By Lee Kaplan—www.Israel-academia-monitor.com
The mythical goddess, Minerva, was said to have exploded out of the head of her father, Zeus, after he swallowed her mother. Because of this, Minerva was to control all things related to intellect. One could say the Minerva Center for Human Rights at Hebrew University in Jerusalem was thus aptly named because of its academics that have swallowed all the nonsense of the Palestinian revolutionary movement and who are now trying to maintain control by distorting intellectually the truth regarding Israel’s human rights record. The main reason for doing this is to indoctrinate students against the Jewish national homeland.
Such is definitely the case with a new program being proposed for University of Denver Graduate School of International Studies students to be offered by three faculty members of The Minerva Center for Human Rights through a proposed summer program in Israel. A review of the Minerva Center’s proposal unmasks the true agenda behind the presentations of Professors Yuval Shany, Hillel Cohen and Daphna Golan, and how these academics link to the goal of Israel’s radical left to create an Arab dominated secular “Palestine” in place of Israel.
“Human rights,” just like “International law,” is a term frequently bandied about by Palestinian advocates for the end of the Jewish national homeland to sound very rational and erudite. After all, who could be opposed to human rights? Arab intellectuals just love to use those words to provide sound bites for people in the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) to use at college symposiums across the US maligning Israel. It has always fascinated this writer how the PLO leadership and their academics always use these terms to sound both educated and compassionate, all the while openly supporting serial killers who murder people, particularly Jews, to preserve “human rights” and how those murders are “legitimate” by “international law.”
The PLO has this distortion worked down to a fine art regarding anti-Israel propaganda, and promotes a campaign of its dissemination through radical leftist Israeli academics whenever possible to promote credibility. Leave it to Israeli radical leftist professors like Shany, Cohen and Golan to twist the concept of human rights as another means to build support among future generations against a Jewish national homeland.
The University of Denver students who would enroll in such a program know little about Shany, Cohen and Golan, who will be their new Minerva. To the students, these are just three distinguished Israeli academics, not activists. But what these academics-cum-activists seek is to indoctrinate an image of endless human rights abuses by Israel so in the future, when their students move on, that image will further serve to promote world opinion to dismantle the Jewish state for an Arab dominated Palestine.
American university graduate programs such as found at the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver turn out future diplomats and officials who, after graduation, will work within the US State Department or move on to other universities in America where they may teach what they have learned in international studies to newer upcoming students. As such, one might expect that Israeli college professors like these three, particularly when paid by the Israeli taxpayer, would develop programs for such student summer programs for American students in the field of international relations that would promote an understanding of Israel’s unique position in the Middle East as a democracy surrounded by a sea of totalitarian dictatorships bent on her destruction and how, in spite of this, Israel has been able to maintain an admirable record in human rights.
For these three “activist academics,” their curriculum vitae are impressive. Yuval Shany is the Hersch Lauterpacht Chair in International Studies at the Law Faculty of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and holds law degrees from New York University and the University of London. He has even been a visiting professor at Georgetown University’s Law School, the same university that hosted last year’s International Solidarity Movement conference after a $20 million dollar donation from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who is also the biggest donor to Hamas for suicide bombers.
Shany’s part of the proposed summer course will discuss “Israel’s Human Rights Program from an International Perspective.” The proposal states, among other things, that it will “critically evaluate whether the protections it affords to human rights meet international standards”…and… “will specifically address the following issues: the application of human rights treaties in the occupied territories, security-based restrictions upon human rights (e.g. the “ticking bomb” scenario), the duty to respect the rights of enemy citizens, [and] the status of the rights of the Arab minority within Israel.” Students will be provided with reading material, among other things, that will include Israeli Supreme Court decisions, United Nations and NGO Reports.”
Shany is an odd type of Israeli lawyer. In an article in Ha’aretz, he once stated that he was concerned about attempts to indict Israeli military and intelligence officers overseas like Avi Dichter in kangaroo courts in suits filed by anti-Semites who want to criminalize Israeli self-defense. But Shany was not concerned about these suits because they might harm Israel’s ability to defend itself. Instead, he wanted the Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza to be able to sue Israeli leaders inside Israel itself for defending Israel. Inconveniently for Shany, Israeli courts are unwilling to act as kangaroo courts for terrorists who don’t follow the law anyway if they don’t get their way, but will use the courts to sue Israeli officers as another means of “resistance” (if they lose in court, they will have someone just shoot you).
Shany has also actively opposed the Security Fence that was set up precisely because the Palestinian Arabs do not conform to International Law of the Oslo Accords by arresting terrorists and preventing their actions against Israeli civilians. The Security Fence has unquestionably saved thousands of Israeli lives, yet Shany declares it a human rights abuse (apparently, human rights only applies to Arabs who openly engage in misogyny and honor killings).
Of course, these issues about human rights could be presented to show that Israel, considering what she is up against, has behaved admirably, even the Security Fence being in reality an exercise in human rights for both sides since it prevents terrorist attacks that kill people on both sides when the Palestinian leadership only continues to praise such attacks. Shany’s background and his sources suggest less than a balanced presentation for University of Denver students and rather just another subtle swipe at the Jewish state by portraying Israel as a human rights abuser (apparently, human rights applies only to Arabs who practice misogyny and honor killings).
Needless to say, Shany’s choices of reading materials will be from pro-Arab NGOs that also talk about human rights but never seem to extend that concern to Jews in Israel who are subject to sanctioned terrorism from the Palestinian Authority. More on those NGO’s later. Shany’s other documentation is to come from the United Nations that once declared suicide bombings specifically against Israel as a legitimate tactic by international law and is dominated by dictatorships, many of them hostile Arab or Muslim neighbors of Israel.
Hillel Cohen’s background for his part of the course titled “The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” is as a research fellow for the Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace at Hebrew U where he teaches “Palestinian history” (one has to wonder if he teaches their history touted by their academics that the Jews never lived in the Holy Land 2,000 years ago and have always used the blood of non-Jewish children to make matzo). “Peace” today among academics seems to always mean capitulation and surrender to the wishes of the other side, and Cohen’s use of words and rhetoric suggest nothing different. For example, the course description states Cohen will deal with the current developments of the “Zionist-Palestinian” conflict. Note the use of the word, “Zionist” instead of “Jewish” when the conflict was really Arab attacks on Jews, even before the founding of the Jewish National Homeland. The message is subtle but one used by pro-Palestinian propagandists: The Arabs have nothing against the Jews (except for pogroms against them prior to 1948), they are against “Zionists,” the “bad Jews” who desire a Jewish national homeland. The Arab attacks on Jews have nothing to do with them being Jews, you see, it was because they were nasty “Zionists,” and the Palestinian narrative of the ‘nakba” (catastrophe) will surely be taught in this course as just another point of view rather than as the excuse to murder more Jews and destroy Israel. Cohen is a revisionist historian whose writings portray Arab Israelis as victims of the Jewish state and that also suggest that Israeli Arabs who cooperated with the Israeli government are actually collaborators rather than good citizens.
The third part of the course, however, is the most disturbing. It will be an internship program supervised by Daphna Golan, who teaches "human rights" in the Law Faculty at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. During the First Intifada, Golan was involved in establishing the pro-Palestinian NGOs Bat Shalom and B’tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, two radical leftist organizations in Israel composed mainly of communists who only root for the Palestinian side.
The internships are with “human rights” NGOs, but the list of them is highly partial only to the Arab side. One organization, Adalah, never does anything for the human rights of Israelis and seeks to get Palestinian terrorists released from prison (that is considered exercising “human rights” by the other side). All of the NGOs listed to intern with are virulently anti-Israel in their activities and run by people active in Israel’s communist party or the International Solidarity Movement:
Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) is run by Rabbi Arik Ascherman who appeared in a Palestinian propaganda film circulating in America titled Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land which claimed every inch of land in Israel was stolen from Arabs by the Jews (it was legally purchased through he Jewish Agency or mandated by the UN) and that Jews in America are less patriotic than other Americans because of their support for Israel. Ascherman appears in the film, a modern day version of Josef Goebbel’s The Eternal Jew, and the good rabbi appears to be validating all the anti-Semitism presented therein. While RHR does not condone dismantling the Jewish state, the organization rubs elbows with the most vicious anti-Israel NGO’s around. According to NGO Monitor, an organization that monitors the activities of NGO’s in the Holy Land, “RHR, however, also works in coordination with and lends support to many of the most active anti-Israel NGOs, and focuses most of its resources on Palestinian issues, while failing to address many of the complex issues involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions- is a one-man advocacy organization paid for through the European Union that features yet another pro-communist ex-professor, Jeff Halper, who works as a full-time propagandist against Israel whose organization is subsidized by the European Union. That’s the same EU that subsidized Abbas’s Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade as Palestinian “police” to stop terrorism. Halper’s NGO originally objected to Israeli demolitions of houses used as bomb factories or terrorist cells, a practice since discontinued, but now tries to justify maintaining any structures the Arabs build on Jewish property without permits that the state will tear down. The Arabs of course build on property that does not belong to them or that violate building codes then complain their “human rights” are violated. Halper’s group works closely with the ISM also, falsely maintaining that Jewish olive groves belong to Arabs and are being “stolen” by the Jewish communities that planted them. ICHAD works closely with the International Solidarity Movement at campus propaganda events in the United States.
B’tselem, one of the groups student interns would work with in this summer course, has been criticized for using inaccurate information in its endeavors, something one would not expect from a competent scholar. B’tselem poses as another “peace” group started by well-known Israelis in the nation’s communist party and has always tried to give credence to everything in the Arabs narrative, no matter how fabricated.
Worst of all of these “human rights NGO’s” is “Machsom Watch.” Machsom is the Hebrew word for checkpoint. This organization is less a legitimate NGO than a ragtag groups of anti-Israel radical leftists and communists who actually serve to harass Israeli soldiers at checkpoints set up to keep out suicide bombers and terrorists. Only a week ago, Machsom Watch interfered with Israeli soldiers at a roadblock when they caught a teenager armed with a bomb. Even though the Machsom Watch volunteers knew he was caught with a bomb, they harassed the soldiers as they wrestled the bomber to the ground, yelling “leave him alone, he’s just a child” (better he should have exploded his bomb?). Machsom Watch even once fabricated a tale of a reenactment of a scene from the film the Pianist when a Jew in the Warsaw Ghetto at a checkpoint was forced to play his violin as German soldiers mocked Jews they made dance. The Machsom Watch tale, shown on international television, was in fact a lie, when it was revealed the IDF soldiers only asked an Arab to open his violin case and strum a chord to show the violin was real (the Sbarro pizza bombing was done with a guitar case that was cleared without inspection). The Minerva Center internship even says the University of Denver students will get a daily visit to a checkpoint in the Jerusalem area, a great way to see human rights work in action as a means to enable suicide bombers and terrorists.
As mentioned, Adalah, another NGO, serves only one purpose, to sue the Israeli government in Israeli courts on behalf of Arabs. It also seeks the release of the same Arab serial killers who murder Jews simply because they are Jews.
Clearly, this summer program is a propaganda course with some of Israel’s worst internal and subversive enemies from academia who prefer to not be recognized as Jews, but as communist, anarchists, or whatever who will help dismantle the state for some utopian replacement where the Arabs will rule all the land and welcome the Jews into their bosom with peace, harmony and love. Anyone who knows how Jews have been treated in Muslim countries for the last 2,000 years would consider that delusional. The Minerva Center program certainly won’t be balanced or scholarly accurate and students who go through such a program will come away with the idea that Israel is the worst abuser of human rights in the world when things are the opposite.
But then again, that is the intent of the program and the University Denver needs to know the truth about it before such a program is allowed on its campus. Hebrew University needs to scrap this proposal, as well, as an embarrassment to the academic community in Israel.