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Ben-Gurion University
BGU Student complains: Neve Gordon's teaching assistant and her friends threatened me


On Wednesday, November 23, 2011, Ortal Shmueli gave an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 News. Shmueli is a pivotal part of the pro-Israel activist community at Ben-Gurion University and is an employee of the World Betar Movement, in addition to being an Israel Studies student at BGU. She is also an elected member in BGU’s Student Union. Last year she took courses taught by Professors Neve Gordon and Dani Filc. During the interview with Channel 2, Shmueli said that “students have complained over the years about BGU’s Department of Government and Politics and finally, an international committee that was assigned by the Council for Higher Education to examine the Government and Politics department of BGU actually said that the department isn’t working well.”

On December 2, 2011, Shmueli wrote on her facebook account her opinion about the BGU Government and Politics department, that she doesn’t believe that they are behaving professionally about promoting students in the department, for they are “promoting based on political views and not academic excellence.” Shmueli, like a series of other pro-Israel students, is concerned about a trend within Ben-Gurion University, where only students who support the views of radical academics get to become teaching assistants.

After Shmueli wrote this on her facebook, Michal Rotem, a teaching assistant of Neve Gordon, copied Shmueli’s status to her facebook account and stated “From the conclusion of the status, I am not left wing but a traitor.” Michal’s sister Ofirwrote that “Ortal Shmueli needs to cool down; otherwise I will deal with her.” In one of the comments Michal Engel, also a student in BGU’s Government and Politics Department wrote regarding Ortal Shmueli, “she is a stupid bitch. When I see her, I could beat her.”

On December 4, 2011, after Shmueli turned in her seminar papers, she filed a complaint with the Be’ersheva Police. She says: "As a woman and member of the student union I walk out of the university very late at night sometimes. I am scared of these people." The complaint says that a member of a very radical and extremist group threatened Shmueliand they are already known for their violent protests during the Flotilla crisis. During this time, they organized the most aggressive protest that the BGU campus has ever seen. Protesters chanted “Long live Palestine; by spirit, by blood, we will redeem you; A thousand blessings to the warriors of freedom, a thousand blessings to the shahids (suicide bombers) of freedom; Oh Erdogan, oh beloved, we want you to punish (bomb) Tel Aviv; No, no, the fascism will not pass.” Radical pro-Palestinian activists at BGU also gave Nazi salutes, wove the PLO flag, and physically hurt a student who disagreed with them, requiring Magen David Adom intervention.

It is important to note that Shmueli doesn’t know Michal Rotem, her sister or Michal Engel.
The only problem that they have with Shmueli is that she is using her freedom of expression in order to criticize BGU’s Government and Politics department in a legitimate way. According to Shmueli, “people that claim that they are supporting democracy, human rights, and pluralism actually respond in a violent way to every criticism that is directed towards them.”

On a phone conversation Shmueli added that two days after she reported the incident to the police, Prof. Neve Gordon wrote an email to the BGU internal forum accusing her of publishing calls to murder him on her web-page. Shmueli insists that this has never happened. While she can prove being threatened by his teaching assistant and her friends, he can not find a single incident related to her.



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