Exposing the scoundrels of academia
By RALPH DOBRIN
Dana Barnett, together with a small group of volunteers, has been waging a grim battle for the last four years, countering the highly damaging activities of some very influential people in Israel. Barnett, 42, heads the Israel Academia Monitor, which through its website: www.israel-academia-monitor.com reports on libelous articles, lectures and statements by a large number of Israel’s senior university lecturers and professors. Much of what is propagated by these people, is based on half-truths and apparent antipathy for their homeland. Some have questionable affiliations with other elements hostile to the State of Israel.
It’s amazing that such people even exist, and more amazing that they are allowed to use their prestigious positions to hawk their nefarious wares. After all, Israel is the ongoing victim of the Big Big Lie, as no other nation has been. And few people in Israel or abroad should be able to recognize the lie as well as these academics. The Lie, promoted through countless media sources and the various United Nations agencies, is that Israel wantonly and forcibly usurped the lands of the hapless Arabs of Palestine, and compounds the felony by subjecting them to humiliating roadblocks, erects huge walls surrounding their towns and villages, imposes curfews, preventing them from receiving hospital treatment, and generally bombs them to smithereens every now and then. (What many people choose to ignore is that the roadblocks, security walls and curfews are what stopped the daily terror attacks against Israel between the years 2000 to 2004.)
Anyone who really knows what’s going on in the Middle East, understands that the grim impression that much of the world has of Israel is a based on half-truth, shrewd selective omission and outright lie. The reality is that tiny Israel, which has always had a Jewish presence, has needed from the outset, to contend with an ongoing Arab quest to plunder this land from the Jews, while staving off genocide. A generation ago, the Arabs weren’t bashful to spell out their intentions. This reality has been craftily been turned on its head by Israel’s many enemies, and most of the world has accepted the Big Lie.
A major factor in the propagation of this lie is the very crowd that Dana Barnett is exposing. These influential people disseminate ideas that are rabidly anti-Israel. For instance, Prof. Oren Yiftachel from Ben-Gurion University tells the world that Israel is an apartheid state (clearly he knows nothing about Apartheit) but the world laps it up. Another Ben-Gurion University Professor, Neve Gordon (a former paratrooper wounded in action), goes one better with: “Israel is a terrorist state worse than the Hamas”. Prof. Moshe Zimmerman from the Hebrew University compares the Torah to Mein Kampf (amazingly this man is a bona fide authority on Hitler’s rantings so he should know better); The late Tanya Reinhart and Paul Wexler from Tel Aviv University, with masochistic disloyalty, called for a worldwide boycott of Israeli universities!
Another six Israeli academics threw in their lot with this unacademic boycott, including the arch-Israel-basher Ilan Pappe, who gratifyingly, was told by the rector of Haifa University to resign his post. Pappe claims, among other fabrications, that Israel pursues a genocidal policy against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, while continuing ethnic cleansing of the West Bank.
These smoothies represent just a miniscule selection from a large group of highly articulate people who are supposedly in the vanguard of intellectualism in Israel. They make these outrageous remarks because they are clearly given sanction to do so by their deans and rectors as well as the media. In any other country, even one not surrounded by hordes of would-be assassins, like Israel is, they would be branded as scoundrels and traitors and given appropriate punishment.
Yet, Israel, fighting hour by hour for its very existence in a region of despots, bloodshed and evil, remains overly tolerant of dangerously disloyal people – who actually poison the minds of many of their Jewish students, in turn, nudging them towards national disloyalty, while giving a green light to their Arab students and people elsewhere in the world, that Israel is an illigitimate entity.
An indication of how far this trend has gone was vividly illustrated on the release of Samir Kuntar in return for the bodies of three kidnapped Israeli soldiers. Kuntar – as a vile an animal as ever walked this earth – had bludgeoned the skull of a four-year old girl, after first shooting her father in front of her 29 years ago. On the day of his release as part of a swap deal with Hizbollah – a day when all normative Israelis were grieving – Arab students in Israeli universities were handing out sweets on their campuses!
Soldiers criticized for common decency!
It’s hardly surprising, therefore, when a Hebrew University graduate student submitted a thesis in which she comments that the absence rape of Arab women by Israeli soldiers indicates that Jews are racists and oppressors, who do not even regard Arab women as sexually desirable. Even creditable norms, when evinced by Israel, is seen as bad in the eyes of these woefully misguided so-called intellectuals.
Showing how far anti-Israel sentiments have really burrowed into the psyche of some Israeli academics, Professor Nurit Peled-Elhanan, a lecturer in Language Education at Hebrew University, and daughter of an Israeli army general, blamed Israel for the death of her daughter Smadar, who was 14 years old when she was murdered by an Arab suicide bomber in September, 1997. That must represent a record in perverted logic.
Although, one can’t help wondering at the logic in the mindset of Prof. Yuli Tamir, Israel’s Minister of Education, when she sanctioned the nomination of this year’s Israel Prize in political science. It went Prof. Ze’ev Sternhell of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has called students to break the law, to refuse serving in Judea and Samaria during their army service. Sternhall also called for use of IDF tanks against Jews living in these areas and encouraged Arab terror attacks on the Jews living outside Israel’s pre-1967 borders.
The list of perfidy goes on and on. Some people say that the academic condemnation of Israel shows that Israel’s intellectuals have a conscience and are deeply concerned about the rights of others. I don’t believe that conscience or concern for other people has anything to do with the half-truths that they purvey to their students and colleagues. Rather, it’s a mixture of a number of perverted human conditions – Jewish self-hate, the impulse to rebel (usually a condition that disappears by the end of one’s teenage years), the inability to see the wood for the trees (a condition common to many people – intellectuals included). What is particularly worrying, is the fact that many of these people are at the top of their respective fields, or have impressive family and personal backgrounds. These are no ordinary cranks. They are among the elite of Israeli society. Many are invited to Europe and America to lecture about their anti-Israel views, and the audiences swallow every lie and half-truth and buy every incriminating book.
Clearly, they cause inestimable damage to Israel and it is plain stupid for the universities and the government which subsidizes their tenures, to allow them to continue their nefarious activities. It is dangerous for the general public to overlook what is happening in Israel’s universities because many of the students will be the professors of tomorrow, and they too will spread their false and dangerous notions. But that hallowed concept, Academic Freedom becomes perverted and abused when they are allowed to continue preaching their venom freely.
Gratifyingly, many academics in Israel are very concerned. Consequently, the “Israeli Academia Monitor” website was launched. Dana Barnett, herself a graduate in Middle Eastern history, scours the media and other sources for ever-more distressing material by this genre of Israel’s academics. Almost every day, Barnett uncovers yet another abuse of academic freedom in Israel, including on-campus indoctrination. The Israel Academia Monitor also documents Israeli faculty members who promote mutiny and insurrection among the soldiers, or collaborate with avowed anti-Semites and other enemies of Israel by signing petitions defaming Israel or who support lawlessness and terror.
The whole subject of academic disloyalty against one’s own country is multifaceted. Most of these people were once very loyal citizens of Israel. Many were idealists, spending years setting up agricultural settlements on Israel’s borders or serving in elite combat units, often in command positions. This in itself presents a unique study in Israel’s history. But one day, their perfidy will be recorded in the history books for all time.