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General Articles
Scientific Provocation as Academic Discipline

Translated from Hebrew by Israel Academia Monitor 

http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART1/934/135.html?hp=1&loc=29&tmp=2330

Scientific Provocation as Academic Discipline

 

Among the lecturers' population there are more than an insignificant number of big fools. The “researcher” describing historical events that are the products of his fertile imagination, or his colleague who calls for a boycott of Israel, are not presenting learned research but are only seeking more publicity for themselves.

 

Yariv Ben Eliezer, NRG 15:21 25/8/09

 

 

The cliché says: "You were seen in the papers, therefore you exist". Perhaps, that is why some people will do anything to be mentioned in the paper, or to be seen on TV.  Their assumption is that "good provocation" will cause a media uproar and they will enjoy the fruits of the publicity as long as their names are spelled correctly.

 

An anonymous political science lecturer calls upon governments and social bodies overseas to sever their ties with Israel.  He calls upon the international community to boycott Israel and to pressure it to accept the solution of two nations in two countries. ("Ma'ariv" 23.8.09).  His anonymous twin, also a political science lecturer, claims that Ben Gurion declared Israel's independence on May 14th 1948, because he was afraid that Menachem Begin would do it.  According to this ‘brilliant’ thesis, Ben Gurion was concerned about declaring Israel’s independence but did so because Begin wanted to do it-- and all the rest is "history" (Ha'aretz" 21.8.09).

 

In my many years in academia I discovered, to my disappointment, that the population of lecturers is as divided within itself as the general population in its character, and that also pertains to the presence of not an insignificant number of complete fools.  A doctorate granted a person for his intellectual efforts does not preclude him from foolishness.  The general population believes that the academics are the "elite of the elite", but it's an open secret that that is not axiomatic - and for sure there so no empirical truth to demonstrate otherwise.

 

The “scientist” who describes historical events that are the result of his prolific imagination, and his colleague who calls for a boycott of Israel for political reasons, do not represent learned and reliable thesis. The scientific value of such is as valid as the claim that "political scientists prefer to eat yellow cheese sandwiches".

 

It is difficult to accept that the desire for a yellow cheese sandwich can be the basis for an anonymous political science lecturer's advancement.  It definitely increases his chances of his earning the title of "academic fool”.

 


 +++

Yariv Ben Eliezer is The Director of Media Studies, The Lauder School of Government, IDC

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