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Response to David Newman's "Thoughts on academic freedom at Pessah" / "Rethinking the End Game" with Dr. Kedar

Response to "Thoughts on academic freedom at Pessah" by David Newman

David Newman (Thoughts on academic freedom at Pessah – 18th April) complains about attacks against freedom of speech.  However, Newman describes a strangely one-sided definition of “freedom”. In his article, only those views that match his own political agenda deserve freedom of expression.  Students are not allowed to protest against the hard-left anti-Israel propaganda that Newman’s friends and colleagues churn out constantly.  Newman complained about the demonstration by students opposing his conference. In his world, protests are only allowed if he approves of them.  The conference organisers only invited extreme left-wing speakers so was a mockery to Newman’s demand for academic freedom.

Newman cries foul when students bring cameras into lectures to record the incitement of faculty professors. But he approves of the cameras B’Tselem provide to Palestinian Arabs to make “Pallywood” movies.  He attacks isolationist ideologies, but supports BGU professors demanding a total boycott to isolate Israel.  His Orwellian “thought police” are a product of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, but certainly not of Israel’s supporters.  It is incredible that he praises “security of tenure” as a method to protect BGU professors treacherous to the State.  He fails to mention that BGU professor, Yeruham Leavitt, was sacked for making comments that Mr Newman’s fellow “free-speakers” viewed as politically incorrect.

It is not “academic freedom” if a faculty awards students academic credits when they attend anti-Israel demonstrations.  It is totally unacceptable that a requirement for passing a course is to conduct pro-Palestinian activism.  Professor Neve Gordon (Faculty of Politics & Government), who organised the appalling conference that Newman promoted, regularly espouses that Israel is a fascist, apartheid state. Gordon accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing and has signed petitions calling for an international academic, scientific, economic and cultural boycott of Israel.  In 2010, several BGU staff attended an illegal demonstration where their faculties’ students gave Nazi salutes.

So let’s be clear about what constitutes the right to express opinions in our Universities.  We certainly don’t need people like Newman to lecture us about what freedom means.

Michael Ordman
CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)



Z STREET Presents:


Improving Lives in The Middle East  

   May 4th 2011,  Washington DC

Learn from experts on the

  • Likely Impact of the Arab Uprisings on the Arab Palestinians' and Israel's future
  • Freedoms in the Middle East 
  • Economic Dignity and Prosperity in the Middle East
      Engage with the     
      Combined Panels in a Discussion



    Khaled Abu Toameh:
    Topic: Civil and humanitarian freedoms in the Middle East
    Mr. Abu Toameh is an Arab Israeli journalist who has worked for Arab Palestinian media outlets as well as many major western media. Abu Toameh will address access to civil and humanitarian freedoms in the Middle East, with a particular emphasis on Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press.

    Nonie Darwish
    Topic: Rights in the Arab World
    An Egyptian who also lived in Gaza, Darwish is now an American human rights activist. Ms. Darwish will address human rights in general, and women’s right specifically, in the Middle East.

    George Gilder
    Topic: The creation of wealth and overcoming poverty in the Middle East
    Mr. Gilder will talk about wealth creation in the face of on-going regional turbulence and existential assaults, and how that expertise has already and must again be shared with regional

    Fred Gottheil 
    Topic: Economics of the Middle East
    Professor Gottheil will address the economics of the Palestinian Authority and describe the essential factors for prosperity and economic stability.

    Mordechai Kedar
    Topic: Arab Palestinian society
    Dr. Kedar, professor of Arabic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, will address co-existence in the Arab world and the vital role - nearly entirely neglected by the west - that tribalism plays for political and sociological stability.

    Steven J. Rosen
    Topic: Two States history and Palestinian State readiness
    Foreign policy and Middle East expert Steven J. Rosen has been involved with and analyzing the Israeli-Arab relationship for more than three decades.  He brings his vast experience to bear on the question of the viability of a Palestinian State, and how those expected to live in it would fare.

    Harold Rhode (Moderator) 
    Topic: Impact of “Arab Spring” on Arab Palestinians and Israel
    Dr. Rhode, a 25 year veteran of the US Pentagon, is an expert on the politics of the Middle East. Rhode is fluent in Farsi, Turkish, Arabic and Hebrew and will discuss the “Arab Spring” and its likely impact on the stability of the region and of the future of the Arab Palestinians and of Israel.

    The event will be held in the Congressional Auditorium in the Capitol Visitors' Center on East Front at First Street and East Capitol Street, NE.

    To register, please go to our registration form

    For additional information: rethinkingtheendgame@zstreet.org

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