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Tel Aviv University
TAU Daniel Bar-Tal Responds to IAM: "Delegitimization of Me and My Contribution"


18.09.19
Editorial Note


IAM encourages readers to respond to the posts and publishes them as a matter of courtesy.

Our previous post "The Delegitimization of Israel from the Academy: TAU Daniel Bar-Tal as a Case in Point" enraged Prof. Daniel Bar-Tal and prompted his response.


Bar-Tal wrote, "The reaction was expected because IAM is acting in the spirit of Orwell of "1984" that develops in Israel. The reaction derogates the research, the affiliation and then makes an absurd association with Galtung whom I met once in my life—all in the name of free speech and democracy." Bar-Tal continued, "Anyone who respects Israel, who supports democracy and cherishes moral values, has to be appalled by the activity of such an organization. But In Israel of today there are several organizations of this kind that delegitimizes free research and speech, that is coming with the objective of carrying valid research as well as practicing constructive patriotism.  In the present zeitgeist in Israel I take into consideration that a bad thing may happen to me. But I promise to all of you that I will not be afraid and will not scale down my critical and opened minded academic work. Ill continue my line of research because it is our responsibility and obligation to shed light on all the social phenomena that bring bloodshed, misery and suffering in this world.”   

 

Bar-Tal’s answer is in line with the tactics of radical activist scholars who accuse their critics as "Orwellians" who want to stifle all free discourse in the society.   Such blanket accusations are convenient because they absolve activists of responding to the particular points raised in the post. Once critics are delegitimized as “Orwellians", their critique can be described as pages from the "1948" playbook. 

 

Indeed, Bar-Tal has either failed to reply to the issues raised by the IAM post or responded in a highly deceitful way.   

 

First, Bar-Tal does not explain how, after being hired to teach and research early childhood education, he ended up writing about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Indeed, despite his switch of disciplines, he was promoted and rewarded by Tel Aviv University.    A good salary, steady promotion, not to mention a good pension upon retirement, is not exactly hard life.   He was very lucky because the Tel Aviv university authorities were too scared to stand up to his career retooling. As IAM has been repeatedly reporting since 2004, Bar-Tal was not alone in taking advantage of the academic leadership's fear to confront their activist faculty.   

 

Second, Bar-Tal had nothing to say about his research methods in his “Masada Complex" studies.  Bar-Tal never considered the horrific terror attacks as an alternative explanation to the Israeli reticence to go ahead with the peace process.  The Peace Index of Tel Aviv University clearly indicated that in 1993, the public support for the Oslo peace was quite high, but as the suicide bombings took a toll, the good will evaporated.  More to the point, when Prime Minister Rabin tried to describe the victims as "victims of peace”, the public reacted with outrage.  Bar-Tal and his peace camp comrades should be reminded that it was not the memory of Masada, but the trauma of watching the suicide attacks nightly on television that soured the Israelis on peace.   

 

Third, Bar-Tal dismisses the importance of Galtung to his career.  In fact, Bar-Tal cited Galtung and even declared him to be "the greatest peace researcher”.   As for “meeting Galtung once,” in a 2012 post, IAM pointed out that in a 2006 conference which was organized by Bar-Tal, Galtung was invited to deliver the keynote address.  It was during this lecture that Galtung made invidious comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany, a theme that he pursued before.  While one Israeli scholar expressed dismay, Bar-Tal kept silent. 

 

Finally, Bar-Tal simply has no answer to IAM's criticism. 

 

  



-------- Original Message --------

Subject: delegitimization of me and my contribution
Date: Sat, 14 Sep 2019 15:09:00 +0000
From: Daniel Bar-Tal <daniel@tauex.tau.ac.il>
To: "e-mail@israel-academia-monitor.com" e-mail@israel-academia-monitor.com

 

Dear friends,

Life is complex as you all know.

Immediately as my article "The Challenges of Social and Political Psychology in Pursuit of Peace: Personal Account" was published, "Israeli Academia Monitor" reacted. It presents its mission with the following words:

"IAM is a non-profit, grassroots organization comprising citizens who, while strongly advocating free speech and academic freedom, are seriously concerned about the growing tendency to distort and abuse these two essential characteristics of a democratic society… Our goal is to present the truth by making the activities of those academics more widely known and challenging their distortions and bias

The reaction was expected because IAM is acting in the spirit of Orwell of "1984" that develops in Israel. The reaction derogates the research, the affiliation and then makes an absurd association with Galtung whom I met once in my life—all in the name of free speech and democracy.

 

Please read the attached distributed letter by IAM

 

Anyone who respects Israel, who supports democracy and cherishes moral values, has to be appalled by the activity of such an organization. But In Israel of today there are several organizations of this kind that delegitimizes free research and speech, that is coming with the objective of carrying valid research as well as practicing constructive patriotism.

In the present zeitgeist in Israel I take into consideration that a bad thing may happen to me. But I promise to all of you that I will not be afraid and will not scale down my critical and opened minded academic work. Ill continue my line of research because it is our responsibility and obligation to shed light on all the social phenomena that bring bloodshed, misery and suffering in this world.

Wish you a better world

Danny 

 

 

 

 

Daniel Bar-Tal

Professor Emeritus

School of Education

Tel Aviv University

Tel Aviv 69978, Israel

Email daniel@tauex.tau.ac.il

 

http://da4903.wix.com/danielbar-tal

 

Authored Intractable conflict: Socio-Psychological foundations and dynamics-2013 CUP

Coedited The impacts of  lasting occupation : Lessons from Israeli society -2013 OUP

Coedited The role of trust in conflict resolution: The Israeli-Palestinians case and beyond -2016

Coedited Self censorship in contexts of conflict: Theory and research -Springer, 2017

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