The Van Leer Institute was taken over in recent years by post-Zionists, anti-Zionists and Marxists. It regularly runs indoctrination sessions devoted to denouncing Israel and Zionism and publishes the communist Theory and Criticism magazine. Communist professor Yehouda Shenhav is one of its “fellows,” which include assorted communists and post-Zionist extremists, almost exclusively (there are a few exceptions).
This year, on Christmas Day, the Institute is to run a conference devoted to promoting the new Hate-Israel screed by Ben-Gurion University’s Oren Yifatchel, Ethnocracy: Land and Identity Politics in Israel/Palestine. The title is slightly misleading. It implies that Yiftachel is unsure as to whether his loyalties are to Israel or Palestine. But he is entirely sure: it is to “Palestine.” The “book” was published by University of Pennsylvania Press.
Yiftachel has made an academic career out of churning out propaganda pieces demonizing Israel and then passing them off as scholarly research. Ben-Gurion University is a place where one can get hired and promoted simply on the basis of being an anti-Zionist activist and propagandist. (Yiftachel is not the only such faculty member at BGU.)
Yiftachel specializes in promoting the view that Israel is a colonial apartheid state that must be dismembered and that Zionism is a form of racism. His whole new “book” is devoted to denouncing the very concept of a Jewish homeland or even a Jewish demographic majority in any part of Israel. While he does not openly condemn Jews for living in Tel Aviv, he certainly thinks that they have no place “invading” the “Palestinian” areas of the Galilee and the Negev – areas which (it hardly needs to be pointed out) are not in the West Bank or Gaza but rather in pre-1967 Israel. His proposed replacement for Israel is a “bi-national state,” no doubt patterned after Lebanon, Bosnia, Rwanda and present-day Iraq. Bi-nationalism is his solution to Israel’s “creeping apartheid.”
Of course, the concentration camps that will be established by the Arab regime in control of such a bi-national state will be entirely uni-national.
Yiftachel made headlines a couple of years ago when, at the height of his campaign for a worldwide boycott of Israel and Israeli universities, a paper he co-authored with an Arab writer was rejected by a British journal because of his nationality. This “hoist with his own petard” essay madeheadlines. Eventually Yiftachel persuaded the journal to accept the piece, after carefully explaining to the politically correct editor that it was not very clever for an anti-Israel publication to ban Israeli academics who oppose the existence of Israel.
A sample of Yiftachel’s anti-Israel articles can be found at a Palestine “solidarity” website infamous for its McCarthyite hate lists of “Zionist” Jews. And Yiftachel’s history of anti-Zionism has been chronicled by severalobservers of campus extremism.
Speakers at the Van Leer conference promoting Yiftachel’s “End-Israel’s-National-Existence” thesis include a number of Israel’s leading anti-Zionists. Dr. Lev Grinberg, a “political sociologist” from Ben-Gurion University best known for his claim that the death of the genocidal founder of Hamas was itself a “symbolic genocide,” is one such speaker. Alongside him is Prof. Sammy Smooha, Dean of Social Sciences at the University of Haifa. Smooha is a left-wingsociologist who recently participated shoulder-to-shoulder with Arab students waving PLO flags in a demonstration at his own university. Those same Arab students have just produced a calendar celebrating Hassan Nasrallah and Osama bin Laden.
Another speaker is Yusuf Jabareen, listed as belonging to the Technion (although the Technion’s web site is unaware of his association with the Technion). Jabareen appears to be a radical anti-Israel extremist with ties to Noam Chomsky. For reasons that are unclear, Toby Fenster, the spokesman for Tel Aviv University (and a radical leftist associated with “Naqba” anti-Israel groups) will also be on the platform. What is equally unclear is why such a person is a spokesman for Tel Aviv University.