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Ben-Gurion University
About NEVE GORDON in: The Left is pathological

Jerusalem Post

The Left is pathological

Daniel Doron Dec. 18, 2003 

Political pathology is to be found at both extremes of the political 
spectrum. It was a right-wing fanatic who assassinated a prime minister 
and his likes are committing outrages against innocent Arabs in Judea and 
Samaria, thus discrediting a Jewish community acting with extreme 
restraint in face of Arab terrorism. 
However, since the Left has become the dominant force in Israeli politics, 
it is the chief carrier of political pathology. 
The Left gained its dominance since the early 1920s when the Zionist 
organization's immigration policies, funded by Jewish capitalists, favored 
young pioneers who were settled in collectivist  namely communist  
settlements. Ben-Gurion and his comrades were true Bolshevik believers 
then. They fashioned Zionism as a spearhead for a Middle East communist 
revolution, practicing a violent class struggle against the middle 
classes, destroying their economic bases and institutions and becoming the 
dominant force in the life of the mandatory Yishuv. 
Ben-Gurion and his party became gradually disenchanted with Soviet 
communism, but up until the mid-1950s, about 30% of the Israeli electorate 
voted for Stalinist parties. This caused Ben-Gurion great anxiety. He 
worried about the spread of pro-Stalinist sympathies (which he claimed 
destroyed the true Leninism that he upheld) among the highest echelons of 
the IDF as well as among intellectuals, academicians, media persons and 
artists, who were molding the consciousness of the young. 
So he took two politically dangerous steps:
He disbanded the Palmah, the elite unit of the Hagana, because it was 
totally dominated by pro-Moscow generals. 
And he sacrificed and disbanded one of his own proud creations  the 
Labor-affiliated school system. 
The scions of the Stalinists whom Ben-Gurion fought still dominate life  
now in the guise of a post-Zionist New Left  in academia, the media and 
among intellectuals and artists. 
Ben-Gurion considered the pro-Moscow, Stalin-worshiping radical Left 
pathological apostates, betrayers of Zionism and Judaism who sought to 
convert Jews to the secular faith of Stalinism (several kibbutzim held 
Seder ceremonies in which a Haggada was recited that was dedicated to "the 
rising sun of humanity, Comrade Joseph Stalin"). 
THIS IS not the occasion to delve into the etiology of the violent and 
destructive nature of the political pathology inflicting utopian movements  
from the French Revolution onward. Freud's most original successor, 
Wilhelm Reich, analyzed it in his seminal The Mass Psychology of Fascism. 
Later works, Theodore Adorno's The Authoritarian Personality and Erich 
Fromm's The Fear of Freedom, further elaborated the relationship between 
personality disorders and political extremism. 
Radical movements seem to attract personalities that seethe with explosive 
rage. Their rage is attached to a cause  as Dostoevsky so memorably limned 
in The Devils  giving its destructiveness an appearance of virtue and 
legitimacy. 
This may explain why, despite their protestations that they defend 
freedom, so many leftists actually support the most murderous tyrants  
from Stalin to Arafat, and why some liberals give aid and comfort to 
aggressive, oppressive and corrupt dictatorships such as the Palestinian 
Authority. 
Neve Gordon is a prime example of this paradox. Gordon, one of the rabidly 
post-Zionist revisionist historians who teaches political science at 
Ben-Gurion University. Most of the articles Gordon has published are 
devoted to denouncing Israel as a fascist terrorist state. 
Gordon would probably claim that he is fighting for the rights of 
oppressed Palestinians, but tellingly he devotes most of his energy to 
recycling calumnies that subvert Israel's legitimacy. Gordon does not seem 
to care for the Palestinians except as instruments of his rage. 
He goes beyond the radical-chic support for the PLO given by most Israeli 
academic leftists. On a visit to Ramallah he embraced Arafat and 
implicitly protected with his body the terrorists hiding in the compound. 
Gordon has expressed understanding for terrorism because it is caused by 
"injustice." He does not seem to care that the Palestinians are subjected 
to the most brutal and oppressive dictatorship so long as they are 
nominally "independent." 
He was among the signers of the petition before the recent Iraq war 
declaring that Israel was planning to perpetrate atrocities and massive 
crimes against humanity once the war broke out. He also endorsed boycotts 
against Israel. 
Had Israel enjoyed an open, pluralistic public debate  especially in the 
media and the universities  one could let the pathological defamers do 
their thing. But the public arena in Israel is dominated by politically 
correct leftists who silence any opposition. 
Like the Islamic fundamentalist parties in countries such as Iran or 
Algeria  where democratic elections have been exploited to abolish 
democracy  so does the pathological Left exploit democratic freedoms, 
including academic freedom and freedom of speech, in order to defy the 
majority will and subvert it from within. 
The post-Zionists and neo-Marxists on the Ben-Gurion University faculty, 
that Gordon exemplifies, are true believers. They are capable of calling 
for a boycott of Israeli universities for alleged crimes against humanity; 
they are not promoters of free speech or pluralism. 
This is, alas, also true of many other social-science and humanities 
departments in Israel where, in the words of the (Meretz!) former minister 
of education Amnon Rubinstein "a unison choir" of political correctness 
suppresses free debate. 
In fact, several attempts have been made by BGU leftists to use the law to 
intimidate adversaries and suppress criticism. The most recent, a 
frivolous libel suit filed by Neve Gordon against Prof. Steven Plaut of 
Haifa University, a stalwart defender of free speech. 
Those who support freedom for terrorists cannot stomach any opposition. 
They file suits simply to harass critics and intimidate potential 
adversaries by causing them great expense and loss of time. 
Serious consideration must therefore be given to the protection of 
academic freedom and free speech from a pathological Left that is so adept 
at abusing them. 
The writer is president of The Israel Center for Social and Economic 
Progress, an independent pro-market policy think tank.
dorondun@012.net.il


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