Yigal Arens is a son of Moshe Arens. He refused to serve in the Israeli army about 30 years ago and left the country for the United States (where he now works at the Information Sciences Institute in the University of Southern California). In fact, Yigal Arens was listed as a speaker at the Palestinian Right of Return Conference that was held in Long Beach, California, on October 5-7, 2001.
From: Yigal Arens <arens@ISI.EDU>
To: Alef <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [alef] Apparent official Israeli influence on an academic meeting
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2007 13:45:08 -0800
I thought the Alef readership might be interested in this.
On January 11 I was called by a US professor who specializes in security informatics. He said that he was co-organizing a small workshop on the Internet and its growing role in terrorist and anti- terrorist activities.
The goal of the workshop would be to identify key research issues and
set a research agenda. The workshop would include 20-30 people and was being paid for by NATO. The other co- organizer was Dr. Bracha Shapira of Ben-Gurion University, and the workshop would be held at BGU in early June.
The US researcher invited me to participate in this workshop. He said that the organizers were particularly interested in my presence and were very eager for me to accept the invitation. I have been involved in organizing related activities for several years now.
I told the US professor that I would have to think about this. I had a potentially conflicting obligation. Also, I said I wanted to be sure that I'd be treated no different than any other American participant, since I'd had an unpleasant past experience at another scientific meeting in Israel. He said he wasn't aware of any problem -- the Israeli organizer wanted me there. I said I'd give him an answer in a week.
On the following Tuesday, January 16, I received a urgent call from the US prof. He apologized profusely and said that he had been told by the Israelis that government personnel would be present at the workshop and that they would feel uncomfortable if I participated, and therefore he was told to rescind the invitation, which he was doing.
I wrote an email to Dr. Shapira to ask what happened to suddenly change their mind. That was on January 16. Since she didn't respond I sent her another email on January 19. She finally answered yesterday, on January 21. Her explanation was that the US co-organizer "exceeded his authority in extending the invitation without full consultation with the conference organizers."
Obviously, this doesn't answer any of the questions that come to mind given the specific interactions I had with the US co-organizer. She also uses strange language to describe the relationship between two
co-organizers of an academic workshop.
Anyway, I just thought you folks might be interested in this little story. --
Further reading on Yigal Arens: