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Hebrew University
HUJ Nurit Peled Elhanan and Israeli Social Sciences: A Commentary on a Highly Politicized Discipline

Editorial Note

For years now, IAM has reported on the Nurit Peled Elhanan (HUJ) political exploits that break every rule of academic conduct.  In her newest venture, Peled Elhanan, the laureate of the politically dubious Human Rights Award of the European Union Parliament, urges to boycott Israel and indeed, expel it from the international community. [See below]

That Peled Elhanan, a tireless anti-Israeli activist, would call for boycott is old hat. She has done in countless times in the past and will do it again.  It is also quite clear that neither the university authorities nor the state have any appetite to apply the 2011 anti-boycott law, though Peled Elhanan seems to be its most blatant violator.

What is more surprising is that the social science community has never raised objection to her dubious publication record - a string of political polemics dressed up as academic research.  As expected, Peled Elhanan “found empirical evidence” to compare the Israel to the worst of Nazi Germany and South African apartheid.  Published by radical European outlets, this material is presented as academic research by a “Hebrew University professor.” 

For those who may wander as to why scholars - adept at using various discursive forums – have refrained from offering a critique of Peled Elhanan, the answer is simple.  Social sciences in Israel are deeply politicized and virtually dominated by leftist academics anxious to protect their radical colleagues.  By criticizing Peled Elhanan, they may give succor to right-wing critics of the academy.

No such qualms exist when it comes to perceived “right-wing” scholarship.  For instance, when the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya published an survey of Iranian public attitudes toward nuclear weapons in Iran – that, incidentally found a decline in public support for the project - Professor Micha Leshem and Yuval Yonay (Haifa U) offered a scathing attack on Professor Alex Mintz and the HIC accusing them of being a front for the Mossad, published on the social science server.  [See below]  It is not entirely clear why Leshem – who once attached a classic anti-Semitic cartoon opposing Israeli occupation - and Yonay were so outraged.  A short perusal of the relevant opinion polls by Gallop and Zogby polls, easily available on the Internet, would have confirmed that, indeed, the sanctions that devastated the Iranian economy brought down the level of approval for the nuclear weapons.   Here are some relevant numbers for Leshem and Yonay to consider: after five years of increasingly harsh sanctions, only 35 percent of Iranian stated that they were better off than five years ago; almost fifty percent said they were worse off.  As the high cost for keeping the nuclear development afloat became evident, the virtual 100 percent approval dropped to some 60 and less.

The recent case of Dr. Mordechai Kedar (Bar Ilan University) reflects the same pattern.  On the 21st of July a number of scholars accused Kedar of alleging that rape of women in family of Hamas was the only way to deter Hamas.  The claim was posted on the social science server, prompting Haaretz to publish an article. Kedar shortly after publish his version on the issue.   Bar Ilan University followed up with a clarification, stating that Dr. Kedar explained in response that he does not recommend such despicable acts, and that his intention was to illustrate how difficult it is to deter a suicide bomber.

There is little doubt that Hamas motivation and behavior – a subcategory of Jihadist behavior - is important and should be discussed by social scientists, not just as a bone fide academic topic but also as a service to the military, policy makers and the public.   But here again, because of politicization, a dispassionate debate supported by empirical evidence was lost.  

Reading the book The Koranic Concept of War, by Brigadier General S.K. Malik would be a good start.  Malik, a self-described Islamist, served at the time on the Pakistani general staff.  He asserted that the Koran does not make a distinction between combatants in uniforms and civilians on both sides of a war.  Killing enemy civilians is, of course, permitted, but Muslim non-combatants should be ready to sacrifice their lives and become martyrs for the cause. Following the Iranian revolution in 1979, the book was adopted as an official doctrine by the Revolution Guards and then taught to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tehran, and Hamas.

Any respectable debate on deterrence of Jihadists should, at the very least, include Malik’s work and its tactical applications.  More than a decade ago, Lt. Col. Joseph C. Myers published a highly regarded study on Malik in theleading journal Parameter.   The article became the basis of academically sound and sophisticated understanding of the issue. 

Social scientists have a duty to produce and disseminate relevant knowledge, not least because they are supported by the tax payer.  But this notion has probably never occurred to some Israeli faculty that view their tenured position as an extension of their political agenda.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From:  Nurit Peled-Elhanan

הפרלמנט האירופי - מושב מיוחד בנושא המתקפה הישראלית על עזה - החרימו את האפרטהייד הישראלי - השיבו את החיים לפלסטינים וליהודים גם יחד

EU Parliament- Special Session on Israeli attack on Gaza: Ban Israeli Apartheid - Restore life to Palestinians and Jews alike

This petition is awaiting approval by the Avaaz Community
EU Parliament- Special Session on Israeli attack on Gaza: Ban Israeli Apartheid - Restore life to Palestinians and Jews alike

Why this is important to me

Please add you signature to join this appeal by Nurit Peled-Elhanan- Laureate of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Human Rights, Jewish citizen of Apartheid Israel, mother, human being.


Dear friends and peace militants

I am writing to you from the mouth of hell. Genocide in Gaza, pogroms and massacres in the West Bank and shell-panic in Israel.Three Israeli settlers kidnapped and killed, and the police that was notified on the spot did nothing. Their death was used as a pretext to carry out the per-palnned onslaught on the West bank and Gaza. A Palestinian boy from Jerusalem kidnapped and burned alive and the police, notified immediately, does nothing. More than 200 victims in the raid on Gaza. Whole families murdered by Israeli pilots, and as a result - rocket shelling all over Israel. Dangerous and violent racism against Arab Israeli citizens, encouraged enthusiastically by Israeli Ministers and Parliament members, leads to riots in the streets, breeds aggression and severe discrimination against Palestinians, along with a newly erupted violence against Jewish peace activists.

Despite agreements, international resolutions and Israeli promises, the settlements are expanding - while Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank are constantly destroyed. Water flows in the swimming pools of the settlements without limitation, while Palestinian children are thirsty and whole villages and cities live under a cruel water regime, as was recently pointed out by President Schultz. Roads for Jews only and countless checkpoints make Palestinian life and movement impossible. The undemocratic character of the state of Israel is increasingly transforming it into a dangerous apartheid state.

All these atrocities were conceived by the same devilish and criminal mind – the mind of the racist, ruthless occupier of Palestine. Therefore the blame for all these crimes against humanity should be placed where it belongs: on the bloody hands of the Israeli racist rulers.Israeli politicians and generals, soldiers and pilots, street hudlums and members of the Knesset are all guilty of the bloodshed and should be brought to trial before the international Criminal court of justice.

To this day, the international community has not done enough to stop Israeli regime of occupation. European countries have profoundly criticized it while at the same time continuing to cooperate fully with Israel, economically, politically and militarily. As a result, Israel does not pay any price for seriously violating international law and human values. On the contrary, Europe also pays for much of the humanitarian damage of the occupation, making it even easier for Israel to maintain it.

Although guidelines were issued prohibiting EU institutions to fund or to finance research organizations and activities in the settlements and 20 European countries have published formal warnings to their citizens and companies regarding trade and financial relations with the settlements, this is not enough. These measures do not seriously challenge Israeli policy in occupied Palestine. Europe could do much better as illustrated by its harsh response to Russia's annexation of Crimea. In a few weeks - not years - the European Union imposed targeted sanctions on Russian and Ukrainian officials and on business firms operating in Crimea. The EU went even further and expanded sanctions by banning the import of Crimean goods.

We, the citizens of Israel and the stateless people of Palestine, cannot bring about the end of the occupation or stop the bloodbath by ourselves. We need the help of the international community at large and of the EU in particular. We need you to prosecute the Israeli government and army, we need you to boycott Israeli economy and culture, we need you to urge your government to stop profiting from the occupation and we need you to call for an embargo of arms on Israel and lift the siege over Gaza. Israel is the biggest and most dangerous terrorist organization existing today. All its ammunition is used to kill innocent civilians, women and children. This is nothing less than genocide.

As a laureate of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Human Rights, and as a mother and a human being, I call on the EU to use all the diplomatic and economic tools at its disposal to help save my country from this abyss of death and despair in which we live.

Please ban Israel form the international community until it becomes a real democratic state, Boycott and sanction whoever makes business with this apartheid state and help us get rid of this bloodthirsty racist government and restore life to Palestinians and Jews alike.


From: socsci-il-bounces+mscharle=mscc.huji.ac.il@listserver.cc.huji.ac.il [mailto:socsci-il-bounces+mscharle=mscc.huji.ac.il@listserver.cc.huji.ac.ilOn Behalf Of מיכה לשם פרופ'
Sent: Sunday, June 08, 2014 9:21 PM
To: 'socsci-il@listserver.huji.ac.il'
Cc: Yuval Yonay
Subject: [SocSci-IL] אתיקה במחקר במדעי החברה-סיפור מעניין


ראיתםו את הכתבה הבאה וחשבו על:


אני הגעתי לזה דרך האתר של סילברסטיין.


 חוקרים מתקשרים בטלפון ומרמים את הנסקרים. במקום נורמלי זה לא היה עובר. אבל סידרנו את האירנים, אז זה כנראה בסדר.

מיכה לשם ויובל יונאי, חיפה


Ilan Pappe and Nurit Peled signed - military embargo on Israel


Nobel peace laureates and celebrities call for military embargo on Israel

Posted on July 19, 2014 by Palestinian BDS National Committee

An abridged version of this letter calling for the UN and governments to impose a military embargo on Israel was published in the Guardian on July 19 2014.

The letter is signed by six Nobel peace laureates: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Adolfo Peres Esquivel, Jody Williams, Mairead Maguire, Rigoberta Menchú and Betty Williams. 

Other signatories include Noam Chomsky, Roger Waters from Pink Floyd, playwright Caryl Churchill, US rapper Boots Riley, João Antonio Felicio, the president of the International Trade Union Confederation, and Zwelinzima Vavi, the general secretary of the Confederation of South African Trade Unions. 

TAKE ACTION NOW - add your name to the call for a military embargo

Nobel laureates, artists and public intellectuals call for immediate military embargo on Israel

“With the establishment of a relationship of oppression, violence has already begun. Never in history has violence been initiated by the oppressed. …There would be no oppressed had there been no prior of violence to establish their subjugation.” –Paulo Freire

Israel has once again unleashed the full force of its military against the captive Palestinian population, particularly in the besieged Gaza Strip, in an inhumane and illegal act of military aggression. Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza has so far killed scores of Palestinian civilians, injured hundreds and devastated the civilian infrastructure, including the health sector, which is facing severe shortages.

Israel’s ability to launch such devastating attacks with impunity largely stems from the vast international military cooperation and trade that it maintains with complicit governments across the world.

Over the period 2009-2019, the US is set to provide military aid to Israel worth $30bn, while Israeli annual military exports to the world have reached billions of dollars. In recent years, European countries have exported billions of euros worth of weapons to Israel, and the European Union has furnished Israeli military companies and universities with military-related research grants worth hundreds of millions.

Emerging economies such as India, Brazil and Chile, are rapidly increasing their military trade and cooperation with Israel, despite their stated support for Palestinian rights.

By importing and exporting arms to Israel and facilitating the development of Israeli military technology, governments are effectively sending a clear message of approval for Israel’s military aggression, including its war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

Israel is one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of militarized drones. Israel’s military technology, developed to maintain decades of oppression, is marketed as “field tested” and exported across the world.

Military trade and joint military-related research relations with Israel embolden Israeli impunity in committing grave violations of international law and facilitate the entrenchment of Israel’s system of occupation, colonisation and systematic denial of Palestinian rights.

We call on the UN and governments across the world to take immediate steps to implement a comprehensive and legally binding military embargo on Israel, similar to that imposed on South Africa during apartheid.

Governments that express solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza, facing the brunt of Israel’s militarism, atrocities and impunity, must start with cutting all military relations with Israel. Palestinians today need effective solidarity, not charity.

Signed by:

Adolfo Peres Esquivel, Nobel Peace Laureate, Argentina
Ahdaf Soueif , Author, Egypt/UK
Ahmed Abbas, Academic, France
Aki Olavi Kaurismäki , film director, Finland
Alexi Sayle, Comedian, UK
Alice Walker, Writer, US
Alison Phipps, Academic, Scotland
Andrew Ross, Academic, US
Andrew Smith, Academic, Scotland
Arch. Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate, South Africa
Ascanio Celestini, actor and author, Italy
Betty Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate, Northern Ireland
Boots Riley, Rapper, poet, arts producer, US
Brian Eno, Composer/musician, UK
Brigid Keenan, Author, UK
Caryl Churchill, playwright, UK
China Mieville, Writer, UK
Chris Hedges , Journalist, Pulitzer Prize 2002, US
Christiane Hessel, , France
Cynthia McKinney, Politician, activist, US
David Graeber, Academic, UK
David Palumbo-Liu, Academic, US
Eleni Varikas, Academic, France
Eliza Robertson, Author,
Elwira Grossman, Academic, Scotland
Etienne Balibar, philosopher, France
Federico Mayor Zaragoza, Former UNESCO Director General, Spain
Felim Egan, Painter, Ireland
Frei Betto, Liberation theologian, Brazil
Gerard Toulouse, Academic, France
Ghada Karmi , Academic , Palestine
Gillian Slovo, Writer, Former president of PEN (UK), UK/South Africa
Githa Hariharan, Writer, India
Giulio Marcon, MP (SEL), Italy
Hilary Rose, Academic, UK
Ian Shaw, Academic, Scotland
Ilan Pappe, Historian, author, Israel
Ismail Coovadia, former South African Ambassador to Israel
Ivar Ekeland, Academic, France
James Kelman, Writer, Scotland
Janne Teller, Writer, Denmark
Jeremy Corbyn, MP (Labour), UK
Joanna Rajkowska, Artist, Poland
Joao Felicio, President of ITUC, Brazil
Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate, US
John Berger, artist, UK
John Dugard, Former ICJ judge, South Africa
John McDonnell, MP (Labour), UK
John Pilger, journalist and filmmaker , Australia
Judith Butler, Academic, philosopher, US
Juliane House, Academic, Germany
Karma Nabulsi, Oxford University, UK/Palestine
Keith Hammond, Academic, Scotland
Ken Loach, Filmmaker, UK
Kool A.D. (Victor Vazquez), Musician, US
Liz Lochhead, national poet for Scotland, UK
Liz Spalding, Author,
Luisa Morgantini, former vice president of the European Parliament, Italy
Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate, Ireland
Marcia Lynx Qualey, Blogger and Critic, US
Michael Lowy, Academic, France
Michael Mansfield, Barrister, UK
Michael Ondaatje, Author, Canada/Sri Lanka
Mike Leigh, writer and director, UK
Mira Nair, filmmaker, India
Monika Strzępka, theatre director, Poland
Naomi Wallace, Playwright, screenwriter, poet, US
Nathan Hamilton, Poet ,
Noam Chomsky, Academic, author, US
Nur Masalha, Academic, UK/Palestine
Nurit Peled, Academic, Israel
Paola Bacchetta, Academic, US
Phyllis Bennis, Policy analyst, commentator, US
Prabhat Patnaik, Economist, India
Przemyslaw Wielgosz, Chief editor of Le Monde Diplomatique, Polish edition, Poland
Rachel Holmes, Author, UK
Raja Shehadeh, Author and Lawyer, Palestine
Rashid Khalidi, Academic, author, Palestine/US
Rebecca Kay, Academic, Scotland
Richard Falk, Former UN Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestinian Territories, US
Rigoberta Menchú, Nobel Peace Laureate, Guatemala
Robin D.G. Kelley, Academic, US
Roger Waters, Musician, UK
Robin Yassin-Kassab, Writer, UK
Roman Kurkiewicz, journalist, Poland
Ronnie Kasrils, Former minister in Mandela’s gov’t, South Africa
Rose Fenton, Director, the Free Word Centre, UK
Sabrina Mahfouz, Author, UK
Saleh Bakri, Actor, Palestine
Selma Dabbagh, Author, UK/Palestine
Sir Geoffrey Bindman, Lawyer, UK
Slavoj Zizek, Philosopher, author, Slovenia
Sonia Dayan-Herzbrun, Academic, France
Steven Rose, Academic, UK
Tom Leonard, Writer, Scotland
Tunde Adebimpe, Musician, US
Victoria Brittain, Playwright and journalist, UK
Willie van Peer, Academic, Germany
Zwelinzima Vavi, Secretary General of Cosatu, South Africa

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