A special journal giving an overview of recent advances in organic fluorophores was intended to be published by Molecules. The journal provides an advanced forum for the science of chemistry, and is published by Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI). But, the Special Issue was canceled.
The special issue was titled, “Advances in Organic Fluorophores: Design, Synthesis, and Applications,” part of Organic Chemistry. The deadline for submissions was 15 January 2021. The guest editor was meant to be Prof. Mindy Levine from the Department of Chemical Sciences at Ariel University.
The webpage of the Department of Chemical Sciences at Ariel University introduces Levine as a brand new immigrant to Israel from the US and a chemistry enthusiast, who says, “I want to create chemical sensors that make environmental sense.” Levine came to Ariel University from the University of Rhode Island, Columbia, and MIT, where her first exposure to chemistry was at Columbia University. She decided she wanted to devote her life to scientific research and teaching. “It makes me sad to meet so many people who studied chemistry but remained uninspired. I love it!” She said. Levine, 36, focuses on fields such as supramolecular organic chemistry and chemical education and outreach. She has published more than fifty articles, given hundreds of research presentations, and received numerous prestigious research grants and awards.
Instead, the scientific journal succumbed to pressure by the group Academics for Palestine, which opened an Ariel University Non-Recognition Campaign, published on the website noarielties.org. The campaign includes 2018 Nobel Chemistry Laureate George P. Smith and Royal Society Fellow Malcolm H. Levitt. The group wrote the Molecules editors and urged the journal to change Prof. Levine’s affiliation to “Ariel University, illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel, Occupied Palestinian Territory.” Molecules urged the guest editor to change her affiliation, but she refused and as a result, Molecules withdrew the special issue and removed it from its website.
Prof. George P. Smith, the group advisory board member, welcomed the news: “All we asked in the original petition was for Professor Levine to correct the address of her university to comply with international law: Ariel is an Israeli Jewish settlement in Occupied Palestinian Territory, not a town in Israel. Sadly, she has refused, effectively choosing pro-occupation propaganda over her own academic freedom and the larger interest of the global science community in unfettered publication of scientific ideas and results. The editors of Molecules are to be commended for taking the only responsible course of action in the circumstances.” Prof. Malcolm H. Levitt, said: “It is a wise and excellent move by Molecules to request that the guest editor from Ariel University correct her affiliation to one recognized under international law, and to discontinue the Special Issue when she refused to do so. Hopefully many other academic journals will follow suit.”
The affair touches on a broader aspect of the Palestinian modus operandi and its supporters. Since 1948, the Palestinians and their allies have concentrated all their efforts on hurting Israel and degrading its standing in the international community. But the Jewish state has overcome wars, economic boycotts, and other hardships to become one of the most technologically advanced countries, the so-called “Silicon Valley of the Mediterranean.” It has some of the finest universities in the West and boasts of 12 Nobel Prizes, an amazing achievement for a relatively young and small country. Bowing to this reality, the UAE and Bahrain normalized their relations with Israel, with other Arab countries expected to follow soon.
The Palestinians, on the other hand, have been brutalized by the authoritarian rule of the Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank and kept as virtual hostages of the terrorist Hamas group whose deluded dream of wiping Israel from the map of the world has not changed since its genocidal Charter promulgated in 1988. Needless to say, Hamas does not broker any opposition to its rule, and critics are dealt with harshly.
Professors Smith and Levitt, and the academics who support BDS are not helping the Palestinians. They could be more productive if they spoke out against the brutal treatment the Palestinians receive from their own authorities.
The BDS campaign made significant inroads in the social sciences, but it is a relatively rare occurrence in the natural science journals which try to stay away from politics. This is a regrettable incident, and the editors of Molecules should reinstate the special issue of the journal. By succumbing to the BDS crowd, the journal has deprived its readers of knowledge that could benefit the field.
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 January 2021.
Special Issue Editor
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mindy LevineWebsite Guest Editor Department of Chemical Sciences, Ariel University, 65 Ramat HaGolan Street, Ariel, Israel
Interests: supramolecular chemistry; chemical sensors; catalysis; organic methodology; fluorescence spectroscopy Special Issue Information Dear Colleagues,Fluorescence provides a mechanism for achieving contrast in biological imaging that enables investigations of molecular structure, dynamics, and function at high spatial and temporal resolution. Organic fluorophores have proven essential for such efforts and are widely used in advanced applications such as single-molecule and super-resolution microscopy. This Special Issue intends to give an overview on recent advances in the design, synthesis, and applications of organic fluorophores. Both review and research articles in this area are welcome.
Assoc. Prof. Mindy Levine Guest Editor
Manuscript Submission Information
Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI’s English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.
Scientific Journal Refuses Normalization of Illegal Israeli Settlement-Based Ariel University Date: September 28, 2020
Chemistry journal Molecules decides against false geographic labellingNobel Chemistry Laureate George P Smith and Royal Society Fellow Malcolm H Levitt congratulate journal on principled decisionThe scientific journal Molecules has taken steps to avoid normalization of Ariel University, an Israeli academic institution located in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied Palestinian territory in violation of international law.Molecules recently announced a special issue with a guest editor from Ariel University, whose affiliation was falsely listed as “Ariel University, 65 Ramat HaGolan Street, Ariel, Israel.”Academics supporting the call from authoritative Palestinian higher education bodies for non-recognition of Ariel University raised concerns with Molecules over this misleading information. In a letter to the editors, they urged the journal to “correctly and factually” indicate the professor’s affiliation as “Ariel University, illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel, Occupied Palestinian Territory.”Molecules invited the guest editor to correct her affiliation, which she refused to do. As a result, Molecules was forced to withdraw the special issue, which has now been removed from its website.George P. Smith, 2018 Nobel Chemistry Laureate and Ariel University Non-Recognition Campaign Advisory Board member, welcomed the news:“All we asked in the original petition was for Professor Levine to correct the address of her university to comply with international law: Ariel is an Israeli Jewish settlement in Occupied Palestinian Territory, not a town in Israel. Sadly, she has refused, effectively choosing pro-occupation propaganda over her own academic freedom and the larger interest of the global science community in unfettered publication of scientific ideas and results. The editors of Molecules are to be commended for taking the only responsible course of action in the circumstances.”Malcolm H Levitt, Fellow of the Royal Society, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said:“It is a wise and excellent move by Molecules to request that the guest editor from Ariel University correct her affiliation to one recognised under international law, and to discontinue the Special Issue when she refused to do so. Hopefully many other academic journals will follow suit.” The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court considers settlement of occupied territory a war crime. In 2016, the United Nations Security Council reconfirmed the illegality of Israel’s settlement enterprise, stating it “has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.” In a legal opinion, esteemed South African international law scholar John Dugard noted that Ariel University “is part of an illegal and criminal enterprise under international law” and the Rome Statute holds that those aiding, abetting or otherwise assisting in the commission of crimes provided for in the Statute “shall be criminally liable”.MDPI, the publisher of Molecules, includes more than 260 scholarly journals in its portfolio. Molecules was MDPI’s first journal.In 2018, more than half of the invited speakers withdrew from a scientific workshop at Ariel University following appeals from Palestinian and international scholars. Prominent scientists published a letter in the Guardian stating that science should not be used “to normalise [Israel’s] occupation of the Palestinian territories.” The Israeli Sociological Society, the Israeli Anthropological Association, the European Association of Social Anthropology and the Exeter, Leeds, Open, Aberdeen, Brunel and Brighton University and College Union branches have all pledged not to collaborate with Ariel University.A number of media outlets have corrected reporting on Ariel University that falsely indicated it as located within Israel.
Authoritative Palestinian academic bodies are calling on states, academic institutions, multilateral research bodies and international academics not to recognize Ariel University and to refrain from any institutional relations with it.Ariel University is an illegal institution, and is deeply and directly complicit in Israel’s system of oppression that has denied Palestinians their basic rights guaranteed by international law, including the right to education and academic freedom.Complicity in international law violationsAriel University is the most prominent of several Israeli institutions of higher education built in illegal Israeli colony-settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank.The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip were occupied by Israel in 1967 and are internationally considered as Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), in breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court considers such settlement of occupied territory a war crime.United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 reconfirmed in 2016 that Israel’s settlement activity “has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”Moreover, Ariel University is deeply and directly complicit in Israel’s system of oppression that denies Palestinians their basic rights guaranteed by international law.Obligations for institutionsRespecting international law, as a peaceful and universal means of conflict resolution, requires denying recognition to, and severing institutional relations with Ariel University as an illegal settlement institution.Support for non-recognition of Ariel UniversityThe original decision to upgrade Ariel college to a university was opposed by the Council of Presidents of Israeli Universities and by over 1,000 Israeli academics on the grounds that “involving Israeli academia in the ideology of conquest … threatens the ability of the Israeli academia to function.”In August 2018, the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) voted overwhelmingly (164-0, with 17 abstentions) to support the Israeli Anthropological Association in its refusal to cooperate with the illegal institutions of higher education (located in Israel’s illegal settlements in the OPT) and to “pledge its own non-cooperation with these institutions.”Who launched the call?Palestinian Ministry of Education Council of Palestinian Universities’ Presidents Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE) Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC)What you can do:Urge international institutions and governments to avoid being complicit in illegality, by:(1) Refraining from accrediting or recognising any diplomas or qualifications conferred by Ariel University;(2) Conditioning agreements with the Israeli Council for Higher Education on non-recognition and non-accreditation of Ariel University.International academics are called upon to:(3) Decline to write or referee for journals published by Ariel or based in it;(4) Refuse to participate in projects or attend conferences fully or partially sponsored by Ariel University or which include its representatives (dean, head of department or spokesperson) as participants;(5) Urge universities, conferences and workshops not to host individual academics from Ariel University unless their affiliation is properly indicated as “Ariel University, illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel, Occupied Palestinian Territory” in conference material;(6) Urge academic journals not to publish material identified with Ariel University unless it is properly indicated as “Ariel University, illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel, Occupied Palestinian Territory;”(7) Advocate for academic societies to approve motions supporting the call from Palestinian academic bodies not to recognise/sever existing links with Ariel University;(8) Reject any collaboration with Ariel University as an institution or with any of its bodies.
Canada is home to a number of anti-Israel groups, such as United Network for Justice & Peace in Palestine & Israel (UNJPPI) and Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME). Such groups claim they “enable Canadians of all backgrounds to promote justice, development and peace in the Middle East, and here at home in Canada.” Interestingly, a group that calls for peace in the Middle East opposes the new peace agreement between Israel and the Emirates. Recently the two groups sponsored a survey which “shows that an overwhelming majority of Canadians would support International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation of Israel.” In contrast, there isn’t and never was, any Israeli group that focuses on distributing hatred against Palestinians or Arabs.
At the same time, on the academic front, a battle over the directorship of the International Human Rights Program (IHRP) of the University of Toronto is currently taking place. Pro-Palestinian activists support the nomination of Dr. Valentina Azarova, known for her anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian views. Interestingly, Azarova had previously taught at Birzeit University, Palestine. According to reports, Azarova’s nomination has been rescinded. Al-Jazeera called revoking Azarova’s candidacy an “Anti-Palestinian racism.”
However, the administration of the University of Toronto announced that Azarova was not officially a candidate and sent out a statement announcing that “The hiring process for the IHRP director, which is a managerial staff position — not a faculty one — was confidential, and the university is continuing to do its best to maintain confidentiality, notwithstanding insinuations and the selective disclosure of information, including emails, that have been published out of context.”
A group of Palestinian and pro-Palestinian activists, among them Israeli professors and academics, such as Adi Ophir, Ariella Aisha Azoulay, Neve Gordon, Anat Matar, Uri Horesh, Hilla Dayan, Shoshana Madmoony-Gerber, Noa Shaindlinger, and Dorit Naaman, among others, voiced their concern in a petition about “Palestine Speech Suppression.” These academics were said to be “deeply troubled and exasperated by the pervasive repression of speech and scholarship on Palestine.” They claim there is “a broader and intensifying climate of suppression” in Canada, where pro-Palestinian activists are “subjected to smear campaigns, event cancellations, physical violence, professional disciplinary measures, and condemnation by the Prime Minister and other political leaders, for opposing Israel’s gross violations of international law and expressing solidarity with Palestinians.” They also used their petition to accuse the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism as conflating anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism by equating legitimate criticism of Israel and the advocacy for Palestinian rights with anti-Semitism.
Not surprisingly, Israeli academic from the University of Haifa, Dr. Itamar Mann, who has been promoting an anti-Israel agenda, as IAM discussed last week, is a colleague of Azarova and supports her work. He said: “She’s a human rights practitioner in a wide variety of areas.” Mann has “worked closely with Azarova at the non-profit Global Legal Action Network [GLAN] on migration and refugee issues in Europe.” Worth noting that GLAN, since 2018, has been working to advance the Occupied Territories Bill in Ireland.
In April 2020, Azarova, representing GLAN, has been cooperating with the Palestinian civil rights group Al-Haq. They produced a report together which they then offered to the Working Group on Business and Human Rights of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland. Their report discusses situations of “prolonged occupation” where companies operate economic dealings in occupied territory. For them, these are “unlawful situations” and “attempts by occupying States to acquire (parts of) occupied territory, or otherwise alter the status of the territory by force, and the flagrant denial of the right of peoples to self-determination they entail.”
The battle over the nomination of Azarova prompted members of the election committee to resign in protest, including the chair of the committee, Prof. Audrey Macklin, who is a long-time political activist. For example, in 2002, she was among a group of nine Canadian women who traveled to Israel and Palestine to seek women co-existence projects, producing a report for Miftah, a Palestinian NGO, aimed at influencing the Canadian public at home. Also, she was a signatory of an “Open Letter from 400+ Canadian Academics Opposing the IHRA Definition of anti-Semitism,” published in February 2020 by Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV).
Azarova’s work includes the 2017 article “Israel’s Unlawfully Prolonged Occupation: Consequences under an Integrated Legal Framework”, arguing that ” June 2017 marks 50 years of Israel’s belligerent occupation of Palestinian territory.” Azarova ignores that the Palestinians and their allies, the Arab states, were the belligerents who started several wars against Israel since its founding in 1948. Azarova often relies on reports by NGOs with anti-Israel agenda such as Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem, Amnesty International and others.
The pro-Palestinian activists accuse a sitting judge, a donor to the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, in intervening with Azarova appointment, something the University has denied.
Clearly, had Azarova been appointed to head IHRP at the University of Toronto, the program would have become an epicenter of anti-Israel legal scholarship.
Canadians should note that Palestinian and pro-Palestinian groups are obsessed with attacking Israel. In some cases, it is outright anti-Semitism. Working for democracy and human rights in the Palestinian Territories – a much needed work – is not on their agenda.
‘Anti-Palestinian racism’: Appointment row at Toronto universityUniversity of Toronto’s law school allegedly blocks hiring of scholar due to her work on Israel’s human rights abuses.by Mersiha Gadzo20 Sept 2020
Toronto, Canada – Students and teachers at the University of Toronto have called for the reinstatement of an international scholar’s job offer after it was allegedly rescinded by management over her work on Israel’s human rights abuses in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The university’s law school has been accused of blocking the hiring of Valentina Azarova as director of the International Human Rights Program (IHRP) following pressure by a sitting federal judge, who is also a major donor to the faculty, according to emails seen by the Toronto Star newspaper.
In an email sent to law school Dean Edward Iacobucci on September 12, also seen by Canadian daily The Globe and Mail, two former directors of the IHRP programme said the school made an offer to Azarova that she accepted in August.
However, when a judge in the Tax Court of Canada, whose name has not been disclosed, expressed concerns about Azarova, Iacobucci rescinded the offer, media reports said on Thursday.
The decision led to a series of resignations at the university, including law professor Audrey Macklin, who chaired the hiring committee that unanimously found Azarova to be the best candidate for the position. On Thursday, a second member of the committee, Vincent Wong, resigned.
The IHRP programme’s three-member advisory board – Vincent Chiao, Trudo Lemmens and Anna Su – have also resigned.
‘Apologise for improper interference’
More than 100 IHRP students and alumni have also sent a letter to Iacobucci, calling for a “thorough and public review of donor practices at the law school, as well as of the alleged improper external influence and pressure by, in this case, a member of the judiciary”.
“As a public institution, the Faculty should not be swayed by wealth and influence at the expense of academic freedom and fair and accountable hiring practices,” said the letter, calling on the “Faculty to reinstate Dr Azarova’s offer” and “to apologise for this improper interference in the hiring process”.
“As students, we look to the IHRP to engage with pressing international legal issues, including Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories,” the letter read.
“Dr Valentina Azarova’s scholarship on this topic is principled and reputable. She was unanimously selected by the hiring committee after months of consideration.”
Azarova, an international legal practitioner and researcher, told The Globe and Mail she was offered the IHRP director’s position and accepted it in August through a Zoom call.
She has held positions at several universities, including in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, with immigration detention, arms trade, occupation and annexation being her areas of research.
However, in a letter sent to the Faculty of Law on Thursday and shared with Al Jazeera, Iacobucci denied any offer was made for Azarova.
“Even the most basic of the conjectures that are circulating in public, that an offer was made and rescinded, is false,” he wrote, adding that he “would never allow outside pressure to be a factor in a hiring decision”.
Iacobucci said conversations with a candidate were ongoing, but no offer of employment was made due to “legal constraints on cross-border hiring” within the timeframe required.
“Other considerations, including political views for and against any candidate, or their scholarship, were and are irrelevant,” he wrote.
Kelly Hannah-Moffat, vice president of human resources and equity at the university, told Al Jazeera the “hiring process for IHRP director, which is a managerial staff position, not a faculty one, was confidential”.
“[And] the university is continuing to do its best to maintain confidentiality, notwithstanding insinuations and the selective discourse of information,” she said.
Leslie Green, a law professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario wrote a letter of complaint to the Canadian Judicial Council on Thursday, noting that neither the University of Toronto nor Dean Iacobucci has clearly denied that a judge on the Tax Court attempted to influence (or did influence) the outcome of the appointment.
“We don’t have a response. Dean Iacobucci is one person who can probably tell the public whether any judge intervened or not and, if so, why,” Green told Al Jazeera.
“To leave a cloud hanging over the whole Court, and over a judge whose name circulates in social media, is very damaging.
“Complaints have been made to the Canadian Judicial Council. They have a legal duty to investigate cases like this. If the reports of judicial interference are correct, any Palestinian Canadian – perhaps any Muslim – with a matter before the Tax Court would have reasonable grounds to fear bias. This is not some legal technicality. It is about basic justice,” Green said.
Dania Majid, president of the Arab Canadian Lawyers Association (ACLA), said Iacobucci’s denial that an offer was made to Azarova was “appalling” considering that members of the hiring committee had resigned in protest.
“He is throwing his faculty under the bus for an error he has made. It’s unacceptable,” Majid told Al Jazeera.
“It has sent a terrible message to the students at the law school, faculty members, to all prospective Palestinian students, that their voices, their opinions are not welcome on campus and he will not be there to defend their rights to express those opinions if they were to come under attack.”
Majid said the controversy came as no surprise since “anti-Palestinian racism is alive and well in legal institutions as it is in other institutions”.
“This is a story of how Palestinian voices, Palestinian academics or those who work on Palestine are specifically targeted in order to delegitimise the Palestinian voice,” Majid said.
The ACLA has demanded that the law school report “this matter of interference” to the Canadian Judicial Council and an investigation should be conducted.
Corey Balsam, national coordinator for Independent Jewish Voices Canada, said the incident is indicative of “a broader chill being felt throughout the North American academia”.
“Those who openly criticise Israel and support justice for Palestinians are finding themselves under attack left, right and centre,” he told Al Jazeera.
Balsam said pro-Israel groups have intensified their attacks to force universities to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) controversial redefinition of anti-Semitism that includes certain forms of criticism of the Israeli state.
“It’s likely no coincidence that the incident with Azarova occurred at University of Toronto, which has been one of the main targets of this campaign in Canada,” Balsam said.
A bill to adopt the redefinition is currently before the Ontario provincial government, with Majid being “very concerned” about it.
“What does that mean for those who are doing work on Palestine? They are going to come under attack [if they] speak up for Palestinian rights.”
The Canadian Judicial Council is being urged to investigate a judge on the Tax Court of Canada who allegedly intervened to block an international scholar from a senior job at the University of Toronto, over concerns about the scholar’s work on Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.
The university’s law dean, Edward Iacobucci, has not denied allegations that a Tax Court judge attempted to interfere in the appointment of Valentina Azarova as director of the law school’s International Human Rights Program. Two former directors of the program made the allegations in writing to him. He has said, however, that assertions that outside influence affected the outcome are “untrue and objectionable.”
The Tax Court itself, in an e-mail to The Globe on Thursday from Sophie Matte, executive legal counsel to Chief Justice Eugene Rossiter, declined to comment on the allegations involving one of its judges.
The judicial council is a disciplinary body for judges. It can act on a complaint from the public, or its executive director can launch a complaint himself. Its potential sanctions range from a reprimand to a recommendation to Parliament that a judge be removed from the bench.
Leslie Green, a law professor at Queen’s University, wrote a letter of complaint to the judicial council on Thursday. He said it is irrelevant whether external influence caused the school to change course. What matters, he said in his letter to the council, is whether a judge attempted to influence a university appointment. It would be “very troubling,” he said, if the attempted influence were related to Dr. Azarova’s research on Israeli occupation.
“It would put the integrity and impartiality of the Court in jeopardy,” he wrote. “Any party or lawyer before it who is Palestinian, Arab, or Muslim could reasonably fear bias.”
The judicial council told The Globe it cannot undertake an investigation into a complaint unless it has the name of the judge in question. Prof. Green did not name the Tax Court judge, but said in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail that it would astonish him if the CJC felt it had no obligation to investigate allegations that impugn the integrity of a judge, when the court has been named.
The Arab Canadian Lawyers Association has called on the law school itself to file a complaint with the judicial council, since the school would have first-hand knowledge of the judge’s identity, in its view.
Dania Majid calls the judge’s alleged intervention a discriminatory act against Palestinians, raising questions about his impartiality.
“What if an issue comes before him related to a Palestinian charity? I would question his ability to rule on that in an unbiased way,” she said in an interview. She called the events a “stark, open and transparent example of the type of anti-Palestinian racism that is out there in the legal sector,” adding: “It’s causing a great chilling effect in our community. It just rocks you to the core.”
Peter Russell, a political science professor emeritus at the U of T, told The Globe that, if the allegations are true, the judge in question appears to have committed “a very serious misdemeanour.”
“It’s the kind of situation that really requires investigation by the Canadian Judicial Council – there’s quite a bit at stake here for the public interest.”
One leading authority on legal ethics said that the judge appears to have done nothing wrong.
“I don’t see how the judge’s privately expressing to the university an objection to the appointment could be seen as compromising his independence or impartiality in any matter he is called upon to decide,” Gavin MacKenzie, a former treasurer of the Law Society of Ontario, and a published author of works on legal ethics, said in an e-mail.
Carmen Cheung and Samer Muscati, former directors of the human rights program, alleged in a letter to Mr. Iacobucci last weekend that a Tax Court judge had expressed concern to the administration about Dr. Azarova, the hiring committee’s unanimous choice for the job, after which, they said, an offer to her was rescinded. They did not name the judge.
Eugene Meehan, a former executive legal officer at the Supreme Court of Canada, said the Tax Court had acted appropriately in remaining silent on the allegations while events take their course.
“No point in throwing someone in front of an oncoming bus when there may ultimately be no bus,” he said. ==================================================
Search for new director of U of T law faculty’s International Human Rights Program leads to resignations, allegations of interference
By Shree ParadkarRace & Gender ColumnistThu., Sept. 17, 2020The faculty advisory board of the International Human Rights Program (IHRP) at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law has resigned following a controversy over the hiring of a new director for the program.
Edward Iacobucci, dean of the prestigious law school, has come under fire, accused of rescinding an offer of directorship to prominent international academic Valentina Azarova.
Several national and international scholars wrote to the university to express their consternation that the reversal came after reports of pressure from a sitting judge — a major donor to the faculty. He reportedly expressed concerns in private over Azarova’s past work on the issue of Israel’s human rights abuses in Palestine. All the letters mentioned here have been seen by the Star.
“The recent search for an executive director has generated substantial controversy, including allegations of outside interference in the hiring process,” Vincent Chiao, Trudo Lemmens and Anna Su, three members of the faculty advisory committee, wrote to Iacobucci on Wednesday. “We are disappointed by this outcome, the lack of fair process, including the failure to provide reasons for the decision taken.”
Audrey Macklin, who chaired that committee, and was part of the selection panel that unanimously found Azarova the best candidate for the job, resigned from the board last week.
In a statement to the Star, the university cited confidentiality in personnel matters, but said, “We can confirm that no offer of employment was made to any candidate, and therefore, no offer was revoked. The Faculty of Law has cancelled the search. No offers were made because of technical and legal constraints pertaining to cross-border hiring at this time,” said Kelly Hannah-Moffat, vice-president of human resources and equity. Azarova, who is based in Germany, declined to speak to the Star.
But a letter to Iacobucci from two past directors of the IHRP on Sept. 12 contradicts the university’s assertion that no offer of employment was made.
“Azarova — the hiring committee’s top candidate — accepted the faculty’s offer in mid-August,” wrote Carmen Cheung and the most recent director, Samer Muscati. “The Faculty of Law put Dr. Azarova in touch with immigration counsel to advise her on her options for securing a permit to work in Canada, and Dr. Azarova began planning to move with her partner from Germany to Toronto, where her stepchildren reside.”
Azarova has taught law and international law and has worked to establish human rights enforcement mechanisms in Europe and beyond and has consulted for United Nations fact-finding missions, among other accomplishments.
The dean cited confidentiality, and offered one statement to faculty at a meeting on Monday and to individual letter writers. “The uninformed and speculative rumours have reached such a level that, no offer of employment having been made, the University has decided to cancel the search for a candidate at this time.”
Letters to the university from international scholars, members of an alumni steering committee and other faculty strongly condemned what they saw as “improper external pressure” and “impropriety of such interference by alumni.”
“The mere perception of interference has the potential to undermine the integrity of the Faculty of Law’s hiring process and the reputation and future work of the IHRP,” says a letter from two co-chairs of the IHRP Alumni Steering Committee.
Cancelling the search effectively maintains the status quo that the IHRP remains without a permanent director.
The fallout of bombshell accusations that University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law gave in to external pressure on a key hiring continues to grow after a new email from the dean raises fresh contradictions and questions.
On Thursday the Star reported on allegations that the law school rescinded a job offer to respected scholar Valentina Azarova after a sitting judge — and major donor to the faculty —expressed concerns over her academic work on Israeli settlements on Palestinian territories.
The job was for the position of director of the law faculty’s prestigious International Human Rights Program (IHRP). Azarova, who is based in Germany, declined to speak to the Star. The Star attempted to contact the judge’s court Friday but did not get a response.
The university told the Star Friday it was standing by the Dean’s email to staff. “The hiring process for the IHRP director, which is a managerial staff position — not a faculty one — was confidential, and the university is continuing to do its best to maintain confidentiality, notwithstanding insinuations and the selective disclosure of information, including emails, that have been published out of context,” said Kelly Hannah-Moffat, vice-resident of human resources and equity.
The entire faculty advisory board has resigned over the hiring decision and on Thursday, a member of the hiring committee quit his job at U of T. Official complaints have been filed with the Canadian Judicial Council, which has the authority to investigate and discipline judicial misconduct if necessary.
After the story broke Thursday, Dean Edward Iacobucci sent an email, obtained by the Star, to all the law professors at 6:34 p.m: “Let me say at the outset that assertions that outside influence affected the outcome of that search are untrue and objectionable,” he wrote. “University leadership and I would never allow outside pressure to be a factor in a hiring decision.”
But he did not mention if an outside judge attempted to influence the decision. Nor did the university in its response to the Star’s specific questions on this.Queen’s University law professor Leslie Green sought precise clarification in his complaint to the judicial council: Did a judge know who were the shortlisted candidates? And if so, how? Did a judge speak with the dean or others in the faculty about the merits of any candidate? Did a judge attempt to influence the outcome?
Canada University Rescinds Job Offer Due to Pressure from Pro-Israel Donor
September 18, 2020 Blog, News
The University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law has become embroiled in controversy following a decision by the dean of the prestigious law school to rescind an offer of directorship to prominent international academic Valentina Azarova because of her past work exposing Israel’s human rights abuses in Palestine.
Several national and international scholars wrote to the university to express their objection to its decision, according to the Star, a local paper. Azarova was expected to take up the prestigious position of director at the International Human Rights Program (IHRP). The Star, which has seen the correspondence between the university and faculty staff, said that pressure from a sitting judge, presumed to be pro-Israeli, who is also a major donor to the faculty, led to the offer being rescinded.
Several staff members at the university have resigned in protest. Audrey Macklin, who chaired the faculty advisory committee, and was part of the selection panel that unanimously found Azarova the best candidate for the job, quit from the board last week.
In a letter to the Star, the university denied Azarova was offered the position saying that “no offer of employment was made to any candidate, and therefore, no offer was revoked.” But a letter to Edward Iacobucci, dean of the law school from two previous directors of IHRP, contradicts the university’s assertion that no offer of employment was made.
“Azarova — the hiring committee’s top candidate — accepted the faculty’s offer in mid-August,” wrote Carmen Cheung and the most recent director, Samer Muscati. “The Faculty of Law put Dr. Azarova in touch with immigration counsel to advise her on her options for securing a permit to work in Canada, and Dr. Azarova began planning to move with her partner from Germany to Toronto, where her stepchildren reside.”
A second faculty member, Trudo Lemmens, also resigned in protest. “As a faculty member of an academic institution which values academic freedom and human rights issues, I have no clear understanding of why the appointment didn’t take place” Lemmens is reported saying in the Star before announcing his decision to quit. “That’s why I joined colleagues in resigning because I’m not in a position to firmly defend the process and the decision. This is particularly important because I so strongly believe in the value of the program and the integrity of the program.”
Academics who had worked with Azarova’s defended her stance regarding Israel, while expressing concerns over the efforts to silence critics of the occupying state.
“Her criticism of Israel is extremely legitimate within Israel,” Itamar Mann, associate professor, the University of Haifa Faculty of Law, who worked closely with Azarova said. “It’s a criticism that I share. It’s a criticism of long-standing human rights violations of international law, primarily through the project of settlements which is unquestionably illegal and that’s the kind of majority position around the world. It’s not an exotic position to take at all.”
“Even from the perspective of people who imagine themselves as helping defend or support Israel, I think this would be a grave mistake. Being able to debate is an essential part of democracy.”
Azarova has taught law and international law and has worked to establish human rights enforcement mechanisms in Europe and beyond and has consulted for United Nations fact-finding missions, among other accomplishments.
(MEMO, PC, Social Media)===========================================================
As lawyers and academics, we are deeply troubled and exasperated by the pervasive repression of speech and scholarship on Palestine. This includes recent reports that University of Toronto’s Faculty of law rescinded an employment offer to noted international human rights scholar Dr Valentina Azarova, following a complaint by a sitting judge regarding her research on Israel’s occupation policies .
The reported treatment of Dr Azarova is consistent with a broader and intensifying climate of suppression. Lawyers, academics, journalists, teachers, artists, students, activists, and trade unions in Canada have been subjected to smear campaigns, event cancellations, physical violence, professional disciplinary measures, and condemnation by the Prime Minister and other political leaders, for opposing Israel’s gross violations of international law and expressing solidarity with Palestinians. (for examples see ) In August, Indigenous CBC journalist Duncan McCue was required to apologize simply for using the word “Palestine” on-air.
The situation in Canada mirrors that in other countries. In the United States, for example, 1,494 incidents targeting free speech were reported to NGO Palestine Legal from 2014 to 2019; 74% were directed at students and academics at universities. In France, rights activists have been criminally convicted for their support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign pressuring Israel to comply with international law. This criminalization was recently condemned by the European Court of Human Rights as a violation of freedom of expression.
The clamp-down threatens to be further exacerbated by the institutionalization of the International Holocaust Remembrance Association (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.
As a 2018 letter from more than 40 Jewish organizations around the world warns: “The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, which is increasingly being adopted or considered by western governments, is worded in such a way as to be easily adopted or considered by western governments to intentionally equate legitimate criticisms of Israel and advocacy for Palestinian rights with antisemitism, as a means to suppress the former.” A statement signed by more than 400 academics opposes the implementation of this definition in Canada for this reason.
Even the original drafter of the IHRA definition, Kenneth Stern, has cautioned against “enshrin[ing] this definition into law” due to the danger of legally conflating anti-Zionism and antisemitism. Yet Ontario’s Bill 168 proposes to do precisely that, by mandating use of the IHRA definition to interpret anti-discrimination and anti-hate laws. Motions to adopt this problematic definition have also been tabled in municipal councils across the country.
The intensification of speech repression coincides with the intensification of Palestinian oppression and dispossession, with Israel’s planned formal annexation of Palestinian territory – denounced by 48 UN human rights experts as the “crystallisation of an already unjust reality.”
In the face of these gross and flagrant transgressions, it is vital that the space for scholarship, speech, and activism in defence of the most basic rights of Palestinians be preserved. This includes the work of scholars like Dr Azarova. It is highly perturbing when academic institutions and law faculties – instead of protecting free speech and fundamental rights – are participants in the suppression.
We call on the University of Toronto Faculty of Law to restore Dr Azarova’s employment offer and issue an apology. We also call on the Canadian Judicial Council to investigate the conduct of the judge who complained about Dr Azarova’s appointment. And we call on all academic and government institutions to cease subjecting those defending justice for Palestinians to censorship and penalization.
Drafted by: Dania Majid, Arab Canadian Lawyers Association Azeezah Kanji, legal academic and journalist
1. Diana Buttu U of T Law Alum 2. Noura Erakat Assistant Professor, Rutgers University- New Brunswick 3. Judith Butler UC Berkeley 4. Richard Falk, Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law, Princeton University 5. John Dugard SC, Emeritus professor of law, Leiden and Witwatersrand; Former Judge ad hoc International Court of Justice 6. Avi Shlaim Emeritus Professor of International Relations, University of Oxford 7. Sherene Razack Distinguished Professor, UCLA 8. Neve Gordon Professor of International Law, Queen Mary University of London 9. David Palumbo-Liu Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor, Stanford University 10. Joel Beinin Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, Emeritus, Stanford University 11. Noam Chomsky Laureate Professor, U of Arizona; Institute Professor (emeritus), MIT 12. Katherine Franke James L. Dohr Professor of Law, Columbia University 13. Iain Scobbie Professor of Public International Law, Director of the Manchester International Law Centre, University of Manchester, UK 14. Vijay Prashad Director, Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research 15. Nick Estes Assistant Professor, American Studies 16. Eve Tuck Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair, University of Toronto 17. Snehal Shingavi associate professor, English, UT Austin 18. Andrew Ross Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University 19. Malini Guha Associate Professor, Carleton University 20. Kikélola Roach Unifor Chair in Social Justice & Democracy at Ryerson University 21. Ruhan Nagra University Network for Human Rights 22. Nicola Perugini Senior Lecturer, University of Edinburgh 23. Johnny E. Williams Professor of Sociology, Trinity College 24. Min Sook Lee Associate Professor, OCAD University 25. rosalind hampton Assistant Professor, University of Toronto 26. Aziz Choudry Associate Professor/Canada Research Chair, Integrated Studies of Education, McGill University 27. Diana Allan Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology and the Institute for the Study of International Development, McGill University 28. Bill Mullen Retired Professor Purdue University 29. Beverly Bain Women and Gender Studies/ Department of Historical Studies University of Toronto 30. Sanober Umar Assistant Professor, York University 31. Nadia, Abu-Zahra Associate Professor and Joint Chair in Women’s Studies, University of Ottawa and Carleton University 32. Yavar Hameed Human Rights Lawyer, Hameed Law 33. Deborah Cowen Professor, University of Toronto 34. Eric Shragge Associate Professor (retired) School of Community and Public Affairs, Concordia University 35. Michelle Hartman Professor, Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University 36. John Greyson Associate Professor, Film, York University 37. 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CJPME Factsheet No. 220, published September, 2020: This factsheet provides an overview of the UAE-Israel normalization agreement. Is this really a “peace deal,” and is Canada right to welcome it ?
THE UAE-ISRAEL NORMALIZATION AGREEMENT
Factsheet Series No. 220, created: September 2020, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
On August 13, 2020, the so-called “Abraham Agreement” was announced by United States President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and United Arab Emirates (UAE) President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan (known by the initials MBZ). Announced as an “historic peace deal,”[i] the three countries agreed to the full normalization of relations between the UAE and Israel.
WHAT EXACTLY DID UAE AND ISRAEL AGREE TO?
The final details are not yet confirmed, as several issues still have to be negotiated before the final agreement is signed. However, several key aspects were noted in the announcement:
The UAE and Israel agreed to establish full bilateral economic and diplomatic ties, known as “normalization.” It was announced that delegations from the two countries would meet over the coming weeks to sign bilateral agreements regarding “investment, tourism, direct flights, security,” embassies, and a myriad of other “areas of mutual benefit.” The US, Israel and UAE would launch a “Strategic Agenda for the Middle East to expand diplomatic, trade, and security cooperation.” Israel would “suspend” its plans to annex portions of the West Bank to focus on normalization. The announcement affirmed the right of “all Muslims who come in peace,” including UAE citizens, to visit and pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem.[ii]
IS THIS A PEACE DEAL?
No. Although the UAE-Israel agreement is often marketed as a “peace deal,” this is a misnomer. UAE will become only the third Arab country to recognize Israel, following Egypt which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, and Jordan which signed a treaty in 1994. Unlike those countries, however, the UAE does not share a border with Israel, and the UAE and Israel have never been at war.
Importantly, Israel and the UAE have been quietly cultivating unofficial relations for years, including in defence cooperation, intelligence surveillance, and trade in weapons.[iii] The recent agreement formalizes and builds upon these existing, yet surreptitious, relationships.
WHY DIDN’T THE UAE AND ISRAEL ALREADY HAVE OFFICIAL RELATIONS?
The UAE, like most countries in the Arab world, has refused to enter into normalized relations with Israel since it was established in 1948, as a protest against the partition of Palestine. For decades, Arab states have insisted that normalization must be predicated upon a just resolution for the Palestinians. This was the case for the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, led by Saudi Arabia, which insisted that a Palestinian state must be created before normalization could take place.[iv]
The UAE-Israel deal contradicts this longstanding position, “decoupling” the Arab-Israel conflict from the Israel-Palestine conflict.[v] The deal is widely recognized by the Israeli leadership as confirmation that they do not need to give up occupied territory, but that they can circumvent the issue while establishing relationships with Arab states.[vi]
Following the announcement, the United States and Israel have hinted that other states may soon follow the UAE by entering into normalization agreements with Israel. US officials have been visiting countries including Bahrain, Oman, and Sudan, to try to generate support for future deals.[vii] As of September 1, 2020, there are 30 UN member states that do not recognize Israel.
DOES THE AGREEMENT PUT AN END TO ISRAEL’S ANNEXATION PLANS?
No. Although the UAE has boasted that its deal has stopped Israel’s annexation plans and saved the two-state solution,[viii] what Israel has actually agreed to is a temporary “suspension” or pause on any formal announcement on annexation.
In fact, Netanyahu has repeatedly said that annexation remains on the table,[ix] and this has been echoed by both Israeli and US officials.[x] At a fundamental level, Israel’s annexation plans remain consistent with Trump’s so-called “Deal of the Century,” which the US continues to promote as a resolution to the conflict.[xi] For this reason, the Israelis could revive their annexation plans at any time.
ARE THERE OTHER MOTIVES BEHIND THIS DEAL?
All three countries are interested in expanding military cooperation in the region, particularly to counterbalance the influence of Iran.[xii] For its part, the UAE aspires to become a regional power,[xiii] and in recent years has contributed to brutal military offensives in Afghanistan, Yemen and Libya, deploying air strikes and arming militias.[xiv]
Another major motivation for the deal is how it will boost arms sales. The UAE is a major purchaser of US weapons, on which it spends an estimated $20b out of its annual defence budget of $23b, and normalization is expected to provide Israel with greater access to the UAE market for arms.[xv] Importantly, the US has been wanting to sell F-35 fighter jets and armed drones to the UAE, but Israel has so far opposed any such deal on the grounds that it could erode its ‘qualitative military edge.’ The UAE has an understanding that the normalization deal will allow it to go ahead with its purchase of the F-35 jets, although Israel still opposes this.[xvi]
HOW HAS THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY REACTED?
Many countries welcomed the UAE-Israel agreement (and the promised suspension of annexation), including Canada, the UK, Egypt, Bahrain, and Oman. Others, such as Iran, Turkey, and Qatar criticized it.
Civil society groups, activists, and academics have protested against the deal in the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman.[xvii] State repression against those who criticize the deal has been reported in the UAE, Jordan, and Egypt.[xviii]
HOW HAVE THE PALESTINIANS REACTED?
Palestinians of all backgrounds expressed outrage over the UAE-Israel deal, as the UAE abandoned the longstanding principle that normalization can only occur if there is an end to Israel’s oppression of Palestine. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called the deal a “betrayal of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa and the Palestinian cause,” and the Palestinian Authority recalled its ambassador to UAE.[xix] Hamas called the deal “a reward for the Israeli occupation’s crimes,” and a “stabbing in the back of our people.”[xx] Others have raised concerns that the deal could bring about changes to the status quo over access to the Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa Mosque, possibly triggering violence.[xxi]
IS CANADA RIGHT TO WELCOME THE DEAL?
Canada welcomed the agreement as a “positive step toward peace and security in the region,”[xxii] but this optimism is unfounded. The UAE-Israel agreement is a ”peace deal” between countries never at war, which accelerates military spending and militarism in the Middle East. Moreover, it avoids the core issue of Israel’s occupation of Palestine and lessens the incentive for Israel to respect Palestinian human rights. The UAE’s opportunistic path is not likely to end division and conflict in the region and may in fact intensify and prolong it.
[i] Lahav Harkov and Omri Nahmias, “Israel, UAE reach historic peace deal: ‘We can make a wonderful future’” Jerusalem Post, August 14, 2020.
[ii] Haaretz, “’Historic Diplomatic Breakthrough’: Read the Full Statement on Israel-UAE Agreement,” August 13, 2020.
[iii] Ian Black, “Just Below the Surface: Israel, the Arab Gulf States and the Limits of Cooperation,” LSE Middle East Centre Report, March 2019, pp. 12-16.
[iv] Dana El Kurd, “Palestinians are a side note in the UAE-Israel political charade,” +972 Magazine, August 27, 2020.
[v] Anshel Pfeffer, “Don’t Compare MBZ and Bibi to Sadat and Begin – the UAE-Israel Deal Is Much Bigger Than Peace,” Haaretz, August 17, 2020.
[vi] Times of Israel, “Full text. Netanyahu on why UAE deal is different: Palestinians lost their veto,” August 16, 2020.
[vii] Tovah Lazaroff, “Pompeo ends Middle East tour with no further peace declarations,” Jerusalem Post, August 27, 2020.
[viii] Reuters, “UAE says deal was done to manage threat annexation posed to two-state solution,” August 13, 2020.
[ix] Cnaan Liphshiz, “Netanyahu says West Bank annexation ‘remains on the table’ following Israel-UAE agreement,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, August 14, 2020; Tova Lazaroff, “Netanyahu pledges annexation, plans to open school year in a settlement,” Jerusalem Post, August 31, 2020.
[x] Noa Landau, “After Netanyahu Commits to Future Annexation, Trump Says It’s ‘Now Off the Table,’” Haaretz, August 13, 2020; Times of Israel, “Israel says annexation still going ahead, just suspended for a little while,” August 13, 2020.
[xi] For more information see CJPME Factsheet No. 218, The Trump Plan for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, February 2020.
[xii] Israel Hayom, “UAE, Israeli defense ministers pledge cooperation,” August 26, 2020; Ian Black, “Just Below the Surface: Israel, the Arab Gulf States and the Limits of Cooperation,” LSE Middle East Centre Report, March 2019, pp. 12-16.
[xiii] Dana El Kurd, “Palestinians are a side note in the UAE-Israel political charade,” +972 Magazine, August 27, 2020.
[xiv] Jason Pack, “The Israel-UAE Deal Won’t Bring Peace, but It Will Prolong the War in Libya” Foreign Affairs, August 21, 2020; David Kirkpatrick, The Most Powerful Arab Ruler Isn’t M.B.S. It’s M.B.Z.” New York Times, June 2, 2019.
[xv] Hagai Amit, “The Real Deal for Israel and the UAE is Weapons,” Haaretz, August 17, 2020.
[xvi] Neri Zilber, “Peace for Warplanes?” Foreign Policy, August 31, 2020.
[xvii] Tamara Nassar, “‘Silent Majority’ rejects Gulf ties with Israel,” Electronic Intifada, August 19, 2020.
[xviii] Al Bawaba, “’Help Us Find Critics’: UAE Smart App Allows Reporting Residents Who Tweet Against Normalization With Israel,” August 17, 2020; Times of Israel, “Rights groups urge release of Jordanian jailed over cartoon on Israel-UAE deal,” August 28, 2020; Al-Monitor, “Egyptian news media warned not to criticize UAE-Israel deal,” August 27, 2020.
A new survey conducted by EKOS Research Associates shows that an overwhelming majority of Canadians would support International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation of Israel.
The poll, which was co-sponsored by Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV), and the United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine-Israel (UNJPPI), found that 84% of Canadians think the ICC should investigate alleged war crimes committed by Israeli officials. 86% of Canadians do not believe that the human rights record of Israel should be overlooked because the country is an ally of Canada. 82% want Canada’s current policy toward Jerusalem to be maintained, with the city being shared rather than it being recognized as Israel’s capital exclusively.
“This demonstrates that Canada’s tendency to apply double standards when it comes to Israel is very unpopular with Canadians,” said IJV’s National Coordinator Corey Balsam in a statement, “Although successive governments have tended to mute their criticism of Israel, Canadians believe that Israel’s violations should be treated as seriously as those of any other country.”
This poll comes just days after the Trump administration announced that it would sanction ICC officials over their investigation into alleged U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan. Earlier this year, members of congress sent (AIPAC-backed) letters to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, calling on the Trump administration to protect Israel from any ICC probes.
===========================================https://www.cjpme.org/understanding_bds Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East: UNDERSTANDING BDS There are several ways to help a regime comply with international standards of ethical and legal behaviour. Unfortunately, innumerable UN resolutions and even a ruling from the International Court of Justice have not moved Israel to respect the human and humanitarian rights of Palestinians. In 2005, over 170 organizations from Palestinian civil society appealed to the world to impose a strategy of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) on Israeli institutions in an attempt to move the Israeli government to respect Palestinian rights. CJPME has chosen to heed this call, and encourages its members and adherents to likewise take concrete steps to support this BDS campaign.
– Canadians’ position vis-à-vis an ICC investigation of Israel
– Canadians’ view on the status of Jerusalem
The survey was conducted by EKOS Research Associates between June 5-10, 2020, with a random sample of 1,000 Canadian adults aged 18 and over. The margin of error associated with the in-scope sample is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The raw data from the EKOS poll, including and excluding residuals, has been made available for download.
6/19/2020 In a new initiative for UNJPPI, we recently partnered with Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) and Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) on a national opinion survey of Canadian attitudes on issues related to Israel-Palestine. With UNJPPI’s emphasis on education and advocacy, the information such a survey could provide is considered of significant value to us.
The survey work was done in June 2020 by EKOS Research Associates, a well-known professional Canadian surveying organization.
The survey examines Canadian attitudes towards Canada’s bid for a seat on the UN Security Council and Israel’s announced plans to annex more Palestinian territory.
The results show that 74% of Canadians want the government to express opposition to Israeli annexation in some form, and the largest number of Canadians (42%) want to impose economic and/or diplomatic sanctions against Israel. Sanctions against Israel are popular among supporters of the NDP (68%), Green Party (59%), Bloc Quebecois (54%), and Liberal Party (42%).
A recent survey conducted by EKOS Research Associates confirms that Canadian foreign policy is out of touch with the preferences of Canadians. The survey sought to probe the opinions of Canadians on international issues of immediate public importance, including Canada’s response to Israel’s recently announced intent to annex additional Palestinian territory, and Canada’s bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council. The survey demonstrates that a strong majority of Canadians want the government to express opposition to Israeli annexation, including through the imposition of sanctions. It further demonstrates that Canadians want Canada to increase its international engagement on a range of issues, including peacekeeping, combatting climate change, and support for Palestinian human rights.
EKOS Research Associates (https://www.ekos.com/) conducted a national online survey of 1,009 Canadians, between June 5-10, 2020, on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (http://cjpme.org), Independent Jewish Voices Canada (http://www.ijvcanada.org/) and the United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine-Israel (http://www.unjppi.org/). The margin of error associated with the sample is plus or minus 3.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
The survey found that Canadians want their government to oppose Israel’s plans to annex parts of the West Bank. A significant majority (74%) of Canadians want the government to express opposition to Israeli annexation in some form. Moreover, 42% want Canada to impose economic and/or diplomatic sanctions against Israel. Sanctions against Israel are popular among supporters of the NDP (68%), Green Party (59%), Bloc Quebecois (54%), and Liberal Party (42%).
These results demonstrate that if the Trudeau government wanted to take concrete steps beyond simple statements of opposition to Israeli annexations, there would be considerable support for imposing sanctions from within the Liberal Party, across most of the opposition parties, and generally within the Canadian public. The survey also found that Canadians are generally supportive of increasing Canada’s contributions to the international community in several specific areas where Canada lags behind its competitors in its campaign for a seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC):
• A strong majority of Canadians felt the government should increase its commitment to combatting climate change. • A narrow majority of Canadians felt the government should increase its contribution to international peacekeeping. • A majority of Liberal, NDP and Green supporters think the government should increase support for Palestinian human rights. Conservative supporters less so.
These results confirm that, by taking further action to improve its international profile, the Canadian government could not only improve its candidacy for a seat on the UNSC, but also respond to the priorities of Canadians.
The results further reveal a notable polarization between supporters of the Conservative Party and everyone else on most issues. This suggests that Canada’s pro-Israel approach to foreign policy is out of touch with the perspective of most Canadians, and is catering to the views of particular political constituencies.
The forty-three Minerva Centers located in Israeli institutions of higher learning are said to help strengthen scientific cooperation between German and Israeli scientists. This idea is dated back to the early 1970s, envisioning the establishment of “noteworthy scientific research being carried out at centers of highest scientific standards.” An advisory council of Israeli and German members advises the center on its research program, approves the budget, and evaluates scientific performance. Minerva is supported by the Minerva Center Committee. Its members are internationally renowned scientists from different fields of research, responsible for the review and selection of applications, aiming to maintain a high level of scientific performance. Independent review committees evaluate the Minerva Centers at intervals of seven years. Minerva Stiftung supports the host institution with a capital endowment provided by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
However, two of their Centers promote political activism and do not focus on high scientific standards. One is the Minerva Center for Humanities at Tel Aviv University, which has been the center of numerous IAM posts before. Little known is the University of Haifa’s Minerva Center for the Rule of Law under Extreme Conditions (Minerva RLEC).
Two recent events by Minerva RLEC deserve attention. The first is an “International Webinar: Twenty Five Years since Oslo,” which took place in July, was a highly one-sided event with most participants having similar political views, such as Dr. Rami Nasrallah, Dr. Oren Shlomo, Prof. Alexandre (Sandy) Kedar, Dr. Yael Berda, Amal Zuabi, Adv. Sari Bashi, Samer Abdelrazzak Sinijlawi, Prof. As’ad Ghanem, Prof. Gad Barzilai, Prof. Rassem Khamaisi, Dr. Itamar Mann.
Another political event held by Minerva RLEC, hosted the journalist Peter Beinart in August. To recall, in July, Beinart has published in the New York Times, a controversial article titled “I No Longer Believe in a Jewish State.” He explained that for decades he argued for separation between Israelis and Palestinians, but now calls for a Jewish home in an equal state of Palestinians and Israelis. Underlying Beinart proposition is the assumption that the Israelis and Palestinians can live in harmony, a notion that is Pollyannaish in the extreme. For starters, the Palestinians have never shown any indications that they live in a democratic state. The Palestinian Authority after the Oslo Agreement is a case in point. It was a corrupt and violent entity presided by Arafat and his cronies. Things are even worse today. After Hamas forcibly ejected the PLO from Gaza in 2007, the Strip has been controlled by the iron-fisted Islamists. The West Bank under Mahmoud Abbas devolved into a slightly less brutal dictatorship where journalists and dissidents are routinely jailed. Of course, Beinart did not dwell on the apparent Palestinian lack of democratic qualifications when he gave his talk. As for the Minerva RLEC, it should have scheduled a talk about how the Palestinians fare in the lawlessness and the extreme conditions in their territory.
It is not surprising that Minerva RLEC recruits radical political activists. IAM reported in June 2019 that Dr. Ronnen Ben-Arie, a postdoctoral fellow at the Minerva RLEC, is a staunch supporter of BDS. Ben-Arie was among the signatories in a 2010 letter to the rock band Pixies urging them to “postpone your performance in Israel.” In January 2011, he was among the signatories of a letter “BDS is Working: A Letter from Israel” by Boycott from Within!, a group of Israeli citizens who support the BDS call. In another petition, Ben-Arie was a signatory to “Dissident Israelis support Marrickville BDS plan” that was published in April 2011. Ben-Arie also promoted divestment from Israel in a co-authored book, From Shared Life to Co-resistance in Historic Palestine, published in 2017. The book asks “In what ways can we divest from settler arrangements in the present-day?” The book charges Israel with an “attempt to eliminate native life involved the destruction of Arab society” and a “settlerist process of dispossession of the Arabs.” The book offers an “Arab-Jewish co-resistance as a way of defying Israel’s Zionist regime.”
Another political activist disguised as an academic is Dr. Itamar Mann, the principal investigator at the Minerva RLEC. Mann has published the article “Zionism and Human Rights,” where he discusses the “Jewish and democratic” nature of Israel. Mann argues that “Zionism is morally questionable,” and that “The most persistent critique of Zionism is not that it failed to protect the rights of Jews, individual or collective. It is rather, that Zionism has systematically prevented the collective self-determination of another group.” Mann ignores repeated Israeli offers to the Palestinians which they rejected, including the so-called Clinton Parameters which underlaid Ehud Barak’s plan to settle the conflict during the Camp David Summit in 2000. As well known, Barak offered to create a Palestinian state within the Green Line borders, a Palestinian capital in a neighborhood of Jerusalem and a condominium in the Holy Basin.
On second thought, no one should expect academic objectivity from Mann, a crafty political activist. His view on Zionism is telling: “Zionism is no longer a relevant political category. Insisting on reviving it now is like boarding a train that has already run over a great number of victims and continues to rush full speed in precisely the wrong direction. A more promising course would seek to bring together the particularity of the real-life experiences of the political community — those living in this area — with a certain universalism. In the 1990s, this position used to be called “post-Zionism,” a label that has by and large been discarded and that I dislike like because it suggests a merely negative agenda.” This convenient post-modern linguistics provides a negation of Zionism.
Arguably most intriguing is Mann discussing the bond between “Zionism and American global power” in Trump’s era. Having determined that the Israeli right-wingers forged relations with America, he notes that “a left-liberal, non-Zionist political camp” should also “try to forge relationships with global power.” Mann goes on to state that the “contemporary generation” of “lawyers, based in human rights organizations, has arguably done so, at least partially. The transnational coalition they have established takes the form of successful applications for public funding from European liberal democracies.” Mann’s words possibly mean that the funding from Germany for Minerva RLEC could be viewed as part of the “European coalition” efforts to undermine Israel’s ties with the United States and stir Israel into Beinart’s utopian land where the Jews and the Palestinians would coexist peacefully.
The Minerva RLEC academics should consider themselves lucky that they operate in Israel, which tolerates freedom of speech. The political activists masquerading as academics should view themselves even more blessed because Israel is the only Western country where public universities allow activist-scholars to receive a government salary for pushing their political agenda. The German donations are the icing on the cake of their charmed existence.
Twenty Five Years since Oslo: Contemporary Forms of Governance, Control and Resistance in Israel and Palestine
Twenty-five years after the collapse of the Oslo process, it seems that the trajectories of conflict and peace between Israel and Palestinians are entering a new phase. The Trump “Peace to Prosperity” plan and Israel’s intention to go forward with the annexation of parts of the occupied territories cast serious doubt on the possibility of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the bases of mutual agreement. However, the working hypothesis of this workshop is that the reality on the ground in the last two decades suggests that on the micro-level, state apparatuses, organizations and individuals have been adopting novel forms of governance, control and resistance in the occupied territories long before these current events. In this reality, the occupation is developing towards not only the stabilization and entrenchment of Israel’s forced control over the Palestinians, but also towards the normalization of such control as an acceptable reality that “works” on the ground. In this developing reality, novel practices, arrangements and forms of governance and control constantly emerge on different social and spatial scales, all of which merit attention as an actual and developing base-constellation for any future political prospects..
Chair: Prof. Eli Salzberger, Head of the Minerva Center for the Rule of Law under Extreme Conditions, Faculty of Law, University of Haifa.
Dr. Rottem Rosenberg Rubins, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, the Minerva Center for the Rule of Law under Extreme Conditions. From a state of exception to hyper-legality: Israeli counterterrorism law in the post-two-state era.
Dr. Rami Nasrallah, IPCC – International Peace and Cooperation Center, Jerusalem. East Jerusalem: Occupation, urban resilience and the illusion of sovereignty.
Dr. Oren Shlomo, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, the Minerva Center for the Rule of Law under Extreme Conditions; The Open University of Israel. From Contested Sovereignty to urban politics? Palestinian protest and urban right claiming in post-Oslo East Jerusalem.
Chair: Prof. Nurit Kliot, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Haifa.
Prof. Alexandre (Sandy) Kedar, Faculty of Law, University of Haifa. Non-Presenting Co-Author Quamar Mishirqi-Assad Rule and Resistance in the Occupied Palestinian Territories: A Legal Geographical Analysis of the Transformation of the Shafa-Yatta شفا يطّا Region Between 1967 and 2000 as a Test Case
Dr. Yael Berda, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Hebrew University. Citizenship as a mobility regime: a new paradigm for security – equal rights and freedom of movement
Amal Zuabi, coordinator, area C., Bimkom – planners for planning rights Techniques of preventing development: Eliminating the law and creating novel situations that aim at displacement
Chair: Dr. Itamar Mann, PI at the Minerva Center for the Rule of Law under Extreme Conditions, Faculty of Law, University of Haifa.
Adv. Sari Bashi, Human rights lawyer, writer, analyst at independent consultant. Demanding accountability from the regime you wish to topple?
Samer Abdelrazzak Sinijlawi, Chairman, Jerusalem Development Fund. Is the one state solution emerging among Palestinians? Why, when and how will it be the dominant and majority choice?
Dr. Shaul Arieli, Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center and the Hebrew University Annexation and its impact on Israel
Prof. As’ad Ghanem, School of Political Sciences, University of Haifa. The Israeli third republic: The consolidation of the Israeli right dominant bloc system and the prospects for the future of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Wednesday, July 29,17:30-19:00: Future prospects and political horizons for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Chair: Prof. Deborah Shmueli, PI at the Minerva Center for the Rule of Law under Extreme Conditions,Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Haifa.
Prof. Gad Barzilai, PI at the Minerva Center for the Rule of Law under Extreme Conditions,Faculty of Law, University of Haifa. The feasibility and construction of confederate and federal solutions.
Prof. Efraim Inbar, President, Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security. Conflict management in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Prof. Rassem Khamaisi, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Haifa. From back-to-back to face-to-face: Spatial development of Israel/Palestine.
Dr. Itamar Mann, PI at the Minerva Center for the Rule of Law under Extreme Conditions, Faculty of Law, University of Haifa. Concluding remarks.
Twenty Five Years since Oslo: Contemporary Forms of Governance, Control and Resistance in Israel and Palestine
University of Haifa
List of Participants (alphabetical order) Samer Abdelrazzak is the Chairman of the Jerusalem Development Fund. Head of the Diplomatic and International relations for the Fateh Shadow Leadership and Reform Stream. He was the President of the Palestinian Council of Young Political Leaders 2000-2006,and Head of Israeli and International File for Fateh Supreme committee 1994-2000. He was detained by the Israeli authorities at the age of 15 for 4 years Durring the first Intifada 1988-1992.
Colonel Res., Dr. Sharul Arieli is an expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Previously, he served as a brigade commander in Gaza Strip and as the director of peace negotiations in the Prime Minister’s Office. Today, he is an outside lecturer at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center and the Hebrew University. Has published numerous articles, various studies and 6 books on the conflict, and this year two new books are about to be published.
Prof. Gad Barzilai is a Full Professor of law, political science and international studies, Professor Emeritus at University of Washington, Dean Emeritus of University of Haifa Law Faculty and Vice Provost and Head of the International School, University of Haifa. His academic degrees and training are from Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University Jerusalem, Yale, and University of Michigan Ann Harbor. He has published extensively 17 books and about 165 articles and essays in academic top journals and publishing houses on issues of law, society and politics. Several of his books are award winning books. Thus, for example, in his Communities and Law: Politics and Cultures of Legal Identities [University of Michigan Press, 2003, 2005] he paved the way for a new understating of the role of communities in shaping practices in law and towards it. This book was awarded the Best Book Prize by the AIS and was selected to a special conference panel in the Law and Society conference in Chicago (2004). In his Law and Religion [Ashgate, International Series on Law and Society, 2007] he has edited some of the classics on law and religion and made a meaningful contribution to our understanding of this topic. In his Wars, Internal Conflicts and Political Order [SUNY 1996], he has suggested a new way for understanding the construction of political-legal order and disorder in times of national security emergencies. The Hebrew manuscript of this book was awarded the Best Book Award in National Security by the Ben Gurion Foundation. Among others he has published on politics of rights, comparative law, law and political power, law and violence, communities and law, group rights, liberal jurisprudence, national security, democracies and law, and issues concerning Middle East and Israeli politics and law. In his research he is often combining knowledge in law, the social sciences, mainly political science and political sociology, with political theory, theories of jurisprudence, comparative politics and comparative law. He has been trained to use both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Barzilai was the President of the Association for Israel Studies (2011-2013) and the Founding First Director of the Dan David Prize (1999-2002). He is a Board member of editorial boards in several world leading professional journals. Adv. Sari Bashi is a human rights lawyer and expert in international humanitarian law. She writes and lectures on Israeli policy toward the occupied Palestinian territory and is currently working on a book about the occupation of Palestine. Sari co-founded Gisha, the leading Israeli human rights group promoting the right to freedom of movement for Palestinians in Gaza, and served as Gisha’s executive director for nine years. She also served as Israel/Palestine country director at Human Rights Watch. Sari has taught international humanitarian law at Tel Aviv University and at Yale Law School, where she also served as the Robina Foundation Visiting Human Rights Fellow.
Dr. Yael Berda is currently an Assistant Professor of Sociology & Anthropology, Hebrew University. She was an Academy Scholar, the Harvard Academy for International & Regional Studies, WCFIA from 2014-2017. Berda received her PhD from Princeton University; MA from Tel Aviv University and LLB from Hebrew University faculty of Law. Berda was a practicing Human Rights lawyer, representing in military, district and Supreme courts in Israel. Her most recent book is Living Emergency: Israel’s Permit Regime in the West Bank (Stanford University Press, 2017 ). Berda’s is currently working on a book manuscript entitled: “The File and the Checkpoint: the Administrative Memory of the British Empire”. Her other research projects are about the construction of loyalty of civil servants in Israel and India, the use of emergency laws to shape political economy of colonial states, and colonial legacies of law and administration that shape contemporary homeland security practices in postcolonial states. Berda publishes, teaches and speaks on the intersections of sociology of law, bureaucracy and the state, race and racism and sociology of empires. During the 2019-20 academic year Dr. Berda will teach an undergraduate lecture course on Law and Society; an undergraduate junior tutorial on Race and Bureaucracy; and a graduate seminar on Transnational Historical Sociology. Prof. As’ad Ghanem is a senior lecturer at the School of Political Sciences, University of Haifa. Ghanem’s theoretical work has explored the legal, institutional and political conditions in ethnic states. He has covered issues such as Palestinian political orientations, the establishment and political structure of the Palestinian Authority, and majority-minority politics in a comparative perspective. His books include Palestinian Politics after Arafat: A Failed National Movement (Indiana Series in Middle East Studies). Ghanem has initiated several empowerment programs for Palestinians in Israel.
Prof. Efraim Inbar is the President of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security. Educated at the Hebrew University (B.A. in Political Science and English Literature) and at the University of Chicago (M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science), he served as the founding director of its Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies. He was visiting professor at Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Boston universities, and visiting scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Boston University (2015). Prof. Inbar was a visiting Fellow at the (London) International Institute for Strategic Studies (2000). His area of specialization is Middle Eastern strategic issues. He has written over 80 articles in professional journals. He has authored five books and has edited twelve collections of articles. Prof. Inbar also served the President of the Israel Association for International Studies. Professor Alexandre (Sandy) Kedar teaches at the Law School at the University of Haifa. He holds a Doctorate in Law (S.J.D) from Harvard Law School. He was a visiting professor at the University of Michigan Law School as well as a Grotius International Law Visiting Scholar there and a visiting associate professor at the Frankel Institute for Judaic studies in the University of Michigan. His research focuses on legal geography, legal history, law and society and land regimes in settler societies and in Israel. He served as the President of the Israeli Law and Society Association, is the co-coordinator of the Legal Geography CRN of the Law and Society Association and a member of its international committee. He is the co-founder (in 2003) and director of the Association for Distributive Justice, an Israeli NGO addressing these issues. Prof. Rassem Khamaisi is a Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Haifa. He was elected at 2007 as President of the Israeli Geographical Association. Dr. Khamaisi received his PhD in Geography (1993) from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, MSc (1985) from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, and a BA in Geography from the Ben Gurion University, Beer Sheva (1981). He is a member of various professional international and local associations and NGO’s involved in public and environmental policy issues, planning and development. He has recently managed a planning project funded by the Israeli Home Office, the Israeli Land Administration Office and the Prime-Minster Office. In addition, he is a senior researcher at Van Leer Institute, Jerusalem and at the International Peace and Cooperation Center, Jerusalem. He is the manager of a private company (Center for Planning and Studies), which engages in urban, and Strategy planning and Management. A strong focus of his efforts is aimed towards geography, urbanization and planning among the Arabs in Israel and the Palestinians in the Palestinians territory and Jerusalem, besides concentration on public administration, public participation and urban management. Prof. Nurit Kliot is Professor Emerita at the Dept. of Geography and Environment Studies university of Haifa. Her research areas are: Political Geography Water Resources Management Climate change and Social Geography. Nurit holds BA from the Hebrew university of Jerusalem and the University Of Haifa, MA in Geography from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and PH.D in Geography from Clark University Worcester Ma USA. So far, she authored five books, edited seven Books, and published four monographs and 76 articles and chapters in books.
Dr. Itamar Mann is a law professor at the University of Haifa Faculty of Law. His research is in international law and political theory. He teaches international law and a number of related courses, including an elective on law and terrorism, environmental law, and a clinical seminar on law and politics in the Mediterranean region. Before moving to Haifa, Itamar was the national security law fellow and an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law Center, Washington DC. He holds an LLB from Tel Aviv University, and LLM and JSD degrees from Yale Law School. Alongside teaching and research, Itamar provide pro-bono consultancy to several human rights organizations, and is a member of the legal action committee at GLAN (Global Legal Action Network). He has previously provided services to Human Rights Watch and the Open Society Justice Initiative on issues related to refugee and migration law in Europe.
Dr. Rottem Rosenberg Rubins is a postdoctoral fellow at the Minerva Center for the Rule of Law under Extreme Conditions. She specializes in criminal law, particularly in crimmigration and the interrelations between criminal law and citizenship. Her research at the Minerva Center will focus on Israel’s new counterterrorism legislation and the manner in which it reflects the changing relationship between Israel and the occupied territories. The research will examine the new balance struck in the legislation between emergency powers and measures of conventional criminal law, and its effect on the civic status of the Palestinian residents of the occupied terrorists, as well as the Israeli citizenship regime in general. Rottem holds an LLB (magna cum laude), an LLM (summa cum laude) and a PhD from the Tel Aviv University faculty of law. During the previous academic year, she was a Cheshin Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Hebrew University faculty of law. She additionally serves as the coordinator of the public committee for preventing and amending wrongful conditions, headed by former Supreme Court Justice Prof. Yoram Danziger, and for the last three years has taught a course on the amendment of wrongful convictions at the Tel Aviv University faculty of law. Her articles on the subject of wrongful convictions in Israel have been quoted in verdicts of the Supreme Court, and an article based on her PhD has been recently published in the New Criminal Law Review.
Prof. Eli M. Salzberger was the Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Haifa and the President of the European Association for Law and Economics. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University Faculty of Law (1st in class). He clerked for Chief Justices Aharon Barak and Dorit Beinish. He wrote his doctorate at Oxford University on the economic analysis of the doctrine of separation of powers. His research and teaching areas are legal theory and philosophy, economic analysis of law, legal ethics, cyberspace and the Israeli Supreme Court. He has published more than 40 scientific articles. His latest book (co-authored with Niva Elkin-Koren) is The Law and Economics of Intellectual Property in the Digital Age: The Limits of Analysis (Routledge 2012), preceded by Law, Economic and Cyberspace (Edward Elgar 2004). He was a member of the board of directors of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, of the public council of the Israeli Democracy Institute and of a State commission for reform in performers’ rights in Israel. He was awarded various grants and fellowships, among them Rothschild, Minerva, GIF, ISF, Fulbright, ORS and British Council. Salzberger was a visiting professor at various universities including Princeton, University of Hamburg, Humboldt University, University of Torino, Miami Law School, University of St. Galen and UCLA. Currently he is the director of the Haifa Center for German and European Studies, the director of the Minerva Center for the Study of the Rule of Law under Extreme Conditions and he is the co-director of the International Academy for Judges at the University of Haifa Faculty of Law.
Dr. Oren Shlomo is a postdoctoral fellow at the Minerva Center for the Rule of Law under Extreme Conditions. His research focuses on the political geography and ecology of cities and metropolitan areas, particularly through the lens of the politics and governance of infrastructure and services and planning and development policy. His PhD research on the governmentalities of East Jerusalem’s infrastructure and services in the post-Oslo era (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 2016) was awarded Best PhD Dissertation by the Israel Political Science Association. After completing his PhD research Oren was awarded a Fulbright postdoctoral fellowship to continue his research on Jerusalem at the Department of Urban Planning and Design at Harvard University. In the last two years he served as a postdoctoral fellow at the School of Sustainability at IDC Herzliya where he worked on the environmental policy and infrastructure governance in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. He is the coeditor of Cities of Tomorrow – Planning Justice and Sustainability Today (2014, Hebrew), and his work has been published in leading academic journals.
Prof. Deborah F. Shmueli is a faculty member in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Haifa, Head of the National Knowledge and Research Center for Emergency Readiness (awarded in 2018), and a co-Principal Investigator (PI) of the Minerva Center for Law and Extreme Conditions at the University of Haifa (awarded in 2013).
Amal Zuabi is an Architect & Urbanist. She holds B.Arch from Bezalel Academy for Art and Design, Jerusalem and Masters in Rehabilitation of Buildings with Historical Value, from Erasmus combined Spain and Italy. Amal worked previously in private offices, and since 2003 she is working at Bimkom, as a planner, directly with communities. Since 2 months she is the coordinator of the west bank department. Amal is a mother of 2 children, and lives in Jerusalem.
The idea of establishing Minerva Centers dates back to the early 1970’s as a measure to help strengthen scientific cooperation between German and Israeli scientists in very specific fields of research which are of equal interest to both sides by way of cooperative projects, seminars, lectures, workshops and short term visits to and from the center. The criteria for establishing these centers is scientific excellence and cooperation with Germany. This concept has resulted in noteworthy scientific research being carried out at centers of highest scientific standards, and we today count 43 active centers at Israeli universities and research institutions. One chair is presently being run under the name of Minerva. In order to establish a center, Minerva supports the host institution with a capital endowment provided by the BMBF to be invested at the highest possible interest rate. The interest proceeds are matched by the host institution and both add up to the annual budget of the center. Funds are disbursed towards the center’s research activities and are not – with the exception of travel allowances – available to the German partners. An advisory council with Israeli and German members advises the center on its research programme, approves the budget and follows up on scientific performance. It also helps to promote cooperation with partners in Germany. The council convenes at least once every two years and is chaired by one of its German members. Aiming at maintaining the high level of scientific performance in this programme, Minerva is supported by the Minerva Center Committee which is chaired by Professor Herbert Walther, Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, Garching/Munich. Its members are internationally renowned scientists from different fields of research who are responsible for the review and selection of applications. The Center Committee also helps to select the members of independent review committees that are charged with the task of evaluating Minerva Centers at intervals of seven years. These reviews are crucial in measuring scientific output as well as the scope of cooperation and thus form the basis for the decision to extend (for another seven year period) or close a Center.
The total amount of funding provided by the BMBF for this programme to date amounts to approximately DM 136 mill. Applications are submitted by the partner organizations in Israel. In the future, the establishment of new Minerva Centers will – as a rule – only be possible when older centers are closed. This policy will lead to a concentration of resources and an optimization of research with regard to the scientifically most efficient centers. programme on a rotational basis. The Award amounts to DM 50.000 and may be used for all purposes in direct connection with the award winners’ research.
IAM reported in March how “Anti-Zionist Haim Bresheeth Admits Being anti-Semite.” As an Israeli BDS activist who teaches film at SOAS University of London, Prof. Bresheeth-Zabner admitted that “my background qualifies me as an antisemite according to the Labor coda,” because he is a “socialist, anti-Zionist and anti-racist activist.” Bresheeth-Zabner is a member of a group calling for “dismantlement of the Zionist structure of the state of Israel,” which is also anti-Semitic.
Bresheeth-Zabner, who is not a historian, regularly provides a distorted account of history. In his 2018 article, “The Israel Lobby, Islamophobia and Judeophobia in Contemporary Europe and Beyond: Myths and Realities,” he writes that for speakers and authors who discuss the concept of the New anti-Semitism, it “was a crucial invention – it enabled them to mark leftwing and Muslim critics of Israel as anti-Semites… but even more ridiculous accusations were to come. Much of these were levelled at a number of Hollywood films and Broadway musicals… From its inception, the ‘new anti-Semitism’ was intended as a political weapon… while the facts give cause for serious concern, the idea that they add up to a new kind of anti-Semitism is confused. Moreover, this confusion, combined with a McCarthyite tendency to see anti-Semites under every bed, arguably contributes to the climate of hostility toward Jews.”
In a recently recorded interview about the book, published by Verso Blog, Bresheeth-Zabner claimed that South Africa exterminated black people; Herzl requested the transfer of Arabs from Palestine; Benjamin Netanyahu perceives Israeli Arabs not as Israeli citizens; among other claims.
Not surprisingly, the book is full of anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist tropes.
One of his chapters is, “Is Israel a Democracy?” To which he answers, “While Israel was not a democracy even before the Netanyahu government took over in 2009, it is clear that the few threads that still connected its social structure to that of normative democracies were removed in the last decade, making way for a proto-fascist apartheid state.”
Bresheeth-Zabner details how “In Israel, military service starts before birth.” He gives an example, “an advertisement in the rightwing newspaper Makor Rishon, depicting a mobilized Israeli fetus. The advertisement for Lis Maternity Hospital, part of Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, shows a fetus wearing a military beret with a caption reading: ‘Recipient of the Presidential Award of Excellence 2038’. Portraying an unborn child as a soldier is disturbing in its own right, regardless of country. In Israel, an occupying power whose military has for over five decades been primarily concerned with maintaining control over a civilian population, this advertisement is even more charged.”
However, in an article by Merav Zonszein, a +972 Magazine journalist, she wrote this paragraph verbatim. Not only did Bresheeth-Zabner copy Zonszein, but also, in his twisted logic, an ad in a newspaper is proof that military service starts before birth in Israel.
In the book, Bresheeth-Zabner also tells the story of his arrival in the United Kingdom. He says, “On arrival in Britain I was ready for a change. I studied for a graduate degree at the Royal College of Art, a progressive institution in the early 1970s, and soon enough met members of Matzpen, the radical organization of Middle Eastern radical anti-Zionists, mainly Israelis but also some from Arab countries, led by Moshe Machover, who by then had left Israel for London… At last, I started to understand the nature of Zionism and Israel. It was a painful experience of inner transformation. It allowed me to resolve my identity and beliefs and freed me from the all-powerful, stifling collectivities of Zionism.”
Interestingly enough, in another book chapter about Professor of Media Studies, Stuart Hood, written by Bresheeth-Zabner, he reveals being accepted to an MA degree in films at the Royal College of Art Film School, for his political views. In an interview for a place in the MA program, Hood, the then head of the school, “asked me what I felt about the Israeli occupation of Palestine, Sinai and the Golan Heights. I was obviously against it, I said.”
Bresheeth-Zabner’s story is, unfortunately, typical. His lifelong academic career boils down to anti-Israel scholarship. Some Western universities recruit radical Israelis because of their anti-Israel stance. IAM often documented this phenomenon. These activist-scholars serve as the “useful idiots” of the massive anti-Israel academic movement by shielding its leaders from accusations of anti-Semitism.
Exploring the Gulf Between History and National Myth in Israel
Haim Bresheeth-Zabner on His Father’s Refusal to Serve in the Israel Defense Force
The projection of their own evil impulses into demons is only one portion of a system which constituted the Weltanschauung [World View] of primitive people, and which we shall come to know as “animism.”
–Sigmund Freud, “Taboo and Emotional Ambivalence,” Origins of Religion
I am the son of two Holocaust survivors from southern Poland who, like most Polish Jews before 1939, shunned the Zionist call, supporting instead the socialist Jewish Labour Bund; like most other Jews, both considered Polish and Yiddish their languages and cultures. Both my parents were forcibly taken from the Nazi-controlled ghetto in Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski to the nearby Auschwitz extermination camp in June 1944, after the rest of their families were destroyed in Treblinka during 1943. Reduced to horrifying skeletons, they were forcibly marched to other camps in January 1945, as the Red Army approached Auschwitz. My mother was liberated from Bergen-Belsen by the British in April 1945; her weight at the time was recorded as thirty-four kilograms and she suffered from advanced typhoid. My father was liberated by the US Army from Gusen II, a subcamp of Mauthausen, on May 8, 1945. His recorded weight was thirty-two kilograms. They were married in a Torino Displaced Persons camp in October 1945. I was born, stateless, a year later in Rome.
Having failed to secure passage elsewhere, my parents decided to emigrate to Israel in May 1948, not a choice they would have otherwise considered. On the boat my father refused to undertake weapons training. After what he had experienced, he was not prepared to shed blood, his own or anyone else’s. He was promptly arrested on arrival in Haifa as a draft resistor; he may have been the first, or one of the very first, conscientious objectors.
My mother and I were incarcerated in Athlit, a prison camp built by the Mandate authorities, then used to house immigrants. My father resisted for some weeks, but after realizing that he might spend years in prison, agreed to serve as an unarmed medic and was sent to one of the worst battles of 1948, in the Latrun area, at which almost 2,000 Israelis, mostly Holocaust survivors, perished; so too did a large number of Jordanian troops. Many were buried in mass graves; having just arrived, their identities were unknown.
How my father survived this hell I will never know. He never spoke to me about it or admitted that he had refused to serve in the army; later, when I became an officer in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), he was ashamed to tell me about it. I only know this part of his story because his communist brother, who admired him for his stand, told me about it; he wanted me to appreciate my father’s courage. This revelation affected me deeply.Jebaliya, and Jaffa itself, were hardly parts of Israel proper then—they existed in a twilight zone where Holocaust survivors were living cheek by jowl with Nakba survivors
I grew up in Jebaliya, a small modern town adjoining Jaffa, that was forcibly cleared of its Arab inhabitants by the Etzel (Irgun, the rightwing Zionist militia) even before the Mandate expired. Only a few Arabs managed to remain, becoming the unwilling and unequal captives of the Jewish State. The neighborhood was exclusively populated by Holocaust survivors in their twenties and thirties, and none of the many children had grandparents. We lived, like everyone else, in a flat that had been the home of a Palestinian family. Yosefa Loshitzky accurately describes this process:
Many Holocaust survivors were, as a matter of government policy, settled in evacuated Palestinian homes in Arab towns like Jaffa, Haifa, Lod and Ramla, thus forcibly grafting the memory of the Holocaust onto Palestinian national memory, and symbolically linking the Holocaust of the Jewish people (mostly Polish Jews) to the Palestinian Nakba.
This aptly describes our own situation. Jebaliya, and Jaffa itself, were hardly parts of Israel proper then—they existed in a twilight zone where Holocaust survivors were living cheek by jowl with Nakba survivors, their children studying in the same school, Al-Ahmadiyya, a green modern Bauhaus building within a copse of sycamore trees, renamed Dov Hoz after a Zionist apparatchik. We studied in Hebrew but also learned Arabic, and when later I was transferred to a religious school, I found that the Arab boys had to stay in for the Hebrew daily prayers—an odd punishment for the crime of being Other.
My parents, like so many other Holocaust survivors who came to Palestine/Israel after WWII, were hardly willing colonialists. But living as part of the colonial project, they were normalized into its ranks, and later also accepted its rationale and methods. When faced with such massive injustice, one either rises in opposition or, willingly or otherwise, joins in. By the time I was drafted at eighteen, in 1964, my parents had changed their relationship to military power; it had become the symbol of survival for them, as for most other survivors. I, on the other hand, was disinclined to join the IDF, having developed a naïve, instinctive gut pacifism but lacking the courage to follow in the footsteps of Giora Neuman, two years my senior, one of the famous draft resisters of Israel. He spent some years in prison for his principled stand, but I was not strong enough to emulate him or my own father (about whose courage I only learned later). I was selected for officer training, which I tried unsuccessfully to get out of or postpone.
I was placed in one of the few regular fighting units, the Golani infantry brigade, as a young second lieutenant, a role I held during the 1967 war. As part of the brigade command staff, I did not partake personally in the horrific battle in the Golan Heights, taking place a few hundred yards from us; I followed the battle through the communications system. When the battle was over, I heard the dazed voice of one of the battalion commanders asking the commanding officer standing next to me, a shaky voice emanating from the metal speakers: “I have 200 prisoners of war. What shall I do with them?”
He received no answer from the commanding officer, who snarled at us, “The idiot, doesn’t he know what to do with them? Do I have to tell him? No one answer this idiot, do you hear?!”
After some further requests, the transmissions stopped. The penny dropped.I was told that Golani had to earn its glory, like the paratroopers did in 1956, and that glory is only earned through battle and bloodshed.
I was deeply shocked; throughout the officer training program we were told that the IDF was the most moral army; that we never harm civilians; that we never shoot prisoners of war. So, what was this officer, one I intensely disliked, trying to tell us? Deep bitterness grew inside me.
In the debriefing session after the war, it became clear to me that the battle fought by Golani had no real military objective: The men who had died like rats in a barrel had not represented a threat: their positions were isolated, their retreat was blocked, and the main force was getting around through other routes. I asked the commanding officer about the purpose of the attack. I was told that Golani had to earn its glory, like the paratroopers did in 1956, and that glory is only earned through battle and bloodshed.
For the first time in my young life I started to comprehend the deep gulf between reality and propaganda. I also grasped that as a young, white male of European origin, there may be some duties I am morally bound by and need to be committed to, as a past refugee indebted to the refugees in whose home I grew up. What could I do for them? I needed to find out. I also needed to get out of the Jewish State.
On arrival in Britain I was ready for a change. I studied for a graduate degree at the Royal College of Art, a progressive institution in the early 1970s, and soon enough met members of Matzpen, the radical organization of Middle Eastern radical anti-Zionists, mainly Israelis but also some from Arab countries, led by Moshe Machover, who by then had left Israel for London. In Israel it was at its zenith, with almost 2,000 members, while in London there were only ten of us at the weekly meeting, sometimes less. What followed was an intensive, political group study lasting months if not years. We read and discussed Zionist history and radical literature. Ironically, then as now, the main readers of key Zionist texts are anti-Zionists. At last, I started to understand the nature of Zionism and Israel. It was a painful experience of inner transformation. It allowed me to resolve my identity and beliefs and freed me from the all-powerful, stifling collectivities of Zionism.
Professor Haim Bresheeth-Zabner is a Filmmaker, Photographer and a Film Studies Scholar, and Professorial Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). He is the editor of The Gulf War and the New World Order, (with Nira Yuval-Davis), and the author of The Holocaust for Beginners (with Stuart Hood). His films include the widely shown State of Danger (1989, BBC2)—a documentary on the first Palestinian Intifada—and London is Burning, after the 2011 riots. He has also written in the Israeli Ha’aretz and the Cairo-based Al-Ahram Weekly. (edited)
Haim Bresheeth, research fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies (Soas) in London (1).
What are the reasons you focused your work on the Israel Defense Forces (IDF)?
Haim bresheeth The IDF has been the most crucial social institution in the Israeli state since 1948. It is the largest, best funded, and largest in number, comprising most of Israel’s men and a huge number of women. This has serious repercussions – the IDF is fully representative of the Jewish population in Israel. In this sense, the army is the most representative organ of Israeli society. Understanding this is starting to understand Israel, and the difficulty we face when it comes to resolving the conflict in Palestine, a colonial type conflict. Because the only solution the IDF will accept is one in which they hold all the cards.
You say the IDF made a nation. Why ?
Haim bresheeth In the book, I deal with the fact that what existed in 1948 was an army, and that army built a state, but there was no nation! This is not my point of view, but that of David Ben-Gurion, who understood that a collection of people from all parts of the world, without anything connecting them, is not a nation. The nation had to be formed by a broad social organization in order to create a national culture, a sense of belonging, the identity of a new Israeli-Jewish nation. The only body that was capable of this complex task, which takes hundreds of years in most cases, was the IDF, and Ben-Gurion chose it because in 1948 it included virtually all Jewish adults – all of them. men and most women. It was an army that fought the Palestinians and the Arab armies. But it also performs all the civic tasks normally performed by civil society. Most of them are still carried out by the IDF. In the latest coronavirus crisis, the IDF and the secret services (Shabak) thus took over from a large part of the country for the monitoring and tracing operation, for example. The flip side is that most Israelis see their identity only in terms of the military and only see the conflict through the filter of military force.
What is the role of the military in political and economic life?
Haim bresheeth The IDF and related companies form Israel’s largest sector and are responsible for the bulk of the income from exports, between $ 12 billion and $ 18 billion per year. Selling to more than 135 countries, Israel is one of the world’s leading arms dealers. Israel turned the conflict into a thriving business – it turned adversity into commercial success, under the slogan “tested in action”. The business model also includes thousands of high-tech companies started by retired officers, which, along with nationalized arms and security companies, are the country’s largest employer. All academic institutions benefit from substantial research funding from the IDF, the Ministry of Defense and various security organizations; some universities and colleges have also organized training programs for IDF and related organizations.
In the book, you wonder about “Israel is a democracy” and if “there could have been another Israel”. Can you give us some answers?
Haim bresheeth There has never been a colonizing society that was democratic or free. Israel is no exception. A settlement plan is all about control – over land, resources and labor. As such, it depends on anarchy and injustice, always defended by the violation of the legal system. It was true for Algeria, Australia, North and South America, South Africa, Congo, and it is true in Palestine. A military society in illegal occupation cannot be democratic, and, as Marx pointed out, cannot, per se, be free. Therefore, Zionist Israel can never be democratic. In the past, some leftist Zionists have argued that the Zionist idea is pure and fair, but somehow soiled by practice. There is nothing further from the truth. As I have pointed out, the ultimate goal of the Zionist project, from the time it appears in Herzl’s work until our time, was and remains the dispossession and expulsion of the Palestinians, and the establishment of an exclusive Jewish society on racist principles. This is the reason why, over time, Israel becomes more racist and more aggressive. The Zionist dream is essentially a colonial nightmare. Even if one is brutal enough to ignore Palestinian suffering, life for Jews in Israel cannot, by definition, be safe or normal. Israelis live a Spartan life of soldiers on vacation. Israel has had many chances to achieve peace and has always avoided it. It is a militarized state, preferring a state of war – with its empire illegally clinging to the territories of four Arab states – which imposes racist oppression on nearly five million Palestinians without any rights. Nearly two million of its own Palestinian citizens are now losing the few rights they once had. We can safely say that Israel is a militarized state by choice, due to its need to protect its empire with military booty and illegal occupation. No one imposed this occupation regime on the Israelis. It’s their decision. The rest of the world, however, is responsible for authorizing and funding it, especially the United States and the European Union.
As of July 1, Israel is supposed to annex 30% of the West Bank. How does the IDF behave in this context?
Haim bresheeth The move towards the illegal annexation of most of the West Bank is the ultimate example of US-backed lawlessness – unilateral, non-negotiable illegal action against Palestinian rights. The fact that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu missed his annexation deadline by July 1 is a clear sign that even the IDF is opposed to this measure. Prior to the 1990s, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) controlled the West Bank and had to invest enormous human and material resources in maintaining order throughout Palestine. This dire situation, which developed in the aftermath of the first Intifada, prompted Israel to organize the Oslo Accords, establishing a Palestinian National Authority (NPA). Since then, the AFN – formed and armed by Israel, and partially funded by the EU and the United States – has secured the occupied territories on Israel’s behalf, exonerating the IDF from their duties and from any financial cost.
But annexation can lead the ANP to collapse. Ultimately, it could lose control of the Palestinian security organizations, hated and despised by the Palestinian people. The IDF does not wish to lose this important relaxation of its functions and is greatly concerned about its ability to control the occupied territories if such a scenario occurs. The IDF has vetoed the annexation program as Netanyahu presented it, and so he seems to have had to quietly abandon it for now. In contrast, Israel has not abandoned its real program, which continues at a steady pace. The inability of the international community, as it stands, to oppose such atrocious illegality is a danger to the rule of law everywhere in the world, at a time of great international fragility. International law must be applied before further irreparable damage is done to the Palestinians, and a dangerous precedent is set.
All Western countries, but also the PLO, are still talking about the two-state solution. With the annexation, this idea died. But when the Zionist state refuses a Palestinian state, is it possible to establish a single state, even binational and with full rights for all citizens?
Haim bresheeth It should be clear to readers of Humanity that Israel never intended to end its military occupation, and has done everything humanly possible to block any form of Palestinian state since 1948, and especially since 1967. It could not do so. do it alone, of course. Without the strong and unwavering support of Western “democracies”, this would never have been possible. In this sense, Israel has always been against the so-called two-state solution. The debate at the UN actually included two options: that of partition, which was passed, led to the Nakba and the expulsion of two-thirds of Palestinians from their homes. But also, we less remember, the proposal for a single secular and democratic state over the whole of Palestine: a state of all its citizens, without special racist laws. Until 1988, this option, rejected by the UN in 1947, was the official position of the PLO. In arguing that such a democratic outcome cannot take place because of Israeli opposition, let us remember that this is also the reason why there can be no agreement on another solution. Israel has rejected any solution that would give the Palestinians some autonomy even over a tiny part of their land. So we, the rest of the world, must force Israel to accept it. The world had done it in the case of the other apartheid state – South Africa. Only a committed, internationally coordinated boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign can dislodge Israel from its colonial project. Such a campaign, in favor of equality, human rights, international law, United Nations resolutions, Geneva conventions, and the International Criminal Court, can bring hope to establish peace. just and lasting justice in the Middle East to all those residing in Palestine, as well as to Palestinian refugees.
The BDS campaign, which opposes Israel’s illegal and aggressive military actions, is a civilian campaign. Civic action carried out by all citizens of the world, avoiding violence and brutality, trying to change the situation by non-violent methods. I think the time has clearly come for such an approach, if we want to avoid more bloodshed and suffering.================================================ https://www.versobooks.com/books/3168-an-army-like-no-other
An Army Like No Other How the Israel Defense Force Made a Nation by Haim Bresheeth-Zabner
Hardback with free ebook £25.00£15.0040% off 448 pages / August 2020 / 9781788737845
A history of the IDF that argues that Israel is a nation formed by its army
The Israeli army, officially named the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), was established in 1948 by David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, who believed that “the whole nation is the army.” In his mind, the IDF was to be an army like no other. It was the instrument that might transform a diverse population into a new people. Since the foundation of Israel, therefore, the IDF has been the largest, richest and most influential institution in Israel’s Jewish society and is the nursery of its social, economic and political ruling class.
In this fascinating history, Bresheeth-Zabner charts the evolution of the IDF from the Nakba to wars in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and the continued assaults upon Gaza, and shows that the state of Israel has been formed out of its wars. He also gives an account of his own experiences as a young conscript during the 1967 war. He argues that the army is embedded in all aspects of daily life and identity. And that we should not merely see it as a fighting force enjoying an international reputation, but as the central ideological, political and financial institution of Israeli society. As a consequence, we have to reconsider our assumptions on what any kind of peace might look like.
“It is said that Israel is an army with a state. This book validates fully this assumption. With a clear and accessible style and with illuminating of many hidden chapters in Israel’s history, Bresheeth exposes fully the militarizationof the Jewish State. The book unpacks successfully the military grip of the IDF on every aspect of life in Israel and Palestine, from crucial decisions of going to war to the formulation the policies towards the Palestinians. Even if you are a knowledgeable reader on the topic, this book will be an essential contribution to your library.”
– Ilan Pappe, author of 10 Myths About Israel
“Israel’s drive to become a modern-day nuclear Sparta could only be ensured by An Army Like No Other—an army at the centre of illegal occupation, the creation of settler-colonial facts on the ground and Israeli identity self-fashioning. Thoroughly researched and painstakingly documented, this book is a must for those seeking to understand the centrality of the most powerful institution of Israel and for those who wish to see a just and lasting solution in Palestine–Israel.”
– Nur Masahla, author of Palestine: A Four Thousand Year History
“An original and a remarkable interpretation of the wide-ranging impact of the military on Israeli society and one of the most insightful and challenging works on Israeli society from 1948 to our days. His book traces the ways in which military power acquired legitimacy in the civilian society and how the use of organized violence became an acceptable solution to all conflicts in the Arab-Israeli history. Anyone interested in understanding the Middle East should read this book.”
– Shlomo Sand, author of The Invention of the Jewish People
“Israeli left-wing critics of the Zionist state have long described it as ‘an army with a state, instead of a state with an army.’ And yet they have produced very few studies of the Israeli military-industrial complex over the years. In helping to fill this gap, Haim Bresheeth makes a crucial contribution to the critical study of the Zionist enterprise.”
– Gilbert Achcar, author of The Arabs and the Holocaust
“Bresheeth—one of the most important anti-colonial intellectuals of our era—takes the Israeli army as an entry point to undertake a deep analysis of Jewish-Israeli society. The original contribution of the book lies in its ambitions and scope: Bresheeth brilliantly describes the way an army whose ethos is rooted in Jewish historical trauma, has grown to become the occupation arm of zionism, the motor of its settler-colonial domination and the basis of its politics of separation.”
– Eyal Weizman, author of Hollow Land
“This book places the Israeli army under an uncompromising lens. It reveals a yawning gap between the propaganda about ‘the most moral army in the world’ and the dark reality. Through a wide-ranging historical survey, studded with little known facts, it exposes the army for what it really is: a brutal police force of a brutal settler-colonial state. Essential for understanding the political sociology of Israel today and the reasons for the impasse in the Israeli-Palestinian so-called ‘peace process.’”
– Avi Shlaim, author of The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World
“A hard-eyed look at the role of Israel’s army in the creation of the Jewish state.”
“This is a very important book, offering a highly timely and rigorously documented view of the military/nation-state nexus in Israel, its links and dynamics, and its global sources of power. In the process it unavoidably affords us a view of the workings of the contemporary global order, in which Israel’s role as policeman and instrument is becoming more critical to the repressive, discriminatory and surveillance operations that are being increasingly developed and deployed today.”
– Lena Jayyusi, Journal of Holy Land and Palestine Studies
“Bresheeth-Zabner has written a comprehensive and well-researched history of the Israeli military. In doing so, he has also issued an indictment of its brutal tactics, its political power and its destructive effects on the Israeli state.”
– Ron Jacobs, Counterpunch
“An Army Like No Other is a real page-turner, combining history and analysis with firsthand tidbits from within the belly of the beast … Bresheeth-Zabner deserves substantial praise for his pursuit of truth.”
– Belén Fernández, Jacobin
“An insightful look into the history of Israeli militarism and the military ethos that marks both state and society.”
Middle east. « Israel is a militarized State, preferring the state of war »
Lundi 17 Août 2020 Pierre Barbancey
The Israeli army, officially named the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), was established in 1948 by David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, who believed that “the whole nation is the army.” In this book (1) Bresheeth charts the evolution of the IDF from the Nakba to wars in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and the continued assaults upon Gaza, and shows that the state of Israel has been formed out of its wars. (French version available here).
Haim Bresheeth, researcher at the London School of Oriental and African Studies (Soas).
What are the reasons you focused your work on the Israeli Defense Forces?
Haim Bresheeth The IDF is the most crucial social institution of the Israel State, ever since 1948. It is the largest, best financed, and with the widest ‘membership’ Most Israel males, and many females. In that sense, it is a pseudo-democratic institution, if one can say this about an instrument of violence and injustice of this kind. This has serious repercussions – the IDF is fully representative of the Jewish population in Israel, rather than being a small professional army. It means that large numbers of Israelis of all classes, ethnicities and backgrounds are involved in IDF war crimes, since 1948. The fact that the publisc support given to brutal actions like the attack on South Lebanon in 2006, and on Gaza in 2008/9, 2012, and 2014, ranged higher than 95% is evidence of such wide public consent for such illegal, not to mention immoral actions by the IDF. It is the only social institution in Israel with such wide, almost total support for its actions, most of which are against international law and UN resolutions and the Geneva Conventions. In that sense, the IDF is the most representative body in Israeli society, beyond the many tribal, political, gender, class and ethnic divisions. It is more important than the Israeli parliament, the intellectual elites, the financial cultural and political leadership. To understand this is to start understanding Israel, and the difficulty we face when wishing to resolve the conflict in Palestine – a settler-colonial conflict. Because the only solution that the IDF will accept is one in which it holds all the cards, it is clear that waiting for Israel to resolve the conflict is senseless and unwise position – Israel had always gone for military solutions for political problems, due to the special position afforded to the IDF.
You say that IDF made a Nation. Why?
Haim Bresheeth In the book, I deal with the fact that what existed in 1948 was an army, and this army built a state, but there was no nation! This is not my view, but that of David Ben-Gurion, who understood that the collection of people from all parts of the world, with nothing connecting them, is NOT a nation. The nation had to be formed by a large and wide-ranging social organisation – to form a national culture, a feeling of belonging, an identity of a new, Israeli-Jewish nation. The only body which was capable of this complex task, which takes hundreds of years in most cases, was the IDF, and Ben-Gurion chose it because in 1948, it included practically every single Jewish adult – all males and most females. This meant an army which was not only fighting the Palestinians and the Arab armies, responsible for expelling two third of the indigenous population of Palestine, but also for all civic tasks normally carried out by civil society. Thus the IDF dealt with education, language teaching, water projects, agricultural and urban settlement, industrial production, broadcasting, performance arts, communications, media and cultural production, publishing, research, building and commercial activities. Most of these are still performed by branches of the IDF. There is no other military force anywhere in the world which includes such a range of activities. In the latest Corona Virus crisis, the IDF and the Secret Service (Shabak) have taken over large part of the country, and the track and Trace operation, for example. Ben-Gurion was right – if one intends building a modern Sparta, it can only be done by the military authorities. The flip side is the most Israelis see their identity in terms of the IDF – and they see the conflict through the filters of the military force. This means that they look at the Palestinians and other Arabs and Muslims through the virtual gunsight. This also makes a just and peaceful solution of the colonial conflict almost impossible, if Israel is allowed the whip hand. Since 1948, this has always been the case.
What is the role of the militaries in the political and economical life?
Haim Bresheeth The IDF and the companies connected with it, are forming the largest sector in Israel, and are responsible for the largest portion of income from exports, between 12 and 18 $ billions annually. These figures are indicative only, as much of the arms trade Israel is involved in is secret. Selling to more than 135 countries, Israel is one of the main arms dealers on the planet, and always amongst the top ten. Israel has turned the conflict into a thriving business – it made adversity into a commercial success, building on the strapline ‘tested in action’. What it really means is: tested on Arab and Moslem people, and especially, on Palestinian civilians. Israel has turned Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and some other countries into the largest testing grounds of modern arms. The business model also includes thousands of hi-tech companies set up by IDF retired officers, which together with the nationalized armament and security companies are the largest employer in Israel. All academic institutions enjoy substantial research funding disbursed by the IDF, the Defence Ministry, and the various security organisations; such universities and colleges also ran training programmes for the IDF and related bodies. For example, The Hebrew University in Jerusalem includes a large army camp inside its campus on Mount Scopus, with hundreds of soldiers studying and living there, behind barbed wire. It is difficult to find similar arrangements elsewhere in the world. The income from such activities ties the universities financially, politically and ideologically to the Security forces.
As currently set up, the Israeli economy, financial system and industry are all parts of a war economy. This was economy, destructive and violently-oriented as it is, is the mainstay of Israel’s prosperity. Israel received more foreign support than any other country since 1948. This financed its wars, occupations, destructions of countries in the region, and the lawlessness of continuous massacres of tens of thousands. This is good business for Israel, because the bills are paid by Washington and Brussels. Unless this changes, there is no reason for Israel to change its tactics and strategy.
You ask « Is Israel a democracy ? » and « Could there have been another Israel? » The best is to read your book but can you give us some elements of response?
Haim Bresheeth There never was a settler-colonial society which was either democratic or free, and Israel is no exception. A colonizing project is about control – of the land, resources and labour. As such, it depends on lawlessness and injustice, always defended through the violation of the legal system. This was true about Algeria, Australia, North and South America, South Africa, the Congo, and is true in Palestine. A military society in illegal occupation cannot be democratic, and as Marx pointed out, cannot, in itself, be free. Hence, Zionist Israel cannot ever be democratic.
In the past, some left-Zionist argued that the Zionist idea was a pure and just one, and it was somehow defiled by the practice; there is nothing further from the truth. As I pointed out, the ultimate goal of the Zionist project, from the moment it emerges in Herzl’s work to our own time, was and remains the dispossession and expulsion of the Palestinians, and the setting up of a Jewish-exclusive society on racist tenets. This is the reason that Israel is getting more racist and more aggressive as time passes – the Zionist ‘dream’ is in essence colonial nightmare. Even if one was brutal enough to disregard Palestinian suffering, the life of Jews in Israel cannot, by definition, be safe or normal. Israelis are living a spartan life of soldiers on vacation. In its more than seven decades of existence, Israel was involved in armed conflict in every single of these years, and in major armed wars, ‘operations’ and other military adventures more than any other state on this earth. This is not an accident, but the result of building a society based on the armed forces.
Israel had numerous chances to bring about peace, and always avoided it: in 2002, the Saudi initiative, for example, offered Israel enduring peace with the Arab world if it agreed to retreat to the international boundaries of 1967, and allow a Palestinian State to be set up in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. For decades Israel claimed that there is no one to make peace with, and if only the Arabs were agreed, peace will reign. Here was the whole Arab world, including Saddam Hussein and Muamer Ghadaffy, offering Israel stable and dependable peace, and it did not even agree to discuss this or negotiate on this basis. Israel never wanted peace, and now is even frightened of discussing it. It is a militarized State, preferring the state of war – with its empire which holds on illegally to territories of four Arab states, and enforces racist oppression on almost five million Palestinians with no rights whatsoever, and near two million of its Palestinian citizens are now losing the few rights they had.
We can safely say that Israel is a militarized state by choice, because of its need to protect its empire of military spoils and illegal occupation. This it does by its own choice and is handsomely rewarded by the western world. No one has imposed this occupation regime on the Israelis – it is their own free choice, and they are fully responsible for it. The rest of the world is, however, responsible for allowing and financing it – especially the US and EU.
Since July 1, Israel is supposed to annex 30% of the West Bank. How did the IDF behaves in that framework?
Haim Bresheeth The move towards the illegal annexation of most of the West Bank is the ultimate example of lawlessness supported by the US – an unnegotiated, unilateral illegal action against the rights of the Palestinians. Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s failure to meet his deadline of annexing by 1 July is a clear sign that even Israel’s own military opposes the move.
Before the 1990s, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) controlled the West Bank and had to invest enormous human and material resources in policing the whole of Palestine. This dire situation, which had developed in the wake of the first intifada, pushed Israel to arrange the Oslo accords, establishing a Palestinian National Authority (PNA). Since then, the PNA – trained and armed by Israel, and partially funded by the EU and the US – has securitized the occupied territories on behalf of Israel, removing both the duties and the cost from the IDF. But annexation may drive the PNA towards collapse; ultimately, it could lose control of the Palestinian security organisations, hated and despised by the Palestinian people. The IDF does not wish to lose this important easing of its duties and worries greatly about its ability to control the occupied territories if such a scenario takes place. It is right to be worried. The attacks on Lebanon in 2006, and on Gaza in 2008-2009, 2012 and 2014 have shown the IDF’s inability to act in a logical and efficient way against well-organised guerrilla units.
This is not merely a question of firepower – in 2006, Hezbollah had few thousand well-trained and motivated fighters, and the IDF threw more firepower at them than used by both sides in El Alamein during the second world war . It is impossible to defeat a guerrilla force by firepower alone, as the US army found out in Vietnam. The IDF has vetoed the annexation programme as Netanyahu presented it, and hence he appears to have had to quietly abandon it for the time being. But Israel has not abandoned its real agenda, which continues apace.The failure of the international community, such as it is, to move against such atrocious unlawfulness is a danger to the rule of law everywhere, at a time of great international fragility. International law must be enforced before further, irreparable damage is caused to the Palestinians, and a dangerous precedent is set.
All the Western countries, but also the PLO, still speak about the two States solution. With the annexion that idea is dead. But when the Zionist state refuse a Palestinian State, is it serious to think that it’s possible to establish only one state even binational and full right for all the citizens?
Haim Bresheeth I think that from all I said above it should be clear to your readers that Israel has never intended to retreat from its military occupation, and has done all that is humanly possible to block Palestinian State of any description, ever since 1948, and specifically, since 1967. It could not do this on its own, of course; without the strong, unwavering support of the western « democracies » this would never have been possible.
In that sense, Israel was always against the so-called two-states solution, which is the reason why it could not and did not happen. The debate at the UN included two options – the Partition option, which people remember and which was voted upon and led to the Nakba and the expulsion of two thirds of Palestinians from their homes, and the proposal for a secular, democratic single state in the whole of Palestine – a state of all its citizens, without special racist laws. Until 1988, this option which was rejected by the UN in 1947, was the official position of the PLO.
When arguing that such a democratic solution cannot take place because of Israeli opposition, let us remember that this is also why any other solution cannot be agreed upon – Israel has rejected any solution which will offer to Palestinians a measure of autonomy on an even tiny bit of their land. There can be NO solution – any solution – in Palestine because Israel will not allow it. That is the simple truth. So, for a just solution we, the rest of the world, must force Israel to accept such a solution. The world had done so in the case of the other Apartheid State – South Africa. Only a committed internationally-coordinated campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions can dislodge Israel from its colonial project. Such a campaign, in support of equality, human rights, international law, UN Resolutions and the Geneva Conventions, and the International Criminal Court holds the hope of bringing about just and durable peace to the Middle East, and to all people residing in Palestine, as well as to the Palestinian refugees.
The BDS campaign, as opposed to Israel illegal military and aggressive actions, is a civil campaign – civic action by the citizens of the world, avoiding violence and brutality, attempting to change the situation through non-violent methods. I think the time has clearly come for such an approach, if more bloodshed and suffering is to be avoided.
(1) « An Army Like No Other. How the Israel Defense Force Made a Nation ». By Haim Bresheeth-Zabner. Verso Books Edition
Please note that seats are limited, book in advance
Organised by London One State Group and SOAS Palestine Society
Saturday, 17th of November 2007
9:00-9:30 Registration SOAS Brunei Gallery, Lobby
9:30-9:45 Opening Statement Nur Masalha, Reader in Religion and Politics and Director of the Centre for Religion and History and of the Holy Land Research Project at Saint Mary’s College, University of Surrey (UK)
9:45-11:45 PANEL I: Why one state?
Chair: Ghada Karmi, University of Exeter, Author of In Search of Fatima: A Palestinian Story (2002) and Married to another Man: Israel’s Dilemma in Palestine (2007)
The historical roots of the One State idea Ilan Pappe, University of Exeter, Author of The Modern Middle East (2005) and The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006)
A matter of immediate urgency, not a distant utopia Joseph Massad, Columbia University, Author of The Persistence of the Palestinian Question: Essays on Zionism an the Palestinians (2006) and Desiring Arabs (2007)
The state of the One-State Idea Ali Abunimah, Co-founder of Electronic Intifada, Author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse (2006)
11:45-12:00 Coffee Break
12:00-13:30 PANEL II: Mapping the geopolitical landscape: past, present and future
Chair: Haim Bresheeth, University of East London, Chair of Media and Cultural Studies
Leaving the Cake Whole Ghazi Falah, University of Akron, Ohio, Co-editor of Geographies of Muslim Women: Gender, Religion, and Space (2005) and Author of Galilee and the Judaization Plans (in Arabic, 1993)
Local politics: the one state and the Palestinians As’ad Ghanem, University of Haifa, Author of The Palestinian-Arab Minority in Israel, 1948-2000: A Political Study (2001) and The Palestinian Regime: A “Partial Democracy” (2002)
With an eye to the future Leila Farsakh, University of Massachusetts, Boston, Author of Palestinian Labor Migration to Israel: Labor, Land and Occupation (2005)
13:30-14:30 Lunch Break
14:30-16:00 PANEL III (Presentations): Land, Citizenship, and Identity: Rethinking the nation-state
Chair: Leila Farsakh
This panel provides a platform for the internal debate within the One State camp regarding the desired institutional and constitutional formation of the state which is commonly dichotomized into the bi-national model on one side and the multicultural democracy on the other.
Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin, Ben Gurion University, Beer Sheva, Author of The Censor, the Editor, and the Text: The Catholic Church and the Shaping of the Jewish Canon in the Sixteenth Century (2007)
Nadim Rouhana, George Mason University, Author of Palestinian Citizens in an Ethnic Jewish State: Identities in Conflict (1997)
Omar Barghouti, Political Analysts, Co-founder of the Palestinian Campaign for Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)
Tikva Honig-Parnass, Political Activist, Co-author of Between the Lines: Readings on Israel, the Palestinians, and the U.S. “War on Terror” (2007)
16:00-16:15 Coffee Break
16:15-18:00 PANEL III (Discussion): Land, Citizenship, and Identity: Rethinking the nation-state
Sunday, 17th of November 2007
10:30-12:30 PANEL IV: Looking at the past, rethinking the future Panel Chair: Ali Abunimah
Drawing lessons from the case of South Africa Louise Bethlehem, Hebrew University, Jerusalem Co-editor of South Africa in the Global Imaginary (2005) and Violence and Non-Violence in Africa (2007)
Northern Ireland: power sharing in a divided society Kathleen O’Connell, Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
From Lebanon Gilbert Achcar, SOAS, Co-author of Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S . Foreign Policy (2007) and The 33-Day War: Israel’s War on Hezbollah in Lebanon and its Consequences (2007), Author of The Clash of Barbarisms: The Making of the New World Disorder (2006)
India – Pakistan: the partition Sumantra Bose, London School of Economics, Author of Kashmir: The Roots of Conflict, Paths to Peace (2003) and Contested Lands: Israel-Palestine, Kashmir, Bosnia, Cyprus and Sri Lanka (2007)
12:30-13:30 Lunch Break
13:30-16:00 PANEL V: One state from within civil society social movements, and grassroot activism Chair: Omar Barghouti
The lived experience and stories of the invited activists will portray the current public mood in regard to the One-State option, and point at both the difficulties and the opportunities for promoting this line of thought among the various social movements and civil society organizations that are operating within the different communities. This mosaic of personal accounts and observations will provide the foundation for the following discussion about ‘the way forward’.
Haidar Eid, Al-Quds University Gaza, Co-founder of One-State Group in Gaza
Eitan Bronstein, Political Activist, Zochrot (“Remebering”)
Eyal Sivan, Goldsmith University, Film Director of The Specialist (1999) and Route 181: Fragments of a Journey in Palestine-Israel (2004)
Yousef Faker el Deen, Political Activist, Founder of Al-Jaras Al-Awda (“Bells of Return”) Syria
Rajaa Omari, Political Activist, Founder of Natrinkum (“We are waiting for you”), Haifa
16:00-16:15 Coffee Break
16:15-18:00 PANEL VI: The way forward
A roundtable with several participants of the conference will discuss what would be the immediate actions required for promoting the discussion about alternatives to the two-state paradigm, and for helping the ideas of One-State develop into a meaningful political agenda.
IAM previously reported on Israeli radical activist-academics who often take upon themselves an Arab identity. Dr. Uri Davis converted to Islam, Prof. Ariella Azoulay added Aisha to her name, and Dr. Tom Pessah wears a Keffiyeh, to name a few.
In a similar vein, last month, Dr. Stavit Sinai from the Department of Jewish Studies at the University of Konstanz in Germany, was convicted in Germany for using violence while interfering in an event in 2017 at Germany’s Humboldt University, hosting MK Aliza Lavie and a Holocaust survivor. She was part of a group of BDS activists who shouted and yelled during the conference, but she injured two people when she slammed the doors on them.
Such a behavior is not surprising, as Sinai was a student of Prof. Shlomo Sand and was chosen to become his teaching assistant at Tel Aviv University. Moreover, she was his Hebrew book editor of The Invention of the Jewish People. Naturally, When Sand’s book was criticized she wrote an op-ed in Sand’s defense, in Haaretz.
Responding to her op-ed, Galil Elyashiv, former Mossad operator, criticized her writing, “it is difficult to ignore a sentence in which the author ends her article. In her efforts to characterize Prof. Sand’s virtues, she emphasizes ‘that he fought in the wars of occupation and oppression of his country.’ Is that what the Department of General History at Tel Aviv University calls the Israeli wars since the War of Independence, or did the author forget, in her anger, what she learned?”
Clearly, Sinai’s scholarship is an extension of Sand’s.
For example, Sinai argues in an academic paper that when the state of Israel was accepted into the United Nations in 1947, it was “coinciding with the beginning of the Palestinian “Nakba” – which included the violent displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who became refugees – and culminating in the 1948 War.”
This is, of course, a false narrative. Had the Palestinians won the war with their allied Arab states, there would have been no Israel.
Sinai also argued, based on Sand’s theories, that Zionism’s nourished myths of the “Jewish people” claiming to have a common ancestry and a “territorial myth” which they name the “Land of Israel.” She borrows from Sand, that “Combined these two myths form the myth of exile, return, and revival, which regards the broadly defined territory known as Palestine as the biblical land from which ancient Judeans were exiled in the first or second century CE and as the place to which present-day Jews ought to return.” She erroneously espouses Sand’s false assumption that during the late previous century, the Zionists invented the longing of Jews to their ancestral homeland. She writes, “These political myths were cultivated by late 19th-century and early 20th century intellectuals whose secular reading of the sacred scriptures approached the Bible as a historical source… Anachronistically projecting their contemporary understanding of nationalism on the political structures that prevailed in the ancient past, this cohort of scholars has qualified ancient Judea as a modern sovereign nation and drew simultaneously a direct line from the ancient Hebrews to the Jewish communities of the present (Sand 2010).” In other words, she borrowed Sand’s claim that Ashkenazi Jews are descendants of Khazarian converts, and as such, there is no linkage to the Biblical Jews. Even if accepting this theory as true, there is enough linkage by the Sephardi Jews, as can be seen in the writings of Shlomo Iben Gabirol, Maimonides, or even the documents from the Cairo Geniza, to refute these claims.
Sinai joins Sand in his “Jewish People denial” and takes his teaching a step further. Sinai is a longstanding BDS activist, in 2012 She was among the group of BDS activists who interfered with a performance in Berlin of the Gevatron, the Israeli Kibbutz folk singers group. The Israeli news media broadcasted this, where Sinai is seen shouting and screaming.
In September 2019, Sinai was filmed protesting Israel’s Ambassador Jeremy Issacharoff, when the Israeli Seret Film Festival was held. She shouted at the megaphone, as described by her BDS peers, that “This whitewashing extravaganza was attended by the apartheid Ambassador Jeremy Issacharoff and other supporters of Israeli crimes.”
Evidently, Sinai is not only anti-Israel but also anti-Semitic. For example, Aish HaTorah, a Jewish Orthodox educational organization based in Jerusalem, published an article by Rabbi Ken Spiro, titled “The Bible as history.” The Rabbi presented his case, that “not only were Jews recording history well before Herodotus, but while Herodotus might record the events, the Jews were looking at the deeper meaning, and that deeper meaning can be found most importantly and most significantly within the Bible itself.” One of the comments to his article was written by Stavit Sinai, then, a student in the Department of Jewish History, Tel Aviv University, positing: “Not only this article, like the rest of the articles in this category, are afflicted with a blatant historical distortion and anachronism, but also, every word is saturated and replete with horrific racism. It is amazing to see how the feelings of the supremacy of Jewish religion and culture are absorbed.”
Arguably, holding such negative views of Judaism, Sinai should not be teaching Jewish History.
Now Sinai and her BDS team known as the Humboldt3, have been seeking donations from the anti-Israel crowd. They opened a fundraising account and titled their cause as “BDS Activists on Trial – Support the Humboldt3,” asking the public to “Help us in taking Israel to court!” with 118 donors who have raised 5,609 Euros.
The German court ordered Sinai to pay 450 Euros fine, but she already announced her preference for a prison term, pictured wearing a Keffiyeh. Probably to maximize her service for the Palestinian cause.
Sinai is just one of many uber-radical Israelis teaching in Western universities who devote all their energies to delegitimizing Israel. A recent study by the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University which analyzed security threats to Israel, named international delegitimization as a severe threat. More needs to be done to expose Sinai and other Israeli foot soldiers in the army of degetimizers.
A boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activist was convicted in a German court of assault that authorities said was committed while protesting a 2017 event at Humboldt University in the German capital.
The Jerusalem Post reported that the incident occurred at a speaking event featuring Israeli Knesset Member Aliza Lavie and Israeli Holocaust survivor Deborah Weinstein, who were talking about life in Israeli. The activist, Stavit Sinai, and two other BDS activists disrupted the event.
The court convicted Sinai of banging on a door at the event, which resulted in injuries to two people. Sinai has to either pay a fine of 450 euros ($530.39) or serve a 30-day prison sentence.
Sinai, who calls herself an Israeli dissident in her Twitter bio, argued in a tweet that she was punched in the face at the event; accompanying the tweet was an image containing a statement that she didn’t regret her conduct and that she won’t be paying the fine.
“There’s no punishment that can silence me from speaking about the crimes of apartheid,” the statement read. “I am confident that one day the apartheid criminals would be sitting here instead of me.”
Sinai and the two other activists also faced charges of criminal trespassing; those were dismissed.
Frankfurt Mayor Uwe Becker, who is also the Hesse commissioner to combat anti-Semitism, praised the court’s decision as “an important success against the violent character of BDS and its supporters.”
“It unmasks the violent character of the BDS movement, because it shows that even Holocaust survivors are attacked by BDS when they speak out for the Jewish state,” Becker told the Post. “So it makes clear that the aim of BDS is not about peaceful protest against political decisions in Israel but the aim is the destruction and delegitimization of the Jewish state by all means.”
He added that the decision also shows that the BDS movement aims to silence views that oppose its narrative.
“It makes clear that BDS is lying about their history when they want to present themselves as a Palestinian human rights movement,” Becker said. “They are lying about their aims, when they proclaim the borders of 1967 as their major goal, and they are lying about their means when they want to present themselves as a peaceful movement.”
Ronnie Barkan, one of the other activists who was charged with disrupting the 2017 event, argued in an Aug. 3 Medium post that Sinai was banging on the doors because she was trying “to find out the details of the person who had just punched her in the face. Thanks to one of the Zionist witnesses who inadvertently showed the judge a video that he had never published before — the punching was clearly visible — giving immense credibility to Stavit’s testimony while discrediting each and every Zionist witness that testified against us.”
He also wrote that the trespassing charges were dismissed “on the basis of formality flaws by the prosecution” and said it was a win for them to be able to promote “an unapologetic discourse of resistance to the criminal Israeli apartheid regime in Berlin — the last standing bastion for Zionism.”
AUGUST 5, 2020 16:27 A Berlin court convicted on Monday a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activist for assaulting people during a presentation by an Israeli survivor of the Holocaust at Humboldt University in the capital. In a dramatic setback to the claim of the BDS campaign that it is a nonviolent initiative targeting the Jewish state, the Berlin court declared Stavit Sinai guilty for her violent conduct.The Berlin daily B.Z. titled its article about the BDS activists at the trial: “It is so shameful. Disgusting hatred of Jews in and in front of the Berlin courtroom.” Sinai’s conviction appears to be the first criminal penalty for violent BDS activity in Germany. The paper reported about the anti-Israel extremist: “Lecturer Stavit S. is guilty. She hit the door of the hall ‘wildly’ from the outside, injuring two people… Either she pays €450, or sits in prison for 30 days.” The Jerusalem Post reported in 2017 that three BDS activists – Sinai, Ronnie Barkan and Majed Abusalama – stormed the Humboldt University in Berlin to disrupt a talk titled “Life in Israel – Terror, Bias and the Chances for Peace” by Yesh Atid MK Aliza Lavie and Deborah Weinstein, an Israeli survivor of the Holocaust, now 85 years old. The court dismissed the criminal trespass charges against the three. Abusalama said he is a Palestinian journalist from Gaza. He lives in the United Kingdom. The B.Z. journalist, Anne Losensky, wrote that the trial was about “trespassing and assault,” adding that “all three seem to enjoy the trial so they can use it as propaganda against Israel.” Losensky wrote that “they wear masks made of the Palestinian scarf [keffiyeh] – a symbol of the annihilation struggle against Israel.” She continued that they showed “raised fists – as if the criminal court were a tribunal against Israel.” According to the newspaper, Sinai declared: “I regret nothing.” Her lawyer said Israel’s policy is “apartheid.” Berlin’s domestic intelligence agency, which documents threats to the democratic order of the city-state, deemed the conduct of the BDS activists to be antisemitic in its 2018 report. Last year, the Bundestag declared BDS to be an antisemitic movement. B.Z. reported that Barkan is a 43-year-old Slovak and Sinai is a 35-year-old Romanian, both having Israeli passports. Barkan previously disrupted a Holocaust film festival in Berlin. BDS activists also protested outside of the courthouse.
German antisemitism commissioner praises verdict against BDS activist
“Monday’s court decision against an activist of the antisemitic BDS movement… is an important success against the violent character of BDS and its supporters.” By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL AUGUST 11, 2020 19:07 The Hesse commissioner to combat antisemitism lauded a Berlin court decision convicting a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement activist for assault. “Monday’s court decision against an activist of the antisemitic BDS movement for assaulting people during a presentation by an Israeli survivor of the Holocaust at Humboldt University in Berlin is an important success against the violent character of BDS and its supporters,” Uwe Becker told The Jerusalem Post. On Monday Stavit Sinai was found guilty of inflicting violence on people at the talk. According to reports, she hit the door of the hall “wildly” from the outside, injuring two people. She is required to pay either €450, or face a prison term of 30 days. “In two ways, this decision is an important milestone in the fight against Israel-related antisemitism in Germany,” Becker said. “It unmasks the violent character of the BDS movement, because it shows that even Holocaust survivors are attacked by BDS when they speak out for the Jewish state. So it makes clear that the aim of BDS is not about peaceful protest against political decisions in Israel but the aim is the destruction and delegitimization of the Jewish state by all means. “Secondly, this act of violence shows that BDS is not defending freedom of speech but BDS is trying to suppress any other opinion that is not compatible with the political agenda of BDS. “It makes clear that BDS is lying about their history when they want to present themselves as a Palestinian human rights movement. They are lying about their aims, when they proclaim the borders of 1967 as their major goal, and they are lying about their means when they want to present themselves as a peaceful movement.” The Post reported in 2017 that three allegedly antisemitic BDS activists – Sinai, Ronnie Barkan and Majed Abusalama – stormed the Humboldt University in Berlin to disrupt a talk titled “Life in Israel – Terror, Bias and the Chances for Peace” by then-Yesh Atid MK Aliza Lavie and Deborah Weinstein, an Israeli Holocaust survivor, now 85. Berlin’s domestic intelligence agency, which documents threats to the democratic order of the city-state, deemed the conduct of the BDS activists to be antisemitic in its 2018 report. Last year, the Bundestag declared BDS to be an antisemitic movement. Becker said the court’s decision is an “important signal that the fight against the antisemitic BDS movement is more and more successful. And it shows that it is important to unmask BDS and to help society to look behind the curtain of this dirty theater. “We have to [go] from BDS to promote BIS, ‘Buy from, Invest in and Support the State of Israel.’” ================================================================= https://twitter.com/Stav_Si/status/1291176844365045764 Stav @Stav_SiAug 6 Violence = the murder of 551 children and the liquidation of 89 entire families. Violence = 7 decades of the crime of #apartheid. Violence = getting punched in the face by an organizer of a propaganda event in which you were stuttering. #Humboldt3 vs. #CrimesAgainstHumanity
עליזה לביא @aliza_lavie Aug 5 3 שנים חלפו מאז ההתפרעות הגסה באוניברסיטת הומבולדט בברלין. לשמחתי סתווית סיני שהתפרעה, האשימה בשקרים ותקפה – הורשעה. מותר להביע דעות ולהתווכח אך לאלימות, לתקיפה ולהשגת גבול – להרצאה שתואמה מראש ובה השתתפה גם ניצולת שואה – אין מקום.
Ronnie Barkan and Stavit Sinai are organizing this fundraiser. Created July 3, 2020 Help us in taking Israel to court!
We are 3 BDS activists who are facing our second trial (Aug. 3rd, 2020) on trumped up charges of trespassing and assault, for protesting the actions of apartheid representative MK Aliza Lavie in 2017.
MK Lavie took part in overseeing the brutal assault on Gaza in 2014, which resulted in 2200 being killed, including 551 children and 89 entire families that were obliterated. She later acted as the Israeli Head of Mission to the European Council — defending the systemic mass incarceration and torture of Palestinian children and the premeditated massacre of unarmed demonstrators along the fence of the Gaza ghetto.
We confronted Lavie as she arrived at the Humboldt University in Berlin, on an explicit anti-BDS propaganda tour — doing public relations in collaboration with the Israeli foreign ministry in the attempt to justify Israeli racist and criminal policies against the Palestinians. During our protest we read out loud from Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley’s UN report, which squarely accuses Israel of practicing The Crime of Apartheid — as a form of an institutionalized regime that constitutes a crime against humanity.
After our previous trial (March 4th & 11th, 2019) was left without a verdict, we are now being taken to court for the second time. We will again reject the accusations against us — that serve as an instrument of political persecution against the BDS movement which is widely suppressed in Germany. Instead, we will challenge the court by stressing:
➊ Our obligation to confront individuals such as Lavie who are responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity ➋ That we have not forgotten the universal moral duty to resist crimes against humanity ➌ Reminding the court of its responsibilities under international law and the Nuremberg principles in not acting as bystanders nor shielding the perpetrators of grave crimes ➍ We are committed to resisting Israeli apartheid and will continue to do so despite the consequences of the trial
We now ask for your support and solidarity in confronting Israel again in the German court. This is also a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness and educate the public on challenging Israeli crimes.
Financials Each one of us is being represented by a different lawyer and this is according to German requirements. We currently have no organizational backing and will be covering the legal fees, and possibly a fine should the verdict be against us, out of our own pocket.
The expected amount for all three of us may reach 9000€ and above.
Please help us in covering the mounting legal fees as well as the educational activities that lie ahead.
You can help us by contributing here, or alternatively make a direct Bitcoin deposit to the following address: 3G7Ucgnx24TNpXuQBVRMVQG4r6fUJG3EAt
================================================================== https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2364235257191563 BDS בעברית 5 September 2019 · Stavit Sinai faces off apartheid representatives @ Babylon Berlinסתוית סיני מול שגריר ישראל ג’רמי יששכרוף ובאי פסטיבל SERET בברלין – ארוע תעמולה למדינת האפרטהייד הנערך בחסות שגרירות ישראל ומשרד העלייה והקליטה. The Israel-sponsored Seret Film Festival held its gala event on Sep. 1st at BABYLON Berlin. This whitewashing extravaganza was attended by the apartheid Ambassador Jeremy Issacharoff and other supporters of Israeli crimes. Across the street we held a #BDS demonstration, which also included some singing and speeches in English and in Hebrew. In this video: Stavit Sinai (#Humboldt3) faces off the apartheid representatives on the other side of the street, in their language.
חבורת הגבעטרון הייתה יעד למחאה של פעילי שמאל קיצוניים, ביניהם גם ישראלים, בהופעה בברלין. גדעון גוריון מהגבעטרון מספר: “עמדנו על הבמה המומים לחלוטין אבל לא זזנו מהמקום. ההרגשה שלנו הייתה נוראית, היינו חסרי אונים”
פעילי שמאל קיצוני מאירופה הפסיקו הופעה של להקת הזמר העברי “הגבעטרון” בברלין בצעקות נגד מדינת ישראל. חברי הלהקה אומרים: חלק מהמפריעים היו ישראלים. לסדרנים לקח לא מעט זמן להוציא אותם, ובאותו הזמן ההופעה הופסקה.
“לא הכינו אותנו לאפשרות שיקומו מפגינים מהקהל, הכל נראה רגוע ושלו, לא הייתה שום הכנה”, מספר גדעון גוריון, חבר להקת הגבעטרון. “עלינו לבמה והתחלנו, כרגיל, עם השיר ‘ים השיבולים’, כשעברנו למחרוזת הבאה פתאום קמו מארבעת הפינות האולם אנשים עם חולצות אדומות, הוציאו דגלים ושלטים והתחילו לצעוק”.
“עמדנו על הבמה המומים לחלוטין אבל לא זזנו מהמקום”, מספר גוריון, “הקהל בעצמו סייע לסדרנים להוציא את המפריעים. היו מעט הרמות ידיים בין המתפרעים לבין הקהל. ההרגשה שלנו הייתה נוראית, היינו די חסרי אונים, אבל בסוף הכל הסתדר וההופעה המשיכה עד הסוף כרגיל”.
נראה כי זמן רב חלף מאז שנכתב ספר שעורר תשומת לב ציבורית כה גדולה כפי שעורר ספרו של פרופ’ שלמה זנד, “מתי ואיך הומצא העם היהודי?” (הוצאת רסלינג). ואולם, סמוך לפרסומו של הספר בפברואר 2008, לא נמצא ולו היסטוריון אחד שהסכים להתייחס לטענות שבספר. בחלוף כמה חודשים הודו רבים מהמומחים מן החוגים להיסטוריה של עם ישראל, שהטענות ההיסטוריות שהעלה זנד היו ידועות ומוכרות להם, וכי דבר לא חודש בספרו.
ובכל זאת, ההתקפות הקשות על הספר לא בוששו לבוא עם הפיכתו לרב-מכר בצרפת ובמיוחד כשנעשה “פצצה תרבותית”, שריתקה חוגים שונים ברחבי אירופה (ובאחרונה אף באסיה). אולם עם פרסום מאמרו של רונן שובל, ראש תנועת “אם תרצו” (“ההמצאה של זנד”, הארץ 19.10), נחצה הגבול שמבדיל בין ביקורת לגיטימית על טקסט ובין כתבי הסתה משתלחים, הגובלים בנאצה ודיבה.
שובל רואה בדבריו של זנד ביטוי קיצוני “להתקפה אוטו-אנטישמית נגד המדינה”, ש”מכוון להעלמת העם היהודי”. הוא מאשים אותו ב”אפליית מדינת ישראל על רקע יהדותה”, ב”רטוריקה מסיתה”, ב”ביטול היהדות של המדינה והפיכתה ל’מדינת כל אזרחיה’, ב”קבלת טענת ‘השיבה'”, בניסיון “לעקור את עצם קיומו של עם ישראל” ו”להפוך את היהדות לדת”. לפי שובל, זנד אף גרוע ממכחישי השואה, משום שהוא מתוחכם יותר ומכיוון שאין דבר שמסייע יותר לאנטישמיות מאשר “אוטו-אנטישמיות פסוודו אינטלקטואלית”. מדבריו, עולה כי זנד הוא אויבה מספר אחת של מדינת ישראל, האשם במספר עבירות על החוק שדינן מאסר: בגידה, הסתה, חתירה, אפליה וגזענות.
לו היה נוטל שובל קורה מבין עיניו, היה מבחין בכך שפרופ’ זנד הוא מבין המתנגדים הבולטים בשמאל למימוש זכות השיבה של הפלסטינים, ומהבודדים שקוראים להכרה מיידית ונחרצת בזהות הישראלית – על אפם וחמתם של המתנגדים. גם זכותם של היהודים להגדיר את עצמם כעם אינה מוטלת בספק, ממש כפי שזכותו של גבר להגדיר עצמו כאשה. ואולם, אין חובה לקבל את נכונותה ואמיתותה של הגדרה עצמית זו. לו זנד היה עושה כן הוא היה חוטא למקצועו כהיסטוריון, המחויב אך ורק לאמת. כחוקר, ביקש זנד לא יותר מאשר למתוח ביקורת על המהות וההומוגניות בתפישת “העם היהודי”, שכה מוכרת למי שהתחנך בישראל, במיוחד לאחר 1967 – דבר שאינו שונה במאום ממה שציין בכתביו מייסד המדינה, דוד בן-גוריון.
יש להישמר מלראות את דבריו של שובל כעשבים השוטים בשולי השיח הפוליטי בישראל. אלה משקפים את המגמות האנטי-ליברליות והממוקדות-אתנית, שגוברות בימים אלה, והופכות כה מקובלות בישראל. ממי שעומד בראש תנועה קיקיונית, נהפך שובל למייצג ודובר ציוני נאמן בתרבות הפוליטית בישראל. בתרבות זו ניתן אפשר לכנות”אנטישמי” כל מי שמעז למתוח ביקורת על פוליטיקת הזהויות בישראל או מבקש לשנותה, או לזהותו כמי שחבר למכחישי השואה, גם אם הוא בן לפליטי מלחמת העולם השנייה וגם אם לחם במלחמות הכיבוש והדיכוי של מדינתו.
הכותבת היא תלמידת מחקר בחוג להיסטוריה כללית באוניברסיטת תל אביב.
A new thought-provoking book Academia: All the Lies, is published now in English by two academic authors from the University of Haifa, Dr. Tamar Almog and Prof. Oz Almog, a husband and wife team. The book was first published in Hebrew last year.
The authors have analyzed the system of higher education from various angles. They argue that the traditional university model has eroded, because, like other traditional models, it has been subjected to structural changes. Although the crisis in academia is the focus of the academic community and has engendered endless papers, reports, and books on the issue, its actual dimensions and its dramatic consequences are hidden from most of the public, scientists, and professors. For the authors, academia is in deep denial, misleading itself and the public, and therefore finding it difficult to reach educated and courageous decisions.
According to the abstract, the book is an “X-ray of the academic ivory tower.” Since higher education has been initially a “successful method,” it has decayed over time. Instead, a “culture of lying, denial and fixation” has taken over the institutions across the globe. The book unfolds the “inflation of scientific publications,” which causes “decline in the quality, relevance and reliability of science; the degenerated and dated Quality Control of empirical research; the transformation of faculty members into submissive and worn-out employees in an outdated production line; the outrageous wasting of budgets and resources; the rankings obsession that drags governments and institutions into a whirlwind of self-deception; The cynical monopoly and unabashed greediness of scientific publishing corporations; the lack of professionalism in managing institutions; the exploitation and deception of adjunct lecturers and research students; the waning attractiveness of an academic career; the transformation of the humanities into a pile of politically correct mumbo jumbo; the devaluation of the academic degree; the stubborn adherence to antiquated teaching methods and missing out on the Internet revolution; the disconnect between the curricula and the needs of society and the job market; and the marketing and branding ploys that are used to lure young people to sign up for expired institutions and courses.” The book also offers solutions to the problems it raises to improve the academic system.
More specifically, touching upon the IAM concerns, the authors argue that “The politization of social sciences has pulled the rug out from under the feet of the claim that they provide a general education. A large share of the public is of the view that for years now, humanitarian and social sciences courses have served an extreme and in-your-face pseudo-humanitarian political propaganda, which seeks to undermine the very foundations of society and should therefore not be propped up by public funds.”
Since post-modernist trends have taken over social sciences and humanities – causing the relaxation of the needs for empirical evidence – it is precisely that, according to the authors, “where there are no quantitative figures, a phenomenon can easily be exaggerated and manipulatively interpreted, especially when the researcher comes to the study with ideological agendas and motivations.” In fact, under the heading of “Rewriting History,” the authors argue that “With so much desire to correct and balance the historical narrative, reality has been ‘renovated,’ by hiding, denying, and fabricating facts as well as exaggerating them.”
There are chapters and subchapters such as “Closed Political Club,” questioning, “Are Academics leftists?” And another, discussing “Anti-Semitism and Hatred of Israel as a Test Case,” which deals with anti-Semitism on campus and the ties to BDS. The authors argue that “Many ‘scientific’ conventions in the humanities are tainted with distinct political color, and exclude researchers who do not align themselves with the agenda… Israeli experts, Jewish and others, whose thesis does not correspond with the pro-Palestinian narrative (which is, incidentally, mostly made up of lies), are boycotted on many campuses, their lectures torpedoed, and they are greeted with hateful graffiti, threats, and occasionally even physical violence.” The chapter discusses Israeli Apartheid Week activities on US campuses. The authors noted that “Many faculty in Israel and around the world – especially in the liberal arts – have become significant activists in the industry of lies, whose goal it is to demonize Israel.”
Academia: All the Lies – What Went Wrong in the University Model and What Will Come in Its Place
Tamar Almog, Oz Almog Published 2020 Youth Culture, Education Systems, alternative instruction
Publication Date: 2020 Academia: All the Lies is an X-ray of the academic ivory tower. It exposes the successful method, which has decayed over time, and the culture of lying, denial and fixation that has taken over institutions of higher education across the world. It unfolds the inflation of scientific publications, which results in an alarming decline in the quality, relevance and reliability of science; the degenerated and dated Quality Control of empirical research; the transformation of faculty members into submissive and worn-out employees in an outdated production line; the outrageous wasting of budgets and resources; the rankings obsession that drags governments and institutions into a whirlwind of self-deception; The cynical monopoly and unabashed greediness of scientific publishing corporations; the lack of professionalism in managing institutions; the exploitation and deception of adjunct lecturers and research students; the waning attractiveness of an academic career; the transformation of the humanities into a pile of politically correct mumbo jumbo; the devaluation of the academic degree; the stubborn adherence to antiquated teaching methods and missing out on the Internet revolution; the disconnect between the curricula and the needs of society and the job market; and the marketing and branding ploys that are used to lure young people to sign up for expired institutions and courses. But this book is not just a depressing snapshot of stagnated intellectual elite, which shuts its eyes in the face of changing times and betrays its social mission. Alongside the harsh criticism, Tamar and Oz Almog propose a course of recalculation and transition to a fresh model of research and education, tailored to the 21st century. The COVID-19 crisis, which is shaking and will continue to rattle the education and science systems, will shortly make the prophetic prediction of the Almog’s a reality – in which everything we have known to date about education and science will change dramatically. “Academia: all the Lies,” which was first published in Israel and elicited widespread public discourse, is a must-read for future students and their parents, employers, media, and policymakers. It is also a must-read for anyone who is engaged in science and education or dreams of a career in the field.
Table of Contents Acknowledgments xiii 1 Introduction ………………………………………………………………………………………. 1 2 Survival at All Costs: The Economic Crisis ……………………………………………… 6 The Tectonic Rift of 2008 ……………………………………………………………………………6 End of the Age of Abundance …………………………………………………………………….7 Limiting the Privileges of the Aristocracy …………………………………………………..11 You’ll Approve Mine and I’ll Approve Yours ………………………………………………15 Two Are Fewer Than One …………………………………………………………………………18 Professional Mishmash ……………………………………………………………………………..21 Donors Close Their Wallets ………………………………………………………………………24 The Dubious Honor of Honorary Degrees …………………………………………………30 The Deceptive Demand for Higher Education …………………………………………..32 Higher Education for All …………………………………………………………………….32 Tuition Fees Increase More and More ………………………………………………….35 The Growing Burden of Subsidization …………………………………………………38 The Heavy Shadow of the Mountain of Debt ……………………………………………..39 A Temporary Lifeline from China ……………………………………………………………..42 The Exploited Workforce of Academia ………………………………………………………48 A Bottomless Barrel of Pension Debts ………………………………………………………..57 How Much Is Eureka Worth—And to Whom ……………………………………………..61 Clinging to the Foundation ………………………………………………………………………66 Sources of Funding for Scientific Research …………………………………………..66 The Race to the Research Budget ………………………………………………………..69 When Money Talks – Academia suffers …………………………………………………70 Flaws in the Traditional Financing Model …………………………………………….74 Out-of-the-Box Ideas …………………………………………………………………………..81 “Crowdfunding” in the Service of Science …………………………………………….83 Industry Takes the Crown …………………………………………………………………………88 Research Collaborations ……………………………………………………………………..88 Relationship Issues ……………………………………………………………………………..90 3 An Avalanche of Papers: The Crisis of Scientific Publishing …………………….. 97 A Scientist’s Workday ………………………………………………………………………………..97 The Scientific Journal ……………………………………………………………………………..102 The Industry of Science ………………………………………………………………………….105 The Hidden (and Rising) Bar ………………………………………………………………….108 Publish or Perish …………………………………………………………………………………….113 Struggling to Keep Up the Pace ………………………………………………………………121 The Poll-Itis Epidemic …………………………………………………………………………….126 Junk Science …………………………………………………………………………………………..132 Texts Without Readers ………………………………………………………………………132 More Quantity, Less Quality ………………………………………………………………133 A Leg Up from Musk …………………………………………………………………………137 Deceit in the Name of Truth ……………………………………………………………………139 A Breach of Trust ………………………………………………………………………………139 What’s Yours Is Mine …………………………………………………………………………141 Unraveling the Knot of Silence ……………………………………………………………….142 Half-Hearted Confessions ………………………………………………………………….142 You Can’t Get the Same Results Twice ………………………………………………..144 Positive Results Only …………………………………………………………………………145 Take It Back ……………………………………………………………………………………..146 And Yet—Denial ……………………………………………………………………………….148 The Black Market of Scientific Publishing ………………………………………………..151 A Mirror Up to Science …………………………………………………………………………..156 Fake Conferences, Too ……………………………………………………………………………158 It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know……………………………………….158 Too Good to Pass Up …………………………………………………………………………161 The Hypocrisy of the Rich …………………………………………………………………162 Slowing Down the Rat Race …………………………………………………………………….166 4 The Great Science Robbery: The Crisis of Access ………………………………….170 Maxwell’s Magic Formula ………………………………………………………………………..170 The Reign of the Publishers ……………………………………………………………………175 The Crisis of the Academic Libraries ……………………………………………………….177 Open Access Publishing, Ltd. ………………………………………………………………….180 The Disappointing “Academic Spring” …………………………………………………….185 “Robin Hoods” In the Name of Access ……………………………………………………..188 If You Can’t Beat ‘Em – Buy ‘Em ……………………………………………………………..191 Towards the Triumph of Fairness and Reason …………………………………………..1955 Archaic Peer Review: The Quality Assurance Crisis ………………………………..206 Is Truth Dead? ………………………………………………………………………………………..206 The Scientific Review Mechanism ……………………………………………………………207 Trial by Friends …………………………………………………………………………………207 Behind the Scenes …………………………………………………………………………….210 Who Wants to Be a Reviewer? …………………………………………………………….211 The March of Anguish ………………………………………………………………………213 Criticizing the Critics ………………………………………………………………………………218 The “Lesser of Two Evils” Trap ………………………………………………………………..238 The Solution Right Under Their Noses ……………………………………………………245 The Pre-print Path …………………………………………………………………………….245 Open Platforms for Scientific Discussion ……………………………………………247 The Convention-Shattering Encyclopedia of the Masses ………………………248 Science 2.0: End of the Reign of Journals …………………………………………..253 6 The Measurement Madness: The Rating Crisis ………………………………………261 Can we grade scientific products? Should we? ………………………………………….261 Tell Me Where You Published, and I Will Tell You What Kind of Scientist You Are …………………………………………………………………..265 The Reference Criteria ……………………………………………………………………..265 Influence and Quality – Is That So? ……………………………………………………266 Everything for a Good Place on the Charts ………………………………………………277 Phony Protests and Reservations ……………………………………………………………..279 The Spotlight is Pointed at the Scientists ………………………………………………….281 Another Kind of Statistical Madness …………………………………………………..281 More Indices, More Problems ……………………………………………………………283 Continuing to Market a Defective Product ………………………………………….288 Which is the Best University? …………………………………………………………………..289 The American League ……………………………………………………………………….289 The Shanghai Surprise ………………………………………………………………………291 Experts at the Crown’s Service …………………………………………………………..293 A Formula Filled with Flaws, Mistakes, and Misdirections …………………….295 Flavor Enhancers for Spoiled Food …………………………………………………….307 The Trap of the Governmental Budgeting Model……………………………………..308 The Statistical Tables Have Turned ………………………………………………………….313 7 To a Lesser Degree: The Crisis of Higher Education ………………………………317 Cracks in the Myth ………………………………………………………………………………….317Depreciation of the Degree …………………………………………………………………….318 Degree Inflation ……………………………………………………………………………….318 An Expired Entrance Pass ………………………………………………………………….323 Diminishing Returns …………………………………………………………………………325 Not Ready for the Job Market …………………………………………………………….327 With Narrow Horizons ………………………………………………………………………329 The Deserted Campus Quads …………………………………………………………….336 Wasteful Subsidization …………………………………………………………………………….337 A Worn-Out Model of Instruction ……………………………………………………………341 Here but Not Hear ……………………………………………………………………………343 A Buffet-Style Learning Menu ……………………………………………………………347 Too Long, Didn’t Read It …………………………………………………………………..348 The Professor Has No Clothes …………………………………………………………..349 The Student is Always Right …………………………………………………………………….356 Re-Setting Expectations …………………………………………………………………….356 Shaming Disobedient Professors ………………………………………………………..358 Fast-Degree ………………………………………………………………………………………360 Same Old Bess in a New Dress ……………………………………………………………361 Honors Students Only ……………………………………………………………………….362 Can’t Stop the (Online) Course ………………………………………………………………370 Correspondence Learning …………………………………………………………………370 A New World of Screens …………………………………………………………………….371 Technological Improvements in the Classroom …………………………………..372 Let’s Share ……………………………………………………………………………………….374 From Dozens to Millions ……………………………………………………………………376 An “Exit” for Educational Initiatives …………………………………………………..377 The Year of the MOOC ……………………………………………………………………..378 No Longer a Marginal Phenomenon ………………………………………………….382 The Profit Dilemma ………………………………………………………………………….386 The Feedback Dilemma …………………………………………………………………….389 The Dropout Dilemma ……………………………………………………………………..390 Cut the Bullshit …………………………………………………………………………………393 The End of the Beginning …………………………………………………………………394 The Path to the Post-Academic Era ………………………………………………………….398 Studies Without Borders ……………………………………………………………………398 Fast Track to Employment …………………………………………………………………400 From Training to Job Placement ………………………………………………………..403 A Playlist of Certifications ………………………………………………………………….406 It Doesn’t Matter Where You Studied …………………………………………………407A Free Market of Education ………………………………………………………………408 Co-Learning Spaces …………………………………………………………………………..414 It’s OK Not to Go to College ……………………………………………………………..416 8 Liberating the Arts: The Crisis of the Humanities ………………………………….420 It’s Harder for the Soft Sciences ………………………………………………………………420 The Diminution of the American Mind ……………………………………………………423 A Cry of Bloody Murder Born of Denial …………………………………………………..424 Why Did Students Stop Showing Up? ………………………………………………………434 A World Without Truth …………………………………………………………………………..439 Is Everything Relative? ………………………………………………………………………441 The Critical Science Oxymoron …………………………………………………………446 The Identity Ball ……………………………………………………………………………….454 A Flawed Correctness ………………………………………………………………………..456 Closed Political Club ………………………………………………………………………………459 Are academics leftists? ……………………………………………………………………….459 Intolerance in the Temple of Pluralism ………………………………………………466 Anti-Semitism and Hatred of Israel as a Test Case ……………………………….468 The Boundaries of Academic Discussion …………………………………………….474 The Cumulative Image Damage from Radicalism ……………………………….478 Do the Humanities Have a Right to Exist in Their Current Format? ………….482 9 The Lost Paradise: The Crisis of the Academic Career ……………………………489 Falling in Love with Academia …………………………………………………………………489 The Illusion of Discovery ………………………………………………………………………..491 The Illusion of a Job ……………………………………………………………………………….492 Advanced Studies ……………………………………………………………………………..492 Between Student and Advisor …………………………………………………………….494 The Thesis and Its Review ………………………………………………………………….495 Is It Worth the Effort? ……………………………………………………………………….497 Why Are Moths Attracted to the Flame? ……………………………………………..504 The Social Price of the Surplus of Doctoral Students …………………………..505 The Illusion of Stability …………………………………………………………………………..507 All or Nothing …………………………………………………………………………………..507 Abolishing Tenure …………………………………………………………………………….511 The Illusion of Sabbatical Leave ………………………………………………………………513 The Illusion of Wages ……………………………………………………………………………..515 The Illusion of Promotion ………………………………………………………………………518Non-Hierarchical Hierarchy ………………………………………………………………518 The Bureaucracy of Rank ………………………………………………………………….520 Donning Wigs, Raising Eyebrows, and Arguing Over Nothing ……………..522 Professional Bribery, Intrigue and Shady deals ……………………………………534 The Illusion of Gender Equality ………………………………………………………………536 The Feminist Revolution Gears Down ………………………………………………..536 Hidden Gaps …………………………………………………………………………………….538 Research is Fun. Kids—Not as Much ………………………………………………….542 The Illusion of Peace of Mind …………………………………………………………………544 The Illusion of Reputation ………………………………………………………………………547 The Future of the Academic Career …………………………………………………………549 10 The End of the Age of Academia: A General Diagnosis and Prognosis ………551 The Lies and Denial ……………………………………………………………………………….551 On the Verge of Financial Bankruptcy ……………………………………………………..552 On the Verge of Moral Bankruptcy ………………………………………………………….555 On the Verge of Scientific Bankruptcy ……………………………………………………..556 On the Verge of Managerial Bankruptcy ………………………………………………….557 On the Verge of Educational Bankruptcy …………………………………………………558 Scientific Research in Academia—Trends and Recommendations …………….560 Publicly Owned, Not Privately Owned, Scientific Publications ……………..560 Mass Review, Not Judgment by the Few ………………………………………………561 Rankings Based on the Book, Not the Cover ………………………………………563 Self-Evident Greatness, Not Obsolete Status Symbols …………………………..563 Higher Education—Trends and Recommendations ………………………………….564 Zoom Out to Online Courses (Amid the Coronavirus Crisis) ………………564 Many Courses from Many Sources ……………………………………………………..570 Wallet-of-Expertise, Not Broad Academic Degree ……………………………….572 Subsidizing Learners, Not Institutions ………………………………………………..573 Autonomous Learners, Not Patronizing Teachers ……………………………….575 Getting Practical Education, Not A Symbolic Diploma ………………………..576 A Real Discussion of Core Curriculum, Not Loose and Sloppy General Education ……………………………………………………………577 Learning Spaces Around Town, Not a Closed Campus ………………………..578 Intermediate Guide for the Perplexed ……………………………………………….578 Tearing Down the University Conglomerate …………………………………………….579 Separating the Professor from the Scientist ………………………………………..579 Separating Teaching from Evaluation …………………………………………………581 The Next Generation of Science ………………………………………………………..582A Market for Education and a Market for Research …………………………….582 An Updated Model for Science Funding …………………………………………….586 Reinforcing Basic Research ……………………………………………………………….587 The Crisis in Academia as an Expression of the Crisis in American Culture ..589 Point of No Return …………………………………………………………………………………591 Endnotes ……………………………………………………………………………………………………..597
Landscape-altering shockwaves are a feature not only of nature, but are also found in human society. The source of the powerful energy propelling them is nearly always the bursting on the scene of a new technology which dwarfs whatever came before. It rapidly changes entrenched social patterns, and leads us to a crossroads characterized by a mixture of desperation and hope, conservatism and innovation, passivity and activity – and especially instability and uncertainty. Charles Dickens best described such sociological circumstances in his classic historical novel “A Tale of Two Cities” (1859): “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us”.1 Bizarrely, almost mystically, the Hebrew edition of this book came out about a week before the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis. While the publisher’s PR department was distributing copies to the media, most Israeli citizens were placed under home quarantine and bookstores, like nearly all other establishments, remained deserted. The book could, of course, be delivered or purchased in digital versions, but by this stage no one was thinking of buying anything other than food, medicine or toilet paper. But what was initially perceived as a bad case of the author’s curse quickly turned into a blessing in disguise, or more accurately, a reinforcement of thebook’s thesis on academia. It promptly became apparent that the forced quarantine, which kept millions in their homes and forced them to increase their use of digital media, was about to become a particle accelerator for the accessibility and flexibility which is revolutionizing how we are provided service, how we work, and how we study. In fact, everything we had predicted for the future of science and higher education now seems on the brink of fulfillment, and at a much faster pace than we expected. The fact that institutions of higher education were forced to turn around and immediately make the switch to online studies turned the spotlight on our book. It was covered extensively by Israeli media and, despite the impaired market, quickly became a bestseller. In mid-May, we were invited by the Council of Higher Education in Israel to give an online lecture on the book to the directors of all organizations devoted to the advancement of teaching in Israeli institutions. A short while later, the Universities of Tel Aviv and Haifa held an online panel on the book and the changes expected in academia following the coronavirus crisis. The Haifa panel included a Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry, the president of a technological college, and one of the most prominent authors in Israel, who is also a professor in the humanities. While we were writing a book on the fall of academia, never in our wildest dreams would we have expected that the book would be received by way of webinars attended by hundreds— gatherings at which no one would need any convincing that we are entering a new era for science and education. Academia—named after the Athenian hero Academus—was born in ancient Greece as a meeting point for lectures (historians unanimously agree that this is where Plato spoke with his students), but only in the 17th century did the ancient term turn into a common phrase among European scholars. With time, it became a generalizing synonym for the mechanisms of science and higher education in the modern age. The development of academia from ancient times until today is a fascinating evolutionary story, encompassing continents, nations and cultures. It is a relay race of the human spirit which has launched humanity towards immense achievements. But success is not invulnerable, and that which has worked in the past will not necessarily work in the future—especially when a substitute is found. Few in our day are able to imagine a world without institutions of higher education, but remember that in the not-so-distant past, no one could imagine soldiers without swords, farmers without horses, or mail without paper. People are able to comprehend and digest small changes in their lives, but find it difficult to accept the idea that even those basic and established arrangementswhich they have always taken for granted will one day disappear. Universities are somewhat taken for granted by many of us. We live in a time that has seen a rapid rise in the percentage of academics among the general population, a consistent improvement in quality of life and lifespan, and an explosion of innovations and inventions. It seems that science is more successful than ever, and that higher education is blossoming. But this picture is misleading. Global academia is in the throes of its broadest crisis yet. It is an economic, intellectual, organizational, moral, and educational crisis, and it is not a malfunction or some kind of temporary failure. The traditional university model, with roots in the Middle Ages, is in advanced stages of erosion and is sending off distress signals because it, like other traditional models in our times, is being subjected to structural changes. We are in the midst of a period of immense change, in which the old is no longer suitable and a substitute, born of dynamics of friction, is in its infancy. Although the crisis in higher education is the focus of conversation in the academic community, and has engendered an endless array of papers, reports and books on the issue, its true dimensions and its dramatic consequences are hidden from most of the public, and in truth, from most of the world’s scientists and professors as well. Academia is still deep in denial, misleading itself and the public, and is therefore finding it difficult to understand the true nature of things, and to reach educated and resolute decisions. The purpose of this book is to put the puzzle pieces together to form a panoramic overview of the state of higher education worldwide. However, this is not only a critical essay, meant to open eyes to the dawning of a new era, but also an optimistic projection, and in some ways, a recommendation for a rejuvenating model of research and education suitable for the 21st century. The human race is fast approaching a historical turning point in which the academic bubble will be burst wide open, institutions of higher education will lose their monopoly, and a scientific career will look much different than it does now. Before we get into the thick of things, we must emphasize a few points for our readers: This book deals with the most common and prominent phenomena in academia around the world, especially in leading scientific countries, and not with the nuances which uniquely characterize each nation and institution. The many footnotes and endnotes woven throughout the book include not only references for the data and insights contained in the text, but also professional literature meant to expand the reader’s view. In this sense, thebook also serves as a collection of important sources for any discussion of the current and future state of academia. Our book is fairly expansive compared to standard nonfiction (and we apologize to our readers for that), but it’s not that, to paraphrase the great Mark Twain, we would write you a shorter book but we didn’t have the time. In fact, it is just the opposite. After a research and writing process which took up three years, we tried to summarize as much as we could for our readers the complex landscape of a complex system in a complex time. Each chapter deals with a different aspect of the academic ecosystem, and an omission of any one of these would have caused us to stray further from the goal. Furthermore, because there is a sort of grave “indictment” here, we felt compelled to anchor it in as wide a range as possible of evidence, and to present arguments from different angles. But there is another reason for the expansiveness of the text. Most of the public—including a large proportion of scientists—is not familiar, or only partially familiar, with the meandering mechanism of global academia. The creaks in the old system cannot be comprehended, nor can the necessity of changing the system, without first understanding its basic principles. Therefore, we devoted more than a few pages in each chapter for an overview of this kind. This book is thus also an ethnographic document for those interested in the behind-the-scenes workings of academia. The comprehensive overview we have put together is based on thousands of sources: papers, books, surveys, reports, informational websites, discussion platforms, and blogs. In order to get a sense of the field and hone our insights, we have interviewed 212 academics of various levels of seniority and from a number of countries: Israel, the United States, England, Scotland, Australia, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Greece, Japan and Taiwan. Most of those interviewed requested that they remain anonymous, and we therefore decided not to use any names. Here we must note: the fear held by many faculty members, including senior academics, of exposing themselves is a symptom of the grim state of academia. We hope that a time will come in which scientists and lecturers will feel safe to freely express themselves regarding any and all problems and difficulties in their workplace. During our visits to campuses around the world, we also spoke with many students, who added insights from the point of view of those doing the studying. We compounded these observations with those collected a few years earlier during our research on Generation Y in Israel. This study of theyounger generation, published in 2016, made waves and stirred a wide-ranging debate among the general public, as well as in academia (the English version of the book was published in 2019).2 For us, this book was a grueling and complicated journey. We made an effort to base our diagnosis and prognosis on as wide an infrastructure as possible of data (which was not always available or complete), but nothing is over yet. Naturally, some errors, inaccuracies, and omissions were committed. We would be grateful for any comments and additions by readers, and we will do our best to include these in the next edition. Either way, we see the book as fertile ground for a debate on an issue whose significance to society, and to all of humanity, is hard to underestimate. A personal note in conclusion: we feel very lucky that we have gotten the opportunity to be citizens in a democratic country which encourages critical debate, and to work at a scientific institution which allows free research. But by the same token, we are heartbroken that in the current state of global academia, it is highly doubtful that younger researchers, without a tenured position and under pressure to publish as fast as they can, would dare take such a project upon themselves. We hope our book contributes to changing this reality.
In 2015, IAM wrote that Dr. Tom Pessah is an outlier even by the standards of radical Israeli faculty. He is a veteran professional activist who tends to sport a Keffiyeh during public events. Pessah’s Ph.D. thesis from Berkeley University was titled “Backgrounding: The meaning of cleansing in Israel/Palestine, 1948”. He is an ardent BDS activist and a supporter of a binational state, as he detailed in “Who’s Afraid of the Right of Return?”
Pessah is the chairperson of Zochrot, an organization dedicated to the Palestinian right of return. Of late, Pessach is the book review editor of the Tel Aviv University academic journal Israeli Sociology and also sometimes lectures at the Sociology and Anthropology at TAU.
IAM also reported that Pessah has pursued postdoctoral positions at the Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University and has taught two courses: “Ethnicity and ‘Race’ – A Global Perspective” at the Sociology and Anthropology Department at Ben-Gurion University; and “Violence and Politics – Selected Topics” at the Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University. Between 2017 to 2019 He was a fellow at a Van Leer Institute Jerusalem project.
Pessah often promotes his extremist political ideology. In 2016 he organized a conference for Zochrot “Third International Conference on the Return of Palestinian Refugees,” where he wrote, “Zochrot works to promote recognition and responsibility-taking by Jewish Israeli society for its part in the ongoing Nakba and realize the return of Palestinian refugees as the necessary redress of the Nakba.”
Pessah was the recipient of the Morris Ginsberg fellowship in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for 2014-5. The Fellowship was created through a grant of Morris Ginsberg, an eminent British-Jewish sociologist, to nurture postdoctoral students specializing in cutting edge research. Unfortunately, it was used to finance Pessah’s activism with Zochrot.
Pessah’s endorsement of BDS is clear. In 2010, a bill in “Support of UC Divestment from War Crimes,” was co-authored by Pessah. On October 29, 2018, in a teach-in at the University of Michigan, titled “What is BDS? And Why Does it Matter?” Pessah spoke as an expert on the BDS movement, where he said: “BDS has been a model of solidarity from my knowledge of participation in the movement… You see many Palestinians, many Jews, many Israelis working side by side, acknowledging the rights of Palestinians.”
In an article published by Zochrot, “Imagining Return” in 2012, Pessah reveals something of his motivation. The piece was “Dedicated to my comrades in Students for Justice in Palestine.” He explained that “I get regularly hugged by Palestinians. Not everyone hates us … I have Palestinian friends: they cook for me; they laugh at my jokes; we gossip; they burn discs for me; we get all mushy and cheesy with each other.” IAM often reported how Israeli academic-activists have been recruited by Palestinians. Israeli universities should not tolerate BDS activists among their ranks. The Minister of Higher Education, Zeev Elkin, should look into this matter.
Founded in 1998, Israeli Sociology is published in Hebrew twice yearly. The journal serves as a platform for local studies, yet in dialogue with sociological scholarship around the world. The journal encourages a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches, in line with the heterogeneity of the discipline. It further offers a platform for debating the sociological research agenda in general and the sociological reality in Israel in particular. The journal also includes an extensive book-review section that allows readers a wide-range view of the Israeli social scene. Israeli Sociology was founded by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel-Aviv University, and is supported by the Institute for Social Research (established by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University) and by the Israeli Sociological Society.
Political sociologist Michael Mann posits the existence of a relationship between democracy in settler states and the massive cleansing of indigenous groups. The connection, according to Mann, is that these democracies represented settlers who shared a consensual ideology that denigrated indigenous groups and justified their cleansing. Through a series of comparisons between several settler democracies: California in 1860, Colorado in 1864, Queensland (Australia) between the 1860s and the 1880s, New Zealand in the 1860s, and Israel in 1948, I show that these settler societies were more ideologically diverse than Mann and others claim, and therefore more prone to internal disagreements. To overcome this diversity, the initiators of the cleansing used indiscriminate violence towards indigenous groups but were forced to present their actions as discriminate before state officials: they used one type of classification to overshadow another. This was a crucial condition for securing state resources for large-scale operations that caused massive deaths and displacement of indigenous groups. It also served to enhance the economic resources and status of the perpetrators both in relation to these groups and in relation to rivals within the settler society. In addition, the state’s representation of the cleansing has long-reaching effects on the legal status of indigenes and their lands and on the official narration of this history. The empirical chapters describe struggles within these democratic settler societies showing that securing the representation of the cleansing was crucial to its execution. The chapters on California, Colorado, and Queensland rely upon the protocols of investigative committees set up after episodes of costly state-sponsored violence. New Zealand is described through secondary sources. The chapter on Israel discusses the army’s operational orders, as well as interviews conducted with veterans, which can help us reconstruct how official representations were interpreted by actors on the ground.
The Settler Colonialism and Resistance Group met throughout 2017-2019to discuss a new understanding of the relations between the Zionist settlers and the local Arab-Palestinian population. In the first year the group discussed theoretical texts and the early work of its participants. In the second year the group focused on presentations of original research with the aim of publishing a collection of articles.
Lev Grinberg, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Daniel DeMalach, Sapir Academic College
Gadi Algazi Khaled Anabtawi Avishai Ehrlich Hanna Herzog Alexandre (Sandy) Kedar Jacob (Kobi) Metzer Mansour Nasasra Tom Pessah Areej Sabbagh-Khoury Oren Shlomo Na’aman Tal Erez Tzfadia Himmat Zu’bi
ספא אבורביעה, רמי אדוט, נעמה בן זאב, נאור בן יהוידע, שני בר און, יפעת גוטמן, דפנה הירש, מנאר חסן, בועז לב טוב, ראודה מורקוס-מח’ול, בני נוריאלי, רגב נתנזון, אריז’ סבאע’-ח’ורי, יובל עברי, תום פסח, טלי פפרמן, סמדר שרוןשתף דף זה:
על אודות בשלושת העשורים האחרונים חלה בין האנתרופולוגיה להיסטוריה התקרבות שמתבטאת בכמות הולכת וגדלה של עבודות המשתמשות במקביל בכלים מחקריים של שתי הדיסציפלינות. המפגש בין ההיסטוריה לאנתרופולוגיה עשוי לבוא לידי ביטוי בשימוש במתודות פרשניות מתחום האנתרופולוגיה לניתוח תופעות היסטוריות; בחקירת קהילות מסוימות שהתקיימו בעבר, ושבאמצעותן אפשר לבחון “שאלות גדולות” (כגון היחס בין מבנה חברתי לפעולה, טיבו של הכוח הפוליטי, דפוסים של יחסים חברתיים וכיוצא באלה); ובמחקר אנתרופולוגי המעמיד במרכזו תהליך שינוי היסטורי, או המבקש להבין תהליכים חברתיים המתרחשים בהווה דרך חקר שורשיהם ההיסטוריים. על אף התפתחות זו, המפגש בין האנתרופולוגיה להיסטוריה כמעט לא נתן את אותותיו בשדה האקדמי הישראלי. מטרת הקבוצה לפתח כלים למחקר ההיסטוריה החברתית, התרבותית והפוליטית של המרחב הישראלי-פלסטיני, הנשענים על נקודות המפגש שבין האנתרופולוגיה להיסטוריה. העמדה המחקרית שאנו מבקשים לפתח מקדמת הקשבה לסיפורי חיים, מתן תשומת לב לפרקטיקות יומיומיות וליחסים בין דמויות וקהילות, וניסיון לעמוד על האופנים השונים והמשתנים שבהם הן מבינות את המציאות ומייצרות אותה כחלק ממשא ומתן מתמשך המתנהל בינן לבין המדינה וסוכניה. באמצעות עמדה זו אנו מבקשים לנסח אלטרנטיבה ל”לאומיות המתודולוגית” הרווחת, ולתרום הן לפיתוח הכלים התיאורטיים והמתודולוגיים העומדים לרשותנו והן לדיון הציבורי.
https://zochrot.org/en/article/54388 Imagining Return Dedicated to my comrades in Students for Justice in Palestine By: Tom Pessah 10/2012 Tom Pessah (on the left) with Zochrot at The Human Rights March in Tel Aviv 2012
I should have taken your email! People were all around us at the rally, shouting and singing, I really wanted to talk to someone but I didn’t notice how well you were listening, how you had patience to talk to me and read the flyer I was distributing. You had a red beard and skullcap, and a blue shirt with “Israeli Peace” on it. I wore the black shirt of Students for Justice in Palestine.
You read my flyer and asked me, “where it says in 1967 Israel occupied more territories populated by Palestinians, what do you mean by ‘more’? Are you saying Israel of 1948 was also conquered”?
I know what you are really asking: do “we people” recognize “your” right to exist, or… you know, want to throw you into the sea?
Dude, I’m an Israeli Jew, just like you! I don’t want to throw any Israelis into the sea, honestly. I’m a horrible swimmer and I have asthma, so although the sea in Tel Aviv is warmer than around here, I’d rather just look at the waves, maybe dip in my toes once in a while. Besides, the sea gets polluted: throwing people in could be dangerous!
But because I am Israeli, I know where you’re coming from. This question is one of our formulas, isn’t it? The ones we use when people tell us they were displaced in 1948, and we get really scared. You know them all by heart, don’t you? “These things happen in wars”; “If they had won they would have done the same”; “If they hadn’t rejected the partition plan in 1947, it wouldn’t have happened”; “the Arab states should have done more for them”, etc., etc.
I’ve tried not using those formulas and just listening to Palestinians telling me the place they are from, the place they can’t return to. I’ve tried looking at them straight in the eye when they say it, without responding. I feel so nervous it makes me sick in the stomach. I cringe. I feel like I’m going to explode.
Because when I look them in the eye, it stops being “us and “them”. For one moment, I wonder what if I was “them”. In Lydda, Yitzhak Rabin drove them out, firing shots above their heads; he tells the story in his memoirs. In Al-Majdal, which is Ashkelon today, they were loaded onto trucks after the fighting ended, and dumped on the other side of the border. In Jaffa they really were driven into the sea, under bombardment. Children were lost in the waves as their families fled to Gaza in fishing boats (did you know that? It was we who threw them into the sea, not the other way round!). And then we took all of their property and they stayed refugees, for sixty years. For sixty years!
Now they are here, and here are their children, looking at me, straight in the eye. Do you see why we are so scared?
But they are just looking at me, actually they are smiling. You may not believe me, but I get regularly hugged by Palestinians. Not everyone hates us, Aryeh (I think you said that was your name?). I have Palestinian friends: they cook for me; they laugh at my jokes; we gossip; they burn discs for me; we get all mushy and cheesy with each other.
Yeah, don’t tell me: maybe my friends are nice, but how can I generalize? What about all the suicide bombers, all those photos of little babies dressed with weapons, don’t “they” teach their children to hate us? And then I could quote you some surveys about attitudes to Israel and willingness to compromise, and there we go, straight back to cliché-land.
Let’s go another way, and look at that fear again. A lot of it has got to do with this Right of Return thing. What do you imagine when you think of it? For a long time I was too scared to even try to picture it, but when I did, the first image that came up was from the Westerns I watched as a kid: the Indians swarming down the hills, shrieking, shooting arrows or whatever weapon people use nowadays: The attack of the barbarians.
But maybe imagine something different: a plane landing in Ben-Gurion airport with some “new immigrants” from the refugee camps in Lebanon. This really pompous politician is out to greet them, smiling from ear to ear. The first refugee comes down the steps and shakes people’s hands. The politician uses some fancy clichés, welcoming them to their homeland. These cute kids, third graders, are standing in line, with huge bouquets of flowers, too big for them to hold, pointing at the refugees who just got off the plane, looking a bit dazed by the strong sunlight and the humidity. And then some representative from the Ministry of the Interior goes up and gets their details. She’ll be calling them tomorrow about arrangements, where to go to from the hostel, when they can learn Hebrew, she’ll give them the contact information of the organizations that have volunteered to help them. And welcome back home, by the way.
There, isn’t that a nicer image than the previous one? But you think I’m totally crazy, don’t you? Don’t I realize the implications? What about the demographic balance? What about the Jewish nature of the state? What about all we have built over the last sixty years? Don’t Jews need a safe haven? And our right for self-determination?
So the options you are giving me, Aryeh, are these: we could get to keep our right for self-determination, our safe haven, my favorite bookshop-cafe in Rabin square in Tel Aviv, the songs my mother likes to hear on the radio on the holidays, our wonderful Hebrew slang, our “dugri” directness and our weather (well, maybe not our weather, at least not in August). But then I need to look my Palestinian friends in the eye and tell them: no matter how much you miss your homeland, you are never going back. Not you, not your parents, not your children, not your grandchildren, nor your grandchildren’s grandchildren. We got to miss the Holy Land for two thousand years, but you’re not Jewish, so you will never ever be allowed to return.
Or, we could completely destroy Israel, raze everything to the ground. Bring bulldozers, knock down all the beautiful buildings of Tel Aviv University, the mounds of grass, the corner outside the Arts building where students and teachers smoke weed together, the little frame-shaped sculpture that overlooks the sea, the café outside the university with the hot Moroccan shakshuka, we can knock down all of these and turn the university back into Sheikh Muwwanis, and let the refugees live in the village that was there before.
And you’re saying these are the only two possibilities. Seriously? Is that the best we Jews can come up with? We, the People of the Book? With Einstein and all our Nobel prize winners? With our Ladino love songs and marvelous Yiddish curses? With all of our films, winning prizes at every festival? Our thousands of years of poetry, from the Song of Songs to Amichai and Yonah Volach? The agricultural innovations we export to the whole world? Are you seriously suggesting that these two miserable options are the best we can think of? Why, I find that almost offensive. Aren’t we a little bit smarter than that?
Do I have a solution? I do have some ideas, but what I really want is to get people talking. I want to hear Palestinians telling us what they miss most, where they would like to live, what they would want it to be like. And we could tell them what is important to us, what we have learned over the last sixty years. It’s like two flatmates about to move in together – where shall we put the couch? What time do you get up in the morning? Oh no! Do you snore? Don’t waste all of that hot water in the shower! Those are the conversations we need to be having.
Now you really think I’m nuts, don’t you? We could be talking millions of people here, it’s a huge upheaval, where will we put them all?
The short answer is – we’ve done it before. Every time a wave of Jewish immigrants came to Israel, people said it would never work, there would be no room, everyone will starve. But we managed, somehow. This is no different. In fact, we’re stronger and more experienced now.
And the longer answer is that the reason this seems unimaginable is simply because of our fear. That fear has deep roots: Jews and Israelis have definitely been attacked and hurt, time and time again. It’s through this fear that we tend to think we are dealing with some kind of virus that must be kept in isolation. But Palestinians are human beings, and they deserve to be treated that way. We really could try and do that for a change, instead of forcing them to the other side of the border, setting up walls and checkpoints and prisons, and pretending any of that is a solution.
To truly overcome fear, reading this letter won’t be enough. What you need to do is to hang out with some of my Palestinian friends, see them celebrating Hanukka and Passover with us, stuff grapeleaves with them, all of that mushiness I was referring to earlier. You have no idea how much fun it is: let me know when you’re coming. Trust me, you’ll enjoy it! Just give it a try.
SOAS Academic Board Manipulated by Pro-Palestinian Activists
A Hebrew University program teaching Hebrew to students from SOAS London University was terminated due to pressure from pro-Palestinian groups. Behind the termination is Dr. Yair Wallach, the chair of the Jewish Studies at SOAS, and Dr. Tamar Drukker, a Hebrew lector who both succumbed to Palestinian pressure.
Wallach was trying to conceal his role in the termination, but the protocols of the Academic Board meetings reveal he provided the Board with false and politically motivated information.
In a recent exchange of Tweets with Pinsker Center, a pro-Israel student group in the UK, Wallach accused the Pinsker Centre of circulating unfounded rumors. A day before, Pinsker Center Tweeted that “It has been reported that @SOAS has bowed down to student pressure, and terminated its relationship with @HebrewU. Why should pressure from a minority fringe of activists deprive other students of the opportunity to enrich themselves at a world class institution in Israel?” Wallach responded that he was “disappointed” to see such “unfounded rumors,” claiming that “SOAS’s Year Abroad agreement with the Hebrew University ended as planned. SOAS signed a new agreement with Haifa University. Decision made on academic reasons. That’s it.” He added that the “Programs in both universities are excellent. We chose what seemed to us more suitable.”
Obviously, Wallach was unaware that the Palestinian group “Apartheid Off Campus” was claiming victory for this termination.
Unfortunately, Wallach was not telling the truth. In both January and March 2019, the Academic Board of SOAS convened to discuss the ‘Hebrew Year Abroad.’ Wallach prepared the reports for the two Board meetings, along with Dr. Tamar Drukker, his colleague from Jewish studies. The report is supportive of the Year Abroad program, “The premise of the Year Abroad is to allow students to study the language in an immersive environment, where they encounter it not only in language classes. This is the pedagogical value and logic of the Year Abroad.”
However, Wallach and Drukker informed the Board that “The main objection raised in the case of the Hebrew University is that the campus is on occupied territory.” Because “the campus’s periphery extends into occupied territory (part of the dormitory as well as the sports center). The main campus is not on occupied land (neither the Rothberg institute nor any other Hebrew University teaching facility). EU policy, according to the EU embassy in Israel, is to consider Mt. Scopus Campus as within the 1967 lines, that is, within “Israel proper,” and not to see the campus as located on occupied territory.”
Surprisingly, while Wallach and Drukker announced that Hebrew University is not situated on “occupied land,” they still proposed “two alternative options,” for teaching Hebrew – at the Palestinian Territories universities of Bir Zeit and al-Quds.
The report by Wallach and Drukker stated that “In Bir Zeit, which is in the Palestinian occupied territories, Hebrew is taught as a foreign language. Otherwise, teaching is conducted in Arabic or English.” This was not sufficient because students would have limited exposure to Hebrew. “In that sense, there is no point in sending them on a year abroad in the first place.” The second option was the Al-Quds university. “Teaching in al-Quds is conducted in Arabic, and again, Hebrew would be taught as a foreign language, which defeats the purpose of the year abroad. However, given al-Quds’s location in Jerusalem, at least students would have exposure to Hebrew. Depending on the quality of the program, and how it is tailored and organized, we would have considered such an option, had it existed.” But, according to the report, “there is no Hebrew program advertised in al-Quds. There is no mention of any Hebrew tuition in al-Quds’s website. We have emailed al-Quds to express our interest and to ask if they offer Hebrew, but have not received reply.” The report concluded that “Unfortunately, these are not viable options.”
Wallach and Drukker provided the Academic Board with a misleading proposal as if it was possible to teach Hebrew at Palestinian universities, that are in fact, no-go areas for Israelis. To recall, Amira Hass, the Haaretz pro-Palestinian journalist was asked to leave a conference at Bir-Zeit University, and so was Professor Ilan Pappe, because they were Israelis.
The report states that the proposal to teach Hebrew in Palestinian universities was made by Sai Englert. Dr. Simon (Sai) Englert is a BDS activist and an anti-Zionist Jew who currently teaches at Leiden University in the Netherlands. He is a socialist-activist who completed his Ph.D. at SOAS in 2018. He researches the changing relationship between the labor movement and the state in Israel under neoliberalism. Englert was recorded on a 5 minutes video discussing how anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism and how the dispute with the Palestinians is all Israel’s fault. In 2017 Englert was quoted by the BBC as a Jewish Ph.D. student at SOAS and a member of the university’s Palestine Society, who said: “The idea that somehow supporting BDS, supporting boycott etc is a blanket boycott on individuals I think is very dangerous. It’s not. “It’s about saying ‘we don’t want institutional links, economic links, political links with institutions, governments, companies that are complicit in attacks on rights’.”
This is not surprising, Wallach is a long-standing political activist, he should not have taught Israel Studies at SOAS. For example, he has little appreciation for Israeli Ambassadors. When Israeli ambassador Mark Regev was invited to speak at SOAS, Wallach responded, “I was not in favor of the invitation… Ambassador Regev is not a scholar or a public intellectual. He is a PR speaker representing the viewpoint of his government… but the intellectual value of an address by an official state spokesperson is questionable. This is why I saw little merit in the event. I declined to chair the talk, and advised the organizers to reconsider it.”
Clearly, the SOAS Academic Board has been led by the nose by these pro-Palestinian activists. This is not the first time that Palestinians recruit Israelis and Jews in their war against Israel. British Universities should not allow radical-political activists to manipulate their decision-making.
https://twitter.com/YairWallach/status/1290958596960903176 Yair Wallach @YairWallach Aug 5 Disappointing to see the @PinskerCentre circulate unfounded rumours. SOAS’s Year Abroad agreement with the Hebrew University ended as planned. SOAS signed a new agreement with Haifa University. Decision made on academic reasons. That’s it.
The Pinsker Centre @PinskerCentre Aug 4 It has been reported that @SOAS has bowed down to student pressure, and terminated its relationship with @HebrewU. Why should pressure from a minority fringe of activists deprive other students of the opportunity to enrich themselves at a world class institution in Israel? 1:31 PM · Aug 5, 2020·
Yair Wallach @YairWallach Aug 5 Replying to @YairWallach Programmes in both universities are excellent. We chose what seemed to us more suitable. Year Abroad is suspended due to COVID, will resume in 2021-22.
Oxford and other top British universities under fire for sending students to illegal Israeli settlements
Amnesty says the universities are “actively linking themselves to a whole system of illegality, discrimination and exploitation”. Adam RamsayWalid El Houri 3 August 2020
Leading British universities have been accused of “actively linking themselves to a system of illegality, discrimination and exploitation” by participating in the illegal occupation of East Jerusalem, openDemocracy can reveal.
The institutions, including the universities of Oxford, Manchester, and Leeds, run exchange schemes with The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. As part of the programme, students usually stay in halls of residence in a Palestinian area of Jerusalem illegally occupied by Israeli settlers.
Commenting on universities who take part in the scheme, one legal expert said “universities that believe in human rights, justice and the rule of law should refrain from being partners in projects that undermine international law and ignore the suffering of the victims”.
Munir Nuseibah, assistant professor at the faculty of law at Al Quds University, the Palestinian university in Jerusalem, added: “By participating in this exchange, the universities… disregard the international consensus that East Jerusalem is occupied and that its annexation by Israel is contrary to international law.”
The leading human rights organisation Amnesty International also criticised the universities, saying they are “actively linking themselves to a whole system of illegality, discrimination and exploitation”.
Kristyan Benedict, Amnesty’s crisis response campaign manager, added: “We’ve been calling for all businesses to cease their operations in Israel’s settlements and the parallels here are stark – a student village is little different to a settlement in its illegality if it’s been built on stolen land.”
‘I felt betrayed’
Speaking to openDemocracy on condition of anonymity, one student who took part in a year abroad scheme arranged by his British university described his shock at discovering that the accommodation provided for him was in occupied East Jerusalem.
“I really resented being used as a tool for the legitimisation of the occupation”, he said.
Rob Abrams, a British Jewish graduate from a summer programme at the Rothberg International School, which is part of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said: “I felt like I’d been lied to. I felt very betrayed. I was on a programme where we focussed on supposed coexistence, but there we were on land that, under international law, is an illegal occupation.”
The land in question is Al Samar, which belonged to the village of Lefta and today is referred to as the ‘French Hill’ settlement and hosts the university’s Student Village. This land, and the surroundings of the university in general, have been a site of contention between the Palestinian inhabitants and the university for decades.
The university has expanded by dispossessing Palestinians of territory, according to experts who have studied the campus. A strategy of policing Palestinians in the surroundings while keeping a pretence of fostering “community relations” has accompanied the expansion, they say.
openDemocracy has spoken to a number of students who have stayed in the student village, who confirmed that residents at the accommodation included students from SOAS, Leeds, and the University of Birmingham, all of whom advertise exchange programmes with the Hebrew University.
The Universities of Durham and Manchester, and University College London offer exchanges with the Hebrew University, and specifically advertise its student village on their websites, despite it being on occupied territory.
The University of Oxford, Queen Mary’s, University of London, and Trinity and University Colleges in Dublin also advertise years abroad at Hebrew University, but don’t specify on their websites what accommodation is available to students on these programmes, though students who have spent time at the Hebrew University have said that the overwhelming majority of students on years abroad from all universities stay at the student village, and therefore on occupied territory.
More than one student who had studied at the Hebrew University described the conditions on the campus as “segregation”.
“The truth is that Israeli, Palestinian and international students barely interact. The majority of Palestinian students are there at times of the year that there really aren’t that many Israeli students around,” said Rob Abrams.
“There’s a lot of suspicion and security in between the campus and the Palestinian villages around it. Soldiers regularly harass Palestinans near the student accommodation to keep them segregated and away from… the student village.
A Black student who had attended the university as part of her dance course at a US university also described the living conditions as “segregation”. She added that it was on a tour of the campus after she arrived that she was shown the fenced-off Palestinian area next to the campus.
Speaking to openDemocracy, she said she felt her university hadn’t properly prepared her for the highly racialised context to which it was sending her.
“My Black sisters had some experiences that were traumatic personally,” she said, describing being spat at and stoned in an Orthodox area of Jerusalem.
Another former student we spoke to said that a far-right student group on campus harassed him after he spoke out about the situation.
Palestinian SOAS student Yara Derbas, who is a member of the campaign group Apartheid Off Campus, accused the universities of “sending their students to directly take part in the maintenance of war crimes and normalise relationships with institutions which are rooted in the most brutal form of racism in our time: colonialism, apartheid and European supremacy.
“These programmes should have never been formed in the first place, and they must end immediately.”
More than a hundred students’ union officers have signed a letter condemning the exchange programmes.
In the letter, seen by openDemocracy, they draw a contrast between statements of support for the Black Lives Matter movement from universities and their involvement with Israeli institutions. It says: “It is an undisputed fact that UK universities are actively enabling Israel’s colonial policies against the indigenous people of Palestine.”
The letter continues “eleven UK universities maintain… exchange programmes with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which is not only partially built on illegally occupied land but is also openly and systematically racist against its Palestinian students and staff. Such partnerships effectively mean that many UK exchange students were housed in illegal settlements, contravening any ethical framework and International Law.”
Universities cancel programmes
When openDemocracy contacted the School of Oriental and African Studies to ask about its involvement in the scheme, a spokesperson said that the university had agreed to back out of its arrangement with the Hebrew University at the end of the 2019/20 academic year.
The spokesperson added: “As a result of concerns raised from the SOAS community, SOAS looked at the various options for Hebrew Year Abroad provision, and eventually it was agreed that we would move our provider to Haifa University after this coming academic year.”
The University of West London also responded to our inquiries by announcing that it had cancelled its partnership.
Commenting on these schemes being cancelled, Derbas added: “SOAS and UWL ceasing links with Hebrew University is a milestone in our academic boycott campaign, setting a precedent for other universities in the UK to break their links with Israel’s apartheid regime.”
However, a number of universities defended their schemes. Responding to questions from openDemocracy, a spokesperson for the University of Manchester said:
“These agreements are vital to delivering a world class learning experience to our students and to maintaining an international experience on campus. One of these agreements is with Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which is an internationally widely recognised institution in Israel which in turn has agreements across 27 countries.”
The university confirmed that it didn’t have a formal agreement with any Palestinian university.
Queen Mary, University of London, confirmed that two of its students have taken part in exchanges with The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, both in 2019, but added that it didn’t hold any information on the accommodation these students stayed in.
A spokesperson for the University of Birmingham said that it has “a robust due diligence process in place, which places student experience at its heart, when considering which partner institutions to work with to host study abroad students. We consider all issues in our review process for renewals and any continuation of agreements with our partners.”
A spokesperson from the University of Leeds said:
“[We have] more than 300 university partners worldwide – enabling [our] students to develop their skills and experience and enhance employability. One of these partnerships is with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
“Having been informed by a student, after their return to Leeds, of an issue relating to their accommodation, we are taking steps to discuss it with our partner university.”
Asked whether any of these partnerships were with Palestinian universities, Leeds confirmed that they weren’t.
Oxford University and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem did not respond to our request for comment.
Palestinian students behind bars
Meanwhile, Palestiniain students are facing what they have labelled a campaign of arrest by Israeli forces which have targeted more than eighty university and high-school students in the West Bank alone. A letter by the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association of North America addressed to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Brigadier General Rasan Alian, head of civil administration in the West Bank, describes the arrests as “a continuation of an undeclared but indisputable Israeli policy of targeting and disrupting Palestinian higher education”.
More recently, the Right to Education campaign at Birzeit University in the West Bank warned that “more than 80 detained students are exposed to an imminent danger as a result of the spread of Coronavirus inside Israeli prisons”, while the campaign of arrests of students continues.
Krystian Benedict from Amnesty International said: “Palestinian students face numerous obstacles in accessing education – including forced displacement, demolitions, restrictions on movement, attacks and harassment from Israeli settlers. UK universities must not contribute to a system of oppression which routinely violates the right to education of Palestinians.”
Student-led Palestinian rights group forces universities to break ties with illegal settlement
STUDENT campaigners claimed victory today after two universities pulled out of an exchange programme with a university on illegally occupied Palestinian land.
Soas and the University of West London (UWL) have both ended agreements with Israel’s Hebrew University of Jerusalem — partially built on occupied land in the east of the city.
They had come under pressure from the Apartheid Off Campus (AOC) campaign, which has accused British universities of “actively enabling Israel’s colonial policies against the indigenous people of Palestine.”
The programme has been offered at 11 institutions including the universities of Manchester, Oxford and Leeds.
As part of the exchange, British students usually stay in halls of residence in an illegally occupied area of East Jerusalem.
Some students who signed up for the year abroad were not told by their university that they would be staying in an illegal Israeli settlement, according to a report by Open Democracy.
AOC said that the expansion of the university’s Mount Scopus campus has driven the displacement of Palestinians from their land.
Soas announced that it will end its agreement with Hebrew University this year and move the programme to Haifa after concerns were raised by students.
“We decided that Haifa University offers a better option due to the structure of the programme and issues around students’ welfare,” a Soas statement said.
UWL also told Open Democracy that it was ending its involvement in the programme.
British universities have received a letter urging them to pull out of the programme, signed by 120 student union officers.
“Such partnerships effectively mean that many UK exchange students were housed in illegal settlements, contravening any ethical framework and international law,” it says.
But a number of universities, including Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds, have refused to break ties.
The University of Manchester told Open Democracy that its relationship with the Hebrew University is “vital to delivering a world-class learning experience to our students.”
AOC, which was launched in May this year, has vowed to continue mobilising students across the country until “all complicity with Israeli apartheid has ceased.
“It is unacceptable that UK students are sent to study on stolen land while the occupied population are denied their rights and freedom. Our recent victories show that,” it said.
Academic Board 13.03.2019 AB 18/19 4 F Appendix 1 The options for Hebrew Year Abroad provision AB is asked to approve the following Report Executive Summary ADC requested that the matter of Hebrew Year Abroad be referred to Academic Board for discussion. The Hebrew programme was asked to examine alternatives to the current arrangements with the Hebrew University. This document surveys the options for Year Abroad providers in Israel for the BA degrees in Hebrew and NME Studies. SOAS sends a small number of students each year to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Potential Hebrew schools were contacted by email and phone to ascertain the level of language provision and assistance they provide for students. This paper also provides a response to the counter-proposal sent in advance of the last Academic Board Sponsored by Ben Murtagh Recommendations & Next Steps The paper outlines a number of options based on teaching suitability, pastoral care and cost while noting political concerns. The Hebrew section recommends that we continue with the Hebrew University programme based on The suitability of the programme for our students and the degree of pastoral care offered. The best alternative to this is this Kibbutz Ulpan, there will be challenges in agreeing a programme that fits out students needs but there will be cost benefits. We have not yet visited Kibbutz Ulpan and if advised to seek an agreement with this provider a site visit would be necessary. The other non-university providers are seen as unsuitable for reasons explained in the paper. The Universities of Bir Zeit and al-Quds have also been considered but unfortunately these are not viable options. Academic Board should make a recommendation as to which provider the Hebrew programme should work with for future Hebrew Year Abroad provision. Financial Impact The Hebrew University Programme costs $12, 235 for a full year and $8,275 for half a year. Other university providers have a similar cost. Kibbutz Ulpan costs $1500 for half a year and $3000 for a full year. £750 has been budgeted (from SLCL) for any necessary visits to sites if directed to establish a relationship with a new provider. 48 Academic Board 13.03.2019 AB 18/19 4 F Appendix 1 Risks As with any Year Abroad programme the provision of pastoral care by the local provider is key in minimising a variety of risks that might affect student outcomes. The quality of the provision is essential in ensuring a good student learning experience. For these reasons we have focussed on these factors in assessing the suitability of potential providers. To choose a non-university provider other than Kibbutz Ulpan would increase risks in these two respects. In addition students there would be significant issues for students as they would be unable to apply for student visas with these providers. Equality implications Suitable pastoral care is only offered by the Universities and the Kibbutz Ulpan. To partner with a non-university partner which does not offer pastoral care would have implications for some students with specific learning, wellbeing and support needs. Consultations Providers listed in the paper have been consulted. 49 Academic Board 13.03.2019 AB 18/19 4 F Appendix 1 1 March 19 Survey of Year Abroad providers for the BA in Hebrew and Israeli Studies This document surveys the options for Year Abroad providers in Israel for the BA in Hebrew and Israeli Studies. SOAS sends a small number of students each year to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The Hebrew programme was asked to examine alternatives to the current arrangements with the Hebrew University. Potential Hebrew schools were contacted by email and phone to ascertain the level of language provision and assistance they provide for students. The main requirements from Year Abroad providers are on aspects of tuition, quality and pastoral care. At a minimum, providers should offer intensive courses of Hebrew instruction (Ulpan) of 4-6 weeks, followed by an academic term (or two) in levels suitable for our students. Some providers offer additional classes in English on non-language topics and themes, which is an advantage. Providers should provide adequate pastoral care for SOAS students, in welcoming the students and providing support and advice on a variety of issues, such as housing, mental health etc. Providers should offer assistance in obtaining student visas which would allow students one-year visa that would cover the period of study. Providers should have track record in teaching and looking after international students. The Alternative Proposal document mentioned two alternative options – the Universities of Bir Zeit and al-Quds. Unfortunately these are not viable options. The premise of the Year abroad is to allow students to study the language in an immersive environment, where they encounter it not only in language classes. This is the pedagogical value and logic of the Year Abroad. In Bir Zeit, which is in the Palestinian occupied territories, Hebrew is taught as a foreign language. Otherwise, teaching is conducted in Arabic or English. Therefore students would have very limited exposure to Hebrew, and they would not hear Hebrew spoken outside class, unless they travel especially to areas in Israel proper (which would be limited to weekends at best). In that sense, there is no point in sending them on a year abroad in the first place. The second option mentioned in the document was Al-Quds university. Teaching in a-Quds is conducted in Arabic, and again, Hebrew would be taught as a foreign language, which defeats the purpose of the year abroad. However, given al-Quds’s location in Jerusalem, at least students would have exposure to Hebrew. Depending on the quality of the programme, and how it is tailored and organised, we would have considered such an option, had it existed. But there is no Hebrew programme advertised in al-Quds. There is no mention of any Hebrew tuition in al-Quds’s website. We have emailed al-Quds to express our interest and to ask if they offer Hebrew, but have not received reply. We also requested more details from Sai Englert, the author of the proposal, but have not heard back. The options for the Hebrew Year Abroad are therefore outlines as below Current provider The Rothberg International School, The Hebrew University Jerusalem 50 Academic Board 13.03.2019 AB 18/19 4 F Appendix 1 Part of the Hebrew University, The Rothberg International School offers courses for overseas students since 1956. Currently has a student body of over 2000 students a year, from 90 countries. Students who go to Israel for the full-year take a summer intensive Hebrew course, followed by two academic semesters, in which they have between 8-12 hours of Hebrew instruction a week alongside other courses taught in English for them to choose. Students who do a Year Abroad between two countries come to Israel in January and do a four-week intensive Hebrew course before joining the other students for the spring semester. Students can apply for accommodation at university dorms, and receive pastoral care assistance 24/7. An emergency number is available for students at all hours. Registration for the programme entitles students to apply for a student visa. Cost: Full year: $12,235 Half year: $8,275 (discounted fees to SOAS students by agreement with the Rothberg International School) Alternative University providers offering a similar programme – 1. Ben Gurion University of the Negev Full year tuition $12,700 Half year: $8,700 Tuition Fees for all Semester or Year-Long Programs include weekly social activities, academic field trips, trips around Israel, access to the university sports center & health insurance. 2. Tel Aviv university Full year tuition: $12,950 Half year: $8,700 Program Trips, student activities, facility fees and health insurance are all included in the tuition fees quoted above. 3. Haifa University: Full year tuition: $12,300 Half year: $8,400 Foreign students registered for full time education in Israeli universities can get a student visa, valid for one year. Non university providers – different programme 51 Academic Board 13.03.2019 AB 18/19 4 F Appendix 1 The only non-University provider to meet SOAS minimum requirements, in terms of student support and pastoral care, is Kibbutz Ulpan – Ulpan Eztion Kibbutz Tzuba. This programme differs from university ones and does not easily correspond to UK academic year, and so would require special tailoring. This programme runs for 5 months, twice a year (starting in May or October). Students study Hebrew for 25 hours a week and work 24 hours a week, either in the kibbutz, or as interns in Jerusalem. They are not paid for their work, but are provided with free accommodation on the kibbutz, three meals a day, and there is pastoral care 24/7. The programme is aimed at university graduates, and the same language school also trains the British diplomatic staff in Israel. Students registered on this programme are eligible to apply for a student visa and the kibbutz movement hosting the programme can facilitate this procedure. Cost, for a five months programme 5500 NIS (approx. $1500) The dates for this programme do not correspond easily with our academic year. Based on a conversation with the manager, there is a possibility of making adjustments/changes, and requires further discussion. If this option is to be considered, a site visit would be required to confirm the conditions and teaching arrangement. Other language schools in Israel – unsuitable alternatives There are other potential Hebrew language schools in Israel, but they do not meet the requirements in terms of tuition and pastoral care. Most Hebrew Language teaching institutions are run by the Ministry of Education/Ministry of Absorption [of immigrants] and are mainly designated for new immigrants, not foreign students. There are some private Hebrew language teaching providers (ulpans), such as Ulpan Milah (Jerusalem), Gordon (Tel Aviv) Etzion (Raanana). These schools provide language tuition only, are not geared to provide assistance for students, and are not interested in taking such role in an arrangement with SOAS. They normally offer between 4-5 hours of language tuition a day, 4-5 days a week (20-25 hours). Students registered for a full-time Hebrew language programme in a private ulpan cannot apply for a student visa and will need to enter Israel as tourist, with a three-months visa only. Ulpan Milah, Jeursalem: Three months term – four mornings a week, four hours a day Cost: NIS3480 (about $950). There are no facilities to offer dorms, no social activities, no health insurance nor pastoral care/support 24/7. Similar provisions at Gordon Ulpan, Tel Aviv and Ulpan Etzion, Raanana Political objections 52 Academic Board 13.03.2019 AB 18/19 4 F Appendix 1 The main objection raised in the case of the Hebrew University is that the campus is on occupied territory. As explained in previous document, the campus’s periphery extends into occupied territory (part of the dormitory as well as the sports centre). The main campus is not on occupied land (neither the Rothberg institute nor any other Hebrew University teaching facility). EU policy, according to the EU embassy in Israel, is to consider Mt. Scopus Campus as within the 1967 lines, that is, within “Israel proper”, and not to see the campus as located on occupied territory. All other universities and schools referred to here are within Israel proper, the 1967 lines. Summary University schools for international students are the most suitable providers for Hebrew Year Abroad in Israel. Of these, the Hebrew University is in our view the best option in pedagogic terms, and its fees are comparable to other universities in Israel (similar or slightly cheaper). Private Hebrew schools do not meet the requirements for Study Abroad providers. They do not provide any pastoral care for students, are not set up to provide such assistance, whether in terms of housing and dormitories, mental health, or any other assistance. The most obvious problem is the issue of visa. These private schools cannot offer assistance in obtaining one year student visas, which means that students would enter the country on a three months tourist visas – shorter than their programme. This is not a viable option. The only non-University provider which meets the requirements in terms of pastoral care is the Kibbutz Ulpan. However their programme would have to be tailored, particularly for students who do a shared year abroad to ensure they can spend sufficient time in Israel for their half Year Abroad. This report was prepared by Dr. Tamar Drukker, Senior Lector in Hebrew, and Dr. Yair Wallach, Senior Lecturer in Israeli Studies.
Academic Board 30.01.19 AB 18/19 3E Appendix 3 The options for Hebrew Year Abroad provision AB is asked to consider the following Report Executive Summary ADC requested that the matter of Hebrew Year Abroad be referred to Academic Board for discussion. The Hebrew programme was asked to examine alternatives to the current arrangements with the Hebrew University. This document surveys the options for Year Abroad providers in Israel for the BA degrees in Hebrew and NME Studies. SOAS sends a small number of students each year to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Potential Hebrew schools were contacted by email and phone to ascertain the level of language provision and assistance they provide for students. Sponsored by Ben Murtagh Recommendations & Next Steps The paper outlines a number of options based on teaching suitability, pastoral care and cost while noting political concerns. The Hebrew section recommends that we continue with the Hebrew University programme based on The suitability of the programme for our students and the degree of pastoral care offered. The best alternative to this is this Kibbutz Ulpan, there will be challenges in agreeing a programme that fits out students needs but there will be cost benefits. We have not yet visited Kibbutz Ulpan and if advised to seek an agreement with this provider a site visit would be necessary. The other non-university providers are seen as unsuitable for reasons explained in the paper. Academic Board should make a recommendation as to which provider the Hebrew programme should work with for future Hebrew Year Abroad provision. Financial Impact The Hebrew University Programme costs $12, 235 for a full year and $8,275 for half a year. Other university providers have a similar cost. Kibbutz Ulpan costs $1500 for half a year and $3000 for a full year. £750 has been budgeted (from SLCL) for any necessary visits to sites if directed to establish a relationship with a new provider. Risks As with any Year Abroad programme the provision of pastoral care by the local provider is 51 Academic Board 30.01.19 AB 18/19 3E Appendix 3 key in minimising a variety of risks that might affect student outcomes. The quality of the provision is essential in ensuring a good student learning experience. For these reasons we have focussed on these factors in assessing the suitability of potential providers. To choose a non-university provider other than Kibbutz Ulpan would increase risks in these two respects. In addition students there would be significant issues for students as they would be unable to apply for student visas with these providers. Equality implications Suitable pastoral care is only offered by the Universities and the Kibbutz Ulpan. To partner with a non-university partner which does not offer pastoral care would have implications for some students with specific learning, wellbeing and support needs. Consultations Providers listed in the paper have been consulted. 52 Academic Board 30.01.19 AB 18/19 3E Appendix 3 Survey of Year Abroad providers for the BA in Hebrew and Israeli Studies This document surveys the options for Year Abroad providers in Israel for the BA in Hebrew and Israeli Studies. SOAS sends a small number of students each year to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The Hebrew programme was asked to examine alternatives to the current arrangements with the Hebrew University. Potential Hebrew schools were contacted by email and phone to ascertain the level of language provision and assistance they provide for students. The main requirements from Year Abroad providers are on aspects of tuition, quality and pastoral care. At a minimum, providers should offer intensive courses of Hebrew instruction (Ulpan) of 4-6 weeks, followed by an academic term (or two) in levels suitable for our students. Some providers offer additional classes in English on non-language topics and themes, which is an advantage. Providers should provide adequate pastoral care for SOAS students, in welcoming the students and providing support and advice on a variety of issues, such as housing, mental health etc. Providers should offer assistance in obtaining student visas which would allow students one-year visa that would cover the period of study. Providers should have track record in teaching and looking after international students. Current provider The Rothberg International School, The Hebrew University Jerusalem Part of the Hebrew University, The Rothberg International School offers courses for overseas students since 1956. Currently has a student body of over 2000 students a year, from 90 countries. Students who go to Israel for the full-year take a summer intensive Hebrew course, followed by two academic semesters, in which they have between 8-12 hours of Hebrew instruction a week alongside other courses taught in English for them to choose. Students who do a Year Abroad between two countries come to Israel in January and do a four-week intensive Hebrew course before joining the other students for the spring semester. Students can apply for accommodation at university dorms, and receive pastoral care assistance 24/7. An emergency number is available for students at all hours. Registration for the programme entitles students to apply for a student visa. Cost: Full year: $12,235 Half year: $8,275 (discounted fees to SOAS students by agreement with the Rothberg International School) Alternative University providers offering a similar programme – 1.Ben Gurion University of the Negev Full year tuition $12,700 Half year: $8,700 Tuition Fees for all Semester or Year-Long Programs include weekly social activities, academic field trips, trips around Israel, access to the university sports center & health insurance. 53 Academic Board 30.01.19 AB 18/19 3E Appendix 3 2.Tel Aviv university Full year tuition: $12,950 Half year: $8,700 Program Trips, student activities, facility fees and health insurance are all included in the tuition fees quoted above. 3.Haifa University: Full year tuition: $12,300 Half year: $8,400 Foreign students registered for full time education in Israeli universities can get a student visa, valid for one year. Non university providers – different programme The only non-University provider to meet SOAS minimum requirements, in terms of student support and pastoral care, is Kibbutz Ulpan – Ulpan Eztion Kibbutz Tzuba. This programme differs from university ones and does not easily correspond to UK academic year, and so would require special tailoring. This programme runs for 5 months, twice a year (starting in May or October). Students study Hebrew for 25 hours a week and work 24 hours a week, either in the kibbutz, or as interns in Jerusalem. They are not paid for their work, but are provided with free accommodation on the kibbutz, three meals a day, and there is pastoral care 24/7. The programme is aimed at university graduates, and the same language school also trains the British diplomatic staff in Israel. Students registered on this programme are eligible to apply for a student visa and the kibbutz movement hosting the programme can facilitate this procedure. Cost, for a five months programme 5500 NIS (approx. $1500) The dates for this programme do not correspond easily with our academic year. Based on a conversation with the manager, there is a possibility of making adjustments/changes, and requires further discussion. If this option is to be considered, a site visit would be required to confirm the conditions and teaching arrangement. Other language schools in Israel – unsuitable alternatives There are other potential Hebrew language schools in Israel, but they do not meet the requirements in terms of tuition and pastoral care. Most Hebrew Language teaching institutions are run by the Ministry of Education/Ministry of Absorption [of immigrants] and are mainly designated for new immigrants, not foreign students. 54 Academic Board 30.01.19 AB 18/19 3E Appendix 3 There are some private Hebrew language teaching providers (ulpans), such as Ulpan Milah (Jerusalem), Gordon (Tel Aviv) Etzion (Raanana). These schools provide language tuition only, are not geared to provide assistance for students, and are not interested in taking such role in an arrangement with SOAS. They normally offer between 4-5 hours of language tuition a day, 4-5 days a week (20-25 hours). Students registered for a full-time Hebrew language programme in a private ulpan cannot apply for a student visa and will need to enter Israel as tourist, with a three-months visa only. Ulpan Milah, Jeursalem: Three months term – four mornings a week, four hours a day Cost: NIS3480 (about $950). There are no facilities to offer dorms, no social activities, no health insurance nor pastoral care/support 24/7. Similar provisions at Gordon Ulpan, Tel Aviv and Ulpan Etzion, Raanana Political objections The main objection raised in the case of the Hebrew University is that the campus is on occupied territory. As explained in previous document, the campus’s periphery extends into occupied territory (part of the dormitory as well as the sports centre). The main campus is not on occupied land (neither the Rothberg institute nor any other Hebrew University teaching facility). EU policy, according to the EU embassy in Israel, is to consider Mt. Scopus Campus as within the 1967 lines, that is, within “Israel proper”, and not to see the campus as located on occupied territory. All other universities and schools referred to here are within Israel proper, the 1967 lines. Summary University schools for international students are the most suitable providers for Hebrew Year Abroad in Israel. Of these, the Hebrew University is in our view the best option in pedagogic terms, and its fees are comparable to other universities in Israel (similar or slightly cheaper). Private Hebrew schools do not meet the requirements for Study Abroad providers. They do not provide any pastoral care for students, are not set up to provide such assistance, whether in terms of housing and dormitories, mental health, or any other assistance. The most obvious problem is the issue of visa. These private schools cannot offer assistance in obtaining one year student visas, which means that students would enter the country on a three months tourist visas – shorter than their programme. This is not a viable option. The only non-University provider which meets the requirements in terms of pastoral care is the Kibbutz Ulpan. However their programme would have to be tailored, particularly for students who do a shared year abroad to ensure they can spend sufficient time in Israel for their half Year Abroad. 55 Academic Board 30.01.19 AB 18/19 3E Appendix 3 This report was prepared by Dr. Tamar Drukker, Senior Lector in Hebrew, and Dr. Yair Wallach, Senior Lecturer in Israeli Studies.
The SOAS Students Union was the first UK students union to vote for and support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign launched in 2005 by Palestinian civil society organisations. For over 30 years, the SOAS Palestine Society has been one of the most active societies at SOAS. SOAS students have continuously supported the Palestinian struggle for liberation and decolonisation, with SOAS becoming one of the most active campuses in Britain.
In response to the 2005 call, the SOAS Students Union voted to join, support, and campaign for the boycott of Israel. At the October Union General Meeting this academic year (2014/2015), SOAS students decided to escalate their support for BDS. A school-wide referendum has been called for to decide whether SOAS, as an academic institution, should follow the BDS guidelines and join an academic boycott of Israeli institutions and companies.
SOAS currently has links with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJ), sending Hebrew language students to HUJ for their year abroad. The Hebrew University campus is located on Palestinian land, Jerusalem, which was confiscated in 1968, a practice which began in 1947 and directly contravenes International Law. Furthermore, the Hebrew University has direct links with the University of Ariel, which is based in the West Bank colony of Ariel, and recognises its degrees. Finally the Hebrew University offers preferential treatment to Israeli soldiers who are engaged in the daily human rights violations in Palestine, particularly Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem.
Find HERE a video exposing the military-academic collaboration between the Hebrew University and the Israeli Defence Force.
Find HERE a video showing the response of some students from Hebrew University which explains the situation they live every day on campus.
THE REFERENDUM WILL BE TAKING PLACE AT SOAS IN THE LAST WEEK OF FEBRUARY (23rd-27th)
The referendum will be open to ALL members of the SOAS community: students, academics, cleaners, security guards, caterers, faculty and support staff and management.
The referendum will be asking all members of the SOAS community whether they think SOAS should fully join the BDS campaign and implement academic boycott following the PACBI guidelines (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel).
– For more information on day-to-day events, discussions and more information coming up in the next weeks, access the SOAS BDS campaign Facebook page HERE
– For more information on what an Academic Boycott entails, read the guidelines on ‘Why Boycott Israeli Universities,’ issued by the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) – HERE
This webpage was last updated on: 18 Jan 2015 15:46
The Group “Action Palestine” at King’s College London (KCLAP) has only one mission, to attack Israel. The group has been recruiting Israeli academics to present Israel in a negative light. A recent online event was held by KCLAP, titled “Black Jewish Lives Matter.”
The event was reported by Georgia Leatherdale-Gilholy, an associate with the CAMERA on Campus UK, a pro-Israel organization that follows campus campaigns to delegitimize Israel, titled “An academic attempt to frame Israel as a devious colonial enterprise.” The keynote speaker was Efrat Yerday, a doctoral candidate and lecturer at Tel Aviv University. She is a leading activist for Ethiopians in Israel who holds an M.A. in Politics and Government from Ben Gurion University. In her talk, Yerday was quoted as saying, “Ethiopians are sick of being depicted as people who should be grateful to their white ‘saviours’ for … barely qualifying as Jews.” Last year, Yerday has published an article with the publisher Berghahn Journals, Visual Anthropology in the Middle East, guest edited by Profs. Esther Hertzog and Yael Katzir. Yerday’s article, “To Be Black and Beautiful in Israel,” reviews works by female artists of Ethiopian origin. She argues that “these artists are presenting their attitudes towards the ‘white gaze.’ Though constantly subjected to it by the Israeli hegemony.” Yerday draws on postcolonial theory, among others. As a former student of BGU Politics and Government, the use of post-modernist jargon to debunk Israel is not surprising.
The host was Nimrod Evron, an Israeli member of KCLAP, and a master’s student of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck College. He, according to Leatherdale-Gilholy’s report, “was out to dismiss the reality of Israeli society so as to frame it as a devious colonial enterprise.” Evron also teaches middle school pupils at the London Acorn School for alternative schooling. Evron is a radical activist who gave a talk in 2015, before a Quaker audience. He was described as a “Jewish Israeli activist and Educator who’s activism includes involvement in New Profile’s Refusal Support Network and Alternative Summer Camp for Youth.” He explained his opposition to the Israeli State’s policies of “occupation and oppression.” He discussed “Direct action with Palestinians, worker immigration rights, the current situation on the Israeli left, Israel and the international community, international activist engagement with the Israeli public.”
Evron was also recruited by KCLAP to teach a workshop “Occupation 101,” teaching the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the basics. This course aims to give a “comprehensive basic understanding of the conflict and occupation, both for people new to the conflict and people that already find themselves involved but feel they just need a better understanding.” Evron is presented as an activist in the anti-militarization and refusers movement, in various direct actions with Palestinians and various social justice campaigns, combining politics with critical education. In this course, he is accompanied by different Palestinian guest speakers.
According to KCLAP publication, this course is hosted by Babel’s Blessing, a grassroots language school.
The course prospectus includes a warning: “This is not a neutral course (there is no such thing). It does not aim to be “balanced” or “equal” to “both sides”. The violence between Israelis and Palestinians is far from being symmetric. There is a military occupation and a systematic disenfranchisement of Palestinian’s basic rights upheld by the state of Israel and the vast majority of Jewish-Israeli society. There is a dire need to resist this. However, the discourse promoted in this course aims to show that the clarity of having strong moral and political positions is not dimmed, but strengthened, by being supported by nuance and complexity.”
In June, KCLAP sent a letter to Prof. Edward Byrne, the KCL Principal, regarding partnerships with Technion. KCLAP stated, “We do not stand for any normalization of oppression. We do not want KCL to play any role in oppression worldwide. KCL must therefore listen to Archbishop Tutu and cut it’s partnership with the Technion immediately.”
In May, KCLAP promoted another initiative, “Apartheid Off Campus,” a new front for the Palestinian youth movement in the UK. It urges students “to get involved and find out how complicit your university is in Israeli Apartheid.” They argue that “Despite previous successful divestment efforts, King’s College London still insists to invest over 2.2 million pounds in companies complicity with the illegal Israeli occupation although they have an ethical investment policy which includes ESG issues like human rights. They clearly need to start acknowledging the rights of Palestinians as Human Rights too!”
As mentioned above, Israelis from Ethiopian descent are being recruited by Palestinians to present Israel in a negative light. This, against the backdrop of Ethiopians Jews, waiting for Israel to fly them in from Ethiopia. Some are relatives of those who are already living in Israel.
King’s College London, like many other universities in the West, should note that Palestinians are hacking their students’ organizations for their war against Israel.
Meet Efrat Yerday, Chair of the Association of Ethiopian Jews.
Around 2% of Israeli Jews are from Ethiopian background, but they make up 16% of the population accused of attacking police officers.
After years in Isreal of facing systematic discrimination, erasure of their identity and police violence, many Ethiopian Jews are tried of being depicted as people who should be grateful to their white “savours” for just barely qualifing as Jews. They are fighting back.
You are invited to meet Efrat Yerday. Poet, journalist, activist and chair of the Association of Ethiopian Jews, the leading organization for the struggle for equality for Ethiopian Jews in Israel.
This is a unique opportunity to learn about what is perhaps the least talked about community in the most internationally talked about conflict, and hear about what is it like to be a black Jew in Israel, where does that position them within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and about complicated relations between race, identity, state and struggle.
Is there a specific question or topic you want Efrata to address? You can put your suggestion in the sign up (link above).
Moderator: Nimrod Evron. An Israeli activist and educator based in London.
Zoom link to be sent just before the beginning of the event to those who signed up.
“Around 2% of Israeli Jews are from Ethiopian background, but they make up 16% of the population accused of attacking police officers. After years in Israel of facing systematic discrimination, erasure of their identity and police violence, many Ethiopian Jews are tried of being depicted as people who should be grateful to their white ‘savours’ for just barely qualifing as Jews. They are fighting back.”
By looking at the treatment of Ethiopian Jews in Israel, our understanding of the racist discrimination experienced by Palestinians becomes clearer.
This is a unique opportunity to hear from Efrat Yerday, a leading figure in the Black Lives Matter movement in Israel, hosted by educator Nimrod Evron.
KCL Action Palestine @KCLAP ·Feb 29 Hi everyone, this workshop on Occupation 101 will be running from 11th March led by Nimrod Evron. It’s £10-15 per session and proceeds will be going towards Babel’s Blessing’s work with refugees. Details are in the link below Learning about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, from the basics https://occupation101.business.blog/
To give comprehensive basic understanding of the conflict and occupation, both for people new to the conflict and people that already find themselves involved but feel they just need a better understanding.
To create a safe space to study, discuss and to inner-reflect about one of the most relevant, yet hazardous-for-discussion topics on the agenda.
To give complicated, nuanced and helpful information and discourse on a topic which often lacks all of these in mainstream and social media.
Each session is 1.5-2 hours. The sessions will combine discussions, and fun learning games with lectures and videos.
About the facilitator: Nimrod Evron is an Israeli activist and educator. He has been active in the anti-militarization and refusers movement, in various direct actions with Palestinians, and in various social justice campians. He specializes in combaining politics with critical education. He will be accompanied by different Palestinian guest speakers in several of the sessions.
This course is supported by the Yalla Nakba Education – a led by young Palestinians and Jews to teach about the Nakba, and is hosted by Babel’s Blessing – a grassroots organization that offers courses to raise money for English lessons to refugees.
All fees go to fund English lessons for refugees in the UK. The facilitator does the course for free.
!Come to the first session, on 11.3.20, for free, and then decide if it’s right for you
Student cost – £120 ( £10 for each session)
Standard cost – £180 ( £15 for each session)
Warning: This is not a neutral course (there is no such thing). It does not aim to be “balanced” or “equal” to “both sides”. The violence between Israelis and Palestinians is far from being symmetric. There is a military occupation and a systematic disenfranchisement of Palestinian’s basic rights upheld by the state of Israel and the vast majority of Jewish-Israeli society. There is a dire need to resist this. However, the discourse promoted in this course aims to show that the clarity of having strong moral and political positions is not dimmed, but strengthened, by being supported by nuance and complexity.
For the full course structure, scroll bellow
The course is divided into three sub-sections:
Sessions 1-3 (11.3-25.3) “The Basics” aim to “give us a footing” about the conflict, in understanding the group we are in, our personal, emotional and political positions, and having a wide (but brief) historical background (some of which will be expanded upon later).
Sessions 4-7 (29.4-20.5) “The Issues” will dwell each time on a specific issue of the conflict, this will usually involve a guest as well.
Sessions 8-13 (3.6-8.7) “Perspectives and Solutions” should help us understand both ideas of why and how the occupation is being sustained, current trends, what acts of resistance are being attempted, and finally to allow the participants to “try and solve the conflict” or at least think what are their stands about it now.
The course – session by session
1. Introduction: why we are here, what is our presumptions, why can’t we usually learn properly about this, and how are we going to make it a proper space to learn and express our opinions.
2. Having basic navigational skills in the fundamentals of the conflict – Brief historical picture (19th century until 1967): The Zionist Dream, Palestine pre 1948, 48 war and the Nakkbah, The state of Israel and the Palestinians until 1967.
3. The six day war, Occupation of 1967, establishment of occupation, First Lebanon War, First intifada, Oslo Accords, Second intifada, Separation Wall, Disengagement plan, Hamas takeover, Gaza Siege.
4. The Nakkbah and the refugees
5. The military occupation in the West Bank and living within it (as Palestinians and as settlers, including also Palestinian violence from the West Bank and the military judicial and bureaucratic system)
6. Palestinian Israelis + the divided city of Jerusalem
7. Gaza (including also Hamas and rocket launching) + Palestinian prisoners
Perspectives and Solutions
8. The wider Arab-Israeli conflict and additional actors in the conflict (additional wars, Golan heights, Hezbollah, Iran, Egypt, Evangelicals, AIPAC, Saudi Arabia, EU, USA).
9. Zionist perspectives
10. Israeli Jewish society and the Occupation (including the politics of inner-Jewish group relations)
11. Current trends in Palestinian society and acts of resistance
12. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the UK – discussion about BDS, anti-Semitism and its place in the UK left
An academic attempt to frame Israel as a devious colonial enterprise
Event speakers implied that along with Ethiopians, Israeli Arabs face ceaseless, racist oppression, though provided no evidence for this claim. By Georgia Leatherdale-Gilholy
(July 22, 2020 / JNS) “Educator” Nimrod Evron and groups including King’s College London Action Palestine hosted a virtual discussion on Ethiopian Jews in Israel on July 5 to frame their experience as part of a “global struggle against racial injustice” recently publicized by the Black Lives Matter movement. The key speaker was Efrat Yerday, a lecturer at Tel Aviv University and a leading figure in activism for Ethiopians in Israel.
It was evident from the outset of the meeting that Evron was out to dismiss the reality of Israeli society so as to frame it as a devious colonial enterprise. He guided the discussion with statements such as “Israel is a white, European culture” and “Israel is a white-supremacist society.” This shouldn’t come as a surprise since Evron is the facilitator of the “Occupation 101 Course” that boasts that it does not aim to be “balanced” or “equal” to “both sides” in its history of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Yerday supported Evron’s extreme narrative by suggesting that “Ethiopians are sick of being depicted as people who should be grateful to their white ‘saviours’ for … barely qualifying as Jews.” Her rhetoric is a textbook radical attempt to generalize entire identity groups as possessing a monolithic experience and political agenda simply because they are not “white,” and reinforces the myth that non-Ethiopian Jews derive privilege from being “white.” There have been plenty of wranglings between the Ethiopian religious tradition and rabbinic Judaism, but this has generally been associated with theological qualms rather than racism. Ethiopian Jews are visible across Israeli politics, religious life and entertainment, yet Evron and Yerday deliberately presented events through a narrow lens of racial oppression so to misconstrue Israel as being uniquely evil.
As far as the question of “why is there no joint Ethiopian struggle with the Palestinians?” Yerday replied that Ethiopians were fearful of being considered saboteurs for aligning with Palestinian activism. The real answer would appear to be that for all of Israel’s flaws, the Ethiopian community overwhelmingly supports the Jewish state’s right to exist, and their enlistment rate in the Israel Defense Forces can be construed as an example: It is higher than that of the general population.
Why would the broadly Zionist Ethiopian community find common cause with the “Palestinian struggle,” which consistently seeks to dismantle Zionism and Israel violently? It was clear that the purpose of this discussion was not to identify issues with racism against Israeli Ethiopians, but to forge imaginary alliances between communities for the sake of demonizing Israel as an irredeemably racist project, whose crimes necessitate alliances of all who do not form a majority in Israeli society. It was implied continuously throughout the event that along with Ethiopians, Israeli Arabs face ceaseless, racist oppression, although no attempt to evidence this provocative claim was made.
Nevertheless, the recent history of Ethiopians in Israel is a complex one. “Operation Moses” (1984) and “Operation Solomon” (1991), in which the IDF rescued more than 20,000 Ethiopian Jews from famine and civil war in East Africa, was the precursor to today’s Ethiopian community in Israel. As Yerday outlined, discussions in the lead-up to the talk were not unanimous in their support for the Ethiopian migration. World Zionist Organization writer Malkah Raymist, for example, complained that the Ethiopians’ “mental outlook is that of children.” The Israeli government conducted the rescue missions nonetheless, and many incoming Ethiopians exited planes to the greeting of thousands of joyous Israeli onlookers. It is dishonest to define Israel by its counterfactual mistakes.
Yerday also highlighted a 2015 incident in which two Israeli police officers assaulted and arrested an Ethiopian-Israeli in IDF uniform as evidence of Israel’s deep racialized corruption. She omitted how the travesty sparked outrage, that the police involved were fired, and that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally met the attacked soldier and declared that “Israel cannot accept racism.”
Another attendee who offered comment was Glyn Secker, secretary of fringe, pro-former British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s “Jewish Voice for Labour” group. He claimed that the “Israeli lobby makes it impossible to criticize Zionism for fear of being called anti-Semitic.” In 2017, he defended former London Mayor Ken Livingstone’s comments that “Hitler supported Zionism,” arguing that Livingstone’s “real mistake” was his failure to quote Adolf Eichmann in support of his point.
Yerday was right to highlight the concerns facing Israeli Ethiopians. Yet instances of discrimination and inequity are not evidence of a wholly intolerant society, nor are they reasons to destroy Zionism or Israel but to continue to improve them. Significant resources have been invested in promoting equal opportunities for all Israelis—Ethiopians included. In May 2020, Pnina Tamano-Shata became Israel’s first Ethiopian-born cabinet minister and is drafting plans to allow further Ethiopian immigration to Israel.
The anti-Semitic remarks of several attendees that went unchallenged by the panel suggest that this event was not about discussing solutions for racial harmony. To the contrary, it was an attempt to categorize Israel as an irredeemably racist society by pigeon-holing the experience of thousands of Ethiopian-Israelis into the framework of a fundamentally flawed and virulently anti-Zionist, intersectional ideology.
Georgia Leatherdale-Gilholy is a CAMERA on Campus UK Associate.====================================================
Make sure you check out Apartheid Off Campus. The new front for the Palestinian youth movement in the UK! Check out their website at www.apartheidoffcampus.org to get involved and find out how complicit your university is in Israeli Apartheid.
Despite previous successful divestment efforts, King’s College London still insists to invest over 2.2 million pounds in companies complicity with the illegal Israeli occupation although they have an ethical investment policy which includes ESG issues like human rights. They clearly need to start acknowledging the rights of Palestinians as Human Rights too!
London Universities Palestinian National Day Of Action Statement
On Wednesday 27th November, we mobilised to take over 2 of London’s major bridges in what became the largest collaborative student effort to nationally call for universities to end their complicity in the denial of palestinian human rights. Waterloo bridge became the national stage of a call for UK universities to get apartheid off campus which echoed across the UK as 1000s of students and university staff took part in the national day of action to demand an end to their university’s complicity in Israeli apartheid. Adjacent to the House of Commons, we gathered on Westminster Bridge to support the Labour Party’s pledge to immediately seize arms trade to Israel and all those complicit in international law violations.
These protests aimed to draw international attention to damning investigative research gathered by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC). Despite the majority of UK universities holding ethical investment and procurement policies, the research exposed over $500million of investments by UK universities in companies which finance and support Israel’s arms trade and illegal settlement economy. These investments enable Israel’s systematic oppression of the Palestinian people as a whole, which amounts to the crime of apartheid under international law.
Palestinian students are joined by organisations, academics, fellow students and staff unions who are frustrated at their university’s continued dismissal of human rights. We express our discontent in the implementation of our University’s “Ethical investment policy”, especially when it comes to the oppression of the Palestinian people by the Israeli Government.
We urge our universities to understand the implications of their investments in said companies on the infringment of the inalianable human rights of the Palestinian people. By not only supporting them financially, but normalizing relationships to those linked to the war crimes committed by the Israeli Government, institutions once seen as temples of progress and strongholds in the fight for human rights are knowingly surrendering to the profit-based motivations of modern higher education and hindering the Palestinian acquisition of freedom and equality.
By signing our pledge to be Apartheid Free, universities and organisations can make an official step to the right side of history by promising the international and local community to prevent their hindrance in the path to peace and relief by standing in solidarity with the palestinian people and commencing the cessation of any form of relationships with those complicit in human rights violations both in Palestine and internationally as part of this global call against any and all forms of oppression and discrimination.
Exist to resist!
KCL Action Palestine, Decolonize KCL, KCL Intersectional Feminist Society, KCL Amnesty International, KCL Iraqi Society, KCL Students 4 Syria, SOAS Palestine Society, SOAS Afghan Society, SOAS Feminist Society, City University Palestinian Society, City AhlulBayt Society, SOAS Syria Society, Westminster Students for Palestine Society, UCL Friends of Palestine, St George’s Palestine Society, QMUL Friends of Palestine Society ====================================================
This article reviews works of contemporary female artists of Ethiopian origin active in the Israeli art field. I analyse the subjects in their work and argue these artists are presenting their attitudes towards the ‘white gaze’. Though constantly subjected to it by the Israeli hegemony and the Western masculine discourse, they are notably decreasing their consideration of it. They broaden the restricted field of action that seems designated for them and alter its boundaries. Drawing on theorists of gender, postcolonial theory and theory of art, I demonstrate how these artists are promoting an agenda that reflects their lives as black women in Israel. Influenced by recent socio-political changes and a decline in representations of black women on TV and in visual arts, these artworks were increasingly exhibited in solo and group exhibitions.===================================================
Lisa Hoyle writes about a talk given by Nimrod Evron on Israeli state policy
Nimrod Evron is an Israeli citizen who stands in opposition to Israeli state policy and the occupation. He has played a pivotal role in setting up organisations working with youth who oppose conscription and is currently studying for an MA at Birkbeck College, London. The Liverpool Quaker Peace Group invited Nimrod Evron to speak at a public meeting in June. =======================================
Venue: Liverpool Friends’ Meeting House, 22 School Lane, L1 Time/Date: 19:00 – 21:30, Thursday 18th June 2015
This is a rare opportunity to hear a first hand account of Israeli opposition to the Israeli State’s policies of occupation and oppression. Nimrod Evron is a Jewish Israeli activist and Educator who’s activism includes involvement in New Profile’s Refusal Support Network and Alternative Summer Camp for Youth. He is not speaking as a politician but is offering to share his experiences covering topics which include: Direct action with Palestinians, worker immigration rights, the current situation on the Israeli left, Israel and the international community, international activist engagement with the Israeli public. Liverpool Quakers are committed to peace by peaceful means – we welcome all to attend.
IAM reported in June that two scholars have each published an analysis of school textbooks, Israeli and Palestinian. One is by Dr. Arnon Groiss, whose study examined the content of the Palestinian Authority’s schoolbooks and teachers’ guides as far as the conflict with Israel is concerned. This study provided examples of de-legitimization of Israel’s existence and the right of Jews in the Land of Israel, a denial of the existence of Jewish holy places in the Land of Israel, and a demonization of Israel and the Jews.
The other is by Prof. Avner Ben-Amos, who explored how Israeli textbooks and exams address the Israeli occupation of the Palestinians. In his research, he finds that the occupation is rarely a topic in schools. He names this phenomenon, an “interpretive denial… the Jewish control and the Palestinians’ inferior status appear as a natural, self-evident situation that one doesn’t have to think about.”
However, Ben-Amos is a life-long political activist which casts doubts on his scholarship. In 2011 IAM reported, that Ben-Amos was quoted in Haaretz concerning a program in schools enhancing young peoples’ awareness of Israel’s history. Ben-Amos argued the program “tries to anchor young peoples’ identity in a cult of the dead, emphasizing bereavement and the victim.” Ben Amos claimed that “getting stuck in the past leads to self-perception as an eternal victim… We forget that since 1967, IDF soldiers are no longer victims but rather partners in turning another people into victims,” he said. In 2001, he signed a petition by “Palestinian and Israeli intellectuals and activists, view with grave concern the unbearable and inhuman situation imposed on the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza. Such a situation has been brought about by the repression, blockades, and daily humiliation exercised by the military occupation and by the daily harassment that Jewish settlers inflict on the Palestinian Population.”
Not surprisingly, Ben-Amos’s study attracted the attention of Knesset member Dr. Ofer Cassif from the Joint List, a former Hebrew University academic and a long time political activist. IAM reported in February 2019 that Cassif was one of the most radical academics in Israel; he was an army service refuser and was jailed during the First Intifada. He took advantage of the lax higher education system to preach his anti-Israel politics while serving as a member of the political bureau of the Israeli Communist Party. Cassif’s courses in Political Science at the Hebrew University and the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Academic College had mirrored his politics: “Capital and Government”; “Capital, Government and Social Justice”; “Cinema and Politics”; “Fascism – Past and Present.” Cassif’s 2006 Ph.D. thesis, “On Nationalism and Democracy: A Marxist Examination,” at the London School of Economics and Political Science, “shows that both democracy (as we commonly understand it today) and nationalism are strongly embedded in modern conditions (primarily capitalism).” His solution: Democracy “must be a socialist one in which the means of identity production are collectively owned.”
Following the publication of Ben-Amos textbooks research, Cassif called for a meeting of the Knesset Committee of Education, where he is a member. The Committee met on July 15, 2020, to discuss the “Concealing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in textbooks.” Cassif said in the meeting that “The reason for the discussion I initiated is the study of Prof. Avner Ben-Amos, from Tel Aviv University… What he [Ben-Amos] says is that there is in the textbooks, mainly, in the fields of History, Civics, and Geography, the concealing of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Denial of the occupation, and even of the very existence of the Palestinian people as such. Plus, as a result, a silence of criticism and of voices that do not toe the line with the government and its dictates. As Prof. Ben-Amos says, this is not what he calls – Simplistic Denial. That is, the claims that something does not exist. Rather what he calls – Interpretive Denial. In his research, he writes: ‘Denial appears in a subtle way that is difficult to pinpoint. It does not stem from the claim that the occupation does not exist, but from the way it is absent from the discourse, where it should have appeared. Alternatively, from the way it is represented in the discourse.’ What he claims, for example, is the disregard, or denial that Israel forcibly controls millions of Palestinians without rights, and against their will – there is disregard and denial of this fact.” Ben-Amos presented the Knesset Education Committee the main points of his research: “18-year-old students go out into life, into citizenship, into the army, to vote. What do they know about the world around them? About this space? About their recent history? One of the things I think they need to know is what happens to this thing called occupation, that is – the control of the territories after they were conquered. I examined what the Ministry of Education is supposed to provide them with, in curricula, textbooks and matriculation exams, and found there is an explanation to what happened in 1967, the Six Day War and the immediate implications.” After the war, according to Prof. Ben Amos, there is a conceal and silence of the conflict. In addition, Ben Amos says there is a normalization of the situation and there is no difference between the area East of the Green Line and the area West.
It is not clear whether the Education Committee was aware of the activist background of Ben-Amos who, like many of his radical colleagues, has used the academy to push his political agenda. At the very least, the Committee needed to hear other scholars, more politically objective. This may be more difficult than it sounds, because, as the IAM has pointed out, social sciences and humanities in Israel skew toward neo-Marxist, critical scholarship. Unlike in hard sciences and engineering which privileges merit, the hiring and promotion policies in liberal arts favor leftist scholars with dubious academic records. In one notorious case, a Committee of Evaluation appointed by the Council of Higher Education, recommended closing the Department of Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University because of its Marxist-activist leaning.
The Knesset Education Committee would be served better by looking at the imbalances in liberal arts.
ועדת החינוך של הכנסת תקיים דיון בנושא העלמה והשתקה של הסכסוך הישראלי-פלסטיני מספרי הלימוד במערכת החינוך הישראלית
ועדת החינוך של הכנסת תדון היום (רביעי, 15.7 בשעה 09:30) בהעלמה והשתקה של הסכסוך הישראלי-פלסטיני מספרי הלימוד במערכת החינוך.הדיון יתקיים לבקשתו של ח”כ עופר כסיף אשר הצעתו לדיון מהיר אושרה בנשיאות הכנסת.כותרת הדיון: “דיון מהיר בנושא: “העלמה והשתקה של הסכסוך הישראלי-פלסטיני בספרי הלימוד הישראליים”
הצעת הדיון מגיעה על רקע מחקר של פרופ’ אבנר בן עמוס (אונ’ ת”א) העוסקת בנושא, וחושף כי הכיבוש נעדר כמעט כליל מספרי הלימוד בהיסטוריה, באזרחות ובגיאוגרפיה. ח”כ עופר כסיף, יוזם הדיון, מסר:”מדינת ישראל מנהלת 53 שנים של שלטון כיבוש צבאי על העם הפלסטיני.הצבא הישראלי שולט בפועל בכל תחומי החיים הפלסטיניים, מגביית מיסים, תכנון ובניה ועד לבריאות, חינוך ורווחה.הדבר נעשה הן באמצעות שלטון ישיר בגדה המערבית והן באמצעות המצור המוטל על עזה. הכרה בדיכוי שמפעילה ישראל כנגד העם הפלסטיני היא אבן דרך חיונית לפיתרון שיאפשר שלום ושגשוג לשני העמים.על כן, אין זה מפתיע שהכיבוש נמחק מספרי הלימוד ומורים שדיברו עליו פוטרו.הימין הקיצוני השולט בישראל מזה שנים ארוכות דואג לשטוף את המוח לבני הנוער כדי למנוע הקמת מדינה פלסטינית וכל סיכוי לשלום אמת” בדברי ההסבר להצעת הדיון כתב ח”כ כסיף:”במחקר שיטתי ומקיף של פרופ’ אבנר בן-עמוס עולה תמונה מדאיגה בנוגע להעלמת קיומו של העם הערבי הפלסטיני והסכסוך על עתיד השטחים הכבושים.מסקירת ספרי הלימוד לבגרות במקצועות אזרחות, היסטוריה וגיאוגרפיה, עולה כי לרוב הקו הירוק אינו מצויין כלל, ובמקרים המעטים שבהם מופיע, הוא מטושטש.יותר מזה, העם הפלסטיני עצמו נעלם, נמחק מן התוכן. עוד עולה כי, באף אחת מבחינות הבגרות להיסטוריה שנערכו בשנים 2010-2019 לא הופיעה אפילו שאלה אחת על השינויים ארוכי הטווח שחוללה מלחמת 67′.גם בספרי האזרחות המאושרים קוצצה ההתייחסות הנוגעת לסכסוך ולשסע הפוליטי.כך, ב-20 השנים האחרונות, לא הופיעה על הסכסוך שום שאלה בבחינות הבגרות לאזרחות.במקצוע הגיאוגרפיה המפות השונות מתארות את המרחב שבין הים התיכון לנהר הירדן כמרחב ישראלי אחיד.גם בחינות הבגרות בגיאוגרפיה התעלמו מהקו הירוק ומהפלסטינים.העלמה והשתקה של המציאות הקיימת בפועל, של כיבוש ושליטה על עם אחר, מנוגדות למטרות חוק החינוך הממלכתי ולמטרות משרד החינוך בהוראת המקצועות לעיל.”
חברי הכנסת של הרשימה המשותפת: יש למנות בהקדם מועצת מייעצת לחינוך הערבי
15 ביולי 2020, כ”ג בתמוז תש”פ, בשעה 15:00 לבקשת ח”כ עופר כסיף (הרשימה המשותפת) דנה הבוקר ועדת החינוך של הכנסת בהעלמה והשתקה של הסכסוך הישראלי – פלסטיני בספרי הלימוד הישראליים. לדברי ח”כ כסיף, בספרי הלימוד במערכת החינוך הישראלית יש הכחשה של הכיבוש, והשתקה של דעות שאינן מתיישבות עם דעות השלטון. “מה שקורה בספרי הלימוד הוא התעלמות מכל מה שקורה בשטחים הכבושים על בסיס יום יומי, ומתוך כך מתבצע נירמול של הכיבוש. להכחשה יש מספר בעיות. הראשונה, בעיה חברתית פוליטית – ההתעלמות הזאת לא מטאטאת את המציאות מתחת לשטיח, אלא פוגעת ביכולת שלנו להבין אותה ולהתמודד איתה; הבעיה השנייה היא בעיה חינוכית ועיקרה הקלת ראש בחשיבות הידע וההשכלה; והבעיה השלישית היא בעיה אזרחית דמוקרטית האוסרת ספקנות וביקורת, שמטרתה יצירה של נתינים צייתנים במקום אזרחים חושבים שהם תנאי ליצירת דמוקרטיה”.
ח”כ עוזי דיין (הליכוד) אמר כי הוא מסכים שהחינוך בישראל לא עוסק מספיק בהיבטים פוליטיים. הפתרון לדעתו הוא חיזוק החינוך בלתי פורמלי, וכן יציאה מחוץ לגבולות הכיתה. “בגלל זה המכינות הצבאיות מצליחות כל כך, כי לאחר 12 שנות לימוד הן מאפשרות לחניכים לדעת ‘מי אני ולאן אני הולך’, אמר ח”כ דיין. דיין ציטט את אמירתו של הח”כ והמחנך לשעבר יעקב חזן שאמר: “רצינו לגדל דור של אפיקורסים, וגידלנו דור של עמי הארצות”, והוסיף: “עם אפיקורסים ודעות שונות נסתדר, לבורים ועמי ארצות – אין תקנה”.
פרופ’ אבנר בן עמוס הציג את עיקרי המחקר שלו: “תלמידים ותלמידות בני 18 יוצאים אל החיים, אל האזרחות, לצבא, להצביע. מה הם יודעים על העולם שסביבם? על המרחב? על ההיסטוריה הקרובה שלהם? אחד הדברים שלפי דעתי הם צריכים לדעת הוא מה קורה עם הדבר הזה שנקרא כיבוש, כלומר – השליטה בשטחים לאחר שנכבשו. בדקתי את מה שמשרד החינוך אמור לספק להם בתוכניות הלימודים, ספרי לימוד ובחינות בגרות, ומצאתי שיש התייחסות לא מעטה למה שקרה ב-67 כלומר למלחמת ששת הימים, וגם להשלכות המיידיות של המלחמה”. לאחר המלחמה, לטענת פרופ’ בן עמוס, יש העלמה והשתקה של הסכסוך. בנוסף, אומר בן עמוס יש נורמליזציה של המצב ואין הבדל בין התחום ממזרח לקו הירוק לתחום שממערבו.
ד”ר אלירז קראוס, מנהלת אגף חברה ורווחה במשרד החינוך, הקריאה מספר שאלות לדוגמה מבחינות הבגרות בהיסטוריה, ואמרה כי במשך השנים מופיעות שאלות מעין אלה העוסקות בסכסוך הישראלי – פלסטיני: “הסכסוך מופיע בספרי הלימוד ובבחינות הבגרות, ובעינינו זה חלק מהתשתית שתלמידים צריכים להכיר ולבסס את ידיעותיהם על ידע והבנה”. עוד אמרה כי יש התייחסות נרחבת להיווצרות בעיית הפליטים ולמלחמת ששת הימים ולסוגיה של “השטחים המשוחררים או השטחים הכבושים”.
ח”כ סמי אבו שחאדה (הרשימה המשותפת): “ישראל מיוחדת גם במערכת החינוך שלה כי כנראה שזאת המדינה היחידה בעולם, אולי כמו צפון קוריאה, שמערכת החינוך נמדדת במספר התלמידים שבית הספר מוציא ליחידות הקרביות, ולכן בית הספר צריך להכין אותם להיות חיילים. המטרה פה היא מטרה פוליטית וכל דיון שמתעלם מכך הוא פוליטי. מערכת החינוך מגדלת נערים לעתיד של המשך הכיבוש והדיכוי כל זה מוביל בעיני להרס החברה”. ח”כ סונדוס סאלח (הרשימה המשותפת): “בני האדם הם בעלי חיים פוליטיים. ההכחשה של הסכסוך מייצרת משבר אי אמון נוסף בקרב הציבור הפלסטיני. היום המורה הוא לא מקור ידע אחד והידע קיים גם ברשתות. כיום התלמיד הערבי והאזרח הערבי מודע להיסטוריה והוא שואל – למה מחליטים להתעלם מההיסטוריה שלי וזה מייצר אצלו משבר אמון גדול מאוד. מדובר פה בניסיון לבטל היסטוריה של עם שלם”. היא הוסיפה כי כשעסקה בהוראה ידעה שאם מורה מחליט לדבר על הנכבה, הוא יקבל אזהרה ויכול להיות שיוזמן לשימוע.
ח”כ ניצן הורוביץ (מרצ): “אפשר ללמוד על הנכבה והכיבוש ולא חובה להשיג את המסקנה. אני למשל מתנגד לזכות השיבה, אבל חושב שצריך ללמוד על הנכבה. מה חושבים שאם לא נגיד את המילה כיבוש אין בעיה? מערכת חינוך צריכה ללמד פתיחות מחשבתית – תלמד ואז תחליט”. מנגד שאל ח”כ אריאל קלנר (הליכוד) “האם הערבים מלמדים על קדושתו של הר הבית ליהודים? זה חשוב שכולם ילמדו הכל, אבל לא יתכן שאנחנו ננהל שיח אינטלקטואלי ומהצד השני תהיה הסתה פראית, גזענית ואנטישמית מהסוג השפל ביותר. חשוב מאוד שיהודים וערבים כאחד יכירו שאמין אל חוסייני שיתף פעולה עם הנאצים.”
ח”כ אבו שחאדה קרא בתגובה: “מדובר במיתוס שצריך להפריכו”.
ח”כ ווליד טאהא (הרשימה המשותפת) הוסיף: “יש העלמה של הצד הפלסטיני. אפילו בנושאים שמדינת ישראל לא התכחשה להם כמו טבח כפר קאסם –דיברו עליו במונחים של אירוע מצער, וכינו אותו פרשת כפר קאסם. לא ידעו להשתמש במונח הנכון שלו – טבח כפר קאסם”. ד”ר יוסף ג’בארין (הרשימה המשותפת) ציין כי הציבור הערבי ואנשי החינוך הערביים אינם מיוצגים ברמה הניהולית והפדגוגית במשרד החינוך. לכן, לדבריו, קבלת ההחלטות מייצגת בעיקר פשרות בתוך הציבור היהודי עצמו. בחינוך היהודי יש זרמים שונים, אבל אין רגישות דומה בכל מה שקשור לזהות הערבית הפלסטינית בתוך מערכת החינוך. “עד היום אנחנו דורשים שאנשי חינוך ערבים ישפיעו על מערכת החינוך. יש מועצה מייעצת לחינוך הערבי. לחצתי אחרי בחירתי לכנסת שהיא תהיה מאוישת והשר בנט סירב להיענות לבקשתי, הגשתי בג”צ בנושא ועכשיו צריך למנות מועצה מייעצת”.
את הישיבה ניהלה ח”כ תהלה פרידמן (כחול לבן). =====================================================
https://www.haaretz.co.il/opinions/1.1223743 פורסם לראשונה: 04.10.201023:52 עודכן ב: 05.10.2010אבנר בן-עמוס | לא רק נקודת המבט שלנו משרד החינוך נוקט באחרונה מדיניות המאמצת את הפוסט-מודרניזם בגרסתו הקיצונית ביותר. לפי גרסה זו, לא רק שהמציאות מגיעה אלינו באמצעות תיווך של השפה, אלא שהשפה היא היוצרת את המציאות, ולזאת האחרונה אין זכות קיום עצמאית. החלטת המשרד, שלא לאשר לבית הספר התיכון שער הנגב להשתמש בספר לימוד ההיסטוריה “ללמוד את הנרטיב ההיסטורי של האחר: פלסטינים וישראלים”, מצטרפת להחלטות קודמות, שנועדו לתקן את המציאות על ידי שינוי הטקסט המתאר אותה. בשנה שעברה, למשל, החליט משרד החינוך לאסוף את עותקי ספר הלימוד “לאומיות: בונים מדינה במזרח התיכון”, משום שהוצגה בהם הגרסה הפלסטינית ליצירת בעיית הפליטים ב-1948. גם ספר לימוד האזרחות “להיות אזרחים במדינת ישראל” נפל קורבן באחרונה לאותה מדיניות. כל זאת לאחר שד”ר צבי צמרת, יו”ר המזכירות הפדגוגית, הסתייג, בין היתר, מהטענה, כי “מאז ייסודה נקטה מדינת ישראל מדיניות של אפליה כלפי אזרחיה הערבים”. ההנחה היא כנראה, שבלא אזכור האפליה תיעלם לא רק תחושת האפליה, אלא גם האפליה עצמה. הדבר מצער מיוחד במקרה של “ללמוד את הנרטיב ההיסטורי של האחר: פלסטינים וישראלים”, משום שמדובר בפרויקט חינוכי יוצא דופן. זהו מפעל ישראלי-פלסטיני משותף, שהעבודה עליו החלה לפני כ-12 שנה, בהנהגת הפלסטינים סאמי עדוואן ועדנאן מוסאלחה, והישראלים דן בר-און (ז”ל) ואייל נווה. לאחר שעות רבות של דיונים ושיחות בין מורים ומחנכים משני הצדדים נוצר ספר לימוד חדשני, המציג בטורים נפרדים, משני צדי העמוד, את הגרסה הישראלית והפלסטינית להיסטוריה של התקופה שבין ראשית הציונות ועד תחילת המאה הנוכחית, ומותיר בתווך טור ריק למילוי בידי התלמידים. הספר יצא לאור בעברית ובערבית, ומורים בבתי ספר בישראל ובשטחים יכולים להשתמש בו כדי להביא לידיעת תלמידיהם את גרסת “הצד השני” לסכסוך וליצור דיון פורה בכיתה. ספרי לימוד ההיסטוריה של עמים שנמצאו שנים רבות בקונפליקט דמים, כגון הצרפתים והגרמנים, היוונים והטורקים, הציגו בדרך כלל את הצד השני באור שחור – כתוקפן מרושע – ואת עצמם כקורבן תמים. ספרי לימוד ההיסטוריה הישראליים והפלסטיניים אינם יוצאי דופן, גם אם נעשו בשנים האחרונות מאמצים בשני הצדדים למתן את השחרת האויב. על רקע זה בולט הספר הפלסטיני-הישראלי משום שהוא מייחד תשומת לב לאופן שבו תפישת העבר, כלומר הזיכרון הקולקטיבי, משפיעה על ההתנהגות בהווה. מציאות היסטורית אינה כוללת רק את מה שהתרחש בעבר, אלא גם את האופן שבו נחוותה המציאות בקרב אנשי התקופה ואת אופן הנחלת החוויה לדורות הבאים. צעד ראשון, מהוסס, בכיוון הנכון נעשה בספרי הלימוד הישראליים באזכור גירוש תושבים ערבים במלחמת העצמאות. אולם המלה “נכבה” (אסון), המציינת את האופן שבו נתפש הגירוש בידי הפלסטינים, עדיין מעוררת חלחלה בקרב אנשי משרד החינוך, כפי שמעידה פסילת ספר לימוד גיאוגרפיה במגזר הערבי, שהעז להזכיר אותה. המלה הזאת נמצאת בשפע בערכת הלימוד “איך אומרים נכבה בעברית?”, שפירסמה ב-2008 עמותת “זוכרות”. הערכה כוללת 13 יחידות לימוד, העוסקות לא רק בגירוש שהתרחש ב-1948, אלא גם באופן שבו האירועים הכואבים עברו תהליך של השכחה (על ידי הצד הישראלי) או הנצחה (על ידי הצד הפלסטיני). הערכה כוללת אמצעי המחשה מתקדמים וגם דיון תיאורטי בשאלות של כתיבת היסטוריה ועיצוב זיכרון קולקטיבי, באופן שאינו קיים בספרי הלימוד הרגילים. אין פלא לכן, שהערכה נאסרה לשימוש על ידי משרד החינוך, ומי שמשתמש בה בבתי הספר עושה זאת במחתרת. תנאי הכרחי להתקדמות לקראת שלום עם הפלסטינים הוא הכרה לא רק במה שהתרחש ב-1948, אלא גם בתודעת הנכבה כנקודת מבט לגיטימית. מדיניות משרד החינוך, המתכחש לקיום התודעה הזאת, תוקעת מקלות בגלגלי המשא ומתן המקרטע. בנוסף לכך – ולא ברור מה גרוע יותר – מדיניות זו נשענת על תפישה פשטנית ומיושנת של לימוד ההיסטוריה. אם אנו רוצים בתלמידים חושבים וביקורתיים, עלינו ללמד אותם, כי נקודת המבט שלנו על האירועים ההיסטוריים אינה היחידה וכי קיימות במקביל נקודות מבט אחרות, לגיטימיות לא פחות. פרופ’ בן-עמוס הוא ראש המגמה להיסטוריה ופילוסופיה של החינוך בבית הספר לחינוך של אוניברסיטת תל אביב