By Steven Plaut November 26, 2004
Earlier this month, Brigadier General Aviv Kochavi was appointed commander of the Israel Defense Forces in the Gaza Strip, replacing commander Brigadier General Shmuel Zakai.
Kochavi, 40, served for the past year as the commander of an elite army division. Previously, he served as commander of the regular paratrooper division and excelled in battle in the territories during and after Operation Defensive Shield. Kochavi commanded division troops that took control of Nablus during that operation. Kochavi is considered one of the IDF's outstanding field commanders. He is scheduled to take up his new post in one week.
But there is one other important piece of information worth knowing about General Kochavi. General Aviv Kochavi has been the victim of malicious harassment by Neve Gordon, the anti-Semitic lecturer in political science at Ben-Gurion University, best known for his pronouncements that Israel is a fascist, apartheid, terrorist state.
Gordon has conducted a campaign of slander, defilement, vilification and defamation against this very same General Kochavi, the Israeli military hero that was appointed last week to the senior post described above.
Beginning in 2002, Gordon published an article declaring Kochavi (back then still a colonel) to be a war criminal. The article was published on dozens of web sites and in magazines, and in several languages, including Hebrew, English, Arabic, German and Italian.* It not only personally smeared Kochavi falsely, it could reasonably be interpreted to have been an attempt to motivate acts of violence against Kochavi, perhaps even incitement to murder. At the very least, it was a clear attempt to get Kochavi indicted before the International Court of Justice in the Hague, or some similar outfit, on trumped up charges.
Gordon signs his piece smearing Kochavi while openly listing his affiliation with Ben-Gurion University, in violation of the University's instructions and prohibitions on such behavior without a clear accompanying declaration stating that the views expressed are not those of the university. In his article, Gordon declares that Kochavi (he spells the name Kohavi) committed atrocities and war crimes against innocent Palestinian civilians, having given direct, personal commands to troops to do these acts.
Now, it goes without saying that this is all Gordon's fabrication. There have been no charges at all filed against Kochavi for his behavior in the battle that Gordon describes, in Israel or anywhere else. Kochavi's troops were hunting for bands of vicious terrorists, including suicide bombers, who had killed hundreds of Israelis, a carnage that does not interest Gordon at all in the article. Gordon accuses Kochavi of ordering assorted human rights violations that even the worst anti-Israel propaganda outfits did not claim took place in this battle. Gordon's claim that Kochavi ordered troops to utilize Palestinian civilians as human shields is not only preposterous, but a downright blood libel.
Here we have the spectacle of the same person who files a libel suit because he is outraged that someone criticizes his published political opinions, launching a worldwide campaign of personal vilification against one of Israel's greatest military heroes, and a private person to boot. Let us emphasize that: Aviv Kochavi, unlike Gordon, is a private person and not a public person. Gordon is a syndicated columnist who also has lead and represented assorted far-left, pro-Palestinian political organizations. Public discussion of Gordon and his opinions and behavior is a legitimate media topic. Kochavi, however, is a private person, does not write in the media, represents no one. He is just a private man doing his job.
If you would like to express your opinion of Gordon smearing General Kochavi in a worldwide defamation campaign, all this while writing in an official capacity as representative of Ben-Gurion University, you could share their thoughts with the officials of Ben-Gurion University at:
Professor Avishay Braverman
President, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Professor Jimmy Weinblatt
Rector, Ben-Gurion University Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Professor Avishai Henik
Dean of Social Sciences Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
with copies to
Lis Gaines, President
Vivien K. Marion, Executive Vice President
American Associates of Ben Gurion University
New York, NY 10018
Anyone wishing to express an opinion of the fact that a lecturer at a state-funded Israeli university is leading such a vilification campaign against a senior army officer can share their thoughts with Israeli Minister of Education Limor Livnat at Israel's Ministry of Education, Kiryat Ben-Gurion, Jerusalem, Israel, or by telephone: 972-2-6753220 or 972-2-6753934; and fax: 972-2-6753726. The minister's email is: email@example.com
If you have an opinion on the question of whether or not the Gordon article constitutes criminal incitement to murder or defame a public servant (a crime in Israel), you may share your thoughts with Israel's Attorney General (his title is Legal Advisor to the Government), Mr. Meni Mazuz, at the Israel Ministry of Justice's head office: Salah A-Din 29, PO Box 49029, Jerusalem 91490. Or at telephone: 02-6466666. Also, at the Department of Public Inquiries at telephone: 02-6466340/321; and fax: 02-6466357.
Or to Israel's State Prosecutor's Jerusalem Office at 4 Uzi Hason Street, POB 843, Jerusalem 91007, Israel; telephone: 972-2- 6208122, or fax: 972-2-6222385.
* Other forums where the Gordon article defaming General Aviv Kochavi has been published include anti-Semitic, pro-terror, anti-Israel and Communist web sites all over the world. Here are a few of them:
http://www.alternet.org/story/12751 http://www.zmag.org/content/Mideast/gordon_openletter.cfm http://www.lovearth.net/howdidyoubecomeawarcriminal.htm http://pubs.socialistreviewindex.org.uk/sr263/gordon.htm http://www.peacelink.nu/ISRAEL/Israel_openletter.html http://www.informationguerrilla.org/i_crimini_di_guerra_di_israele.htm http://www.kultour-service.de/lage/020404b.htm
http://www.rcpbml.org.uk/wdie-02/d02-63.htm http://studweb.hig.no/kus_alta/political/HowDidYouBecomeaWarCriminal.htm http://portland.indymedia.org/en/newswire/archive70.shtml http://www.middleeast.org/premium/read.cgi?category=Magazine&num=734&month=4&year=2002&function=text
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2002/04/26631.html http://italy.indymedia.org/news/2002/04/45256.php http://www.natcath.com/NCR_Online/archives/040502/040502l.htm http://www.nettime.org/Lists-Archives/nettime-l-0204/msg00064.html http://squat.net/tmc/msg02723.html http://www.rcpbml.org.uk/wdie-02/d02-63.htm
Views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of israelinsider.