Helena Flusfeder, Jerusalem
Published: 17 December 2004
An Israeli website appears to be targeting left-wing academics and
universities that it deems to be anti-Israel or "anti-Zionist".
The site, Israel Academia Monitor, is similar to Daniel Pipes's American
Campus Watch, which monitors Middle Eastern studies in North American
According to a statement on the IAM website, it represents a "group of
donors, concerned academics, students, researchers and others" who wish to
"bring to light statements and articles written by and about the academic
extremists and university anti-Zionists" and highlight "abuses of academic
freedom in Israel".
Dana Barnett, manager of the IAM website and a student of Middle Eastern
studies at an undisclosed university, claims that "we are fighting not to
be a political body". The site contains a "large collection of articles,
publications, and petitions (regarding) Israeli academics who have
published materials against Israel", she said.
IAM focuses on academics and universities, including Ben-Gurion University
of the Negev and the University of Haifa. Articles discuss Teddy Katz,
whose thesis claimed that Arabs in the village of Tantura were massacred
in 1948, and Ilan Pappe, a lecturer at Haifa who has given support to an
international boycott of Israeli universities.
Ms Barnett said: "We sense that something is not quite right. If an
academic says that Israel does not have the right to exist, why is he/she
living in Israel? I believe that people such as Ilan Pappe are being
invited (to conferences), don't pay for their trips and food and are well
Despite its pro-Israel stance, IAM also publishes comments from those
opposing its views, such as: "So much for the 'only democracy in the
Middle East,' as Israel is often described."