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Ben-Gurion University
Neve Gordon Defies BGU Code of Ethics

23.03.15

Editorial Note

In December 2011 Ben-Gurion University amended its ethics code to include a clause prohibiting the use of the university's name while speaking publicly about politics.  It stated: "In voicing their political or religious opinions, unlike particular professional views, staff members should refrain from using the Ben-Gurion University's name." The purpose was to make sure academics are speaking for themselves and do not represent the university.

This move was a reaction to Neve Gordon, a professor at Ben Gurion's Politics and Government, who in August 2009 called in the Los Angeles Times for a boycott of Israel.  Subsequently, the the Israeli Knesset passed a law making it illegal to call for a boycott of Israeli institutions.  Soon after, Rivka Carmi wrote a rebuttal to Gordon in the L.A. Times, where she stated "Gordon has forfeited his ability to work effectively within the academic setting, with his colleagues in Israel and around the world. After his very public, personal soul-searching in his Op-Ed article, leading to his extreme description of Israel as an "apartheid" state, how can he, in good faith, create the collaborative atmosphere necessary for true academic research and teaching?"

Now, six years later, as the article below indicates, Gordon has published an article stating "The people of Israel have voted for Apartheid," signing off with his position at BGU. 

Gordon does not violate the boycott law, but he does contravene BGU's ethics code requesting not to include the institution's name when publishing political views.

Will Carmi sanction Gordon? Not likely.  As IAM repeatedly noted, Israel's system of higher education has avoided censuring radical faculty for fear of provoking backlash from the academic community in the West.   To recall, in order to prevent implementing fundamental changes, or else closing, of the substandard Department of Politics and Government of BGU as recommended by the International Evaluation CommitteeCarmi and Dean David Newman called on academics to send in their protest.  Letters and petitions threatening to boycott the Israeli academy piled up in the offices of the Minister of Education and the Council for Higher Education (MALAG).  In the end the MALAG blinked first, leaving the Department open with minimal changes.
 
As for Carmi's conundrum in dealing with Gordon, her rebuttal in the L.A. Times sounds exceptionally hollow. 
 

http://www.countercurrents.org/gordon190315.htm 

Israel Votes Apartheid
By Neve Gordon
19 March, 2015
Countercurrents.org
Benjamin Netanyahu is truly a magician. Just this past Friday, most polls indicated that his Likud party would likely receive around 21 seats in the Israeli Knesset, four seats less than Yitzhak (Bougie) Herzog’s Zionist Camp (Labor Party’s new name). Revelations of corruption at the Prime Minister’s residence followed by a damning comptroller report about the real estate crisis, alongside industrial downsizing, union strikes, predictions of a weakening economy, a diplomatic stalemate, and increasing international isolation all seemed to indicate that Netanyahu was on his way out. But just when it seemed that the Zionist camp would replace the nationalist camp, the crafty campaigner began pulling rabbits out of his hat.
As if his decision to alienate the Obama Administration over the Iran negotiations was not enough, Netanyahu began pandering to the right by notifying the world that Palestinians were destined to remain stateless since he no longer believed in the creation of another Arab state alongside Israel. He presented the Likud party as the victims of a leftist media conspiracy aimed at ousting the right-wing government, while conveniently ignoring that his ally Sheldon Adelson owned Yisrael Hayom, Israel’s most widely circulated paper. He entreated his voters to return “home” promising to address their economic needs. And on Election Day itself, he frightened the Jews by declaring that Israel’s Palestinian citizens were rushing to the polls in droves, thus presenting Palestinians who cast votes for their own representatives as an existential threat.
Pandering and fear mongering together with hatred for Arabs and the left are the ingredients of Netanyahu's secret potion, and it now appears that many voters were indeed seduced. Within a matter of a few days Netanyahu garnered almost ten additional seats for his party, cannibalizing two of his extreme right allies: Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinuand Naftali Bennett's Habayit Hayehudi. Owing to his magic, the Likud did much better than expected, and together with the ultra-Orthodox parties and a new party recently formed by a former Likud minister, Kulanu (All of US), an extreme right wing bloc with 67 out of 120 seats will almost certainly be created (and this even before the soldier's votes have been calculated, which are usually right of center).
The outcome is clear: the people of Israel have voted for Apartheid.
It is now extremely likely that a spate of anti-democratic laws that had been shelved will soon resurface. These include laws that monitor and limit the financing of human rights NGOs, restrict freedom of the expression, reduce the authority of the Supreme Court, cancel the official status of Arabic, and, of course, bring to a vote the nation-state law. This bill, which was originally drafted by a Likud member, defines Jewishness as the state’s default in any instance, legal or legislative, in which the state's Jewishness and its democratic aspirations clash. This means that Laws that provide equal rights to all citizens can be struck down on the pretense that they violate the state's Jewish character. Moreover, this law reserves communal rights for Jews alone, thus denying Palestinian citizens any kind of national identity.
Alongside anti-democratic legislation, we can also expect an array of discriminatory policies to be enacted. The new government will likely implement some variation of the Prawer plan, which intends to forcefully relocate thousands of Palestinian Bedouins and take over their land. It will continue pouring billions of dollars on Israel's settlement in the West Bank and Golan Heights and expropriate more houses and land in East Jerusalem. And it will probably imprison thousands of refugees and “illegal” migrant laborers from Africa currently workers in Israeli cities.
There is, however, one clear advantage to the election results: clarity. At least now there will be no liberal Zionist façade, camouflaging Israel’s unwillingness to dismantle its colonial project. The Israeli refrain that a diplomatic solution with the Palestinians cannot be achieved because the Palestinians lack leadership will ring even more hollow. Finally, the claim that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East will exposed for what it is: a half truth. While Israel is a democracy for Jews it is a repressive regime for Palestinians.
We can also expect little resistance to the right-wing government, since Herzog's Zionist Camp and Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid are also Arabphobes and therefore less against the substance of such a government and more against Netanyahu's blatant right wing style. After all it was a political pac associated with Herzog's party that in the days leading to the elections paid for large billboards with a picture of (Bibi) Netanyahu and his extreme right contender Naftali Bennett warning the viewers that "With Bibibennet we will remain stuck with the Palestinians for eternity." The pac must have overlooked the fact that 20 percent of Israeli citizens are Palestinians.
And yet, during these elections there was one ray of light that shimmered through the darkness. The attempt by most of the Jewish parties to sideline the Palestinian citizens produced an unintended result. Creating a united front, the Palestinians garnered 14 seats, almost 25 percent more than they received in the previous elections, and they are now the third biggest faction in the Knesset. Unlike many of his counterparts, Ayman Odeh, the head of the new Joint Arab List, is a true leader. Extremely incisive, he often uses irony and wit to undermine his detractors while advancing an egalitarian vision for the future. In a moment of candor, a well-known Israeli commentator characterized his demeanor as a serious threat: "He’s really dangerous," she said, "he projects something every Israeli can relate to.”
Will this threat be able to stop the imminent entrenchment of a tide of new Apartheid laws? I sincerely doubt it.
Neve Gordon is the author of 'Israel's Occupation' as well as 'The Human Right to Dominate' (co-authored with Nicola Perugini, forthcoming June 2015). Prof. Neve Gordon teaches at Dept. of Politics and Government, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer—Sheva, Israel



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