerrilla warfare against the British troops and the Jews. The chapter compares the Arab revolt of 1936-9 to other Palestinian violent aggression and offers an account to the emergence of grassroots armed struggle since the 1920s. The author also acknowledges the importance of civil disobedience, as an important part of the revolt since its earliest days. The author postulates that the rebel leaders were "very strict and declared anyone who dealt with the British to be a collaborator... and the sentence was usually death by shooting... They killed anyone suspected of collaboration even without a trial." The author noted it was a widely known fact that during the revolt the Haj Amin al-Husseini faction and others got rebels "to assassinate their traditional rivals".
Analyzing the recommended reading leaves the reader with the impression that the UCP is promoting pro-Palestinian views including terrorism. Missing from the reading list is the Israeli perspective. By publishing Israeli authors UCP hoped to present a balanced view but this is not the case. By promoting Israeli neo-Marxist, critical scholars known as post-Zionists, their reading list looks exceptionally imbalanced. But this is the case with the UCP books as a whole, not just the recommended reading. A glance on their website reveals that most books on Israel and Palestine present a pro-Palestinian stance, avoiding any criticism of the Palestinians. This kind of literature resembles the notorious polemical genre "Israel cannot do anything right and the Palestinians can not do anything wrong."
It is deeply disheartening to see that the UCP books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict take a place of pride in this discredited category.
|Academic Earthquake: Part 4 |
|The series of posts by IAM, Academic Earthquake Part 1 and Part 2 on Asa Kahser’s Academic Code of Conduct, were accepted for distribution by the Academia-IL Network, a forum dedicated to academic-related issues. Part 3 however, was rejected by the webmaster who censored it, so far without any explanation. Should an explanation arrive we would notify our readers.
These posts have elicited a few comments including by emeritus professor Uzzi Ornan from the Technion. Professor Ornan questioned why we use English in our posts instead of Hebrew. He then proceeded to hypothesize that we wrote about the Ethics Code of Kasher in English to bring it to the attention of “foreigners living in other countries, perhaps in order to create a ‘foreign influence’ on what is happening here.”
To answer Ornan, since its inception in 2004, IAM has published in English because Israeli social science research is conducted by and large in English.
But if Professor Ornan is truly concerned about “foreign influence,” he should have paid heed to two posts by Prof. Alon Harel on the same subject. On June 9, Harel wrote that "reporting on the Code of Ethics has also reached the most famous legal blog of Brian Leiter." Harel suggested to his readers to "distribute the post of this blog abroad, it is important to arrange translation of the Ethics Code into English in order to recruit people around the world to raise a cry." Harel did not say how Leiter heard of the Ethics Code but Leiter himself disclosed that "legal scholar and philosopher Alon Harel (Hebrew U) wrote to me." In his second post, on June 24, Harel wrote, "Professor Cary Nelson who in the past headed also the American Association of Law Professors asked me to distribute this document which was approved by the Alliance for Academic Freedom." We would suggest that Professor Ornan complain to Harel about his effort to create “foreign influence.”
Indeed, the academic debate on ethics code does not address the issue of low standards in the social science and the linkage to academic activism. Notably, academic authorities have allowed some social science departments to hire activist scholars, as noted by the International Evaluation Committee of the BGU department of Politics and Government which reported to this effect:
"In the original report, which covered a five-year period, only a couple of articles of all faculty members combined were published in leading political science journals. During the whole period examined approximately 30 articles were published by faculty members in political science journals covered by Thomson ISI." The report then questioned the quality of teaching, "But the strong emphasis on “community activism” emphasized by the Department raises at least two questions. First, are students receiving a sufficiently rigorous foundation in the discipline of politics and government to equip them with a necessary grounding in the important ideas and understandings common to the subject and the discipline? At the moment, the committee sees major weaknesses with regard to the Department’s core discipline of Political Science which need to be addressed immediately. Second, is there a balance of views in the curriculum and the classroom? Particularly, political science instructors should see to it that their own opinions are expressed as personal views so that students can take a critical perspective and that there is a broad exposure to alternative perspectives in order to widen and deepen their own understanding."
Poor academic standards would not have been tolerated in sciences and engineering, something that the Technion-based Ornan is probably aware of. Why should they be tolerated in the social sciences?
|Academic Earthquake: Part 3
|This IAM post, Academic Earthquake: Part 3 intends to present the mixing of academics with politics. The list would be very long if we brought all the evidence available in the last two decades. But it is essential to understand the relations between the political activists-turned-academics. A perusal at the TAU Cohn Institute PhD Dissertations showcases the following: Merav Amir, advisors Adi Ophir and Yehouda Shenav; Ariel Handel, advisors Adi Ophir and Tovi Fenster; Michal Givoni, advisor Adi Ophir; Anat Rimon Or, advisor Adi Ophir; Hagar Kotef, advisors Adi Ophir and Anat Biletzki; Roy Wagner, advisors Adi Ophir and Anat Biletzki; Boaz Hagin, advisors Adi Ophir and Orly Lubin; Dani Filc, advisor Moshe Zuckermann; Ariella Azoulay, advisors Moshe Zuckermann and Gila Blas. This list is a clear indication of how political activist academics promote each other.
We have gathered a short list of some other key players promoting their political stance in their scholarships, some are familiar and some new names:
In 2013 IAM reported on Yehouda Shenhav (TAU) who was hired to teach and research the sociology of organizations. Soon after gaining tenure, he neglected his field in order to concentrate on various aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Since then, the self-proclaimed critical sociologist has tailored specific topics to suit his political activism. Upon joining the Mizrahi Rainbow in the 1990s, a group dedicated to bringing together Jews from Arab countries and Palestinians, Shenhav wrote a book and a number of articles on Arab Jews, his name for the Mizrahim, to prove that they, like the Palestinians, were victims of Zionism. In the mid-2000s, Shenhav launched a project to create the intellectual infrastructure for a bi-national state. In another project, in 2012 he headed a research group at Van Leer Institute Jerusalem which aspired to locate the discussion on Zionism explicit within the global matrix of imperialism. The group membership was tailor-made to produce such findings. In addition to stalwarts as Hanna Herzog and Hannan Hever, a number of Shenhav's doctoral students participated, Manar Hassan, Yuval Evri, Areej Sabbagh and Benny Nurieli. In addition to privileging Shenhav's students, it was a signal to potential PhD candidates that radical scholarship pays off.
IAM discussed Assaf Sharon in 2014, in a post titled "The political career of Assaf Sharon sponsored by Tel Aviv University", which detailed how Sharon, a co-founder of "Breaking the Silence" who sits on its board of directors, has joined the ranks of TAU's Philosophy department, the base of operation of the radical political activists, Anat Matar and Anat Biletzki. By all accounts, Sharon has launched a highly activist career since co-founding the political think tank Molad. In a recent Tweet, he wrote "New study by @moladCRID: West Bank settlements are a burden on Israel's national security."
Another life-long political activist sponsored by TAU is Gadi Algazi, a former IDF refusenik. He joined the ranks of TAU as an expert on late medieval history but, as other activists, spent much of his career on promoting his political agenda. Algazi is especially active in Germany, where he is scheduled to speak at Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Salon in Berlin today, June 29, on "Common perspectives: what links and separates the left in Germany and Israel."
Aeyal Gross, a legal scholar at TAU, known to be the intellectual architect of Pinkwashing, a theory which holds that Israel has embraced gay rights in order to mask the sins of occupation. Gross was quoted recently in an Aljazeera article titled "In Israel, racism is the law", to the effect that "Equality cannot be recognised on the constitutional level... since that would challenge the inequality created by the complete identification of the state with only one group." He has recently published a book "The Writing on the Wall: Rethinking the International Law of Occupation." Where he offers insight on the 50th anniversary of the occupation, "the law of occupation in its current version to legitimize new variations of conquest and colonialism". He proposes the "need for reconsidering the law of occupation in light of changing forms of control, such as those evident in Gaza."
A long-time radical political activist Ofer Cassif, was recently filmed comparing Israeli legislation to those of Nazi Germany in a Politics and Government course of a preparatory college program at the Hebrew University. One of Cassif's students objected to the comparison, but Cassif continued with his analogy, stating that it is comfortable to deny the situation in order not to come to terms with reality, which is very dangerous. He said "those who refuse to see the similarities between what is happening in Israel, specifically in the past two years, and Germany in the 1930s, has a problem and will be responsible for the potential situation of the state." Cassif drew parallel in legislature regarding Arabs and Jews, to the policies of Nazi Germany. He stated that the law "allows Jews to take over Palestinian-owned land for themselves, just like Aryans in 1930 Germany were allowed to kick Jews out of their homes." Hebrew University responded to Channel 2 who reported this story, rather typically: "It is unfortunate that there are individual students who choose to record their professors during class, instead of engaging in debate and open discourse on facts and opinions, and who choose to go to the media when these things do not coincide with their views. Academia is exactly the place to conduct deep and free debates. That's its essence and any other way harms this fabric and endangers the principles of democracy".
A Hebrew University Law school's new recruit is Ahmad Amara. Amara's scholarship surrounds the legal rights to land by the Bedouin community in the Negev, he calls them Palestinian Bedouin-Arabs and wishes to portray Israel in a colonialist nature. He charges Israel of dispossession of the Bedouins. "The indigenous Bedouin Arab population in the Naqab/Negev desert in Israel has experienced a history of displacement, intense political conflict, and cultural disruption, along with recent rapid modernization, forced urbanization, and migration" Recognizing the Bedouins of the Negev as indigenous people he examines the international human rights framework and how it protects the rights of indigenous peoples to determine which group should be considered rights holders. In a recent article he wished to contest the stereotypes of Bedouins as 'nomads' and 'savages' as in the second half of the nineteenth century. As a lawyer he is representing members of the Dawabsheh family in a lawsuit against the Israeli government for compensation of tens millions of shekels over arson attack in the village of Duma, West Bank in 2015.
Yael Berda of the Sociology and Anthropology department at the Hebrew University boasts about being "highly engaged in social justice activism and politics in Israel" in her university webpage. Barda, like many academic activists has studied the various facets of the military administration in the West Bank.
Even this very short survey of scholar-activists is indicative of the confluence of academy and political activism. Quite clearly, these academics abuse academic privileges by using their classroom and research to promote a political agenda. There are two consequences of this deplorable state of affairs which is mostly limited to the social sciences.
First, students of these professors do not receive the type of balanced education in the classroom as a "marketplace of ideas." Instead, the syllabus and reading materials in many of these classes are solidly neo-Marxist and critical theory oriented. How can students develop a balanced view of the economic system, for instance, if they have never encountered a reading from Adam Smith or neo-liberal economics?
Second, the incessant preoccupation with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict robs sociology and political science of desperately needed subjects such as quantitative methods, system analysis, rational choice theory, and other cutting-edge topics. In an age that social sciences have rushed to study unique twenty first century social phenomena which require these tools, Israeli scholarship and teaching look inevitably archaic.
For more than a decade now, IAM has been emphasizing the damage done to social sciences in Israel and the cost to the tax payers who are asked to pay the salaries of political activists masquerading as faculty. We have repeatedly pointed out that it is the duty of the university authorities to supervise their social science departments. So far, the authorities which are intimidated by vocal faculty, the fear of bad publicity, and indeed, threats of international boycott (as in the case of the efforts to close down the department of Politics and Government at BGU) have not acted. To the contrary. Given this state of affairs, an Ethics Code is more urgent than ever.
|Academic Earthquake, Part 2|
|The IAM post "Academic Earthquake, Part 1" concerning the ethics code proposed by Prof. Asa Kasher to Minister Naftali Bennett has attracted some criticism. The following is a comment by Professor Fania Oz-Salzberger of the University of Haifa, questioning our statement regarding some academics, that are "known to be too radical." She wrote, "Several names are given, which leaves an unfortunate aftertaste of witch hunting. I disagree with these colleagues on many issues, but wholly respect their right to air their views." She ended with, "'Too radical' is a pathetically self-revealing label." But Oz-Salzberger may not be aware that they all called for boycott.
As before, an attack on us and the need for an ethics code is couched in the language of academic freedom and free speech.
Just for the record, we were not the only one to raise this issue. In 2012 Professor Ziva Sharmir, the former head of the School of Jewish Studies and head of the Katz Institute for the Study of Literature at TAU, who upon her retirement wrote in 2012 in Kivunim Hadashim. Shamir, a former member in promotion committees came across teaching evaluation forms by students complaining about “missionary” professors conveying political messages. She noted that such behavior "contribute to hypocrisy in the classroom; on the one hand they speak about academic freedom but on the other, their teaching does not encourage pluralism and a free exchange of ideas." Shamir wrote harshly about a "climate of academic rigidity", and "pseudo-research", "where the conclusions are reached ahead of time and empirical surveys are tailored to fit the foregone conclusions." Shamir added that in many fields, "research has been abandoned in favor of the fashionable “discourse.” In many departments it is impossible to express an opinion because the “knights of free speech” will boycott all those who dare to say things outside the parameters of political correctness". Such radical ideas are sometimes "products of self-interested hypocrisy driven by well-paid service to anti-Israeli elements." The problem lies, Shamir noted, when the majority of academics in those departments were silent due to fear.
Shamir offered solutions, including an ethics committee:
There is a need to depoliticize academic instruction, noting that the new trends in critical scholarship give the instructor more political leeway.
Departments should evaluate themselves in addition to being evaluated by an outside body that would determine if they fulfill the original mandate of the CHE.
Faculty members should stop using their university office as a branch of their political party, while using the postal, telephone and Internet services of the university, and, sometimes, even the services of research assistants. Academic appointments and university budgets are geared toward helping faculty to research and teach, and no other purposes.
Faculty members should not be allowed to preach their political views in the classroom. Their personal opinions are not more important than the man in the street; the university did not hire him or her because of political opinions. Faculty members, whose fealty to political activism is first and foremost, should take a leave of absence, or consider a switch to politics.
A committee of relevant experts should be created to evaluate the difference between legitimate research and political propaganda, even in disciplines where the difference may be difficult to discern. Such a committee would be able to determine whether a faculty member whom students have labeled a “political harasser” crossed the line between offering his or her opinions to engaging in political preaching.
Academic fields that touch upon the political should be approached from a theoretical perspective that encourages pluralistic thinking. Students are not captives of instructors and political harassment, like sexual harassment, should not be allowed. It is legitimate to ask students to express political opinion, but to ask them to participate in demonstrations or sign petitions is political harassment. Students should be able to assume that their refusal to do so would not affect their grades.
Academic freedom (libertas scholastica) - an argument used by politically-inclined faculty in response to charges of politicization in the universities - is liberty to research and publish without intervention of authorities or outside interests; it is not a carte blanche to turn a classroom into a political platform. Those who wrap themselves in the mantle of academic freedom misrepresent the true meaning of academic freedom - a cornerstone of Western culture that has encouraged freedom of thinking.
An ethics committee to examine the issue of proportionality and not just the quality of arguments and their scientific soundness in research.
Despite the vehement opposition, some academics admit that there is a problem. Legal scholar Iddo Porat who opposes the Kasher version of the ethics code, has noted that many of those who attack the code, "suffer from the same syndrome that caused the need for such a code to begin with - a complete denial that there is a problem. There is a problem, and universities can only blame themselves for not making any attempt to deal with it internally, and avoiding any responsibility for it. The Academy is a public asset, financed by the public, and it is inappropriate and unfair that it would serve as a platform for gaining political influence or transmitting a message from one side of the political map. It also makes sense that the defeated party, the right wing, will not want to stand idly by when it happens. When there are internal professional standards such phenomena are tempered by internal pressures, but if internal standards of academic professionalism are eroded, and there are interests of the public that are harmed, it is impossible to complain about attempts to regulate it from above. There is a great risk of regulation. But if you want to avoid it, you have to start with a much more serious process of internal regulation, and before that, of internal debate."
Porat's comment about the Israeli universities being financed by the tax payer is welcome. For many years now we have empathized this point. We brought detailed statics which indicate that the standards of Israeli universities has deteriorated not just in comparison with Western institutions but also with the newer Asian institutions of higher learning. Social sciences have deteriorated in particular because of the preponderance of critical, neo-Marxist scholarship.
Substance aside, the tone of he debate is worrisome because it goes well beyond accepted academic standards of speech. Idan Segev of the Hebrew University wrote in opposition to the code labeling the Minister "Bennett and his aggressive and regressive friends". A petition circulated by Eilon Vaadia called the Kasher ethics code a "disgrace" and claimed it was born in sin.
Bennett, however, responded that the Kasher code serves as a basis for discussion until a solution is reached. Name calling is not a substitute for a debate.
Academic Earthquake, Part 3 will look back on mixing academics and politics.
|Academic Earthquake: Part 1
|IAM reported in early Dec 2016 that Naftali Bennett, the Minister of Education and chair of the Council of Higher Education (CHE) had appointed Prof. Asa Kasher to write an ethics code of conduct for the academy. The Code was prepared and the next step is for the CHE to either adopt it as is, amend or abolish. The new Code has also reached the public, in particular Israeli academics, which vehemently rejected it.
Global media outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Daily Mail, have all published the following brief, "Israel's university leaders have lashed out at the nationalist education minister's plan to impose a code of ethics they say is aimed at limiting their academic freedom. The umbrella organization of Israel's university heads says they "vehemently object" to Education Minister Naftali Bennett's guidelines calling on professors to refrain from expressing political opinions in class or openly supporting an academic boycott of Israel. Bennett says Sunday he tasked Asa Kasher, an ethics and philosophy professor at Tel Aviv University, to draw up guidelines to protect students from lecturers who impose their "political worldview" on them. Bennett and other hardliners accuse Israel's academia of having a disproportionate liberal bias. The university heads said such a code ran counter to the concept of academic freedom and doubted it would be enacted." Worth noting the jargon used opposing Bennett, labeling him "nationalist education minister" and "Bennett and other hardliners"; The radical left is softly labeled as "disproportionate liberal bias".
In Israel, among tons of criticism, Aeyal Gross, professor of Law in TAU declared his opposition in a column in Haaretz and Sandy Kedar of the Law faculty in Haifa University was quoted in Times Higher Education, expressing his disproval. The Committee of University Heads (VERA); The Middle East & Islamic Studies Association of Israel (MEISAI); the Israeli Democracy Institute; the Israeli Anthropological Association; among others attacked the Code. The Students Union announced a demonstration to protest the docu'ment.
Both the foreign media and the Israeli protesters misrepresent the Kasher code. It is well known that many in the liberal arts have been leaning left. Some are known to be too radical. Neve Gordon, Anat Matar, Rachel Giora, Kobi Snitz and others have often used their academic positions to promote their politics. In 2002 over three hundred academics called their students to refuse military service in the Palestinian territories. IAM which was established in 2004 has been reporting on numerous cases, available in our archives. Of course, there should have been no need for an ethics code had the university heads were dealing with their radical academics dating back for twenty years, but preferred to do nothing under the excuse of "academic freedom". In the Israeli system, university leaders rely on the backing of staff to be reelected, an arrangement which virtually ensures ennui.
Ran Chermesh, a retired professor from BGU, touched on the issue of the activists in a post on Forum Academia. "The main problem with the Kasher doc'ument is not in its details, but in the process of its creation. We mustn't allow the political echelon to erode academic freedom. It is a slippery slope, starts minimal but ends severely. Therefore, there is no point in entering into a text analysis. The details are not important. What is needed now is for the academic institutions unanimously to reject this attack. When the flood stops, there will be time for self-examination and no doubt there is room for it." In other words, the university authorities need to examine their role in going easy on academic activists.
The debate got heated when Bar-Ilan University announced a conference on BDS which featured Asa Kasher as a speaker. Michael Gluzman of the TAU Hebrew Literature department responded, "To meet Asa Kasher? Why give him this honor? He serves a right-wing government with anti-democratic tendencies. The Committee of University Heads has already announced that Kasher's docu'ment contradicts academic freedom and has rejected it completely. Perhaps instead of holding discussions about the BDS, Bar Ilan University will devote a seminar to the threats to the democratic regime in Israel.
Many opponents of the Kasher Code argue that the American university code as drafted by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has not dealt with expressing political opinions in class, and thus the Israeli code should not do so as well. Such statements grossly misrepresent the American reality with regard to public universities. In the US the governors of the states appoint the governing board of the universities and, in turn, they pick the presidents and other higher administrative officials. The system makes it easy for presidents to admonish or fire faculty members who use their classrooms as an extension of their political agenda. The courts have also intervened in cases in which the political and the academic clashed.
Also, opponents to the Kasher Code argue that muzzling academic freedom lowers academic excellence. This bogus argument is easily proved. Over more than two decades now, the Israeli universities have been sliding in competitive rankings, not only in the West but also in Asia. The liberal science in particular gets low comparative grades, not least because, as several Evaluation Committees of the CHE noted, they are staffed with neo-Marxist, critical scholars whose research is not part of the Thomson ISI rankings. For example, the five-year period Evaluation Committee Report 2011, of the BGU Department of Politics and Government, found that only a couple of articles of all faculty members combined were published in leading political science journals. The report noted a strong emphasis on “community activism” which raised the question if students received rigorous foundation in the discipline. The answer was that the committee saw major weaknesses with regard to the Department. Likewise, the 2011 Report of Sociology and Anthropology at BGU noted a concern of the Committee, of the modest training that students in the MA program received in quantitative methods and statistics and pointed out that even if students were interested only in qualitative methods there was a core of knowledge common to the profession to include a sufficient familiarity with quantitative techniques to read articles in the main journals. The report named the three areas of specialization: critical social studies, sociology of organizations, and anthropology and concluded there appeared to be a concentration of the faculty in areas of critical studies. The report suggested the "study of organizations from a rigorously evidenced-based perspective."
With few exceptions Israeli universities are public, but opponents of the Kasher Code pretend that they should have the same latitude as private universities. The Israeli academy has never accepted the core principle of public universities in the US and other Western countries, namely, that public universities are funded by the tax payer and are accountable to the elected representatives of the tax payers.
Academic Earthquake: Part 2 will discuss specific examples of political activism by Israeli academics.
|UK: University College Union Dissociates from the Working Definition of Antisemitism|
|Last week, the European Parliament voted in favor of endorsing the Working Definition of Antisemitism (WDA) of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), drawing praises from Jewish groups. The resolution calls on EU member states, institutions and agencies to adopt and apply the WDA, which in December 2016 was adopted by the British Government.
The WDA defines antisemitsm as follows: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” The WDA also lists several examples of antisemitic cases. To prevent accusations of shutting up criticism of Israel the definition includes, "However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic."
Yet, the British University and College Union (UCU), which represents over 110,000 academics across the UK, voted to dissociate itself from the WDA. The vote was taken during the UCU's congress which met on Monday 29 May 2017.
This should come as no surprise, the UCU has been considered a hotbed for anti-Israel attitudes at least since 2005. Under its previous name, Association of University Teachers (AUT), it voted to boycott University of Haifa and Bar-Ilan University because of alleged violations of human rights and academic freedoms. Eventually this decision was overturned.
Some blame this bias on Sally Hunt, the general secretary since 2002. In 2012 the group Academic Friends of Israel had warned that the "union's stance on Israel under Ms Hunt had left supporters of Israel 'between a rock and a hard place'. UCU has adopted 16 anti-Israel resolutions under her leadership", according to the group.
The UCU congress explained its dissociation from WDA, that the definition "conflates anti-semitism with criticism of the state of Israel and has been used to intimidate academics who are engaged in activities that are critical of the policies of the Israeli government but that are not anti-semitic." It also rejected "government-inspired attempts to ban Palestine solidarity events, naming Israel Apartheid Week."
The UCU congress also boasted that the UCU has an "exemplary anti-racist work," in particular its "Holocaust Memorial Day materials". A quick search in the UCU website, reveals what the Holocaust Memorial Day means to the organization. It states that the "UCU commemorates Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) observed annually on 27 January. It does so in memory of the millions who were murdered in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides in Bosnia, Cambodia, Darfur and Rwanda in order to challenge hatred and persecution in the UK today."
It should be pointed out that the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP), and the new Jewish-led Free Speech on Israel, two radical anti-Israel groups, have taken credit for the decision, writing that their "model resolution has been adopted by UCU Congress." The groups include long-standing pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel activists Jonathan Rosenhead, Mike Cushman, Sue Blackwell, and Tom Hickey.
It is now left to the British government to enforce the WDA on the UCU.
|Political Activism at the Israeli Anthropological and Sociological Associations
|During the 2009 Gaza operation, while thousands of Global Jihadists were active in southern Gaza Strip and Gaza was full of "tunnels intended for abducting troops, weapons, anti-aircraft missiles, and booby-trapped buildings in civilian centers... and weapons prepared for future attacks, such as motorbikes intended for kidnapping," some five hundred Israelis posted a petition online urging the UN Security Council to impose sanctions against Israel. The signatories also urged EU member states to adopt "immediate restrictive measures and sanctions, as well as cessation of all upgrade dialogue with Israel."
Some of the petitioners were academics. Regev Nathansohn, who teaches Anthropology at the University of Haifa, was one of them. Nathansohn was the winner of the best MA thesis in 2007 by the Israeli Sociological Association supervised by Yehouda Shenhav and Dan Rabinowitz, a former president of the Anthropological Association. The thesis was named "Shooting Occupation: Sociology of Visual Representation."
Nathansohn participated in the activities of the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation (IHJR) in 2009. IHJR, was established in 2004 in order to launch a series of research initiatives to study history. For instance, "The ‘Historical Memory on Haifa 1948’ project encompasses a series of joint research initiatives whereby Israeli and Palestinian scholars focused on actual events of the period surrounding 1948 and how they affected the lives of Jews and Palestinians in Haifa." In spite of its lofty aim, the actual project was essentially an exercise of rewriting history. A chapter which Nathansohn co-authored attests to this statement: "Joseph’s reply showed familiarity with the various Zionist paramilitary groups of that time: You know, history repeats itself. During that war it was the same as what we have today among the Palestinians. There is the Fatah, there is Hammas, and there is the Jihad Islami. Same as it was back then with the Jewish forces: the Palmach and the Haganah – their handling of things was softer, but there was the Etzel and the Lechi of Menahem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir and all this gang. They only knew how to kill. Whoever they caught they killed on the spot." Even a casual observer would have noted that there is no place to compare the Jewish organizations to Fatah, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.
In spite of such lapses, Yehouda Shenhav, Nathansohn's MA supervisor, wrote enthusiastically of this project: "In this remarkable project, Jews and Palestinians, write together the history and memory of the city of Haifa. Rather than presenting incommensurable national narratives, they offer a fresh and inspiring alternative: each article is co-authored by Arabs and Jews, thus turning the art of research and writing into a bi-national practice. Addressing 1948 as a benchmark, is crucial particularly today in facilitating not only a new reading of the political story, but also offering political possibilities. Haifa Before & After 1948 is an inspirational book that deserves to be read by everyone who is interested in the history and memory of bi-national societies." Nathansohn is part of the younger generation of sociologists and anthropologists who continue the tradition of radical activists like Shenhav.
Likewise, Matan Kaminer, a conscientious objector, and an activist , is the newly elected coordinator of the migration and demography community at the Israeli Sociological Association. Kaminer's dissertation is "an ethnographic exploration of the conjunction between settler colonialism and global migration" in Israel. Kaminer "has been active in the Israeli conscientious objectors’ movement, in national and municipal politics and in migrant solidarity work in Israel for the past fifteen years." In 2010 he has taught a semester in Anthropology at TAU, but much of his life he has been a political activist. Kaminer describes Israel as a hollow democracy, "The demoralization of the intellectuals may have grave consequences for the Israeli regime; though financial and military aid for Israel still enjoys public support across the United States and Europe, much of this support depends on the continued credibility of the “only democracy” trope. Thus, what increasingly looks like a shutdown of Israel’s ethnic democracy cannot be understood as a premeditated move to serve the regime’s interests. The current dynamic is probably better understood as an acceleration of a trend inherent in Zionism, as well as in other repressive social formations: the need to identify threatening enemies in order to ensure internal cohesion."
The 2017 annual conference of the Israeli Anthropological Association which took place last week was featured on the website of MAKI, the Israeli Communist Party. The report introduced the academic-activist Yeela Raanan of Sapir College. MAKI's report noted that "Among the participants are activists of the left-wing lecturers' group at the universities and colleges 'Academia for Equality'." The conference marked solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike. In particular the conference addressed Gilad Erdan, Minister of Public Security and urged him to meet the demands of the striking prisoners. Two days after MAKI published the article the Israeli Anthropological Association has posted their statement online.
There is no better proof of the mixing of politics and academics. Professional associations of this kind should not impose political agenda on the public who sponsor Israeli universities.
|Foreign Universities in Hungary Under Threat of Closure: the Israeli Angle|
|The Hungarian government has submitted a bill to parliament intending to regulate foreign universities that are operating in Hungary. The bill was passed by 123 to 38 in favor of the legislation, which would place restrictions on some 28 foreign universities that could be forced out of the country.
While the bill is general, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban seems to have targeted one institution in particular - the Central European University (CEU). The right wing Orban accused the CEU of “cheating” and violating Hungarian laws by awarding diplomas. CEU was founded by George Soros in 1991 with an endowment of $880 million. The liberal billionaire who has been a persistent critic of the Prime Minister, has exacerbated matters, prompting Orban to declare that “Not even a billionaire can stand above the law, therefore this university must also obey the law”. Orban asserted that Soros and the NGOs connected to him, were “trying to influence Hungarian domestic politics.”
The tension between Orban and Soros is not new. In October 2015, Orban accused Soros of belonging to a circle of "activists" trying to undermine European nations by supporting refugees heading to the continent from the Middle East and beyond. "His name is perhaps the strongest example of those who support anything that weakens nation states, they support everything that changes the traditional European lifestyle... These activists who support immigrants inadvertently become part of this international human-smuggling network." Orban was referring to the fact that Soros has been giving grants to organizations that provide legal support to asylum seekers.
In response, Soros stated that his foundation helps “uphold European values” while Orban’s actions “undermine those values... His plan treats the protection of national borders as the objective and the refugees as an obstacle... Our plan treats the protection of refugees as the objective and national borders as the obstacle.”
Last May, Orban complained of negative American attitudes toward Hungary, Poland and Central Europe, especially since the migrant crisis. He stated that “behind the leaders of the Democratic Party… we should see George Soros”, an advocate for some million Muslims to enter Europe each year, while Hungary is a barrier to this "Soros-inspired American plan". Orban and other Hungarian cabinet members stated that Soros is “ready to take an active stance” against the Orban government which is “seen as one of his most dangerous enemies in Europe”. Adding that Soros was behind US criticism of Hungary and former president Barack Obama’s pro-migration policies.
The most vocal protests against the legislation have come from the CEU. Michael Ignatieff, the Canadian born rector of CEU, has rallied international support and published an oped in the New York Times.
As for the Israeli connection, the CEU is known to employ scholars who promote neo-Marxist critical scholarship, who, as a rule, consider Israel as an apartheid state which subjugated Palestinians. Daniel Monterescu from the CEU's Department of Sociology and Anthropology is a case in point. He began his academic career by obtaining a fellowship at the Palestinian American Research Center (PARC) in 2000 while completing his dissertation at the University of Chicago. The PARC newsletter noted that for several years Monterescu was the director of the Israeli-Palestinian peace camp in Jerusalem, and his study examines "the paradoxical nature of Palestinian citizens of Israel living in mixed towns". Monterescu continues in this direction. He authored a paper in 2015 "The ghettoization of Israel's 'mixed cities'," where he explored "The banality of the ghetto: The term ‘ghetto’ migrated from Europe’s Jewish communities to Israel’s ethnically mixed towns — both as an idea and an institution for controlling the Palestinians who remained in Israel after 1948," suggesting that Israeli policies put Arab residents in Ghettos.
Monterscu, like many neo-Marxist, critical scholars, is an activist. A paper co-authored with Noa Shaindlinger in 2013 on the "Israeli Arab spring" stated that "A few radical Palestinian, Mizrahi, and leftist voices, however, saw the Arab revolts as a historical opportunity to “strive for a dialog with the Arab world” by framing local struggles for Palestinian liberation and for housing rights as a joint regional revolt against colonial oppression and capitalist domination. In a statement titled “Ruh Jadida: A New Spirit for 2011,” young Jewish descendants of the Arab and Muslim world living in Israel wrote an open letter to their peers in the Middle East and North Africa, expressing their solidarity with “the major role that the men and women of our generation are playing so courageously in the demonstrations for freedom and change across the Arab world.” Quoting "a signatory to the letter who dubs himself Abumidian and chose to live in a tent during the protest, concluded: “I don't talk about the ‘Arab Spring’ from the outside. I speak about the ‘Arab Spring’ from within, as an integral part of it."
Monterescu is part of a network of Israelis who help the current refugee movement in Hungary. In an article on the plight of migrants and refugees Monterescu and two colleagues from CEU, were "grateful to the volunteers and activists" and the "numerous Hungarian and foreign journalists who worked hard to document the troubling yet hopeful events in Budapest and along the border." They wished "to acknowledge the hundreds of Hungarians who defied the law by sheltering migrants and refugees in their homes." Showing a picture of the Hungarian border by Yotam Ronen of Activestills, an Israeli collective of photographers engaged "in solidarity with the Palestinian people’s struggle for their inalienable rights." To demonstrate activism and academics, Activestills was recently invited by City University New York (CUNY) for a book launch, featuring Vered Maimon, a senior lecturer of Art History at Tel Aviv University and the co-editor of Activestills: Photography as Protest in Palestine/Israel. Monterescu and his colleagues admitted as much, stating, "Monterescu, who joined the events later that summer, documented the involvement of Jewish activists in the movement and related urban dynamics."
Scholars from CEU have called upon the Israeli academic-activist community to support their protest against the Hungarian government. Information on Academia and the Social Science forums have been posted. Most recently, a petition to support the CEU against the Orban legislature has been circulated.
IAM will update its readers on the developments in Hungary.
|Appointing the 13th Council for Higher Education|
|On March 14, 2017, after a long haul, the 13th Council for Higher Education was appointed. The new CHE is comprised of 25 members: Naftali Bennett, Minister of Education, Chairman, CHE; Mr. Israel Tik; Prof. Saad Tapuchi; Ms. Adi Mishnayot; Prof. Haviva Fadia; Prof. Dudi Schwartz; Prof. Rivka Gilat; Prof. Hanna Dodiuk Kenig; Moshe Vigdor; Prof. Ousside Khatib; Dr. Samar Hajj Yihye; Dr. Rivka Wadmany Shauman; Dr. Leah Boehm; Prof. Illana Gozes; Prof. Israel Gilad; Dr. Ofir Haivry; Prof. Yaffa Zilbershats; Prof. Aviva Halamish; Prof. Haim Taitelbaum; Prof. Eli Pollak; Prof. Ronnie Friedman; Prof. Ido Perlman; Prof. Aharon Kellerman; Prof. Shifra Sagie; Mr. Ram Shefa.
To recall, six members of the 12th CHE resigned in protest when Minister Bennett dismissed the vice-chair, a highly respected Professor Haggit Messer-Yaronand appointed Dr. Rivka Wadmany-Shauman, a junior academic. Possible explanation is that Bennett might have been less than happy with the Messer-Yaron committee report, because it urged to reduce the control of the CHE over universities: "To ensure the autonomy of the higher education system, essential for the flourishing of research and teaching to reinforce academic freedom."
The dismissal created a firestorm among academics and a group of activists-academics postulated that Bennett's move was purely political. The group petitioned the High Court to force Bennett to produce a statement explaining his rational behind electing new members; The activists also wanted to stop decision-making by the CHE, until it had the number of members as required by law. The court hearing scheduled for 27th of February was rescheduled to an unknown date. It is not clear what would be the fate of this petition since a new CHE is now in place.
One of the missions that the CHE took upon itself is concerning the Law-Schools Clinics. On 28th of June 2016, the CHE adopted the recommendations of an international committee to oversee transparency over the choices of legal cases taken by the clinics; and to limit the funds coming from outside sources. A recent legal case lead by the Tel Aviv University Law Clinic might be affected, the clinic 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 Tel Aviv University clinic should handle such a project.
The CHE is also deliberating on a code of ethics for the academia by the Kasher committee and the inclusion of Haredim in the institutions of higher education.
These are important subjects and IAM would update its readers.
|The Academic-Activist Community Misguided Mission |
|The Academic-activist community launched an unprecedented attack on the Education Ministry's decision to appoint a panel to draw an academic ethics code. Two other developments upset the activists as well. The Knesset plans to vote on a
law banning BDS activists from entering Israel and wants to amend the Boycott Law to include a penalty to Israeli universities whose faculty call for BDS.
The academic-activists vented their frustration on the Academia Network; some threatened to start a wide university strike, to sign boycott calls, and announced they deride the Kasher-Bennett ethics code.
Dr. Yaacov Bergman from the Hebrew University tried to influence the debate by recommending the book Save the World on Your Own Time, by Stanley Fish. Fish, the noted American professor, claims the "only goal appropriate to the academy is the transmission and advancement of knowledge. When teachers offer themselves as moralists, political activists, or agents of social change rather than as credentialed experts in a particular subject and the methods used to analyze it, they abdicate their true purpose... yet professors now routinely bring their political views into the classroom and seek to influence the political views of their students. Those who do this will often invoke academic freedom." In Fish's view, "academic freedom, correctly understood, is the freedom to do the academic job, not the freedom to do any job that comes into the professor’s mind."
Fish reminded his peers that abusing academic freedoms could be costly to the profession, because the social sciences have suffered cuts in tenure track slots and a wide embrace of contract position. While the trend was partially driven by market forces, it was also aimed at curtailing political activism on American campuses. It is well understood that, absent tenure, faculty would be less likely to spend their time pursuing political crusades. That much became clear in Great Britain where Mrs. Thatcher abolished tenure. Once a beehive of radical activism, social sciences became much more focused on teaching.
IAM has repeatedly noted that the Israeli social sciences are outmoded and antiqued, stuffed by a generation of radical scholars and their students whose idea of "cutting edge discipline" is neo-Marxist, critical scholarship. A broad-range of subjects including quantitative methods, network analysis, cyber text analysis - common in American and British universities - have yet to make an appearance in Israel. Unsurprisingly, Israeli social sciences score very poorly in international evaluations.
The Education Ministry and the university authorities have a fiduciary responsibility to the tax payers who support higher education. Reigning in academic- activists is the first step toward fulfilling this responsibility.
|Israeli Academy and the Ethics Code: "Right Hand Doesn't Know What Left Hand is Doing"|
|IAM reported in December that the Council of Higher Education (CHE) appointed Prof. Asa Kasher to head a panel charged with drafting an academic code. The CHE invited the "public including academia, organizations and private or public bodies, including - students and lecturers from academia and elsewhere, who wish to take a stand on the issue". The ethics code should regulate the "principles and rules of proper ethical code in all areas of activity within higher education institutions, the interfaces between academic activities and political activities".
The announcement has caused an uproar among academics. The Committee of University Heads was quoted in Haaretz as stating that "In each university there is a set of regulations relating, inter alia, to proper ethical conduct. A unified ethics code to dictate from the outside will be detrimental to freedom of speech, the regularity of the academia and it's independence."
Some academics posting on the list-server promised to ignore the recommendations of the Kasher committee. Professor Isaac (Yanni) Nevo of BGU wrote: "I agree that there is no place for direct party propaganda in the classroom, and of course, not in research. But this distinction between party and academy, or between propaganda to teaching, does not exhaust the permeability of academia to politics, and the duty of professors and researchers to express their views in the classroom, in an effort to detect and spread the truth, even if it has political implications. Its easy to find a singular case, which may have been a deviation from proper professional standards, and to use it to defame and incite the majority in populist propaganda. Like other ministers in this government Bennett also 'excels' in it... I'm afraid that under the demand for "Rules of political expression", while drawing attention to some exceptional cases of the kind you described, a major assault on the essential academic principles is being waged, particularly the principle of academic freedom... The way to deal with the threat of intervention on behalf of political actors is self restraint and internal academic discipline. I called for drafting a Declaration of Principles on Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression in universities which is designed for this purpose. Academic principles for governing these freedoms include internal restrictions (as opposed to external restrictions) and we as a community that seeks to better protect its freedoms, should clarify them as a basis for prudent moves that will allow opposition to political interference. I repeat my request to the academic community to adopt these principles."
While the lively debate has been taking place, the list-server also posted an invitation, signed by Dr. Anat Matar, to an event hosted by "Academy for Equality." The Israeli Communist Party (MAKI) reported of the "Discussion of the 'Academy for Equality' at Tel Aviv University: Portrait of Neo-liberal Higher Education," describing the meeting as an "Organization of lecturers from the left," where the host "Dr. Anat Matar introduced the 'Academy for Equality' to a hall packed with students and lecturers and said: "This is a left-wing organization advocating equality in the deepest sense: employment and working conditions, fighting against the occupation and for peace, a campaign on the nature of higher education".
Dr. Hilla Dayan, a lecturer of sociology and political science at University College Amsterdam spoke next. MAKI described her as a "leader" of "Academy for Equality", who "delineated the character of the neo-liberal university and reported on the struggle which began two years ago in Amsterdam against it". Dayan explained: "In the traditional liberal state there was a separation between the market, to state and society. In the Neo-liberal era, the market covers all sectors of society, everything has become a commodity, including higher education." And "Everything is market," she emphasized, "but there is no free market. We are at a different stage of capitalist development and the word 'human capital' has become a key concept... Universities exists hundreds of years and produced non-profit knowledge. Now, knowledge is a commodity and is sold for profit." According to her, MAKI continues, "the current direction of development of higher education are twofold: "technocratic model" in its service of capital where they mainly teach business management, high-tech and law; And the "college of elites", in which there is social and economic networking among the wealthy class."
Matar is a veteran member of the Communist Party and both she and Dayan are staunch supporters of the Palestinian call for academic boycott of Israel.
Right under the noses of the academic community, members of the communist party are hosting an event at TAU using its facilities, students and lecturers, to promote their political agenda. Moreover, they have used the TAU logo on the invitation for the event.
Clearly, the conference is a political event which lacks any academic merit. Matar, who didn't earn a professorship, has a long history of using the academy to push her political agenda. Unfortunately, she is not the only one. IAM published in 2012 an essay by Ziva Shamir, the former head of the School of Jewish Studies at Tel Aviv University, who accused activist faculty of turning their classroom into an extension of their political agenda, and of using their offices to create mini branches of their political parties.
Yanni Nevo has suggested that universities establish protocols to deal with ethical behavior. These and the "self restraint" or "internal academic discipline" are enough in this view to avoid a binding ethics code of the type proposed by the Kasher committee. Over the years IAM has posted numerous stories about academics who do not practice what Nevo preaches. For instance, Neve Gordon, whose call for BDS dates to 2009, is still promoting delegitimization of Israel with nary a protest of the BGU authorities.
It will be interesting to see if the CHE would "put teeth" to the Kasher academic code to end to the abuse of academic privileges.
|Two Reports Concerning Future Science in Israel|
|Two reports were published recently, focusing on the future success of Israeli sciences. One was conducted by Samuel Neaman Institute for National Policy Research, which finds that the number of published papers in academic journals has grown in the last decade but not at the rate of other countries. In other words, Israel’s relative ranking has declined. Neaman researchers found that in mathematics, psychology and brain science, Israel is ranked between 15 and 20 among the 37 countries. Energy, environment and engineering also do poorly compared to other countries.
Still, the Neaman report found that Israel was doing well in the Information Technology sector. Some fields such as computer science were given high priority in terms of state investments and it bore fruits since Israel is ranked 4.
The second report was conducted by the Israeli Academy of Sciences which found that the number of scientific papers published per capita has declined since the 1980s from number 1 to 30 today.
Some scholars argue that publishing voluminous articles and books does not lead to better scholarship and that this measurement should be abolished. The main concern, however, of this report was the decline of investments in labs. The government chief scientist Alexander Bligh stated he would seek improvements in this area.
The Israel Academy of Science report included a chapter on social sciences, a topic of major concern to IAM. A sub-committee evaluating social science and Humanities was elected from within the Israel Academy of Science; it included Prof. Yohanan Friedmann as chair; Prof. Yoram Bilu; Prof. Avner Holtzman; Prof. Yosef Kaplan; and Prof. Israel Finkelstein as an advisor.
Their report notes that the field is in decline globally and states that "This collective enterprise [social science] is recently in a state of continuous crisis and is worsening and this, of course, is not only in Israel. A proof for it, is the steady decline in the number of social science students, the so dangerously close to a single-digit percentage of all students in Israeli universities. As a direct result of this, a depreciation of the share of social science in the University's overall stake, and this is having an effect on the attitude of University administrations to these faculties, as it is translated in the allocation of jobs and money. Departments were merged, programs were closed, positions and grooming of young staff are reduced, and some fields of knowledge are facing real 'extinction'. This is a self-inflicting vicious cycle: as the caliber of courses and curricula being lowered, it diminishes their attractiveness for prospective students, which should have produced future researchers, and so on."
Interestingly, however, the social science report also paid attention to the global post-modern trends. It states that,
"The 'Linguistic Turn' and the 'Cultural Turn', which were bought to the American and European Academy in the last quarter of the 20th century, challenged prevailing convictions in various fields in the social sciences and was spearheaded by subjects relating to history. The Deconsructive trend has questioned the validity of meta-narratives which ruled western historiography since the beginning of modern historiography. Instead of searching for 'historical truth' post-modern historians put in the center of discussion the examination of competing narratives that reflect different ideological positions, or social and cultural values, that compete them. Post-modern trends, sparked passionate debates in many universities in the Western world and also reached the intellectual sphere in Israel. National meta-narrative, which played a formative role in Israeli society since the beginning of Zionism, was heavily criticized from various angles and had significant repercussions on the historiographical debate. Unfortunately, social science faculties did not play a leading role in these discussions or guided them. Growing challenges of post-modernism, in its various aspects, were not utilized for intellectual reinvigorate in the appropriate departments of social sciences and was hardly reflected in the curriculum of Israeli universities. This reality has created the impression that the Academy lacks proper intellectual leadership and does not fulfill a leading role in debates in the social sciences or culture. This situation has negative ramifications on the status and image of the social sciences in Israeli society and their appeal to the public, especially among the younger generation."
In other words, the sub-committee embraces post-modern trends and advises Israeli social science faculty to follow suit.
This advise seems strange considering the growing criticism of post-modern trends in American and British universities. In fact, following the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump, this criticism took center stage.
A number of liberal intellectuals pointed out that the liberal arts which embraced far- fetched left-wing trends and elevated "political correctness" to a defining academic truth, turned colleges into isolated islands where students are "coddled" from reality. As a New York Times article explained, in the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century the term elites connoted class. But at the twenty first century, the public considers intellectuals and academics to be an elite totally detached from social reality. In this sense, the populism of Brexit and Trumpism is a reaction to left-wing elitism.
More to the point, social sciences in the West have been looking for ways to make their offerings more applicable to students needs. Subjects like networking, cyber analysis, and sociology of complex organizations, are very much in demand in the twenty first century market place. Israeli social sciences should broaden their expertise to make themselves more attractive.
|The Minister of Education Appoints Asa Kasher to Head a Committee on Ethics Code for the Academe|
|Naftali Bennett, the Minister of Education, has appointed Professor Asa Kasher to chair a committee slated to provide special ethics code to assure that academics do not use their position for political activism. Bennett wrote, “In my role as chairman of the Council for Higher Education, I have recently received many complaints about an ongoing situation of overlap between academic and political activity.” He picked Kasher because of his work on the IDF code of ethics and for being a member over a decade of the bioethics advisory committee of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
Over the past decade IAM has reported on serious violations of academic freedom by radical activist faculty. As Ziva Shamir the author of one report, stated that activists used their classrooms, their offices, their research assistants, and even mailing privileges, to create a "local branch" of whatever political party they belong too. Intimidation and harassment of students who do not share the "party line" of their professors is also prevalent, as IAM reported on the complaint of a student. A scholar described his experience in an academic conference, "It became very clear from the start that the audience of fellow scholars was deeply hostile to the approach that I had been asked to present. A discussant claimed that the research I had carried out with colleagues was not academic and had no point. Then one of the academics said that I was a “collaborator.” Then he muttered that I was a “fascist”. Instead of defending me the hosts of the conference gave a stamp of approval to the accusation through their silence (eventually I received a sort-of apology). That was an turning point for me. The unexpected vitriol... among academics and the way it had become personal was unexpected."
The Kasher committee generated a lively debate on the Academia Network forum; some of the comments were thoughtful, but others were blatant. Uri Weiss, a lecturer at the Graduate School of Business Administration at Bar-Ilan University, organized a petition condemning Bennett, titled "We don't give a damn on the conclusions of the Bennett-Kasher committee." The petition states, "We, professors and university lecturers, declare in advance that we will completely ignore the Kasher committee's conclusions which was appointed by Bennett determining the 'guidelines for political statements of university lecturers.' The regime has no authority to determine how one should express oneself in the academia." The petition which was publicized by Haaretz generated 500 signatures.
Daniel Bar-Tal encouraged Kasher to decline Bennett's appointment which he described as, "yet another step in the direction of totalitarian thinking." Bar-Tal wrote, "I appeal to you, on behalf of Democratic values and ethics of the academy, not to accept the role given to you by the education minister Naftali Bennett to write recommendations on ethics code for higher education institutions 'regarding political activities and academics'. The role he casts for you is another sign of the will to build a regime with a totalitarian thought - do not lend a hand !!!! His policy in the Ministry of Education and his political path are mirroring his worldview !!!"
But the requirement for ethics code is not new. Hagit Messer Yaron, the former deputy chair of the CHE, held in 2009 a conference on ethics code for the academia. The Open University posted the proceedings of the conference online. As can be seen, Kasher took part in it along with other academics. The website lists all the known ethics codes in use, in Europe and the U.S., as well as the one drafted by Ben Gurion University. There was no outcry by left-leaning academics, some of whom participated in the conference.
Imposing a code of ethnics on Israeli universities is long overdue. As the research "Academic Freedom in Israel: A Comparative Perspective" demonstrates, Israeli faculty enjoy an extremely expansive definition of academic freedoms. This had led activist scholars to abuse their privileges, turn social science research into a backwater full of neo-Marxist, critical scholarship, which is not competitive in the international rankings, and shortchanges students and the tax payers.
|Between the Hammer and the Anvil: Activists [TAU] Gadi algazi, Daniel Bar-Tal, [HUJ] Amir Bitan, [Sapir] Yeela Raanan|
|A number of Israeli academics have been engaged in court cases between Israeli Arabs and the state.
The recent case pertains to a thirteen-year legal battle over an unrecognized village, Umm-al-Hiran in the Negev, which the court ordered it to be demolished.
The residents were offered plots of land in Hura, the nearby Bedouin town, as well as financial compensation, but they refused to move. They contend that the government’s desire to move them to the cities Rahat or Hura would change their rural way of life. Having lived in the area for decades, they were never given legal title to the land, making the state the legal owner. Equally important, the Hura local council refuses to let them move to Hura and decided to ban residents from outside into the community. Following a plenary meeting of the Hura local council held a few months ago, the council distributed a letter to residents stating that "the town of Hura will not constitute a default by state agencies for other villages housing solution."
The decision to demolish the unrecognized village prompted large protests by a number of political activists-cum academics.
Gadi Algadi, Tel Aviv University professor of Medieval History, wrote on his Facebook page that the "large mobilization of activists and political pressure of the Arab Joint List and lawyers succeeded to postpone the demolition of houses... The village committee invites all of us to arrive early on Wednesday evening or early Thursday morning. It is likely they will block the access roads to the area... Residents invite those who can come to stay overnight in the village and help prevent the demolition of houses. Those among us who can - this is the moment to come."
Daniel Bar-Tal, a retired Tel Aviv University professor of education, wrote on his Facebook page: "I suppose that many will not like this post - Why ruin such a nice day. And to disturb people. Yet why should we say these things to the Chosen People? So that the People will wake up from ignorance, - to be able to fight antisemitism in clean conscience - so he could look at the mirror- so he can remember how others shamelessly abused us, so that he could look in the eyes of his children in 10 years time to tell of Jewish atrocities, --- this is written by my friend's son -- and I know many things like that happen- occupation of a People against his will results in a resistance of the occupied people to the oppression of the conqueror, all over the world and always will be. It is a universal law --- Isaiah Leibowitz was my teacher in physiological psychology in 1967-8. He opened each class with a short prediction on the people of Israel, that because of the occupation, they will inevitably become brutal, standoffish, cruel and he even used the title Judonazi -- What do you say, was he right in his prophecy ??? The tragedy is that these soldiers are our sons." Bar-Tal referred to the writing of Amir Bitan, (director, department of Information System at the Hebrew University) and apparently his friend's son, who wrote of his harrowing experience when participated in the "non-violent" protest in Umm al-Hiran.
Yeela Raanan, a lecturer at Sapir College was quoted as saying: “The idea that you can replace one group of citizens with another is intolerable... Right now we have a sprinkling number of Jews, but there should be thousands of Jews.” Raanan was a candidate for the Knesset elections in 2013 on the United Arab List, but did not win a seat. In an interview she sheds light on her political activism in the guise of academics. Her Ph.D. in anthropology of the Middle East from the University of Utah, was tailor- made for her deepening convictions: "I was going in this direction, since the issue of social justice and dealing with marginalized populations was in me for many years. The whole purpose of the dissertation was, when I deal with issues of civil rights I will have PhD before my name and then what I do will have more weight. The purpose of the dissertation was in favor of social justice." Raanan’s involvement with the Bedouins was a logical progression of her self-declared passion for social justice. She noted that only after joining Ben Gurion University faculty she became aware of the Bedouin plight and then became an activist for the Negev Coexistence Forum: “I was shocked, entering an unrecognized village, dealing with the barefoot children who live in poverty, without infrastructure, it brought me to work for them."
Raanan’s trajectory, like that of Gadi Algazi and other scholars/activists, is typical. They are careful to obtain a well-paid academic position and the legitimacy which goes with it before plunging into activism. Universities in Israel are known for making it possible because virtually all social science departments practice cooptation. In other words, they hire scholars based on their activist potential rather than scholarly merits or the curricular needs of the departments.
Such practices need to stop to protect the interests of students and the tax payers.
|The Oberlin College and anti-Semitism: The Latest Chapter |
|Earlier this year (in March and August) IAM reported on the case of Dr. Joy Karega of Oberlin College. Karega, an assistant professor of rhetoric and composition, posted anti-Semitic messages on social media. Following widespread protest, Karega was placed on a paid leave; subsequently, the Board of Trustees fired her. The Board announced that it voted to dismiss Karega because she "violated the fundamental responsibilities of Oberlin faculty members – namely, adherence to the "Statement of Professional Ethics" of the American Association of University Professors." The Professional Ethics requires faculty members to "accept the obligation to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending and transmitting knowledge" and to "practice intellectual honesty." The Board claimed that "Contrary to this obligation, Dr. Karega attacked her colleagues when they challenged inconsistencies in her description of the connection between her postings and her scholarship. She disclaimed all responsibility for her misconduct. And she continues to blame Oberlin and its faculty committees for undertaking a shared governance review process."
A few days later, on November 19, a case of anti-Semitism was reported to the police which some connect to the dismissal of Karega. Benjamin Kuperman, an Oberlin College associate professor and chair of the computer science department, was awoken by noise outside his home about 3:25 a.m. He said he found smashed on the porch his decorative items and a note behind his mezuzah with letters glued that said “Gas, Jews, Die.”
The two cases may or may not be related, but certainly, as can be seen, anti-Semitism is ripe in Oberlin. But this is not first time. An earlier incident took place in 1996 when Kwame Ture, a former prime minister of the Black Panthers and founder of the pan-Africanist group, the All-African People's Revolutionary Party, visited Oberlin and caused a stir which lead to a large campus dialogue between supporters of Zionism and of proponents of a free Palestine. Ture talked about Zionism and the pan-African movement in an anti-Zionist speech that elicited the university to respond.
Oberlin College received a lot of negative publicity because of the anti-Semitic incidents. The Karega case, however may be just a beginning of a new chapter in Oberlin's troubles. She has threatened to bring legal action against her former employer. It is safe to assume that Professor Karega would claim that her academic freedoms were violated by the college. It would then be up to the courts to decide about the boundaries between anti-Semitic expressions and faculty freedom of expression. IAM will report on this issue.
|Campus Antisemitism Alive and Kicking|
|A recent study by the Steinhardt Social Research Institute and the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University "Hotspots of Antisemitism and Anti-Israel Sentiment on US Campuses" has revealed an interesting pattern of anti-Semitism on campus. The analysis found that a substantial number of Jewish students reported being exposed to antisemitism and hostility toward Israel on many American campuses. The extent of antisemitism, however, varied considerably from one campus to another.
The report found that the rise of the BDS movement on campus has contributed to antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment. The report reveals that antisemitic incidents on campus have increased. Among others, the report found that "One of the strongest predictors of perceiving a hostile climate toward Israel and Jews is the presence of an active Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) group on campus."
The scope of the problem is considerable. About one third of Jewish students reported being verbally harassed because they were Jewish. Almost half were told that "Israelis behave like Nazis toward the Palestinians" and one quarter were blamed for the actions of the Israeli government because they are Jewish. The highest levels of perceived antisemitism and hostility toward Israel were found in schools in the California state system and, to a lesser extent, large land-grant universities in the Midwest.
Quite surprisingly, the report revealed that more than one third of Jewish students feel a bit uncomfortable to express opinions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because of a lack of adequate knowledge of the issue. Of course, giving Jewish students a better education on issues involving the conflict would help. However, on a positive note, the report found that even with the hostility toward Israel, it did not appear to diminish the students emotional attachment to Israel.
Holding the university authorities responsible for campus intimidation is a good alternative, as a legal case in a British university indicates. The Tower , which covers the Middle East and America’s interests in the region, reported a case involving a disabled student at Sheffield Hallam University when he was wearing a Star of David or a kippah. The student felt "vulnerable" on campus when "people were giving me dirty looks or trying to block my wheelchair." After contacting the university authorities, he was referred to the student union, only to be dismissed outright. Undeterred, he moved on to seek another advice.
The student approached Lesley Klaff, an expert on antisemitism and a senior lecturer in law at his university. Together with David Lewis, a law colleague, Klaff took the case to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA), a universities regulator, which took the matter seriously. The OIA cited the European Parliament’s Working Definition of Antisemitism in determining that material circulated by Sheffield Hallam’s Palestine Society "crossed the line" from criticism of Israel into anti-Semitic abuse. The OIA criticized the university for not treating the complaint with appropriate seriousness and noted that it "failed to properly turn its mind to the question of whether [the student] had experienced harassment as a result of certain aspects of PalSoc’s social media activity." The OIA urged the university to pay the student £3,000 in compensation.
This case shows that if university authorities are faced with fines they would most likely fight expressions of antisemitism on their campuses and that Jewish students should turn to legal remedy if necessary.
|High Court Proceeding: Professors vs. Minister of Education|
|A few month ago, in an unprecedented move, Naftali Bennett, the Minister of Education and chair of the Council of Higher Education (CHE) dismissed Professor Hagit Messer-Yaron from her position as the vice-chair. Messer-Yaron is a highly respected scholar; she was on the faculty of Engineering at TAU and later served as vice president of the Open University. Bennett replaced her with Dr. Rivka Madmany-Shauman, also a member of the CHE but a junior academic from Hakibutzim College for Education which is a non-research institution.
Bennett's move created a firestorm among Israeli scholars who objected to what they call the politization of the CHE. A number of academics joined forces and petitioned the Supreme Court on the grounds that the procedure used to dismiss Messer-Yaron was illegal. The claimants also objected to the fact the CHE has operated without the full quorum of members.
Last week, the Supreme Court issued a preliminary ruling on the case. In a short statement the Court has ordered the Minister of Education to submit, no later than November 3, 2016, the appropriate procedure used for appointing members to the CHE. Court has allowed the claimants to respond within 15 days and shall conclude soon after that.
IAM would report on the progression of the case.
|CHE to Review the Law Schools Clinics|
|The Council of Higher Education (CHE) has recently approved the findings of an International Committee commissioned for the evaluation of academic standards in the law study programs. Evaluations were submitted for HUJ Law Faculty ; University of Haifa Law Faculty ; and Tel Aviv University Law Faculty, among others. The procedure of commissioning International Committees to evaluate study programs is a standard practice and an integral role of the CHE.
One aspect of the this evaluation was the Law Clinics that operate within all the law faculties. This International Committee concluded that, "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." Upon reviewing the recommendations of the International Committee, the CHE concluded 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."
IAM readers may recall reports on one sided political activism of some the Law 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 Law Clinics were involved with "Gisha," the Israeli NGO protecting the freedom of movement of Palestinians, where on its board were a number of academics, such as Kenneth Mann (TAU, Law), Yishai Blank (TAU, Law), Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian (Hebrew U, Law), among others. In 2009 IAM reported that the University of Haifa Law Clinic stood against the State Prosecutor. The Prisoners Rights Clinic at the University of Haifa was run by Abeer Baker who co-authored the book Threat: Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israel with Anat Matar. The book made the claim that Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jail are not terrorists but rather political prisoners. Also in 2009 IAM reported that a number of Law 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 Neta Ziv, the Director of Law Clinics at Tel Aviv University; Michael Karayanni of the Faculty of Law, Hebrew University; Yousef Tayseer Jabareen, Law lecturer at Haifa University; Hala Khoury-Bisharat of Haifa and Tel Aviv Universities and chair of the board of Adalah; as well as Abeer Baker, as Adalah described, "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 Neta Ziv was due to represent in Montreal the radical Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement.
It is significant that the CHE is reviewing the Universities' Law Clinics to 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 centres.
It will be interesting to see if the CHE is successful in implementing changes to the Law Clinics. IAM will report on the developments.
|Anti-Israel vis-a-vis Antisemitism|
|IAM received a comment from Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta, a Canadian author and translator, in response to our recent post "Oberlin College Solution to Anti-Semitic Professor." She stated that "Anti-Israel does not equal anti-semitic... Israel purposely blurs the distinction between Israel and Jewishness [to] exploit the confusion this causes by branding any criticism of Israeli policies and leaders as antisemitic." She concludes that "Prof. Salaita's comments were certainly not antisemitic by any stretch of the imagination. Nor are Prof. Karega's - riddled with crazy conspiracy theories as they may be."
IAM has never asserted that all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic. To the contrary, we made it clear over and over again, that "criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic." The situation becomes murky, however, when double standards are applied, a tool that both the radical right and the radical left have frequently used.
In fact, religious-historical anti-Semitism was built around the notion that Jews should be upheld to a different (read: higher) standard because of their self-proclaimed role as God's Chosen People and "Light onto the Nations." Contemporary antisemitism which equates the State of Israel with the "Jew" takes the same position. In other words, Israel is not allowed the right to self-defense embodied in the Geneva convention, even in the face of grave provocations.
Kaufman-Lacusta needs to remember that the EU Working Definition of Antisemitism which was adopted by the U.S State Department states that antisemitism includes "Double Standard for Israel: Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation." The double standards doctrine has attracted increasing attention in legal international circles and has served as a guide in domestic case law.
The Working Definition of Antisemitism also notes that "making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective—especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions." is also anti-Semitic. Arguably, Karega's antisemitic imagery of the banker Jacob Rothschild, certainly fits this definition. Again, Kaufman-Lacusta needs to be reminded that charges of Jewish world domination are at the core of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. This particular conspiracy theory is "crazy" as Kaumfan-Lacusta rightly states, but it is also extremely enduring, providing the bedrock of global anti-Semitism, as it is. Steven Salaita's refusal to affirm Israel’s right to exist is antisemitic as well.
Kaufman-Lacusta makes the astonishing claim that "Israel purposely blurs the distinction between Israel and Jewishness [to] exploit the confusion this causes by branding any criticism of Israeli policies and leaders as antisemitic." Israel was created as a Jewish state and, in spite of having a sizable Arab minority, Jewishness is an integral part of its being. No one needs to deliberately blur the two, since it is hard to separate them to begin with. Ironically, leftist critics have claimed that Israel does not separate enough the Jewish and Israeli parts of its existence.
Finally, Kaufman-Lacusta can be reassured that the Israeli government makes the distinction between legitimate criticism and anti-Semitism. As Director-General of the Strategic Affairs Ministry Sima Vaknin-Gil stated, “although severe criticism of Israel is legitimate, rejecting the right for Israel to exist is illegitimate".
|Oberlin College Solution to Anti-Semitic Professor
|In March this year IAM reported the case of Joy Karega of Oberlin College who posted anti-Semitic messages on her Facebook page. The assistant professor shared a graphic of an ISIS terrorist pulling off a mask of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a tattoo of Star of David. Shortly after the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris Karega wrote: “This ain’t even hard. They unleashed Mossad on France and it’s clear why.” She added that Netanyahu went to the free-speech rally that took place in Paris “uninvited and of course he went even when he was asked by Pres. Hollande (France) not to come. Netanyahu wanted to bend Hollande and French governmental officials over one more time in public just in case the message wasn’t received via Massod [sic] and the ‘attacks’ they orchestrated in Paris.” In a following post in November 2015 Karega wrote that ISIS was not really Islamic, but “a CIA and Mossad operation, and there’s too much information out here for the general public not to know this.”
In a response to public uproar, Marvin Krislov, Oberlin College President wrote in March that "Oberlin College respects the rights of its faculty, students, staff and alumni to express their personal views. Acknowledgement of this right does not signal institutional support for, or endorsement of, any specific position. The statements posted on social media by Dr. Joy Karega, assistant professor of rhetoric and composition, are hers alone and do not represent the views of Oberlin College".
However, recently Oberlin College has announced that Karega is being placed on a paid leave. A statement by the College explained: “In March, in consultation with President Marvin Krislov, the trustees of Oberlin College asked the administration and faculty to ‘challenge the assertion that there is any justification for these repugnant postings’... The college initiated its faculty governance process to review Dr. Karega’s professional fitness in light of these postings. The faculty governance process that began thereafter is ongoing, and the Oberlin administration will continue to respect this process as it plays out. Until that process is complete, Dr. Karega has been placed on paid leave and will not teach at Oberlin.”
The dramatic change in tone (and action) in the Karega case is related to the public outrage created by her statements and anxiety of the administration over the possible reaction of donors and alumni. In a similar case the President of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, acting under pressure from the Board of Trustees, rescinded the job offer to Steven Salaita because of anti-Semitic posts on social media. IAM reported at the time that the Salaita affair posed an important First Amendment test case. IAM would follow the Karega case as it develops.
|The Ministry of Strategic Affairs' Strategy to Battle BDS|
|The Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs has recently hit the news twice. First, Sima Vaknin-Gil, the office director appeared before a Knesset Committee meeting headed by MK Stav Shaffir on Transparency of the Government. One of the issues raised was the Ministry's fight against BDS. Vaknin-Gil was reluctant to disclose in public too many details on how her office operates, but explained the raison d'etre, “although severe criticism of Israel is legitimate, rejecting the right for Israel to exist is illegitimate... whoever accepts our existence here, including the biggest critics, is a partner. Whoever doesn’t is an opponent. If there is an organization that says we need to give back all of the territories, but recognizes Israel’s existence as a nation-state — to me, that is a partner. Even if there are those who don’t like it.”
Second, the following day, Minister Gilad Erdan, along with Aryeh Deri, the Interior Minister, announced that both offices cooperate to establish a task-force to trace and deport BDS activists, tourists with foreign passports entering Israel on false tourist visa while is effect they volunteer to some BDS-related NGOs.
An Haaretz article quoted high-ranking official, without disclosing a name, who stated that, "There is an intention to exercise discretion in every case. For example, we will have to consider whether an expulsion of certain people benefits or harms Israel's interest. If this is a foreign citizen whose actions of boycotting Israel is minor and he is mainly engaged in the promotion of human rights, then we have no problem with that. But if this is an organization whose main activity is promoting a boycott and de-legitimization against Israel then we have no interest in him coming here."
Erdan also posted on Facebook a public request for information on such tourists. One commentator asked him about the Israeli BDS supporters, eliciting the following:
"Our initiative relates to the BDS activities by foreigners, not Israeli citizens, who come here in order to bash Israel. The law regarding entry into Israel is different than the law for the citizens of Israel and there is logic in this distinction. We are also considering what sanctions could be taken against Israeli pro-boycott organizations and Israeli boycott activists. But when it comes to the residents of Israel this is of course more complex."
IAM has been following BDS as it pertains to academic-related issues. We would report on what measures, if any, the Israeli Government will take against BDS activists from within.
|Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
|On the 26th of May, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), chaired by Romania's special representative Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu, adopted the Working Definition of Antisemitism, first published in 2005 by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). The Working Definition of Antisemitism is already being referred to by a number of bodies such as the U.S Department of State in its antisemitism Fact Sheet, the European Parliament Working Group on Antisemitism, the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism in their London and Ottawa protocols, and the UK College of Policing.
The Working Definition of Antisemitism states: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” It lists a number of examples:
- Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
- Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
- Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
- Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
- Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
- Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
- 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.
- Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
- Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
- Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.
To combat antisemitism, the European Commission Directorate-General Justice and Consumers launched in Brussels a High Level Group in June 2016. In the Speech Commissioner Vera Jourova stated, "Evidence shows that threats against Jewish people and acts of Antisemitism are on the rise in many Member States...Let us develop, under the guidance of the Fundamental Rights Agency, a common methodology to record incidents and collect comparable data on hate crimes."
IHRA reports that the German Chair-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) intends to encourage the endorsement of the Working Definition of Antisemitism at the 23rd OSCE Ministerial Council in Hamburg on 8-9 December 2016. IAM will report on this development.
|Professor Claims: "The Academe is Drowning and its Captains Asleep"|
|Prof. Chaim Rachman's allegations, from the IAM previous post, are all the more alarming amid indications that Israeli universities are sliding in the global ranking of tertiary education - a subject on which IAM has repeatedly reported. As Professor Gabriel (Gabi) Weimann from Haifa University writes in Haaretz in his "The Academe is Drowning and its Captains Asleep", this development has not been addressed neither by the CHE nor the political echelons. Meanwhile, Israel is suffering a serious brain drain, as younger scholars are leaving for the West, notably the United States.
In a global economy where human capital dominates such a development cannot be tolerated. This phenomenon may have security implications as well. In a closed business meeting, the head of Military Intelligence Maj. General Herzl Halevi noted that Iran has a much larger number of graduates in engineering and computer sciences. According to Halevi, Israel is losing its edge, not just in the West but also in the Middle East.
In a new 2016 QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings, Israel is ranked 28, after Argentina, Brazil, India, Russia and Malaysia.
The Israeli public need to take notice.
|Lack of Transparency in Selecting Members to Committees of Budget for Research |
|The Social Science Network has published a letter of protest in Hebrew by Rachman Chaim, a Professor at the Technion in the department of materials science & engineering, where he complained about the lack of transparency over who is selected to become a member of the budget for research committees, and this, according to Rachman, is corrupting the system. In his view, some research proposals have been turned down because an applicant was not acquainted with members of the committee.
He writes, "For several years I do not submit research proposals to public funding bodies known as 'foundations of competitive research' (such as BSF, GIF, ISF). This is because of lack of correct administration, if not corrupt, whereby members of the professional committees are set/selected using a refer-a-friend method. While sometimes external reports advise otherwise, research proposals are ultimately determined by the members of these committees. This causes harm to many researchers who are not 'connected'. Lack of public supervision over the use of these research funds which are not transparent to the public, is a key factor in this unethical behavior."
Rachman also protests the "lack of financial transparency of the Technion Research Authority (and probably all the universities in Israel). University administrations have established (or converted) the research foundations into limited liability companies, receiving public funds but are not transparent to this public, which is outrageous in itself. I have described the funds going to research authorities, and because of the lack of transparency they have the capability to utilize funds in an unethical manner, if not corrupt, of research budgets."
Rachman's homepage at the Technion lists his exchange, backdating over a decade ago, of letters in Hebrew with three research foundations which he titled(The danger of protectionism in public research funds-GIF ; The danger of protectionism in public research funds-BSF ; The danger of protectionism in public research funds-ISF). He explains, "this site deals with the possible corruption circle extending, back and force, between the so-called ‘research universities’ and the ‘competitive’ public research foundations in Israel. My attempt is to open, to expose, and to interrupt this corruption circle, for the better of the new generations of the Israeli scientists and the public funded science in Israel. Some of these files are letters and communications between me and the research foundation authorities, where it became clear that the referees / judges who determine the fate of the research proposals were nominated unethically via the ‘friend brings a friend’ method. This may lead to unethical / biased support of proposals, resulting in a mediocre research in the best case, or to abuse / misuse of the public money in the worse case. The letters dated almost a decade ago are sadly still relevant. Some of these files are letters and communications between me and the Technion authorities, up to the level of the Technion President. Since 2006, all the Israeli universities became legally public entities whose financial activities should be transparent to the public."
Rachman raises very serious concerns, but so far no one responded to his protest. The Ministry of Education, the Council of Higher Education and even the Ministry of Science and Technology should look into Rachman's allegations and scrutinize his findings.
|American Social Scientists: Professors Moved Left Since 1990s|
|Last year, a group of American social scientists concerned with the lack of politically diverse views in the social sciences and humanities, set out to address the issue. They created the blog Heterodox Academy to advocate a more intellectually diverse approach.
In his article, Samuel Abrams, a political scientist from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y, reveals that since the 1990s a large percentage of professors have moved left. Based on comparable surveys by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA which has collected long term data, he prepared statistics. The graph in the following article illustrates ideological positions of faculty in American colleges and universities between the years 1989 to 2014.
Abrams concluded that "between 1995 and 2010, members of the academy went from leaning left to being almost entirely on the left. Moderates declined by nearly a quarter and conservatives decreased by nearly a third."
Since the Israeli liberal arts have been heavily impacted by the American academy, this article suggests that a similar trend could be found in the Israeli academy.
|BDS is Just a Symptom of a Wider Malaise on Campus |
|IAM has reported on the “coalition of the victims” that help the BDS movement to spread. The following article on Stanford University is a reflection on a trend gone mad.
The president of Stanford University, one of the elite schools in the U.S, a white man, is about to retire. A coalition of students called Who is Teaching Us (WTU) is demanding that his replacement be a “nonwhite transgendered person.” The same group also demands for the university to hire “at least 10 tenure-track ethnic studies professors,” a requirement that all faculty go through “comprehensive identity and cultural humility training,” racial quotas in the undergraduate and graduate student bodies, and an expansion in the humanities major to “require double the current number of required classes on works by people of color.”
WTU was upset because “Professor Stephen Hong Sohn, a queer Asian American scholar with a vital mentorship role in the community,” was denied tenure in the Stanford English Department.
These demands may seem outrageous or bizarre to those who view the university as a locus of academic excellence based on merit regardless of race, ethnicity or gender. Indeed, Peter Woods, president of the National Association of Scholars responded: “I would think any educationally and intellectually serious university would choose its next president on the basis of outstanding scholarship and ability to lead a very largely complex and prestigious university in our time,” He added: “The sorts of demands being put on the search for a candidate of a particular ethnicity, gender preference and sexual identity are manifestly silly and destructive.”
But it’s the universities themselves that started this trend in the sixties. Faced with protest from minorities and women, they established a large number of ethnic studies, gender studies, and queer studies. They were often considered academic backwaters where promotions were based on quotas attuned to the degree of “victimhood.” Such “bubbles” were reinforced by an ever-growing number of academic journals that catered to these ethnic, gender, and queer sectors.
Until recently, college administrators patted themselves on the back for solving a vexing problem while allowing them to pursue academic excellence based on merit, most notably hard science and engineering. However, the academic offshoot of Black Lives Matter has upset the status quo.
Stanford University, reflecting its elite science status, has a long history of picking scientists to serve at the top administrative positions. Indeed, the present elect is Marc Tessier-Lavigne, a distinguished neuroscientist.
To fulfill the WTU mandate, the university would have to look for a nonwhite transgendered person. The question is how many transgendered persons among top scientists are available? As long as the climate of appeasement toward the "coalition of the victims" prevails on campus, fighting BDS would be hard.
|University of California Adopts Principles Against Intolerance|
|In an unprecedented move, the Regents of the University of California have adopted the Principles Against Intolerance. The Principles were a response to the 2014-15 academic year which brought an increase in anti-Semitic incidents on campus - such as vandalism of Jewish property, anti-Semitic slurs and exclusion and stereotyping of Jews. Although the document points out to discrimination of all kind, the Regents wished to express specifically that "anti-Semitism, anti-semitic forms of anti-Zionism and other forms of discrimination have no place at the University of California".
The Principles Against Intolerance include the following: Acts of hatred and other intolerant conduct, as well as acts of discrimination that demean our differences, are antithetical to the values of the University and serve to undermine its purpose; University policy prohibits discrimination based on "race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender, gender expression, gender identity, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, service in the uniformed services" as well as prohibiting "discrimination arising from historical biases, stereotypes and prejudices jeopardizes the research, teaching and service mission of the University"; and that "Anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination have no place in the University" ; "Harassment, threats, assaults, vandalism, and destruction of property, as defined by University policy, will not be tolerated within the University community. Where investigation establishes that such unlawful conduct was targeted at an individual or individuals based on discrimination prohibited by University policy, University administrators should consider disciplinary actions."
The Principles have hit the headlines everywhere including the New York Times (below).
The Principles against Intolerance is the first document specifically tailored to an academic environment. Previous efforts to deal with the issue of neo-anti-Semitism such as the EU Working Definition of Anti-Semitism and its corollary, the U.S Government Fact Sheet adopted by the State Department were more broadly conceived.
As of this writing it is not clear whether the Principles Against Intolerance would be adopted by other universities, or, conversely, challenged in court for violating the First Amendment. It is not yet known what is the reaction of the American Association of University Professors, the arbiter of all things pertaining to academic freedom. IAM would provide updates on the case.
|Israeli Universities Declining in Another Global University Ranking Index|
|For a few years now, Israeli universities have been declining in global ranking. In the latest such ranking offered by the respectable Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) which ranks universities by subjects, last year Israeli universities were ranked 11 times in the top 100 per subject. This year Israeli universities have made it only seven times to the top 100 slots.
The QS World University Ranking by Subject 2016 is covering 42 different disciplines this year. These rankings highlight the world's top-performing universities in each academic area. Published annually since 2011, the rankings are based on academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact. The report declares that "Nations like Austria, South Africa, Finland, Brazil, China and Sweden can be found in the top 10 of our tables."
HUJ was ranked three times in the 51-100 category, for agriculture and forestry; history; and anthropology. The Technion was ranked twice in the top 100 for computer science and information systems; and for mathematics. TAU was ranked in the top 100 for archeology. Weizmann Institute was placed in the top 100 for biological sciences.
The QS ranking service is published in collaboration with Elsevier, the world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. QS is not the only one of the indices that shows the progressive decline of Israeli universities. As IAM reported, other global indices have indicated this worrisome trend as well.
The Israeli academia has resolutely refused to deal with the issue of decline. The Council of Higher Education has not tackled the issue, the committee of universities heads (VERA) has not dealt with the issue either and many faculty actually reject the idea that their institutions should be subjected to any ranking at all. In this opinion, holding academics accountable for standards interfere with the "hallowed" principle of academic freedom.
We live in a globalized and competitive economic system where academic excellence, measured by exacting statistical standards, is the rule. The sooner this reality is acknowledged, the better.
|The Political Bias of Two Academic Forums|
|IAM has written before about the bias of the social science forum.
The IAM post on Anat Matar's recent endorsement of BDS created a firestorm among Israeli academics. Interestingly, some did not denounce Matar's action but blasted IAM for writing about it.
Some reactions to the post were vicious. Micah Leshem of Haifa University wrote, "Little snitch - aren't we…." Isaac (Yanni) Nevo of BGU wrote: "The IAM treated us to a McCarthy-like assault yesterday against Anat Matar". Amiram Goldblum of HUJ wrote: "I Naively thought that academics advertise here their thoughts and discuss various issues. "Academia Monitor" has no place in an academic setting and I call the moderator of this forum to discard every post that comes from "Academia Monitor". Snait Gissis of TAU wrote: "[These posts] are a paid service made for organizations whose primary purpose is to tarnish academics political approaches which do not fit the agenda of the extreme right. It is a sort of "Im Tirtzu" with fancy, foreign language, and similar purposes."
Academics members of the forums of Social Science, Politics, Humanities and Academia enjoy the benefit of receiving on a daily basis the latest information on the many events, grants, academic opportunities, and publications that are available. Academics of all levels take advantages of such valuable information. Forum moderators are doing an important work, they do so free of charge as volunteers.
But there is a problem. If the Humanities forum is strictly academic, both the Social science and Academia are a political tool in the hands of the moderators. Seldom they post items that they do not endorse and seem to block posts seen by them as "right-wing".
For example, since the beginning of 2016 IAM sent the following posts which were rejected by the moderators: "Settler Colonialism in Palestine"; "Van Leer Jerusalem Institute is Not an Academic Institution"; "Fighting Brain Drain and Competing Global Education Rankings"; "BDS, Black Lives Matter, Cecil Rhodes and Pastor Niemoller: Reflections on the Colonial Paradigm"; "Two Academic Boycott Initiatives: Brazil and India"; "Ami Ayalon lecture interrupted at King's College London".
The following posts were accepted and distributed: "BGU Neve Gordon at the Brown University Center Headed by Beshara Doumani, a Saudi Born Palestinian"; "BGU Haim Yacobi at a SOAS Palestine Society Conference: Anti-Israel Fest Sponsored by Qatar"; "Internal Problems of the Council of Higher Education (CHE)"; "TAU Anat Matar to speak at 'Israeli Apartheid Week' in Helsinki, March 11, 2016."
It is not clear why some were accepted and others were not, but the pattern is clear: the moderators of the two forums are not happy with IAM. Neither are some of the academics who responded to the IAM Matar post. For example, Guy Davidov of the HUJ, one of the "crusaders for free speech", asked the moderator to shun IAMs posts in the future. Davidov's position is characteristic, free speech should be only granted to specific academics, all the rest should be stifled. Contrary to what have been asserted IAM is not politically tainted.
While the moderator of the smaller forum, Politics, felt the IAM posts deserve larger distribution, because of the campaign of vilification, IAM has failed to get attention of the larger forums on the deterioration of the standing of the Israeli academy as measured by the most respected academic global rankings. The moderators should know that the failures of the Israeli academy is not a right-wing or left-wing issue, but rather one that all academics should be aware of. The academic forums are an ideal vehicle for disseminating this knowledge and should be part of the services they provide.
The service provided to the academic community is way too important to be left to the mercy of political activists.
|Black anti-Semitism on American Campus: From Leonard Jeffries to Joy Karega
|The recent revelations about the anti-Semitic posts of Joy Karega, an assistant professor at Oberlin College, created a public storm, even landing the story on the front page of New York Times. But black anti-Semitism among American academics has a long history.
The phenomenon actually dates to the 1980s, when Louis Farrakhan published The Secret Relationship between Blacks and Jews that accused Jews of playing a major role in the slave trade. Farrakhan, a notorious anti-Semite, had blamed Jews for all sorts of African-American ills for decades.
In the early 1990, this black brand of anti-Semitism travelled to campus. In 1991, professor Leondrad Jeffries of City University College repeated Farrakhan’s theory in a speech. On different occasions Jeffries contended that “rich Jews helped financed the slave trade.” He charged that Jews have greatly exaggerated the horrors of the Holocaust, and he once described Jewish academicians who disagreed with his views as “slick and devilish and dirty and dastardly.”
Jeffries already had a reputation for questionable theories. For instance, Jeffries developed the so-called melanin theory. Accordingly, melanin levels affect the psyche of people. High levels of melanin allows blacks, the “sun people” to develop a compassionate and peaceful demeanor, “negotiate the vibrations of the universe and to deal with the ultraviolet rays of the sun". Whites are “ice people,” on the other hand, are violent and cruel.
In 1993, Tony Martin of Wellesley College included The Secret Relationship between Blacks and Jews in the reading list for his classes, leading to charges of anti-Semitism against him.
More recently, Cornel West, the black philosopher from Princeton University wrote:
“Black anti-semitism is a form of underdog resentment and envy, directed at another underdog who has made it in American society. The remarkable upward mobility of American Jews--rooted chiefly in a history and culture that places a premium on higher education and self-organization--easily lends itself to myths of Jewish unity and homogeneity that have gained currency among other groups, especially among relatively unorganized groups like black Americans. The high visibility of Jews in the upper reaches of the academy, journalism, the entertainment industry, and the professions--though less so percentage-wise in corporate America and national political office--is viewed less as a result of hard work and success fairly won and more as a matter of favoritism and nepotism among Jews.”
As discussed in a previous IAM post, Joy Karega had posted blatantly anti-Semitic notes on social media. She posted an image showing Jacob Rothschild, of the well-known Jewish banking family, stating, “We own your news, the media, your oil, and your government.” Karega also alleged that Israel was responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. In another post she wrote that Netanyahu visited Paris after the Charlie Hebdo massacre “just in case the message wasn’t received via Mossad and the ‘attacks’ they orchestrated on Paris.” Karega shared a video from Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan suggesting that Zionists and Israeli Jews were behind 9/11 and wrote that he was “truth-telling.” She also stated that “ISIS Is … a CIA and Mossad Operation”.
There is little appetite in the academy to tackle black anti-Semitism. As the Inside Higher Education article below states, it is easy to hide behind the “academic freedom” defense. Marvin Krislov, the president of Oberlin College, while protesting that personally, as a Jew, he was offended, he was bound by considerations of academic freedom.
Even the American Association of University Professors found itself spilling hair on the issue. Hans Joerg Tiede, stated the distinction is one of disciplinary expertise and professional competence. “If, for example, a physics professor declared on Twitter that the Sept. 11 attacks were a hoax, AAUP would advocate for the professor’s right to free speech in extramural utterances. But if the physics professor declared that the world is flat, denying all scientific evidence to the contrary, that could call into question his or her professional fitness.”
He did not opine on whether liberal arts students in Oberlin College and elsewhere deserve to be taught by a professor who espouses crack pot theories extra-cathedra. Judging by past performance, the AAUP is trying hard to avoid this type of judgment.
But there are other factors involved in the reluctance to condiment Karega. Alan Dershowitz, an emeritus professor of law at Harvard University, argued that if Karega “had expressed comparably bigoted views about blacks, Muslims or gays,” Oberlin would have condemned her views.
The case of James Tracey, a tenured associate professor at Florida Atlantic University, demonstrates the double standards well. Tracey, who is white and right wing, postulated that the massacre of school children in Newtown, Connecticut, by a deranged gunman was a provocation by the Obama administration to ban guns in the United States. He was fired soon after.
The academy needs to confront these double standards. Until such time, black anti-Semitism, its pointed fruit would not vanish.
|The Council of Higher Education Upheaval|
|The Council of Higher Education (CHE) has hit the news when Naftali Bennett, the Minister of Education, who chairs the Council ex officio, requested his vice-chair, Prof. Hagit Messer-Yaron, to resign from her position.
According to the press, Messer-Yaron was removed because she was about to implement recommendations of the committee she headed, the Committee for the Arrangement of Governance in Higher Education, to give more power to the faculty, at the expense of the Ministry. The new recommendations aimed at allocating more power to the universities at the expense of the colleges.
Bennett replaced Messer-Yaron with Dr. Rivka Wadmany-Shauman a junior academic from the teaching college, Seminar Hakibutzim. In response, six members of CHE resigned, an unprecedented move in the history of the organization. In their letter of resignation the six asserted that appointing Wadmany-Shauman was a mistake as she can not serve as vice-chair which is reserved for high-ranking academics. From a bureaucratic perspective, she will preside over professors, presidents and rectors from research universities, leading to potential clashes of authority and interests. Both the Committee of University Heads (VERA) and the Forum of Rectors found this appointment problematic and advised Bennett to appoint a high-ranking academic instead.
Prima facie, this dispute seems over resources - that is, colleges vs universities. Dr. Pinchas Haliwa, head of the forum of colleges presidents was quoted in an article to the effect that Wadmany-Shauman was not a political appointment. However, judging by rumors swirling around, the brouhaha may be political, especially as Bennett represents a right-wing party Habait Hayehudi.
The battle over the governance of the higher education seems to be two-fold, left-wing vs right-wing and universities vs colleges. Those who oppose Bennett's right-wing approach see this dispute from a right-left prism only. Liberal academics circulated a petition that demands of its signatories not to cooperate with the CHE and requests of the remaining CHE members to resign. Not long ago they petitioned against Bennett for replacing the civic education book taught in high-schools with one that includes more "right-wing" views.
Meanwhile, Bennett asked university heads to put forward their recommendations to replace the six who resigned, a standard procedure for electing new members to the CHE. He assured the public that the CHE will have new members in a matter of days to resume its activity.
However, as IAM already stated, the current upheaval in the CHE is diverting attention from the continuous deterioration of standards of Israeli universities in global university ranking services.
Sadly, neither the Minister of Education nor the faculty have paid much attention to this issue as the fight over turf and resources goes on.
|Van Leer Jerusalem Institute is Not an Academic Institution|
|The Marker, the economical magazine of Haaretz, published an article in Hebrew by Tali Heruti-Sover, an adjunct lecturer at the Department of Management BGU, about two Israeli NGOs that have the word academic or academy in their title. One group is the Academic Council for National Policy, formally, Professors for a National and Economic Strength, which comprises right-wing academics. The article informs the readers that the group has not filed their financial reports as required by the Amutot (NGOs) Registrar. The other organization mentioned is an institution called the Academic College B.E. that assists students with learning difficulties such as Asperger or Autism in their quest to obtain a BA degree at the Open University. The author contended that this is a breach of the Council of Higher Education regulations since the group use the word "academic."
If the author is interested in a non academic institution pretending to be academic, here is a suggestion for her. Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem houses Van Leer's Polonsky Academy. Its fellows appear in academic conferences along with faculty from other universities. For example, a call for paper to a conference in the University of Helsinki included a keynote speaker Sinai Rusinek of Van Leer Jerusalem Institute.
On a different note, Van Leer already hit the news recently because of a speech by Itzhak Galnoor, a professor emeritus of political science at the Hebrew University, a senior fellow at Van Leer, a chairman of Shatil, a member of the board of New Israel Fund as well as a former civil service commissioner. Maariv quoted Galnoor as declaring that he supports boycotting products from the settlements and that he had contacted various countries encouraging them to do so. "I personally, and I speak in my name," boasted Galnoor, "urge the world to do the same (to boycott products from the West Bank). They endanger me, my life and my family."
Van Leer is a prime example of an organization that would run afoul of the CHE prohibition of misusing the "academic" credential.
|Fighting Brain Drain and Competing Global Education Rankings
|It was recently announced that philanthropist Mortimer Zuckerman has committed more than $100 million to attract postdoctoral researchers in life sciences from Western countries to Israeli universities and lure Israeli academics back to Israel. This step is a major boon for the universities in Israel, but there are currently problems at the managerial level.
A petition signed by over 1500 academics urged to create a special commission to investigate the firing of Hagit Messer-Yaron as the deputy chair of the Council of Higher Education. The petitioners want to reform the system of selection to the CHE to make it more transparent. While this is a laudable position, it does not go far enough in addressing the main problem of tertiary education in Israel. As IAM already demonstrated, the Israeli universities have been doing poorly in all the major ranking of world indices. Even the Technion, known in the past as the “MIT of Israel", has been on a downhill slope for most of the last decade.
The academic community should understand that competing with other countries in the annual higher education rankings is of critical importance to Israel. We live in an integrated world where human capital is the coin of trade. So far, the academic community did not recognize it. Perhaps the new recruits arriving with the Mortimer B. Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program would help to make it happen.
|Baroness Deech: U.K. Universities Rife with Hatred, Closed Minds, Ignorance, Stereotyping and Anti-Semitism|
|An article by Baroness Ruth Lynn Deech, a former professor at St Anne's College, Oxford, sheds light on the cultural wars on the British campuses.
Deech's article describes how British Universities have become hotbeds for Islamist preaching where "extremist Islamist speakers promoting the subjugation of women, and extinction of apostates and gays. And the university authorities did not follow the U.K. government's Prevent policy, designed to counter radicalization on campus, because the lecturers' union and the national student union sided with radicals and Palestinian activists."
But while Islamist preachers are exercising their free speech on campus, others are being silenced. "Attacks on Jewish and Israeli speakers, of whatever complexion, are at the centre of the silencing strategies. It does not matter whether the speaker is an Israeli Beduin (Ishmael Khaldi, Israeli diplomat, was prevented from speaking to the University of Edinburgh Jewish Society in 2011 by pro-Palestinian protesters), or an Ambassador (Ron Prosor received similar treatment at the same university) or a peace activist (Ami Ayalon at King's College London, last week). The mere fact that there is a Jewish gathering or an Israeli theme is seen as provocation by pro-Palestinian activists and therefore to be blocked."
She moves on to describe the latest incident when Ami Ayalon, chairman of the executive committee of the University of Haifa, tried to speak: "On 19th January the protests plumbed new depths. At King's College the police had to be summoned when an anti-Israel mob threw chairs, smashed windows, and activated fire alarms. Some students in the audience feared for their physical safety."
"U.K. universities are rife with hatred, closed minds, ignorance, stereotyping and, yes, anti-Semitism. The peaceful Jewish student who only wants an enjoyable three years at university would do well to avoid those colleges where there is a sizeable Palestinian movement (often a cover for anti-Zionism, anti-Semitism and sometimes misogyny). London colleges and Scottish universities are amongst the worst."
In the same vein, a 30 minutes video by Raphael Shore of Jerusalem U, Crossing the Line: Exploring Israel on Campus (UK) "examines the proliferation of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incidents on British university campuses. The documentary explores whether, and in what ways, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic lines are being blurred."
Deech suggests using legal tools to deal with the problem: "It is the law that controls freedom of speech and expression, and it is to the law that we must resort when the mark may have been overstepped, not violence."
|Internal Problems of the Council of Higher Education (CHE)|
|In a recent, unprecedented move, Naftali Bennett, the Minister of Education and chair of the Council of Higher Education (CHE) dismissed Professor Hagit Messer-Yaron from her position as the vice-chair. Messer-Yaron who had only one more year left to serve, is a highly respected scholar; she was on the faculty of Engineering at TAU and later served as the president of the Open University. Bennett replaced her with Dr. Rivka Madmany-Shauman, also a member of the CHE, but a junior academic from a non-research institution, Hakibutzim College for Education.
Bennett's move created a firestorm among Israeli scholars who objected to the politization of the CHE and the replacement of a prestigious scholar with a low ranked academic from a teachers college.
Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson, President of the Hebrew University was interviewed for Israeli radio about this case. He said the Bennett's step is unethical, even if only one year is left for the current CHE members, still, Madmany-Shauman is not a professor and has no background in management. Ben-Sasson stated that he believes Bennett decided not to implement the decisions by the Messer-Yaron Committee report on higher education governance and therefore dismissed her.
Some, like Moshe Shokeid, a professor of sociology, went overboard, writing in the social science forum that this is the "End of innocence, fascism is standing at the gate and the campus will say we have not seen or heard anything." In a more measured tone, Mota Kremnitzer, a law professor noted: "Because Dr. Wadmany is lacking the necessary academic status to function, it is clear that most members of the CHE contributed to this aggressive, arbitrary, illegal move, that tramples the autonomy of higher education, which the CHE is responsible for."
As the article below indicates, professors from Weizmann Institute sent a letter to Bennett, protesting: “As scientists we first must care for the good of society, science and the country. And it is with this in mind that we would like to express our doubt and worry that we fear we may lose this important asset.” Professor David Newman wrote in his weekly column in the Jerusalem Post, accusing the right-wing government for lowering the standards of the higher education.
Making it a right-left issue is wrong, but Newman is right on one thing, the standards of the higher education system in Israel have gone down and recent Ministers of Education, including Bennett's predecessor, Shai Piron, had done nothing to address it.
Contemporary higher education is highly competitive and universities world-wide are evaluated by a number of international ranking services such as QS; Multirank; Times Higher Education powered by Thomson Reuters, among others.
Ranking are crucial in the global academic and economic infrastructure. For instance, the EU uses its Multiranking Index to allocate millions of euros for scientific project. Other grant-making organizations like the U.S. based National Science Foundation are also known to consider the institutional base of scholars in addition to the individual merits of their proposals.
Indeed, the comparative ranking of Israeli universities provides an overall picture of decline, as the table below shows. This ranking is provided by the Times Higher Education Index, but other services paint a fairly similar picture.
There is no doubt that even the top Israeli universities do not measure up to the top Western ones. But, in what comes as a real shock, some Asian universities have surpassed the Israeli ones.
Neither the Ministry of Education nor the CHE have addressed the issue of plunging scores. The current crisis is a good opportunity to launch a real debate on the issue. Strong academic leadership at the top of the CHE representing prestigious research institutions is sorely needed.
|Palestinians Drive a Wedge among American Jews on Campus
|The Palestinian activist groups understand well that Israel's image in the West depends to a large extent to the Jewish diaspora. Since Israel sees the diaspora as an integral part of the Israeli community at large, the importance of the relations between the two cannot be overstated.
But the BDS drive and the heated discourse that it generates on campus and beyond has created strife among Jewish students and academics. As IAM reported, one issue of contention pertains to the freedom to debate BDS. Hillel International, the umbrella organization that oversees and funds the network of Hillel chapters, does not allow speakers who support BDS to appear at its events. Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania was the first to challenge this decision in 2013, subsequently leading to the Open Hillel movement. As of now, there are some 3 chapters in campuses in the United States, Swarthmore, Harvard and Vassar.
But the liberal segments among American Jews have continued to challenge the Hillel decision. J-Street, the liberal lobby that has established its own network on campuses has provided a counterpart to Hillel International. More to the point, Open Hillel has recently created its own Academic Council with the support of 55 American academics.
The Academic Council endorsed a statement that reads: “Hillel International’s Standards of Partnership narrowly circumscribe discourse about Israel-Palestine and only serve to foster estrangement from the organized Jewish community… Just as our classrooms must be spaces that embrace diversity of experience and opinion, so must Hillel.”
Needless to say the schism among Jewish students and academics on campus is detrimental to the fight against BDS. At the same time, there are no easy solutions to the problem.
Israel, which was once a source of identify and cohesion among diaspora Jews, has become a source of division. The Pew survey of 2013 indicates that this trend is generational, in the sense that the younger cohorts are most distant from Israel and less likely to agree with the policies of the Israeli government. Though most Jewish students reject BDS and the occasionally virulent rhetoric of pro-Palestinian activists, many embrace the principle of free speech in and out of classroom.
|The Politically Correct Coalition: The Real Source of the Success of Pro-Palestinian Activism on Campus|
|In a somewhat belated but important insight into the success of BDS and other pro-Palestinian activism on Campus some observers have focused on the funding structure driving Students for Justice for Palestine (SJP), arguably the strongest player in the field. For instance, a recent study by NGO Monitor details the transfer of funds from student governments to SJP groups, their access to facilities, at nine California universities.
Important as this work is, it does not touch on the real source of their success, namely coalition building with other politically correct groups. For more than three decades now, identity politics have reigned supreme in the intensely politicized campus. While African Americans have been the leaders in identity politics, other groups such as LGBT have joined the minority club demanding more voice for the “marginalized” and “dispossessed.”
Though, technically the Palestinians and their backers are not a marginalized minority, they have formed a successful alliance with the other groups. To borrow a term from International Relations theory, such coalitions serve as a force multiplier on campus, giving the Palestinian voice a much broader exposure and legitimacy. Indeed, IAM occasionally reported on the coalition building phenomenon.
The alliance between pro-Palestinian activists and African American students has become routine enough to merit any comments, but a closer look reveals its power. The ongoing upheaval at Brandeis University, a Jewish institution near Boston, is a case in point. A pro-Israeli student by the name Daniel Mael got into a lot of trouble when he tangled with Khadijah Lynch, a radical African American and pro-Palestinian activist. Mael posted on his blog twitts made by Lynch describing Brandeis University as “social justice themed institution grounded in zionism. word. thats a fucking fanny dooley.” These days Lynch is leading a protest against the Brandeis administration under the slogan “From Ferguson to Palestine, Occupation is a Crime.” Her group issued a thirteen point list of demands, including a 10 percent across the board increase in hiring of black faculty and staff. Brandeis has 6000 students, of which five percent are African American, 6 percent Hispanic, and 15 percent Asians.
Many in the Brandeis community rallied around Lynch, with one student writing that “Khadija Lynch was viciously slandered by supremacist @DanielMael bc of her alliance w/ Palestine solidarity.”
The fallout from the affair has been substantial. Mael was escorted from campus by campus police, the president Frederick Lawrence resigned and the acting president wrote to Lynch and the other protesters a multipage letter validating their feelings and promising to boost diversity: “The atmosphere described by our students is painful to hear and calls on all of us to address these issues.” It is not clear whether the administration would personally apologize to Lynch, one of the demands made in the thirteen point manifesto.
Quite clearly, by joining forces with African Americans and other “marginalized minorities,” SJP has increased its success on campus beyond what money can buy.
|Ami Pedahzur: Intimidated and Harassed|
|Ami Pedahzur, a professor in the department of Government and the head of the Institute of Israel Studies at the University of Texas, got into a trouble when a group of pro-Palestinian activists tried to disrupt his seminar hosting Dr. Gil-Li Vardi. The activists marched in the classroom describing it as an “intervention.”
Pedahzur seems to be genuinely puzzled that his Institute should be targeted and, more to the point, that in spite of his efforts, the group was unwilling to engage in a dialogue, as befits an academic setting. He described the encounter in a Facebook post (see below). Upon further investigation, Pedahzur learned that the activists were professional provocateurs. As we recently reported, disrupting Israeli professors or lectures with Israeli themes have become a popular form of “protest” against the “Zionist enemy.” Acting for Pedahzur, Kenneth Marcus, the head of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law (LDB) wrote to the UT authorities: "The brazen efforts of the Palestine Solidarity Committee to silence Dr. Pedahzur and Dr. Vardi not only violate basic civility norms but, more troublingly, also represent a threat to academic freedom and the freedom of speech."
But, as the article in the Jewish Press notes, the pro-Palestinian group crafted their own complaint against Pedahzur. They accuse him of creating a physical altercation and demand his firing. In support of their claim, they posted a video of the entire encounter showing Pedahzur getting face to face with the leader of the “intervention.”
In response to the brouhaha, the university responded that it is “investigating” the case. IAM would provide updates.
|Micro-aggression, "Victims Coalition" and other Amazing Tales on Campus: The Perils of Speaking for Israel|
|For some time now, IAM has reported on an emerging coalition between pro-Palestinian activists and “victims” groups - African Americans, ethnic minorities, LGBTQ and so-on.
As Professor Dershowitz explains in the article below, the highly popular notion of “micro-aggression,” meaning perceived as racial slights and insensitivities of the white majority, have newly empowered African Americans and their coalition partners. So much so that the president of the University of Missouri was forced to resign because of alleged insensitivity to concerns of blacks on the campus. He was replaced by a black interim president. The movement has spread to other campuses across the country, putting academic leadership on the defensive. For instance, at the prestigious Yale University, a black dean was sent to appease a large protest of African Americans and other “victims” who demanded the appointment of more minority professors as a token of the administration sensitivity to their concerns.
As a rule, members of the “victims coalition” show up to protest pro-Israeli speakers, a harrowing experience according to Professor Dershowitz. Professor Moshe Halbertal who tried to speak at the University of Minnesota, was repeatedly heckled and interrupted.
In trying to prevent disruption, universities authorities are caught between the proverbial rock and the hard place. On the one hand, they need to punish transgressors, but on the other, disciplining members of the “victims coalition” may be interpreted as micro- aggression or worse.
Professor Dershowitz is right about the double standards since the sensitivities of Jewish students are not taken into consideration. But given the recent development at the University of Missouri, the university authorities may not be too keen to even the scales.
|The Perception of Israel in Elite Universities: A View from Oxford|
| universities are good point to start. As IAM has repeatedly noted, campuses are incubators of the notion that Israel has a highly negative presence in international relations, a country which occupies and mistreats the Palestinians to the point of a virtual apartheid. This view is especially entrenched in elite universities such as the Ivy League schools in the United States or Oxford and Cambridge in England.
In the article below, Ilan Manor, a newly arrived Ph.D. student at Oxford University, captures this notion well. Oxford dons “do not regard Israel as a high tech nation, a gay tourist destination or a model for modern democracy.” Worse, in his view, “no public diplomacy, no sloganeering, and no infographics shared on line can counter Israel’s reputation as a synonymous with bigotry, violence and the oppression of human rights.”
Israel’s poor standing in the academic community is part and parcel of a broad trend in the liberal arts, namely the virtual dominance of leftist views in the academy.
In his review of a new book by Paul Kengar on the subject, the journalist Robert Knight writes that the “Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci” called for his fellow revolutionaries to “'capture the culture,' that is, infiltrate the institutions that transmit cultural values. So they did, especially in the universities."
Recognizing that Israel has become a poster child of the Gramscian revolution in higher education, does not make it easier to fight the phenomenon. As Manor noted, not only do elite universities educate the cultural and political elites that dictate the popular perception of their own countries, but inform the views of the a large cohort of future leading elites in the world: “Oxford is more than that, it is a global melting pot: The dining halls are filled each night with students from Switzerland, the Netherlands, Korea, Japan, Egypt and India.”
Manor’s observations are noteworthy in the context of the current efforts to offer a counter-narrative to the view that Israel is the “skunk” in the international community, a term which Nelson Mandela had used to describe the apartheid-era South Africa. Although Manor seems to be pessimistic that such efforts would succeed, they are essential to balancing the view on campus.
|Academic Freedom in Great Britain in the Age of Terror|
|Britain, home of a large Muslim population, has struggled with home grown terrorism since the early 2000s. Surprisingly, a number of high profile attackers were radicalized or recruited while being students. For instance, the infamous “underwear” bomber Omar Faruok Abdulmuttalab attended University College London and Roshonara Choudhry, who tried to kill MP Stephen Timms, was an honor student at King's College London.
To fight this phenomenon, the Labor Government of Tony Blair launched the Prevent program, a list of rules and regulations to stem radicalization on campus. Backing up of Prevent was intelligence gathering and policing of groups and individuals deemed to contribute to radicalization.
A review of Prevent by the Conservative government introduced more limitations on extremist speakers on campus, a bone of contention between the government and professors and students concerned about academic freedom.
But it was the growth of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that added urgency to the debate. The self-proclaimed Caliphate that rules swaths of Syria and Iraq is in dire need of medical doctors and information technology experts. According to sources, ISIS is also searching for nuclear scientists in order to work on its budding nuclear and radiological program. ISIS recruiters have successfully operated on British campuses, finding volunteers among radicalized students. Worth noting also that the National Union of Students refused to condemn ISIS.
Under Theresa May, the Home Secretary, the new guidance adds: “When deciding whether or not to host a particular speaker, [higher education institutions] should consider carefully whether the views being expressed, or likely to be expressed, constitute extremist views that risk drawing people into terrorism or shared by terrorist groups.” In another limitation, events deemed potentially radical would be allowed to take place only if they can be challenged by contending views.
The new directive has already mobilized academics who sent a petition to May complaining about restrictions on free speech on campus. To many activist faculty and students who host controversial speakers, the need to balance panels with counter views seem especially onerous and intrusive. Long accustomed to one-sided presentations, they are prepared to challenge the government on this and other issues embodied in the updated Prevent.
While Britain is the epicenter for Islamist radicalization and subsequent terror recruitment, the new Prevent is a model for a larger discourse about academic freedom in the twenty first century where terror groups combine real violence with a sophisticated war of ideas. It is thus highly ironic that there should be opposition to balanced presentations, a key element of Prevent, an idea which originated by Wilhelm von Humboldt, in nineteenth century Germany.
|The Social Sciences in Israeli Universities are Getting a Failing Grade|
|Recently, QS, the highly respectable comparative measures in tertiary education, published its result. The QS employs a number of criteria to evaluate the standing of a university as a whole which are further broken down by disciplines: 1) arts & humanities 2) engineering & technology 3) life sciences & medicine 4) natural sciences 5) social science and management.
None of the Israeli universities made it into the first hundred (out of eight hundred). In general, Hebrew University is ranked 148 and Tel Aviv University 203, but the status of the social sciences is particularly troubling. Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University social sciences are ranked respectively 236 and 280. Social sciences at Haifa University and Ben Gurion University did not even make into the first four hundreds category.
To understand how bleak the situation is, here are some comparative numbers from public universities (known as state universities) in the United States. Berkeley and UCLA – both in the California university system, are ranked 9 and 19 respectively and University of Michigan at 33. To find the equivalents for HUJ, one needs to search among third of fourth tier public universities, such as University of California, Irvine at 236 and University of Massachusetts, Amherst at 233. Social sciences at TAU compare with University of Arizona at 275.
The comparisons with social sciences at British universities (which are all virtually public) make for an equally gloomy reading. Oxford and Cambridge are ranked 3 and 4 respectively. So much for HUJ being the Israeli “Oxbridge.” In fact, HUJ is close to Loughborough University at 242 and TAU to Kent University 281, both quite pedestrian institutions.
There are numerous reasons for the poor performance of the social sciences in Israel, including lack of accountability, outmoded curricula, a paucity of quantitative approaches, and preponderance of critical, neo-Marxist faculty. The latter is apparently related to the failure of the social science at Haifa U and Ben Gurion U, to make into the first 400.
As IAM often emphasized, the Israeli universities enjoyed an expansive form of academic freedom, a form that is not tolerated in public institutions in the West. All efforts to reform the system were met with the argument that imposing accountability and sound management would hurt “academic excellence.”
The ranking below clearly shows this argument to be specious. If the amount of academic freedom was in a way related to academic excellence, the Israeli social sciences would have been at the top. The only way to improve this abysmal situation is to force upon the Israeli universities the type of reforms which helped public institutions in the West to achieve true academic excellence.
|Brandies University Appointment: Academic Politics and Beyond|
|On September 8, 2015, Brandeis University appointed Pascal Menoret, to the prestigious Renee and Lester Crown Chair in Modern Middle Eastern Studies.
The appointment is perplexing on two levels. First, Menoret, who taught at the New York University, Abu Dhabi campus, does not have the type of distinguished academic record to qualify for the position. Second, he is an activist who, as the article below indicates, took some high profile pro-Palestinian positions. His nomination seems to contradict the promise of the university to create a depolarized Middle Eastern Studies program, as stated by former president Jehuda Reinharz: "Too many of the centers that currently exist are so infused with ideology, so obsessed by the Israeli-Arab conflict, they have become less interested in scholarship and more interested in scoring political points."
There is a possible explanation why a scholar with rather modest achievements and known pro-Palestinian attitude should be appointed.
Social science faculty at Brandeis is known for its far left foreign policy positions and anti-Israeli rhetoric. In 2014, the human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, known for her critique of womens rights in the Muslim world, was disinvited from delivering a commencement address at the University after a large number of professors had protested. Their petition stated: “We cannot accept Ms. Hirsi Ali’s triumphalist narrative of western civilization, rooted in a core belief of the cultural backwardness of non-western peoples.” Also in the same year, a Brandeis student Daniel Mael published the content of a faculty listserver which contained venomous comments on American and Israeli policies.
American-Jewish academics, like the rest of the community have been profoundly divided on a number of issues such as how to fight BDS, whether to support the Iran deal in Congress and how to relate to the right wing government in Israel. It is plausible to assume that, by appointing Menoret, Brandeis University made a high profile political gesture.
|Supreme Court Ruled Against Academic Freedom as an Excuse to Evading Supervision by the Ministry of Finance |
| For twenty years, five Israeli universities have accused the Ministry of Finance for breaching their academic freedom because the Ministry demands annual reporting on the wages of the employees. In 2009 the universities signed a declaration stating they will comply with the Ministry's request for monitoring, but have failed to do so.
A Supreme court ruling in August 2015 put an end to this dispute, the presiding judge ruled that academic freedom has nothing to do with fiscal supervision.
The presiding judge noted: "In our case, I believe that there is nothing in the academic freedom granted to the petitioners, despite its importance, to justify the lack of supervision in accordance with the norms of proper salaries, in accordance with the Budget Foundations Law. The Petitioners bear public function. And most importantly - they benefit from public funding. Therefore it is appropriate to impose on them rules from public law and proper public norms. All this, while adapting to the special character and academic freedom given to them. This freedom does not mean lack of supervision at all. It does not allow to evade the rules of proper administration. It does not justify the lack of restraint on wage and salary and is not a tool to implement on irregularities in wages."
The 1958 Higher Education Act gave the universities a large amount of academic freedom with little state oversight. As a matter of fact Israeli academics have enjoyed much broader freedom than their counterpart in public universities' anywhere. Though they claim that such freedom is necessary to achieve academic excellence, the empirical evidence is not persuasive. If this proposition was true then the Israeli higher educational system would have been at the a top of the performance charts. But, as it well known, Israeli institutions do not make into the "big league," a fact that is especially true of social sciences.
Maybe more accountability to the state and the taxpayers would not be such a bad idea after all.
|Steven Salaita: A Legal Update|
|IAM has followed closely the legal battle of Steven Salaita against the University of Illinois. As well known, in the summer of 2014, the University backed out of an agreement to hire Salaita, at the rank of Associate Professor with indefinite tenure, as part of the American Indian Studies Program.
The decision was made after revelations pertaining to Salaita’s tweets during last year’s Israeli Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. Among others, Salaita stated, "If you're defending Israel right now you are an awful human being” and "I repeat: if you're defending Israel right now, then 'hopelessly brainwashed' is your best prognosis".
The issue has the potential to make case law history with regard to academic freedom - depending on the decision of the judge. One possibility it that Judge Harry D. Leinenweber would limit himself to the more narrow issue of contract violation. The other eventuality is that he would rule on the broader issue of First Amendment and academic freedom.
That the latter may be in the working is indicated in Judge Leinenweber’s reference to the 1968 U.S. Supreme Court case Pickering v. Board of Education. At the time the Supreme Court ruled that public schools are in violation of the First Amendment when they fired a teacher for speaking out ex cathedra on an issue of public concern.
Though the Judge stated that “there’s not yet enough known about the Salaita's case to apply a Pickering balance test between educational and free speech interests. But he also wrote that about the “profanity and incivility in [Salaita’s] tweets and the views those tweets presented:” “The contents were certainly a matter of public concern, and the topic of Israeli-Palestinian relations often brings passionate emotions to the surface. Under these circumstances, it would be nearly impossible to separate the tone of tweets on this issue with the content and views they express.”
IAM would bring further update on the case.
|Professorial Temperament and Temper: The Case of Israel|
|Professor Steven Salaita’s use of foul language terms to refer to Israel in his Tweeter postings, has led to a scrutiny of ex cathedra comments by academics. IAM reported that Salaita is suing the University of Illinois for withdrawing a job offer to punish him for using derogatory language. The AAUP has defended Salaita, stating that ex cathedra postings are part of academic freedom and should not be used against in weighting a prospective candidate for a position.
Legal determination aside, the Salaita case inspired a debate about the use of crude and foul language by academics on the subject of Israel. As the following article, “Bonfire of Vulgarities” indicates, Salaita is not the only scholar using vulgar language in the Middle East academic community. Far from it, f-word and other invective have often been a part of the online discourse.
This is especially intriguing, given that it takes place in the age of political correctness. Andrew Pessin, a philosophy professor at Connecticut College, who got into hot water by a Facebook post in which he compared Hamas in Gaza to a “rabid pitbull chained in a cage, regularly making efforts to escape,” while the liberal world decries its imprisonment. After suffering serious verbal abuse for what was described as “racist” comment, he was forced to take a medical leave of absence.
It would be virtually inconceivable for any academic to post derogatory comments on blacks, gays, or any other politically correct minority. Comments on jihadist terrorism is not welcome either, because in the politically correct world on higher education this could be construed as Islamophobia.
There is another aspect to the “bonfire of vulgarity.” Virtually all the scholars who stock this particular bonfire teach in Middle East programs. Professors, as we are often told, should demonstrate a “professorial temperament,” that is, comport themselves according to rules of objectivity and civil discourse. They are paid not only to teach a subject but to be role models for their students, the future elites. Given their liberal use of foul language on the Internet and on campus debates, as the article indicates, it is hard to imagine that they can follow the academic ideal in the classroom.
|The Further Decline of Israeli Universities|
|For some two decades now, comparative studies have shown the Israeli universities declining versus their Western counterpart. The newest such study that ranked Israel’s tertiary education within the region shows that even in the Middle East the “grades” are down.
There are a number of reasons for this steady downward spiral. IAM’s Academic Freedom in Israel: A Comparative Perspective argued that the Maltz Committee of retired Supreme Court justice, Yaakov Maltz, the most serious effort to reform higher education, was never fully implemented, the Maltz Report, unveiled on January 8, 2000, was largely modeled on the reforms of the British universities initiated by Margaret Thatcher. Whereas universities in Britain prospered after the reform, in Israel the vehement opposition of the faculty prevented the type of structural changes needed to create true excellence.
The structure of the Council of Higher Education, the MALAG, has posed another impediment. The faculty who runs the MALAG is, as a rule, lenient in overseeing the universities. So much so that even the highly liberal former Education Minister Yuli Tamir acknowledged the fact. In a 2009 interview in the Marker she stated: "The majority of the CHE members are representatives of the universities and colleges – As a result, representatives of the inspected bodies are members of the body that inspects them." According to Yaccov Bergman, a leading expert on higher education at the Hebrew University who received a letter of a former MALAG member, not much has changed since Tamir spoke.
Finally, there is the problem of social sciences that affect negatively the overall ranking. As Bergman already pointed out, Israeli social sciences lag behind Western standard. IAM repeatedly noted that parts of social science research in Israel adopted the critical, neo-Marxist approach that is not included in the social science indices such as the Social Science Research Network (SSRN). Two international committees that evaluated the Department of Politics and Government and the Department of Sociology at Ben Gurion University made this point.
The head of the newly created Department of Anthropology at Haifa University, Amalia Sa'ar complained that when the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) announced a job opening for a director of the Social Science grants system, the job description specifically requested a candidate with strong background in quantitative research methods relevant to social sciences. In Sa'ar’s opinion, this amounted to a discrimination against qualitative research, which, judging from her list of publications, is a code name for critical, neo-Marxist fare that appeared in obscure publications not likely to make it into social science indices.
Tax payers who support higher education expect to see results in the form of good comparative ranking. Instead, they have ended up subsidizing a system that has been on a seemingly long-term down spiral.
For some two decades now, comparative studies have shown the Israeli universities declining versus their Western counterpart. The newest such study that ranked Israel’s tertiary education within the region shows that even in the Middle East the “grades” are down.
There are a number of reasons for this steady downward spiral. IAM’s Academic Freedom in Israel: A Comparative Perspective argued that the Maltz Committee of retired Supreme Court justice, Yaakov Maltz, the most serious effort to reform higher education, was never fully implemented, the Maltz Report, unveiled on January 8, 2000, was largely modeled on the reforms of the British universities initiated by Margaret Thatcher. Whereas universities in Britain prospered after the reform, in Israel the vehement opposition of the faculty prevented the type of structural changes needed to create true excellence.
The structure of the Council of Higher Education, the MALAG, has posed another impediment. The faculty who runs the MALAG is, as a rule, lenient in overseeing the universities. So much so that even the highly liberal former Education Minister Yuli Tamir acknowledged the fact. In a 2009 interview in the Marker she stated: "The majority of the CHE members are representatives of the universities and colleges – As a result, representatives of the inspected bodies are members of the body that inspects them." According to Yaccov Bergman, a leading expert on higher education at the Hebrew University who received a letter of a former MALAG member, not much has changed since Tamir spoke.
Finally, there is the problem of social sciences that affect negatively the overall ranking. As Bergman already pointed out, Israeli social sciences lag behind Western standard. IAM repeatedly noted that parts of social science research in Israel adopted the critical, neo-Marxist approach that is not included in the social science indices such as the Social Science Research Network (SSRN). Two international committees that evaluated the Department of Politics and Government and the Department of Sociology at Ben Gurion University made this point.
The head of the newly created Department of Anthropology at Haifa University, Amalia Sa'ar complained that when the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) announced a job opening for a director of the Social Science grants system, the job description specifically requested a candidate with strong background in quantitative research methods relevant to social sciences. In Sa'ar’s opinion, this amounted to a discrimination against qualitative research, which, judging from her list of publications, is a code name for critical, neo-Marxist fare that appeared in obscure publications not likely to make it into social science indices.
Tax payers who support higher education expect to see results in the form of good comparative ranking. Instead, they have ended up subsidizing a system that has been on a seemingly long-term down spiral.
|Professor Steven Salaita: Update|
| In 2013 Professor Steven Salaita was offered a tenured position in the Department of Native American Studies at Illinois University in Urbana-Champaigne. But after giving up his previous position at Virginia Tech University, the University withdrew the offer. The decision was a response to the a string of Twitter messages that Salaita posted in summer 2014.
"Zionists, take responsibility: if your dream of an ethnocratic Israel is worth the murder of children, just fucking own it already." ; "This is not a conflict between Israel and 'Hamas'. It's a struggle by an Indigenous people against a colonial Power." ; "Let's cut to the chase: If you're defending Israel right now you're an awful human being." ; "Will you condemn Hamas? No. Why not? Because Hamas isn't the one incinerating children, you disingenuous prick." ; "Zionist uplift in America: every little Jewish boy and girl can grow up to be the leader of a murderous colonial regime." ; "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 Salaita case raises an important issue of academic freedom. In 2014 the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) issued a statement:
“Recently we argued in a policy statement on "Academic Freedom and Electronic Communications," that faculty comments made on social media, including Twitter, are largely extramural statements of personal views that should be protected by academic freedom. While Professor Salaita's scholarship does appear to deal with the topic of Palestine, his posts were arguably not intended as scholarly statements but as expressions of personal viewpoint. Whether one finds these views attractive or repulsive is irrelevant to the right of a faculty member to express them. Moreover, the AAUP has long objected to using criteria of civility and collegiality in faculty evaluation because we view this as a threat to academic freedom. It stands to reason that this objection should extend as well to decisions about hiring, especially about hiring to a tenured position.”
On June 13, 2015 the AAUP censured the University of Illinois for rejecting Salaita’s appointment, a violation of principles of academic freedom and tenure.
A censure decision by the AAUP is significant, but has no legal standing. Salaita has filed a lawsuit against the University to force it to disclose correspondence relating to the case. There is also a technical question, whether Salaita was in effect hired by the department, or was a final approval by the University's Board of Trustees to be made.
Whatever the outcome, the Salaita case promises to add to the evolving understanding of academic freedom.
|The Israeli Government and the anti-BDS Fight on Campus
|On May 8, 2015, IAM organized a panel “Who Sponsors Israel's Delegitimization on Campus?” at Tel Aviv University.
The topic attracted public and media attention, but there was no interest from the Israeli government. Indeed, the event organizers reported that they contacted a number of officials in relevant ministries, but failed to elicit a response.
Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, a pioneer against the BDS movement and one of the panelists, spoke about his frustration with Israeli government. He noted that the “Israeli government failed to tackle the BDS movement, not because it tried and failed, but because it did not try at all.”
Interestingly enough, this is the view of Ari Shavit, the noted journalist and author. During a tour of more than twenty American campuses, Shavit was told by Jewish student activists that they felt overwhelmed by the massive BDS campaign and abandoned by the Israeli government. Facing unremitting hostility from pro-Palestinian activists, many Jewish students retreat from the public arena. It is hardly helpful that, according to recent polls, younger Jewish American cohorts are losing their Jewish identity and, more to the point, their attachment to Israel.
There is a virtual consensus that the delegitimization - born out of the BDS drive - is a vital security issue for Israel. Unfortunately, the verbal lamenting has not been translated into a coherent plan of action.
|Using the Campus as a Tool for anti-Israel Activism|
|In his “The Academic War on Israel,” Denis MacEoin, an Irish scholar, notes that Western campuses have offered a highly effective way to delegitimize Israel. Indeed, it would seem that the academy is just about the only place that BDS and other activism has made significant inroad. As MacEoin explains, there are many reasons for this state of affairs. A dramatic increase in faculty in Islamic and Middle East studies where activism and scholarship is the norm for many. Using their position, these scholars provide a biased view of Israel and the Middle East. Entire new fields such as transitional justice and critical legal scholarship have been invented for seemingly one purpose only - to criticize Israel. MacEoin rightly states that the activist professors have abandoned the academic rules of a balanced perspective on controversial subjects. In his words, “a generation of students is growing up learning to tolerate – and consider normal -- bias, falsehood and the runaway politicization of teachers and student thugs permitting only one-sided arguments.”
While MacEoin’s observations are welcome, he and other observers provide little information on the financial underpinnings of the anti-Israeli climate. It is a truism that a real war is a costly enterprise, but even a war waged on campus is not cheap. To appreciate of how this war is waged, there is a need to analyze its financial underpinnings.
For this, IAM is hosting the roundtable "Academic Accountability: Who Finances Israel’s Delegitimization on Campus?" on Friday, May 8, 2015 in Tel Aviv University, Dan David Building Hall 3 at 9am and the public is invited.
|Investing in Social Science Paradigms: The “Knowledge Transfer Initiative” in Bahrain|
|Bahrain is one of the more recent Arab states to spend a portion of its oil revenues on shaping the social science paradigms in the West. As the below announcement states, the Bahrain Ministry of Culture organized its first Euro-Arab Meeting of Young Researchers in Social Sciences in coordination with the International Sociological Association and European Sociological Association and Arab Sociological Association. Young researchers selected for the project will travel to Bahrain on an all-expense paid trip to discuss proposals for their future research.
The Bahrain initiative is part of a new high level effort to influence Western sociology with an Arab perspective. It follows the complaint of Sari Hanafi, a professor at the American University in Beirut and the first Palestinian Vice President of the International Sociological Association about the “lack of Arab contribution in social sciences.” Hanafi concludes that, compared to the field of Middle East studies, where Arab and Muslim scholars predominate, sociology needs more of an “Arab contribution.“
Though positivist sociologists may take exception to having a nationally oriented perspective in social sciences, Hanafi, a leading neo-Marxist, critical scholar, views traditional sociology as the domain of Western (read capitalist, imperialist, and colonialist) hegemony. His long list of publications is dominated by work on Israeli occupation, Palestinian refugees, and right to return. In fact, Hanafi co-edited with Adi Ophir and Michal Givoni a book titled The Power of Inclusive Exclusion: Anatomy of Israeli Rule in Occupation Territories on the subject.
It is hardly surprising that, given his academic-ideological background, Hanafi wants more of an “Arab contribution” into sociology. Hanafi understands that Western social sciences generate the type of paradigms that inform scholarly research at the more applied level. But it is highly significant that the Kingdom of Bahrain decided to invest money in this project. The explanation here is that, by grooming younger social science cohorts, the ‘commanding heights’ of the discipline can be infused with the so-called “Arab perspective.”
The Bahraini project illustrates the real difficulties in contending with the anti-Israeli initiatives on campus. While BDS is easier to define and fight, the long term paradigmatic changes in social sciences that provides the scholarly justification for BDS are more difficult to challenge.
|Queers against Israel: The Logic of the Pro- Palestinian Coalition on Campus|
|Over the past decade Palestinian students have made significant progress in BDS, through Israel apartheid week and other anti-Israeli activities on campus. Coalition building with other student groups is one of the reasons for their success.
Arguably, queer organizations on campus are their most loyal supporters. To understand why a subset of gays and lesbians who describe themselves as “queers” have a special dislike of Israel, four interrelated dynamics are illustrative.
The first dynamic pertains to the fierce “identity wars” within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) movement dating to the early 1980s. While the majorly of LGBT opted for a “normal” identity that promoted integration into the heterosexual society, a radical fringe adopted the queer position - a mixture of high individualized, nonconformist lifestyle characteristics, including exaggerated, sexually driven dress-code and behavior. The same antagonistic attitude toward accepted social codes was applied to national politics. Queers were more likely to embrace radical political creeds of one word community (one worldism) or anarchism. Conversely, all forms of patriotism or nationalism were rejected and mainstream LGBTs were labeled homonationalists.
The second relates to the choice of international targets for queer activism. As well-known, after the end of the colonial wars in the 1960s, virtually the entire Left adopted the Israeli-Palestinians conflict as their cause célèbre and the Palestinians into poster children of all that was wrong with the allegedly colonial, capitalist, and imperialist international system. Taking its cue from the Western peers, the fledgling Israeli queer group that had split from the mainstream LGBT in the 1980s, adopted the same harsh critique of Israel. Kvisa Shchora, (Black Laundry) a group co-founded by Aeyal Gross, now a professor of law at Tel Aviv University, organized radical street theater where semi-nude activists scrolled, some appearing in cross-dress, with pro-Palestinian slogans written on their bodies.
The third dynamic is linked to the burgeoning field of gender studies in Israel. Though broadly defined as the study of gendered identity and gendered representations, Israeli gender studies seems to be skewed toward feminist, LGBT, and queer studies with its seamless transition into Palestinian issues. Preoccupation with Machsom Watch, is said to fit gender studies because Machsom members are women. As already noted, Hagar Kotef justified her study of Anarchist against the Wall on the ground that many members of the group are queer. The article” by Merav Amir and Hagar Kotef "Limits of Dissent, Perils of Activism: Spaces of Resistance and the New Security Logic" published in Radical Geography, is a good case in point. According to the abstract:
"On 26 December 2003 an Israeli activist was shot by the Israeli Army while he was participating in a demonstration organized by Anarchists Against the Wall (AAtW) in the West Bank. This was the first time Israeli Soldiers have deliberately shot live bullets at a Jewish-Israeli activist. This paper is an attempt to understand the set of conditions, the enveloping frameworks, and the new discourses that have made this event, and similar shootings that soon followed, possible. Situating the actions of AAtW within a much wider context of securitization—of identities, movements, and bodies—we examine strategies of resistance which are deployed in highly securitized public spaces. We claim that an unexpected matrix of identity in which abnormality is configured as security threat render the bodies of activists especially precarious. The paper thus provides an account of the new rationales of security technologies and tactics which increasingly govern public spaces.“
In spite of the rather convoluted prose, queer studies code-words such as identities, bodies, secularized identity, etc., are easy to recognize.
The four dynamic involved the academic-activist feedback loop. Since pro-Palestinian activism is almost entirely a campus-driven phenomenon, it relies heavily on academic research for legitimacy. A perusal of the canonical literature of the pro-Palestinian advocacy reveals that research by Israeli scholars who depict Israel as an apartheid state or a brutal neo-Nazi style occupying force, resonates especially well. Not surprisingly, the large body of research on Machsom Watch, Anarchists against the Wall, B'Tselem and others are used to justify the position of queers against Israel.
There is little doubt that the academic-activist loop has worked very well for the queers against Israel. But gender studies in Israel and the taxpayers who support them are clearly outside the loop.
|Allahu Akbar at UC Davis: Free Speech or anti-Semitic Abuse ?|
|Not since the McCarthy period has the issue of free speech on American campuses became so controversial. While the anti-Communist passions of the Cold War have died down, the BDS movement has created a most daunting challenge to the issue of free speech.
The article below describes the scene in aftermath of a vote in favor of BDS at the University California Davis.
The Davis campus has been known as a stronghold of pro-Palestinian activism for some time now, but the most recent episode has reached a new height. Pro-Palestinian activists chanted Allahu Akbar and made anti-Israeli comments that could be construed as anti-Semitic. In a separate incident, swastikas were painted on a Jewish fraternity house close to campus.
University Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi stated that last week’s BDS vote “does not reflect the position of U.C. Davis or the University of California system.” But the swastika event triggered an immediate and strong reaction from the authorities. Katehi denounced it in the strongest possible terms calling the behavior “repugnant and a gross violation of the values our university holds dear.” She added, “nothing rivals a swastika as a more potent or offensive symbol of hatred and violence toward our Jewish community members.”
The Allahu Akbar case is more complex, however. The Davis administration issued its stock reaction. The spokesman for the university stated: “Statements by individuals do not reflect a position of the university or the university community as a whole … U.C. Davis is built on a foundation of tolerance and inclusion, and we have an obligation to treat each other with respect and dignity even when we disagree.”
Arguably, the administration tried to hedge its bets by reminding everyone that discourse on campus should be tolerant of all views, but stopped short of denouncing the behavior at the BDS meeting as anti-Semitic or a hate crime. Even the subsequent tweets of some activists to the effect that “Israel will fall” and that “sharia law took over the campus” do not clarify the picture. To recall, during the Vietnam War, students took over entire campuses and declared them to be the “Republic of Vietnam” or some other socialist paradise.
The UC Davis case attracted attention of the media. It remains to be seen if legal remedies would be used to clarify the Allahu Akbar case.
|Legal Eagle: An Update on the Steven Salaita Case|
|As widely expected, Steven Salaita, a professor in Native American studies whose hiring at the University of Illinois was rescinded by the Board of Trustees, has sued the university (See below Salaita's complaint). As previously reported, Salaita, of a Palestinian-Jordanian heritage posted some highly offensive tweets during the Gaza operation last year. In his court filing Salaita contends that the university violated his freedom of speech.
A faculty report found that there were procedural problems with the way Salaita’s offer was rescinded but noted that there were valid reasons for not hiring him. (See below statement by University of Illinois).
It is hard to predict whether the case would be adjudicated on narrow procedural grounds or whether it touch upon the broader issue of civil and academic freedom that are at the heart of the plaintiff’s suit. Should the court rule along the latter line, the Salaita case will add to the relevant case law.
Needless to say, the litigation would be watched very closely by both pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli supporters. Its outcome may affect the way Israeli-Palestinian advocacy is conducted on campus
|The German research group Europe in the Middle East (EUME) supports radical scholarship against Israel|
|The German academy has served an important platform for delegitimizing Israel.
Scholars from Arab countries create ostensible objective Middle East programs and seek funding from German foundations to support their work.
Europe in the Middle East - The Middle East in Europe (EUME), featured bellow, is a case in point. Georges Khalil is the academic coordinator of the EUME which is described officially as "a joint research program of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the Fritz Thyssen Foundation and the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. It builds upon the previous work of the Working Group Modernity and Islam".
EUME seeks to "rethink key concepts and premises that link and divide Europe and the Middle East. The program draws on the international expertise of scholars in and outside of Germany and is embedded in university and extra-university research institutions in Berlin. It supports historical-critical philology, rigorous engagement with the literatures of the Middle East and their histories, the social history of cities and the study of Middle Eastern political and philosophical thought (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and secular) as central fields of research not only for area or cultural studies, but also for European intellectual history and other academic disciplines. The program explores modernity as a historical space and conceptual frame."
Missing from the description is EUME’s effort to present Israel in a highly negative light. Perusing the research topics, the list of fellows and featured lectures makes this clear. For instance, the center boasts the names Gish Amit, Yuval Evri, Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin and Yehouda Shenhav – all radical political activists who have used their scholarship to advance a political agenda.
On the 4th of Jun 2014, the program "explored" the Arab-Jews concept in a conference The Possibilities of Arab-Jewish Thought“ that stated: the “Arab Jew” evoked a growing amount of attention in recent years, both in popular and in academic circles, in Israel and Palestine, and in the Arab World." As IAM previously reported, Yehouda Shenhav (TAU) is the author of the notion that the Mizrahim in Israel are actually Arab Jews whose real Arab identity was suppressed by the Zionists. Shenhav invented the “Arab Jews” to support his grand idea of a bi-national state whose core is expected to be made up by the Palestinians and the Mizrahim - based on their alleged cultural affinity, not to mention their common distaste for the Ashkenazi Jews, the descendants of the “European colonialists.”
Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin appeared in February 2014 to give a talk: "Netanyahu's Challenge: Can the Palestinians accept Israel as a Jewish State?" Raz-Krakotzkin of Ben Gurion University's Jewish History Department, has been covered by IAM before, when he led efforts to revive Brit Shalom, a small group of intellectuals in Mandatory Palestine who proposed to create a binational Jewish Palestinian state. Raz-Krakotzkin has made a career of blaming Israel for all the failures to reach peace with the Palestinians.
Needless to say, by inviting these individuals, EUME achieves two goals; it uses the legitimacy of the Israeli academy to defend itself from charges of anti-Semitism and can present a highly biased view of the Israeli reality.
IAM has been analyzing the role of German foundations in supporting radical scholarship in Israel. Clearly, their involvement on German campuses needs to be explored as well.
|Legal Eagle - The Case of Professor Steven Salaita and Israel: The Debate about Academic Freedom in the US|
|Steven Salaita, an associate professor of English at Virginia Tech was apparently on the verge of being hired by the department of American Indian Studies of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
However, following Salaita harsh anti-Israeli comments on social media, the Department rescinded its offer.
Cary Nelson, a former president of the Association of American University Professors (AAUP) and a faculty member of the University wrote that, given Salaita’s deeply biased view, the decision was justified. But the president, Rudy Fichtenbaum, stated that Salaita’s expressions are strictly extra-curricular and that his academic freedom, along with that of the faculty who picked him, were violated. The Native Americans and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) followed up with its own condemnation of the University for withdrawing its offer.
While it is generally understood that extra-curricular expressions of faculty are part of academic freedom, the Salaita case exposed a close connection between his activism and scholarship. Ostensibly, an expert on American Indian Studies, most of his publishing are on Arabs in America and, even more puzzling, on the Israeli Palestinian conflict. His latest book, Israel’s Dead Soul is telling in this context. According to one reader, Salatia’s scholarship is “shoddy;” replete with slogans and generalities rather than empirical research.
At the moment, the legal ramification of the case are not clear. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has reportedly offered him a settlement to help compensate the wage loss for rescinding his job offer but some critics are saying it's not enough. According to other observers, Salaita received a written offer from the University thus opening an avenue for legal redress.
IAM will provide updates on the case.
|University staff call to resist conscription and draft dodging|
|In the past IAM informed its readers of the activities of tenured faculty and their abuse of academic freedom. As Professor Ziva Shamir, the former head of the School of History at TAU, revealed, some faculty have turned their university offices into extensions of their political party bureaus.
Some junior staff has followed the same path.
The article below is a call by a group of political activists to fellow-Israeli reservists to evade draft.
Some of the signatories to this call are university staff, such as Yotam Kidron TAU clinic for refugee rights, Uri Gordon BGU, Ariel Handel TAU & BGU, Chen Misgav TAU PEC Lab. The others are students and some have been teaching assistants. They are, Efrat Even-Tzur, Kalil Agassi, Ofri Ilani, Lior Ben Eliahu, Maya Gutman, Gal Gvili, Or Glicklich, Erez Garnai, Amir Livne Bar-On, Maya Michaeli, Naama Nagar, Tom Pessah, Guy Ron-Gilboa.
As recently stated, IAM supports the rights of faculty of all ranks to express political opinions outside their classrooms. This is a right they share with other citizens. However, academics have no right to be above the law. According to the Israeli Penal Code, incitement to dodge military service (Section 109) and inciting soldiers to disobey legal orders (Section 110) are criminal offenses.
Israeli institutions of higher education have an obligation to make sure that their employees do not break the law under the guise of academic freedom.
Tolerating this behavior sets a clear signal that there are two standards in Israel, one for academics and the other for the rest.
|Should Criticism of Israel Be Equated with Anti-Semitism?|
|Our post on Academic Freedom and Operation Protective Edge in Gaza has received a number of comments from readers. One, from John Kelly, a professor of chemical engineering at the Faculty of Engineering of University College Dublin (UCD), a veteran pro-Palestinian advocate and a vehement critic of Israel, raises two important issues thus meriting a response.
First, Professor Kelly states that our post suggests that all criticism of Israel should be equated with anti-Semitism. Nothing could be further from the truth. Over the years, IAM has constantly stated that even harsh criticism of Israel is a legitimate part of the discourse and should not be labelled anti-Semitic. The only exception to this rule is provided by the European Union's “Working Definition of Anti-Semitism,” that is currently used by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). According to the working definition, comparing Israeli behavior toward Palestinians to that of Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews, is considered a new form anti-Semitism. We are including the link to the document for Professor Kelly to peruse.
Second, Professor Kelly accuses the IDF of committing horrible war crimes during the current Gaza operation and states that “Israel will pay a horrible price”. There is no disputing the fact that Palestinians civilians suffered grievously during the still ongoing conflict; pictures of innocent women and children killed and maimed touch the hearts of decent people everywhere.
The pertinent question, however, is who is responsible for this suffering. Hamas and Islamic Jihad are jihadist terror groups that follow the strategic doctrine the Koranic Concept of War of Brigadier General S. K. Malik of the Pakistani High Command. Malik states that in fighting the enemy, there should be no distinction between uniformed combatants and civilians. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards adopted Malik’s strategy developed tactics of suicide bombings, first used in Lebanon in the 1980s, and then by Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Israel, starting in the early 1990s. After Israel build the separation barriers, rocket and missiles attacks on Israeli civilians have become the weapon of choice.
More interesting, Brigadier General Malik asserts that Muslim civilians should see themselves as willing combatants whose sacrificies will be qualify them to become shahids, martyrs. Hamas has used this assertion to position itself in densely populated area, mosques, schools and hospitals, effectively turning civilians into human shields. For instance, the central command of Hamas is known to be located under the Shifa Hospital in Gaza. The miles and miles of tunnels were dug under residential areas.
Fighting a terror group that adopted the Koranic Concept of War is inherently difficult. The IDF is called upon to abide by the Geneva Conventions that call for maximum protection of civilian population. Indeed, to minimize casualties, the military dropped leaflets, made phone calls and texted residents. While most left, some were blocked by operatives and some decided to stay on their own accord. Hamas, who spent millions of dollars on constructing a most elaborate system of tunnels, did not built one shelter for civilians, The UN schools that housed thousands are a poor substitute for proper concrete and steel reinforced shelters; some were hit during the operation, mostly because terrorists - in a bid for protection - located their positions nearby or by an errant Israeli munition. In spite of tremendous strides in precision weaponry, no war is free of mistakes, including several instances of death by friendly fire in the IDF.
As a terror group, Hamas is primarily dedicated for its ideological goal of destroying Israel - a goal clearly spelled in its founding charter. Responsibility for the welfare of the population under its control is a distance second. While pleading poverty, the group found untold millions to build the sophisticated tunnel infrastructure and purchased missiles from North Korea, among others. Stiff levies - of up to twenty five percent - are imposed on all commercial activities in Gaza and an array of taxes flows into the coffers of Hamas, providing a plush life style for the leaders. Criticism of the authorities is punished very severely and no public protest is allowed. Indeed, during a rare demonstration against Hamas’ conduct of the Gaza conflict, thirty protesters were shot.
As a scientist, Professor Kelly should appreciate the above fact. As a fair-minded person, he should concede that Israel is not the only one to blame for the tragic events unfolding in Gaza. Such an admission is necessary if he wants to part company with the group of hard-core pro-Palestinian advocates, the ones for whom “Israel can never do any right and the Palestinians can never do any wrong.”
|Academic Freedom and Operation Protective Edge in Gaza|
|As expected, the Gaza operation has created a passionate debate about the limits of academic freedom – triggered when Professor Rivka Carmi, president of BGU announced that the authorities will monitor Facebook posting to ensure compliance with the University's ethics code. TAU leadership appealed too, stating "Tel Aviv University condemns and denounces all attacks and offensive remarks propagated on social networks these days which do not belong in a public discourse. The University will act in accordance with applicable disciplinary policies on students and staff in any case of infringement."
Faculty organizations reacted strongly against what they perceived as censorship. For instance, the association of Philosophy protested against the limitation of free speech. Meanwhile, radical scholars launched a number of petitions to protest what they described a horrific assault of IDF against the civilian population of Gaza. Right-wing scholars responded by accusing their left-wing colleagues of “blood libel” and “treason.”
It is beyond the limits of this post to analyze this voluminous and still growing exchange on the subject. Some observations, however, are in order, especially in view of the comparative material in Academic Freedom in Israel: A Comparative Perspective.
Scholars, like other citizens of Israel, have the right to express their opinion, however unpalatable and biased it may sound to others. During the Vietnam War, academics expressed extremely strong anti-American sentiments. During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, both American and British scholars posted highly damning opinions on the issue, including personal attacks on President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Academic freedom has certain limits. First, faculty cannot violate extant laws; in the case of Israel calls to refuse military service and support of BDS are clear infractions. It is noted that in the United States, Great Britain and Germany, a combination of case law and contractual obligations rules out support for BDS, especially by employees of public universities. Indeed, during the depth of the Vietnam War, even the most strident critics such as Professor Noam Chomsky did not call to boycott the United States.
Second, faculty are expected to keep their political opinion out of the classroom and formal exchanges with students. Bar-Ilan University is right to investigate a professor who expressed his heartfelt opinion on Gaza in an email to his student dealing with extension of exam periods for the course.
Third, faculty are urged to follow the European Union’s “Working Definition of anti-Semitism,” that describes comparisons of Israel to Nazi Germany as a new form of anti-Semitism. In the past, radical Israeli scholars have “found” that the IDF has treated the Palestinians in ways comparable to the treatment of Jews by the Nazis.
|Operation Protective Edge - Palestinian Suffering Used to Demonize Israel|
|As long as Palestinians continue to serve as lightning rod against Jews, their supposed victimization reaffirming the latter’s millenarian demonization, Israel will never be allowed to defend itself.
No sooner had Israel launched Operation Protective Edge to stop
the sustained rocket and missile attacks on its civilian population by the Gaza-based Hamas terror organization than it came under a barrage of international criticism, with tens of thousands of violent demonstrators flocking into the streets of London, Paris, Berlin, Oslo, Sydney, Buenos Aires and New York, among other places, to demand an end to the “Gaza slaughter.”
How can this be? Why do citizens of democratic societies enthusiastically embrace one of the world’s most murderous Islamist terror organizations, overtly committed not only to the destruction of a sovereign democracy but also to the subordination of Western values and ways of life to a worldwide Islamic caliphate (or umma)? Not out of a genuine concern for Palestinian wellbeing. For although the “Palestine question” has received extraordinary media coverage for decades to the exclusion of far worse humanitarian and political problems, the truth is that no one really cares about the fate of the Palestinians: not their leaders, who have immersed their hapless constituents in disastrous conflicts rather than seize the numerous opportunities for statehood since the Peel Commission report of 1937; not the Arab states, which have brazenly manipulated the Palestinian cause to their self-serving ends; and not Western politicians, the media, NGOs, human rights activists, and church leaders enticed into self-righteous indignation by any Israeli act of self-defense.
|Hijacked: Feminist Studies in Israel and Beyond|
|Phyllis Chesler, one of the pioneers of women studies in the United States notes in her article that feminist activists have turned the field a tool for bashing Israel. The forthcoming meeting of international women studies is indicative of the trend- as many of the panels and individual topics are devoted to condemning Israel. Chesler explains that women studies came under influence of neo-Marxist, critical philosophy that is inherently hostile to Zionism and Israel.
Women studies in Israeli universities reflect the same pattern. Many of its practitioners - such as Hanna Herzog, Merav Amir, Hadar Kotef, Michal Givoni, among others, are activists who virtually exclusively focus on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This is not a coincidence; IAM has frequently reported that, regardless of their nominal field of expertise, radical faculty tends to do research and publish on the conflict.
That so many among the faculty in women studies engage in this practice is deplorable; it robes students and society from the benefit of research on a broad variety of issues. Once again, it leaves the taxpayer with footing the bill for a political enterprise dressed up in academic robes.
|University and College Union Strikes Again!|
|As reported, the University and College Union (UCU), the largest academic trade union in the world representing more than a hundred thousands British faculty, has a long record of anti-Israeli hostility. Driven by members associated with British Committee for Universities in Palestine (BRICUP) and other pro-Palestinian groups, UCU passed a number of BDS resolutions in recent years.
Responding to perceived institutional anti-Semitism, Ronnie Fraser, a Jewish member, took the union to court but in 2012 a Labor Tribunal ruled against him, stating: "we greatly regret that the case was ever brought. At heart it represents an impermissible attempt to achieve a political end by litigious means."
Widely perceived a devastating blow to the notion that BDS is equivalent to anti-Semitism, the ruling emboldened the UCU. During its May 2014 meeting, the union's congress authorized a large delegation to travel to Gaza to report on how the Israeli blockade affects the education of girls.
The British Foreign Office warned that the trip was dangerous and some members voiced their displeasure with spending funds on a marginal mission, but such initiatives are likely to continue as the UCU congress has a large representation of pro-Palestinian activists.As reported, the University and College Union (UCU), the largest academic trade union in the world representing more than a hundred thousands British faculty, has a long record of anti-Israeli hostility. Driven by members associated with British Committee for Universities in Palestine (BRICUP) and other pro-Palestinian groups, UCU passed a number of BDS resolutions in recent years.
Responding to perceived institutional anti-Semitism, Ronnie Fraser, a Jewish member, took the union to court but in 2012 a Labor Tribunal ruled against him, stating: "we greatly regret that the case was ever brought. At heart it represents an impermissible attempt to achieve a political end by litigious means."
Widely perceived a devastating blow to the notion that BDS is equivalent to anti-Semitism, the ruling emboldened the UCU. During its May 2014 meeting, the union's congress authorized a large delegation to travel to Gaza to report on how the Israeli blockade affects the education of girls.
The British Foreign Office warned that the trip was dangerous and some members voiced their displeasure with spending funds on a marginal mission, but such initiatives are likely to continue as the UCU congress has a large representation of pro-Palestinian activists.
|Who is Funding Radical Left Groups in Israel?|
|IAM has posted a number of articles on academics backing the Zochrot group, including Adi Ophir, Ariella Azoulay, Yehouda Shenhav(TAU), Hannan Hever, Louise Bethlehem (HUJ). These and their ideological peers support a bi-national state with a right of return for the Palestinians.
Shenhav went so far as to suggest that the binational state should build new villages for the returning refugees and create tribunals for adjudicating disputed urban centers such as Haifa, Jerusalem and Jaffa.
Zochrot collects exhibits featuring archival footage of Palestinian life prior to 1948. The group does not neglect the future either; it recently held an exhibition on "imagining" the binational future.
IAM has reported on the funding of radical groups, listing governments, trade unions, sources, religious groups and foundations, among others. In the case of Zochrot, the funding, as the article below details, comes from charities associated with mainline Christian churches as well as the Catholic Church.
Complicating matters is that many of the groups that fund Zochrot and many other radical activists in Israel, are supported by European governments. Still, others receive funding through grant "clearing houses" like the Tides Foundation.
More information on funding networks at the conference "BDS Against Israel: On Campus and Beyond" on Wednesday, the 14th of May 2014 at 6pm in Tel Aviv University, Max Webb Building, Hall 1. The public is invited to attend.
|Boycott Divestment Sanctions: the Internal Debate in the Jewish American Community |
|The heated debate on BDS in Israel has produced many opinions, ranging from those who consider the movement to be anti-Semitic, to those who view it as a legitimate criticism of Israel's policy toward the Palestinians.
The Hillel organization on American campuses have turned into newest battleground in the BDS wars. As reported, Swathmore College in Pennsylvania was the first Hillel to reject the Hillel International guideline that bars the appearance of speakers who support BDS. It declared itself to be an Open Hillel last December, followed by the Vassar College Hillel.
The Open Hillel movement was launched by activists at the Harvard Hillel and may spread around, especially on campuses that are not dependent on funding from Hillel International.
The movement has been closely followed by communal leaders in the United States who face the problem of delineating the boundaries of permissible expressions with regard to Israel. Recently, Judith Butler, a professor at Berkeley University and an outspoken supporter of BDS was invited and then disinvited by the Jewish Museum in New York where she was scheduled to talk about Franz Kafka. The incident ended when Butler announced she was withdrawing from the lecture but the heated debate around freedom of speech and BDS may be just beginning. Butler co-started a petition to protest the "BDS litmus test" that attracted many Jewish signatories and not only from the radical Jewish left.
The intracommunal division over BDS have played out against a changing Jewish demographic in America as illustrated by the recentPew Survey. The results - accepted by scholars and communal leaders alike - show that the younger generation of Jews, including students have a more individualized sense of identity and fewer links to the traditional Jewish community. The ties to Israel, once a pivotal part of Jewish identify have also lessened. Indeed, the Open Hillel movement may be a reflection of the new demographics.
|What Does Taxpayer Money Buy?|
|Not much when it comes to higher education in social sciences. IAM has written repeatedly about the dominance of the critical, neo-Marxist perspective in some departments of sociology and political science in certain universities, with Ben Gurion University leading the field. The Syllabus Project of IAM has shown that activist-radical faculty have used their classroom as an extension of their political agenda. As the following article states, this is a poor return on the taxpayers investment.
There has been a robust debate in the West as to how to adjust public higher education to the requirements of the market in the face of shirking budgets. For instance, both in the United States and Great Britain there is a move to demand that universities equip their social science students with some marketable skills, especially quantitative methods. for which there is an ever increasing demand. Sociology of organizations - another growing field is also emphasized - to keep up with profound changes to society from the industrial to the information technology age.
But in Israel, as the article below states, there has never been a public debate about the subject. The International Evaluation Committees of both the Department of Politics and Government and the Department of Sociology at Ben Gurion University have offered a scathing critique along these lines. The absence of quantitative methods is compounded by the dominance of the critical, neo-Marxist perspective in the syllabi - whereby even popular subjects like sociology of organizations are offered by critical scholars who have no training in the field. As well known, critical scholars consider quantitative methods to be part of "hegemonic narrative" that needs to be uprooted from the social sciences.
University authorities are aware of the problem but, after the debacle of the Department of Politics and Government - where virtually a tsunami of protest was organized by the Department - are not likely to take steps, regardless of the recommendation of the Evaluation Committees.
Even though the critical, neo-Marxist faculty considers rational choice theory and other quantitative methods to be "hegemonic narrative," they have been adept at creating a zero-sum game, whereby they are the winners and the taxpayer, and the society at large, are the losers.
|British Lawmaker Apologizes for Equating Palestinians in Gaza to the Jews in the Holocaust|
|Ever so often a foreign politician is forced to apologize for attempting the Holocaust-Palestinian equivalency. The most current case involved a British MP who apologized for comments to that effect. As reported, such comparisons are known as Nazification of Israel, according to the Working Definition of Anti-Semitism adopted by the European Union.
In contrast, none of the Israeli academics engaged in pushing the alleged Holocaust-Palestinian equivalency have offered an apology. Among the more recent ones are Adi Ophir, Ariella Azoulay, Moshe Zimmermann and Moshe Zuckermann. One of the pioneers of the equivalency, Professor Yeshayahu Liebowitz, even had a street named after him.
The old saying that what is good for the goose is good for the gander evidently does not apply here.
|Barry Rubin: Personal Reflections |
|Some of us have known Barry for many years, others had only a passing acquaintance.
Still, he has touched our lives in many ways, as a friend, colleague and editor.
Barry was not only a prolific scholar and analyst but one of the most erudite persons around. Whether it was a quote from Mark Twain, Shakespeare or Bob Dylan, he managed to bring to his commentaries a unique perspective and a wit, seldom seen in the field of Middle East studies.
In spite of his numerous commitments he was generous with his time, especially as the editor of The Middle East Review of International Affairs which became one of the premier journals in the discipline.
His writings have guided all of us, along an entire generation of scholars; his towering intellect would be sorely missed.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
IAM Editorial Team
|The EUMC Working Definition of anti-Semitism legitimate as it always was|
|In December IAM reported on the Removal of the "Working Definition of Anti-Semitism" by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights from its website. At the time, there was some uncertainty as to the status of the Working Definition. Lesley Klaff, a senior lecturer in law at Sheffield Hallam University, U.K provided IAM with a clarification - based on comments by Dr. David Hirsh, a Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London and the founder of Engage, a campaign against academic boycotts of Israel.
Hirsh asserts that the EUMC Definition is still valid and legitimate even though it has been removed from the FRA website. On the contrary, as the article below indicates, it has been used as a point of reference in the continuous struggle to define anti-Semitic expressions as they pertain to the State of Israel. To recall, the Working Definition makes a clear distinction between legitimate criticism of Israel and its policies and those that assume an anti-Semitic form. For instance, "Nazification of Israel - comparing it to Nazi Germany - is considered to be an anti-Semitic expression.
As such, the Working Definition brings much needed clarity on the highly inflamed discourse on Israel . On one hand, radical voices on the Right would like to label of criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic; on the other, radical voices on the Left who oppose the entire Zionist project by depicting Israel as a Nazi-like or apartheid state, risk being labelled as anti-Semitic.
In her email to IAM Klaff summarized, "the fact that it is no longer on the FRA website is irrelevant. It was always controversial and was never official yet it is just as valid and as legitimate as it always was. Just use it as you always have done."
|Removal of the "Working Definition of Anti-Semitism" by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights|
|Recently the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (AFR) removed the "Working Definition of Anti-Semitism from its website. The doc'ument was composed in 2004 by the European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) and contained a list of anti-Semitic acts and expressions, including egregious attacks on Israel and Zionism. The latter was a recognition that traditional acts of anti-Semitism have been surpassed by anti-Zionism and anti-Israelism. The "Working Definition" have served as a semi-legal guideline in monitoring the growing instances of anti-Semitism in Europe. The docu'ment - written by a group of legal scholars - made it clear that criticism of Israel and its occupation policy was a legitimate expression of free speech. On the other hand, equating Israel with Nazi Germany, the so-called "Nazification of Israel" was considered to be an anti-Semitic expression.
The removal of the "Working Definition" has caused an uproar among European Jews and their representatives. Some, like Shimon Samuels, director for International Relations of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, expressed puzzlement that the AFR, according to its spokesperson, lack the official definition of anti-Semitism. Samuels wandered how can anyone fight anti-Semitism without defining what it is.
While the debate over the removal of the "Working Definition" will go on, it is especially distressing that Mira Bar- Hillel, the Israeli-born Independent columnist in London who received her doctorate in philosophy from the Hebrew University, rushed to praise the removal of the Working Definition.
Her argument is ill-informed. As noted, the "Working Definition" has never prevented criticism of Israeli policy, including the current action of the EU to boycott Israeli settlement policies. It did prevent, however, the long-term project of vilification and demonization of Israel. For instance, a recent all European poll found that some 60 percent believe that Israel is waging a genocidal war against Palestinians. This and other statistics are included in the 2013 book by Manfred Gerstenfeld Demonizing Israel and the Jews.
Bar Hillel should read Gerstenfeld's book to understand that the removal of the "Working Definition" will deepen the delegitimization of Israel.
|Anti-Semitic Expressions in the Israeli Academy: Academic Freedom or Academic Anarchy?|
|The 75 anniversary of Kristallnacht has sparked an examination of the state of anti-Semitism in Europe and beyond. As the article below indicates, there are plenty of new manifestations of the old phenomenon and, more worrisome, such expressions have traveled from the periphery into the mainstream.
Observers note that much of the new anti-Semitism has been spurred by anti Israelism and anti-Zionism. In 2004 the European Union's Monitoring Center (EUMC) issued a comprehensive report on the subject. While the authors consider criticism of Israel's foreign policy in general and occupation policy in particular to be legitimate, they point out that in many cases it has devolved into a virulent critique of Israel and Zionism, which is considered to be a new form of anti-Semitism. The EUMC guidelines "Working Definition of anti-Semitism" have been adopted by the European Union and shaped the legal view of anti-Semitism.
Among others, the EUMC considers equating Israel with Nazi Germany - defined as Nazification of Israel - to be a new form of anti-Semitism, alongside accusations that Israel is an apartheid state modeled on South Africa. Groups or individuals who engage in Nazifaction of Israel are likely to be censured or even prosecuted; efforts to equate the treatment of Palestinians to the fate suffered by Jews during the Holocaust are vigorously contested. As the article states, "to debunk this equivalency myth it would suffice to point out that the Jews arriving in Auschwitz had only a few hours, or at most a few weeks, to live, while life expectancy for the Palestinians in Gaza or on the West Bank is 72 years. It would suffice to point out that more Jews were murdered in Auschwitz during one single month than Palestinians have died during the entire 65 years of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
The "Working Definition" has also impacted the debate on campuses. The research on Academic Freedom in Israel: A Comparative Perspective indicates that in the three comparative case studies - Germany, Great Britain and the United States - academic freedom, especially in public, tax-supported institutions, faculty have been quite careful not to engage in Nazification of Israel; it brings unwanted public attention, including complaints from Jewish organizations and, a number of cases, of dismissal or demotion.
In a case wrought with supreme irony, Nazification of Israel on the Israeli campuses have been protected by a misguided notion of academic freedom. The late Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz pioneered the genre with a widely repeated line about "Judeo-Nazis"; he was closely followed by his Hebrew University colleague Professor Israel Shahak, a survivor of a concentration camp, who made the same allegations.
Among the more recent crop of scholars who imply a comparison of the fate of the Palestinians under occupation and the Jews during the Holocaust are Moshe Zimmermann, a professor at the Hebrew University and Moshe Zuckermann, a professor at Tel Aviv University. Adi Ophir, a philosophy professor in the Minerva Humanities Center at TAU, by employing the so-called critical philosophical approach, concluded that Israel is on the same ontological plane of evil as Nazi Germany. Ophir's applied work purports to show that there are "echoes of genocide in Gaza." Ariella Azoulay, described as director of photo-lexic research group at the Minerva Humanities Center, has used her skills to present a photographic evidence to prove the Nazi-Israeli connection. Neve Gordon from Ben Gurion University, has written an essay equating the fence around Gaza to that of the fences around Nazi concentration camps, and Micah Leshem from University of Haifa produced an explicit anti-Semitic cartoon to protest the occupation of the West Bank.
As opposed to Europe and the United States, the expressions of anti-Semitism on the Israeli campuses have suffered no consequences. In 1976-1977 calls to fire Shahak were rebuffed by the Hebrew University. In 2005 Abraham Foxman protested to no avail to the Hebrew University about Zimmermann. In April 2013 The Jerusalem municipality has reversed its previous decision and a street in Jerusalem's Hebrew University Givat Ram Campus is to be named after Leibowitch. Most recently, Haifa University donors complained about Leshem's cartoon only to be told by its president, Amos Shapira that such expressions are part of academic freedom of speech.
The 75 anniversary of Kristallnacht marks the time for Israel to adopt the EUMC "Working Definition." Israeli academics who perpetuate the Judeo-Nazi imagery do irreparable damage to the efforts to fight anti-Semitism. Clemens Heni, the director of the Berlin International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism, wrote that Israeli academics such as Moshe Zuckermann, who describes himself as a Holocaust survivor, are frequent speakers in blatantly anti-Israeli events in Germany.
The cases of Nazification of Israel on the Israeli campuses raise a broader moral question. How can Israel protest incidents of anti-Israeli/ anti-Semitic drawing on the EU's "Working Definition" when nothing is done at home. What would be the reaction in Jerusalem if an inventor of the "Judeo-Nazi" label had a street named after him in Germany?
Israel has evaded this issue of double standards by confusing academic freedom with academic anarchy.
|How to Create the Appearance of Academic Prestige? Misrepresent the Publishing Press|
|On October 30, 2013 Efraim Davidi of TAU (Sverdlin Institute) and BGU (Politics & Government) wrote to the Social Science Forum, a platform based at the HUJ, to inform about an evening devoted to a new book on Avishai Ehrlich's work. Ehrlich was one of the first members of the radical group Matzpen to join the academy as a lecturer of sociology at the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Academic College. His meager publishing record has included articles "demonstrating" that Israel is a retrograde, fascist state and such.
There is nothing surprising in Ehrlich's writings as it contains standard Matzpen themes paddled since the 1960s. What is interesting, however, is the misrepresentation of the identity of the book publishers. Davidi wrote that the book was published by the "British Cambridge" clearly implying that it was Cambridge University Press. In fact, the publishers are Cambridge Scholars Publishing, an obscure press based in Newcastle which is in no way related to Cambridge University Press.
Efforts by an IAM member to correct the misperception were rebuffed by the Social Science Forum without providing a reason. Thus it is only possible to speculate that the gatekeepers of the Forum were interested in preserving the charade of academic respectability. Indeed, many of the radical academics publish in marginal, self-proclaimed radical presses such as Pluto, Verso or Zed. The International Evaluation Committee of the BGU Department of Politics and Government noted that many of its members publish in non-mainstream venues, a fact that was counted as detrimental to the professional standing of the Department.
Social sciences are among the least competitive fields in the Israeli academy. Inflating the prestige of a press by a creating a false perception is not helpful.
|Playing with Numbers?|
|The Times report ranking of global higher education has triggered a chorus of voices concerned about the alleged deterioration of Israeli research universities. Predictably, academic leaders have accused the government for undercutting tertiary education by shrinking budgets. But the reality is more complex than the inflamed discourse suggests.
Yaacov Bergman of the school of Business and the Center for Research in Rationality HUJ, a leading expert in higher education, has maintained for years that the universities were less than candid with regard to the real contribution of the government to tertiary education. In a 2008 article in The Marker Bergman drew the attention to the lack of correspondence between the figures and what the academic leaders say in public. In May this year he questioned the Planning and Budget Committee as to why it did not post its annual reports for the years 2009-2012.
His more recent letter throws additional light on the issue, although it is still unanswered.
|Is the Government Diminished Funding for Higher Education Causing the Slide in Ratings?|
|As noted in previous postings, the Times rating elicited a large number of responses, mostly by academics accusing the Israeli government of defunding higher education and thus causing the slide in ratings.
As the following article indicates, faculty trying to obtain a bigger piece of the government pie, have misrepresented the complex reality behind the figures.
|Israel's Academic Standing in the International Community: Additional Reflections|
|The recent Times ranking of Israeli universities showing a decline in international standing has created quite a stir among academics. Predictably, the professors blame the government for cutting budgets for tertiary education and thus creating the problem.
But as Yakir Plessner explains in his article "The Government's Allocation to Research and Development - Is There an Existential Threat to Israel?" the faculty misrepresents the issue.
|Israeli Higher Education Declining in International Ranking: Reflections on The Times Report|
|Allowing that the ranking of universities, including the Times Higher Education one, is not entirely exact science, there are some worrisome signs afoot. Only two of the seven research universities have made it (barely) to the top two hundred list. The Samuel Neaman Institute in Haifa backed up these findings, noting that, in terms of publications, Israel went down from twelfth place just six years ago to number fifteenth.
There are many reasons for such decline, but one thing stands out. Most of the universities that took top place are private universities with a large donor base and a huge endowment. All Israeli universities are tax supported public institutions; they depend on a shrinking government budget overburdened by other social claims.
In his 2000 Report on Higher Education, Justice (ret.) Yaacov Maltz predicted that public largess will decline and urged the universities to engage in a series of reforms in order to create the more efficient management university model. Despite the fact that Maltz's reform were a timid version of the Margaret Thatcher higher education revolution, they were violently attacked by the faculty; to date, only part of the Maltz Reform was implemented.
Maltz's other suggestion - to increase the donor base of the universities to compensate for dwindling public funds - fared even less well. In the case of Haifa University and Ben Gurion University, fundraising suffered because of problems involving post-Zionist scholars. The former has yet to recover its standing with donors dismayed by Ilan Pappe; lately some donors were angered by the anti-Semitic cartoon of Professor Micah Leshem. The latter was dealt a serious setback when a donor refused to honor his commitment to enlarge and modernize the library in protest over Professor Neve Gordon's international call to boycott Israel.
The presidents of both institutions defended the radical scholars quoting academic freedom. As the IAM studyAcademic Freedom in Israel: A Comparative Perspective demonstrates, Israeli faculty enjoy expansive academic freedom compared to other Western countries. As the Times ranking proves, excessive freedom is not correlated with academic excellence. On the contrary, in the competitive world of today, a well managed university with a large endowment is as important.
Israeli universities will be well advised to follow through with the Maltz Report and limit the political activism of its radical faculty.
|Neo-Gramscians In the Israeli Academy: Political Activism in the Classroom|
|There is nothing new about radical faculty using the classroom to promote a political agenda. Antonio Gramsci, the Italian Communist who urged academics and intellectuals to use their workplace to promote progressive ideas has a relatively large following in the Israeli academy. Gramsci had little appreciation for the pedagogical ideas of Wilhelm von Humboldt, who urged to turn the liberal arts classroom into a "marketplace" of ideas - and so do his Israeli disciples such as Oren Yiftachel who described himself as a neo-Grasmcian.
The IAM Syllabus Project has tracked the syllabi of a number of self-identified activist scholars. As previously reported, Ofer Cassif who combines a senior position in the Communist Party with teaching political science, including a class at the Hebrew University, has made little effort to provide a balanced view of the subject.
Dani Filc (BGU) is another high profile activist faculty. Filc has been involved with the annual Marx conference, a collaboration of the Communist Party and Hagada Hasmalit (a radical left-wing website), described as an "alternative cultural space." The seventh annual Marx conference was held at the end of June in Tel Aviv, featuring Filc, Avishai Erlich (TA College), Efraim Davidi (TAU and BGU) among others.
Of course, Filc and other activists have the right to engage in politics, but Filc does not seem to think that there should be a separation between the political and the academic.
His chapter in a book edited by some members of the Department of Politics and Government at BGU, is a case in point. The editors including Oren Yiftachel, Uri Ram and David Newman describe the impact of radical academic writing; " a debate that began as part of a fringe academic discourse has now moved into the center of the public arena and has broken beyond boundaries of the academic ivory tower." [Introduction, Adriana Kemp, David Newman, Uri Ram and Oren Yiftachel, eds. Israelis in Conflict: Hegemonies, Identities and Challenges, (Brighton: Sussex Academic Press, 2004), 17.]
Filc's contribution - replete with de rigour quotes from Gramsci and Michele Foucault - criticizes in great length the "hegemonic neo-liberal project," a reference to market economy. He is also a harsh critic of the “hegemonic elites” that espouse neo-liberalism, a description that includes Likud’s leader Benjamin Netanyahu and his cohorts. [Dani Filc,”Social Citizenship in the Neo-Liberal Period: The Case of Israel's Health Services,” in Israelis in Conflict: Hegemonies, Identities and Challenges.]
Filc’s intense dislike of market economy is on display in a course titled Political View of the 20th Century which he offered with Neve Gordon. The syllabus features the usual pantheon of critical theorists - Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, Judith Butler. A reference to liberal economic theory - arguably an important part of the twentieth century theory – involved a radical critique by Wendy Brown, a colleague of Butler.
In the absence of texts by Fredrick Hayek, and other advocates of market economy, students cannot form an informed opinion on the relative merits of capitalism and socialism. While a clear violation of the Humboldtian pedagogical model, the syllabus follows closely the Gramscian dictum to turn the classroom into a center for political indoctrination.
|The Meager Achievements of Social Sciences in Israel: Some New Evidence|
|IAM has occasionally reported on the low standing of social sciences in Israel. To recall, they have trended well below Western averages. The reasons for this state of affairs is clear: cutting edge approaches such as rational choice theory and advanced quantitative methods are hardly the norm. Indeed, the International Committee on Evolution of Political Science departments under Professor Thomas Risse came to the same conclusion. Though its findings were interpreted as a political witch hunt against the Department of Politics and Government at BGU, the Committee had a broader point to make. In a separate evaluation of political science at Hebrew University, the Committee noted the meager offerings in quantitative methods, prompting the hiring of additional (suitable) faculty.
The latest starting grants by the European Research Council (ERC) tell the same story. Out of the 34 grants given to Israeli academics, only two went to social scientists - an economist at the HUJ and the political scientist at the IDC, Eran Halperin, who specializes in conflict resolution. Halperin has used advanced methodology, publishing in the premier Journal of Conflict Resolution, the "bible" of quantitative research on conflict. Halperin's research is a far cry from the usual Israel-bashing "findings" of neo-Marxist, critical scholars.
The Israeli taxpayer has the right to expect excellence in higher education, as measured by globally recognized indices. As long as the social sciences harbor numerous self-described neo-Marxist, critical scholars, the taxpayers are subsidizing a political agenda masquerading as academics.
|Academic Excellence is Paying Off|
|In the past year the BDS movement has made significant inroads on Western campuses. IAM reported on BDS initiatives that have reached as far as Australia. The BDS model is based on a view of a university as a political weapon to be wielded against real and imaginary causes. While universities should not be isolated ivory towers, their primary function is to nurture academic excellence.
It it precisely this type of excellence, notably in the sciences, that has made Israeli universities a highly desirable venue for bilateral contacts, as the following article indicates.
Recognizing Israel's academic excellence is not limited to the United States. Following one of the repeated votes of the British faculty association - The University and College Union (UCU) to boycott Israel, David Willets, Minister for Universities and Science, stated that a small number of “hotheads” would not stand in the way of British-Israeli scientific cooperation. Willets, who led a scientific and business delegation on what was described as a “fantastic” trip to Israel, noted that the level of academic collaboration between the two countries was an indication that the boycott initiative has failed.
These developments carry a lesson for Israeli radical faculty. Academics can be politically engaged, but they cannot turn their tenured positions into a full-time activism. Taxpayers and their elected representatives are entitled to a return on their investment in nurturing excellence.
|The Lament of the "Good Israelis" in the Academia - Continuation|
|IAM has recently commented on the bewildered reaction of left-wing Israeli faculty and students who find themselves shunned by their peers on Western campuses.
The Haaretz article below is the latest case in point. The author, an Israeli postgraduate student in Goldsmiths University of London, laments that, in spite of her credentials as left-wing peace supporter, she is shunned because of being an Israeli. In other words, her interlocutors do not care that she is a "good Israeli."
To those who know history, this should sound familiar. Delegitimization always starts with a seemingly rational goal of targeting just the "bad" element; at the end though the distinction between "good Jews" and "bad Jews," or "good Israelis" and "bad Israelis" evaporates
|Radical Hypocrisy of the Radical Left: Why British Universities Target Israel but no Others?|
|Stephen Hawking's decision to cancel a visit to Israel triggered a virtual deluge of op-eds, articles and essays. While most of those who chastised the famous scientist spoke about hypocrisy and anti-Semitism, few understand the financial underpinnings of the British universities relentless attack on Israel.
As the following article explains, Saudi Arabia and Gulf States have engaged in egregious violations of human rights for decades. Yet there are very few voices of protest emanating from the British faculty. The Universities and College Union (UCU) which has passed several resolutions to boycott Israel, has never discussed the human rights situation in the Gulf.
The reason is simple. Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries have spent billions of dollars to support a variety of programs in British universities such as Middle East studies, Islamic studies, Palestine studies, international relations studies and others. These programs harbor faculty that is hostile to Israel and serve as centers for anti-Israeli agitation. They also provide employment for former Israeli professors who are willing to bash Israel. It is hardly a coincidence that Ilan Pappe is now teaching at the Middle East Center at Exeter University; its founder, Professor Tim Nibloc, was a significant recipient of Arab largess. The same money sponsors the Israel Apartheid Week on campuses and other activities aimed at delegitimization of Israel.
Arab oil money buys not just academic hostility toward Israel but silence on violation of human rights in the Gulf and beyond. Not a bad investment considering the pay-offs of hypocrisy.
|Ofira Seliktar's Lecture for the IAM Round table, May 3, 2013|
|When Dana Barnett approached me about doing a project on Academic Freedom in Israel in a comparative perspective, I have worked on a larger project on Delegitimization of Israel. Unlike ordinary criticism of Israel, the delegitimization campaign is part of Soft Asymmetrical Conflict (SAC). The Pentagon defines SAC as a campaign to delegitimize the target country and to improve the image of the challenge group and the causes it represents.
The anti -Israel SAC involved an extensive, complex, multilayered, interlocking and well-financed network. Its components include NGOs, UN-based forums, EU-sponsored entities, sovereign governments, religious organizations, academic associations, scholars, committees, conferences, symposia, journals and presses.
Michel Foucault developed the idea of soft asymmetrical conflict by inverting the idea of famous dictum of Clausewitz that “war is a continuation of politics by other means” to read” politics is war by other means.” Foucault and his disciplines considered the “discursive arena” as a battlefield; using critical approaches, intellectuals and scholars can delegitimize “hegemonic” narrative and substitute it with the narrative of the of the powerless and suppressed strata in the society.
The core of the delegimitzation is in the academy, since it is the academic paradigms that structure our view of social reality. There are two paradigms that are currently used in liberal arts (humanities and social sciences)
Positivist: “Truth” is arrived at through a discursive-pedagogical process with fixed rules, including objectivity and neutrality. The liberal arts classroom becomes the “marketplace of ideas.”
Neo-Marxist, Critical: There is no social “truth,” there are “narratives,” critical scholars need to expose the “hegemonic” narrative” of the dominant classes. The scholar is urged to use teaching and research to advance social justice and other progressive issues.
While the neo-Marxist, critical paradigm made its debut in liberal arts in the late 1960s, it was Edward Said who introduced it to Middle East studies in his famous book Orientalism. Not accidently, Said thanks Foucault and the Egyptian neo-Marxist scholar Samir Amin for inspiring him to write the book.
Predictably, Israel looks very different in the two paradigms.
| Academic Freedom in Israel: A Comparative Perspective - updated|
|EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNAL SANCTIONS ANTISEMITISM|
|Having just finished reading the lengthy judgment in the case of Ronnie Fraser v The University and College Union, I want to comment briefly on the Employment Tribunal’s response to the allegation of anti-Semitism in the UCU; and to the claim that Israel is a non-contingent aspect of Jewish identity.
Anti-Semitism was the crux of Fraser’s case. His complaint against the UCU was that the union had created a hostile environment for him as a Jewish member (‘Jewish’ being a “protected characteristic” under s. 26 Equality Act 2010) by engaging in unwanted anti-Semitic conduct. He complained that the unwanted anti-Semitic conduct, which included not only speech but also acts and omissions, was due to a prevailing culture and attitude in the union that was informed by contemporary anti-Semitism. His written complaint, drafted by Anthony Julius who is renowned for his scholarly knowledge and innate understanding of anti-Semitism, went to great lengths to explain how and why forms of hostility to Israel and Zionism amount to contemporary anti-Semitism. The written complaint also explained that there have always been anti-Semitic Jews, as well as Jews who are ready to make common cause with anti-Semites, so that Jewish support for irrational hostility to Israel does not make it any the less anti-Semitic.
|Zochrot: Abusing the Memory of the Holocaust
|Zochrot was founded in 2002 by Eitan Bronstein, a veteran peace activist who previously worked in the Peace School in Neve Shalom. Zochrot mission is to educate Israeli citizens about the Nakba and restore the memory of Palestinian presence before 1948. According to Zochrot's mission statement, recognizing the tragedy is a prerequisite for ending the conflict, which also includes a return of Palestinian refugees and their resettlement in Israel.
Zochrot is supported by a number of entities such as Oxfam, Mennonites, Trócaire, CCFD, Broederlijk Delen & Belgian Government, Bischoefliches Hilfswerk Misereor, HEKS-EPER (see list below). The funding has enabled the group to mount an energetic campaign of exhibitions, workshops and conferences, both in Israel and abroad. For instance, in a forthcoming conference in October 2013, Zochrot's agenda calls for panels to discuss various factors of the expected return of the refugees.
A German group of activists who tried to educate their public about the Holocaust served as a model for Zochrot. Unfortunately, Zochrot not only copied the model but has actually engaged in a long-term project to equate the Nakba with Holocaust.
As IAM reported, a number of radical faculty have been engaged in this endeavor. The intellectual pioneers of the Nakba-Holocaust equivalency are Adi Ophir (TAU), Hannan Hever (HUJ), Yehouda Shehav (TAU) and Ariella Azoulay,. Azoulay, who specializes in "creating" photographic evidence "demonstrating" that the IDF treatment of Palestinian is similar to the fate of the Jews during the Holocaust. These academics have worked very closely with Zochrot; others such as Yair Auron, an expert on the Armenian genocide, appear as Zochrot guest lecturer to promote the same theme.
In an interview in 1995 by Avihai Nudel to Yerushalayim newspaper, Professor Moshe Zimmermann (HUJ) compared settlers to Hitlerjugend.
Reacting to a wave of anti-Semitism, in 2004, the European Union Monitoring Center (EUMC) published a document titled "A Working Definition of anti-Semitism" stating that "nazification of Israel" that is comparing it to Nazi Germany is a new form of anti-Semitism." The "Working Definition" was incorporated into the European Union Agency for Fundamental Right. That Zochrot and the radical faculty who support it should abuse the memory of the Holocaust is a travesty of academic freedom and, more to the point, an affront to basic human decency. By rejecting the UN Partition proposal and starting a war that they lost, the Palestinians placed themselves in a category of a losing belligerent. Whatever cost they paid for failing to win the war, is no way comparable to the Holocaust where six million were murdered for no other reason than being Jewish.
On the day that Israel commemorates the six million, it is important to assure that their memory is not sullied in the service of a radical political agenda.
|Or Kashti in Haaretz on the academia|
|Faced with the campaign being waged by the right to reshape reality, academia - as an institution based on values like skepticism, tolerance and pluralism - has barely raised its voice. At least, not in public. The number of academics who see public activism as part of their job description is declining. But even the larger organizations, like faculty groups, the various universities and the Israeli Academy of Humanities and Sciences, are trying to prevent any kind of statement being uttered about the increasingly ugly face of Israeli society. Self-censorship and conformity are more efficient than direct repression.|
|Friday Special - Prof. Edward Alexander reviews Dr. Clemens Heni's Antisemitism: A Specific Phenomenon|
|Clemens Heni is a young German scholar who has undertaken the Herculean task of throwing back the assault on Holocaust memory that is currently carried on “mostly in the ivory towers of esoteric academia” by activist professors (who demonstrate the explosive power of boredom). Himself a PhD in political science from Innsbruck and currently Director of the Berlin International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, Heni pays particular attention to the ignorance as well as tendentiousness of the learned.
“We are currently facing a …movement around the globe to distort the history of the Second World War and to deny the uniqueness and unprecedented character of the Holocaust…. Many scholars…seem to have a clear mission: universalizing the Holocaust and denying its specific anti-Jewish character.”
Heni shows, in this vast and discriminating critical survey of the campaign to make murdered European Jews into metaphors for both humanity in general and Palestinian Arabs in particular, that it would be dangerous to think of academics as harmless drudges who know so much about so little that they cannot be contradicted, nor are worth contradicting. Drudges they may be; harmless they are not. Their aims are not scholarly, but political—and often murderous.
Professors did not always take the lead in the campaign to make the Holocaust an assault not on Jews but on “humanity in general,” and eventually to reinvent the Palestinian Arabs as Jews and give them a free ride on the coattails of Jewish suffering.
|At a time of sea- change that needs research academics resurrect Communism|
|The fall of communism has dealt a blow to Communist parties around the globe, including that of Israel. But party members and sympathizers who joined the academy have escaped marginalization. To the contrary, as IAM repeatedly reported, they have used their positions to engage in radical, and time- intensive political activism and leave taxpayers holding the bag.
The Arab Spring and the social protest in Israel in the summer of 2011 rekindled hopes for a second coming of Marxism. Veteran activists - including Dani Filc, Yossi Amitai, Maya Rosenfeld (BGU), Anat Matar (TAU), Ehud (Udi) Adiv and Ilana Kaufman (Open University) and others- established a research group to discuss such prospects, under the auspices of the Van Leer Institute.
Their concluding international workshop "Between Revolutions:Public Protest and the Rejuvenation of Marxist Categories reflected the excitement of the group. These and other activists have advocated for a bi- national state - the original vision of the Communist Party in Palestine and the Canaanite Movement - that was inherited by Matzpen whose members joined the academy in the 1980s and 1990s, such as Udi Adiv. Using their academic positions, Matar and Rosenfeld have launched a variety of programs to realize the bi-national goal including the signature Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).
With the Arab Spring turning into an Islamist Winter and the street protests in Israel a distant memory, the mood of the 2012 study cycle has been more somber. Rather than a revolution, the objective was scaled to stopping the tide "of conservative republican neoliberalism."
But Marxism is still the guiding perspective. Under the title of "Post Communism and Political and Religious Thought in the Eastern Mediterranean Basin," members have turned to post-Marxist theory (also known as neo-Marxism) to ponder "the ontological and epistemological of class as a revolutionary historical subject and the development of theoretical and practical alternatives to class as a revolutionary historical player. " To those who find such ponderous verbiage confusing, here is a simple English translation. The group is trying to figure out how to create a Marxist revolution using some unspecified substitutes for class.
To this end, group members plan to look at the developments in the Middle East through the "prism of the philosophy of Egyptian, Lebanese, Syrian, Iraqi, Turkish, Palestinian and Israeli Communists" to "examine the nature of the rift and the alternatives proposed to fill the vacuum created." They also propose to meet with "leading intellectuals from around the world with the aim of organizing an international conference that will include leading philosophers from the Arab world."
That dedicated Communists will try and look at the world through their prism even when the conclusions are utterly detached from reality is expected. Like other radical leftists, the Israeli activists cannot bring themselves to admit that the Islamist prism would be a more appropriate tool for analyzing the developments in the region. After all, Marx viewed religion as a form of false consciousness and the neo-Marxists have not done much better. As a result, the real rift that the research group is agonizing over is actually that between Marxism (or neo-Marxism) and reality.
More puzzling is why Van Leer supports such marginal activities. At a time of sea- change in the Middle East that needs research and explanations, Van Leer and the Dutch Foundation behind it sponsor a group whose members have consistently lambasted Israel but had never mentioned the Islamist agenda in the region.
|Zochrot: Eyal Sivan, Ilan Pappe "Video testimonies of Zionist Fighters in 1948" and Ariella Azoulay's "What isn't there"|
|IAM Friday Special: Dr. Sari Nusseibeh under attack for agreeing to cooperate with Israeli universities & academics
|Well before the the Oslo peace process, Sarri Nusseibeh served as one of the more important interlocutors in the Israeli dialogue with the Palestinians. His role as a moderate Palestinian trying to reach out to the Jewish Israeli peace camp has not changed, even after Oslo peace collapsed and the bloody Intifada took over. Nusseibah was a fixture in all the subsequent peace projects, such as the Geneva initiatives.
As President of Al-Quds University, Nusseibeh took a principle and courageous stand against the academic boycott of Israeli universities, much to the displeasure of Palestinian faculty that strongly supports the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). Over the years, Nusseibeh was the targets of threats and calls for his dismissals, especially as the Palestinian Council for Higher Education decided to cut all ties with Israeli academics to avoid being seen as as supporting the "normalization" of the occupation."
There are certain lessons to be learned from the Nusseibeh phenomenon. For more than three decades now, EU foundations have spent untold millions of dollars on "conflict resolution." Pioneered by academics, the conflict resolution theory holds that peace can be advanced when well-meaning moderates, preferably academics, would meet in preliminary "confidence building sessions." Nusseibeh was a perfect choice for Israeli conflict resolution and peace activists and the "person to go" when a foundation expressed willingness to support yet another project. In the latest round Berlin University tried to sponsor a collaboration between Al-Quds University and Hebrew University, which, as the article below indicates, was terminated by strong Palestinian protest.
What various conflict resolution and peace activists in Israel seem to ignore is that PACBI is a leader in the newest form of asymmetrical conflict waged against Israel. The 2001 Durban NGO Forum conceived of a soft conflict in which cultural, political, economic and legal warfare is being waged by Palestinian NGOs and the multitude of their supporters. At the heart of this effort is the academic community, which provides conceptual as well as organizational tools for delegitmizing Israel in the international arena.
Sarri Nusseibeh has opposed this trend, but it is hard to make peace with a minority of one.
|BGU Yossi Yona and TAU Gadi Algazi - Experts for All Seasons|
|Yossi Yona (BGU), a professor of education and an activist in the Keshet Mizrahit (Mizrahi Rainbow Coalition) which sought to create an alliance between the Mizrahi Jews and Palestinians against the "hegemonic Zionist establishment" has remade himself into an Iran expert.
Gadi Algazi (TAU) who teaches medieval history and veteran pro-Palestinian has also joined the new crop of "Iran experts" made up of radical faculty.
There is, of course, a good reason for discussing the future of Iran's nuclear program and the pros and cons of a possible Israeli strike. As a matter of fact, such a discussion has been taken place at all levels; the foreign policy and the intelligence agencies in both Israel and the United States have vigorously debated the issue. The academic community has contributed a prodigious amount of research known as the "Second Nuclear Age," a quest to determine whether rogue states such as Iran have the type of nuclear rationality that sustained the Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) of the Cold War. Thomas Schilling, a leading expert on rational choice theory whose work underpinned the MAD construct, noted that the decision to pre-empt a rogue program hinges on whether the proliferator has the so-called "MAD rationality."
Yona and Algazi show no interest in joining this legitimate discussion. In fact, their articles demonstrate deplorable ignorance about the most basic principles involved in the Second Nuclear Age literature.
But then again, why should they study Schelling? Their goal is very different; Yona is intent on showing that Israel's current leaders are an apocalyptical bunch set on destroying the Middle East; Algazi is keen on proving that Israel is a rogue state whose undeclared nuclear arsenal is the real danger to the region.
As citizens, Yonah and Algazi have the right to write on this or any other subject. But their ignorant and hysterically shrill commentary is a sad reflection on scholarship.
|IAM Friday Special: A review of Prof. Edward Alexander's "The State of the Jews"|
|The worrisome state of the Jewish people these days has little to do with anything intrinsic to the State of Israel, the thriving, vibrant, and solitary democracy in the Middle East. Rather, as Edward Alexander writes in the Introduction to The State of the Jews, his selection of trenchant essays and reviews spanning the last decade, it is attributable to “the role played by Jews in the war of ideas against the state of the Jews.”
Alexander, professor emeritus of English at the University of Washington (who also taught for many years at Tel Aviv University), does not suffer liberal fools gladly. It was, he reminds us in his scrutiny of the Victorian background of anti-Semitism, the writer George Eliot who suggested back in 1878 that liberals have a “Jewish problem.” To be sure, not only liberals. The Fagin of Oliver Twist, after all, was the direct literary descendant of Shakespeare’s Shylock.
|IAM Friday Special: "Attacking Israel with genocidal intentions" by Nidra Poller|
|De-legitimization of the State of Israel is the current episode in a persistent genocidal project aimed at the Jews and, more profoundly, at the values inherent in Judaism and shared by civilized societies. Skirting the shame attached to anti-Semitism after the horrors of the Holocaust, contemporary advocates of the genocidal plot are given free rein to attack Jews by a combination of severe criticism of the State of Israel and well-meaning plans for its geopolitical future, i.e. the peace process. Ugly lies – the Jews stole the land from the Palestinians, Israel is an apartheid state – funct'ion like the age-old charges that justified persecution of the Jews as Christ killers. Beautiful lies – the two state solution that everyone knows – echo the proto-legalistic measures that gradually deprived European Jews of their rights, their strength, their resources and capacity to resist deportation and extermination. Americans, misinterpreting as a repetition of the 1930s the rise of violent anti-Semitism in Europe at the dawn of the twenty-first century, are unprepared to deal with a parallel rise in Muslim Brotherhood forces within the US. As brutal Islamic Jew hatred boils in an Arab-Muslim world revolting, reforming, and submitting to sharia law, the Obama administration conducts a policy of the outstretched hand and blindfolded eyes that leaves Iran free to develop the ultimate genocidal weapon. Israel is the bulwark, not only for Jews but for the free world. Clear thinking, uncompromising discourse, and resolute action – at the risk of being labelled extremist – can stop the genocidal project and, working backward, disarm the lies.|
|Israel Affairs - "The War against the Jews" by Efraim Karsh|
|The sustained anti-Israel de-legitimization campaign is a corollary of the millenarian obsession with the Jews in the Christian and the Muslim worlds. Since Israel is the world’s only Jewish state, and since Zionism is the Jewish people’s national liberation movement, anti-Zionism—as opposed to criticism of specific Israeli policies or actions—means denial of the Jewish right to national self-determination. Such a discriminatory denial of this basic right to only one nation (and one of the few that can trace their corporate identity and territorial attachment to antiquity) while allowing it to all other groups and communities, however new and tenuous their claim to nationhood, is pure and unadulterated anti-Jewish racism, or anti-Semitism as it is commonly known.
|Under the Auspice of ‘Academic Freedom’ the Politicization of Israeli Universities Has Deepened|
|Shamir reflects on the abuse of academic freedom by radical left-wing scholars who have created their own set of dogmas as rigid as the ones held by the ultra-orthodox. The ultra-orthodox community has, over time, radicalized their belief in matters as separation of men and women in the public domain in general and public transpiration in particular. The secularists have invented their own “religions,” such as gender studies, queer studies, post-colonial studies. These topics are legitimate subject for academic inquiry, but in the present climate of academic rigidity, they are being defended as holy dogmas where critics can only thread at their peril. For instance, most of research in feminism is essentially pseudo-research, where the conclusions are reached ahead of time and empirical surveys are tailored to fit the foregone conclusions. There are few who dare to question these “religious” axioms in humanities, social science and even law, as they would face excommunication from the academic community.|
|Bedouin Settlement in Late Ottoman and British Mandatory Palestine: Influence on the Cultural and Environmental Landscape, 1870-1948|
|Israel's treatment of the Negev Bedouins has become highly politicized under the doctrine of "indegeneity" developed by ethnographers and some legal scholars. The doctrine states that "native people's self- evident attachment to place is paramount in the articulation of rights to land;" Oren Yiftachel, a critical geographer, and Alexander Kedar, a critical legal expert, have claimed that Israel, a colonial/apartheid state, has violated the indegenity laws. They excoriate the Israeli government for herding the Bedouins into permanent settlements, confiscating their land and otherwise disrupting their nomadic existence. As IAM reported, Yiftachel and his followers have either overlooked or distorted the complex history of the Bedouins to make the case against Israel. The following article sheds more light on this issue|
|Petition by many radical academics to the CHE accusing it of political motivation reached Haaretz instead|
|A report by the Council for Higher Education that threatened to close the Department of Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University should it fail to improve deplorably low academic standards and curb excessive political activism, has provoked a predictable reaction. Talila Nesher from Haaretz broke out with the story of a petition opposing the CHE decision, (see below). Curiously, this petition could not be found anywhere on the Internet; when contacted by IAM, the CHE spokesperson related that he only had learned about it from a Haaretz journalist who contacted him for a reaction. IAM made further inquiries, yet as of this writing, according to the spokesperson, the petition has not arrived.
It is quite plausible that the real target of the petition was not the CHE; rather the organizers sought to garner publicity through Haaretz. Indeed, violating every journalistic norm, Nesher played right into such expectations. She notes that the petition was signed by leading academic authorities in the world. In reality, the list of the 160 odd academics bears the names of some of the most radical academic in the United States and Israel.
|Double Standards of Radical Gay Academics: A Question of Credibility|
|Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) have made impressive strides in Israeli society; the Israeli Defense Force was among the first militaries to allow openly gay and lesbian soldiers to serve in its ranks. Such attitude of acceptance stands in stark contrast to the fate of homosexuals in many Muslim societies; in Iran they are hanged on trees in public parks and in Taliban- ruled areas of Afghanistan the punishment is even more gruesome - they are buried up the their waist against a brick wall that is then toppled on them by a bulldozer. Fearful for their lives, gays in Hamas- controlled Gaza have fled to Israel to seek asylums.
One would assume that gay professors would acknowledge the liberal treatment of the GLBTs. But Aeyal Gross (TAU), Roy Wagner (TAU) Orna Ben Naftali (Colman), Yishai Blank (TAU), Dalit Baum ( Haifa U) and Hannah Safran (Emek Yizrael College), Yuval Yonay (Haifa U) and others have nothing but condemnation for Israel. Indeed, in the convoluted logic of their neo-Marxist, critical studies paradigm, even sheltering of the Palestinian gays is a "sin", a public relations gimmick to cover the "sins" of colonialism, imperialism, racism, and homophobia. As their articles indicate, they have used thousands of words to denounce Israel without as much as noting the egregious violations of human rights in many Muslim countries.
|"Across the Wall" Moshe Zuckermann, Ehud Adiv, Dan Rabinowitz, Oren Yiftachel, Lev Grinberg & Uri Davis|
|Co-edited by Ilan Pappe, Across the Wall brings together a group of radical academics for yet another exercise in presenting the Arab-Israeli conflict which is one-sided at best and falsified at worst.
For Pappe, this is a repeat performance. In 1998 a similar meeting broke up because two Israeli historians- Benny Morris and Itamar Rabinovitz opposed equating of Zionism with colonialism and the description of Nakba as "ethnic cleansing." Rather than dealing with these objections, Pappe picked a more congenial group with a long history of denigrating the "Israeli narrative." Professor Moshe Zuckermann (TAU) parlayed the decidedly unglamorous position as a historian of Germany for high-voltage attention that he receives for comparing Israeli behavior in the West Bank to that of Nazi Germany. Prof. Oren Yiftachel (BGU) is one of the architects of the notion that Israel is an apartheid state. Prof. Lev Grinberg (BGU) has constantly warned that Israel is descending into a fascist state. Dr. Dan Rabinowitz (TAU) made a modest academic career by "proving" the racist and aparteheid nature of the state. Dr. Uri Davis (Exeter U), who describes himself as a Palestinian was picked to serve in Fatah's parliament. Dr. Ehud Adiv (Open U), a former member of Matzpen, served many years in Israeli jail for participating in a spy ring for Syria.
|IAM Friday Special: Appropriation of Land in the Negev – The Post-Zionist conceptualization|
|Oren Yiftachel and his followers had applied a radical post-Zionist approach to the issue of the Israeli policy toward Arab and Bedouin land. They posit that, as a colonial power, Israel simply appropriated the vast majority of such land without considerations of ownership, especially in the Bedouin community. However, the empirical reality is more complex than the concept of colonialism that became a dogma in the post-Zionist academic community.
Professor Haim Sandberg had produced a detailed and nuanced study of Israel's land policy toward the Arabs. The following chapter discusses the legal status of the Negev expanse during the Ottoman, Mandatory and Israeli period.
|Senior professors cast doubt on Jewish heritage of Jerusalem
|A senior archaeologist at Tel Aviv University has cast doubt on the alleged Jewish heritage of Jerusalem.
Archaeology lecturer Rafi Greenberg: Israel is supposed to find something if it digs for a period of six weeks. But, Greenberg told the Jerusalem Post, Israelis have been excavating the so-called City of David in the occupied Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan for two years to no avail.
Professor Yoni Mizrahi, an independent archaeologist who has worked with the International Atomic Energy Agency said that the right-wing Elad Association has not found anything "saying welcome to David's palace" although that was taken for granted by Elad, as if the group depended on scriptural texts to guide them in their work.
|Prof. Oren Yiftachel, Dr. Ishai Menuchin, Dr. Ovadia Ezra, Prof. David Enoch back the radical leftist activism in Bilin, Al Arakib, |
|IAM Friday selection: Whither Arab solidarity? / The disrepute of Zionist intellectuals / BGU has lost its legitimacy|
|Whither Arab solidarity**?
By AMNON RUBINSTEIN JPOST - 07/03/2011 23:11
Lessons learned over 2,000 years still serve us now
The truth is that Shlomo Sand’s compilation of rubbish serves an important purpose. It is a further erosion of the line between academic writing and its parody. Thus, Sand makes fun of all the genetic studies, undertaken by firstrate scientists, that prove two astounding conclusions: Ashkenazi Jews are genetically closer to oriental Jews and oriental non-Jews than to the non-Jewish European host societies, and Jews managed to keep their separate genetic identity throughout this long and eventful time.
**The disrepute of Zionist intellectuals
06/28/2011 11:59 By EVELYN GORDON JPOST
Israeli intellectuals of yesteryear may have had differing political opinions, but they agreed on the fundamentals: that the Jews are a nation and deserve a state located in the historic homeland. Sadly, the actions of many modern Israeli intellectuals mark a departure from this view.
**Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Has Lost Its Legitimacy
Dr. Haim Misgav, Attorney
June 18, 2011
Of course I am not proposing that any proceedings, criminal or otherwise, be taken against Neve Gordon or Eyal Nir. But the university that falsely, to my mind, bears the name of David Ben-Gurion should do something.
|A group of 300 academics headed by TAU Ishay Rosen-Zvi stated in Haaretz ad they are willing to break Israel’s Entry Laws|
|About 300 lecturers and teachers from institutes of higher education throughout Israel have signed a public advertisement in support of civil disobedience actions of a women’s group which openly infringes the law of entry to Israel.
The academics put their full names in an advertisement which was published in theHa'aretz newspaper last Friday, 17 June 2011, next to an advertisement – the third in recent months - published by the women's group called "Civil Disobedience". The women, who have all been investigated by Jerusalem police and who now have official criminal records, called for the Israeli public to join them in their protest activity which consists of driving Palestinian women and children for a day at Israeli recreational sites and the beach. These actions come in the wake of writer and translator Ilana Hammerman, who started publicizing such activities last year.
We recognize neither the legality, nor the morality, nor the wisdom of the walls between us and our neighbors which have been erected with brute force," stated the group in its advertisement.
|Shlomo Sand, Moshe Zuckermann & Ilan Pappe only European neo-Marxists attend their lectures, publish their books|
|Israel’s intellectuals are worried. The Israeli Holy Trinity (Amos Oz, A.B. Yehoshua, and David Grossman) is getting old. The Hebrew University’s Pantheon (Martin Buber, Yehuda Magnes, and Yeshayahu Leibowitz) belongs to History. Avraham Burg tries to mimic Leibowitz, but it is hard to inherit the Lithuanian brainbox when you didn’t finish college. As for Shlomo Sand, Moshe Zuckermann and Ilan Pappé, only European neo-Marxists are willing to attend their lectures and to publish their books.
“It used to be that … they would call me from Army Radio” complains Moshe Zuckermann to Ofer Aderet from Ha’aretz (“The Shrinking of the Israeli Mind,” June 7, 2011). So what happened? “The people have been silenced. They tried to strangle them –and they’ve succeeded” he says. Zuckermann doesn’t specify whom he means by “they” but Daniel Gutwein blames “market forces.” You see, explains Gutwein, “The market … ensures there is no intellectual discussion.” As for Shlomo Sand, he blames the Universities themselves: “To become a professor” he says “you have to be cautious.”
|Radical-leftist academics search for ways to give the Nakba its "rightful" place in teaching: "Zoom In, Palestinian Refugees of 1948, Remembrances"|
|In the summer of 2010, the institute hosted groups of Palestinian and Israeli academics from a variety of research disciplines.
Israel is fighting against the memory of the Nakba and the very historical truth, whereas researchers such as Mahmoud Yazbak of the University of Haifa, Menachem Klein of Bar-Ilan University, Sami Adwan of Bethlehem University and Efrat Ben Zeev of Sapir College and others are meeting and searching for ways to give the Nakba its large, rightful place in teaching and education, in the history of the land, and in the emotions and vision of the future.
They argued, disagreed and agreed and finally decided to create an album from the period and articles that analyze the students' comments. Through the comments, the academics analyze the two societies - one victorious, silencing and keeping quiet, and the other, defeated, silent and violating the silence - with both competing over victimhood.
|Response to David Newman's "Thoughts on academic freedom at Pessah" / "Rethinking the End Game" with Dr. Kedar|
|* David Newman (Thoughts on academic freedom at Pessah – 18th April) complains about attacks against freedom of speech. However, Newman describes a strangely one-sided definition of “freedom”. In his article, only those views that match his own political agenda deserve freedom of expression. Students are not allowed to protest against the hard-left anti-Israel propaganda that Newman’s friends and colleagues churn out constantly. Newman complained about the demonstration by students opposing his conference. In his world, protests are only allowed if he approves of them. The conference organisers only invited extreme left-wing speakers so was a mockery to Newman’s demand for academic freedom.
* Z STREET Presents:
RETHINKING THE END GAME:
Improving Lives in The Middle East
May 4th 2011, Washington DC
Learn from experts on the
Likely Impact of the Arab Uprisings on the Arab Palestinians' and Israel's future
Freedoms in the Middle East
Economic Dignity and Prosperity in the Middle East
Engage with the
Combined Panels in a Discussion
|After 'Israeli Apartheid Week', the European Union now funds: Menachem Klein & Mahmoud Yazbak launch one-sided book on 1948 refugees, April 4, 2011|
|After the Israeli Apartheid Week 2011 in which ISS took active part with a series of lectures and other events, a project aiming at undertaking a cultural reconciliation in Israel Palestine will be presented.
The Institute for Historical Justice will introduce and discuss an exceptional account of Palestinian refugees of 1948, “Zoom In: Palestinian Refugees of 1948, Remembrances,” in which six Israeli and Palestinian scholars analyze university student comments to archival photographs. This innovative account of Palestinian and Israeli students encounters with their common past takes the reader on a unique visual and historical journey.
“Zoom in” touches upon topics such as the Nakba, loss of homeland, internally displaced people, remembrances, collective identity, victimization from historical, sociological and anthropological perspectives....
Top Scholars Menachem Klein and Mahmoud Yazbak launch
book on 1948 refugees at the American Colony Hotel on
Monday, April 4, 2011
|One-sided new book by Efrat Ben-Ze’ev, Menachem Klein, Tamir Sorek, Mahmoud Yazbak "Zoom in" on Palestinian refugees of 1948|
|The project described and commented on in this book reveals the utter confusion of identity that exists among Israel's youth between 'self-image' and 'self-knowledge', where bare nakba Palestinian pictures evoke different types of self-denials, including, significantly, the identification of some of those images as ones of Jewish suffering at the hands of the Nazis. Anyone wishing to understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must learn the paradoxical lessons contained in this volume."
Sari Nusseibeh, Professor of Philosophy, President, al-Quds University
|IAM Friday Special - Israeli Academia: The Rot Spreads / PFUUPE Boycott / Israel Apartheid Week / Toronto U: Israel-haters|
|*Israeli Academia: The Rot Spreads
The new year has produced yet another boycott of Israelis by Israeli illuminati. In this case 150-plus academics signed a petition calling for a boycott of the Ariel University Center of Samaria (formerly the College of Judea and Samaria).
* Statement of Position
The Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE) wishes to reiterate its firm opposition to any bilateral or multilateral relationships between Palestinian and Israeli academic institutions. In reference to the decision by the University of Johannesburg Senate in September 2010 to review the University's Memorandum of Understanding with Ben-Gurion University, and particularly regarding the condition of partnering with a Palestinian university, PFUUPE, representing Palestinian academics at virtually all Palestinian universities in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip stands firmly behind the position of the Palestinian Council for Higher Education (CHE) rejecting cooperation with Israeli universities.
* Mark your calendars - the Seventh Annual Israeli Apartheid Week will take place in Toronto from March 7 - 13, 2011!
First launched in Toronto in 2005, IAW has grown to become one of the most important global events in the Palestine solidarity calendar. Last year was incredibly successful with over 55 cities worldwide participating in the week's activities. In Toronto, IAW 2010 featured a full week of events celebrating 5 years of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) successes.
* University of Toronto: Among the Israel-haters
Last night, I went to the University of Toronto’s George Ignatieff Theatre, plunked down my $5, and, along with about 130 other interested observers, walked into a 2-hour panel discussion called “Exposing Israeli Apartheid and the Violation of Palestinian Rights: A public forum on the second anniversary of the Gaza massacre.”
|PFUUPE Boycott / Israel Apartheid Week / In U of Toronto: Israel-haters|
|*Occupied Palestine, 19 January 2011
The Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE) wishes to reiterate its firm opposition to any bilateral or multilateral relationships between Palestinian and Israeli academic institutions. * The 7th Annual Israeli Apartheid Week
featuring keynote speakers Judith Butler and Ali Abunimah
Toronto: March 7 - 13, 2011
*Last night, I went to the University of Toronto’s George Ignatieff Theatre, plunked down my $5, and, along with about 130 other interested observers, walked into a 2-hour panel discussion called “Exposing Israeli Apartheid and the Violation of Palestinian Rights: A public forum on the second anniversary of the Gaza massacre.”
|IAM Friday Special: IAM responds to Dr. John Kelly - An Israeli Response to Irish Invective|
| To Professor John Kelly,
I have just read your communication with the Israel Academia Monitor (IAM) in which you state that you would strongly endorse a boycott of Israeli academic institutions if you believed it would be effective; and your accompanying 2006 article in the Irish Times.
|IAM Friday Special: Letter to the TAU Dean of Humanities regarding TAU Prof. Moshe Zuckermann / Codes of Incitement|
|1. I have seen your winter 2010/11 programme, including a lecture on December 30, 2010, by Moshe Zuckermann.
I am curious how this could happen. Zimmermann is a leading
anti-Israeli voice in Germany.
Hardcore anti-Semites like the daily junge Welt or the Iranian news quote Zimmermann regularly.
Why did the Stephen Roth Center include such a person like
Zuckermann in its programme?
2. Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) is an annual event. Its purpose is to virally spread the demonization and the delegitimization of the Jewish State. This year 40 festivals of hate will be celebrated simultaneously. It'll be in March, and they're already hard at work on preparations.
|"Please Boycott Us! You Are Our Only Hope" By an anonymous Israeli academic in the field of the social sciences|
|Anyone who yet rationalises non-action against Israel is actively contributing to the inevitable use of the only other tool world history has provided for social and political change: violence! Please boycott my country today, you are our only hope! |
|IAM Friday Special: Canada- Master’s thesis shines light on OISE faculty’s anti-Israel agenda / Israel on Campus Where Are We?|
|Jadal Magazine Mada Al-Carmel on October 2000 uprising: "Oppressive domination cannot but generate social energy that is contrary and opposed to it"|
|Oppressive domination cannot but generate social energy that is contrary and opposed to it, and the oppressed cannot but amass their forces at an historic moment – which is difficult to determine a priori – in order to challenge oppression and resist injustice. This moment is not purely coincidental, but rather a revolutionary state that reflects a partnership entrenched in the consciousness of a population group which was not aware, or at least did not dare to gain awareness, of such a partnership, the primary factor in legitimizing the oppression and injustice of the hegemonic institution. Departure from the familiar and the confrontation with hegemony hastens the formation of consciousness as soon as the clash with the institution that represses and subjugates forces opposed and hostile to it takes place.|
|Friday Special: Government Guidelines on 'Pluralism', Mount Scopus or Mount Olympus? äñúä îåôøëú, äàùîåú àåèåîèéåú, úâåáä|
|*News of Government Guidelines on 'Pluralism' Alarms Israeli Academics By Matthew Kalman
*Mount Scopus or Mount Olympus? By Emanuel Navon
On November 2nd, 2010, the Knesset’s Education Commission hosted a special hearing under the title: “The Exclusion of Zionist Positions in Academia.”
*àåøï éôúçàì | äñúä îåôøëú ðâã äà÷ãîéä
áò÷áåú ãéåï áëðñú òì ãå"ç äîëåï ìàñèøèâéä öéåðéú, ùôåøñí áúçéìú ä÷éõ
åòåøø ãéåï ñåòø, ñðè éùøàì äøàì áàåðéáøñéèàåú.
*îàú çðï îåæñ | äàùîåú àåèåîèéåú
"áúåí äùéøåú äöáàé ðøùîúé ììéîåãé äéñèåøéä åîãò äîãéðä áàåðéáøñéèú úì àáéá... áäùøàú îåøé áàåðéáøñéèä, øàéúé áäñëîé àåñìå îäìê îðéôåìèéáé éùøàìé ùðåòã ìäîùéê àú äëéáåù áàîöòéí ëìëìééí".
*Response to "Prof' Yuri Pines supports Palestinian stone throwers at Israeli cars"
By Michael Sherbourne: I FIND IT INTERESTING THAT A MAN AS, PRESUMABLY, WELL EDUCATED AS PROFESSOR YURI PINES IS, SHOULD SHOW, WHAT MUST BE, EITHER HIS INNATE PREJUDICE,FROM HIS PARENTS, AGAINST ZIONISM AND THE STATE OF ISRAEL
|Knesset Education committee on exclusion of Zionist lecturers: Education Minister to publish academic freedom code|
|Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, participated in the discussion and said that the Council for Higher Education, of which he is the chairmen of, intends to publish a code of basic principles regarding academic freedom.
"These institutes must look into any claim regarding academic freedom." said Sa'ar. "Public discussion is legitimate and any attempt to silence it isn't democratic."
|'Arab Jews' have emerged in the Israeli academy to rewrite history out of flattery and subservience to Arabs|
|In recent years so-called "new historians" or "post-Zionists" like Professor Sasson Somekh of Tel Aviv University have emerged. They have tried to downplay the importance of the pogrom, distort the facts or deny them. Salim Fattal's book is a brave attempt to fight back against this destructive tendency...
In another case, Fattal visited scholar Reuven Snir, a scholar of Arabic literature who published a 'vegetarian' study on Iraqi-Jewish literature published by the Ben Zvi Institute (2006) failing to mention that the actual voices of the Iraqi Jews were silenced by the repressive regime. Salim Fattal details at length the restrictions and discriminatory laws Iraq imposed on the Jews between 1948 to 1952, the humiliating deprivation of citizenship and expropriation of their property.
Salim Fattal argues against an artificial 'Arab - Jewish' identity invented by a collection of new post-Zionist historians to rewrite history through politically-motivated flattery and subservience to the Arabs.
Salim Fattal says that the phrase 'Arab Jew' did not exist for the Jews of Arab countries and therefore was not used in Iraq, nor by the people, nor the press or media, not in the textbooks and governmental institutions. " They were 100% Jewish," says Fattal.
|Anat Matar on Social TV|
|"Israeli Criticism of Zionism, The Academics and Activists" by a Canadian anti-Zionist Jew|
|There was an interesting book review published in Haaretz, on February 29, 2008, written by Tom Segev. It was a review of a book titled, When and How Was the Jewish People Invented? (published by Resling in Hebrew). It is authored by Israeli historian Shlomo Zand (also spelled Sand). Prof. Zand teaches history at Tel Aviv University. The book became a best seller in Israel. Segev writes:
...in one of the most fascinating and challenging books published here in a long time. There never was a Jewish people, only a Jewish religion, and the exile also never happened hence there was no return. Zand rejects most of the stories of nationalidentity formation in the Bible, including the exodus from Egypt and, most satisfactorily, the horrors of the conquest under Joshua. It's all fiction and myth that served as an excuse for the establishment of the State of Israel, he asserts.
|IAM Rosh Hashana Special: Ilan Pappe is guilty * çåùê äáéèåé * Neutrality is political * ìëáåã äø÷èåø * çáøé äñâì äà÷ãîé|
|*Ilan Pappe is guilty of inventing and spreading the most atrocious lies about Israel and Zionism / By Michael Sherbourne
If ever there was a case for a man to be extradited and brought back to his own country as a "Criminal Traitor" and put on trial for Treason of the worst kind, it is this man named Ilan Pappe, who is guilty of inventing and spreading the most atrocious lies about the State of Israel and Zionism in general.
* çåùê äáéèåé: ñèåãðèéí ùîôçãéí ìäáéò ãòä, îøöéí ùî÷ãîéí àâ'ðãåú ôåñè öéåðéåú. æå äà÷ãîéä áéùøàì àøàì ñâ''ì
àìåäéí ðîöà áôøèéí ä÷èðéí åäñåã, áãøê ëìì, ðòåõ áôùèåú. ääåðàä äøàùåðä ùì äðåëì äàâãé, ñèéá ÷åîéñø, äúðäìä îòì ãôé îâæéï ðôåõ áàøöåú äáøéú. ÷åîéñø ôøñí îåãòä úîéîä äîöéòä îú÷ï ééáåù ëáéñä äôåòì òì àê åø÷ òì ëåç ñåìàøé áîçéø îáöò ùì 49.95 ãåìø ìéçéãä. "îåëç îãòéú", ÷áòä äîåãòä. "ùéèú ãåø äçìì. ùéîåù îåçìè áëåç ñåìàøé". äôúàéí ùäæîéðå àú äîåöø ÷éáìå ìäôúòúí áãåàø çáéìä ùäëéìä çáì ëáéñä ÷öø. ä÷ìàñé÷ä ùì äåðàú çáì äëáéñä îäãäãú áöååçåú äùîàì òì ôùéæí, î÷àøúéæí åôâéòä áçåôù äà÷ãîé.
* Neutrality is political
The true problem thus lies not with the post-Zionist syllabi, but with all sociology syllabi. I challenge anyone to find more than a handful of sociology courses that do not have serious political implications (vis-a-vis nationalism, economic policy or social stratification). By Eva Illouz
The brouhaha raised by the Institute for Zionist Strategies report, in which the sociology departments of Israel's universities are charged with being dangerously dominated by post-Zionist syllabi, offers scholars in this field the opportunity to answer an important question: Is sociology political?
* ìëáåã ôøåô' öáé äëäï – ø÷èåø
áùáåò ùòáø ôøñîä ðùéàú äàåðéáøñéèä îëúá ù÷éáìä îúðåòú "àí úøöå", åùáå çùôä úðåòä æå ðúåðéí îãåé÷éí òì îòììéä ùì äîçì÷ä "ìôåìéèé÷ä åîîùì" (=îãòé äîãéðä) àöìðå. äîëúá ÷áò âí ùàí ìà éúå÷ï äîöá éôðå àðùé äúðåòä ìúåøîéí áôåòì åáëåç òì-îðú ìäðéàí îìúøåí.
÷øàúé áñåó äùáåò á"éãéòåú ðâá" àú äøàéåï àéúê åáå äúâåáä äðæòîú, äàéîôåìñéáéú, ìîëúá æä. àúä æåò÷ ëé "î÷àøúé òìä àøöä". àúä îùååä áéï ä"àéåîéí" ùáîëúá ìçøîåú ùì ðéá âåøãåï. àúä îæìæì ôåîáéú áëåúáéí. àúä ÷åáò ëé îòåìí ìà ðáðúä îçì÷ä àå áåöò àéåù òì áñéñ ôåìéèé.
|Israel Academia Monitor Friday Special|
|ëê çùôúé àú çúøðé äùîàì * îé áàîú ãåàâ ìà÷ãîéä? * Is it only McCarthyism? * úåëðéú øãéå * Racist Universities? *|
|BGU's Jane Leaf, Freedom to give Nazi salute, Hillels, Chronicle, shut down the U's, Protecting academia|
| Ben-Gurion University donor: Im Tirtzu are hooligans
úåøîú ìáï-âåøéåï: àúøåí éåúø áâìì "àí úøöå"
Freedom to give Nazi salute
Hillels prepare to answer anti-Israel campus forces
Israeli Professors Protest Calls for Increased Zionism in Teaching
Shut down the universities
|Abir Baker [U of Haifa] & [Ex-TAU, Central European U] Daniel Monterescu expose the Shabak to Palestine Maan news|
|Religious figures are targeted because the Shabak is guided by the Orientalist assumption that Islamic Movement activists are always nationalist and potentially dangerous,” but in reality, most religious leaders are "pretty docile," only becoming a problem when alienation and anger from the system become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Not only do interviews create a general environment of fear, Monterescu explained, the so called “chats” can have a lasting impact on the interviewees. Some even suffer from depression following a Shabak interview, Monterescu added.
Shabak usually intensifies its activity—putting stress on Palestinian citizens of Israel and the nation's left—during times of political turmoil, and the recent spike in interviews could reflect Israel’s march right. Critics have said that increasing hostility to dissent—on both the state and public level—is a symptom of the erosion of democracy in Israel.
|Maariv: Israel Academe Exposed ùèéôú îåç à÷ãîéú|
|Israeli universities were not established with the purpose of promoting any Zionist vision of Israel.
A call for an academic boycott of Israel or a call to dismiss professors from the left or right is worthy of condemnation.
Yet when respected branches of Israeli academia allow themselves to become tools of an anti-Zionist vision and branches of radical left-wing NGO’s - it is imperative to make that known.The problem arises when the right to publicize and criticize is met with a counter campaign designed to intimidate exposure and criticism, and that is what threatens both freedom of expression and the public discourse.
|IAM Friday Special: âéìåé ãòú, ìà îçì÷éí öéåðéí, McCarthyism in Tel Aviv, Right-wing group threatens BGU, äà÷ãîéä: ä÷øá òì äôåñè-öéåðåú, àí úøöå ãîå÷øèéä|
|âéìåé ãòú: îåãòä îèòí äîåòöä äîúàîú ùì àøâåðé äñâì äà÷ãîé áàåðéáøñéèàåú áéùøàì
ìà îçì÷éí öéåðéí: úâåáä ìàåø ä÷îôééï ùîðäì òéúåï 'äàøõ' ñáéá äîëåï ìàñèøèâéä öéåðéú.
McCarthyism in Tel Aviv: Unprecedented attack on academic freedom threatens Israel's entire scientific enterprise
Right-wing group threatens Ben-Gurion University: Right-wing group Im Tirtzu has issued an ultimatum to Israel’s Ben-Gurion University, threatening to drive away donors if it refuses to hire more right-wing professors and alter its curriculum
äà÷ãîéä: ä÷øá òì äôåñè?öéåðåú: îç÷ø ùì úðåòú "àí úøöå" îàùéí: äèéä àðèé?öéåðéú áîçì÷ú äîîùì ááï âåøéåï • áîëåï ìàñèøèâéä öéåðéú èåòðéí ëé äîâîä ÷ééîú ëîòè áëì äàåðéáøñéèàåú • àåð' áï âåøéåï: "äàùîåú î÷øúéñèéåú"
àí úøöå ãîå÷øèéä: äñòøä ùôøöä åáöã÷ áðåùà ääèéä äôåìéèéú áàåðéáøñéèàåú ìëéååï çã-àâ'ðãúé, ùåèí éùøàì, ôåñè éäåãé, öéåðé åãîå÷øèé äéðä áî÷åîä åçééáú äéúä ìôøåõ åìäéãåï ëáø îæä æîï øá.
|Palestinians in Israeli universities: TAU Omar Barghouti, [Haifa U] Yousef Jabareen and [Hebrew U] Kais Nasser|
|Below you will find Tau student of Ethics, Omar Barghouti's boycott call in the Guardian. [U of Haifa, Law] Dr. Yousef Jabareen and [Hebrew U, Law] Adv. Kais Nasser prepared a document against Israel to the UN.|
| Friday Special: Antisemitism and Introspection,
ôøåôñåøéí ðâã çåôù äáéèåé, "ðå, àæ ëîä ôåñè-öéåðéí òåùéí ëåúøåú, äèôä ìçøí - åçåôù à÷ãîé |
|Antisemitism and Introspection / By Robert S. Wistrich
This year, Tisha B'Av (the annual Jewish fast day commemorating the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem) once again reminded us of the dangers of “gratuitous hatred” without rhyme or reason for one’s fellow Jews; the kind of hatred for its own sake, which seems more recently to have become part of our everyday Israeli reality. Divisions between Ultra-Orthodox and Secular Jews or the bitter antagonism towards the settlers in the West Bank are of course not new, but they have lost nothing of their malevolent edge. No less distressing are the actions of those Israeli lecturers who defend the international anti-Israel boycott in the name of academic freedom and the much larger numbers of those who denounce any criticism or sanctions against these boycotters as “McCarthyism”.
çééí âðæ | ôøåôñåøéí ðâã çåôù äáéèåé
ìàçøåðä èòï áòîåã æä àùø îòåæ, ôøåôñåø ìîùôè çå÷úé, ëé àîéøåú ùì îøöéí ëîå æå ä÷åáòú ëé çééìé äùééèú ùôùèå òì äñôéðä îøîøä äí "øåöçéí áãí ÷ø", àå æå äîëðä çééìéí äîôðéí îúðçìéí "ðàöéí" - îúééîøåú ìçñåú úçú ëðôé äçåôù äà÷ãîé, àê ìîòùä àéï ìäï ãáø àúå ("îä ìçøí åìçåôù à÷ãîé", "äàøõ" 21.7). ùø äçéðåê âãòåï ñòø ÷ãí ìîòåæ áòðééï æä. ìà îæîï àîø, ëé "÷øéàä ìçøí à÷ãîé, ôòåìåú ìçøí òì îãéðú éùøàì, áòéðé ìà ìâéèéîéåú". åàîðåï øåáéðùèééï, âí ôøåôñåø ìîùôè çå÷úé åâí ùø çéðåê áòáø, äöèøó ìî÷äìú äìéååé ùì "éùøàì áéúðå" áèéåèú îàîø à÷ãîé ùäôéõ áéîéí àìä áàúø "îãòé äçáøä - éùøàì". øåáéðùèééï îöéò ùí ìàôùø ìèøéáåðìéí îùîòúééí àåðéáøñéèàééí ìäòðéù îøöéí, àôéìå áôéèåøéí, òì ñåâéí îñåéîéí ùì äúáèàåéåú, ùàéðï áâãø òáéøä ôìéìéú.
éôòú àøìéê òéúåðàéú | "ðå, àæ ëîä ôåñè-öéåðéí òåùéí ëåúøåú"
ã"ø âãé èàåá ôåøñ ëúá ÷èâåøéä ðâã äùîàì äôåñè-öéåðé, ùìãáøéå ðéú÷ òöîå îäöéáåø äéùøàìé ("ëùéúçéì ìäéåú øò, äí éìëå îëàï"), àê îùåëðò ùæå àéðä äøåç äùåøøú áà÷ãîéä áéùøàì. "ìàðùéí áòìé ãòåú éîðéåú öôåééí àåîðí çééí ÷ùéí áà÷ãîéä, àáì ìà øåãôéí áä àó àçã, åáèç ùìùîàì äáìúé öéåðé àéï áä øåá"
øîé äìôøéï ôåáìéöéñè / äèôä ìçøí - åçåôù à÷ãîé
òùáéí ùåèéí âãìéí áòøåâåú äà÷ãîéä. àéï ëì ëååðä ìôâåò áçåôù ãòåú åäáòúï áöéáåø, ëîå âí áçåôù äáòú äãòä ìöéáåø áëìì. çåôù äáéèåé àéðå çåôù äùéñåé. éù ìäâáéì çåôù áéèåé, ëàùø äåà âåøí îñéú åîèøúå âåøîú ì÷ò÷åò àåùéåú îãéðä åçáøä.
|Israel Academia Monitor Friday Special|
|* "The Nakba Obsession" / By Sol Stern
* "ìà÷ãîéä àéï çåôù äñúä ðâã äîãéðä åöä"ì" / îúé ãåã
* I Blame / By Matti David
* âãòåï ñòø- àðå úåîëéí áîàá÷ê áîøöéí ä÷åøàéí ìçøí òì îãéðú éùøàì
* Haaretz Ad by members of the International Board of Governors of TAU supporting Gideon Sa'ar
* "ìäâï òì äçåôù äà÷ãîé" / àåøé äééèðø
|Israeli scholars against Israel in foreign media: Oren Yiftachel, Daniel Bar-Tal, Ilan Saban, Yousef Jabareen|
|* An ethnocracy," he explains, is a regime promoting “the expansion of the dominant group in contested territory ... while maintaining a democratic façade." Yet Americans, with only a little knowledge of the facts, still refer to Israel as "the only democracy in the Middle East".
* Israelis, he says, “do not look in the mirror” and do not wish to be reminded by NGOs about their image. The result, he says, is that “the foundations” of democracy in the country are under siege.
* unlike most - if not all - other democracies, Israel lacks a political culture that respects limits on the power of the majority.
* "In some areas you could identify some characteristics of apartheid that should raise a lot of concern about the future,"
|Israel Academia Monitor Friday Special|
| áøéçú äîåçåú éëåìä ìäúøçù âí àöì îé ùðùàø ôä
ëîä äí òåìéí ìðåå
Ben Gurion University's response in relations to the Dr. Leavitt affair
What do boycotts have to do with academic freedom?
àùø îòåæ | æä çåôù à÷ãîé?
åòãú äçéðåê úãåï áôøùú äîøöä ùôåèø
Right Wing Hebrew University Professor Fired
|Israel Academia Monitor Friday Special: A selection of articles on Academic Freedom âí áòáøéú|
|* Candidly Speaking: Stalinism at Ben-Gurion University
by Isi Leibler
Just a few weeks ago, Professor Neve Gordon, head of Ben-Gurion University's department of politics and government, was again challenged for continuously engaging in initiatives calling for a global boycott of Israel including his own University.
* Hating Israel on our campus
Ben-Gurion University turning into village fool, hotbed of anti-Israel activity
By Israel David
The protests following the Turkish flotilla incident included activists marching outside the Ben-Gurion University senate building while giving the Nazi salute and shouting “Heil Bibi.” These were apparently outside provocateurs, yet members of the university’s teaching staff participated in the demonstration
* .Terra Incognita: When only the critics are heard
By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
That there is so much focus on the Holy Land is a fact of life. The trouble is that the narrative of Israel is being communicated by those who dislike it.
Among the themes that top the list of the coming year’s publications dealing with the Middle East are Iranian history, Lebanon’s vibrancy, Saudi Arabia and stories of American combat soldiers. But there is one that, unsurprisingly, towers above all the rest: Israel and the Palestinians. Of the 700 books that will be published in English on the Middle East in the next year, 107 (15 percent) of them will be devoted to the conflict or aspects of it. This is based on a careful examination of forthcoming publications at Amazon.com, although there are probably other obscure publications lurking out there.
* The fight for academic freedom
After decades of a feeling of stifling anti-Zionist bias at the universities, change is knocking at academia's gates.
By Ronen Shoval
This opinion page has recently carried articles attacking the legitimacy of the Im Tirtzu movement and distorting the report we submitted to the Knesset Education, Culture and Sports Committee. These articles continued a hysterical assault against our movement by academics on Internet forums. The authors' main argument boils down to the tired old mantra of labeling with McCarthyism anyone trying to criticize what happens in academia.
* Academic Freedom at BGU: Walking A Fuzzy Line
By Jack Friedman
Ben-Gurion University’s reputation as a premier center of higher education has been tarnished in the last few years by a small number of radical Left faculty who, in their classrooms and through their writings and external ventures, defame Israel, calling it an apartheid state, agitate for economic and academic boycotts and, generally, question the legitimacy of the country’s democratic institutions.
* âáé ùôø äà÷ãîàéí ùåú÷éí
ãáøé äùø âãòåï ñòø òì ëååðúå ìáçåï àú äèòðåú äîåôøëåú ùì "àí úøöå" åìôòåì ðâã äèéä à÷ãîéú àðèé öéåðéú ëáéëåì, áòé÷ø áçåâéí ìîãò äîãéðä áàåðéáøñéèàåú, äí òåã öòã çîåø áäéãøãøåú äúøáåúéú, äôåìéèéú åäçéðåëéú áéùøàì.
éù ìãçåú îëì åëì àú ãáøé ñòø òì äâéùä áîçì÷åú ìîãò äîãéðä. éù òãééï à÷ãîàéí øáéí äîðñéí ìäâï òì äîîùì åäçáøä äéùøàìéú, åâí òì òøëé äãîå÷øèéä äéùøàìéú äîéãøãøú. îöã àçø, éù ëîä ñéáåú ìùúé÷ä äâåáøú ùì äà÷ãîàéí áä÷ùø äúøáåúé, äçáøúé åäôåìéèé. ø÷ à÷ãîàéí îòèéí àéðí éøàéí ìäùîéò àú ÷åìí ááé÷åøú çøéôä òì ù÷éòú äçáøä, äôåìéèé÷ä åäãîå÷øèéä.
* î÷øúéæí à÷ãîé
áï ãøåø éîéðé
äçåôù äà÷ãîé, ùëåìì äùîòú òîãåú îáçéìåú, ùîåø ø÷ ìöã ùîàì. ã"ø éøåçí ìåéè ôåèø îëéååï ùäáéò òîãä. äéëï ùø äçéðåê?
ùåøä ùì îøöéí áëéøéí áàåðéáøñéèàåú éùøàìéåú îçøôéí åîâãôéí àú éùøàì. äúøâìðå ëáø çì÷í âí ãåøùéí àú äçøîú éùøàì. âí ìæä äúøâìðå. ëàùø îéùäå îòæ ìåîø òìéäí îéìú áé÷åøú, áéï ùæä ùø äçéðåê âãòåï ñòø àå áéï ùæä äôøåôñåø àìï ãøùåáéõ, äí îééììéí òì äôâéòä áçåôù äà÷ãîé ùìäí.
|First of all, academic integrity|
|Circles in the extreme right have been trying for a long time to harm the academic freedom of faculty members in institutions of higher education in Israel. Now it is clear that that academic freedom faces a threat from the extreme left as well.|
|US Supreme Court Decision Delivers Blow to Human-Rights and Aid Groups|
|Human-rights and humanitarian organizations lost a Supreme Court case Monday when the justices upheld a federal law that prohibits U.S. organizations from providing “material support” to designated terrorist groups. Some nonprofit groups had argued that the law prevents them from engaging in peace-building work and jeopardizes aid in conflict zones.|
|Hebrew U Philosophy professor denounced by colleagues as traitor for maintaining Israel was not born in sin at the expense of the Palestinians|
|Elhanan Yakira, professor of philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has all the credentials of a man of the Israeli Left: born and raised in Tel Aviv as a Zionist and socialist , a lifelong secular Jew, an opponent of West Bank settlements, an advocate of government intervention in economic policy. Yet many of his colleagues on the Left denounce him as a right-winger and a traitor.
Why? Because he maintains that Israel was not born in sin at the expense of the Palestinians Arabs and that it has a right to exist as a Jewish state. Yakira's critique of his fellow leftists, Post-Zionism, Post-Holocaust (subtitle: "Three Essays on Denial, Forgetting, and the Delegitimation of Israel"), was rejected by five Israeli publishers before finally being brought out in 2007-- only to be greeted in the Hebrew press by a months-long silence. The controversy, when it at last erupted, was fierce; Yakira, a philosopher who did not set out to be a polemicist, had started a debate on the Left.
|A Muslim Historian: Israelis prefer to live in ‘self-denial’ according to a new study conducted by TAU Professor Daniel Bar-Tal and IDC Dr. Eran Halperin|
|A new study conducted by Professor Daniel Bar-Tal (Tel Aviv University) have found out that an average Israeli prefer to live in ‘self-denial’ as he/she is not interested to know the facts about the Israel-Palestine conflict. They’re brainwashed with Zionist narrative of the conflict and hatred toward Arabs and Muslims from an early age. The Zionist rabbis are known for using Talmudic texts to create hatred toward Arabs, Blacks and Christians. Last year, Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Manis Friedman responded to a question “How Jews should treat their Arab neighbors?”, in the Moment magazine for its “Ask the Rabbi” feature, said: “The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way. Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children (and cattle). I don’t believe in western morality. Living by Torah values will make us a light unto the nations who suffer defeat because of a disatrous morality of human invention…….”
Professor Daniel Bar-Tal conducted this study with Dr. Eran Halperin of the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya (Israel). “The political system and the education system use all their tools, such as Jerusalem Day, to socialize people with the idea that a unified Jerusalem is Israel’s eternal, indivisible capital. People are not born with a concept of ‘Jerusalem is ours forever’ and many know no political solution is possible without a compromise on Jerusalem,” wrote Professor Daniel Bar-Tal.
Dr. Eran Halperin adds to the study: “For years, people have been inculcated with information by a selective steamroller and a reality is constructed for them, They are told repeatedly, ‘Jerusalem is united,’ but they’re not told that no other country recognizes the annexation of the eastern part of the city. The result is that any criticism of Israeli activity in East Jerusalem is perceived as pure anti-Semitism.”
|Academic freedom and tenure and response|
|The true meaning of academic freedom has been lost in the rumpus surrounding Mr. Tannebaum's courageous resignation as a governor of TAU because of the university President's undemocratic refusal to allow a vote about professors who advocate Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel and the university. |
|Israeli academics support Amir Makhoul, suspected spy for Hizbullah|
|Demonstrators Protest for Amir Makhoul at Courthouse
A handful of Arab and Jewish protestors, among them university professors, are demonstrating outside the Petah Tikvah Magistrates' Court against the detention of anti-Zionist Arab activist Amir Makhoul, who was arrested earlier this week by Israel’s Shin Bet secret service on charges of espionage on behalf of Hezbollah.
Professor Yehuda Shenhav of Tel Aviv University told fellow demonstrators that "the state is using the Shin Bet in order to assassinate political activists."
In the last couple of days messages arriving from Hebrew University's Amiel Vardi, Tel Aviv University's Merav Amir and Van-Leer's Bashir Bashir, all asking to distribute widely an invitation for a demonstration outside court hearing of Amir Makhul. This was written in Hebrew (See below) by TAU Adi Ophir, Hebrew U Hannan Hever and TAU Yehouda Shenhav. The invitation in Hebrew begins as follow:
The Mechanism of Darkness Operates in (Day) Light
We all recognize the escalation of the Shabak's haunt of political leadership of the Palestiniancitizens of Israel. Palestinian political activists are frightened, deported, disappear or detained and this is kept as secret. Political meetings or meetings with representatives of human rights organizations are described as threats to the security of the state.
|Mada Al-Carmel filed lawsuit in Canada alleging that federal org terminated grants due to anti-Israel stance. Radio Intifada: Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian|
|Mada Al-Carmel Academic Committee:
Dr. Amal Jamal (Tel Aviv University), Dr. Ahmed Sa'adi (Ben Gurion University), Prof. Mohammed Haj-Yahia (Hebrew University), Prof. Michael Karayanni (Hebrew University), Mada Director Prof. Nadim Rouhana (Tufts University), Dr. Nedera Shalhoub-Kevorkian (Hebrew University), Dr. Samera Esmeir (University of California in Berkeley)
The Mada Al-Carmel Arab Center for Applied Social Research has filed a lawsuit in Canada's Federal Court alleging that a federal research organization arbitrarily terminated grants for two projects worth $796,500. None of the allegations have been proven in court.
Mada Al-Carmel was being funded by the International Development Research Centre to research the human rights of Palestinian women in Israel and Arab political participation there.
The organization, based in Haifa, Israel, says the funding cut followed a campaign by the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor.
In its application, Mada Al-Carmel accuses NGO Monitor of sending written submissions to MPs that wrongly accused the centre of demonizing and "delegitimatizing" Israel.
Radio Interview with Dr. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian
24 March 2010
Dr. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian speaks on Judaisation of Jerusalem, the building of settlements, housing demolitions, Israel's occupation, etc. to listen click here
|Film “Targeted Citizen” [Technion] Yousef Jabareen and Khaled Abu Asbeh: Inequality in land and housing, employment, education and civil and political rights|
|About this video:
"The film “Targeted Citizen” (15 minutes), produced by filmmaker Rachel Leah Jones for Adalah, surveys discrimination against the Palestinian citizens of Israel. With the participation of experts Dr. Yousef Jabareen of the Technion and Dr. Khaled Abu Asbeh of the Van Leer Institute, as well as Adalah attorneys Sawsan Zaher, Abeer Baker and Hassan Jabareen, inequality in land and housing, employment, education and civil and political rights are eloquently addressed. These interviews are reinforced by the contrasting informality of on-the-street conversations conducted by Palestinian comic duo Shammas-Nahas and punctuated by the hard-hitting rhymes of Palestinian rap trio DAM. The film's theme song “Targeted Citizen,” written and recorded by DAM especially for Adalah, tells it like it is without missing a beat."
|Yisrael Hayom editorial: Israel Apartheid Week, organized mostly by Israeli lecturers, presents an opportunity to hear the claims of the extreme Left|
|Yisrael Hayom argues that "Israel Apartheid Week, organized mostly by Israeli lecturers, presents an opportunity to hear the claims of the extreme Left…Academic theories attempting to simplify a complicated reality are thrown around, and do not allow facts to confuse them." The author notes that "According to Israeli Apartheid Week, money and humanitarian aid should not be afforded to the Palestinians because this perpetuates the status quo…As one who believes in coexistence and peace, I am saddened that the interest common to us and the Palestinians has been kidnapped by a group of academics living in an ivory tower. If they were living in Nablus or Ramallah, they would see the complexity of the conflict and recognize the need for assistance so that the Palestinian state, which will be established, will be sustainable."|
|[U of Haifa] Alexander (Sandy) Kedar, [BGU] Oren Yiftachel & [TAU] Shlomo Sand pervert historical facts in "An ethnocracy or multiethnic democracy?"|
|THE NEW ethnocratic slander appears to have its origins, sadly, in grants given by the Israel Academy of Sciences. In 2002 Alexander (Sandy) Kedar of the University of Haifa received a grant from the Israeli Science Foundation which was founded by the Israel Academy of Sciences. His proposal was for research into “The Rise of a New Land Regime: Changes in Israeli Legal Geography 1992-2002” and he received the grant for four years with Prof. Oren Yiftachel of Ben-Gurion University. In the same year he received a grant from the French Embassy’s Center for Cultural Cooperation for research comparing Israel to the French regime in Algeria.
In 2003 Kedar published some of his initial research, titled “On the legal geography of ethnocratic settler states: notes towards a research agenda,” in a journal called Current Legal Issues. Kedar focused his research initially on the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. He writes of the Jews forming an “ethno-class” stratification and the Arabs being an “indigenous” group akin to Native Americans.
He perverts historical fact by claiming that Israel committed “Judaization” of the land whereby Jews came to control 93 percent of the land of Israel. This relies on the unreasonable claim that only 13.5% of the land of Israel was publicly owned in 1948; in fact the actual percentage was closer to 50%. Because Kedar sees the Jews and the state as one and the same, he falsely believes that all of the land of Israel in the hands of the state is open to all the Jews, while the Arabs supposedly only retain 7%, ignoring the fact that such public lands as national parks are open to all.
|Selection of recent op-eds on the issues of Israel Apartheid week, anti-Israel Israeli academics, and Post-Zionism|
|*What apartheid state?
By BRENDA KATTEN, JPOST
Students will be marking occasion with call for boycott, divestment, sanctions.
Today marks the beginning of the Sixth Annual Israel Apartheid Week taking place in more than 40 cities worldwide. Students will be marking this occasion with a strong call for the boycott, divestment and sanctions against the one Jewish state. The week is said to be from March 1 to 14. One can only imagine that the organizers’ definition of the “week” is as incorrect as their definition of “apartheid “when applied to the State of Israel.
*How to inflame the conflict
By DANIEL DORON, JPOST
SO IT was not surprising that a panel “Economic Peace: Foundation or Distraction” organized by Hebrew University Business School professor Bernard Avishai included five prominent Arab businesspersons who represented only the “distraction” party. They devoted all their time to a litany of complains about “occupation” as the sole source of all evil, attacking Binyamin Netanyahu’s economic peace ideas as a dastardly plot.
Prof. Avishai, an eloquent advocate of granting statehood to the Palestinian Authority and a passionate liberal, does not seem bothered by the fact that under the Authority Palestinian Arabs lost even the minimal civil rights and rule of law that they enjoyed under Israeli occupation; or that they are brutally oppressed by a police state; or that unemployment skyrocketed while their standard of living plummeted, making them destitute and miserable. It seems that nationalism, which Avishai and his like detest when it is embraced by Jews, is a great blessing, even in its most jingoistic form, when it is foisted on the Palestinian Arabs by their rapacious and corrupt elites. It apparently also does not matter that they are subjected to totalitarian brainwashing that redirects their rage against Israel.
*Bash Israel (and your brain)
By AMNON RUBENSTEIN, JPOST
In recent years, prestigious university presses have waived all academic criteria in order to publish any book - no matter what its academic merits are - which knocks Israel.
The latest product in the flourishing bash-Israel literature is Iranophobia. The book debunks Israeli and Western anxieties about the Iranian dangers. The author, Prof. Haggai Ram of Ben-Gurion University, argues that Israeli anti-Iran phobias are largely projections of perceived domestic threats to the prevailing Israeli ethnocratic order. In plain language, he holds that Israel has to demonize Iran so as to identify the Islamic Republic with its suppressed minorities in Israel: the Mizrahi and the haredi communities. Iran, on this theory, is the hated "role model" with which these suppressed minorities can be associated: "the production of Iran as a radical external other in Israeli imagination is to be understood in relation to the emergence of ("Iran-like") ethnic and religious internal others that violated the Jewish state's self-image as 'the West.'"
*A Nation Of Self-Flagellators
Jason Maoz, Senior Editor, Jewish Press
There really is no parallel to the phenomenon witnessed by the world in those years: A small country, surrounded by enemies who given the chance would tear it to pieces like a pack of ravenous wolves, rehabilitating as its "peace partners" the most ruthless killers of its women and children while flagellating itself for every lie ever told by those who pined for its destruction.
Against the backdrop of such boundless naiveté and relentless self-criticism did the New Jew of Zionist ideology metamorphose into the Galus Yid of Zionist mythology. The wide-eyed wonder of young Israeli soldiers at the Western Wall in 1967, captured for eternity in David Rubinger's iconic photograph, suddenly seemed hopelessly passé, as did the emotional reference in Hatikvah to "a free nation in our land."
It took forty-plus years of statehood, but the old Zionist spirit of moral certainty and national pride had, by the mid-1990s, given way to a new ethos, one of cringing embarrassment and deepening doubt.
And while post-Zionists and Israeli leftists in general were mortified by Arafat's rejection of the sweeping concessions offered by Ehud Barak at Camp David and Taba, and even more so by Arafat's launching of a second intifada, the harping on Israeli culpability, instigation and oppression have continued to this day, nowhere more shrilly and adamantly than in the opinion-shaping precincts of Israeli media and academia.
|Shiko Behar, Ilan Halevi, Nizar Hassan, Kochavi Shemesh: Displaced Persons: Arab-Jews, Arab-Palestinians, Mizrahis and Palestinian Refugees|
|Dr. Moshe (Shiko) Behar is a lecturer in Israeli and Middle East Studies at the University of Manchester, director of the Palestinian organization 'Alternative Information Centre'. Nizar Hassan is lecturer at Sapir College. Ilan Halevi is Jewish member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Kochavi Shemesh is an attorney and leader of the Black Panthers in Israel.
Shiko Behar: When we thought about the topic “1948 Refugees: Mizrahi Perspectives,” it was clear to me that we had to screen the outstanding film of Nizar Hassan, “Cut.” In this discussion we will raise topics that are almost never discussed openly and critically within the Israeli public. As we know clearly today, during the 1948 war approximately 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from here and they left all of their property behind. In December 1948 the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 194, which determined amongst other things that “the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.”
Several months later the UN General Assembly conditioned its acceptance of the State of Israel as a UN member on implementation of Resolution 194. We know this did not happen. In the next years the situation of Jews in Arab countries deteriorated. Approximately half a million of them came to Israel. Israel generally contends that this is a “population exchange” and asks to exchange the private property of the Arab Jews and with that of the Palestinians. The simple idea of returning the property directly to its rightful owners never arises in Israel, just like the thought that a fair solution to the Palestinian refugee problem will greatly assist in the compensation of Mizrahis by both Arab states and Israel, the latter which did everything possible to separate between Jews and non—Jews in accordance with the central idea of Zionism.
|Dr. Klafter’s dilemma - Reply to Prof' Joseph Klafter|
|Dr. Joseph Klafter has a problem. He’s president of Tel Aviv University (TAU), where Dr. Anat Matar and Prof. Rachel Giora are members of the faculty, and Omar Barghouti is a graduate student
Matar, a professor of Philosophy has called the IDF a ‘criminal army’, agrees with the conclusions of the Goldstone report that accuses Israel of deliberately targeting the civilian Palestinian Arab population for violence, and supports the boycott-divestment-sanctions (BDS) movement — including the academic boycott of Israeli institutions. She was arrested at a violent demonstration against the security barrier in Bili’in in 2005.
Giora, about whom I wrote previously, also a stalwart of the BDS movement, is member of the Linguistics Department. Her name appears first (followed, of course, by Matar’s) on a petition calling for “civil society institutions as well as concerned citizens around the world” to
Integrate BDS in every struggle for justice and human rights by adopting wide, context-sensitive and sustainable boycotts of Israeli products, companies, academic and cultural institutions, and sports groups, similar to the actions taken against apartheid South Africa;
|The double boycott challenge|
|How do I, as president of TAU, maneuver through calls to boycott my university and others, as part of the delegitimization campaign against Israel, on the one hand, and demands from donors to expell our the students and faculty who support it, on the other? |
|IAM weekend: 1) Palestinian detainees seek higher education in Israel. 2) Confronting Jews who defame Jews|
|1) The Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS) reported that more Palestinian detainees, imprisoned at the Ramon Israeli prison, are joining the Hebrew Open University. The detainees are also holding seminars and educational sessions. There are several detainees who have received higher degrees, including doctorate degrees, while imprisoned by Israel.
2) Whenever criticized, those who call for boycotts of their own country and demonize the IDF as war criminals have the chutzpah to try to defame their critics as McCarthyites and fascists, and threaten libel proceedings. It is their behavior which is morally reprehensible, and we must not be intimidated by such hypocritical tactics.
Israelis and the global Jewish community should be under no illusions. The damage inflicted by Jews collaborating with Israel's enemies to demonize or delegitimize their country is immense. The only way to neutralize the impact of these renegade groups is to expose and confront them.
|IAM Weekend collection on some Israeli academics associated with anti-Israel Israeli organizations|
|Last summer, as the United Church met at its national conference, reports revealed it had provided IJV with a startup grant. IJV is harshly critical of Israel, and one of its latest postings on its website, an article from Israel by Nurit Peled Elhanan “is similar to the racist garbage we had to put up with in the 1980s and ’90s by [Holocaust denier] Ernst Zundel, that Israel is evil, malevolent and conspiratorial,” Farber said|
|[U of Haifa, Women studies] Dalit Baum "Israel's Occupation of Palestine: Who profits and who doesn't" & Merav Amir [TAU, Cohn] Stop Danish Funding|
|*On 19 November 2009 the London School of Economics (LSE) hosted a seminar on "Israel's Occupation of Palestine: Who profits and who doesn't". It was organised by the LSE Student Union and featured two activists from Israel talking about the the Israeli Occupation, its corporate supporters, and its effect on Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. The event was chaired by Daniel Machover, the chairperson of 'Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights'.
*One of the main speakers at Thursday's public event at the London School of Economics' Student Union, titled "Israel's Occupation of Palestine: who profits and who doesn't?" is Dr. Dalit Baum from Haifa University, who coordinates the "Who Profits from the Occupation" project as part of the Jaffa-based Coalition of Women for Peace.
Described in the promotional material as "a feminist anti-occupation activist", Baum is set to discuss the project at the event as well as "present its mapping of corporate involvement in the occupation and tell the story of specific discoveries and challenges in ongoing campaigns."
*People saving for their pensions in this country are indirectly giving billions of kroner to firms that work in illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and on the West Bank, reports Berlingske Tidende newspaper.
The largest Danish pension funds such as PensionDanmark, PKA, Nordea Liv & Pension and Danica Pension have together invested about 2 billion kroner in companies delivering building materials, machines and financing to the settlements, which Denmark, the US and UN consider illegal.
‘These companies are making money on the occupation of Palestine. It must stop,’ said Merav Amir, a coordinator at Who Profits, an Israeli peace organisation.
|Freedom of expression belongs to professors and students alike|
|In other words, the students, too, have a measure of academic freedom. If the allegations made by the students - probably mainly in TAU's social sciences departments - are true, the university is violating the students' lawful rights. |
|The (ir)responsibility of the academy |
|Recent debates surrounding politics at university have usually juxtaposed two different political viewpoints against one another. The Right argues that the academy is overflowing with extreme-leftist professors who work to undermine the existence of the state at home and abroad. The Left argues that its freedom of expression is being threatened by the Right and that its campaigns for "justice" or "human rights" are part of making the state more humane.
The Left believes that if a few of its extremist voices call for boycotts of their own universities then that might be "misplaced," but it is part and parcel of a democratic society. Perhaps both sides are right. The academy is at the forefront of anti-Israel intellectual extremism. It is also a bastion of freedom of expression in a free society.
|President of IDC Herzliya speaks of the anti-Zionist group of Israeli university professors, during the closing eve of ICT's 9th International Conference|
|The most extreme allegations against Israel are often made by a small anti-Zionist group of Israeli university professors. Their ideas are widely circulated and are especially effective because they are made by Israelis. Recently, in an article published in the Los Angeles Times, an Israeli professor called his audience to boycott Israel on all levels, to "save that apartheid state from itself."
How should a university respond to such writing? Is it a case of constitutionally protected free speech or academic freedom? There is a difference between internal democratic debate, what course should a nation adopt, when being called in for
sanctions by other countries. The professor who wrote the L.A. article would probably support the use of international military forces, in case the sanctions fail its "save Israel from itself" campaign. Calling other nations to take action against your
own country - be it by economic sanctions or military force – means turning your back on the internal democratic system. Such an attitude is morally right only if you believe that the situation has reached a point in which the system has entirely lost its
legitimacy and thus merits revolt. If that is the case, it is very odd that such a professor is requiring a salary from a state university funded by the tax payers' money.
Freedom of speech is guaranteed to enable free debate in a society; it does not extend to calls for force, which will actually terminate debates. Such calls have also nothing to do with academic freedom. It is a joke to regard a call for academic
boycott as being part of academic freedom.
|THE PEOPLE OF ILLOGIC: NOTES ON JEWISH SELF HATE / Neve Gordon is not the problem / Think Again: Aiding the destroyers among us |
|Ruth Bronner, a Jerusalem based researcher has shown that in fact the self-hatred of the Jews begins with the German Jews and the Holocaust. For leading Jews such as Hannah Arendt and Victor Klemperer the Nazis "were not German." In addition "everything Jewish was foreign." Consider how this works. The Nazis, who sprang from the bosom of Germany, were not the "real" Germans, because that was reserved for the Arendts and Klemperers, assimilated German Jews. Yet the actual Jews, mostly Ostjuden, who were hated and disdained by the German Jews, were "foreign". So the Nazis and the real Jews were both foreign. So how does that translate down to the present? For the German Jews and those who pretended to be German Jews like Langer (Klemperer too was born in Poland, like Rosa Luxembourg-Klemperer and Langer were also supporters of the Communist regime in East Germany and collaborated with it in its creation of the largest police state ever created) the Nazis and Jews were equally foreign and thus Israel, a Jewish state, can easily be transfigured into a Nazi state, as it has been in the language of many German Jewish intellectuals such as Hebrew University Professors Moshe Zimmerman, Zuckerman, Baruch Kimmerling and others. Thus the logic by which non-Israeli Jews object to Israel being a Jewish state has a logic, they believe that they are the true Jews and Israel, as a foreign thing, a Nazi apartheid fascist thing, is not Jewish and cannot be Jewish because to be Jewish is to be German-Jewish and therefore to be a Holocaust survivor. For these people there are two Judaisms, there are the foreign Jews and there is the self-Jews, those Jews for whome everything Jewish is foreign but who nevertheless need their Jewishness to be unique, because otherwise they fade into the larger mass of humanity and can no longer pretend to be "Jews for Justice in Palestine" or "Rabbis for Human rights".
Dr. Gordon is correct - Israel needs to be saved from itself. What Israel needs now is a reconceived notion of the educated Israeli.
It needs a liberal arts college, and the young people prepared to speak constructively about Jewish sovereignty, its challenges, its failures and its future that only that kind of college can produce.
A century ago, who could have imagined that the Jewish state would one day have a world-class army but a failing, collapsing educational system? Whether or not American Jews have the foresight to use their philanthropy to promote genuine change in Israeli academe still remains to be seen. But if they do, Neve Gordon's op-ed may ironically have goaded both Israel and the American Jewish community into taking the first steps needed to begin to save the Jewish state.
Nor do professors' statements become immune to criticism because they are uttered in a classroom. Professors, like everyone else, should expect to have their work evaluated. Just as parents and students have an interest in knowing which professors have a tendency to get too friendly with female students, so do they have a right to form judgments about which professors are using their classrooms for political indoctrination, not education.
|Scientific Provocation as Academic Discipline|
|Among the lecturers' population there are more than an insignificant number of big fools. The “researcher” describing historical events that are the products of his fertile imagination, or his colleague who calls for a boycott of Israel, are not presenting learned research but are only seeking more publicity for themselves.|
|[Bar Ilan and Tel Aviv U] Ariella Azoulay and [U of Haifa, Women] Dalit Baum "Constituent Looting: Nakba, occupation and the Israeli economy"|
|A discussion in conjunction with the exhibit, Kama Yajib
Dr. Dalit Baum, University of Haifa and the Women’s Peace Coalition
Involvement of commercial firms in the occupation, and how we, as members of civil society, can raise the cost of the occupation and affect these firms economically.
A joint exhibition by Parhessia, Zochrot and Ariella Azoulay at Bayit BaNamal
| Rachel Giora "BDS Campaign", Dalit Baum and Merav Amir "Corporate Responsibility on the Israeli Occupation"|
|Rachel Giora Department of Linguistics, Tel Aviv University.
Dalit Baum, Women studies, University of Haifa.
Merav Amir, the Cohn Institute for History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Tel Aviv University:
A million and a half residents of the Gaza Strip have been suffering for years from ongoing siege and Israeli assaults, which peaked in the recent War. Israel's severe military aggression has become possible due to a gradual process of isolating Gaza – politically, geographically, economically and socially. While Israel portrayed the disengagement as if it were the end of occupation, it actually made Gaza into the largest prison on earth.
The Gaza Strip was occupied by Israel in 1967, along with the West Bank. Its residents are part of the Palestinian people which lost their lands in 1948.
Since then, the state of Israel persists and intensifies its control over the Palestinians. By doing so Israel confirms that the Nakba is not yet over. Ending the occupation, lifting the siege and realizing the right of return are all vital elements in achieving a just peace.
|About Prof's Neve Gordon, Ben Gurion University, Rachel Giora and Eva Yablonka, Tel Aviv University in "Terra Incognita: Begging for internationalization"|
|Just after Israel's 2009 elections, Prof. Neve Gordon of Ben-Gurion University declared it was time for the US under Barack Obama to impose a solution on Israel, and "if such intervention includes sanctions, it is the only way to secure Israel's existence in the long run." The latest manifestation of this was Haaretz political columnist Akiva Eldar's June 29 call for Obama to "play on Israel's fears, not its hopes for peace.... The time has come for him to directly address the Israelis, bypassing their leadership."...The belief that international pressure is a godsend is quite widespread. A February 2009 petition signed by five academics, including Prof. Rachel Giora and Eva Yablonka of Tel Aviv University, in support of a recent anti-Israel motion at Manchester University, noted that "we strongly believe that without some pressure from outside Israel and without concrete support for Palestinians nothing will change in our part of the world."|
|2006 Film "Palestine Is Still An Issue" Produced by John Pilger (52 minutes)|
|Ilan Pappe, Ishay Rozen-Tzvi|
|Ford Israel Fund, a partnership between Ford Foundation and New Israel Fund is paying academics and activists to make Israel a non-Jewish State|
|TIKKUN READERS KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE PROBLEMS IN ISRAEL OFTEN KNOW FAR less about the dynamic community of Israeli non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which are the engine for challenging this reality. With the diminishing of the Israeli welfare state and collapse of the collective national ethos, on the one hand, and the absence of any cohesive left political movement, on the other, these organizations are now the driving force of legal, advocacy, and educational work for social change in the country. The past two decades has brought a dramatic increase in the number of these social change organizations. There are hundreds of organizations working on issues as diverse as economic justice, civil and human rights, community economic development, environment, and religious pluralism. They range from small, grassroots organizations to large professional ones.
The list below provides just a flavor of the work of some of the groups, supported over recent years by the Ford Foundation Israel Fund (www.fordisraelfund.org). Some of these groups, and numerous others, receive financial support from the New Israel Fund (www.nif.org) and ongoing capacity-building assistance from its empowerment and training arm, Shatil. Ha'aretz recently stated: "There is hardly any significant, socially-oriented organization in Israel today that does not owe its existence to the New Israel Fund."
|[Hebrew University, Classics] Amiel Vardi and [Technion, Math] Kobi Snitz help Palestinians in their struggle against Israel|
|For Israeli activist Kobi Snitz, who has worked for years with Anarchists Against the Wall, and in co-operation with Palestinian popular committees, the key issue in ‘joining in the Palestinian struggle’ has always been rejecting any concept of normalization.
‘Even when we are marching arm in arm, we are not equal,’ relates the 37-year-old doctoral student in mathematics, who credits a stint at a Canadian university and work against the sanctions imposed on Iraq for his activist outlook. ‘Israeli soldiers are less likely to shoot at Israeli citizens than at Palestinians and if I am arrested it will only be for a several hours, not days or months.’
Snitz makes a clear distinction between ‘friendship’ and ‘joint struggle’. ‘Friendship in itself is not a political act,’ he asserts, criticizing some dialogue groups that work from a false premise of parity.
‘If Palestinians say: “Hey, we’re not on an equal footing,” they’re called accusatory. One of the committee members in Belin has said: “There will be lots of time to drink tea together once we end the occupation.” We’re not in this to drink tea together. It’s insulting to the people under occupation to pretend things are normal. Israelis are the ones with money, who can travel, who decide when they meet and don’t meet, the one to ask favours from – in that sense the occupation extends into the personal relationship and perpetuates itself even further.’
That said, Snitz admits he has formed strong friendships with Palestinians through his work with Anarchists Against the Wall, and was initially ‘embarrassed’ by the warmth and hospitality with which he and his Israeli colleagues were received in many West Bank villages.
‘I’ve been to weddings, parties, funerals, important community events.’ But he is painfully aware of his position. If Israeli soldiers approach him, wrongly assuming that he is the ‘leader’ of the group, he points them to a Hebrew-speaking Palestinian. And he seeks the counsel of committee members before participating in any action. ‘I would never deign to “speak” on their behalf,’ he explains.
Disenchanted with mainstream Israeli groups like Peace Now, that he says are ‘fundamentally not anti-war’, Snitz thinks that a ‘popular movement of Israelis and Palestinians is still the best hope that there is’ for ending the occupation.
While progress has been slow and often frustrating, Snitz has seen some positive outcomes. ‘In Budrus the wall was pushed back as a result of demonstrations – without a court case. In Bil’in after four years of struggle, we won a high court decision that ordered the army to push back the fence [although to date the fence remains where it is].’
However, he cautions: ‘It’s their [the Palestinians’] movement – we can only join it. But we can make a contribution.’
Amiel Vardi, a lecturer in classics at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, is one of those Israeli activists working with Issa Amro. A member of Ta’ayush (Arabic for ‘life in common’) since 2002, Vardi is the first to admit that the organization’s goal of Israelis working together with Palestinians with Israeli passports was not practical.
‘Unfortunately, because of the economic divide between Jewish and Palestinian Israelis, we no longer have any Palestinian members. Volunteering like this requires time and money, so it’s now mainly Jewish Israelis working in joint struggle with Palestinians on the West Bank.’
But it was actually a settler’s bullet to his belly that ‘deepened’ Vardi’s commitment to ending the occupation. ‘After I was shot while assisting some Palestinians with their olive harvest in 2002, I knew there was no turning back.’
The Gaza offensive only increased his passion to continue protesting against the occupation. ‘The settlers took advantage of all the public attention focused on Gaza, so we had to be there. It’s more important now than ever.’
While Ta’ayush has been involved in a wide range of activities, from ‘solidarity’ aid convoys to besieged West Bank villages to public demonstrations against the Wall, Vardi says that, at the moment, ‘raising public awareness through the press is a major goal’.
Vardi maintains that ‘settlers are not as legitimate as they used to be’. Through a variety of activist media campaigns, and the distribution of video cameras to Palestinians in the Hebron area, ‘we’re trying to show how the army and police are working for settlers; how the whole system collaborates with them.’
| Israeli academics of Machsom Watch filmed "Palestine: The World's Largest Open Air Prison"|
|Dalia Kaveh, Biology teacher.
Dr. Elat Benda The Department of Philosophy Tel Aviv University.
Meged Gozani lectured on Political Art during the Hebrew University's 2007 The statewide seminar for student activists of the Academy-Community Partnership for Social Change and Mahapach-Taghir.
Merav Amir, Cohn Institute of History and Philosophy of science and Ideas, Tel Aviv University.
Dr. Mika Ginsburg, Department of Cell and Animal Biology, The Silverman Institute of Life Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Naama Morag, The Center for Rationality and the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University.
Dr. Nurit Wagner, Department of Social Medicine, Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem.
Ofra Ben Porat, teaching assistant, Social Work, Ben Gurion University.
This is the first of 5 short episodes showing the actual situation of Palestine. The purpose of those videos is to arise international awareness about the prison like closure of Palestine. Palestine need the internationals action and help to break the inhuman and illegal siege imposed by Israel.
Please help us divulgating. thank you
|[Tel Aviv U] Yishai Rosen-Tzvi, Adi Ophir and Yehuda Shenhav / Opportunity to watch the begining of this current wave of treason of Israeli academics and intellectuals|
|Shortly after the outbreak of the second Intifada in 2001, filmmakers Benny Brunner and Joseph Rochlitz travelled through the country and spoke to a number of them:
Meir Shalev – one of Israel's best-known writers.
Gideon Levy – columnist for Haaretz newspaper.
Jessica Montell – Director of B'Tselem (Israeli Human Rights Center).
Yehudit Katzir – writer.
Yizhar Be'er – Director of the Israeli Center for the Protection of Democracy.
Adi Ophir – Professor of Philosophy at Tel Aviv University.
Noa Levy – leader of the High School students "refusal-to-serve" movement."
Yitzhak La'or – writer and poet.
The filmmakers also attended a major peace rally in Tel Aviv, and recorded the fiery words of Yishai Rosen-Tzvi, one of the first to sign the Letter of Refusal to serve in the Occupied Territories: "Fighting against terrorism? What a joke! Government and army policies create a hothouse for terrorism (...) It is forbidden to treat men, women and children like dirt. The more people understand it, the sooner there will be an end to this cursed occupation."
|Unexpected anti-Israel activity during 6th International Seminar to Research Students of Leo Baeck Institute, involving TAU and Hebrew U academics|
|Please note, Mosche Zimmermann (Hebrew University), José Brunner (Tel Aviv University) and Gideon Freudenthal (Tel Aviv University) chaired panels of this seminar:
The alternative archaeology project also appeared to be not purely archaeological fieldwork, but also a political opposition to the, as they described it, right-wing organization that runs the official archaeological site of the „City of David“.
The cultural program turned out to be an interesting contrast to general narratives, whether they are leftist, right-wing, or the official Zionist one. It was indeed an example of democratic courage to allow not only people who agreed with the received wisdom, but also people who were very critical of it, to guide a group of guests like us. You might not find the same in German official institutions
|Another "Surprising" Study Conducted by Rafi Nets-Zehngut (Columbia University) and Daniel Bar-Tal (Tel Aviv U)|
|However, Daniel Bar-Tal believes that the Israeli-Jewish society still has a significant way to go in changing its collective memory to become less biased and self serving. Many Israeli Jews still believe a Zionist narrative of many issues in the history of the conflict – a simplistic memory of the conflict which portrays Israelin a positive light and the Arabs/Palestinians in a negative one. “Holding such a Zionist narrative serves as an obstacle to peace since it promotes negative emotions, mistrust, de-legitimization and negative stereotypes of Arabs and Palestinians,” Bar-Tal said. |
|Professors Eyal Benvenisti, David Kretschmer, Claude Klein, Yaffa Zilbershats, Barack Madina and Yuval Shany quoted by Ezzedeen AL-Qassam Brigades|
|Concerns of the Zionist entity are continuing on the prosecution of the leaders of the occupation army to the international war crimes courts. According to the Zionist newspaper Yediot Aharonot, six senior experts and professors of law in the Zionist entity, called the attorney for the Zionist government, "Menachem Mazuz" to investigate in war crimes committed by the Zionist occupation army in its war on the Gaza Strip, in order to put an end to litigation in the courts of other states or the International Criminal Court.
The paper disclosed on Wednesday (2-25) that Zionist professors of constitutional and international law (Eyal Npnstei, David Kretschmer, Claude Klein, Jaffa Zilbrchats, Barack Madina, Yuval Chany) demanded for a formation of a foreign commission of the fact-finding in the commission of crimes in the army occupation war on Gaza, particularly since it resulted in the death and injury to more than seven thousand Palestinians, the destruction of infrastructure in Gaza strip as a whole.
And legal experts said "An external investigation can only be capable of neutralizing any future claims for Zionist entity in this case.
The six teachers revealed, in the petition, their belief that the fourth treaty of "Geneva" says explicitly that any state under this treaty has the duty to search for persons suspected of committing serious violations of this treaty, and brought to trial.
|About Neve Gordon, Sami Shalom Sheetrit and Shlomo Sand in "Support the liberation from the Jewish and Zionist settlement project"|
|The international Jewish network
anti Zionism is a positive step forward,
And its members to complete careers
Through to the end of the political clarity
And historical, does not like to stay in mid -
The time has come to renounce the Jews
Zionism virtually and physically, not verbally
Only, so vivid recollection of humanity through
Their physical liquidation as a settlement
On the ground and raped colony.
|"Racism in Israel", a new book edited by [Tel Aviv U, Sociology] Yehouda Shenhav and [Ben Gurion U, Education] Yossi Yonah|
|The book also offers an interesting treatment of a key phenomenon of racism in Israel - the attitude of Jewish Israelis toward Palestinian citizens of the state, in articles like "Us? Racists?!" about the discourse of racism as it is reflected in print journalism, by Hanna Herzog, Inna Leykin and Smadar Sharon, and "What Color is the Arab?" by Honaida Ghanem.
And the book also offers a wealth of commentary on the development of a new kind of racism here. Reading it stimulates challenging thought about the connection between Judaism and Zionism, on the one hand, and racism on the other.
|Adalah: [Emek Yezreel College] Marwan Dwairy, [BGU] Thabet Abu Ras, [Hebrew U] Muhammad M. Haj-Yahia, [TAU] Hala Khoury-Bisharat, [Haifa U] Mahmoud Yazbak|
|Palestinian Arab law students from various universities and colleges in Israel and Al Quds University participated in Adalah's third annual Law Students’ Conference in Neve Shalom-Wahat al-Salaam on 10-12 October 2008. The students participated in many activities, including a tour of the Separation Wall, lectures by academics and legal practitioners on diverse subjects like land and housing rights in mixed-cites, the October 2000 killings, and workshops on human rights legal issues, such as the rights of people with special needs and prisoners’ rights. Students had the opportunity to share their views on different issues, and several gave their insights on the following question:
"As a Palestinian Arab student what has been your experience of studying law at an Israeli University?"
|About [Hebrew U] Nurit Peled-Elhanan, [Tel Aviv U] Daniel Bar-Tal, [U of Southampton, U.K] Oren Ben Dor and [U of Haifa] Prof' Adir Cohen, in: You Harvest What You Plant: Debunking the myth of “Palestinian Hate” |
|While Palestinian textbooks are often under fire and wrongly accused of this and that, only few bothered to look into Israeli textbooks and investigate their contents as to their attitude towards Arabs and Palestinians. The Israeli culture of hate is to be found in school textbooks, children’s books and in Israeli literature. This culture is state-approved and state-funded. It is not an issue of one political party or one organization airing a program or printing a book with disputable content. These are school textbooks that are part of the Jewish school curricula, adopted by the Israeli government, as guidelines for Israeli children.|
|'Zochrot' where [Bar Ilan U] Ariella Azoulay, Normah Musih, [TAU] Adi Ophir and Haim Deuel Luski are prime activists|
|Until July, 1948, the village of Ayn Karim, south of Jerusalem, was home to some 3700 Palestinians. They were expelled northward 60 years ago by an Israeli army force, and overnight became homeless refugees. After Israel captured the village it became part of Jerusalem, and is today considered to be a special neighborhood, one of the city’s most attractive areas. Many of the Palestinian homes still stand today, and Israelis live in them.
On Saturday, 29 November 2008, the 61st anniversary of the United Nations decision to partition Palestine, Zochrot will conduct a study tour in Ayn Karim. We’ll hear refugees from the village tell about their lives prior to the nakba, about the capture of the village and the expulsion of its inhabitants. We’ll erect signs to commemorate sites that existed in the village and distribute a booklet that we published in preparation for the tour.
|[Hebrew U] Dr. Efrat Ben Ze'ev, [Ben Gurion U] Dr. Ahmad Sa'di, and [Durham U, U.K] Dr. Uri Davis at Sabeel's "remembering the Nakba"|
|The film was followed by a panel discussion on memory, featuring Dr. Ahmad Sa'di and Dr. Efrat Ben Ze'ev. Dr. Sa'di spoke of the way in which Palestinians remember the Nakba as "A total destruction, the uprooting of people from their homeland, the destruction of a social fabric that had existed for centuries, and the frustration of national aspirations," in addition to the personal stories of trauma presented by survivors of the Nakba. He went on to argue for the need for moral accountability in response knowledge of the events of 1948. The Nakba narrative is, according to Dr. Sa'di, "not triumphalist, but rather looking for a place to begin....For a story of trauma to be told, there is a need for a sympathetic audience." This audience, according to Dr. Sa'di, must be found not only among other Palestinians and the wider Arab world, but in the Western world and the Israeli Jewish public.
Dr. Ben Ze'ev presented her research among Israeli veterans of 1948, and found a much more complex narrative than the official and popularly accepted Zionist version of 1948. She found that, after 60 years, the self-imposed silence of the veterans is beginning to crack, and that many veterans, seeing changes in the Israeli public and seeking some sort of relief or forgiveness, have begun to tell the truth about what the saw and experienced in 1948. While usually portraying themselves as sympathetic witnesses to massacres, abuses, and expulsions, she found that veterans are increasingly willing to tell the truth about the war experiences, even when that truth runs counter to the official or popular narrative. Although Dr. Ben Ze'ev observed that "much of the old version of truth still holds in Israeli society," she urged the audience to "pay attention to the process by which some silences were broken, and some buried voices were surfaced," arguing that it is time to reincorporate the veterans narrative into an understanding of 1948 because "agreeing on the meaning of 1948 is a crucial step to reconciliation."
|Efrat Ben Ze'ev [Ruppin Academic Centre], Nadim Ruhana [TAU], Uri Davis [U of Durham, U.K], Adel Mana'a [Van Leer] in THE NAKBA: MEMORY, REALITY AND BEYOND, Jerusalem, November 12-19, 2008
|The conference will focus on the
commemoration of 60 years since the Nakba, and the complex issues of memory, narrative, and identity raised by the events of 1948. The conference will include: 4 nights in Nazareth, with trips to villages that were destroyed in 1948 and visits with the localChristian community; 4 nights in Jerusalem, with trips to Jaffa, Ramle, and Lidda; Lectures, workshops, discussions, and cultural events focusing on the last 60 years and the future for Christians living in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories; Optional preconference travel to holy sites in the Galilee; Optional post-conference travel to understand
the Occupation including visits to holy sites in Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Troubled Past, Complex Future Among those who struggle for justice and peace in Palestine, our focus has been the fight to end the illegal Occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. However, in order to truly understand the complexities of memory, narrative, and identity faced by the Palestinian community, it is vital to examine the events of 1948—what the Palestinians refer to as the Nakba, or Catastrophe. For 60 years, the Nakba has cast its shadow over the struggles of
identity and narrative undertaken both by Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel and those in the Occupied Territories. As the nonviolent resistance to Occupation continues, the question of what it means to be a Palestinian remains.
|Dr. Assad Ghanem [Haifa U], Dr. Adel Manna [Van Leer] and Prof. Dan Rabinowitz [TAU] in an anti-Israel Jerusalem seminar in The Hague|
|In October 2008, Gemak will host a seminar for Palestinian, Israeli & Dutch activists, officials, scholars, students, writers, urban planners and analysts to discuss Jerusalem. A very public
and very contemporary theatre of struggle and domination, Jerusalem presents issues which are too often neglected, although acutely relevant and familiar to western audiences.
While the world focuses on Gaza, the future of Israeli-Palestinian relations in fact may be playing itself out in Jerusalem, away from the spotlight. Since the occupation in 1967 of the remainder of Jerusalem, consecutive Israeli governments set out to effectively depalestinize the city, also by a massive extension of its municipal borders into the West Bank, incorporating as much land and as few Palestinians as possible. Nevertheless, the
Palestinian population of Jerusalem has since 1967 increased to 250.000, from 22% of the total city population in 1967, to 33% in 2005. Upon completion of the Separation Barrier (or Wall) as currently planned, about 200.000 Palestinians would still reside in Jerusalem, making up a quarter of its total population. And their share is expected to rise. Even disregarding Palestinian Jerusalemites with Israeli citizenship and Palestinians who work but not reside in the city, it is clear that this is and will continue to be a Palestinian city.
|A book by Ariella Azoulay [Bar Ilan U] and Adi Ophir [Tel Aviv U] : "This Regime Which is not One - Occupation and Democracy Between the Sea and the River (1967-)"|
|The book cover for This Regime Which is not One - Occupation and Democracy Between the Sea and the River (1967 - ), written by Ariella Azoulay and Adi Ophir. This Regime Which is not One - Occupation and Democracy Between the Sea and the River (1967 - ) On 25 September 2008, the Alternative
Information Center spoke with Ariella Azoulay and Adi Ophir about their book, This Regime Which is not One - Occupation and Democracy Between the Sea and the River (1967 - ), published this year in Hebrew by Resling Press. Ariella Azoulay teaches visual culture and contemporary philosophy
at the Program for Culture and Interpretation at Bar Ilan University. Adi Ophir teaches philosophy at Tel Aviv University's Cohn Institute for the
History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas.
|'Bending the truth'? Nine anti-Israel Israeli academics who form the B'tzelem board, to establish a U.S representation
|B'Tselem's end-of-the-year press release on Palestinian casualties specifically claims that the organization has tallied civilian Palestinian casualties. For instance, the press release from Dec. 31, 2007 misleads, stating that in 2007 Israeli security forces killed 373 Palestinians and that "about 35 percent of those killed were civilians who were not taking part in the hostilities when killed."
Yet, Islamic Jihad leaders from Bethlehem or Qabatiya, even if they weren't murdering anyone at the moment they were killed, are no more civilians than the man who shot dead six people celebrating at a bat mitzvah.
Unfortunately, journalists are time-strapped, and most are unlikely to look past B'Tselem's user-friendly press release to discover the inconsistencies and blatant falsehoods that stand behind it.
This leaves yet one more casualty of the conflict - the truth.
|Israeli professors behind a new anti-Israel report. (B'Tzelem Board: David Kretzmer, Anat Biletzki, Orna Ben-Naftaly, Menachem
Fisch, Tamar Hermann, Menachem Klein, Alla Shainskaya, Oren Yiftachel, and Rayef Zreik)
|"Settlers, and sometimes members of Israel's security forces
violently attack and harass Palestinians who venture near settlements, erecting fences and other physical and electronic devices around the land, blocking Palestinian access."
|About the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. Amongst his admirers, [BGU] Amnon Raz Krakotzkin and [TAU] Yitzhak Laor |
|In other places in the Arab world, liberal intellectuals are engaged in soul-searching regarding the “culture of death” that so epitomizes Arab politics in recent decades. As, all of a sudden, they revealed that said culture primarily harms the most delicate fiber of Arab existence. However, the bill for all this bloodshed should be presented to the poets of destruction and devastation like Mahmoud Darwish, who is considered by many significant people as one of the most important poets among the region’s Arabs.|
|HOW TO GET THE WORLD TO HATE ISRAEL|
|On campuses where a coddled and insulated professoriate often
express antipathy for the perceived ills of capitalism, the usurpation of “Palestine” by Israel, “land grabs” through
occupation, and the denial of the civil and economic rights of the
Palestinians, you contend that Israel’s very existence is not at
all about self-determination (something you deem appropriate only for the Palestinians) and all about greed, globalism, colonialism, exploitation, and undeserved political and economic might. No longer able to fight apartheid in South Africa, you now try to transmogrify that racist social system onto Israel, holding rallies and encouraging the signing of petitions which call from divestiture from companies doing business in Israel.
You fund Middle Eastern Studies centers on university campuses and use them as anti-Israel, anti-American “think tanks” where
scholarship is tainted with ideology and singularly focused on the
Palestinian cause. You fund the active and vocal Muslim Students
Association on campuses across the country that hold “Israel
Apartheid Week” and “Holocaust in the Holy Land”
festivals at which propaganda, Jew-hatred, apologies for terrorism, and further demonizing of Israel takes place.
|Israeli academics educate Israeli and Palestinian lawyers to undermine Israel, under the guise of Peace, in: Palestinian, Israeli Lawyers in ‘Dialogue and Action’|
|The third component of this program starts July 18th and will be
followed by monthly meetings. It will be a series of eight
uni-national and bi-national lectures and seminars given by prominent lawyers and human rights activists, including: Advocate Hassan Jabarin, the Director of Adalah; Dr. Michael Kariani, resident of WAS-NS and professor at the Hebrew University; Dr. Dafna Golan, Dr. Jose Brunner; Professor Orna Ben Naftali in WAS/NS; Attorney Mussa Dwake; Attorney Elia Theodor; Attorney Rafif Mujadeh and Dr. Rafq Abu
Ayash in Ramallah. Two of these meetings will be field trips to
Ramallah, where Israeli lawyers (accompanied by their Palestinian counterparts) will be able to see the of occupation with their own eyes. The lawyers are very eager to sit with each other and have asked for more joint meetings, which gives hope. What we have here is something unique. These are the beginnings of a grassroots organization whose intention is a positive peace initiative that fights against racism and the mechanism of oppression, and one that struggles against the apathy and acquiescence of suffering.
|In academia, hiring token Jews: Neve Gordon, Oren Yiftachel and Ilan Pappe|
|In Middle East studies, politicized writing and teaching have displaced scholarship, and academic freedom has been redefined as the liberty to dispense with academic standards. Hiring token Israeli Jews who share these views eliminates debate while providing the illusion of balance. |
|IAM's readers are requested to act upon a very disturbing anti-Israel conference to take place with 15 Israeli academics lecturing: States of Exception, Surveillance and Population Management: The Case of Israel/Palestine Larnaca, Cyprus
December 6 - 7,|
|Eyal Weizman, Professor and Director, Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths College, University of London
Ahmad Sa'di, Professor, Department of Politics and Government, Ben-Gurion University
Hillel Cohen, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Tamir Sorek, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Florida
Neve Gordon, Professor, Department of Politics and Government, Ben-Gurion University
Ronit Lentin, Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Nir Cohen, Postdoctoral Scholar, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Daniel Monterescu, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Central European University
and European University Institute, Hungary
Ariel Handel, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Philosophy, Tel-Aviv University
Nir Gazit, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Sociology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Rassem Khamaisi, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, University of Haifa
Anat Leibler, Postdoctoral Scholar at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Ilana Feldman, Assistant Professor, Anthropology Department, The George Washington University
Khaled Furani, Postdoctoral Scholar, Tel-Aviv University
|THE SHAME OF DISLOYALTY: WHEN NICE JEWISH MEN AND WOMEN ARE TOO NICE|
|When reading material written by these people, one gets the impression that they are deeply concerned about their fellow human beings. But like with most anti-Israel activists, in their version of the situation, there is never any mention of the Arab aggression which from the very outset set off the conflict, and only one side of the conflict is always completely in the wrong – Israel. But what was surprising with the Rose boycott initiative
was that the hundreds of academics who signed the Israel boycott agreement, included ten Israeli academics tenured in top Israeli universities.
One of the most outspoken of these Israelis is Ilan Pappe, formerly from Haifa University, now a professor of history at Exeter University in England. He often mentions massacres perpetrated by Israel that never occurred, including the lie that Israeli committed a massacre in Jenin in 2002, despite copious refutation (including United Nations reports) of the bogus claim.
What drives Pappe and others like him to propagate the damaging lies and libel against his own country. It is not because he doesn’t have the facts. After all, the man was born in Israel, served in the army and is a professor of history. Yet he has stated that for him, facts are irrelevant
|"Gisha"-Protecting the freedom of movement of Palestinians.
Kenneth Mann (TAU, Law), Yishai Blank (TAU, Law), Dan Rabinowitz (TAU, Anthropology), Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian (Hebrew U, Law)|
|Since the 1967 occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel's military has developed a complex system of rules and sanctions to control the movement of the 3.4 million Palestinians who live there. The restrictions violate the fundamental right of Palestinians to freedom of movement. As a result, additional basic rights are violated, including the right to life, the right to access medical care, the right to education, the right to livelihood, the right to family unity and the right to freedom of religion.|
|Academic conference "Sixty Years of Nakba" with Professor Nadim Rouhana [TAU], Dr. Yousef Jabareen [TAU], Dr. Nedera Shalhoub-Kevorkian [Hebrew U]|
|"Sixty Years of Nakba" In commemoration of the sixtieth anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, Mada al-Carmel – The Arab Center for Applied Social Research convened an academic conference entitled, "Sixty Years of Nakba – Homeland as Exile: Loss, Alienation and Forms of Resistance" at the Al Ein Hotel in Nazareth. The conference was held as part of the general Palestinian effort to preserve the memory of the Nakba, to ensure the regaining of usurped rights for the Palestinian people, and in an attempt to emphasize that the Nakba affected the Palestinian people in Israel in profound ways that have yet to be discussed. |
|Historical record comes back to bite the Israel-haters|
|FOR many decades after (the creation of the state of Israel) it was the Israeli propaganda narrative that the Palestinians had simply abandoned their country, not fought enough for it and left for friendly Arab countries.
The narrative conveniently defined the Palestinians as ignorant and cowardly.
But since the opening of the Israeli archives in the past decade, that narrative has been demolished by a younger band of Israeli historians - Avi Shlaim, Benny Morris, Ilan Pappe, Tom Segev and others - who have argued that the period from December 1947 to May 1948 involved a series of massacres designed to terrorise the native population into abandoning their homes and fleeing to safety.
And in Pappe's latest book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (Cambridge University Press, 2006), he draws from the archives of David Ben-Gurion, Haganah and Irgun papers and other sources to reveal how deliberate and articulated was the famous Plan Dalet of March 10, 1948: the plan by Jewish leaders to ethnically cleanse Arab cities (like Haifa and Jaffa) and villages getting in the way of the creation of the Jewish state.
|Articles by Orna Ben-Naftali, Aeyal M. Gross and Keren Michaeli appear in a new Palestine book
|The occupation is a form of tyranny. Recent scholarship by Israeli academics and human rights attorneys (see Ben-Naftali, Orna, Aeyal M. Gross and Keren Michaeli. Illegal occupation: framing the Occupied Palestinian Territory, 23 Berkeley J. Int'l L. 551-614 (2005)) have pointed to the unambiguous illegality of the occupation and to the fact that Palestinians have been essentially dehumanized and divested of their human and political rights by virtue of the Occupation. Palestinian aspirations to self-determination have never been considered in a serious manner (and I believe never will be) by Israel. The powers of the
Palestinian Authority are effectively reduced by Israel to nothing more than that of a local municipality. In short, the situation created by Israel is one of repression without representation. Throughout history similarly oppressed peoples have resisted such intolerable conditions.
|Le Monde Diplomatique’s The ‘ethnic Cleansing’ Of Palestine
|With access to 60 years of official archives, Israel’s new historians have shed light on old myths. As a result, a new generation of writers, academics and artists is able to look afresh at the country’s past.
|Jewish Anti-Zionism Unravelled (Part 1 + 2)
|Jewish anti-Zionist moralisers attract the praise of Israel's adversaries and enemies; they are perceived by them to be an admirable, embattled remnant. They are credited with knowing the truth about Israel, the truth about Jews. The ex-Israeli Akiva Orr, wrote Tariq Ali admiringly, "had long abandoned Israeli patriotism, but he had been an insider and knew a great deal." Ilan Pappe has received the kind of praise usually reserved for dissident truth-tellers in totalitarian societies. This esteem tempts some Jewish anti-Zionists into a certain kind of posturing. |
|A State Almost Sixty: The Anti-Zionist Congress
|About the Post-Zionist school of thoughts within the Israeli academe and society. They want to cut the ties between the Jewish People and the State of Israel. They claim Zionism sinned heavily to the local Arabs. They demand to withdraw the Jewish and Zionist symbols from the State of Israel and make it a state of all its citizens. Are they some kinf of joke or a beginning of a process. |
|Tel Aviv U, South Asian Studies lecturer YIGAL BRONNER and Ben Gurion U political science lecturer, NEVE GORDON believe archaeological digs are being carried out as part of a campaign to expel Palestinians
|Archaeology has become a weapon of dispossession," Yonathan Mizrachi, an Israeli archaeologist, said in a recent telephone interview with us. He was referring to the way archaeology is being used in Silwan, a Palestinian neighborhood in the oldest part of Jerusalem, where, we believe, archaeological digs are being carried out as part of a concerted campaign to expel Palestinians from their ancestral home.|
|The 60-Year War For Israel's History|
|The New Historians
In the late 1980s the Palestinian narrative was bolstered by the advent of a group of Israeli "new historians" who systematically rewrote the history of Zionism, warping the saga for Israel's survival. Aggressors were characterized as hapless victims and victims became aggressors. Rarely found in these revisionist accounts was the outspoken Arab commitment to destroy the Jewish national cause since the early 1920s, or the dogged efforts of the Jews to achieve peaceful coexistence. Instead, Zionism is depicted as an aggressive and expansionist movement, or an offshoot of rapacious European imperialism.
|[COMAS, Rishon LeZion] Orna Ben-Naftali and [TAU] Aeyal Gross: "The Second Intifada and After" in the book "Crimes of War Project"
|Following these developments, the Israeli government dismissed the idea of unilateral disengagement from the West Bank as “not on its agenda.” At the time of writing, no end to the occupation is in sight.|
|The future of Jewish anti-Zionism - a Zionist analysis
|Arguably, the most vociferous and effective opponents of the existence of the state of Israel today are anti-Zionist Jews. Who has done more to advance the myth of Zionist "ethnic cleansing" than Ilan Pappe? Who has done more to combat the "Holocaust Myth" than Norman Finkelstein?? Who has been at the forefront at spreading the libel of "Apartheid Israel," if not our own 'dear' Jeff Halper? Who has made hatred of Israel respectable in US Academia if not Joel Beinin? Who has done more to advance the image of Israel as a tool of the colonialist imperialist warmongers than Noam Chomsky? Who has been the ideological soul of the British boycott campaigns, if not Jacqueline Rose? Who has done more to discredit the IDF than Dorothy Naor with her "New Profile" movement? It is the Golden Age of anti-Zionist Jews. All over the world, the watchword is "Just Peace in Palestine." Jews are leading the fight to brainwash the world into thinking that genocide is justice. Anti-Semitism was abandoned by the respectable right; now it is the Jews who must lead the anti-Zionist fight, the struggle to deny the rights of the Jewish people. Surely it is absurd that Jews lead the anti-Zionist movement! |
|First, IDF soldiers do not rape Palestinian women because for them, these women have been dehumanized, and "consequently, a sexual act cannot be carried out with someone that is perceived as less than human." Second, the soldiers refrained from raping the Palestinian women in the service of a higher, demographic goal, because the rape could cause pregnancies that would subsequently increase the numbers of our enemies. In other words, not only are there no rapes, there are no condoms either.
The significant aspect is not this surreal research project. It is not unusual. Incitement against Israel can be found on the lowest level in some of the social science departments in Israel's universities. A well-known philosopher in Tel Aviv University called Israel the dustbin of Europe - and students, as we know, are influenced by their teachers, even when the latter are seized by a frenzy of hatred toward the state that provides their livelihood, and at the expense of which, thanks to their attacks on it, they make their names.
The interesting thing is that this "research" project won a prize from a sociology association, with a number of distinguished professors voting in favor of granting the researcher a prize.
|The flow of new initiatives from academics throughout the world seeking to delegitimize Israel continues unabated. Now the emphasis is directed towards anti-Israeli boycotts as exemplified by the recent outrage from the British Association of University Teachers. Sadly, in many universities, academics of Jewish origin have assumed key roles denigrating Israel often claiming to do so out of "a sense of Jewish justice."
But the most harmful academic purveyors of hatred against the Jewish state are located at our own universities. They demonize their own country and try to persuade their students that Israel was born in sin. Their negative impact abroad is devastating.
|NADERA SHALOUB-KERVORKIAN and GABRIEL PITERBERG participate in a Conference Commemorating the 60th Anniversary of Al-Nakba: FROM OCCUPATION TO LIBERATION
|FROM OCCUPATION TO LIBERATION:
VOICES WE NEED TO HEAR!
FEBRUARY 15 & 16, 2008
Friday: 3:30pm - 9:00pm & Saturday: 8:00am - 6:00pm
All Saints Episcopal Church
132 N Euclid Ave., Pasadena, CA
Dr. Gabi Piterberg was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and grew up in Israel. Currently he is Associate Professor of History at UCLA. He has also taught at the University of Durham, England, and Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.
DR. NADERA SHALOUB-KERVORKIAN
Dr. Shalhoub-Kervorkian is currently a lecturer in law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Institute of Criminology. She also holds a teaching position at the Hebrew University School of Social Work.
|An appetite for self-destruction|
|Beyond the grandstanding over President Bush’s visit to Israel this week, there is an even more important concern than over what America may be pushing it to do. This is Israel’s own attitude towards its identity and history and, by extension, its right to exist at all.
Among the Israeli intellectual elite, the instinct for national
self-destruction reaches near-hallucinatory levels.
|Motto of Anti-Israel Academics: "Free Speech For Me, But Not for Thee!" |
|Do anti-Israel professors "tremble in fear" when they criticize Israel at Harvard and other American universities? Not likely, if you have any sense of what's going on on college campuses today where Israel-bashing is rampant among hard left faculty and students. But a Harvard professor named J. Lorand Matory who teaches anthropology and Afro-American studies, whined to the Harvard faculty last week that he "tremble[s] in fear" whenever he criticizes Israel. Well, he must tremble an awful lot, since he spends so much of his time criticizing Israel, a country he has never even visited and a country that he recently told an interviewer he has never even read a book about. Matory submitted a motion stating that "this faculty commits itself to fostering civil dialogue in which people with a broad range of perspectives feel safe and are encouraged to express their reasoned and evidence-based ideas." Nothing wrong with encouraging free speech as long as speech is free to people representing different perspectives. But Matory's motion received support from other paragons of political correctness, who are well-known for their advocacy of censorship of the "offensive" speech of others, but who are now complaining that there's not enough free speech for them at Harvard. |
|The Oslo Syndrome: The Psychology of Self-Hatred
|Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Kenneth Levin, a clinical instructor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, a Princeton-trained historian, and a commentator on Israeli politics. He is the author of the new book The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People Under Siege|
|Middle East Quarterly asks if Israel Can Survive its Post-Zionists|
|Israel is today in the midst of a cultural civil war in which one side would like to see their country continue to exist as a Jewish state and the other believes that Zionism, the founding idea of the state, has reached its end. For the latter group, the time has come for Israel to enter its post-Zionist stage; for this reason, it describes itself as "post-Zionist." By their own definition, post-Zionists are anti-Zionist, meaning they believe that the Zionist enterprise has lacked moral validity since its conception and, therefore, must be undermined. Further, post-Zionists also question the moral bases of their religion.|
|Yet another “bash Israel” conference, only this time in Jerusalem, features numerous Israeli academics. November 14-16th, 2007 at Al Quds University, “Dialogue Under Occupation.” |
|The Symposium is being held with the sponsorship and cooperation of American universities like George Mason U in Washington DC which recently hosted the US national conference of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation where International Solidarity Movement activists were trained in how to lobby the US Congress and build even more academic consensus against Israel in America. George Mason U has a satellite campus in the UAE and gets plenty of money from Arab interests that are opposed to Israel’s existence. The “American” professors attending this international conference in Jerusalem are for the most part Palestinian Arab irredentists who are activists for destruction of Israel as a Jewish state...
In keeping with the successful mode of propagandizing with Jewish “shills” presenting an “Israeli point of view” that is decidedly against Zionism and Israel being a Jewish state, a number of Israeli academics will appear to once again be little more than a cheering section for the Arab side against Israel. A review of the symposium’s schedule reveals several of these “scholars.”
Ehud “Udi” Adiv, Chaim Noy, Dafna Yitzhaki, Nurit Peled-Elhanan
and Tamar Katriel
|CAMERA held a conference 'Israel's Jewish defamers' -
Exposing Jewish anti-Zionists and anti-Semites|
|The media watchdog group CAMERA held a conference this weekend titled "Israel's Jewish Defamers." The target: Jews who blast Israel with comparisons to Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa. |
|In cooperation with the Ariel Center, we are pleased to announce the publication of the ACPR's latest policy paper (No. 171) |
|The opinions and claims of Israel academics against Jews, Zionism and Israel are discussed and analyzed in this study. It is estimated that some 20 to 25% of people who teach the Humanities and Social Sciences in Israel's universities and colleges have expressed extreme anti-Zionist positions, largely, though not exclusively, relating to Israel's policies and actions in regard to the Arab Palestinians. In addition to their expression of anti-Zionist, and often outright anti-Semitic attitudes, they have engaged in public demonstrations, prepared and signed petitions addressed to soldiers in the IDF to disobey their commanders' orders and not serve in Judea and Samaria, and have been active in encouraging academic organizations abroad (particularly in England) to boycott Israel Universities and academics. |
|Zionism's bleak present -
Daniel Pipes on the situation, exposes the "New Historians"|
| Prominent Israeli historians focus on showing how Israel was conceived in sin and has been a force for evil|
|The Lies Of Post-Zionist Revisionists
by Herbert London|
|It is always possible to rewrite history based on new
interpretations of the past. A snippet of evidence can alter
perspectives and truth is an elusive muse. There is, of course,
some justification for the claim some Arabs were victims, but
there must be a moment when resentment is converted into realism, when the demons in the collective Arab soul are purged, when Israel is accepted as a state and hostility is converted into
But none of this can occur as long as propagandists roil the
waves of history and provide ammunition for the warriors of a new
|Deconstructing Apartheid Accusations Against Israel
by Prof. Gideon Shimoni
The accusation that Israel is an apartheid state is an insidious tool in the hands of those who deny the entitlement of Jews to a viable national home. The tool is so effective because it contains within it the precedent of the use of boycotts as a method of attack as was the case against apartheid South Africa.
Those who use the apartheid accusation employ the old anti-Zionist arguments. These constitute a multi-layered construct of fundamental ideological positions and analytical constructs, one of which is the purposeful displacement of the real nationalist context for historical comprehension of Zionism with the vilifying label of colonialism. Many anti-Zionists, but not necessary all of them, apply identifiable double standards of judgment to Israel traceable to the characteristic anti-Semitic premise that all things Jews do are inherently evil, including their nationalism.
Even Israel's relinquishment of all of the occupied West Bank would not dispel the fallacious Israel=apartheid accusation because it is rooted in a priori denial of Jewish nationalist need and entitlement, proscription of the entire Zionist enterprise as loathsome colonialism, and false equation of the Jewish national purposes and symbols of the State of Israel with racism.
|The problem with post-Zionism
|The solution to the problem lies in the Israeli education system. Create a new generation of Jews knowledgeable about their heritage and inculcated with a love of Zion, and the post-Zionists will be marginalized. If that does not eventuate, the number of so-called elitist draft dodgers will grow and grow, to Israel's mortal peril.
And Israeli leaders will continue pronouncing that "We have become tired of fighting; tired of being arrogant; tired of winning; tired of defeating our enemies."
|Convicted Spy and Traitor Udi Adiv and others in a Conference - 'Dialogue under occupation'|
|November 14-16, 2007 in East Jerusalem
Udi ADIV, Chaim NOY, Dafna YITZHAKI, Elana SHOHAMY, Rahel WARSHAW-DADON, Nurit PELED-ELHANAN, Aura MOR-SOMMERFELD, Tamar HAGER, Maya KAHANOFF, Michal ZAK,
In a conference - 'Dialogue under occupation' sponsored by Northeastern Illinois University
International Association for Dialogue Analysis
University of Malta
|The "Naqba" Offensive and the lies of the "Post-ZIonists"|
|Israel’s critics have increasingly adopted the term Naqba (or Nakba), which means "catastrophe" in Arabic, to refer to the Jewish state's creation and existence. The idea is that if "Palestinian Arabs" are thought to have suffered as a result of Israel's creation and gaining of independence, then Israel's very existence must be a disaster, a tragedy, one that must be "corrected" and cured through Israel's annihilation.|
|Why Israeli anti-Zionists do not recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state |
|Henry Lowi says that Israeli anti-Zionists are against Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state because it is predicated upon settler-colonialism, ethnic cleansing and racist discriminations, and because it is “the main engine of anti-Semitism in the world today”.|
|My Jewish narrative: Response to education minister who added Palestinian narrative to Arab textbooks
|My narrative claims that those who have a problem with the Israeli nationality and therefore do no perform national service instead of military service should not be receiving social benefits either.
According to my narrative, those who wish to live in peace with me are welcome, but those who wish to arrange yet another Holocaust for me should take into account the possibility of other Nakbas as well.
My narrative is very simple: To survive.
|Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Funding for anti-Israel NGOs—(GERMANY)|
|The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), funded by the German
government, claims to “work towards contributing to the attainment of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.” While many of FES's activities are consistent with this mandate, other projects involve politicized NGOs, some of which focus their activities on ideological attacks against Israel, rather than on peace, good governance and
development. FES partners include the Palestinian Diaspora and Refugee Center (SHAML), Gisha, Center on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), and the Health Development Information and Policy Institute (HDIP). The activities of some of these groups include taking part anti-Israel boycotts, demonizing Israel as an apartheid state, promoting Palestinian claims to a "Right of Return," and issuing reports which use the
vocabulary of international law and human rights for partisan political and ideological agendas. In February 2007, FES engaged a consultant, who undertook a research mission that produced a one-sided, highly politicized report which condemned Israel's anti-terrorism activities. In addition, FES funded the 2004 Beirut International Conference on The Islamic World and Europe, jointly organized with Hezbollah's "Research Department". The support of this German organization for NGOs that deny Israel's right to self defense and embrace anti-Israel propaganda is particularly disturbing.
|Yuli Tamir, Tel Aviv University and Ilan Pappe, Haifa University|
|Here's a little event that may have big implications. The Israeli
Education Ministry has approved a textbook for Arab third-graders in Israel that for the first time describes the 1948 Arab-Israeli war as a "catastrophe" for the indigenous Palestinians and their society. The Palestinians have always referred to 1948 as the "Nakba," or a catastrophic national shattering, dispersal, exile, occupation and disenfranchisement.
This may be the first ever tangible sign that the Israeli establishment is prepared to move in the direction of acknowledging what happened to the Palestinians in 1948, which is a vital Palestinian demand for any serious peace-making effort to succeed. Israelis in turn would expect a reciprocal Palestinian acknowledgment of Israel's core narrative in due course...
Much of this debate has been resolved by respected scholars. The most recent and complete treatment of this issue is a book by the Israeli historian and University of Haifa lecturer Ilan Pappe, entitled,
appropriately: "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine." Using mostly Israeli official sources, Pappe recounts the entire process that started in the minds of pre-state Zionist leaders who knew they would have to forcibly expel the Palestinians to create a Jewish state in Palestine. That's because in 1948 the Jewish minority in Palestine owned just 5.8 percent of the land. Pappe describes in detail the planning before 1948 - including the preparation of files on every Arab village and its inhabitants - that would allow the Jewish militias in 1947-1948 to attack, terrorize and drive out Palestinians as soon as the British Mandate formally ended.
|Anti-Zionism by 'progressive' Jews
|Ynetnews interviews Professor Alvin Rosenfeld, author of controversial article that noted growing trend of rhetoric resembling 'anti-Zionist hate speech employed by the worst anti-Semites' among progressive Jewish academics|
|Post-Zionism doesn't exist
by Shlomo Avineri|
|There is nothing new in this moral blindness and these historical
distortions, but it is worth remembering: This is not a matter of
post-Zionists, but rather of anti-Zionists of the old school. The
absurdity is that anti-Zionists of a different breed, the people of the ultra-Orthodox movement Agudat Yisrael, for example, have accepted the historical fact of the existence of the State of Israel. The other anti-Zionists, who are accustomed to calling themselves the people of the world of tomorrow, are still captive in the snares of the past. Indeed there is nothing new under the sun.
|When Prof. Shlomo Avineri|
|But Avineri stops short of drawing the logical conclusions and applying his logic to his own and to other universities in Israel. The simple fact is that the Israeli universities today are in large part sewers of Post-Zionism, with entire departments and schools under the hegemony of the Post-Zionists, people who turn their classrooms into North Korean style indoctrination camps in hatred of Israel and of Jews. The academic Post-Zionists have managed to corrupt academic hiring and promotion processes in the universities, so that Post-Zionist leftists with the most embarrassing academic records get recruited and tenured, where academic standards are trashed for the sake of promoting "politically correct" comrades and intellectual fads and leftist agitprop. Avineri's own department at the Hebrew University (Avineri is actually retired) contains quite a few of these extremists and moonbats. Avineri proposes nothing in his article to correct the situation in Israel's universities, nor to deal with Israel's academic fifth column.|
|Has the Sun Set on the British Isle? |
|Truth be told, there is a strong identification in England for Arabic and Islamic causes. At the very moment a BBC reporter was being held hostage by jihadists in Gaza, a British union of professors and academics voted to officially ban any cooperative work with Israeli professors and outlaw their appearance at any of its academic conferences. This act of academic apartheid by British scholars against all Jewish scholars from the Jewish state is part of an ongoing effort within many upper-crust circles in English society to isolate, weaken and de-legitimatize Israel, the only democracy and culturally western outpost in the entire Middle East.
The fact that many of the outlawed Jewish professors are themselves leftists who have publicly taken the side of radical Arabs over fellow Israelis has not spared them. Some would describe such an all-inclusive, blanket brush of taint over an entire country as racism. Beyond question, its intent is to cast Israel out from the family of nations and pressure it to do what is contrary to its national safety and survival. This ever increasing sentiment was expressed last year by an official at a diplomatic dinner party in England: “Who cares about that shi--y little country, anyway!”
Not to be outdone in its loathing of Israel, the union of journalists in England recently announced that when covering the Palestinian Arab situation it expects its journalists to portray Arabs as victims and Israelis as occupiers. Just as the British academics seem to have thrown out the western enlightenment rule which champions scientific inquiry over political and racial identity so, too, the journalists there seem to have cast aside the first tenet of their craft, that of objectivity and getting both sides of the story.
|Ilan Pappe and Oren Yiftachel in 'Out of sight maybe, but not out of mind' |
|Historians who are very critical of the Zionist movement, such as Dr. Ilan Pappe, claim that disregarding the existence of Palestinian villages is part of a deliberate effort to erase their history in favor of creating a new one that suits the Zionist narrative of a country that was barren, and only flourished thanks to groups like the JNF. In a study he published, Pappe analyzes the information that JNF provides on several sites, including the Biria Forest, the Jerusalem Forest, the area of Ramat Menashe and the Sataf site near Jerusalem. "The Palestinian orchards are presented as a product of nature, and the history of Palestine is
relocated to the period of the Bible and the Talmud," he writes in his discussion of the site of the village of Ein Zeitun in the Biria Forest. Pappe also points out that the JNF publishes information about unique sites in the Jerusalem Forest and Sataf that testify to the extensive agricultural activity in the region. The information emphasizes the presence of terraces, describing them as ancient, even if they were built and maintained by Palestinian villages. A recent study conducted by Noga Kadman (as part of her studies in the Department of Peace and Development Research at Goteborg University in Sweden, under the tutelage of Prof. Oren Yiftachel of Ben-Gurion
University of the Negev), found about 86 Palestinian villages inside the JNF forests
|AIC Board of Directors: Prof' Yossi Schwartz, Dr. Shimshon Bichler and Prof' Daniel Boyarin|
|However, we acknowledge that this can only come to pass in the region if the root cause of the conflict is targeted and challenged - that being the long Occupation and dispossession of the Palestinian people|
|BGU Oren Yiftachel and Zvi Efrat from Bezalel Academy, in "Opposing the architects of the occupation"|
|About 200 British and Israeli architects and academics, including people of international renown, have signed a manifesto initiated by the British organization Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine, which calls on Israeli architects and planners to put an end to being "partners in social, political and economic oppression" in the occupied territories, "which violates the professional ethics acceptable to all."
...Among the signatories to the manifesto, which was initiated by architect Abe Hayeem, the chair of Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine, are architectural historian Charles Jencks; president of the Institute of Royal British Architects Jack Pringle; American sociologist Saskia Sassen; geographer Oren Yiftachel of Ben-Gurion University in the Negev; and architects Will Alsop of Britain, Zvi Hecker of Israel and Berlin, Yaron Turel of Israel, as well as Israeli Zvi Efrat, who heads the architecture department at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design.
|HOW TO FIGHT CAMPUS ISRAEL-BASHERS|
|Every spring, representatives of Israel ’s universities crisscross the Diaspora seeking donations. The appeals are deliciously, explicitly, inspirationally Zionist, inviting Zionist givers to fulfill the modern Zionist dream by funding Israel ’s centers of higher learning. Yet, as administrators sing this lovely, lucrative Zionist song, some Israeli professors, funded by these same donor-dollars, preach an ugly anti-Zionist line|
|Jewish Divide Over Israel|
|In any case, I can think of nothing more desperately needed in Israel than a companion book to this excellent one, focusing on Israel's own variety of the species exposed in it. If anything, the Israeli variety is worse than its overseas cousins, and it is certainly far more dangerous. Israeli "progressive" self-bigotry is more openly anti-Semitic. After all, clueless American Jewish leftist "intellectuals" can afford to wallow in their delusions about the Middle East without creating any clear and immediate danger to anything. The Israeli Jewish leftist anti-Semites are a Fifth Column, operating in a country at war and under threat of destruction.
|The New Bishara Treason Chic|
|Well, the peek-a-boo game is over and the press in Israel have at last been allowed to print the charges against Knesset Member Azmi Bishara. Bishara is an Anti-Semitic pro-terror Arab fascist, so naturally he is beloved by the Israeli far Left. An ad was run in Haaretz this week declaring "Azmi Bishara you are our Brother," and signed by a handful of Israeli anti-Israel leftists and communist moonbats, including Anat Biletzki, professor of philosophy at Tel Aviv University. Because Bishara is so openly a traitor, he is also being celebrated by Neve Gordon from Ben Gurion University, who previously cheered and celebrated such people as nuclear spy Mordecai Vanunu (Gordon declared he deeply admires him and thinks Vanunu was a patriot) and terrorist collaborator Tali Fahima.|
|Using Israel's anti-Zionist academia|
|Quoting Baruch Kimmerling, Uri Ram, Avishai Ehrlich, Gershon Shafir, Yoav Peled, and Tom Segev|
|Orna Ben-Naftali, Aeyal M. Gross and Keren R. Michaeli|
|The occupation is a form of tyranny. Recent scholarship by Israeli academics and human rights attorneys (see Ben-Naftali, Orna, Aeyal M. Gross and Keren Michaeli. Illegal occupation: framing the Occupied Palestinian Territory, have pointed to the unambiguous illegality of the occupation and to the fact that Palestinians have been essentially dehumanized and divested of their human and political rights by virtue of the Occupation.|
|Israel's Post-Zionst Academia|
|A Call for Papers for an international students' competition has gone out. The International Law Division at the Law School of the College of Management Academic Studies in Israel, in cooperation with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and The International Review of the Red Cross, have all announced the launching of an international competition for the "best international law paper" and invite the submission of papers focusing on legal aspects of the 40 year old Israeli occupation of Hebron.
The competition is open to all law students world-wide. One paper, selected by the competition steering committee as the winning paper, will award its author a $500 prize (sponsored by the Law School, the College of Management Academic Studies). Up to three papers, selected by the
competition committee, will be published in The International Review of the Red Cross, subject to the journals review procedures.
The winning papers will be announced by October 1 2007.
Why is this profound academic activity being launched?
|ICRR activities: Rachel Giora, Jacob Katriel, Dana Ron, Yehuda Kupferman and Aharon Eviatar|
|ICRR is making huge efforts to help Palestinians with foreign passports who have problems to enter the WB and Gaza.|
|The anti-Israel lobby|
|The U.K. has seen a number of public initiatives toward the
delegitimization of the Jewish state in recent years. These have included the attempted lecturers' boycott in 2005, a subsequent attempt at a similar boycott by architects and the demonstrations during last summer's war in Lebanon, featuring support for a Shi'ite Islamist organization with the slogan "We are all Hezbollah now." A number of Jewish organizations openly hostile to Israeli government policy already exist - such as Jews for Justice for the Palestinians, and the Jewish Forum for Justice and Human Rights. Such is the climate of debate in the U.K. on Israel.
|Israeli Committee for Right of Residency|
|Meeting on Thursday, January 11, 2007
on Entry Requirements of Foreign Nationals into the West Bank
Participants: Aharon (Arkee) Eviatar ,Rachel Giora, Yehuda Kupferman, Attorney Gabi Laski, Ruchama Marton, Dorothy Naor, Israel Naor, Yosefa Sartiel, Dana Ron, Snait Gissis.
|Post-Zionism Greater Threat Than Nukes |
|"The name of the game in game theory is motivation, incentives. Earlier, we discussed the motivations of those standing on the opposite side. Motivating ourselves is the most important thing, and the thing we are losing the most. Without motivation, we will not endure. What are we doing here? Why are we here? What are we aspiring to here? We are here because we are Jewish, we are Zionist, because of our ancient bond to this land; we aspire to realize our 2,000-year-old hope of becoming a free nation in our land, the Land of Zion and Jerusalem. Without this profound understanding, we will not endure. We will simply no longer be here; post-Zionism will finish us off."|
|ICRR: Aharon (Arkee) Eviatar ,Rachel Giora, Yehuda Kupferman, Attorney Gabi Laski, Ruchama Marton, Dorothy Naor, Israel Naor, Yosefa Sartiel, Dana Ron, Snait Gissis.|
|This is a letter from Dorothy Naor to members of ICRR (Israeli Committee for Right of Residency), at the bottom summary of their meeting.
| Israelis are expressing concern about the treatment of Israel’s Arab |
|New IDF Gadna youth program criticized as overly militaristic|
|One gets the impression that the program was prepared in the 1950s, in the previous century," said Professor Daniel Bar-Tal, of the Tel Aviv University's School of Education. "It perpetuates a security-minded outlook," he added.
..."This is a takeover by the army of the high school, that is meant to be the foundation for a civil society," said Hebrew University Professor Matanya Ben Artzi in response to the proposed program. His son Yoni was arrested for refusing to be drafted because he is a pacifist.
...The program makes it clear, in no uncertain terms, at the supreme value is the state, and that the norms are established by the state and the army, whatever they may be," said Dr. Nurit Peled-Elhanan, of the Tel Aviv University School of Education. He adds that the subjects being taught during the Gadna program suggest that "there is no room for hesitation, for criticism or any signs of these. All, including the parents, must contribute to the effort of conscription."
|ICRR - Anti-Israel Israeli Academics get together|
|October 2006 in ICRR Israeli Committee for Residency Rights|
|Academics Against Israel Attack ZOA|
|Some bad guys called the Zionist Organization of America are now demanding that Jewish organizations in American campuses will ban Shovrim Shtika. That will seriously hamper the plans for next year|
|Arab Propagandist acknowledge the advantages of anti-Israel academics|
|Professor Ilan Pappe of Haifa University wrote a documented book on ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1947 and 1948. Professor Rachel Giora of Tel Aviv University called for boycotting Israeli academics in protest of the Israeli government's policy. Prior to this, the Jewish British Professor Stephen Rose of the Open University, along with his wife, has organized a boycott of Israeli academics that comprised thousands of professors. After the eruption of the second Palestinian Intifada in September 29, 2000, some Jewish journalists have made the best possible coverage. The Israeli Amira Hass was clearly sympathetic with the Palestinians to the extent that she moved to Gaza. The Jewish British Susan Goldenberg wrote in 'The Guardian' with extreme objectivity and humanity. Equally objective was the Jewish American Debra Sontag who wrote in 'The New York Times'. I add to these, the Jewish American-Canadian Naomi Klein, whose comments were the best among what has been written. I should not forget to mention Uri Avnery, who served in the Israeli army and who used to be a member of the Knesset. He was a peace advocate par excellence.
As Ilan Pappe amends for a thousand like Lieberman, James Wolfensohn amends for a thousand Wolfowitz who he succeeded in the presidency of the World Bank. Wolfensohn moved to the Palestinian territories to help its people and left frustrated with the American policy.
|Anti-Israel Hatefest at the Van Leer Institute|
|Misuse of Israeli Campuses|
|for the past few years the campus of Tel Aviv University and some other universities have been misused by allowing the "Socioeconomic College" programs to operate on campus grounds. The "Socioeconomic College" is a front for the Israeli Communist Party, and the "College" teaches boilerplate Marxism and anti-Israel propaganda, using public campus facilities.
|Self-selection: anti-Semitic academics face extinction|
|In the "publish or perish" academic world, access to and participation in the development of new ideas is critical. And if the inventiveness of Israeli scholarship and achievement is withheld, these academics and their journals will miss out. They may not become second rate and wither on the vine, but is it too much to dream that they will be overshadowed by those who meet their Israeli counterparts on an equal footing?
Wherever practical, let every supporter of Israel direct academic achievements, papers, studies, grants and donations to people and institutions that demonstrate honest and true academic freedom.
Let's make sure that these misguided academics – whether they shun the Jewish state and its citizens out of misguided political correctness, jealousy of their Israeli counterparts' achievements, or simple anti-Semitism – will not have a part in the miracle of modern Israel and its scientific discoveries..
Let the anti-Semites self-select themselves out of the race. Preferably out of the human race.
|Pappe and Reinhart in "Ayoon Wa Azan (An Existence Born of Nil)"|
|To summarize 3000 years of history, current Israel exists, and its crimes against humanity attest to its existence. Once again, I am not giving my personal opinion, because Israeli Professor Ilan Pappe documented these crimes in 'The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine'. Also, Israeli Professor Tanya Reinhart said, in a lecture she gave this month in Melbourne, that Israel practiced ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians in 1948 and in 1967, and that it is on its way to practice a third cleansing. The last issue of Oxford University's journal includes 28 articles documenting the accusation.
I ask the readers to note that I am citing two Israeli scientists who refute the legend of ancient Israel. I also cite the most famous university in the world, and two professors at the Haifa and Tel Aviv universities, to confirm that when Israel was created, it committed crimes against humanity.
There are Israeli and Jewish academicians around the world with refined humane attitudes, and we must all appreciate their work and courage. However, we should focus on the daily crimes perpetrated by Israel. Our Israeli reference in this regard is the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B'Tselem), the figures of which I always cite. If Israeli academicians do not tell lies against Israel, then figures do not lie to all the people.
|The Scourge of Jewish Anti-Semites
|Dissecting Jewish Demonization of Israel|
|"Cowardice" is the word that springs to mind most often as the suitable epithet for Israel's Jewish enemies. This is not only because coming to the defense of this tiny and beleaguered nation (or of the Jews themselves) has never been an exercise for the timid, but also because of the abundant accolades these accusatory Jews have received for their courage from persons not exactly famous as discerning judges of character.
Alexander opens his Introduction to the volume with a 1970 quote from Irving Howe: "Jewish boys and girls, children of the generation that saw Auschwitz, hate democratic Israel and celebrate as ‘revolutionary' the Egyptian dictatorship.... A few go so far as to collect money for Al Fatah, which pledges to take Tel Aviv. About this, I cannot say more; it is simply too painful." Now these children are grown and have extended their sympathies beyond the Egyptian dictatorship and Fatah to Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and the Iranian mullahs. In contrast to the cowardice of those discussed in the book, the authors of this collection demonstrate considerable courage in not being deterred by either their perspective's unpopularity or their subject's painfulness.
|Israeli intellectuals petition for contacts with Syria, Hamas|
|Professors for the Appeasement of Terror|
|One war, two fronts|
|Latest News from Israel's Academic Fifth Column|
|it is hard to resist the conclusion that some of the above mentioned "academics" were hired to teach in their universities and promoted not for their research merits but their political extremism.
|Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism - From Jewish to Israeli Self-Hatred: The Psychology of Populations under Chronic Siege|
|The phenomenon of Diaspora Jews embracing as truth the indictments of Jew-haters has been so commonplace that a literature on the subject emerged under the rubric "Jewish self-hatred." A similar predilection evolved in Israel, particularly among the nation's cultural elites, in the context of the Arab siege.
|Theory, reality at Tel Aviv University|
|This week, scanning the list of the thirty Tel Aviv University professors whose letter excoriated the school for allowing Mofaz to speak, one of whom actually became violent in the auditorium, I recognized the names of professors who had organized the Husseini appearance.
I was shocked when I saw the name Yisrael Gershoni, the same professor who convinced me that the right to free speech on campus – even for one's opponents – was a supreme value, and should not just be acknowledged but actually defended by placing one’s own body in harm’s way.
Now, with the shoe on the other foot, he has signed a letter stating that “the participation of the minister of defense as the keynote speaker at the opening of this conference…must not be permitted.”
Professor Gershoni: I still believe in the principle that you taught me in 1991. I am saddened that you no longer do.
|Israelis Against Themselves, Chapter Three of THE JEWISH DIVIDE OVER ISRAEL: Accusers and
Defenders (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2006).|
|Most readers of post-Zionist outpourings have little to fall back on except their native mistrust of intellectuals. Thus, when Hebrew University professor Moshe Zimmermann declares that Zionism “imported” antisemitism into the
Middle East, it requires knowledge (not much, to be sure) of history to recognize the statement as preposterous. But sometimes the post-Zionists are tripped up by overconfidence into lies that even the uninstructed can easily detect. Thus Avishai Margalit, a Hebrew University philosophy professor spiritually
close to, if not quite a card-carrying member of, the post-Zionists, in a New York Review of Books essay of 1988 called “The Kitsch of Israel,” heaped scorn upon the “children’s room” at Yad Vashem with its “tape-recorded voices of children crying out in Yiddish, ‘Mame, Tate [Mother, Father].’” Yad Vashem
is a favorite target of the post-Zionists because they believe it encourages Jews to think not only that they were singled out for annihilation by the Nazis but also—how unreasonable of them!—to want to make sure they do not get singled
out for destruction again. But, as any Jerusalemite or tourist who can get over to Mount Herzl will quickly discover, there is no “children’s room” and there are no taped voices at Yad Vashem. There is a memorial to the murdered children
and a tape-recorded voice that reads their names.23 Margalit’s skullduggery is by no means the worst of its kind among those Israelis involved in derogating the memory and history of the country’s Jewish population.
|Professors Showing Solidarity with Convicted Nuclear Traitor Mordecai Vanunu|
|Consider the petition in Haaretz this week supporting Mordecai Vanunu. Vanunu is now out of jail, thanks to Israel's stupidity, but he served a very long jail sentence for nuclear espionage. Vanunu had joined Israel's HADASH Stalinist party while a student at Ben Gurion University, that same school that has produced so many traitors. He somehow got a job at Israel's nuclear facilities in Dimona. He then decided to try to reveal to the world the details of Israel's nuclear programs. He was arrested and convicted of treason and espionage. Meanwhile, he converted to Christianity and has continued his anti-Israel activities since being released from prison.
The signers of the petition include communist Jews and Arabs, Arab fascists, tenured traitors, anti-Zionist self-hating Jewish moonbats, and Jews for a Second Holocaust. Among the signers are many of the familiar names from Israeli universities, anti-Israel "post-Zionists" and academic extremists who hate their own country. These include Ilan Pappe from Haifa University, long in favor of Israel's annihilation, Teddy Katz, Pappe's mini-me, Neve Gordon from Ben Gurion University, the groupie of Holocaust Denier Norman Finkelstein who has long endorsed Vanunu's treason, Anat Matar from Tel Aviv University, recently arrested for violently attacking soldiers protecting Israel's security wall, Baruch Kimmerling from the Hebrew University, who has justified suicide bombers, Colman Altman, retired Stalinist from the Technion, and his Technion comrade-in-Stalin Jacob Katriel, Uri Ram, anti-Zionist from Ben Gurion University, Tanya Reinhart, who has never met a terrorist she does not like, Rachel Giora, who has replaced Tanya Reinhart as Tel Aviv University's main jihadnik of linguistics, Gadi Algazi, another Tel Aviv University ultra, Shlomo Zand, a Tel Aviv University pro-Palestinian Marxist historian, Ruhama Merton, who writes anti-Israel propaganda with Neve Gordon, Vered Krauss and Yuval Yonay, fanatic anti-Zionist sociologists from Haifa University, Adi Ophir, extremist Tel Aviv University professor who was a founder of Peace Now and others. All of these are people whose income comes from taxes paid by Israeli taxpayers, salaries paid by the Israeli state these signers want to see destroyed.
|Israeli academics participate in the UN 'NGO Action News'|
|Guest experts include: Amiram Goldblum, Professor at Hebrew University;
Yossi Schwartz, Tel Aviv University and AIC member on "After the Deployment";
Ammon Raz-Krakotzkin of Ben Gurion University on "Current Political and Social Challenges in Israeli Society".
Henriette Dahan-Kalev, School of Management, Ben Gurion University, on "The Rule of Settlers and Militarism in Israel";
|Finkelstein’s Fan in Israel - FrontPageMagazine.com|
|Gordon and Finkelstein have, of course, some things in common, including an attraction to anti-Israeli terrorists. On February 3, 2002, Israel’s ynet reported that “250 left-wing activists violated the Israeli army’s orders and entered Ramallah for a meeting with Arafat. . . . Neve Gordon . . . was photographed with Arafat with hands clasped [see picture]. . . . In reply to the question of whether he felt comfortable hugging the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, responsible according to Israel for acts of terror, he replied: ‘I don’t know who’s responsible for the terror attacks, that’s what the media says. . . . ’ ”
Gordon, who has written that “Israel’s gravest danger today is not the PA or even Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, but the one it faces from within: fascism,” and whom Ma’ariv columnist Ben-Dror Yemini accused (along with Haifa University’s Ilan Pappe) of “spread[ing] their articles dripping with anti-Zionist poison all over the world, some of which appear on anti-Semitic websites,” also shares with Norman Finkelstein a Zundel connection.
|Norman Finkelstein's world - THE JERUSALEM POST|
|"Historically, self-hating Jews besmirching their kinsmen have ranged from apostates in the Middle Ages to communists in Stalinist Russia. Today their successors have assumed pivotal roles in the global campaign to delegitimize Israel. ..."|
|Academics against Israel, The Jerusalem Post|
|The problem of scholars injecting politics into their classroom and published works is an old one. But a powerful new article by Ofira Seliktar demonstrates that Israeli scholars - historians, political scientists, and others - have gone far beyond protesting against their state in these ways.
In conjunction with pro-Palestinian and "peace" activists many have actively worked to delegitimize Israel in the eyes of the world, and have proposed its destruction. This is being paid for by Jewish support of higher education in Israel, and of organizations such as the US-based Association for Israel Studies. ...
Many Israeli academics have long been active in, or have even run, local NGOs such as Gush Shalom, B'Tselem, Yesh Gvul, the Committee to Stop Demolition of Houses in Palestine, the Committee to Stop Torture, and
Courage to Resist. But the activism of a core group of a few dozen took the message far beyond the constraints of Israeli society. Through determined writing and endless speaking, a stream of petitions, and above all, skillful
use of the Internet, their bitterness toward Zionism and Israel has spread far and wide. False accusations, such as the preposterous "Urgent Warning against the War in Iraq and the Support for the Right to Return of
Palestinians to Israel," which warned that Israel planned to remove Palestinians should America attack Iraq, have been spread in close conjunction with Palestinian groups such as BADIL. ...
These professors have also spread their message in the US thanks to groups such as Faculty for Israeli Palestinian Peace and sponsors, including American Jewish philanthropists, such as the Helen Diller Foundation, which
helped pay for Yiftachel and Gordon to spend time at the University of California. As Jewish critics of Israel they are protected from accusations of anti-Semitism, and have been endorsed by frequent appearances in publications such as Tikkun magazine.
Ironically, anti-Israel scholars are cited approvingly by the anti-Zionist American Council on Judaism, as well as by neo-Nazis. But they are also given center stage by the Association for Jewish Studies, and by Middle East scholars and Middle East Studies centers, who frequently host them and
provide visiting appointments. Their presence gives the scholars the "legitimacy" they seek, while allowing their hosts to claim fairness in presenting an "Israeli viewpoint." ...
Seliktar notes the dearth of alternative institutions in Israeli society that might encourage greater intellectual pluralism. Until such an
infrastructure is developed, until donors start asking questions about what is being done with their money, and until it is better appreciated how a few tenured professors have gone beyond the bounds of their academic
appointments, little will change.
|Columbia and the Academic Intifada|
|Even if the Columbia leadership were to do the decent thing, by acknowledging the ongoing bigotry of its professors and by disciplining the offenders, such action would only address the symptoms and not the causes of the pervasive anti-Israel and anti-Jewish bias in the field of modern Middle East studies. Not only is the academic intifada against the Jewish state thriving, the reigning terms of discussion it has introduced for understanding Middle Eastern reality have become perfectly normal, perfectly conventional, perfectly accepted in academic discourse. It will take more than a single student protest to undo the rot that has settled into the study of the Middle East and that is now quite comfortably at home in Western universities.
|Berkeley's War Against Israel |
|The University of California at Berkeley has developed a new academic specialty, providing a home for anti-Israel Israelis. The anthropology department at the University of California, headed by leftist Lawrence Cohen, a leading scholar in “queer studies,” recently hired an Israeli anthropologist who had been forced to resign from the Hebrew University, reportedly over fabricating research results. UC-Berkeley has misused the “Diller Grant” it receives from a fund established by Helen Diller, a Berkeley alumnus, contributed to promote Jewish and Israeli studies on campus, to host one of Israel’s worst anti-Zionist extremists: Oren Yiftachel, a geographer from Ben Gurion University. According to Martin Kramer, an expert on Middle East Studies and on pseudo-scholarship, “Yiftachel is...a shining light in the post-Zionist pantheon, a ‘critical scholar’ whose criticism runs overwhelmingly in one direction: against Israel. Yiftachel was the kind of Israeli that an Edward Said-boosting, Saudi-connected Middle East center could not only tolerate, but embrace.” |
|The Myth of Incitement in Palestinian Textbooks
|Paradise Now: The Movie - A review of the Golden Globe-winning and Oscar-nominated film / by Freddy Rokem and by Galit Hasan-Rokem
|A feature film about suicide-bombers: Is that possible? Can the medium of fictional film capture this kind of destructive activity, which we as Israelis – except for the victims themselves – have usually experienced by watching the TV broadcasts live from the sites where a suicide-bombing has taken place? This is something we have usually just heard from a distance, following the sirens of the ambulances to the place where a suicide -bombing has just occurred, while opening the radio or the TV to take part in the aftermath, counting the dead and the wounded. We also probably all know someone who has been killed or wounded in a suicide attack.
When we are made aware of what has happened, the suicide-bomber does not exist anymore – only his or her name is announced as a reminder of what has been a human being who was willing to sacrifice him or herself. And sometimes there is the pre-suicide recording full of fanatic determination and religius language. What we see on the screen as we watch the scene of a suicide- bombing is the gradually unfolding narrative of how many victims this suicide- bombing has caused - never the actual preparations for it nor the arrival to the scene.
|The Jewish Divide Over Israel|
|Alexander is professor emeritus of English at the University of Washington in Seattle. Bogdanor is a journalist who lives in London. The authors name Israel’s Jewish accusers – those who demonize Israel precisely as Jews. Their list includes Norman Finkelstein, Noam Chomsky, Tony Judt, Meron Benvenisti, Amos Oz, Judith Butler, Steven and Hillary Rose, Marc Ellis, Michael Lerner, Joel Beinin, Seymour Hersh, Jerome Segal, Martin Jay, Tanya Reinhart, Israel Shahak and Thomas Friedman.
“Anti-Zionists have a variety of motives,” Bogdanor said. “At one extreme, there are the ideological fanatics of the radical left, who feel no concern whatsoever for Jewish tradition or Jewish survival. They invoke their Jewish identity solely as a polemical weapon. These are the
pseudo-intellectuals of the anti-corporate and anti-globalization
movements who advocate sanctions against democratic Israel and oppose the embargo on totalitarian Cuba. They denounce America, Britain and Israel as the ‘real Axis of Evil,’ while their followers march alongside supporters of Hamas and Hezbollah. They care nothing for freedom, justice or human rights. They are driven by hatred and resentment, arising from an inner awareness that their ideology is dead.
|War by other means |
|When the council of the Association of University Teachers (AUT) in the UK meets on Friday to reconsider the boycott of Bar Ilan and Haifa Universities adopted last month, there is a good chance it will retreat. The opposition to this desecration of free academic inquiry has been surprisingly widespread, despite the pervasive anti-Israel bias in Britain and Europe. Perhaps there is more sanity and common sense in post-modern and post-colonial intellectual discourse than has been apparent.
But a tactical defeat of the boycott this time should not be confused with a strategic change – the extremists who are waging the political dimension of the war against Israel lost an earlier round, but kept trying. They realized that the 45,000 members of the AUT have either been unwilling or unable to tell their leaders that further exploitation of universities for vitriolic attacks against Israel is unacceptable.
To win this wider political war, the sources of the incitement and hatred directed against Israel need to be understood and defeated. In the case of the AUT boycott, its main proponents – Susan Blackwell and Steven Rose – are obsessed anti-Israel campaigners. Their claims regarding Bar Ilan and Haifa Universities were simply hooks on which to hang the wider campaign to label Israel "an apartheid state."
|But relax, Professor. The AUT has solemnly concluded that there is a clear distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. They don’t mind Jews. They just detest the Jewish state.
|Professors of hate|
|It would therefore be timely for the government to set up a commission to enable a public discourse on the role of publicly funded institutions which are being exploited to undermine the security of the nation in the name of academic freedom.
Is that fascism? Only if one associates democracy with a license to incite and subvert the state in the name of freedom of expression.
Besides, in most countries, the growing threat of global terror will in the near future undoubtedly necessitate encroachments, on what has hitherto been considered as unfettered freedom of expression. If the survival or physical welfare of citizens is at risk, most governments (in contrast to Israel) would implement whatever measures are deemed necessary to protect their welfare
|Post-Zionist Perspectives on Contemporary Israel
|Post-Zionist Perspectives on Contemporary Israel|
|Shafir and Peled do admit that 'the victory' of Israeli liberalism is 'by no means guaranteed', but even this seems unjustifiably sanguine given the events of the past four years.63 Since summer 2000, around 3,000 Palestinians and 900 Israelis have been killed in renewed Israeli-Palestinian violence.64 The military has reassumed its place at the centre of Israeli society, and the previously disgraced Ariel Sharon has been rehabilitated as trustworthy guardian of the Israeli national interest. This has happened side by side with the launch of a new privatisation programme overseen by Binyamin Netanyahu - with little sign of it being in contradiction with repression in the West Bank and Gaza. Meanwhile in the academy, the best-known of the New Historians, Benny Morris, seems to have become an advocate of ethnic cleansing and has given credence to Ehud Barak's frankly racist view that the Palestinians, being not of Judeo-Christian culture, do not understand the concept of truth.65 More critical voices, like that of Ilan Pappe, have found themselves ostracised within their universities and even threatened with dismissal. The study of Israeli society may have become more heterogeneous and contested, but a postcolonial liberal Israel seems almost as far away as ever.|
|Yuval Yoaz Celebrates the Politicalization of the Law School and legal education: The quiet revolution|
|The Israel-U.S. Civil Liberties Law Program, spearheaded by the New Israel Fund and American University in Washington, D.C., has changed the map of human rights in Israel|
|The Challenge of Post-Zionism|
|A book: CHALLENGE OF POST-ZIONISM Alternatives to Fundamentalist Politics in Israel|
|As an antidote to the growing Israeli fundamentalism, in recent years a lively debate has developed in the Israeli media, intellectual circles and academia about the defining characteristics of Israel and the future. The argument, known as Post-Zionism, challenges some of the fundamental myths surrounding the early history and contemporary identity of the Israeli State. This argument is voiced by individuals and groups with different political agendas, but at the centre of the argument is the desire to downplay the influence of Judaism in the definition of the state, and to move towards the idea that Israel should become a secular state of all its citizens. This argument has profound and radical implications for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and for Israeli politics, for it implies an improvement in the status of the Arab citizens of Israel and downgrades the status of Jews who are not citizens of Israel. |
|Gershon Shafir and Yoav Peled / Being Israeli; The Dynamics of Multiple Citizenship|
|Review of Gershon Shafir and Yoav Peled / Being Israeli: the Dynamics of Multiple Citizenship|
|The history of the state of Israel represents a continuation of the European model of colonial settler state building, with relatively minor variation. A group of settlers dominated a territory under the sponsorship of a powerful European state. Religion was used as a mobilizing ideology to recruit members to the emergent settlements. Eventually their numbers and organization reached a critical mass that enabled them to fight a war of independence against their original sponsors. Although Zionism is not unique in utilizing religion as a justification for European domination of foreign land and its population, Israel is unique in utilizing religion as the basis of ethnic identity, and consequently as the primary basis of citizenship.
How can you claim the establishment of a modern liberal democracy where citizenship is solely based on religious affiliation? How can the West, which has always fought for secularizing political citizenship (particularly in the United States) scarcely ever refrain from enthusiastic support for a state where religion is considered the sole basis of full citizenship?
Gershon Shafir and Yoav Peled have produced a major work that analyzes how Israel attempted to solve its citizenship dilemma, building a secular state based on a religious claim.
|Doctrine and Impact of the New History: The Politicizing Of History|
|Doctrine and Impact of the New History
The Politicizing Of History|
|Jews against Israel / |
|Anti-Semitic Jews have also become an important tool in the anti-Israeli campaigns of Western media. On the British media, Robert Wistrich observes: "Only those Jews who smash Israel appear in the media, and Israel is routinely represented as an ethnic-cleansing rogue state - when not compared to Nazi Germany and South Africa - and at the same time is held to a higher standard than other countries."
...One also finds anti-Israeli Jews in various human rights organizations and other NGOs. Jews with a strong anti-Israel bias in the media are another group requiring in-depth research.
|The Hebrew Ward Churchills of the Hebrew University |
|Politicalization by far leftists on Israeli campuses is notorious and is no doubt one reason for the growing academic mediocrity to be found there. Some Israeli leftist faculty members openly support anti-Jewish terror atrocities, call for Israel to be annihilated, denounce their own country as "fascist", compare democratic Israel to Nazi Germany while cheering Arab regimes. Some of these are engaged in law breaking, and in organizing mutiny and insubordination among Israeli soldiers. Others help promote the boycotts of Israel by overseas anti-Semites. The seditious activities of Israel's leftist extremists are now documented at Israel Academia Monitor, Israel's analogue to Campus Watch. |
|Israeli Web site watchdogs|
|Neve Gordon responds:
I have met Professor Steven Plaut a number of times in an Israeli court room, since I am suing him for publishing slanderous articles in which he calls me a “fanatic anti-Semite,” “a Judenrat wannabe,” “a promoter of Hitler” and “a groupie of the world’s leading Holocaust denier.” An article by Plaut, asking his readers to harass me, also appears on the racist Kahane Web site (and they obediently complied). He has even initiated an international campaign to have me fired. It seems he spends much of his time monitoring my articles and smearing my name. In his letter to NCR, he continues his defamation campaign, for which, as mentioned, he will have to answer in court
|Columbia University and the New Anti-Semitism|
|Rape, massacre, theft, torture, ethnic cleansing: these are not crimes which nations can defend with ease - especially when unearthed by their own historians. Israel recently faced this most troubling predicament. Combing through declassified state archives, Israeli scholars of the past twenty years have discovered their nation was founded upon the mass expulsion and deliberate destruction of the native Palestinian people. (1) Israel, it turned out, was far more Goliath than David. Since this presented somewhat of a public relations problem for a state still engaged in brutalizing Palestinians and stealing their land, a new self-justifying rationale needed to be authored.
|Rattling the Cage: Blacklist at the university|
|I have no doubt that upwards of 95% of Israeli Jewish professors at this country's universities are Zionists; the Jewish state will not collapse if place is also made at the universities for the handful of anti-Zionists.
|Carbon dating backs Bible on Edom|
|The Bible says Edom's kings interacted with ancient Israel, but some scholars have confidently declared that no Edomite state could have existed that early.
The latest archaeological work indicates the Bible got it right, those experts got it wrong and some write-ups need rewriting. The findings also could buttress disputed biblical reports about kings David and Solomon.
|Sniping from the ivory tower|
|So it is not surprising that many intellectuals have chosen to ignore the genocidal wars in Africa or the Balkans, focusing exclusively on the least bloody ethnic conflict, the Arab-Israeli one.
Israel has come to represent the West, or America, in their eyes. They have become so obsessed with anti-Israel sentiment
that in trying to help the Palestinian people they have come to support a Palestinian terrorist regime that in actuality oppresses Palestinians in a worse manner than Israel ever would.
|Down Goes Another SLAPP Suit |
|Zimmerman was suing the paper because the paper had the nerve to report truthfully Zimmerman's comments about settlers and soldiers being "Nazis". Zimmerman claimed these comments were reported by the paper "out of context," as if there could be any proper context in which they would not be outrageous. So, he filed a 1.2 million shekel suit against the newspaper. In the first week of February, the suit was thrown out of Tel Aviv District Court by Judge Anat Brun. She not only dismissed the suit as frivolous, but she hit Zimmerman with court costs. In her ruling, she went out of her way to denounce Zimmerman's malicious SLAPP tactic.
|Self-Hating Israelis |
|Haaretz is always ready to open its paper to academic Israel self-haters. Ze'ev Sternhall and Baruch Kimmerling frequently tell us why the Israelis are the stupidest, cruelest, most inhumane people in relation to the kind, peace-loving and gentle-souled Palestinian Arabs. |
|Al Ahram celebrates Israeli anti-ZIonist Protests|
|"...Israel makes the life of Palestinian teachers and students unbearable. They cannot reach their educational institutions. Israeli army forces are responsible for harassment during curfews, random shootings and unjustified assaults on the sanctity of Palestinian universities. The occupation itself disrupts the framework necessary for any successful academic structure.
"In order to preserve academic freedom ... we the undersigned defend the academic freedom of Palestinians and support the academic boycott of Israel. We call for an appropriate response to the deterioration of the Palestinian cultural and educational situation resulting from Israeli policies."
Israeli professors who have signed the petition include Dan Rabinowitz, Dept of Sociology and Anthropology, Tel Aviv University; Prof Elana Wesley, Tel Aviv University; Prof Tanya Reinhart, Tel Aviv University; Rachel Giora, linguistics professor, Tel Aviv University; Anat Even, filmmaker and film lecturer, Camera Obscure; Prof Raad Basem, English Dept, Al-Quds University in Jerusalem; Emmanuel Farjoun, mathematics professor, Hebrew University; Diana Dolev, Wizo College, Haifa; Prof Ilan Pappe, Haifa University; Vered Kraus, professor of sociology, Haifa University; Riva Bachrach, clinical psychologist, Beit Berl College of Education.
|Israel's Enemies Within
|Israel won’t fall from Hamas, Hezbollah, or some other foreign band of barbarians. Its defeat, may it never come, is within. |
|'We have our eye on you...so watch out'|
|To which Chomsky, professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology, replies: "He is borrowing from the lexicon of
totalitarianism: Soviet dissidents were accused of 'passionately hating
their country' because of their criticism of state policies. For the
totalitarian mind, the state is identified with the country, its culture
and its people."
|Academic Gulags of Israel|
|How can they believe it is impossible to make moral distinctions between those fighting terrorism and totalitarian regimes and those perpetrating terrorism and leading such dictatorships?
|Commotion on campus, Maariv, 2004-05-07 |
|The Minister of Education, Limor Livnat, responds: In my opinion, there are boundaries. If someone were to call for transfer, he would be set upon. Yet when it comes from the other side, they defend it with “academic freedom”. Academic freedom protects research, discussion and challenges to accepted assumptions but not attacks on the country that pays your salary. |
|ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH IN ISRAEL'S UNIVERSITIES DURING THE OSLO DECADE: 1993-2003 |
|As a member of the Natural Sciences Faculty, I was not aware of this issue until the "Merry Days" of Oslo, when the Bolshevik mood prevailing in the so-called Humanities Faculty has penetrated the exact sciences (Natural, Engineering and Medical). My attention was captured when I realized that major essential assets and interests for the survival of Israel were 'sold away' by colleagues, perhaps for gaining some temporary and questionable personal "Fame and Fortune" among our worst enemies abroad.
|Campus anti-Israel activism intensifies|
|Hitler's Professors, Arafat's Professors -
|The most paradoxical example of the boycott's effect was
Oren Yiftachel, a political geographer from Ben-Gurion
University, described by Ha'aretz (the Women's Wear Daily of the Israeli left) as "hold[ing] extreme leftist political views." .............................CLICK FOR FULL ARTICLE
|Fifty Faces Of Post-Zionism, Azure|
|Most Israelis expect that their institutes of higher learning will contribute to the advancement of the public discourse in Israel; that the tens of thousands of young people who enter the universities each year will benefit from their education by becoming better citizens, and learning to make intelligent political decisions within a democratic framework. Yet Israel’s campuses are gradually becoming hothouses for political anarchism, as the Israeli intelligentsia busily educates towards resentment of the Jewish state and the values that permit it to exist. Academic “post-Zionism” does not even play the important positive role that intellectual opposition sometimes does in a pluralistic society; it does not bother to advance realistic alternatives or formulate a creative, inspiring vision which offers a kernel of hope. In its cultivation of chronic and sterile resentment, bereft of both responsibility and imagination, the trend represented so powerfully by Theory and Criticism in the end offers nothing more than “theory” and “criticism.”
|Boycotting Israel: Back to 1933?
|Many of the targets of the boycott would inevitably be people with political views similar to those of the boycotters themselves, especially the assumption that it is "occupation" that leads to Arab hatred of Israel, and not Arab hatred of Israel that leads to occupation. The most paradoxical example of the boycott's effect was Oren Yiftachel, a political geographer from Ben-Gurion University, described by Ha'aretz as "hold[ing] extreme leftist political views."
Yiftachel had co-authored a paper with an Arab Israeli political scientist from Haifa University named As'ad Ghanem, dealing with the attitude of Israeli authorities to Arabs within Israel proper and the disputed territories. They submitted it to the English periodical Political Geography, whose editor, David Slater, returned it with a note saying it had been rejected because its authors were Israelis. Here was a case to test the mettle of a boycotter - a mischling article, half-Jewish, half-Arab, wholly the product of people carrying Israeli passports and working for Israeli institutions, yet expressing opinions on Israel as the devil's own experiment station indistinguishable from Slater's.
|The Status of Zionist and Israeli History in Israeli Universities
|we should shape the specific criteria by which we decide whether a historical work qualifies as a bona fide piece of knowledge - or as a piece of propaganda and historical fiction.|
|The Politicizing Of History|
|The new Israeli historiography, which consists in overturning the basic principles of Zionism, is harshly attacked in this article. The old truths, the author claims, have been replaced by new lies, and the implications for Israeli society are indeed ominous: it is in the field of education that the destiny of the country will be decided-we will either collapse under the weight of our own guilty consciences….or perhaps, we just might gather enough strength to survive.
|ASSISTED SUICIDE, ISRAELI ACADEMIC STYLE
|In other words, peace meant the Palestinians could take whatever they regarded as theirs. Israel -- apparently not having any fundamental national principles -- would give up Yesha and East Jerusalem and, abiding by a one-sided interpretation of various UN resolutions, would let the 1948 Arab refugees flood into Israel. I don't understand the fourth principle of peace; but I suspect that these sane secularists didn't much care about the religious aspects anyways.
|THE UNENVIABLE FATE OF ISRAELI LEFTISTS
|Actions by Jews against Israel have intensified. The campaigns on the campus and the boycott against academics continue. But the language has changed. It is becoming clear that the objective is no longer to purify Israel, to maintain her ethics; it's not even to punish her for doing wrong. Now it is unabashedly to show Solidarity with Palestine. What started years ago as an intellectual argument between nationalism versus universalism -- with most of the Israeli academics dedicated to universalism -- has become a simpler issue: are you for Israeli nationalism or for Palestinian Arab nationalism?|
|The Left is pathological |
|Israeli Professors Censured for Joining Call to Disinvest in Israel, |
| Jerusalem Post - 2001-11-22: Tanya Reinhart and Rahel Giora, both professors of linguistics at Tel Aviv
University; Anat Matar, associate professor of philosophy at TAU; and Jacob Katriel, a professor at the Technion:
"We hope you will pass the strongest possible resolution to divest Ann Arbor from any investments, transactions, or pension funds it may hold in companies or funds which do business in Israel."
|Israeli Professors Join U.S. Call For Ban On Investments
by Charlotte Hall
|Rewriting Israel's History
by Efraim Karsh
Middle East Quarterly|
|from "THE JEWISH WARS: Reflections By One of the Belligerents" (Southern Illinois University Press).|
|Lev Grinberg and the Meaning of “Symbolic Genocide”
By Joel Fishman, |
|Urgent Warning from Israeli Academics @ Palestine Chronicle and on Scoop NZ|
|The Israeli Government May Be Contemplating Crimes Against Humanity|
|THE FAILURE OF ISRAEL'S "NEW HISTORIANS" TO EXPLAIN WAR AND PEACE.
The Past Is Not a Foreign Country
by Anita Shapira |
|On "Righteous Victims: A History
of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-1999"
by Benny Morris
And on :"The Iron Wall: Israel and
The Arab World since 1948"
by Avi Shlaim
|The Last Word: Risen and fallen angels - The Israel-hating Left
THE JERUSALEM POST
Sep. 9, 2004|
|The “left” as enemy of the Arabs -
Ben-Dror Yemini, Maariv|
|Can Israel Survive Post-Zionism?
by Meyrav Wurmser
Middle East Quarterly
| Rewriting Israel's History
by Efraim Karsh
JUNE 1996 • VOLUME III: NUMBER 2
The Middle East Quarterly|
| a group of Israeli academics and journalists gave this approach a scholarly imprimatur, calling it the "new history." Its foremost spokesmen include Avi Shlaim of Oxford University, Benny Morris of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Ilan Pappé of Haifa University. Other prominent adherents include Tom Segev of the Ha'aretz newspaper, Benjamin Beit Hallahmi of Haifa University, and researchers Uri Milstein and Yosi Amitai.
|Israel's 50th, the New Historians and NPR
by Andrea Levin
CAMERA, May 11, 1998|
|many reporters have quoted the "new historians," a self-styled group of Israeli writers who claim to have exposed the falsity of Zionist "myths" about the founding of the nation. Israel, according to writers such as Benny Morris, Ilan Pappe, Avi Shlaim and Tom Segev|
|Israel's academic eccentrics not so harmless By GERALD M. STEINBERG
THE JERUSALEM POST Oct. 3, 2002 |
|This week, a small group of Israeli academics circulated an "urgent warning" that "the Israeli government may be contemplating crimes against humanity." |
| A Jewish plague -
March 5, 2004|
|March 5, 2004: Individuals betray their own nations and communities for well-known reasons ...............................CLICK FOR FULL ARTICLE |
|ISRAELI INTELLECTUALS AND ISRAELI POLITICS|
|The seeds of trouble amongst intellectuals in Zion antedated
the state itself. On May Day 1936 the Labor Zionist leader Berl
Katznelson asked, angrily, "Is there another people on earth
whose sons are so emotionally and mentally twisted that they
consider everything their nation does despicable and hateful,
while every murder, rape and robbery committed by their enemies fills their hearts with admiration and awe? As long as a Jewish child...can come to the Land of Israel, and here catch the virus of self-hate...let not our conscience be still."
|Post-Zionism only rings once|
|The post-Zionists had the feeling that their ideas were taking hold among the public - until the Al Aqsa Intifada erupted. What is post-Zionism, anyway? Why does it frighten its opponents and make even its advocates writhe uncomfortably? And has it really vanished like last year's fad?
The end of this month will mark the first anniversary of the eruption of the Al Aqsa Intifada. It will also mark the first anniversary of the death of post-Zionism as a movement and a social attitude, according to Dr. Ilan Pappe, an outspoken
|Fifty Faces of Post-Zionism|
|The Jewish intellectuals who opposed the activist Zionism of the 1930s and 1940s and the academic elite that today constitutes the vanguard of post-Zionism share a deep loathing for the exercise of political power as embodied by the state. Nevertheless, there is one significant difference: While the former were guided by the naive belief that peace and fraternity among all peoples and at all times could in fact be realized, the latter are motivated chiefly by resentment. At their core, the views of the intellectual Left in Israel consist of little more than a posture of unbridled “criticism,” rarely tainted by so much as a hint of a concrete program that could serve as an alternative to the political reality they find so horrifying. |
The 'Abdallah-Meir' Meeting
Great Britain's Role
"propaganda or historical fiction [which uses] facts of the past to embroider a kind of writing which has nothing to do with history"