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Articles by IAM Associates
Responses to David Newman's "Bashing the Academic Left"

Responses to David Newman's "Bashing the Academic Left Jerusalem Post, Apr 14, 2009


It's so good to hear that David Newman is actually doing something and is representing Israel against the calls for boycotts. Being a critic of the government is acceptable and has nothing to do with it.

But Newman has a dark past: in 2001 he signed the petition calling students to refuse serving in the Territories, the following is taken from seruv.org.il website: 


We, faculty members from a number of Israeli universities, wish to express our appreciation and support for those of our students and lecturers who refuse to serve as soldiers in the occupied territories. Such service too often involves carrying out orders that have no place in a democratic society founded on the sanctity of human life.

For thirty five years an entire people, some three and a half million in number, have been held without basic human rights. The occupation and oppression of another people have brought the State of Israel to where it is today. Without an Israeli declaration of an end to the occupation, accompanied by appropriate action--unilateral, if necessary--the present war is not being fought for our home but for the settlements beyond the green line and for the continued oppression of another people. We hereby express our readiness to do our best to help students who encounter academic, administrative or economic difficulties as a result of their refusal to serve in the territories. We call on the University community at large to support them. 

Encouraging students to refuse army service is against the Israeli law. I suggest legal steps be taken against those who have signed it. The list of 360 names was deleted from the petition about a year ago, but Israel Academia Monitor keeps the original list on its website.

The day our soldiers follow that request and cease to defend their country- that day marks the beginning of the end of Israel. Therefore, it is very irresponsible for any person, be he or she an academic, to demand of Israel to stop defending itself. Apparently, something has changed during the last few years and David Newman is no longer anti-Israel. However, the academic left that Newman chooses to represent consists of a large number of very active Israeli academics: the list of articles stored on Israel Academia Monitor website numbers a few thousands. I will not mention them all but the following give readers a good idea of the point of view they express:



[Hebrew University, Education] Nurit Peled Elhanan to speak in Vienna, Austria. Topic: Racism in Israel. Israeli education vis-a-vis the Palestinians

Omar Barghouti, Michael Sfard, Merav Amir, and Dalit Baum speak for "Bil’in Village Popular Committee Against the Apartheid Wall and Settlements"

[Tel Aviv University] Adi Ophir and Nadim Rouhana participating a Palestinian conference in South Africa calling Israel an Apartheid state, June 11, 2009

[Tel Aviv University, Arts] Ariella Azoulay: Constituting Violence, 1947-1950 A visual genealogy of a regime

Anat Biletzki, Gabriel Piterberg and Meron Benvenisti provide information to a Palestinian symposium for Gaza

Orna Ben Naftali's "Whose Conduct Unbecoming" full paper, based on cooked video provided by B'Tselem

Rahela Mizrahi [is completing her 2nd degree in Arts at Tel Aviv University]: "Emergency appeal to UNESCO to exclude Israel from its membership"

Israeli academics join Jewish "Peace Activists" in a call for boycotting Israel: "Such calls are in no way discriminatory", in: On Anti-Semitism, Boycotts, and the Case of Hermann Dierkes



Perhaps Newman sees the above list, and the ideas these people espouse, as nothing but supportive criticism. But the citizens of Israel have a sound basis for distrusting him and his fellow-provocateur's judgement. The citizens of Israel can choose who they don't want to see teaching in their universities.

Newman and the "Peace" camp have been deeding their anti-Israel advice to the Palestinians for many years. Since they began, the circumstances of the Palestinians have deteriorated terribly. There is no doubt the Palestinians would have been much better off had they not listened to the "Peace" camp. Sooner or later the Palestinians will wake up from their nightmare and blame the "Peace" camp for everything. The "Peace" camp never advocated for peace, nor do they really support human rights. On the contrary, they have called for war and ignored human rights abuses. Consequently, they should face the consequences.


But Newman thinks that only the "Peace" Camp has freedom of speech and if others criticize it, it is considered McCarthyism. He says:

The academic McCarthyism of the Right endangers Israeli democracy and society. It threatens the very basis of freedom of speech. The self-styled patriots are causing enormous damage to the country and should be prevented from assuming the cloak of self-appointed defenders of the common good, which they are clearly not.


Prof. Newman is wrong. McCarthyism was implemented by the U.S. Government, while we are group of citizens concerned about the erosion of national loyalty that is making alarming inroads in Israeli Universities. 

Newman believes the Radical Academic Left is justified in its activities that actually promote national suicide. But we refuse to let these people help Israel's enemies destroy our state. Till now – intentionally or unintentionally – they have actually been collaborating with Israel's enemies, while the rest of the public remained comfortably unaware. However, through IAM's work, the general public is becoming increasingly aware of the perfidy of our Radical Left, and beginning to oppose them.  

At stake here is not freedom of expression, which should be defended as long as it is not abused, but the freedom to lie, deceive and collaborate with Israel's enemies – which is precisely what our Radical Academic Left has been doing with their hate speech. We hope that the learned professor and his friends will be able to understand the difference between these two freedoms. We also hope that university administrators begin to fully realize the abuse of the positions by many of their staff members. That is our quest.

 *Dana Barnett is the editor of Israel Academia Monitor. http://www.israel-academia-monitor.com   




Maybe the reason why there is so much criticism of the Israeli academic left is that hardly a day goes by without some anti Israel professor rushing into print or sitting on a platform to express the most virulent anti Israel sentiments.
I would point out to Professor David Newman (JP April 14) that criticism of this behaviour is not a matter of the right to freedom of speech, but more an expression of outrage at the sometimes almost treasonous views of these critics.  As for his blanket condemnation of those organisations which seek to monitor attitudes to Israel, and to highlight unfounded criticism, isn't he guilty of the pot calling the kettle black as surely they have the same right of freedom of speech as he demands for academics who are so outspoken against the state they are happy to call their home.
As someone who is very active in speaking up for Israel in the UK and beyond, I am not averse to criticising Israel and have never had the view "Israel right or wrong".
But I do find it indefensible when Israeli professors call for Israel to be tried for war crimes, and voice totally one-sided criticism of Israel with no thought for context or history.
I also find it extremely difficult to cope with the almost full time activities of the likes of Ilan Pappe and Avi Shlain peddling their anti Israel propaganda throughout the UK.
While the principle of free speech is one to be guarded jealously, it must never be a cover for unacceptable disloyalty to the homeland of these outspoken and often highly offensive critics from Israeli academia.
Joy Wolfe
Manchester UK
24 Marchbank Drive




Dear Mr. Newman
Your comments confirm your detractors' claims.
Bashing the academic left in Israel is a great mitzvah for all self-respecting Jews among whose ranks you, it seems,
are not included. After 34 years of teaching at one of Israel's largest universities, I can say with great assurance that the freedom of speech you enjoy in this country permits the communist-leaning left here to publicly support our enemies, aid and abet the murderes of Jews young and old, and proclaim political views that only Putin and his model Josef Stalin, embody.
No matter how hard Pipes and others-such as Caroline Click, that young and brilliant woman with a drgree from Harvard, "bash" the acadremic left in Israel, you retain the right the denounce and betray thre Jewish People. Freedom of speech - that's a joke-freedom to hate your country despite the mendacity of your colleagues - that's more in keeping with reality. Not hard to represent your poisition in Jew-hating Britain. I am sure you saw the monument in York indicating that England was the first country to expel the Jews in the early 13th century! If they could they would do it again. Happy to say they failed to do so for many years up to 1948 when, happily, they ran away with their tail between their legs.
Shlomo Sharan
Professor Emeritus
Educational Psychology



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