Wednesday, October 25, 2006
While recovering at home, I decided to pay some bills. Like David Bogner's attraction to the blue tractor beam called 'television' I, too, suffer from an insatiable lure called the 'internet.' I cruise a bit (sometimes more than a bit) while mentally preparing for electronic debt-confrontation and elimination.
I am well-acquainted with the internet site called Campus Watch in the United States. As a liberal University of California student living in Davis, California, I quickly found out that most conservatives were more tolerant than most self-described liberals, and that the farther "left" a student or professor was, the more self-righteous, unliberal, censorious and smug that person was. I haven't noticed in the last 30 years that this has changed; if anything, the Left now embodies even more extreme smug self-righteousness and intolerance for any viewpoint but its own. I thought at its inception that Campus Watch was a good idea: good teachers can stand public scrutiny and the public has a right to know what's being peddled at the university our taxes are paying for.
In today's web-surfing, I found the Israeli Campus Watch at Israel-Academia-Monitor.com, which is not only informative, but hilarious. Of particular hilarity was the outrage of Tel Aviv University head Itamar Rabinovich, who waxed apoplectic at the revelation that TAU's psychology department offered an anti-Israel brainwashing course called "The Psychology of the Occupation" taught by another tenured Israel-hater, Uri Hadar. This class, of course, failed to address the effects of daily blowing-up-buses-and-pizza-parlors-full-of-mothers-and-children on the Israeli psyche.
Apparently when the Israel Academia Monitor writer revealed this in the mainstream media, Rabinovitch, who like most Leftists considers himself an icon of free speech and promotor of the marketplace of ideas, ranted and demanded that his superiors silence him!
The rebuttal from the Left is absurdly specious: it's okay to demonize Israel, inject our own Far Left political ideologies into course-work (and believe me, students are graded by their enthusiams for adhering to their professors' world-view--there is nothing objective about grading in the university system) because, in our own Left-wing opinions, the academic field was too right-wing and needed to be corrected. That's a paraphrase but check it out:
"The McCarthyists here are Israeli professors like myself who are critical of Israel’s rights-abusive policies while being inspired by a deep concern for Israel’s population and the occupied Palestinians. Apparently, our offense against free speech is that we do not allow zealous nationalists to voice their views – an absurd allegation considering that for some years now the balance of power within Israel has been tilted firmly towards the right." Neve Gordon, History News Network (http://hnn.us/articles/9418.html)
My emphasis was added above, because I failed to find any "deep concern for Israel's population" in any of the rants listed at IMM or on the internet by any of the suspect professors. I found instead a tremendous desire to fit into the salon-liberal elite of Europe, a deep and abiding loathing of anything Jewish or Zionist, and contempt for anyone who feels differently or dares to question the sacrosanct agenda of these professors.
And yes, Professor Gordon, your offense is exactly that: that you do not allow zealous nationalists to voice their views. THAT is a clear violation of free speech. In a university or society which promotes free speech, or even in a department of political science which claims to be a watchdog for such a fundamental right, you MUST allow the opposition to speak. You, and your university, fail to pass the "marketplace" test -- can a person who disagrees with you publicly say so, and take a contrary position, in the marketplace, without penalty?
The answer, apparently, is No - not in Israel's academia.
THIS is not liberalism. The Left has gone fascist. It may attempt to wrap itself in the cloak of liberalism but don't be fooled.
This is an online definition of the word "liberal:"
–adjective 1. favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.
2. (often initial capital letter) noting or pertaining to a political party advocating measures of progressive political reform.
3. of, pertaining to, based on, or advocating liberalism.
4. favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, esp. as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties.
5. favoring or permitting freedom of action, esp. with respect to matters of personal belief or expression: a liberal policy toward dissident artists and writers.
6. of or pertaining to representational forms of government rather than aristocracies and monarchies.
7. free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant: a liberal attitude toward foreigners.
8. open-minded or tolerant, esp. free of or not bound by traditional or conventional ideas, values, etc.
9. characterized by generosity and willingness to give in large amounts: a liberal donor.
10. given freely or abundantly; generous: a liberal donation.
11. not strict or rigorous; free; not literal: a liberal interpretation of a rule.
12. of, pertaining to, or based on the liberal arts.
13. of, pertaining to, or befitting a freeman.
–noun 14. a person of liberal principles or views, esp. in politics or religion
--Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.0.1)
By this definition, I am a liberal. Neve Gordon is not. I still embrace much of the traditional liberal agenda. Neve Gordon supports the censoring of those who don't share his agenda.
Fascism is often defined as system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.
While Israel's government is anything but fascist, I cannot say the same about it's universities and their suppression of any dissenting views. Is there a word for a system of education marked by centralization of authority under oligarchy of academics who allow no dissent, threaten the socioeconomic status of any dissenter, suppress any opposition through censorship, public ridicule and economic threat (lack of tenure, refusal to hire, refusal to recommend to a position), and adhere to a policy of belligent internationalism and anti-Israel polemics?
Comes close to fascism, doesn't it? Why are we paying for this, fellow-taxpayers?