Oren Yiftachel and Rawia Aburabia Falsify Reality of the Bedouins

20.01.22

Editorial Note

A few days ago, Prof. Oren Yiftachel, a Geographer at Ben-Gurion University, and Dr. Rawia Aburabia, a Law faculty at Sapir College, published an opinion piece in Haaretz. They discussed the Bedouin in the Negev and the new electricity law, which would connect their dwellings to the national grid.  However, the article is underlined by a heavy political agenda as symbolized by their use of the word “apartheid.”

The authors claim that “The Bedouin have been living in the Negev for hundreds of years. And as all studies of this issue have proven, they owned much of it until they were dispossessed by the State of Israel… it’s vital to remember that the Bedouin didn’t take over this land; they were in the Negev long before Jewish settlement began.”

They argued a “troubling underlying reality of apartheid that goes far beyond the electricity law.” According to the authors, the Bedouins are “one of the weakest segments of Israeli society – a group far from receiving justice.”  A negative attitude toward the Bedouins “raises serious questions about the blindness and denial that afflict much of Israeli society.” For Yiftachel and Aburabia, this “incites against an entire community whose only crime is existing in a country that refuses to recognize it… After all, the Bedouin are citizens, aren’t they?”  Yiftachel and Aburabia call the critics “deceptive propaganda of right-wing extremist groups” that follows “the time-honored colonialist tradition of victim blaming.” It shows a “historical blindness to the Bedouin issue in particular and Israeli apartheid in general has penetrated deep into the public’s consciousness.”  

They claim that such “racist generalizations reveal the deeper problem – the apartheid in all the areas under Israel’s control, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea… Only under an apartheid regime could a settler… who lives on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank settlement of Ofra, accuse an indigenous community that has been living on its lands for hundreds of years of “occupation.” Only in an apartheid regime could… settlements, ignore the real occupation, under whose auspices those illegal settlements for Jews only were built in the West Bank.”

Moreover, this is an “ugly flood of inflammatory, racist discourse against the Bedouin coming from large swathes of Jewish society. This is an outstanding example of blaming the victim, behavior so beloved of colonialist regimes.”  According to the authors, a settler from Judea and Samaria “is an illegal occupier, part of the machinery of occupation that commits war crimes on a daily basis.”  The settler’s “vitriolic statements reveal the apartheid regime between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. The obvious and necessary step now is for all true supporters of democracy, in the Negev and throughout Israel, to join the battle against this racist regime.”

The authors neglect to inform the readers about the widespread violation of law in the Negev and only briefly stated that “Actual crimes committed in the south must be condemned, but it’s important not to forget the facts.” 

However, the article is egregious on many counts and needs to be corrected.

While some Bedouins could prove ownership of land, it does not prove that all Bedouins are landowners, as the authors falsely claim. The fact that Bedouins have roamed the Negev with their flocks does not give them ownership of this land. In the same vein, the fact that people live and walk in an area does not mean they own these places. Only properties registered under their names belong to them.  

Israel recognizes the Bedouins as citizens but does not recognize some of their claims to lands they do not have the title deed as proof of ownership. 

Israel is not an apartheid state and not even close to one.

Bedouins who could prove ownership of land have registered in the land registry. Contrary to Yiftachel and Aburabia claims, those who have not proved ownership have no rights to the land and should not build illegally. They must obey Israeli law. The case of al-Araqib is a prime example of such illegal behavior. The al-Uqbi tribe, the claimants, demanded the ownership of 1000 dunams in the Israeli courts. Prof. Yiftachel was their key expert witness. They could not prove they cultivated a thousand dunams, therefore, their cases were dismissed. Still, they erected illegal dwellings ignoring the court order. The Israeli police demolished Al Araqib for the 196th time, as of December 2021. Neither Yiftachel nor Aburabia condemned such illegal behavior.

As for the Jewish claims to the land, Yiftachel and Aburabia are wrong. The Jews were promised by 50 states in 1922 a national home in Palestine due to the historical connection.

The League of Nations appointed Britain to a mandate over Palestine to establish the Jewish people’s national home at the Ottoman Empire’s demise.  On 12 August 1922, the League of Nations approved the Mandate for Palestine, stating that, “Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have agreed, for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, to entrust to a Mandatory selected by the said Powers the administration of the territory of Palestine, which formerly belonged to the Turkish Empire, within such boundaries as may be fixed by them; and Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country; and Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country… The Mandatory shall be responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home, as laid down in the preamble, and the development of self-governing institutions, and also for safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion.”

The League of Nations document also stated that “An appropriate Jewish agency shall be recognized as a public body for the purpose of advising and co-operating with the Administration of Palestine in such economic, social and other matters as may affect the establishment of the Jewish national home and the interests of the Jewish population in Palestine, and, subject always to the control of the Administration, to assist and take part in the development of the country… The Zionist Organization, so long as its organization and constitution are in the opinion of the Mandatory appropriate, shall be recognized as such agency. It shall take steps in consultation with His Britannic Majesty’s Government to secure the co-operation of all Jews who are willing to assist in the establishment of the Jewish national home. The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes… The Administration of Palestine shall be responsible for enacting a nationality law. There shall be included in this law provisions framed so as to facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews who take up their permanent residence in Palestine.”  

Interestingly, Yiftachel recently disclosed that he had been influenced as a doctoral student by his mentor, Dr. Hubert Law-Yone from the Technion.  Now retired, Law-Yone (who is a Burmese) is critical of Israeli policies. For example, A 2002 B’Tselem report titled “Land Grab: Israel’s Settlement Policy in the West Bank,” thanks Law-Yone for his assistance in preparing the report. The report claims “that the settlement enterprise in the Occupied Territories has created a system of legally sanctioned separation based on discrimination that has, perhaps, no parallel anywhere in the world since the apartheid regime in South Africa.” 

Yiftachel, Law-Yone, and all their critical neo-Marxist cohorts opposed the government initiative to settle land disputes with the Bedouins in the Negev that aimed to move them into proper houses from the shacks they currently live in. The Bedouins rejected these offers and instead began to riot to show solidarity with the Palestinians.   As a result, the Bedouins of the Negev reject any land settlement and systematically demand more than is offered to them.

As stated above, since Palestine is the Jewish national home, self-governing institutions are established for all Jews and non-Jews alike. The Bedouins are expected to adhere to these institutions and obey the law.  As parts of the Bedouin community are lawless and crime is skyrocketing. Yiftachel and Aburabia contribute to the chaos by providing falsified information.

More to the point, Yiftachel was behind the recent report of BT’selem claiming Israel is an apartheid state.  For Yiftachel, every dysfunctionality in the Arab community is further proof of the apartheid nature of the state.

Both Yiftachel and Aburabia abuse the Israeli academic system by providing falsehoods instead of scholarships. The Israeli taxpayers who pay for the academic institutions deserve better value for their money.

References

https://urbanologia.tau.ac.il/the-dilemma-of-the-dark-side-of-planning/

פרופ’ אורן יפתחאל מגיב לפרופ’ יוברט לו יון ומספר כיצד השפיע עליו המפגש עימו עוד כשהיה סטונדט לדוקטרט ונחשף לעמדתו הביקורתית. כיום הוא מבין את מקצועות המרחב כזירה של מאבק בין ‘צדדים אפלים’ ל’צדדים מוארים‘, סוקר את השלבים בהתפתחות המחשבה על צדק מרחבי ומציע את הקריאה שלו לתכנון טוב יותר
המרחב השקוף
אוקטובר 1988: שיחה בזמן סיור בכפר הלא מוכר (דה-אז) דמיידה במרכז הגליל כחלק מעבודת שדה עם יוברט לו-יון ‘ואגודת הארבעים’  על הכנת תכנית אב לכפרים הלא מוכרים בגליל.
אורן: “כל היישוב כאן זה פחונים וצריפונים? אין כביש? אין בית ספר? אין שלטים?”
יוברט: “כן, זה עד היום ‘התכנון’ למקומות האלה”
אורן: “כישלון מחפיר, המתכננים כנראה לא למדו בטכניון”.
יוברט: “לא לא אורן, זאת דווקא הצלחה של התכנון, אתה צריך לחשוב מחדש על מהות התכנון…”
אורן: “כלומר, התכנון מועל בתפקידו?”
יוברט: “לא אורן, מה שאתה רואה כאן הוא בעצם תפקידו של התכנון, להפוך את המרחב, כשהוא מעוניין בכך, לשקוף, ואת תושביו לתלויים ומוחלשים,. כמו שמלמד אותנו מישל פוקו (‘מי זה? אני שואל את עצמי…’), צריך תמיד לבדוק את תרגום הכוח למרחב ולא את המילים היפות של קובעי המדיניות .. צריך להבין שמהתכנון לא יצמח שינוי, אלא מפעולות חברתיות ופוליטיות גם של אנשי מקצוע “.1
בתור דוקטורנט לתכנון בטכניון, ואחרי מספר שנים של עבודה במשרדי ורשויות תכנון שהציגו עצמן תמיד ככאלה השואפות לטוב הציבורי ‘לכולם’, השיחה הזאת טלטלה אותי. האם אני במקצוע הלא נכון?
רצתי מייד לקרוא את פוקו ועוד ערימה של מאמרים שפרופ’ יוברט לו-יון רשם לנו בקורס הבלתי נשכח “תכנון ואידיאולוגיה”.  אינני בטוח שהבנתי אותם אז במלואם, אבל הם פתחו לי חלונות לעולם חשוב מאין כמוהו –ניתוח הממשק בין כוח ותכנון — העולם שמעבר לכוונות, מטרות והצהרות אידיאולוגיות מכובסות על העתיד הרצוי.
כעבור כשנה נסענו, מספר סטודנטים, עם לו-יון לישיבת הוועדה המחוזית אליה הוזמן, לאישור תכנית המתאר של מחוז הצפון. באקט מחאתי  לו-יון תקע על המפה הגדולה שעל הקיר עשרות סיכות צבעוניות.
יו”ר הוועדה: “פרופ’ לו-יון, מהן הסיכות האלה?”
יוברט: אלה היישובים הקיימים שהתוכנית מוחקת”
יו”ר: “אני מבקש שתוריד אותן מיד. צריך לקיים כאן דיון מקצועי.”
יוברט: “לא אני צריך להוריד, אלא אתם צריכים לכלול את היישובים בתוכנית…”
הישוב הבדואי דמיידה בגליל שהוכר במסגרת הפעולות שיזמה ‘אגודת הארבעים’ בסיוע לו-יון
++
הפעולות שיזמה ‘אגודת הארבעים’ בסיוע לו-יון, אכן הובילו, יחד עם חילופי שלטון במדינה, להכרה בכפרים. זהו אחד ההישגים המשמעותיים עד היום של חברה אזרחית במערכת התכנון הישראלית.
‘המשקפיים’ שהעניקו לי ניתוחיו של לו-יון, אפשרו לי גם להבין אחרת מאבקים ופרויקטים בהם הייתי מעורב באופן אחר, כמו גם את תפקידו של התכנון כפי שהוא מתקיים ‘בשטח’ ולא בתיאוריות המופשטות.  לימים גם ניסחתי את התובנות החדשות בעבודותיי על ‘הצד האפל’ של התכנון, שסללו דרך – יחד עם מספר עמיתים ביקורתיים – לדיון חדש לגמרי בספרות התכנונית.
המרחב האפל (והמואר?)
מאי 2021: בהרצאה המוקלטת כאן מציע יוברט לו-יון מבט-על על השיח התכנוני של תחילת המאה ה-21. הניתוח מישיר עיניים ‘לדילמות התכנוניות העמוקות’, הכרוכות בהתפוררות לדבריו של המחשבה והמעשה התכנוניים במספר ממדים. ראשית, ‘הסיפור’ האופטימי שמספרים לעצמם המתכננים על תפקידם בחברה הולך ומאבד מאמינותו, הן בעולם הגדול, והן במרחב הישראלי-פלסטיני.
שנית, טוען לו-יון, נסדקת בתקופה האחרונה גם האפיסטמולוגיה הבסיסית, כלומר הדרך לאגור וליישם ידע, של ‘מקצועני המרחב’ (אדריכלים, גיאוגרפים, מעצבים וכו’). אובדנים אלו נובעים מהסנגוריה הברורה של התכנון ‘בשטח’ על מוקדי כוח דכאניים בחברה, כגון הון בינלאומי ומקומי, עליונות אתנו-לאומית, ולאחרונה גם ‘לוחמת משפט’ (lawfare) דרכה פוגעים מוקדי הכוח בזכויות של קבוצות מוחלשות, מיעוטים ופריפריות.2
את הרעיונות האלו של יוברט לו יון אנסה לחבר ‘על קצה המזלג’ להתפתחות המחשבה התכנונית ולאתגרי העתיד של חוקרי ופעילי התכנון, כלומר – האתגרים שלנו. הרעיונות שאציג להלן נכתבו מתוך הערכה עמוקה לתרומתו הראשונית והגדולה של יוברט לו-יון בפיתוח הפרדיגמה הביקורתית בחקר התכנון בארץ בכלל, ולעבודתי בפרט.
המרחב הצודק?
מה המקום החברתי של התכנון העירוני? מעבר להשראה ששאבתי מהתורה שהרביץ בי לו-יון, התפתחה ביננו גם מחלוקת שאלה זו. בעוד לו-יון המשיך להעמיק את הביקורת על תפקידו המבני, הכמעט דטרמיניסטי של התכנון כחלק ממנגנוני הדיכוי בחברה, התובנות שאני פיתחתי במהלך שנת עבודתי סייעו לי להבינו כזירה של מאבק. בזירה זאת, להבנתי, מקצועני המרחב ממלאים תפקיד מרכזי בעיצוב מטרות “אפלות” ו”מוארות”, פרקטיקות וחוקים מרחביים, הנעים גם הם במנעד רחב של תוצאות ממשיות, בין ‘צדדים אפלים’ ל’צדדים מוארים’. המאבק הזה, על תוצאותיו המורכבות, מציפים את השאלה התכנונית החשובה – ‘מהו המרחב הצודק?’ האם זו מטרה? תהליך? מקום? האם וכיצד נוכל להפוך עוולות וסכסוכים מרחביים לתהליך של תיקון חומרי, פוליטי ותהליכי? רבים מהכותבים המרכזיים בספרות התכנונית והאורבנית נדרשו גם הם לדילמה עליה מצביע לו-יון, וכך פיתחו במקביל תובנות משמעותיות לגבי כינונה של ‘העיר הצודקת’.
במשיכות מכחול גסות, ניתן לחלק את התפתחות שיח הצדק המרחבי לארבעה שלבים עיקריים – מבני-מרקסיאני, ליברלי, פוסט קולוניאלי, וניאו-קולוניאלי. סוגי השיח היו דומיננטיים בתקופות מסוימות אם כי גם כיום רוב סוגי השיח מתקיימים במקביל.
שלב ראשון –מרקסיאני. אחרי עשורים ארוכים בהן השיח והמחקר התכנוני לקחו כמובן מאליו את השפעותיו החיוביות של התכנון העירוני על החברה, החל בשנות השבעים והשמונים של המאה הקודמת צמח שיח ביקורתי, שאתגר הנחות אלה. בשלב הראשון התיאוריות המרכזיות בשיח התמקדו בכלכלה הפוליטית, ובעיקר בפרשנות המרקסיאנית, כלומר בכוח העצום ובעוולות הנלוות של הקפיטליזם והנאו-ליברליזם, המייצרים מנגנוני צבירת ההון וההפרטה ואיתם ניצול וריבוד המעמדי, ופערים חברתיים מהגדולים בהיסטוריה.  את השיח הובילו הוגים כמנואל קאסטלס, פיטר מרקוזה, דיוויד הארווי, ויותר מאוחר סוזן פיינסטיין, ג’יימי פק וניל ברנר. תפיסתם לגבי המרחב הצודק הייתי מבנית – ‘הרע הגדול’ הוא הקפיטליזם, והתכנון הנכון מנטרל ככל האפשר את היגיון ההון, הרווח, הפיתוח והגלובליזציה, למען מטרות של חלוקה לפי צרכים, תחת עיקרון העל – שוויון. חברתי
שלב שני–פוסט קולוניאלי. בשנות השמונים והתשעים החל לעלות גל נוסף של כתיבה אשר טען שהעוולות בעיצוב המרכז לא מצטמצמות למנגנוני הקפיטליסטיים, אלא נובעים ‘ממשטר הזהויות’, בו אוכלוסיות מסוימות (בדרך כלל לבנות ופטריארכליות) משתלטות על משאבים וכוח, ורותמות את פיתוח המרחב לטובת האינטרסים שלהן.
היגיון של משטר הזהות המפלים נמשך גם בתקופה הפוסט-קולוניאלית, בקולוניות לשעבר כמו גם במאות מיליוני המהגרים מהדרום והמזרח הגלובאליים לצפון העשיר. חוקרים כגון ליאוני סנדרקוק, אש אמין ואייריס מאריון יאנג הובילו כתיבה חדשה ומאתגרת המתבססת על תורותיהם של הוגים כגון אנטוניו גראמשי, מישל פוקו ואדוארד סעיד.  חוקרים אלה הניפו את דגל ההכרה בזהויות אתניות, תרבותיות, מגדריות ומינית כאופק רצוי לעיצוב המרחב והחברה.  
שלב שלישי – ליברלי. בשלהי המאה ה-20 החל לעלות גל אחר, ליברלי יותר, שחיפש את הנתיב לעיר הצודקת דרך שכלולם של תהליכים דמוקרטיים בעיצוב העיר. הוגים מרכזיים כמו פאטסי הילי, ג’ון פורסטר, ג’ין הילייר או ג’ודי אינס הסיטו את העדשה מהתבוננות בעוולות חומריות או זהותיות. במקום זאת, ובהתבסס על הוגים ליברליים כמו יורגן האברמאס ובנג’מין בארבר, התמקדו בניסיון להשיג ‘צדק תהליכי’, תוך התמקדות באופני קבלת ההחלטות, שיתוף הציבור, עולמם הערכי של המתכננים וחיבורם למסגרות של דמוקרטיה מתדיינת. ‘תהליך נכון יוביל לתוצאות נכונות’, הייתה הנחת העבודה של הוגים אלה, כאשר הדגל המרכזי הוא ‘עיר דמוקרטית’.  עם זאת, נראה שאשליית הדמוקרטיה התכנונית התנפצה שוב ושוב על סלעי המציאות, בה תהליכי הפיתוח הדורסניים ומשטרי הזהויות ידעו לתמרן סביב תהליכים ‘דמוקרטיים’ כדי להשיג את מטרותיהן.
שלב רביעי – נאו-קולוניאלי: מציאות עיקשת זו של פערים, עוולות, אלימות ועקירות, חלקן הגדול בחסות מערכת התכנון המרחבי, הובילה לגל רביעי של כתיבה ביקורתית  בעשור האחרון המגיעה בעיקר מהשוליים המתרחבים של הדיון התכנוני. תוך התנגדות לדומיננטיות ארוכת השנים של תיאוריות אוניברסליות כביכול המגיעות מהאקדמיה הדומיננטית של הצפון-מערב הגלובאלי. קולות אלה, הכוללים הוגים כמו וונסה וואטסון, אנאניה רוי, ליבי פורטר, אדגר פיטרסה או טרזה קלדירה, הממקמים את נקודת המבט שלהם בפריפריה הגלובלית, ומדגישים את שיבתם של מצבים קולוניאליים של הדרה, מהותנות, הפרדה וניצול, כגורמים מרכזיים בעיצוב העיר במאה ה-21.
בתהליך זה, דפוסים של  ‘נפרד ולא שווה’ שאפיינו חברות קולוניאליות וגזעניות בעבר עוברים עיור ולאחרונה גם דיגיטציה, ומעצבים מחדש את האזרחות, המרחב והחברה האנושית. תהליכים אלה הרחיבו את ‘המרחב האפור’  — מצב של קיום לימינאלי בין החוקי לנפשע, בין המוכר לשקוף — בו מתגוררים כיום למעלה ממיליארד איש בערי העולם בפאבלות או גטאות למיניהן, כאשר הם אינם מוכללים בעיר ובשירותיה באופן מלא, אך גם לא מגורשים ממנה.  
ירושלים, דובאי או ערי הענק של דרום אמריקה, אפריקה, סין והודו מציגות אופנים שונים לחזרתם של דפוסים קולוניאליים לעיר העכשווית, המשיתה דפוסים של ‘אפרטהייד תכנוני’ על תושביה ומעמידה אותם בסכנה נמשכת של דחיקה ועקירה. הדגל המרכזי המונף על-ידי הוגים אלה כדי להפוך את העוול לצדק, הוא לדמיין וליישם ממדים שונים של ‘דה-קולוניזציה’ בעיר העכשווית. כלומר, לדמיין שינוי עומק רב-ממדי  (חומרי, פוליטי, זהותי, מגדרי) בו מתבטלים דפוסי העליונות המובנית של אוכלוסיות פריווילגיות ומשאבי החברה מתחלקים מחדש באופן הוגן.  
הסלאמס של דובאי רחוקים מדימוי וחיי היוקרה של העיר (Sam Litvin, Flickr)בדובאי מתהווה ‘אפרטהייד תכנוני’ (Christopher, Flickr)
המרחב העתידי – להאיר את השקוף?
כיצד מחברים את הדילמה עליה מצביע לו-יון עם הידע הרב שהצטבר על העיר הצודקת? כיצד קושרים את הניתוח המבני עם המאבק להפוך דיכוי וניצול לשחרור ושוויון? האם המלחמה המשפטית והתכנונית בעקרונות הצדק עליה מצביע לו-יון מחויבת המציאות? האם בישראל/פלסטין הצד האפל של התכנון בהכרח גובר על צדדיו האחרים?
לטעמי, הידע הרב שהצטבר על רצף העוול-צדק המרחביים מציע מוצא מהדילמה –  סנכרון הידע התכנוני  – התאורטי והמקצועי —  עם המאבק לכינונו של מרחב צודק. אם כך, המוצא מהדילמה מחייב את המתכננים ‘לבחור צד’ ולקדם את המטרה העליונה לשמה נוצר התכנון כהתערבות ציבורית במרחב  – שיפור, קידום, שגשוג וייצוב המרחב האנושי. כלומר, הפיכת המרחב השקוף של דמיידה אותו פגשנו בתחילת החיבור, למרחב מואר ונוכח.
אכן, המרחב הישראלי/פלסטיני, כפי שמציין לו-יון בהרצאתו, מלא בעוולות מרחביות, על בסיס כלכלי, אידיאולוגי וזהותי, שנוצרו בידי מדיניות תכנון, קרקע והתיישבות מייהדת של חלקים גדולים מהמרחב הפלסטיני. דפוסים אלה בולטים גם בערים הדו-לאומיות בישראל – במיוחד יפו, לוד ועכו, שהפכו ל’אזור ספר’ חדש בשנים האחרונות במעשה הייהוד, והתפרצו באלימות בשבועות האחרונים.
אך באותו מרחב ישראלי/פלסטיני מתקיימים מהלכים כמו תכנית ‘אגודת ה-40′, תכנית אותה הוביל לו-יון ושסייעה בהכרה בכל הכפרים שהוגדרו כ’לא חוקיים’ בגליל. כך גם ‘תוכנית האב לכפרים הלא מוכרים בנגב‘, בהכנתה הייתי שותף לפני מספר שנים, והיא עדיין מהווה דגל במאבקם של עשרות אלפי אזרחים להכרה תכנונית. מהלכים אלה מעידים על פוטנציאל מתמשך לגלות, לחזק ולהרחיב את ‘הצד המואר’ והצודק של התכנון. תפיסה זו מנוסחת בהרחבה בעבודות בהן השתתפתי לאחרונה עם החוקרים.ות ארז צפדיה, אחמד אמארה, סנדי קדר,  נופר אבני, רני מנדלבאום והודא אבו-זייד.3
אין בקריאה זו המלצה לקידום מודל אוניברסלי של מרחב צודק, אלא שאיפה להטיית חרטום הספינה משיוט כביכול ניטרלי, רציונלי ואובייקטיבי בין מוקדי הכוח (כפי שרוב המתכננים מייצגים את כוונותיהם כיום), אל עבר המים הלא שקטים והעמוקים של קידום העיר הצודקת. שיוט זה איננו קל, והדיון בשאלה ‘מהו צדק מרחבי’ יוביל בוודאי לסערות לא מעטות, אך הוא גם ינווט את ההגות והעשייה התכנונית בכיוון הנכון – מוסרית ופרגמטית. זאת כיוון שמרחבים המקובלים על יושביהם כצודקים יותר, נוטים להיות יציבים ומשגשגים. כך יהיה ברור יותר גם לעוסקים ולעוסקות בעיצוב המרחב מהי כוונתו החברתית של התכנון. הפער הבלתי נסבל אותו חשף בפניי יוברט לו-יון בעבודותיו לאורך השנים, צריך להזכיר לנו כי לתכנון תפקיד ברור מוסרי, ולכן פוליטי – לנווט את המרחב האנושי מהצד האפל לעבר הצד המואר, בתוך עולם מורכב, כפי שמנסחות בדייקנות מילותיו של המשורר —  
לילה
אלי אליהו
אנחנו כעת על חציו האפל
של הכוכב, בִיתי. ואולי בכול זאת
אפשר לומר דבר על העולם –
חציו אפל וחציו מואר.
גם האדם, בִיתי,
כך גם האדם.
 —————————–1. שחזור מזיכרון אישי 2. לרשימה של פרופ’ ארז צפדיה שמרחיבה את הרעיון של לו יון על התכנון כלוחמת משפט ↩ עבודות אלה מוצגות בין היתר בספרי – יפתחאל, א. 2021. עוצמה ואדמה: מאתנוקרטיה לאפרטהייד זוחל בישראל/פלסטין’, תל-אביב: רסלינג.
3. עבודות אלה מוצגות בין היתר בספרי – יפתחאל, א. 2021. עוצמה ואדמה: מאתנוקרטיה לאפרטהייד זוחל בישראל/פלסטין’, תל-אביב: רסלינג.

אורן יפתחאלמלמד גיאוגרפיה פוליטית, תכנון עירוני ומדיניות ציבורית באוניברסיטת בן-גוריון בנגב, באר שבע. עומד בראש הקתדרה ללימודים עירוניים, ובראש המחלקה ללימודים רב-תחומיים. מחקריו עוסקים בקשר בין זהות, כוח ומרחב, ובהשלכותיהם החברתיות של תיכנון, התיישבות ופיתוח וכמו כן בהשוואה בינלאומית של ערים ומשטרים, תוך התמקדות בישראל/פלסטין

בסיוע מועצת הפיס לתרבות ולאמנות המעבדה לעיצוב עירוני, החוג לגאוגרפיה וסביבת האדם. אוניברסיטת תל אביב Urbanologia by LCUD is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

BDS Fail: HUJ Palestinian Students Urged Princeton Neuroscientist to Withdraw from Seminar

13.01.22

Editorial Note 

Dr. Ahmed El Hady, an Egyptian postdoctoral fellow of Neuroscience at Princeton University, has lectured last week on Zoom to the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences (ELSC) at the Hebrew University. The lecture was titled “Functional ultrasound imaging during behavior,” explaining that “Functional ultrasound imaging (fUSi) is an emerging technique that allows us to measure neural activity from medial frontal regions down to subcortical structures up to a depth of 20 mm.”  

However, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) used the opportunity to harass Dr. El-Hady and urged him not to participate in the lecture.  PACBI was notified of the lecture by Palestinian students at the Hebrew University. PACBI wrote, “We echo the call from Palestinian students at Hebrew University urgently requesting that you cancel your participation in the ‘ELSC Seminar Series’ this Thursday. As the student activists noted, Israeli universities, including Hebrew University, have long played a willing and active role in planning, implementing and justifying Israel’s decades-old regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.”  

Worth noting that in this case, the BDS efforts failed. Elhady has also collaborated with the Hebrew University scientists before. In 2014, El Hady, then at the Max Planck Campus, Göttingen, Germany, co-organized a workshop named “NeuroBridges,” aimed to “serve as a bridge between experimental and theoretical neuroscientists addressing system-level questions.” By holding such workshops, they were seeking to establish many new collaborations. He and his co-organizers wrote of NeuroBridges, that “we believe that scientists have a responsibility, which goes beyond their own research. Scientists should promote common understanding between people from different nations. Therefore, the workshop will bring together Israeli, German and Arab scientists.”  Furthermore, they wrote, “We believe that such scientific collaborations can lead to personal relations, and in the long run may alleviate the political distress between Arabs and Israelis. We foresee this event as the first workshop in an annual tradition aimed at fostering scientific collaborations between Israeli and Arab neuroscientists.” His Israeli co-organizer was Yonatan Loewenstein from the Hebrew University. 

In September 2015, the following year, the academic journal Science reported an event that twenty neuroscientists from Israel and the Arab world gathered for dinner at a Left Bank bistro in Paris. The scientists assembled at the Paris Descartes University for a 3-day meeting that sought to foster relationships across the political and religious divide in the Middle East as part of NeuroBridges. It grew from the friendship between El Hady and his Israeli colleague Loewenstein of the ELSC at the Hebrew University.

After they met in Germany, Loewenstein invited El Hady to an ELSC retreat in Ein Gedi, an oasis near the Dead Sea in Israel. During a hike in the area, they agreed that “science could bring more researchers together, both professionally and personally.” 

However, most of the Arab participants, like El Hady, live in Western countries, to which El Hady said, “The mood in most Arab countries is fervently anti-Israel, and scientists there could face a political price for attending NeuroBridges.” Adding that since “Academics are the most reasonable people… If we cut off contact with them, we lose the last resort.”

Worth noting that Palestinian scientists refused to participate in NeuroBridges. 

Although Palestinian students in Israel, like all other Israeli students, have the right to academic freedom, advocating for BDS is illegal under the 2011 Israeli Boycott Law, which the Knesset enacted:

“Bill for prevention of damage to the State of Israel through boycott – 2011,” defines that “1. In this law, “boycott of the State of Israel” – deliberate avoidance of economic, cultural or academic ties with a person or other party, solely for reason of his/her/its relation to the state of Israel, to any of its institutions or to any area under its control, which could cause them economic, cultural or academic harm. Boycott – a civil wrong 2. (a) Anyone who publishes a public call for a boycott of the state of Israel, and its content and circumstances may reasonably be expected to lead to a boycott, and the publisher is aware of this possibility – is committing a civil wrong and the Law of Tort [new version] shall apply to him/her.”

The Hebrew University should be aware of the BDS action of its students. 

Clearly, the academy is the most active arena for delegitimizing Israel, and the Israeli academic authorities should help fight the delegitimization. 

As for the Palestinians, by boycotting all things Israeli, they cut themselves off the thriving global academic community in which Israel has a prominent role.

References:

https://elsc.huji.ac.il/events-and-outreach/elsc-seminars/elsc-seminar-series/functional-ultrasound-imaging-during-behavior/

ELSC Seminar Series

Home » ELSC Seminar Series » Functional ultrasound imaging during behavior

Dr. Ahmed El-Hady

Princeton University
Princeton Neuroscience Institute

Functional ultrasound imaging during behavior

The dream of a systems neuroscientist is to be able to unravel neural mechanisms that give rise to behavior. It is increasingly appreciated that behavior involves the concerted distributed activity of multiple brain regions so the focus on single or few brain areas might hinder our understanding. There have been quite a few technological advancements in this domain. Functional ultrasound imaging (fUSi) is an emerging technique that allows us to measure neural activity from medial frontal regions down to subcortical structures up to a depth of 20 mm. It is a method for imaging transient changes in cerebral blood volume (CBV), which are proportional to neural activity changes. It has excellent spatial resolution (~100 μm X 100 μm X 400 μm); its temporal resolution can go down to 100 milliseconds. In this talk, I will present its use in two model systems:  marmoset monkeys and rats. In marmoset monkeys, we used it to delineate a social – vocal network involved in vocal communication while in rats, we used it to gain insights into brain wide networks involved in evidence accumulation based decision making. fUSi has the potential to provide an unprecedented access to brain wide dynamics in freely moving animals performing complex behavioral tasks.

Seminar Date & Time:

January 6th, 202214:30 (IST)Notifications and Zoom links are sent to ELSC seminar mailing list, subscribe here.
Providing full name is mandatory for joining Zoom. 

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https://bdsmovement.net/news/palestinians-urge-dr-ahmed-el-hady-withdraw-from-hebrew-university-seminar
Palestinians Urge Dr. Ahmed El-Hady to Withdraw from Hebrew University Seminar January 5, 2022 / By Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) /

Following the letter from Palestinian Students at Hebrew University, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) urges Dr. El-Hady not to participate in event at complicit Israeli university partially built on stolen Palestinian land in occupied East Jerusalem.

Dear Dr. Ahmed El-Hady,

We are writing from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), a founding member of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee, the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. 

We echo the call from Palestinian students at Hebrew University urgently requesting that you cancel your participation in the “ELSC Seminar Series” this Thursday.

As the student activists noted, Israeli universities, including Hebrew University, have long played a willing and active role in planning, implementing and justifying Israel’s decades-old regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid. 

Hebrew University is partially built on stolen Palestinian  land in occupied East Jerusalem, in violation of international law. The university has joined legal actions to forcibly displace Palestinians to allow for campus expansion.

Hebrew University also hosts the Israeli military’s Havatzalot program, effectively a military base on campus that includes combat training. 

Hebrew University has also hosted recruitment events for Shin Bet, Israel’s notorious domestic intelligence agency. Shin Bet has been condemned by the UN Committee Against Torture over its use of violent interrogation tactics on Palestinians. 

The Israeli organization Academia for Equality has documented Hebrew University’s active cooperation with Israeli occupation forces subjecting residents of the adjoining Palestinian neighborhood of Issawiya in occupied East Jerusalem to “unrelenting and unfathomable police brutality,” including lending its rooftops to Israeli police for mass surveillance of Palestinians.  

As you may know, in 2021, Human Rights Watch and Israel’s leading human rights organization B’Tselem issued separate reports condemning Israel as an apartheid state against the entire Palestinian people. Israeli universities, including Hebrew University, are a crucial part of Israel’s apartheid apparatus.

Regardless of your intentions, participating in the ELSC Seminar Series at Hebrew University would help whitewash Israel’s apartheid regime and its grave violations of international law, including war crimes, gradual ethnic cleansing, home demolitions, expanding settlement enterprise, and administrative detention of political prisoners. 

At a time when academics and academic associations worldwide are increasingly refraining from any engagement with Israel’s universities, including Hebrew University, for their deep, decades-long complicity in apartheid and settler-colonialism, we ask you not to be a part of the ongoing normalization of these complicit institutions. We call on you to urgently withdraw from this seminar series.

Sincerely,

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)

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https://www.facebook.com/A4PConcordia/posts/1528313957548961

Academics for Palestine – Concordia

5 January at 17:42  · 

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement

5 January at 17:18 

We echo the call from Palestinian students urging Dr. Ahmed El Hady to withdraw from Hebrew University seminar series.Hebrew University is partially built on stolen Palestinian land in occupied East Jerusalem, hosts an Israeli military base on campus and actively cooperates with Israeli forces oppressing Palestinians. Regardless of intentions, participating in the seminar series at Hebrew University would help whitewash Israel’s apartheid regime and its grave violations of international law, including war crimes, gradual ethnic cleansing, home demolitions, expanding settlement enterprise, and administrative detention of political prisoners. https://loom.ly/d0Dddsk
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https://pni.princeton.edu/news/pni-postdoc-ahmed-el-hadys-neurobridges-program-brings-arab-and-israeli-neuroscientists-together

PostedJun 032016

PNI Postdoc Ahmed El Hady’s “NeuroBridges” program brings Arab and Israeli neuroscientists together

NeuroBridges is a series of meetings that brings together brain scientists from Israel and the Arab world in hopes of fostering relationships across the political and religious fault lines that divide the Middle East. It grew from the friendship between Ahmed El Hady, an Egyptian neuroscientist at Princeton University, and his Israeli colleague Yonatan Loewenstein of the Edmond & Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Science sat in on the second NeuroBridges meeting, held in September 2015 in Paris, where discussions about the Middle East were animated but the mood was friendly. 

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https://www.science.org/doi/full/10.1126/science.352.6290.1161

Gatherings aim to bridge a wide divide

MARTIN ENSERINKSCIENCE • 3 Jun 2016 • Vol 352, Issue 6290 • p. 1161

When 20 neuroscientists from Israel and the Arab world gathered for dinner at a Left
Bank bistro here in September 2015, it didn’t take long for the conversation to turn
from duck breast to the Middle East—and for the temperature to rise. The researchers,
including two Palestinians, bickered over the Iran nuclear deal, the war in Syria,
and, of course, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “The two-state solution is dead!” one
Arab scientist argued. “We need to think about a one-state model.” “That will never
work!” an Israeli colleague shot back. As the evening wore on, the debates got more
animated and louder.
The scientists didn’t solve any problems that night, but at least they were talking—
and that was the point.
They had assembled at Paris Descartes University for a 3-day meeting that sought
to foster relationships across the political and religious fault lines dividing the
Middle East. NeuroBridges, as it’s called, is one of several science diplomacy efforts
focused on the region; the most ambitious is SESAME, a synchrotron light source
in Jordan expected to come online in 2017 that involves nine unlikely bedfellows,
including Turkey, Israel, the Palestinian National Authority, Iran, and Pakistan.
NeuroBridges grew from the friendship between Ahmed El Hady, an Egyptian
neuroscientist at Princeton University, and his Israeli colleague Yonatan
Loewenstein of the Edmond & Lily Safra Center for
Brain Sciences (ELSC) at the Hebrew University of
Jerusalem. After they met in Germany, Loewenstein
invited El Hady to an ELSC retreat in Ein Gedi, an
oasis near the Dead Sea in Israel. During a hike, the
duo agreed that science could bring more researchers
together, both professionally and personally. The
first NeuroBridges, later that year at the University
of Göttingen in Germany, came at an awkward time:
3 weeks into the 2014 Gaza war.
Science sat in on the 2015 successor, in a monumental Parisian university hall
adorned with tapestries woven for King Louis XIV. After an unusual preamble describing
their own geographical, religious, or political background, attendees presented
their work, which spanned a range of neuroscience areas. The mood was friendly.
“We really need opportunities for dialogue like this,” says Mehdi Khamassi, a
French-Tunisian researcher at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, who
noted that relations between Arabs and Jews in France have deteriorated rapidly:
“We seem to have imported the conflict from the Middle East.” (The meeting took
place 2 months before the 13 November 2015 terrorist attacks here.)
Like El Hady, almost all of the Arab participants live and work in Western countries.
The mood in most Arab countries is fervently anti-Israel, and scientists there
could face a political price for attending NeuroBridges, El Hady says. Mohammad
Herzallah, who heads the Palestinian Neuroscience Initiative, has declined an
invitation twice (see main story, p. 1158).
Critics of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian Territories say that meetings
like NeuroBridges fail to address the root issue. A mostly scientific meeting that
doesn’t focus on problems faced by Palestinian academics contributes to the
“normalization” of the occupation, says Jonathan Rosenhead, chair of the British
Committee for the Universities of Palestine in London and an advocate of an
academic boycott of Israel. El Hady disagrees. “Academics are the most reasonable
people,” he says. “If we cut off contact with them, we lose the last resort.”
This year’s NeuroBridges will be at a chateau in Burgundy, France, in September.
To reach a wider and younger audience, it will be a 10-day summer school in
computational neuroscience. Can such meetings bring peace in the Middle East
any closer? “To be honest, this is not a question that concerns me very much,”
Loewenstein says after a very long pause. “The question I ask myself is what I can
personally do to improve the situation.” 

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https://elsc.huji.ac.il/events-and-outreach/conferences/neurobridges-2014/

NeuroBridges 2014

Where

The Max Planck Campus, Göttingen, Germany, July 29-31 2014

Organizers:
Ahmed El Hady (Max Planck Institute)
Tim Gollisch (Göttingen University)
Yonatan Loewenstein (Hebrew University)

The goal of this workshop is to serve as a bridge between experimental and theoretical neuroscientists addressing system-level questions with the hope of establishing as many as possible new collaborations.

In addition to the scientific exchange goal, we believe that scientists have a responsibility, which goes beyond their own research. Scientists should promote common understanding between people from different nations. Therefore, the workshop will bring together Israeli, German and Arab scientists. We believe that such scientific collaborations can lead to personal relations, and in the long run may alleviate the political distress between Arabs and Israelis.

We foresee this event as the first workshop in an annual tradition aimed at fostering scientific collaborations between Israeli and Arab neuroscientists.
Lectures are open for the public and there is no registration fee but space is limited. Therefore, those planning to attend are kindly requested to send an email to inform the local organizer Ahmed El Hady (aelhady1 at gwdg.de).

Program (PDF)
For more information: aelhady1 at gwdg.de, yonatan at huji.ac.il

https://bio.huji.ac.il/yonatanLab/newsite/site.html

The Oded Goldreich Israel Prize Saga not Ended

05.01.22

Editorial Note

The Israel Prize Committee has petitioned the High Court the second time requesting to award the Israel Prize to Professor Oded Goldreich.  The Supreme Court held the hearing on January 4, 2022, under the new Judge, Daphne Barak-Erez, who decided to schedule a hearing on this issue on February 15, 2022.

The Israel Prize is highly prestigious.  As its homepage states: “The winners of the Israel Prize have placed a faithful stake in their work and achievements and set very high norms, a model for identification and a source of pride for all of us…”

In 2010, the Israeli State Comptroller examined the procedure of granting the award in the Annual Report.  He noted that the Israel Prize had been awarded since 1953 every year on Independence Day by the Minister of Education to “individuals who have shown special excellence and achieved remarkable results. Over the years, the award has received a national status that expresses the state’s appreciation and respect for Israeli citizens and institutions, who, in their activities in various fields, have made important contributions to society and the state.” The State Comptroller explained that the Ministry of Education is responsible for the procedures for the prize to be awarded. “The purpose of the award upon its establishment was to encourage and strengthen the hands of scholars, writers, and artists, who reside and work in Israel. The award is given in humanities and social sciences, Jewish studies, life sciences, exact sciences, arts, and culture.” The State Comptroller office examined the procedures, focusing on the administrative side of the award and not on the selection of winners or their eligibility for the award.  

Interestingly, the Comptroller found cases of conflict of interests. For example, “For about two and a half years prior to his election to the position of counsel, Adv. [Nahum] Langenthal provided salaried consulting services to ‘The Israel Democracy Institute.’ It was revealed that before awarding the prize in 2007, Adv. Langenthal and others recommended the Institute with its president as candidates for the Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement, but the Institute did not win the prize. Ahead of the award ceremony in 2009, the Institute was again nominated for the Lifetime Achievement Award. Advocate Langenthal selected the judging panel and later participated as an observer. The committee decided to award the Institute the Lifetime Achievement Award.”

The number of scandals relating to the Israel Prize has been high throughout the years, as detailed by the Hebrew press. 

To recall, the Award Committee insisted on Goldreich even after the then Minister of Education, Yoav Gallant, raised concerns over Goldreich signing the petition that called for the European Union to refuse funding to Ariel University.

The Award Committee then petitioned the Supreme Court the first time.  Gallant’s response during the Supreme Court hearing was that “The situation in which Prof. Goldreich will receive, on the one hand, from the state the most prestigious award for contribution to the Israeli society, while on the other hand, he is promoting the affairs of a [BDS] movement that undermines the very existence of that state, is absurd and unacceptable.”

The Supreme Court stated that the petition Goldreich signed, regarding Ariel University, raises a certain difficulty, in light of the definition in section 1 of the Boycott Law, which states: “’Boycott of the State of Israel’ – intentional avoidance of economic, cultural or academic contact with a person or other entity, only because of its affiliation with the State of Israel, its institutions or an area under its control, which could harm it economically, culturally or academically.” 

The Supreme Court Judge stated that “the Boycott Law imposes tort liability and denies certain administrative benefits as specified in the law. I am correct in assuming that a call for a boycott of the State of Israel or a boycott of academia in the State of Israel, especially from the mouths of those whose prestige and achievements grew in the academy in Israel, may fall within the extreme and exceptional cases of “external” consideration. This is because it is hard to grasp that an Israeli academic, who works within the framework of the Israeli academy and enjoys its protection, will participate in the call for a boycott of the academy in Israel. Such a situation is absurd and difficult to imagine.” 

However, the Supreme Court Judge noted that Prof. Goldreich has “repeatedly stated that he does not support the BDS movement.” 

The Supreme Court Judge stated that Prof. Goldreich submitted a response stating that he: “Respects the Israel Prize and feels great pride that the Professional Committee of Judges for the Israel Prize chose him to win the prize for his contribution to the study of computer science for the year 2021[…] In the framework to defend from the defamations by the Minister, respondent five also explained he does not support the BDS movement, however, it will be immediately clarified that the respondent does not believe that his politics and political opinions, including the question of his attitude to this movement, have any relevance to the question of whether he is eligible for the Israel Prize or not. The clarification was made in light of the many articles published and because the Minister attributed to him without clarifying with him that these are not his positions, and these attributions were also published in public.”

In the end, the three Supreme Court Judges ruled in August: “Therefore, it was unanimously decided to cancel the decision of the Minister of Education to reject the recommendation of the Israel Prize Committee to award Prof. Goldreich the prize for the year 2021 in the field of mathematics and computer science research. It was also decided on the opinion of Justices N. Solberg and Y. Wilner, against the dissenting opinion of Justice Y. Amit, to return the examination of the Committee’s recommendation to the Minister of Education in order to reconsider whether to approve this recommendation.” 

In other words, the Supreme Court canceled Gallant’s decision to withdraw the candidacy of Goldreich and ordered the new Minister of Education, Yifat Shasha-Biton, to decide on this issue.  

Shasha-Biton affirmed Gallant’s decision and canceled Goldreich’s candidacy. 

As a result, the Award Committee petitioned the Supreme Court the second time. Stay tuned.

References:

https://news.walla.co.il/item/3473113
  שופטי פרס ישראל עתרו לבג”ץ נגד שרת החינוך: “מניעת הפרס מגולדרייך לא סבירה”

חברי ועדת השופטים להענקת פרס ישראל במתמטיקה ומדעי המחשב, שהמליצה להעניק את הפרס לגולדרייך, טוענים כי החלטתה של שאשא-ביטון שלא להעניק לו את הפרס בגלל תימכתו בחרם על אוניברסיטת אריאל “נגועה בשיקולים זרים”. שרת החינוך: “הוא לא יכול לקבל את הפרס”

סוניה גורודיסקי
24/11/2021

ועדת השופטים להענקת פרס ישראל במתמטיקה ומדעי המחשב עתרה היום (רביעי) לבג”ץ נגד החלטת שרת החינוך יפעת שאשא ביטון שלא להעניק את הפרס לפרופ’ עודד גולדרייך, שקרא בעבר לחרם על אוניברסיטת אריאל. נציגי שופטי ועדת הפרס האשימו בעתירה כי החלטת השרה נגועה “בשיקולים זרים וחוסר סבירות קיצוני”, וכי על כן “עומדת לפנינו עילה ברורה להתערבות החלטת השרה”.

שאשא ביטון הכריזה על החלטתה החוזרת בשבוע שעבר, ובכך הותירה על כנה את החלטתו של שר החינוך הקודם, יואב גלנט. היום היא הבהירה כי היא עומדת מאחורי ההחלטה. “אני בטוחה שבג”ץ ידחה על הסף כל עתירה נגד הכרעתי. בג”ץ העביר לידיי את ההחלטה, ואני מצפה שיכבד אותה. מי שקורא להחרים מוסד חינוכי ישראלי פוגע בחופש הביטוי והיצירה, ולא יכול לקבל את פרס ישראל”, נמסר מטעם שרת החינוך.

שאשא ביטון החליטה לא להעניק את פרס ישראל לפרופסור גולדרייך

ראשית הפרשה במרץ האחרון, אז החליטה ועדת פרס ישראל להעניק לגולדרייך את הפרס, על פועלו בנושא סיבוכיות חישובית. לאחר שגלנט גילה שגולדרייך חתום על פנייה לפרלמנט הגרמני לבטל את ההכרה בתנועת ה-BDS כתנועה אנטישמית, לצד חתימה על עצומה הקוראת להחרים את אוניברסיטת אריאל, הוא פנה לוועדת הפרס בבקשה לבחון מחדש את הענקתו.

בעקבות זאת, הוועדה עתרה לבג”ץ, ובהחלטת ביניים אישר בית המשפט לשר לבדוק תוך 30 ימים האם עמדותיו של פרופ’ גולדרייך מנוגדות לחוק למניעת פגיעה במדינה באמצעות חרם ולכן מצדיקות שלא לאשר את המלצת הוועדה. בחודש יולי הודיעה השרה שאשא-ביטון כי לא תהפוך את החלטת קודמה בתפקיד. לאחר הודעה זו כתב היועץ המשפטי לממשלה בחוות דעתו לבג”ץ כי ההחלטה לשלול את הפרס לא עומדת במבחן משפטי.

באוגוסט ביטלו שופטי בג”ץ את החלטת גלנט למנוע מגולדרייך את הפרס בעקבות חתימתו על עצומה הקוראת להחרים את אוניברסיטת אריאל, והשופטים הורו להחזיר את ההחלטה לשרה הנוכחית שאשא ביטון – שבשבוע שעבר הודיעה פעם נוספת כי לא תהפוך את ההחלטה.

“חתימתו של פרופ’ גולדרייך על העצומה הקוראת להחרים מוסד אקדמי ישראלי מהווה מקרה חריג המצדיק את הבחירה שלא להעניק למועמד את הפרס, על אף הישגיו המקצועיים הבולטים והמרשימים בתחום מחקרו”, כתבה השרה שאשא ביטון בשבוע שעבר. “כשרת החינוך ויו”ר המל”ג, אינני יכולה להעניק את פרס ישראל על הישגים אקדמיים, מרשימים ככל שיהיו, למי שקורא לחרם על מוסד אקדמי ישראלי”.

“הלכה למעשה, פרופ’ גולדרייך כאקדמאי מן השורה הראשונה, שצמח באקדמיה בישראל ונהנה מחסותה וממשאביה, ניסה למנוע קשרים אקדמיים וכלכליים, ממוסד ציבורי – אוניברסיטת אריאל – רק מחמת מיקומו הגיאוגרפי. קריאה זו לחרם על מוסד אקדמי ישראלי עולה לשיטתי כדי נסיבה ‘חיצונית’ חריגה המצדיקה לשלול ממנו את קבלת הפרס היוקרתי”, כתבה השרה בהחלטתה.

לדבריה, “בהקשר זה חשוב להדגיש, כי מטרתו של פרס ישראל לעודד יצירה ישראלית, מצוינות ומחקר. קריאה לחרם על מוסדות אקדמיים בישראל, חותרת תחת מטרה זו, שכן היא מבקשת לגדוע את היצירה, המגוון וחופש הדעות. חרם אקדמי מבקש לקבע עמדות מסוימות, ולשלול אחרות. שלילת הפרס ממי שמבקש לפגוע בחופש הדעות, מגנה למעשה על תכליותיו ומטרותיו של פרס ישראל, מגנה על האפשרות ליצור ולחדש. הענקת פרס ישראל למי שמבקש לחבל ולפגוע בעידוד היצירה והמחקר הישראלי, תחתור תחת התכליות שבהענקת הפרס. אבסורד כזה לא ניתן לקבל”.

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https://www.makorrishon.co.il/news/439177/
היועמ”ש: לפסול את החלטת שרת החינוך לא להעניק את הפרס לפרופ’ גולדרייך

היועץ המשפטי לממשלה אביחי מנדלבליט הודיע לבג”ץ כי לעמדתו, החלטת שרת החינוך שאשא ביטון שלא להעניק לפרופסור שתמך בחרם על אונ’ אריאל אינה עומדת מבחינה משפטית

מאת   אילת כהנא  כ״ג בטבת ה׳תשפ״ב (27/12/2021 18:29) בתוך חדשות

היועץ המשפטי לממשלה ד”ר אביחי מנדלבליט השיב היום (ב’) לבג”צ בעתירה נגד החלטת שרת החינוך יפעת שאשא ביטון, שלא להעניק את פרס ישראל לפרופ’ גולדרייך, שקרא לחרם על אוניברסיטת אריאל.

בתשובתו, כתב היועץ כי “החלטת שרת החינוך לדחות את המלצתה של ועדת השופטים להעניק את פרס ישראל בתחום חקר המתמטיקה, חקר מדעי המחשב לפרופ’ גולדרייך, אינה נתמכת בתשתית הראייתית הדרושה לשם כך, בהתאם לאמות המידה המחמירות שקבע בית משפט נכבד זה, לעניין התחשבות בשיקולים “חיצוניים”.

לפיכך, המשיך היועמ”ש בתשובתו, “החלטה זו אינה יכולה אפוא לעמוד מבחינה משפטית, ויש מקום ליתן סעד שיורה על אישור המלצתה של ועדת השופטים, כך שפרס ישראל יוענק לרפו’ גולדרייך, כפי שקבעה ועדת השופטים המקצועית”. היועמ”ש הזכיר את הצהרהת המדינה במסגרת עתירה קודמת בנושא, כי ככל שיוחלט לבסוף להעניק לפרופסור את הפרס גם אם בעקבות הכרעה שיפוטית- הפרס יוענק לו בטקס פרסי ישראל הקרוב, או במועד לפני כן, לפי בחירתו של הפרופסור.

השרה שאשא ביטון מסרה בתגובה לתשובת היועץ, “משום שבית המשפט בחר להעביר אליי את ההכרעה, אני מקווה שיכבד את הכרעתי. נימקתי את עמדתי בצורה ברורה: מי שקורא להחרים מוסד אקדמי בישראל אינו ראוי לפרס ישראל על הישגים אקדמיים”.

סערת הפרס לפרופסור גולדרייך נמצאת כבר תקופה ארוכה במחלוקת. לאחר ששר החינוך לשעבר, ח”כ יואב גלנט, החליט שפרופסור גולדרייך לא יקבל את הפרס, שופטי בית המשפט העליון, יצחק עמית, נועם סולברג ויעל וילנר החליטו פה אחד לבטל את ההחלטה של גלנט. השופטים קבעו כי יש להחזיר את ההחלטה לשולחנה של שרת החינוך יפעת שאשא ביטון, וזאת בניגוד לעמדת ראש ההרכב, השופט עמית, אשר סבר כי יש להורות למדינה להעניק את הפרס לפרופ’ גולדרייך.

שרת החינוך הודיעה כי לא תעניק לו את הפרס למרות המלצת הוועדה ועתירה נוספת הוגשה נגד החלטה זו.

פרופ’ גולדרייך חתם בעברו על מספר עצומות “בעייתיות” שעוררו את השר גלנט לשקול למנוע ממנו את הפרס. על האחרונה שבהן חתם גולדרייך בחודש ינואר האחרון, והיא כוללת קריאה לאיחוד האירופי להפסיק שיתופי פעולה עם אוניברסיטת אריאל. פרופ’ גולדרייך הצהיר באמצעות בא כוחו כי הוא עומד מאחורי חתימתו, אך מנגד הבהיר כי אינו תומך בתנועת ה-BDS. זאת, אגב, למרות שחתם רק בשנת 2019 על עצומה הקוראת לפרלמנט הגרמני לבטל את ההכרה בתנועת ה-BDS כתנועה אנטישמית.

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בבית המשפט העליון
בג”ץ 8076/21
לפני:  כבוד השופטת ד’ ברק-ארז
העותרת:ועדת השופטים להענקת פרס ישראל לשנת תשפ”א בתחום חקר מדעי המחשב
 נ  ג  ד
המשיבים:1. שרת החינוך
 2. הממונה על פרס ישראל, משרד החינוך
 3. יועץ השרה לעניין פרס ישראל
 4. היועץ המשפטי לממשלה
 5. פרופ’ עודד גולדרייך
עתירה למתן צו על-תנאי

בשם העותרת:                        עו”ד גלעד ברנע

בשם המשיבים 4-1:                עו”ד ענר הלמן, עו”ד יונתן נד”ב, עו”ד אבי טוויג

בשם המשיב 5:                      עו”ד מיכאל ספרד, עו”ד אלי שבילי


החלטה

           העתירה תיקבע לדיון בפני הרכב לא יאוחר מיום 15.2.2022.

           ניתנה היום, ‏ב’ בשבט התשפ”ב (‏4.1.2022).

                         ש ו פ ט ת

_________________________

   21080760_A13.docx   עכ

מרכז מידע, טל’ 077-2703333, 3852* ; אתר אינטרנט,  https://supreme.court.gov.il

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 בבית המשפט העליון בשבתו כבית משפט גבוה לצדק
בג”ץ  2199/21 
לפני:  כבוד השופט י’ עמית
 כבוד השופט נ’ סולברג
 כבוד השופטת י’ וילנר
העותרת:ועדת השופטים להענקת פרס ישראל לשנת תשפ”א בתחום חקר המתמטיקה, חקר מדעי המחשב
 נ  ג  ד
המשיבים:1. שר החינוך
 2. הממונה על פרס ישראל, משרד החינוך
 3. יועץ השר לעניין פרס ישראל
 4. היועץ המשפטי לממשלה
 5. פרופ’ עודד גולדרייך
עתירה למתן צו על תנאי
בשם העותרת:עו”ד גלעד ברנע
בשם המשיבים 4-1:עו”ד יונתן נד”ב, עו”ד אבי טוויג
בשם המשיב 5:עו”ד מיכאל ספרד, עו”ד חגי בנזימן
פסק-דין

השופט י’ עמית:

           ושוב נדרש בית משפט זה לעסוק בפרס ישראל.

           בעתירה דנן התבקשנו להורות למשיבים 3-1 ליתן טעם מדוע לא יעניקו למשיב 5 את פרס ישראל לשנת תשפ”א בתחום חקר המתמטיקה ומדעי המחשב, כפי שקבעה העותרת, שהיא ועדת השופטים להענקת פרס ישראל לשנת תשפ”א בתחום זה (להלן: ועדת השופטים).

רקע והעובדות הצריכות לעניין

1.        המשיב 1 (להלן: שר החינוך) מינה את חברות וחברי ועדת השופטים להענקת פרס ישראל לשנת תשפ”א בתחום חקר המתמטיקה וחקר מדעי המחשב. נציין כבר עתה כי על פי הוראות סעיף 21 לתקנון פרס ישראל (להלן: תקנון הפרס), שמות ארבעת השופטים חברי הוועדה חסויים עד לפרסום הרשמי, ועל פי סעיף 34 לתקנון הפרס “עד לפרסום הרשמי, חייבים הכול, לרבות מקבלי הפרס וחברי ועדת השופטים, לשמור על סודיות ההחלטה”.

           ועדת השופטים בחנה מספר מועמדות ומועמדים לפרס, ובהחלטתה מיום 8.2.2021 החליטה פה אחד להעניק את פרס ישראל בתחום זה לפרופ’ עודד גולדרייך, הוא המשיב 5 (להלן: פרופ’ גולדרייך). בנימוקי ההחלטה נכתב כי הפרס מוענק לפרופ’ גולדרייך:

“על תרומות מעמיקות ופורצות דרך בסיבוכיות ובקריפטוגרפיה, ובפרט יצירת מושגי יסוד חשובים, לרבות פונקציות פסאודו-אקראיות, חישוב רב-משתתפים בטוח, ערפול תוכנה ובדיקת תכונות. מחקריו ביססו את התחום של מערכות הוכחה, הוכחות אפס-מידע וקידוד שניתן לבדיקה מקומית, תוך הבנת תפקידה של אקראיות בחישוב.

פרופ’ גולדרייך ידוע גם בספריו ומאמריו אשר תרמו ותורמים רבות לחינוך של דור חוקרים הממשיך את דרכו, תוך ביסוס מעמדה של מדינת ישראל ככוח עולמי מוביל בתיאוריה של מדעי המחשב”.

2.        עוד באותו יום, פנה שר החינוך אל ועדת השופטים טלפונית וביקש ממנה לחזור ולבחון שוב את החלטתה, לאור מידע שהגיע אליו בנוגע להתבטאויותיו ולהשקפותיו של פרופ’ גולדרייך. בעתירה נאמר כי מקור המידע הוא באתר ששמו “הכר את המרצה”, שם יש הפניות למספר עצומות שעליהן חתם פרופ’ גולדרייך.

           לאחר שהוועדה בחנה את המידע והמסמכים שאליהם הופנתה, חזרה ועדת השופטים ואישרה בהחלטתה מיום 18.2.2021 את החלטתה להעניק את הפרס לפרופ’ גולדרייך. הוועדה ציינה כי “כל חברי הוועדה סבורים שאין להביא בחשבון את התבטאויותיו והשקפותיו של מועמד בהחלטה על התאמתו לפרס ישראל, אלא אם כן מדובר בדברים פליליים. עקרון זה הוא חשוב על מנת לשמור על יוקרתו של הפרס”.

3.        לא נחה דעתו של שר החינוך והוא וחזר ופנה שוב אל הוועדה. במכתבו מיום 9.3.2021 ביקש שר החינוך כי הוועדה תשקול שוב את החלטתה. השר ציין כי הוא מודע לפסיקת בית המשפט בעניין פרס ישראל ולגבולות ההתערבות של שר החינוך בכל הנוגע להחלטות ועדת הפרס, אך לדעתו, המקרה דנן הוא שונה מהטעמים שפורטו במכתב, ואצטט חלק מהדברים:

“2.   בהמשך להמלצתכם הראשונית, הובא לידיעתי מידע לפיו פרופ’ גולדרייך חתום על פניה לפרלמנט הגרמני להכיר בתנועת ה-BDS כתנועה לגיטימית בגרמניה. אבקשכם לבחון את המידע האמור כיון שאם אכן מדובר במידע מדויק יש בו, להבנתי וכפי שיפורט להלן, כדי לפסול את מועמדותו של פרופ’ גולדרייך לקבלת פרס האמור להעלות על נס את תרומתו של הזוכה לחברה הישראלית.

3.    אקדים ואומר כי לפרופ’ גולדרייך יש היסטוריה עשירה וידועה של התבטאויות וחתימה על עצומות פרובוקטיביות בגנות חיילי צה”ל ובגנות מערכת המשפט הצבאית. כך, למשל ומבלי למצות (ועל סמך המידע שהובא לידיעתי ושאתם מתבקשים לבחון), פרופ’ גולדרייך תמך בטענות (הכוזבות והבלתי הוגנות) כאילו ישראל מפעילה בשטחי יהודה ושומרון מדיניות של ‘אפרטהייד’, כאילו ישראל שופטת את תושבי השטחים ‘במערכת משפט צבאית שאין בה ולו קורטוב של צדק’ וכאילו חיילי צה”ל הפועלים בשטחים הינם ‘פושעי מלחמה ישראלים’.

4.    […] האמירות האמורות הן אמירות נלוזות, שאינן מעודדות שיח ראוי וביקורת אפשרית על פעולותיהם של צה”ל ומערכת המשפט הצבאית אלא מיועדות להחליש את המוסדות האמורים המגנים (בהתאמה) על עצם קיומה של המדינה ועל אופיו המוסרי של צה”ל ולפגוע בחוסנה הלאומי של החברה הישראלית.

[…]

7.    שונה היא הקריאה האקטיבית לפרלמנט הגרמני (שהובאה לידיעתי ושגם אותה אתם מתבקשים לבחון), לה פרופ’ גולדרייך היה שותף, להכיר בלגיטימיות של תנועת ה-BDS הקוראת להחרמתה של מדינת ישראל ולמעשה, לשלילת הלגיטימיות של קיומה. כאן כבר מדובר, להבנתי, בחריגה מהמתחם המוגן של חופש הביטוי ונקיטה בפעולה החותרת תחת עצם קיומה של מדינת ישראל ומקדמת את ענייניה של תנועה שמדינות שונות ומוערכות ברחבי העולם מצאו לנכון, מסיבות טובות ומוצדקות, לאסור על פעילותה בשטחן.

8.    החלטת פרופ’ גולדרייך לפעול באופן אקטיבי לקיום ענייניה של תנועה החותרת תחת קיומה של מדינת ישראל ומבקשת, הלכה למעשה, לשלול את ההכרה במדינת ישראל היא שטר ששוברו בצידו בכל הנוגע להתאמתו למועמדות לפרס ישראל.

9.    מצב הדברים בו פרופ’ גולדרייך יקבל בידו האחת מידי המדינה את הפרס היוקרתי ביותר על תרומה לחברה הישראלית בשעה שידו האחרת מקדמת את ענייניה של תנועה החותרת תחת קיומה של אותה מדינה ממש הוא מצב דברים אבסורדי ובלתי מתקבל על הדעת. את אותה הפרדה (מלאכותית, ולטעמי קשה) בין גולדרייך ‘האזרח’ (המשתלח בחיילי צה”ל ובשופטיו) לבין גולדרייך ‘הפרופסור’ שניתן היה (אולי) עוד לעשות ביחס לאמירותיו הבזויות על חיילי צה”ל ומערכת המשפט הצבאית, לא ניתן עוד לעשות כאשר מדובר בתמיכה בפעילותה של תנועה הקוראת לשלילת ההכרה ממדינת ישראל”.

4.        לאור פנייתו זו של שר החינוך, התכנסה הוועדה שוב ודנה במכתב השר, אך בהחלטתה מיום 11.3.2021 חזרה ודחתה את פנייתו. הוועדה ציינה כי בקשת השר להתכנסות שלישית של הוועדה נוגדת את תקנון הפרס, אך למרות זאת נעתרו חברי הוועדה לבקשה לקיים דיון נוסף. אצטט חלק מהדברים שנכתבו על ידי חברי הוועדה:

“3.   בסעיף האחרון של מכתב השר, סעיף 12, אנו מתבקשים לבדוק לא רק סוגיות פוליטיות שכבר בדקנו וסוגיות פוליטיות חדשות שהעלה השר אלא גם לבחון ‘כל מידע רלוונטי נוסף’. אנחנו חוקרים, לא חוקרים פרטיים.

4.    לחותמי העצומה בעניין ה-BDS דעות שונות ומגוונות, כפי שמובהר היטב בנוסח האנגלי שלה:

The opinions about BDS among the signatories of this call differ significantly: some may support BDS, while others reject it for different reasons. Yet, we all reject the deceitful allegation that BDS as such is anti-Semitic.

5.    רבים מחותמי העצומה הנדונה נמנים עם עמודי התווך של החברה הישראלית, לרבות שישה זוכי פרס ישראל, ויו”ר כנסת לשעבר.

6.    יוקרת פרס ישראל ומניעת הידרדרותו לפרס פוליטי הן לנגד עינינו, ואנו מודאגים מהפרת תקנון הפרס המתבצעת כעת”.

           ושוב חזר שר החינוך ופנה לוועדה במכתבו מיום 14.3.2021 ואביא חלק מהדברים כלשונם:

“5.   אשר לנימוק (בסעיף 3 למכתבכם) לפיו אתם חוקרים, לא חוקרים פרטיים’, אציין כי משעה שקיבלתם על עצמכם את הכבוד והמחויבות הנלווים לכהונה בוועדת הפרס, אינכם יכולים לפטור עצמכם מחובת עריכת הבירורים העובדתיים הדרושים על מנת שהחלטתכם תהיה מבוססת כנדרש בנימוק המתחכם לפיו אינכם ‘חוקרים פרטיים’. ככל שדרושים לכם אמצעים נוספים לצורך קיבוץ המידע הרלבנטי לשם השלמת התמונה העובדתית העומדת לנגד עיניכם, עליכם לפנות אל מזכיר הועדה ולהנחותו בעניין ולא לפטור עצמכם מחובת הבירור האמורה.

6.    אשר לספקולציה (בסעיף 4 למכתבכם) לפיה אפשר שפרופ’ גולדרייך אינו תומך בתנועת ה-BDS, הרי שמדובר בספקולציה שאינה עולה כדי מילוי חובת הבירור המוטלת עליכם כחברי ועדת הפרס. לא רק שמדובר בספקולציה שאינה מוציאה אתכם ידי חובת הבירור, נראה גם כי מדובר בספקולציה נטולת בסיס. כך, על פי מידע שהובא לידיעתי בראיון עם פרופ גולדרייך שהתפרסם באתר ‘מאקו’ ביום 11.3.2021, מיוחסות לפרופ’ גולדרייך אמירות שלא ניתן להבינן אלא כתמיכה בתנועת ה-BDS.

7.    כאמור, מצב הדברים בו פרס ישראל יוענק לאדם, יהיו הישגיו האקדמיים אשר יהיו, התומך בתנועה החותרת תחת לגיטימיות מדינת ישראל ואשר מדינות זרות רבות פועלות לגינויה ולדחיקת רגליה, הוא מצב דברים בלתי מתקבל על הדעת. יודגש, שאין מדובר בסוגיה פוליטית – מדובר בסוגיה של שכל ישר.

8.    בהקשר זה אעיר כי הערתכם (בסעיף 5 למכתבכם) לפיה על חותמי העצומה בעניין ה-BDS מצויים גם שישה זוכי פרס ישראל בעבר אינה רלבנטית לחלוטין בהעדר כל טענה לפיה למי מהם הוענק הפרס לאחר החתימה על העצומה האמורה ומתוך מודעות לתמיכתו בתנועת ה-BDS. ממילא מעשיו של זוכה בפרס ישראל לאחר קבלת הפרס, כאשר מדובר במעשים שיש בהם כדי לשלול את המועמדות, אינם מהווים ‘הכשר’ למעשים דומים של מועמד לפרס” (ההדגשה במקור – י”ע).

5.        בהמשך לכך, שוחח יו”ר ועדת השופטים עם פרופ’ גולדרייך וקיבל ממנו מכתב בחתימתו, המופנה אל יו”ר ועדת השופטים, שבו נכתב “בתשובה לשאלתך, הריני מצהיר בזאת כי אינני תומך ב-BDS ומעולם לא תמכתי בארגון זה”.

6.        ביני לביני התגלגלו הדברים לתקשורת ונחשף שמו של פרופ’ גולדרייך כזוכה המיועד של פרס ישראל (בניגוד להוראות הסודיות בתקנון). מכל מקום, משלא הכריז שר החינוך על פרופ’ גולדרייך כזוכה בפרס ישראל, הוגשה העתירה דנן ביום 30.3.2021, כשבועיים ימים לפני יום העצמאות.

           הדיון בעתירה נקבע ליום שני ה-5.4.2021 אך נדחה לבקשת משיבי המדינה ליום 8.4.2021, על מנת לבחון את האפשרות לייתר את העתירה. המדינה הייתה אמורה להגיש תגובתה עד ליום 7.4.2021 שעה 12:00, אך לאחר מספר דחיות שנתבקשו, הוגשה תגובת משיבי המדינה סמוך לשעה 19:30.

7.        בתגובה, שהוגשה כאמור ערב הדיון, נאמר כי לעת הזו שר החינוך אינו יכול לקבל החלטה בעניין אישורה של המלצת ועדת השופטים, וזאת על רקע מספר פרסומים שנכתבו או נחתמו על ידי פרופ’ גולדרייך, לרבות מהעת האחרונה. הכוונה לעצומה שעליה חתם פרופ’ גולדרייך ובה “תזכורת” וקריאה לאיחוד האירופי להפסיק שיתופי פעולה של מוסדות או תכניות הקשורים לאיחוד האירופי עם אוניברסיטת אריאל (להלן: העצומה בנוגע לאוניברסיטת אריאל). שר החינוך טען כי קיימת אפשרות שיגיע לידיו מידע רלוונטי נוסף שאותו יידרש לבחון וכי יאפשר לפרופ’ גולדרייך להתייחס אליו. בתגובה נאמר כי בכוונתו של שר החינוך לקבל החלטה בעניין הפרס בתוך כחודש ימים, וככל שיוחלט להעניק לפרופ’ גולדרייך את הפרס, ניתן יהיה לעשות כן בטקס פרסי ישראל שייערך בשנה הבאה או במועד מוקדם יותר לפי בחירתו של פרופ’ גולדרייך.

           המשיב 4, היועץ המשפטי לממשלה, הביע בתגובתו את עמדתו לגבי הפרסומים המיוחסים לפרופ’ גולדרייך. לדידו, בשלושה מהם אין די כדי להצדיק החלטה של שר החינוך שלא לאשר את המלצת ועדת השופטים. ברם, באשר לעצומה בנוגע לאוניברסיטת אריאל, סבר היועץ המשפטי לממשלה, כי החלטתו של שר החינוך בדבר הצורך בהמשך בירור העניין אינה חורגת ממתחם הסבירות. לעמדת היועץ המשפטי לממשלה, בשים לב לעיתוי הפרסום ולתוכנו; בשים לב לפסיקת בית משפט זה המכירה באופן עקרוני, לעניין הענקת הפרס, באפשרות קיומם של מקרים חריגים שבהם ניתן יהיה להביא בחשבון שיקולים “חיצוניים” לשיקולים המקצועיים הצרים; בשים לב להוראות החוק למניעת פגיעה במדינת ישראל באמצעות חרם, התשע”א-2011 (להלן: חוק החרם) ולאפשרות כי קריאה לחרם עשויה להיכנס בגדרם של מקרים חריגים אלו; בשים לב להערכת שר החינוך בדבר קיומם של מסמכים רלוונטיים נוספים ולצורך בפרק זמן נוסף לבחינת העניין, לרבות מתן אפשרות להידרש להתייחסותו של פרופ’ גולדרייך לדברים בטרם קבלת החלטה סופית; ובשים לב לכך שמדובר בשאלה “לא טריוויאלית” שעשויה לדרוש ליבון משפטי שקיים קושי לבצעו עד טקס הענקת הפרס – הרי שהחלטת שר החינוך לקבל החלטה בתוך כחודש ימים אינה חורגת ממתחם הסבירות, ולכשתתקבל ניתן יהיה להעמידה לבחינה משפטית.

8.        הדיון התקיים כאמור ביום חמישי ה-8.4.2021, שבוע לפני יום העצמאות שבו מחולק ברגיל פרס ישראל, אך בשל ימי הקורונה צולם הפעם הטקס כבר ביום ראשון, ה-11.4.2021 בהרכב מצומצם של משתתפים, כדי לשדרו במוצאי יום העצמאות. מכאן סד הזמנים הדוחק שבגינו הסכימו משיבי המדינה כי הדיון בעתירה יתקיים כאילו הוצא צו על תנאי.

           כאמור, בעת שהתקיים הדיון בפנינו, שר החינוך טרם גיבש את דעתו באופן סופי. במצב דברים זה, סברנו כי יש למצות את כל האפשרויות לייתר את העתירה, מבלי שבית המשפט יידרש לסוגיה שעלולה להיתפס על ידי הציבור או חלקו, כמחלוקת פוליטית-ערכית. לכן, ומבלי שנעלם מעינינו כי עצם הדחייה יש בה כדי למנוע מפרופ’ גולדרייך לקבל את הפרס בטקס שנערך כעבור שלושה ימים, ניתנה על ידינו מיד עם תום הדיון החלטת ביניים כהאי לישנא (להלן: החלטת הביניים):

“בנסיבות המיוחדות שנוצרו, בשים לב לעמדת שר החינוך בדבר הצורך בפרק זמן נוסף לבחינת העניין, לרבות מתן אפשרות להידרש להתייחסותו של פרופ’ גולדרייך לדברים בטרם קבלת החלטה סופית; ובשים לב לעמדת היועץ המשפטי לממשלה לכך שמדובר בשאלה ‘לא טריוויאלית’ שעשויה לדרוש ליבון משפטי שיש קושי לבצעו לנוכח סד הזמנים (הדיון נערך היום, יום חמישי ה-8.4.2021 והטקס אמור להיות מצולם ביום ראשון הקרוב ה-11.4.2021) – בהינתן כל אלה, אנו סבורים כי יש לאפשר לשר החינוך לחזור ולעיין בדברים ולקבל החלטה בתוך חודש ימים מהיום. זכויות הצדדים שמורות ביחס לכל החלטה שתתקבל.

רשמנו לפנינו כי ככל שיוחלט להעניק לפרופ’ גולדרייך את הפרס, ניתן יהיה לעשות כן בטקס פרסי ישראל שייערך בשנה הבאה או במועד מוקדם יותר לפי בחירתו של פרופ’ גולדרייך”.

           30 יום חלפו, והמשיבים ביקשו פעם אחר פעם ארכה על מנת לגבש את עמדתם. ביום 10.6.2021, ערב השבעת הממשלה החדשה וסיום כהונתו של שר החינוך, מסר האחרון ליועץ המשפטי לממשלה את החלטתו הסופית לדחות את החלטת ועדת השופטים להעניק לגולדרייך את הפרס. בהחלטת השר נאמר, בין היתר, כי אין לראות את שר החינוך כחותמת גומי של ועדת הפרס; כי לצד שיקולים של מצוינות אקדמית, עומדים שיקולים שעניינם תרומת המועמד למדינת ישראל; וכי מקום שבו ועדת השופטים אינה כשירה או אינה יכולה לבחון את שאלת תרומתו של המועמד למדינת ישראל, אזי על השר לעשות כן. שר החינוך הדגיש במכתבו כי עמדתו הפוליטית של פרופ’ גולדרייך אינה רלוונטית לצורך בחינת מועמדותו לקבלת הפרס, ואילו השתכנע כי פרופ’ גולדרייך תרם לחוסנה של מדינת ישראל באמצעות תרומתו לאקדמיה, היה גאה להעניק לו את הפרס. אלא שלדברי השר, תרומתו של גולדרייך למדינה באמצעות מחקריו “מתקזזת” אל מול פעילותו להחרמת מוסדות מחקר ישראליים, המחלישה את האקדמיה הישראלית ופוגעת בחוסנה של מדינת ישראל. שר החינוך הוסיף כי אף אם פרופ’ גולדרייך אינו תומך בתנועת ה-BDS, הרי שמעשיו תומכים בתנועה ומבטאים ניסיון לפעול למתן לגיטימציה עבורה. שר החינוך החליט אפוא כי לעת הזו פרופ’ גולדרייך אינו כשיר לקבל את הפרס, וככל שבעתיד פני הדברים יהיו שונים ופרופ’ גולדרייך יפעל לחזק את האקדמיה הישראלית ויתרום תרומה חיובית לחוסנה של מדינת ישראל, אזי תיפתח בפניו הדרך לקבלת פרס ישראל.

לאחר מספר ארכות, הוגשה ביום 22.7.2021 “הודעה מעדכנת מטעם המדינה”. בהודעה נאמר כי לאחר כינון הממשלה החדשה, הובאה החלטת שר החינוך לידיעת שרת החינוך הנוכחית, אך השרה לא מצאה לנכון להידרש לעניין, וזאת בהינתן שכבר נתקבלה החלטה סופית על ידי קודמה לתפקיד, ותוך שהיא מבהירה כי תכבד כל החלטה של בית המשפט. לגופה של סוגיה, בשורה התחתונה, הביע היועץ המשפטי לממשלה את עמדתו ולפיה יש מקום להיעתר לעתירה ולהורות על אישור המלצת ועדת השופטים להעניק את פרס ישראל לפרופ’ גולדרייך.

           עמדתו זו של היועץ המשפטי לממשלה ראויה ומקובלת עלי ובהתאם לכך אציע לחברי לקבל את העתירה ולעשות את הצו למוחלט. כפי שנראה להלן, המקרה שלפנינו הוא ייחודי, אך כוחה של הפסיקה הנוגעת לפרס ישראל יפה גם לגביו.

דיון והכרעה

9.        כפי שציינו בהחלטת הביניים, “יש להצר על כך שפרס כה יוקרתי ובעל מוניטין ואירוע מאחד ומרומם לב כמו טקס פרס ישראל, הופך כמעט באופן קבוע למקור מחלוקת ופילוג“.

           מורגלים אנו בעתירות של עותרים וגופים שונים כנגד מקבלי הפרס. אלא שזו הפעם, ענייננו במקרה ייחודי וראשון מסוגו בכך שוועדת השופטים עצמה עתרה לבית המשפט לאחר ששר החינוך דחה את המלצותיה. שרי חינוך קודמים, הגם שלא תמיד רוו נחת, בלשון המעטה, מהבחירה בזוכה פרס ישראל, אימצו את החלטת ועדת הפרס. במקרה דנן, זו הפעם הראשונה ששר חינוך בישראל לא מאמץ את החלטת ועדת הפרס, ומצב ייחודי זה הביא למצב ייחודי שבו זו הפעם הראשונה שוועדת הפרס היא שעותרת כנגד החלטת שר החינוך.

           יכול הטוען לטעון כי היה על פרופ’ גולדרייך עצמו להגיש עתירה, בהיותו הנפגע הקונקרטי, וכי הוועדה מתעברת לכאורה על ריב לא לה. הטענה הועלתה על ידי משיבי המדינה בתגובתה הראשונה, אך לאור מכלול הנסיבות, מצא היועץ המשפטי לממשלה שלא לבקש את דחיית העתירה על הסף מטעם זה. עמדה זו ראויה, ואוסיף ואומר כי משהחליטה הוועדה כי פרופ’ גולדרייך ראוי לפרס ישראל, ומשנדחתה בחירת הוועדה, יש להכיר באינטרס הישיר שלה (והשוו, שמא על דרך של קל וחומר, בג”ץ 4500/07 יחימוביץ’ נ’ מועצת הרשות השניה לרדיו ולטלוויזיה, פסקה 15 סיפא (21.11.2007)).

10.      פתחנו ואמרנו כי עתירה כנגד מתן פרס ישראל לפלוני בתחום כזה או אחר, הפכה כמעט לריטואל קבוע, על אף שפעם אחר פעם דחה בית המשפט עתירות אלה. על אף ייחודה של העתירה שלפנינו, הרי שלנוכח הפסיקה שנצטברה בנושא פרס ישראל, נמצאים אנו בשדה משפט שבו נחרשו כבר תלמים. ואכן, כבר בהחלטת הביניים עמדנו על העקרונות הבאים:

“קורפוס הפסיקה שנצטבר בנושא פרס ישראל עומד לפנינו: על עצמאות שיקול הדעת המקצועי של חברי ועדת השופטים – אין חולק. על אופיו המקצועי הטהור של הפרס שעליו יוקרתו והמוניטין שלו – אין חולק. על כך שככלל, לצורך הענקת הפרס אין רלוונטיות להתבטאויות ‘פרטיות’ חוץ-מקצועיות של הזוכה בפרס – אין חולק”.

11.      מבלי להתיימר להקיף את הפסיקה בנושא, אפנה לפסקי הדין הבאים, שכל אחד מהם משקף מחלוקת ציבורית שהתעוררה בעקבות ההכרזה על זוכה הפרס, ובכל אחד מהם נדחתה העתירה:

           (-) עניין עמוס עוז (בג”ץ 1933/98 הנדל נ’ שר החינוך, התרבות והספורט (25.3.1998)) – שם נטען כי הסופר עמוס עוז אינו ראוי לקבלת פרס ישראל לספרות ולשירה בשל מאמר שפרסם, שלטענת העותר היה בו “משום פגיעה קשה בציבור רחב”;

           (-) עניין שולמית אלוני (בג”ץ 2348/00 סיעת המפד”ל, המפלגה הדתית לאומית בארץ ישראל נ’ שר החינוך (23.4.2000)) – שם נטען כי גב’ שולמית אלוני אינה ראויה לקבלת פרס ישראל על מפעל חיים;

           (-) עניין יגאל תומרקין (בג”ץ 2769/04 יהלום נ’ שרת החינוך, התרבות והספורט, פ”ד נח(4) 823 (2004) (להלן: עניין תומרקין)) – שם נטען כי האמן יגאל תומרקין אינו ראוי לקבלת פרס ישראל בתחום הפיסול, בין היתר, בשל שורת התבטאויות שבהן הביע טינה ובוז כלפי הציבור הדתי והחרדי;

           (-) עניין פרופ’ שטרנהל (בג”ץ 2454/08 פורום משפטי למען ארץ ישראל נ’ שרת החינוך (17.4.2008) (להלן: עניין שטרנהל)) – שם נטען כי פרופ’ זאב שטרנהל אינו ראוי לקבלת פרס ישראל בתחום חקר מדע המדינה, בשל שורת התבטאויות נגד התיישבות יהודית ביהודה ושומרון.

           (-) עניין הרב אריאל (בג”ץ 1977/20 האגודה למען הלהט”ב בישראל (“האגודה לשמירת זכויות הפרט”) נ’ שר החינוך (26.4.2020) (להלן: עניין אריאל)) – שם נטען כנגד זכייתו של הרב יעקב אריאל בפרס ישראל בתחום הספרות התורנית בשל שורת התבטאויות כנגד קהילת הלהט”ב;

           (-) עניין פרופ’ ניצה בן-דב (בג”ץ 2056/21 פדבה נ’ שר החינוך (25.3.2021)) – שם נטען כנגד זכייתה של פרופ’ בן דב בפרס ישראל בתחום חקר הספרות העברית והכללית, בין היתר בשל טענות העותר להתעמרות והוצאת לשון הרע על ידה.

           חריג לפסיקה דלעיל אנו מוצאים בעניין שניצר (בג”ץ 2205/97 מאסלה נ’ שר החינוך והתרבות, פ”ד נא(1) 233 (1997)), שם הורה בית המשפט על החזרת העניין לוועדת השופטים. נציין כי הפסיקה המאוחרת לעניין שניצר – שהיה פסק הדין הראשון בשרשרת פסקי הדין בעניין פרס ישראל – חזרה והבחינה בין פסק הדין לבין המקרים שנדונו לאחריו. אין חולק כי מדובר בפסק דין חריג ויוצא דופן שעליו נמתחה בשעתו ביקורת (דניאל פרידמן “שפיטות החלטות בעניין פרס ישראל” המשפט ה 181 (התשס”ה); מאיר הופמן “שפיטות החלטות בעניין פרס ישראל – עד מתי?” המשפט ח 557 (התשס”ג)).

היקף שיקול הדעת של שר החינוך ו”למה לי פוליטיקה עכשיו”?

12.      אחזור ואפנה את הקורא אל פסקה 1 לעיל, לציטוט נימוקי ועדת הפרס. הנימוקים אינם נהירים ואינם מובנים לקורא מן השורה, אלא ליודעי ח”ן בתחום המתמטיקה ומדעי המחשב. זו בדיוק הסיבה בגינה ממנה שר החינוך לוועדת הפרס שופטים שהם מומחים בתחום נשוא הפרס. רק המומחים לדבר, הם שיכולים להבין, לבחון ולהעריך מי ראוי לפרס שניתן על הישגים מקצועיים טהורים בתחום הרלוונטי.

13.      לכך השלכה על היקף שיקול דעתו של שר החינוך, ועל מידת התערבותו של בית המשפט בשיקול דעתו. במצב הדברים הרגיל בית המשפט יימנע מלהתערב בשיקול הדעת של הרשות המבצעת אלא אם נפל בה אחד או יותר מהמריעין בישין של המשפט המינהלי, כגון אי סבירות, העדר מידתיות, הפרה של כללי הצדק הטבעי, הפליה, שרירות, חריגה מסמכות וכיו”ב. לא כך כאשר בפרס ישראל עסקינן. שיקול דעתו של שר החינוך בבואו לאשר את החלטת ועדת הפרס, מצומצם מלכתחילה:

“הכרעתה של ועדה כאמור אמנם כפופה לאישורו של שר החינוך, אך בכפוף לאישור זה, שעל טיבו ומטרתו אשוב לעמוד, ועדת שופטים שמונתה כדין ופעלה בתום-לב ותוך קיום הכללים שהותוו בתקנון לפעולתה, סוברנית להחליט על-פי הבנתה המלאה. ניתן לומר כי החלטתה כמעט חסינה מפני התערבות, בין מצדו של שר החינוך ובין מצדו של בית-המשפט.

[…] אף שבעיקרון, החלטותיהן של ועדות השופטים הן שפיטות, הרי שלנוכח אופי התפקיד המוטל עליהן ורוחב שיקול-הדעת הנתון להן, הרי שרק במקרים חריגים ובנסיבות יוצאות דופן עשויה להימצא עילה להעמיד את הכרעותיהן לביקורת שיפוטית.

[…] כשלעצמי הריני סבור כי סמכות האישור הנתונה בידי שר החינוך נועדה לאפשר לו לפקח על תקינות פעילותן של ועדות השופטים לפרס ישראל, ואין סמכות זו מתירה לשר להתערב בהכרעותיהן ובהערכותיהן של הוועדות לגופן מטוב עד רע. הווי אומר: בכל הנוגע למהות השיקולים שעל יסודם מחליטה ועדת שופטים להעניק את פרס ישראל בתחום פלוני לפלוני, נתונה לוועדה אוטונומיה מוחלטת, ואין שר החינוך רשאי להתערב בהכרעתה ובשיקולים שעליהם ביססה הוועדה את החלטתה. הפיקוח שבידי שר החינוך לקיים מוגבל לבחינת הפן הארגוני-ממוני של פעולת הוועדה וכן לבחינה אם הדיונים שהתקיימו לפניה ותהליך קבלת ההחלטה על-ידיה עולים בקנה אחד עם הוראות התקנון, ואף עומדים במבחני התקינות המינהלית של המשפט הציבורי (עניין תומרקין, פסקה 12) (הדגשות הוספו – י”ע).

“לוועדת השופטים נתון שיקול דעת רחב ביותר, בהיותה גוף המונחה בשיקולים מקצועיים ובידיו הידע והנתונים לקבל החלטה […] מקום שהחלטתה של ועדת השופטים להעניק את פרס ישראל למאן-דהוא התקבלה בתום-לב ועל בסיס שיקולים מקצועיים ענייניים, אין ככלל עילה להתערבות בית משפט זה בתוכן ההחלטה” (עניין שטרנהל, פסקה 6 וההפניות שם).

14.      הנה כי כן, בניגוד להחלטות מינהליות רגילות של הרשות המבצעת, אישורו של שר החינוך את המלצת ועדת השופטים לא נועד לקיים ביקורת לגופה של החלטה, אלא בחינה אם החלטת ועדת השופטים התקבלה בהתאם למבחני המשפט המינהלי, כגון, אם מי מחברי הוועדה לא נגוע בניגוד עניינים וכיו”ב.

           זאת ועוד. על אף שלסעיף 33 לחוק החוזים (חלק כללי), התשל”ג-1973 אין תחולה ישירה על החלטות ועדות השופטים לעניין פרס ישראל, הרי שסעיף זה מקרין על מדיניות בית המשפט שלא להתערב בהחלטות ועדות השופטים, ובדומה, ראוי להחיל מדיניות מרוסנת זו גם על שר החינוך. הפרס ניתן בשל הישגים מקצועיים ולחברי הוועדה יש את המומחיות הנדרשת להחליט מי ראוי לקבל את הפרס. השיקולים שעל ועדות הפרס לשקול הם אפוא שיקולים מקצועיים טהורים. כך עולה מסעיף א’ לתקנון פרס ישראל הקובע כי הפרס יוענק ל”אזרחי ישראל יחידים, שהצטיינו מאוד וקידמו את התחום באחד המקצועות והתחומים המפורטים להלן, ושנבחרו על-ידי ועדת שופטים ציבורית”.

           מקצועיות ומצוינות – זו נקודת המוצא וזו גם נקודת הסיום.

15.      לצד ההפרדה העניינית בין שיקולים מקצועיים לבין התבטאויות שאינן נוגעות לתחום המקצועי, ניתן בפסיקה משקל לחופש הביטוי.

           במדינות דמוקרטיות, חופש הביטוי והחופש האקדמי הולכים שלובי זרוע. הכל כבר נאמר בעניין שטרנהל ואחזור ואביא דברים בשם אומרם:

“בעוד פרס ישראל ניתן בגין הישגים מקצועיים ראויים להערכה, ההתבטאויות בהן מדובר על פי רוב נעשות מחוץ למסגרת המקצועית בגינה ניתן הפרס. במצב דברים זה קשה שלא לראות את מניעת הפרס ממי שנמצא ראוי לו בשל הישגיו המקצועיים, אך על בסיס עמדות שהביע, כפגיעה בחופש הביטוי, ולו באופן עקיף. תוצאה שכזו יש לה אפקט של ‘סתימת פיות’ שאין לה מקום במשטר דמוקרטי, שהלוא מהו המסר המתקבל אם לא מסר של השתקה? עצם הידיעה כי הבעת דעה שאינה פופולרית עשויה לשאת כעבור זמן תוצאות במישור שיש לו היבט מקצועי, גם אם על דרך של הענקת פרס, אינה מתיישבת עם תרבות של חופש ביטוי במשטר דמוקרטי” (שם, פסקה 10).

           ומכאן שגם התבטאויות שהן “צורמות, בוטות ועולבות בציבור שלם” (עניין אריאל, פסקה 10), נדחות מפני יוקרתו המקצועית של פרס ישראל והפגיעה בחופש הביטוי.

16.      בית המשפט חזר והדגיש בעניין שטרנהל כי להתבטאויות של מועמדים לפרס ישראל בנושאים שאינם נוגעים לתחום המקצועי שבגינו הם זוכים בפרס, אין מקום במערך השיקולים שעל ועדות הפרס לשקול, וכפי שאמר המשורר, “אז למה לי פוליטיקה עכשיו”? למדינת ישראל, כמדינה שמעודדת מצוינות בתחומי המדע והטכנולוגיה, יש אינטרס מובהק להפריד בין דעות פוליטיות וחברתיות כאלה ואחרות של המועמד, לבין הערכה אקדמית של יכולותיו המקצועיות ותרומתו המקצועית בתחומו. זו הסיבה בגינה ועדות מומחים מהשורה הראשונה בתחום הרלוונטי הן שממליצות על המועמד לפרס וכאמור, זו הפעם הראשונה בהיסטוריה של פרסי ישראל, ששר חינוך לא אישר המלצה של ועדת שופטים מקצועית.

עניינו של פרופ’ גולדרייך על רקע הפסיקה דלעיל

17.      הפסיקה הכירה בכך שאין “לשלול באופן מוחלט את האפשרות כי תהיינה התבטאויות שנשמעו מפי מועמד לפרס ואשר חומרתן כה חריפה וכה קיצונית, עד כי יהא זה בלתי ראוי ובלתי סביר להתעלם מהן ולשקול אך את זכויותיו המקצועיות של אותו מועמד” (עניין שטרנהל, בפסקה 10).

           מהם אותם מקרים חריגים וקיצוניים? ככל שאנו נדרשים ליתן בהם סימנים, נביא לדוגמה מועמד שמעל ראשו תלוי כתב אישום על מעשים פליליים חמורים, או מעשים והתבטאויות מאלו המפורטים בסעיף 7א לחוק יסוד: הכנסת, על פי הפסיקה שפירשה ויישמה חוק זה: שלילת קיומה של מדינת ישראל כמדינה יהודית ודמוקרטית; הסתה לגזענות; תמיכה במאבק מזוין של מדינת אויב או של ארגון טרור נגד מדינת ישראל (וראו עניין שטרנהל, בפסקה 10).

18.      לנוכח הוראות חוק החרם, היועץ המשפטי לממשלה סבר כי עקרונית, קריאה לחרם יכולה להיכנס בגדר המקרים הקיצוניים והחריגים שבהם ניתן להתחשב בשיקול “חיצוני” לשיקולים המקצועיים. אך זאת, בהתחשב במכלול נסיבות המקרה – חומרת הדברים, עדכניותם, תכיפותם וכיו”ב.

           שר החינוך השתית את החלטתו על הפרסומים הבאים (חלקם הובאו לידיעתו רק לאחר החלטתו לדחות את החלטת ועדת השופטים):

           (-) מכתב משנת 2005 – מכתב לעיתון ה”גרדיאן” הבריטי, שעליו חתומים מספר אנשי אקדמיה, שם נטען כי אוניברסיטת אריאל מנוגדת לחוק הבינלאומי. במכתב זה יש תמיכה בקריאה לחרם של ארגון אקדמאי בריטי על אוניברסיטת בר אילן בשל שיתוף הפעולה שלה עם אוניברסיטת אריאל.

           (-) עצומה משנת 2008 – עצומה עליה חתומים עשרות אנשים, הממוענת למזכיר הכללי של הכנסיה המתודיסטית המאוחדת, וקוראת לכנסיה לתמוך בכנס הכללי שלה בהצעה שלא להשקיע בחברות ש”מאפשרות לכיבוש להמשיך”, וכי ככל שכך יוחלט “אנו החתומים מטה נריע ליוזמתכם האמיצה, ונקווה שהדבר יהווה דוגמה להרבה אחרים ללכת בעקבותיה”.

           (-) עצומה משנת 2011 – מחאה פומבית נגד חוק החרם, עליה חתומים מאות אנשים, כולל פרופ’ גולדרייך וכולל אנשי אקדמיה, שרים וחברי כנסת לשעבר, בכירים לשעבר בצבא ובגופי ביטחון אחרים, כולל כלות וחתני פרס ישראל ופרס ביטחון ישראל.

           (-) מאמר משנת 2014 – במאמר זה דן פרופ’ גולדרייך בהצדקות להטלת חרם ומנתח את הסוגיה מזוויות שונות.

           (-) עצומה משנת 2019 – עצומה המופנית אל מפלגות בגרמניה, ועליה חתומים חוקרים יהודים וישראלים המבקשים להבחין בין אנטישמיות לבין תמיכה בזכויות האדם של פלסטינים, וזאת לאור הצעות שעלו בפרלמנט הגרמני להשוות את תנועת ה-BDS לאנטישמיות.

           (-) העצומה בנוגע לאוניברסיטת אריאל משנת 2021 – שבה נכתב כי על האיחוד האירופי לעמוד בכללים שקבע הוא עצמו בעניין אוניברסיטת אריאל. התאריך על גבי העצומה הוא 23.3.2021 אך פרופ’ גולדרייך הבהיר בדיון שנערך בפנינו, כי העצומה נחתמה על ידו בחודש ינואר 2021. בעצומה, עליה חתומים 522 חותמים, נטען כי האיחוד האירופי מעניק לגיטימציה למוסדות אקדמיים ישראליים הפועלים בהתנחלויות לא-חוקיות בשטחים ואינו עומד בכללים שהוא עצמו קבע. הלכה למעשה, יש בעצומה זו קריאה לאיחוד האירופי להפסיק שיתופי פעולה של מוסדות/תוכניות הקשורים לאוניברסיטת אריאל.

           העצומה בנוגע לאוניברסיטת אריאל, היא שעמדה בבסיס בקשתו של שר החינוך ליתן לו שהות לבחון את הדברים, בקשה לה נעתרנו בהחלטת הביניים.

19.      לגישת היועץ המשפטי, המקובלת עלי, אין במכתבים או בעצומות שנסקרו לעיל, חלקם לפני שנים ארוכות, כדי לגבש עילה שלא לאשר את המלצת ועדת השופטים להעניק לפרופ’ גולדרייך את פרס ישראל. חלק מהמכתבים והעצומות נחתמו מספר שנים לפני חקיקתו של חוק החרם ולפני פסק הדין שניתן בבג”ץ 5239/11 אבנרי נ’ הכנסת (15.4.2015)), שדחה עתירות שתקפו את חוקתיותו של החוק. חלוף הזמן מאז פורסמו מרבית המכתבים או העצומות, בצירוף הצהרתו הנוכחית של פרופ’ גולדרייך כי אינו תומך ב-BDS כפי שיפורט להלן, מביאים למסקנה כי לא מתקיימות נסיבות קיצוניות שבהן תיתכן התחשבות חריגה בשיקול חיצוני לצורך הענקת פרס ישראל.

           העצומה משנת 2019 – שנחתמה על ידי פרופ’ גולדרייך ועל ידי כמאתיים אנשי אקדמיה מכל רחבי הארץ – קוראת לפרלמנט הגרמני לבטל את ההכרה בתנועת ה- BDS כתנועה אנטישמית. השאלה אם יש לזהות קריאה לחרם על ישראל עם אנטישמיות שנויה במחלוקת בשיח הציבורי בארץ ובחו”ל. יש הסבורים כי מטרתה של תנועת ה-BDS היא לפעול כנגד החזקתה של ישראל בשטחים, ולדידם, אין לזהות ביקורת חריפה על מדיניות ממשלת ישראל בשטחים כאנטישמיות. דומה שרוב הציבור אינו רואה כך את תנועת ה-BDS, ורבים וטובים סבורים כי לפנינו תנועה אנטישמית בתחפושת, וליתר דיוק, אנטישמיות בצורתה החדשה, אנטישמיות מדינית השוללת את זכותו של העם היהודי להגדרה עצמית ושוללת את עצם קיומה של מדינת ישראל. כך סבר גם הפרלמנט הגרמני, שאליו מצאו לפנות חותמי העצומה. יש שיתמהו מה מצאו אנשי אקדמיה בישראל לפנות לגרמניה (דווקא לגרמניה) כדי להעמידה על “טעותה” ולהסביר לפרלמנט הגרמני מהי אנטישמיות. מכל מקום, אין בחתימה על אותה עצומה, כשלעצמה, כדי להכניס את פרופ’ גולדרייך אל אותן נסיבות חריגות שבהן “ניתן יהא לשקול שיקולים שאינם מקצועיים גרידא” (עניין שטרנהל, בפסקה 10).

20.      העצומה בנוגע לאוניברסיטת אריאל מעוררת לכאורה קושי מסוים לנוכח ההגדרה בסעיף 1 לחוק החרם הקובע כלהלן:

‘חרם על מדינת ישראל’ – הימנעות במתכוון מקשר כלכלי, תרבותי או אקדמי עם אדם או עם גורם אחר, רק מחמת זיקתו למדינת ישראל, מוסד ממוסדותיה או אזור הנמצא בשליטתה, שיש בה כדי לפגוע בו פגיעה כלכלית, תרבותית או אקדמית.

           חוק החרם מטיל אחריות נזיקית ושולל הטבות מינהליות מסוימות כמפורט בחוק. אני נכון להניח כי קריאה לחרם על מדינת ישראל או לחרם על האקדמיה במדינת ישראל, במיוחד מפיו של מי שיוקרתו והישגיו צמחו לו בערוגות האקדמיה בישראל, עשויה להיכנס לגדר המקרים הקיצוניים והחריגים של התחשבות בשיקול “חיצוני”. זאת, מאחר שקשה להלום כי איש אקדמיה ישראלי, שפועל במסגרת האקדמיה הישראלית ונהנה מחסותה, ישתתף בקריאה לחרם על האקדמיה בישראל. מצב מעין זה הוא בבחינת אבסורד שקשה להעלותו על הדעת. את דעתי על החרם האקדמי הבעתי בעניין אבנרי:

“החרם הוא כלי יוצא דופן בארגז הכלים של חופש הביטוי […] יש משהו אורווליאני בטענת העותרים כי החוק מגביל את חופש הביטוי. חרם אקדמי-תרבותי מהווה סתימת פיות במובן הפשוט של המילה, מונופול של דוכן אחד ויחיד בשוק הדעות, אנטי-תזה מובהקת לחופש הביטוי ולרעיון של שוק דעות חפשי. החרם התרבותי-אקדמי על ישראל, נועד לשתק ולהשתיק את הביטוי הפוליטי, לכפות דעה אחת ו’אמת’ אחת”.

           ברם, פרופ’ גולדרייך הצהיר וחזר והבהיר כי אינו תומך בתנועת ה-BDS. עוד קודם לדיון שנערך בפנינו, פרופ’ גולדרייך הגיש תגובה מטעמו שבה נאמר כי הוא:

 “מכבד את פרס ישראל וחש גאווה גדולה על שוועדת השופטים/ות המקצועית לפרס ישראל בחרה בו לזוכה בפרס על תרומתו לחקר מדעי המחשב לשנת תשפ”א […] ובמסגרת הניסיון להדוף את ההכפשות של השר, המשיב 5 אף הבהיר כי הוא איננו תומך בתנועת ה-BDS, אולם יובהר מיד כי המשיב אינו סבור כי לעמדותיו המדיניות והפוליטיות, לרבות בשאלת יחסו לתנועה זו, יש רלבנטיות כלשהי לשאלה אם הוא זכאי לפרס ישראל אם לאו. ההבהרה נעשתה לאור הכתבות הרבות שפורסמו ומשום שהשר ייחס לו מבלי לברר עימו עמדות שאינן עמדותיו, וייחוסים אלה גם פורסמו ברבים”.

           גם במכתבו של בא כוחו של פרופ’ גולדרייך מיום 5.5.2021 במענה למכתבו של שר החינוך, נאמר כי “הוא איננו תומך בתנועת החרם על ישראל ואילו היה תומך ברי כי לא היה מסכים כלל לקבל את הפרס”. גם במהלך הדיון, שב פרופ’ גולדרייך והבהיר והצהיר באמצעות בא כוחו כי הוא עומד מאחורי חתימתו על העצומה אך אינו תומך בתנועת ה-BDS. במסגרת בחינת התבטאויותיו של פרופ’ גולדרייך יש לזכור כי חופש הביטוי הוא אחד השיקולים שנלקחו בחשבון בפסיקה בנושא פרס ישראל, והדברים נכונים במיוחד כאשר בביטוי פוליטי עסקינן.

21.      פרס ישראל נושא אופי ממלכתי, מקצועי וא-פוליטי. מהפסיקה שהובאה דלעיל נמצאנו למדים כי החלטת ועדת השופטים להעניק את פרס ישראל לפלוני “כמעט חסינה מפני התערבות מהותית בשיקוליה מצדו של שר החינוך, ואף מפני ביקורת שיפוטית” (דברי השופט מצא בעניין תומרקין). שיקול הדעת המוקנה לשר החינוך ביחס להמלצת ועדת השופטים תחום ומוגדר היטב, ומוגבל למקרים שבהם נמצא פגם בהליכי עבודת הוועדה או בנסיבות קיצוניות שלטעמי אינן מתקיימות במקרה דנן.

           מהפסיקה דלעיל ניתן לחלץ אמירה ברורה וחד-משמעית ולפיה יש להבחין בין דעותיו האישיות של מקבל הפרס, גם אם מקוממות וקיצוניות ושנויות במחלוקת, לבין הנושא המקצועי המסור לוועדת הפרס. מתן פרס ישראל לפלוני או לאלמוני אין בו משום “הסכמה” לדעותיו ולהליכותיו של אותו מועמד. אך כפי שנאמר על ידי השופטת (כתוארה אז) נאור בעניין תומרקין: “לכל אחד משופטי בית-משפט זה, כאזרח במדינה, עמדה ערכית משלו בשאלה אם ראוי פלוני לפרס המכובד הניתן בשם כולנו, אם אינו ראוי לאצטלא זו. עמדות אישיות אלה ישמור כל אחד מאתנו לעצמו, ואל לנו להפוך את בית המשפט לוועדת-על לאי-הענקת פרסים”.

           אכן, הפרס הוא ממלכתי אך אינו אמור לשקף קונצנזוס של הציבור. אין בתקנון הפרס תנאי סף לפיו על ועדת השופטים לבחור רק במי שאוחז בדעות שהן בקונצנזוס הציבורי:

“[…] נראה כי ייסודו של הפרס על הסדר וולונטרי מבטיח ביתר-שאת את עצמאותן של ועדות השופטים ומגן על הפרס – חרף היותו פרס ממלכתי – מפני השפעותיהם של גורמים פוליטיים. מאותם טעמים כנראה נמנעו נסחיו של תקנון פרסי ישראל מלכלול בתקנון תנאי סף להכרה בזכאות המועמד שעליו המליצה ועדת שופטים, לקבל את הפרס” (עניין תומרקין, פסקה 14) (הדגשות הוספו – י”ע).

22.      לא למותר להזכיר את התהליך שבסופו החליט שר החינוך, ממש ב”דקה ה-90″, כי הוא מבקש לבחון שוב את עניינו של פרופ’ גולדרייך. נכון ליום 6.4.2021 עמדתו של היועץ המשפטי לממשלה כפי שהועברה לשר החינוך הייתה, כי יש לאשר את המלצת ועדת השופטים ואין בשלוש ההתבטאויות של פרופ’ גולדרייך שעמדו באותה עת בפניו, חלקן מלפני שנים, כדי לפסול את זכייתו בפרס ישראל. מכאן, שבנקודת זמן זו, ניתן היה לצפות כי שר החינוך יפעל כפי שפעלו כל קודמיו לפניו, ויאשר את הזכייה בפרס. ברם, בשלב זה נעשה ניסיון לאיתור התבטאויות נוספות של פרופ’ גולדרייך, וביום 7.4.2021, יום אחד לפני המועד שנקבע לדיון, העביר שר החינוך ליועץ המשפטי את העצומה שעליה חתם גולדרייך, הנושאת את התאריך 22.3.2021 וכך התגלגלו הדברים כמתואר לעיל.

סוף דבר

23.      ועדת השופטים החליטה להעניק את הפרס לפרופ’ גולדרייך על הישגיו המקצועיים, על עשייתו האקדמית העשירה והמוערכת ועל הישגיו המוערכים בארץ ובעולם. החלטתו של שר החינוך חורגת מאמות המידה שהותוו בפסיקה העניפה שנזכרה לעיל וממכלול ההסדרים הנוגעים לפרס ישראל. לא על שר החינוך המלאכה לבחון את ה”תרומה למדינה” של המועמד באשר שיקולים אלה חורגים מתקנון פרס ישראל, מההלכה הפסוקה, ומהפרקטיקה הנוהגת מזה שנים רבות. התרומה של המועמד לתחום עיסוקו מסורה לוועדת השופטים. כפי שפורט לעיל, התחשבות בשיקולים חיצוניים בבחירה בזוכה בפרס ישראל שמורה לנסיבות קיצוניות וחריגות במיוחד, ולא זה המקרה שלפנינו.

24.      אשר על כן, אציע לחברי להפוך את הצו על תנאי למוחלט, ולהורות למשיבים 3-1 להעניק לפרופ’ גולדרייך את פרס ישראל בתחום חקר המתמטיקה ומדעי המחשב כפי שקבעה ועדת השופטים להענקת פרס ישראל לשנת תשפ”א.

           לנוכח הצהרת היועץ המשפטי בתגובתו הראשונה, הרי ש”הכדור” עובר למגרשו ולבחירתו של פרופ’ גולדרייך – אם לבקש כי הפרס יוענק לו בטקס פרסי ישראל בשנה הבאה התשפ”ב או במועד לפני כן, שלא במסגרת הטקס השנתי של פרסי ישראל.

           המשיבים ישאו בהוצאות העותרת בסך 15,000 ₪ ובהוצאות המשיב 5 בסך 15,000 ₪ (סה”כ 30,000 ₪).

25.      אחר הדברים האלה, משהונחה לפני חוות דעתם של חברי, השופט  נ’ סולברג והשופטת י’ וילנר אוסיף מילים מספר בנוגע למסקנה האופרטיבית שאליה הגיעו.

במקרה שלפנינו התוצאה היא בהכרח בינארית – קבלת הפרס או שלילתו. אין מדובר במקרה שבו עומדות לפני הרשות המינהלית מספר אפשרויות בתוך מתחם הסבירות, שאז יש לעיתים טעם להחזיר לרשות המינהלית את ההחלטה על מנת שתבחר באחת האפשרויות בתוך מתחם הסבירות. ובכלל, לא כל אימת שבית משפט זה מוצא כי נפל פגם בהחלטת הרשות המינהלית, הוא מחזיר את ההחלטה אל הרשות המינהלית לצורך עיון מחדש בהחלטה, והדברים הם מן המפורסמות (ראו, מני רבים, בג”ץ 153/83 לוי נ’ מפקד המחוז הדרומי של משטרת ישראל, פ”ד לח(2) 393 (1984); בג”ץ 1284/99 פלונית נ’ ראש המטה הכללי, פ”ד נג(2) 62 (1999); בג”ץ 6840/01 פלצמן נ’ ראש המטה הכללי – צבא ההגנה לישראל, פ”ד ס(3) 121 (2005)).

כפי שנאמר בעניין תומרקין, וצוטט גם על ידי חברי, החלטת ועדת הפרס “כמעט חסינה מפני התערבות מהותית בשיקוליה מצדו של שר החינוך”. אזכיר שוב כי על פי תקנון פרס ישראל, המלצת ועדת השופטים מקבלת תוקף לאחר אישור השר, ומשהגענו למסקנה כי דין החלטת השר במקרה דנן להתבטל, הרי שביטול החלטת השר מביא מאליו לפתרונה של הסוגיה. כל הנתונים והשיקולים הצריכים לעניין כבר הונחו לפתחנו והתוצאה אפוא ידועה וברורה – שר החינוך צריך היה לאשר את החלטת ועדת השופטים להעניק לפרופ’ גולדרייך את הפרס, כעמדתו של היועץ המשפטי לממשלה שסבר כי הנסיבות דנן רחוקות מהנסיבות הקיצוניות והקשות שבהן תיתכן התחשבות, חריגה כשלעצמה, בשיקולים חיצוניים. דווקא לאור דברים הנחרצים והנכוחים של חבריי, שאליהם אני כמובן מצטרף, כי שר החינוך שקל שיקולים שאינם ממין העניין כמו תרומתו של המועמד למדינת ישראל, התוצאה האופרטיבית מתבקשת מאליה. משכך, איני רואה טעם ותוחלת בהחזרת הנושא לשולחנה של שרת החינוך, מה שיביא מן הסתם להחזרת הנושא אל שולחננו.

ש ו פ ט

השופט נ’ סולברג:

1.         דברי חברי, השופט י’ עמית, בחלקם, מקובלים ורצויים; אך למסקנתו, לא אוכל להצטרף. אפרט ואבאר.

2.         פרס ישראל מוענק בראש ובראשונה כאות ומופת להצטיינותו ולתרומתו המקצועית של מי שנבחר לזכות בו; לא בכדי ועדה מקצועית יושבת על המדוכה, וממליצה על הזוכים. חייו האישיים והתבטאויותיו הפרטיות של הזוכה, הרי הם שיקולים ‘חיצוניים’, ועל פני הדברים, הם זרים להחלטה זו. הצטיינות ומקצועיות, עשויות להימצא אצל מי שדעותיו האישיות נטועות בלב הקונצנזוס הישראלי, ובאותה מידה גם אצל מי שדעותיו קיצוניות. אלה כמו אלה, עשויים להימצא ראויים לעטרה נכבדה זו – פרס ישראל – אם הצטיינותם ותרומתם המקצועית רמה ומוּכחת. הדברים עולים מן האמור בחלק א’ לתקנון פרסי ישראל, שבו נקבע כך: “פרסי ישראל יוענקו על-ידי שר החינוך, ביום העצמאות במעמד ראשי המדינה, לאזרחי ישראל יחידים, שהצטיינו מאוד וקידמו את התחום באחד המקצועות והתחומים המפורטים להלן, ושנבחרו על-ידי ועדת שופטים ציבורית”. כדברים האלה אמר השופט (כתוארו אז) א’ מצא בבג”ץ 2769/04 יהלום נ’ שרת החינוך, התרבות והספורט, פ”ד נח(4) 823, 839 (2004) (להלן: עניין תומרקין): “הדעת נותנת שלא בכדי נמנעו שר החינוך בן-ציון דינור, שבימי כהונתו (בשנת 1953) נוסד פרס ישראל, וכל שרי החינוך שבאו אחריו מלעגן את פרס ישראל בחקיקה. נראה כי ייסודו של הפרס על הסדר וולונטרי מבטיח ביתר-שאת את עצמאותן של ועדות השופטים ומגן על הפרס – חרף היותו פרס ממלכתי – מפני השפעותיהם של גורמים פוליטיים. מאותם טעמים כנראה נמנעו נסחיו של תקנון פרסי ישראל מלכלול בתקנון תנאי סף להכרה בזכאות המועמד שעליו המליצה ועדת שופטים, לקבל את הפרס”.

3.         ניכר אפוא, כי השיקול המרכזי והעיקרי בבחירת זוכה, נוגע למידת הצטיינותו ותרומתו המקצועית בקשר עם התחומים והעניינים שפורטו בתקנון; בעוד שאישיותו המלבבת או נועם הליכותיו – אינם עומדים למבחן. כאמור, טעמים כבדי-משקל עומדים ביסוד קביעה זו, בהם רצון למנוע פוליטיזציה של הפרס, מתוך הבנה כי גלישה מן התחום המקצועי אל זה האישי, אשר מעצם טיבו וטבעו עמום יותר, יכול שיהיה כחומר ביד היוצר.

4.         יחד עם זאת, אין משמעות הדברים כי לעולם חוסן, וכי לא ניתן להתחשב בהתנהגות או התבטאות, שאינה קשורה במישרין למצוינות האישית שהביאה להענקת הפרס. כפי שציין חברי השופט עמית, ובהתאם להלכה הפסוקה, ועדת הפרס, כמוה גם שר החינוך, רשאים לשקול, במקרים החריגים המתאימים, גם שיקולים ‘חיצוניים’ שאינם נוגעים למידת המצוינות של מקבל הפרס. כך למשל, אם נמצא כי המועמד עשה שימוש בביטויים גזעניים קשים כלפי אדם או ציבור מסוים, אם נקט ביזוי קשה כלפי אלה, או אם שלל את קיומה של מדינת ישראל כמדינה יהודית ודמוקרטית, הסית לגזענות ולאלימות, או תמך במאבק מזוין נגד המדינה. אין זו רשימה ‘סגורה’. כפי שנקבע בבג”ץ 2454/08 פורום משפטי למען ארץ ישראל נ’ שרת החינוך (17.4.2008), מפי השופטת ע’ ארבל: “ניתן להעלות על הדעת נסיבות בהן יהא זה ראוי, ואף מתבקש, כי אל מול הישגיו המקצועיים של מועמד לפרס ישראל ישקלו שיקולים נוספים, כלליים. בהחלט יתכנו מקרים בהם לא ניתן יהא לשקול שיקולים שאינם מקצועיים גרידא אלא נוגעים בדמותו של המועמד ובמשמעויות הערכיות והחברתיות של הבחירה בו. כך למשל, מועמד המזוהה עם ערכים המנוגדים באופן ממשי לערכיה של מדינת ישראל, דוגמת מי שידוע כאוחז בעמדות גזעניות, או מקרים קיצוניים מעין זה. בנוסף, איני יכולה לשלול באופן מוחלט את האפשרות כי תהיינה התבטאויות שנשמעו מפי מועמד לפרס ואשר חומרתן כה חריפה וכה קיצונית, עד כי יהא זה בלתי ראוי ובלתי סביר להתעלם מהן ולשקול אך את זכויותיו המקצועיות של אותו מועמד. כידוע, גם רף הסיבולת הגבוה ביותר שנטל על עצמו הציבור במדינה דמוקרטית באשר לחופש הביטוי אין משמעו כי הנייר והאוזן סובלים הכל ותיתכנה התבטאויות שיש בהן השפלה או ביזוי כה קשים בכבודו של אדם או של ציבור. במצב מעין זה דומני כי לא יהא זה סביר להעניק לאותו אדם את אות ההערכה הגבוה ביותר שמעניקה מדינת ישראל לבניה ובנותיה”. בכלל זה, מקובלת עלי עמדת היועץ המשפטי לממשלה, כי גם קריאה לחרם על ישראל, באחת מן הדרכים הנזכרות בחוק למניעת פגיעה במדינת ישראל באמצעות חרם, התשע”א-2011 (להלן: חוק החרם), עשויה להיות נסיבה רלבנטית, הראויה לבחינה במסגרת אותם שיקולים ‘חיצוניים’.

5.         בהקשר זה אבקש להסתייג מעמדת חברי השופט עמית, הסבור שדווקא “קריאה לחרם על מדינת ישראל או לחרם על האקדמיה במדינת ישראל, במיוחד מפיו של מי שיוקרתו והישגיו צמחו לו בערוגות האקדמיה בישראל, עשויה להיכנס לגדר המקרים הקיצוניים והחריגים של התחשבות בשיקול ‘חיצוני’. זאת, מאחר שקשה להלום כי איש אקדמיה ישראלי, שפועל במסגרת האקדמיה הישראלית ונהנה מחסותה, ישתתף בקריאה לחרם על האקדמיה בישראל. מצב מעין זה הוא בבחינת אבסורד שקשה להעלותו על הדעת” (פסקה 20 לחוות דעתו; ההדגשות הוספו – נ’ ס’). לעמדתי-שלי, גם חרם כלפי אדם מסוים, או כלפי מוסד מסוים, עשוי לעלות כדי מקרה חריג, שיש בכוחו לאפשר התחשבות בשיקולים ‘חיצוניים’. זאת אני לָמֵד מהגדרת המונח “חרם על מדינת ישראל” בסעיף 1 לחוק החרם: “הימנעות במתכוון מקשר כלכלי, תרבותי או אקדמי עם אדם או עם גורם אחר, רק מחמת זיקתו למדינת ישראל, מוסד ממוסדותיה או אזור הנמצא בשליטתה, שיש בה כדי לפגוע בו פגיעה כלכלית, תרבותית או אקדמית” (ההדגשות הוספו – נ’ ס’). מלשון הסעיף עולה בבירור, כי חרם-הוא-חרם; בין אם הוא מופנה כלפי קהל עם ועדה, בין אם הוא מופנה כלפי יחידים; בין אם הוא מופנה כלפי האקדמיה בישראל, בין אם הוא מופנה ‘רק’ כלפי אוניברסיטת אריאל. סבורני אפוא, כי במקרים המתאימים ובנסיבות ההולמות, גם קריאה לחרם נגד אדם או גורם ספציפי, עשויה לבוא בקהל המקרים החריגים המצדיקים התחשבות באותו שיקול ‘חיצוני’.

6.         דעת לנבון נקל, כי מעשיו ופעולותיו של פרופ’ גולדרייך, בכל הנוגע לענייני החרם (6 מהם הובאו לפנינו), אינם בקונצנזוס; אדרבה – הם מעלים את חמתם של רבים, אשר מוצאים בהם טעם רב לפגם; בפרט כך, מקום שבו מדובר במי שנהנה מחסות אקדמית ישראלית מחד גיסא, ומנסה למנוע קשרים אקדמיים, שמא גם כלכליים, ממוסד הנמנה על מוסדותיה האקדמיים של המדינה, רק מחמת מיקומו הגיאוגרפי, באזור המצוי בשליטתה, מאידך גיסא; לא בכדי ראה היועץ המשפטי לממשלה, בצדק, להתייחס אל מעשיו ופעולותיו אלוּ של פרופ’ גולדרייך – “בחומרה רבה”. זהו אכן היחס ההולם. יחד עם זאת, אם נבקש לצמצם את יריעת המחלוקת, נמצא, כפי שטען לפנינו היועץ המשפטי לממשלה, כך:

           (א) כי 3 מן הפעולות שננקטו על-ידי פרופ’ גולדרייך, והובאו לעיוננו, נעשו לפני עשור ויותר, 2 מהן עוד קודם לחקיקת חוק החרם: כך לגבי המכתב משנת 2005, שבו נטען כי הקמת אוניברסיטת אריאל מנוגדת לחוק הבינלאומי, תוך תמיכה בקריאתו של ארגון אקדמאי בריטי להחרים את אוניברסיטת בר-אילן, מחמת שיתוף הפעולה שהיא מקיימת עם אוניברסיטת אריאל; כך לגבי העצומה מחודש ינואר 2008, שבה נקראה הכנסיה המתודיסטית המאוחדת, לתמוך בהצעה שלא להשקיע בחברות המאפשרות את ‘המשך הכיבוש’, בהקשר הישראלי של הדברים; וכך גם לגבי העצומה משנת 2011, שבה הובעה מחאה נגד חקיקת חוק החרם, על-ידי מאות אנשים, בהם פרופ’ גולדרייך, תוך קריאה להחרים מוצרים שמקורם באיו”ש.

           (ב) כי 2 מהפעולות הנוספות שנקט בהן פרופ’ גולדרייך אינן מעידות על קריאה ישירה לחרם: זאת ביחס למאמר שפִּרסם בשנת 2014, שבו נדונה שאלת ההצדקה על הטלת חרם, תוך ניתוח הסוגיה מזוויות שונות; וכן ביחס לעצומה שעליה חתם בשנת 2019, אשר מופנית אל מפלגות בגרמניה, ובה מובעת דאגה מפני העלייה באנטישמיות בעולם כולו ובגרמניה, כאשר לצד זאת מבקשים החותמים להזהיר מפני השוואה בין אנטישמיות לבין תמיכה בזכויות האדם של פלסטינים, נוכח הצעות מצד מפלגות בגרמניה לפרלמנט הגרמני, להשוות את תנועת ה-BDS לאנטישמיות.

           (ג) כי פרופ’ גולדרייך הבהיר במפורש, אם במסגרת התכתבויותיו עם ועדת הפרס ושר החינוך, אם בעת בירור העתירה לפנינו, כי הוא אינו תומך בתנועת החרם על ישראל, וכי הוא “מכבד את פרס ישראל וחש גאווה גדולה על שוועדת השופטים/ות המקצועית לפרס ישראל בחרה בו לזוכה בפרס על תרומתו לחקר מדעי המחשב לשנת תשפ”א”.

7.         נראה אפוא, כי הקושי העיקרי שנותר לפנינו נוגע לפעולתו האחרונה של פרופ’ גולדרייך – חתימתו על עצומה בראשית שנת 2021 (העצומה מתוארכת לחודש מרץ 2021, אך פרופ’ גולדרייך טוען כי חתם עליה בחודש ינואר 2021), שבה נכתב כי האיחוד האירופי נותן לגיטימציה למוסדות אקדמיים ישראלים, הפועלים בתחומי איו”ש, בכך ששיתף את אוניברסיטת אריאל בתוכנית מחקר במימונו, בניגוד לכללים שקבע האיחוד האירופי עצמו בעניין זה.

8.         על פני הדברים, כדברי חברי השופט עמית, “הלכה למעשה, יש בעצומה זו קריאה לאיחוד האירופי להפסיק שיתופי פעולה של מוסדות/תוכניות הקשורים לאוניברסיטת אריאל” (פסקה 18 לחוות דעתו); אם לא במישרין, ודאי בעקיפין. השאלה שלפנינו היא אפוא, האם די בחתימה על עצומה זו כדי להביא את העניין דנן בקהל אותם מקרי-קצה חריגים, אשר לגביהם נפסק כי ניתן לשקול בגדרם גם שיקולים ‘חיצוניים’, שאינם נוגעים במישרין לאיכותו המקצועית של הזוכה? היועץ המשפטי לממשלה סבור, כי יש להשיב על שאלה זו – בשלילה. לדבריו: “יושם אל לב גם שהמכתב מסב עצמו, ככתוב בו, על טענה שעל האיחוד האירופי לעמוד בכללים שקבע הוא עצמו בעניין, כללים שלמיטב ההבנה חלים מבחינת האיחוד האירופי ושמדינת ישראל מודעת להם וחרף קיומם התקשרה בעניין מול האיחוד האירופי; מה שדי בו כדי להדגיש ביתר שאת את ריחוקן של נסיבות כאלה מאותן נסיבות קיצוניות וקשות שבהן תיתכן התחשבות – חריגה – בשיקול חיצוני לצורך הענקת פרס ישראל”. לזאת מוסיף היועץ המשפטי, גם את הצהרתו של פרופ’ גולדרייך, אגב ההליך שלפנינו, כי הוא אינו משתייך לתנועת החרם. לעומתו, שר החינוך התייחס לסוגיה באופן שונה בתכלית; לגבי דידו, פרס ישראל איננו “פרס נובל לעניים”, הוא אינו ניתן על יסוד מצוינות מקצועית בלבד. לשיטת השר, טרם מתן החלטה בדבר הענקת פרס ישראל, יש לבחון את המועמדים בשתי מסננות שונות; האחת – מקצועית, האחרת – ערכית; והן דרות שתיהן בכפיפה אחת. לדבריו, השיקול המקצועי הוא אמנם תנאי-סף, בלעדיו-איִן, עליו אמוּנה הוועדה המייעצת, אך גם בהתקיימוֹ, הוא איננו ‘שובר-שוויון’; אין בכוחו לגרוע מן המשקל המשמעותי שיש ליתן גם לשיקול הערכי. השר מוסיף עוד, כי לטעמו, השיקול הערכי כפוף בעיקר לקביעותיו-שלו, משום שלוועדה המקצועית אין בהקשר זה עדיפות מיוחדת על פניו. בהינתן זאת, ובנסיבות העניין דנן, סבר השר כי “את תרומתו של פרופ’ גולדרייך כחוקר מאיינים מעשיו הנמשכים של פרופ’ גולדרייך המכוונים לפגוע במדינת ישראל ובחלקים מהאקדמיה הישראלית”. בהתאם החליט השר, כי “את פרס ישראל – הפרס של מדינת ישראל, המוענק על תרומה למדינת ישראל – אין פרופ’ גולדרייך ראוי לקבל, לפחות לא לעת הזו. […] כל עוד ידו האחת בונה והשניה הורסת, אין הוא עומד בתנאים לקבלת הפרס”. דומני, בהתייחס לעמדת השר, כי “טענו חטין, והודה לו בשעורים” (משנה, שבועות ו, ג). בעוד שהיועץ המשפטי לממשלה בחן את העניין כנדרש, בהתאם להלכה הפסוקה, שלפיה רק במקרים חריגים וקיצוניים ניתן יהיה לשקול אותם שיקולים ‘חיצוניים’, שאינם נוגעים למידת תרומתו ומקצועיותו של הזוכה; בחר השר לפעול בדרך שאינה עולה בקנה אחד עם ההלכה הפסוקה. במסגרת החלטתו הפך החריג לכלל, הוא החיל הליך דו-שלבי על בחירת הזוכה – שלב מקצועי ושלב ערכי – תוך מתן משקל רב לשיקול הערכי. דומה אפוא, כי תשובתו של שר החינוך לשאלה שהעלינו קודם לכן, אינה ממין העניין. השאלה איננה האם ראוי להעניק את הפרס לפרופ’ גולדרייך, אלא, כפי שפורט לעיל, האם מעשהו זה של פרופ’ גולדרייך – חתימתו על העצומה משנת 2021 – הוא כה מקומם, עד כי הוא בא בקהל אותם מקרי-קצה חריגים, המאפשרים לשקול אותו כשיקול ‘חיצוני’. משלא ניתן מענה לשאלתנו זו בהחלטת השר, שבה נבחנה הסוגיה באופן שונה בתכלית, עמדתי היא כי אין מנוס מלהשיב את העניין אל שרת החינוך, על מנת שתבחן את ההחלטה פעם נוספת – זאת הפעם בהתאם להלכה הפסוקה – ותחליט כחוכמתה.

9.         אמנם, בנקודת הזמן הזו, משהשר לא שקל את השיקולים המתאימים, יש בכוחנו להורות על קבלת העתירה, כדעת חברי, השופט עמית, תוך אימוץ המלצת הוועדה, כעמדת העותרים, שאליה הצטרף גם היועץ המשפטי לממשלה. ברם, אינני סבור כי כך עלינו לנהוג, ולהעניק, אנחנו, שופטי בג”ץ, במו-ידינו, את פרס ישראל, לראשונה מאז היווסדו. תמים-דעים אני עם השופטת (כתוארה אז) מ’ נאור, לגבי דבריה בעניין תומרקין: “לכל אחד משופטי בית-משפט זה, כאזרח במדינה, עמדה ערכית משלו בשאלה אם ראוי פלוני לפרס המכובד הניתן בשם כולנו, אם אינו ראוי לאצטלא זו. עמדות אישיות אלה ישמור כל אחד מאתנו לעצמו, ואל לנו להפוך את בית המשפט לוועדת-על לאי-הענקת פרסים” (ההדגשה הוספה – נ’ ס’). מצדי אוסיף: כשם שאל לנו להפוך את בית המשפט לוועדת-על לאי-הענקת פרסים, כך גם אל לנו להפוך את בית המשפט לוועדת-על להענקת פרסים. מוטב לנו, כשופטים, להימנע מלהכניס ראשנו למחלוקות ציבוריות-ערכיות מעין אלה.

10.      טרם סיום אציין עוד זאת: תחושה לא נוחה אופפת אותנו, כל אימת שאנו נדרשים, בעל כורחנו, להתפלפל בשאלות של הענקת פרס, לפלוני או אלמוני. ספק רב אם העניין שפיט, אם בית המשפט הוא הכתובת המתאימה לדון בדבר ולהכריע בו (ראו האמור בסעיף 61(ב) לחוק החוזים (חלק כללי), התשל”ג-1973, בצירוף סעיף 33 לחוק זה, הקובע כי “חוזה שלפיו יינתן ציון, תואר, פרס וכיוצא באלה על פי הכרעה או הערכה של אחד הצדדים או של אדם שלישי, אין ההכרעה או ההערכה לפי החוזה נושא לדיון בבית משפט”). לגבי דידי, נראה כי מדובר בשאלה מקצועית (כאשר הטרוניה היא כי המועמד אינו ראוי בפן המקצועי) וערכית (כאשר המועמד נתקף משום מעשיו הפרטיים והאישיים); כך או כך, השאלה היא לבר-משפטית. כך נאמר בעניין תומרקין: “החלטה להעניק את פרס ישראל לפלוני – הגם שהיא כמעט חסינה מפני התערבות מהותית בשיקוליה מצדו של שר החינוך, ואף מפני ביקורת שיפוטית – אין היא חסינה מפני ביקורת ציבורית. וזה, לטעמי, גם דינה הראוי של ההחלטה להעניק את פרס ישראל בתחום הפיסול לתומרקין, שאף היא פתוחה לביקורתו של הציבור הרחב” (ראו בהקשר זה: דניאל פרידמן “שפיטות החלטות בעניין פרס ישראל” המשפט ה’ 181 (תשס”א); מאיר הופמן “שפיטות החלטות בעניין פרס  ישראל – עד מתי?” המשפט ח’ 557 (תשס”ג)). דומה בעינַי, כי מוטב לבית המשפט להדיר רגליו מן העיסוק בכגון דא, למשוך ידו מהענקת פרס, או ממניעת הענקתו. עדיף לו, לפרס, להיות נתון למבחן הציבור.

11.         אשר על כן, משנמצא כי לא נשקלו השיקולים המתאימים על-ידי שר החינוך, אציע לחברַי כי לא נחליט אנחנו במקומו על הזכייה בפרס ישראל, לשבט או לחסד, וכי נשיב את העניין אל שרת החינוך, על מנת שתשקול את הסוגיה כדבעי ותחליט כהלכה.

ש ו פ ט

השופטת י’ וילנר:

1.        עיינתי בחווֹת הדעת של חבריי, השופטים י’ עמית ונ’ סולברג, ואני מצטרפת לעמדתם כי החלטת שר החינוך לדחות את המלצת ועדת השופטים להעניק לפרופ’ גולדרייך את פרס ישראל לשנת תשפ”א בתחום חקר המתמטיקה ומדעי המחשב – אינה יכולה לעמוד ויש להורות על ביטולה. באשר לתוצאה האופרטיבית של ביטול החלטת השר, שלגביה נחלקו חבריי, ראיתי להצטרף לחוות דעתו של חברי, השופט נ’ סולברג. אבאר להלן את נימוקיי לכך.

2.        כפי שציינו חבריי בהרחבה, לא אחת עמד בית משפט זה על שיקול הדעת הרחב הנתון לחברי ועדת פרס ישראל בתחום מקצועי זה או אחר, וכפועל יוצא מכך – אף על הצמצום המתחייב בשיקול דעתו של שר החינוך בהחלטה אם לאשר את המלצות הוועדה, אם לדחותן. בתוך כך, נקבע כי נקודת המוצא היא שחברי ועדת הפרס הם אנשי מקצוע המומחים בתחומם, ולכן אוחזים ביתרון ניכר, כמעט מכריע, בכל הנוגע לבחירת המועמד הראוי ביותר לקבלת פרס ישראל בשל כישוריו, תרומתו והישגיו המקצועיים. על רקע זה, הוטעם כי “בכל הנוגע למהות השיקולים שעל יסודם מחליטה ועדת שופטים להעניק את פרס ישראל בתחום פלוני לפלוני, נתונה לוועדה אוטונומיה מוחלטת, ואין שר החינוך רשאי להתערב בהכרעתה ובשיקולים שעליהם ביססה הוועדה את החלטתה” (ראו: בג”ץ 2769/04‏ יהלום נ’ שרת החינוך והתרבות, פ”ד נח(4) 823, 838 (2004); ההדגשה הוספה, י.ו.; וכן ראו: סעיף א לתקנון פרס ישראל). בהתאם לכך, נקבע עוד כי הסמכות הנתונה לשר החינוך ביחס להחלטות הוועדה תחומה אך לפיקוח על פגמים דיוניים-ארגוניים, כגון פגמים שנפלו בקיום הוראות התקנון, מבחני התקינות המינהלית, כללי ההימנעות מניגוד עניינים וכיוצא באלה (ראו: עניין יהלום, שם).

3.        כמו כן, הודגש כי ככלל, אין מקום לשלול את הזכייה בפרס ישראל מאדם אשר נמצא ראוי לו מחמת עשייתו המקצועית, אך בשל התבטאויות שנויות במחלוקת שאינן נוגעות לעשייתו זו. זאת, הן מאחר שהתבטאויות מעין אלה חורגות מן המסגרת המקצועית העומדת לבחינתה של ועדת הפרס, והן מחמת החשש לפגיעה בחופש הביטוי של מועמדים לפרס ישראל – הכולל גם את זכותם להביע עמדות חריגות ואף מכעיסות בעיני הציבור או חלקים ממנו (ראו: בג”ץ 2454/08 פורום משפטי למען ארץ ישראל נ’ שרת החינוך‏, פסקה 10 (17.4.2008) (להלן: עניין פורום משפטי); וכן ראו: בג”ץ 1977/20 האגודה למען הלהט”ב בישראל (“האגודה לשמירת זכויות הפרט”) נ’ שר החינוך, פסקאות 11-9 (26.4.2020)).

4.        יחד עם זאת, צוין בפסיקה כי לצד אופייה המקצועי המובהק של עבודת ועדת הפרס, הרי שאין לשלול את האפשרות כי בבחינת מועמדותו של אדם לפרס ישראל, יינתן לעתים משקל אף לשיקולים “חיצוניים” – חברתיים-ערכיים, שהם בעלי משקל ניכר ויוצא דופן בחריגותו (ראו: עניין פורום משפטי, שם).

5.        נמצאנו למדים, אפוא, כי בבחינת מועמדותו של אדם לזכייה בפרס ישראל, הכלל הוא כי יישקלו אך תרומתו וסגולותיו המקצועיות של המועמד בתחום שלגביו עתיד להינתן הפרס. בחינתם של שיקולים מקצועיים מעין אלה נתונה כל כולה לשיקול דעתם של חברי ועדת הפרס – המומחים בתחום הנדון, ושר החינוך ימעט עד מאד מהתערבות בהמלצותיהם, למעט במקרים שבהם נפל בהתנהלות הוועדה פגם הליכי המצדיק את דחיית המלצותיה, כפי שבואר לעיל. לצד האמור, מתן משקל לשיקולים “חיצוניים”, כגון סוגיות חברתיות-ערכיות אשר אינן נוגעות לעשייתו המקצועית של המועמד לפרס ישראל, הוא אך בבחינת חריג שבחריג לכלל המתואר, אשר שמור למקרים נדירים וקיצוניים ביותר.

6.        יישום דברים אלה על ענייננו מעלה כי בהחלטתו מיום 10.6.2021, בה דחה שר החינוך את המלצת ועדת פרס ישראל להעניק לפרופ’ גולדרייך את הפרס בתחום חקר המתמטיקה ומדעי המחשב – הפך השר את היוצרות, משל היה החריג לאחד מרכיבי הכלל ממש, כפי שציין חברי השופט סולברג. כך, למשל, כתב שר החינוך בהחלטתו כדלקמן:

“כאשר נשקלת מועמדותו של איש אקדמיה לקבלת הפרס בתחומו המקצועי, עניין התרומה לאקדמיה הישראלית, ובאמצעותה – למדינת ישראל, אינו הטפל ההולך אחרי העיקר אלא, לכל הפחות, שיקול שווה-ערך לשיקול המצוינות האקדמית, אף אם בסדר הדברים הוא נשקל רק לאחר שהמועמד צולח את תנאי המצוינות האקדמית…

אין חולק כי תנאי הכניסה שאין בילתו לשערי המועמדות לקבלת פרס ישראל הוא מצוינות אקדמית או חברתית. מבחינת סדר הדברים זהו גם התנאי הראשון הנבדק. על בחינת עמידת המועמד בתנאי זה מופקדים אנשי האקדמיה המרכיבים את ועדת הפרס… ואולם עמידת המועמד בתנאי זה שעניינו מצוינות מקצועית אינה מבטיחה לו את קבלת פרס ישראל שכן עליו לעמוד בתנאי נוסף והוא – התרומה למדינת ישראל. על בחינת עמידת המועמד בתנאי זה מופקד, להבנתי, שר החינוך באותם מקרים חריגים יחסית בהם תרומתו המחקרית והאקדמית של המועמד אינה מכריעה גם את שאלת תרומתו למדינת ישראל…” (חלק מההדגשות הוספו, י.ו.).

הנה כי כן, הקורא בהחלטת שר החינוך עשוי לטעות ולחשוב כי חרף פסיקותיו המפורשות של בית משפט זה, שיקולים חברתיים-ערכיים אשר עניינם ב”תרומה למדינת ישראל”, כלשון השר, משמשים כחלק בלתי נפרד מן השיקולים אשר יש לבחון בטרם הכרזה על הזוכה בפרס. זאת, אף תוך מתן משקל שווה ערך (אם לא למעלה מכך) לשיקולים “חיצוניים” אלה, לצד השיקולים המקצועיים הנבחנים על-ידי חברי ועדת הפרס. בתוך כך, אף הרחיב שר החינוך את שיקול הדעת הנתון לו בפיקוח על החלטות הוועדה, ואשר צומצם בפסיקה לכדי פגמים דיוניים-ארגוניים בלבד, ולמעשה הפך עצמו לגורם נוסף השוקל באופן מובחן, לעתים דה-נובו ממש, את עמידתו של מועמד לפרס ב”תנאי התרומה למדינת ישראל”. 

7.        נוכח כל האמור, אני מסכימה לעמדת חברי, השופט נ’ סולברג, כי החלטת שר החינוך ניתנה תוך מתן משקל יתר לשיקולים אשר על-פי פסיקתו של בית משפט זה, יש לשמרם אך למקרים חריגים ונדירים במיוחד. לפיכך, ברי כי יש לבטל את החלטת השר לדחות את המלצת ועדת הפרס.

8.        ואולם, בביטול החלטת השר לא די, ועלינו להוסיף ולבחון מה תהא תוצאתו האופרטיבית של ביטול ההחלטה האמורה. בסוגיה זו נחלקו חבריי, כאשר השופט עמית סבור כי עלינו להכריז על פרופ’ גולדרייך כזוכה בפרס לשנת תשפ”א; ואילו השופט סולברג גורס כי עלינו להשיב את ההכרעה בנדון לשרת החינוך על מנת שתשוב ותשקול את המלצת ועדת הפרס, זאת לאור אמות המידה שהותוו בפסיקת בית המשפט. במחלוקת זו, כפי שציינתי לעיל, אני מצטרפת לעמדתו של חברי, השופט נ’ סולברג.

9.        כלל ידוע הוא כי נקודת המוצא בהפעלת ביקורת שיפוטית על החלטותיהן של רשויות המינהל היא כי בית משפט זה אינו מחליף את שיקול דעתו של הגורם המינהלי המוסמך בשיקול דעתו שלו, וכי על ההתערבות השיפוטית בכגון דא להיעשות באיפוק ותוך כיבוד חלוקת התפקידים בין רשויות השלטון. כלל זה משליך אף על ההכרעה במקרים שבהם לא די בקביעה כי החלטת הרשות המינהלית בטלה בשל פגמים שנפלו בה או בהליך קבלתה, אלא יש צורך לקבל החלטה חדשה תחתיה. במקרים אלו, עומדות בפני בית המשפט שתי חלופות אפשריות – האחת, לקבל החלטה חדשה במקום זו שבוטלה, והשנייה, להשיב את העניין לרשות המינהלית על מנת שזו תקבל החלטה חדשה בהתאם להנחיות שבפסק הדין אשר הורה על ביטול ההחלטה המקורית. אני סבורה כי ככלל, ראוי לו לבית המשפט להעדיף את אפשרות הפעולה השנייה, שהגיונה בצדה, ולהשיב את הדיון בסוגיה הנדונה אל הרשות המינהלית המוסמכת לשם מתן החלטה מחודשת, זאת הפעם בשים לב להוראות שניתנו בפסק הדין המבטל את ההחלטה המקורית. יפים לעניין זה דבריה של פרופ’ ברק-ארז:

“תוצאות ההתערבות השיפוטית – במקרה הרגיל, כאשר בית המשפט פוסל את שיקול הדעת שהפעילה הרשות המינהלית, ההחלטה חוזרת אל הרשות על מנת שתחליט בה בעצמה פעם נוספת לאור פסק דינו של בית המשפט. זהו ביטוי נוסף לגישה הבסיסית הגורסת שההחלטה מסורה בידי הרשות, ואל לו לבית המשפט להחליט במקומה. חריגים לכלל זה ניתן למצוא במקרים שבהם קיים חשש ממשי כי בשל תהליך ההחלטה שהתקיים לא תוכל הרשות להחליט בנושא מחדש בלי להיות ‘מקובעת’ בהחלטתה הקודמת, או במקרים שבהם נותרה למעשה חלופת החלטה אחת בלבד (לדוגמה, כאשר הבחירה היא בין שתי חלופות)” (ראו: דפנה ברק-ארז משפט מינהלי כרך ב 624 (2010); ההדגשה הוספה, י.ו.).

           דברים ברוח זו כתב אף פרופ’ זמיר בספרו:

“במקרים רבים הביטול של החלטה מינהלית כשלעצמו מספק פיתרון מלא בעניין הנדון, אך יש מקרים שבהם עם ביטול ההחלטה המינהלית נוצר צורך בקבלת החלטה חדשה שתסדיר את העניין הנדון. כיצד לנהוג במקרה כזה? כפי שבית המשפט אמר, ‘ברירת המחדל במקרים שבהם נמצא פגם בהחלטת הרשות המינהלית היא להשיב את העניין לשולחנה’. כך הדבר משום שהסמכות להחליט באותו עניין ושיקול הדעת הכרוך בהחלטה הוקנו על פי החוק לרשות המינהלית” (ראו: יצחק זמיר הסמכות המינהלית כרך ד – סדרי הביקורת המשפטית 2909 (2017); ההדגשה הוספה, י.ו.).

           (כן ראו והשוו בתחום דיני המכרזים: עע”ם 8409/09 חופרי השרון בע”מ נ’ א.י.ל. סלע (1991) בע”מ, פסקה פ לחוות דעתו של השופט (כתוארו אז) א’ רובינשטיין ופסקה 3 לחוות דעתו של השופט (כתוארו אז) ס’ ג’ובראן (24.5.2010); בענייני הענקת מעמד בישראל: עע”ם 9371/08 סאלח נ’ משרד הפנים, פסקה 13 (15.2.2011); ובאשר לתוצאותיה של הפליה בהענקת זכות הנתונה לשיקול דעת הרשות, ראו: בג”ץ 637/89 חוקה למדינת ישראל נ’ שר האוצר, פ”ד מו(1) 191, 208-206 (1991); ברק-ארז, בעמודים 711-710).

10.     השבת הדיון במועמדותו של פרופ’ גולדרייך לפרס ישראל אל שרת החינוך, מוצדקת ביתר שאת לנוכח הפסיקה העקבית לפיה בית משפט זה מבכר למשוך ידיו מהתערבות בעתירות הנוגעות ל(אי-)זכייה בפרס ישראל. פסיקתו של בית המשפט בנדון נומקה בעיקרה לאור השיקולים המקצועיים העומדים ביסוד הפרס, והרצון להימנע מהחלפת שיקול דעתם של הגורמים האמונים על הענקתו. ודוק, נימוקים אלה יפים אף לעניין בחירת התוצאה האופרטיבית הראויה בעקבות ביטול החלטת שר החינוך (ראו: בג”ץ 2205/97‏ מאסלה נ’ שר החינוך והתרבות, פ”ד נא(1) 233, 238 (1997); עניין יהלום, בעמודים 836-832, ו-840; עניין פורום משפטי, בפסקה 6; בג”ץ 2324/11 גיל נ’ שר החינוך, פסקאות 10-9 (26.4.2011); והשוו: בג”ץ 1933/98 הנדל נ’ שר החינוך התרבות והספורט (25.3.1998); בג”ץ 2348/00 סיעת המפד”ל, המפלגה הדתית לאומית בארץ ישראל נ’ שר החינוך (23.4.2000); כן השוו בהקשר זה להוראת סעיף 33 לחוק החוזים (חלק כללי), התשל”ג-1973).

11.      אשר על כן, אני מצטרפת, כאמור, לעמדת חבריי כי יש לבטל את החלטת שר החינוך לדחות את המלצת ועדת הפרס בדבר זכייתו של פרופ’ גולדרייך בפרס ישראל לשנת תשפ”א בתחום חקר המתמטיקה ומדעי המחשב. בכל הנוגע לתוצאה האופרטיבית של ביטול החלטת השר, אני מסכימה עם חברי, השופט נ’ סולברג, כי יש להחזיר את הדיון בענייננו אל שרת החינוך על מנת שתשוב ותבחן את המלצתה של ועדת הפרס במסגרת אמות המידה שהותוו לשם כך בפסיקתו של בית משפט זה, ובכלל זה בהתאם לפסק הדין דנן.

12.     בשולי הדברים, אך לא בשולי חשיבותם, ראיתי להוסיף ולהעיר כי אף אני מצטרפת לעמדת היועץ המשפטי לממשלה אשר ראה בחומרה רבה את התבטאויותיו של פרופ’ גולדרייך, כמו גם לעמדתו לפיה לא מן הנמנע כי קריאה לחרם על ישראל, באחת מן הדרכים הנזכרות בחוק למניעת פגיעה במדינת ישראל באמצעות חרם, התשע”א-2011 (להלן: חוק החרם), עשויה, במקרים המתאימים, להיות נסיבה “חיצונית” רלוונטית, אשר תישקל בבחינת זכאותו של מועמד לפרס ישראל. בתוך כך, כפי שהדגיש חברי השופט סולברג, אף קריאה לחרם על מוסד אקדמי יחיד (ובכלל זה על אוניברסיטת אריאל) עשויה לשמש כשיקול כאמור, וזאת, בין היתר, אף לאור הגדרתו המפורשת של המונח “חרם על מדינת ישראל” שבסעיף 1 לחוק החרם. ואולם, השאלה העומדת להכרעתה של שרת החינוך היא אם יש בחתימת פרופ’ גולדרייך על העצומה בראשית שנת 2021, משום נסיבה חיצונית חריגה ויוצאת דופן שיש בה כדי להצדיק את שלילת פרס ישראל ממנו, חרף הישגיו המקצועיים וטיבו המקצועי המובהק של הפרס, ולשם כך, כאמור, ראינו להשיב אליה את הנושא למתן החלטה חדשה.

13.     לבסוף, יש לקוות כי הדיון החוזר ונשנה בפרס ישראל יוותר בזירה הראויה לו – היא הזירה הציבורית – לטובת העניין ולכבודו של פרס ישראל.

ש ו פ ט ת

           אשר על כן, הוחלט פה אחד לבטל את החלטת שר החינוך לדחות את המלצת ועדת פרס ישראל להעניק לפרופ’ גולדרייך את הפרס לשנת תשפ”א בתחום חקר המתמטיקה ומדעי המחשב.

           כמו כן, הוחלט על דעת השופטים נ’ סולברג וי’ וילנר, כנגד דעתו החולקת של השופט י’ עמית, להשיב את בחינתה של המלצת הוועדה אל שרת החינוך על מנת שתשוב ותשקול אם לאשר המלצה זו.

           ניתן היום, ‏ד’ באלול התשפ”א (‏12.8.2021).

ש ו פ טש ו פ טש ו פ ט ת

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חוזרים להנחלה

העיתונים מדווחים על המאבק הפוליטי סביב פרס ישראל 

חנוך מרמרי 11.02.2015 

המנחילים

המושג “הנחלה” מופיע פעמים רבות במשנתו של בן-ציון דינור (דינבורג), אדריכל התרבות של הישראליות בחיתוליה. “צריך למצוא דרך להנחיל לעם לא יצירות גרידא ולא ידיעתם של סופרים”, כתב, “אלא תמצית עמדתו הרוחנית של ישראל בעולם”. ומהי עמדה רוחנית זו? “להחדיר בהם במוקדם את גישת החיים שלנו שהיא קשורה עם יסודות התרבות וההשכלה שלנו”.

דינור, שחיפש “דרכים חדשות אל ההמונים”, היה אינטלקטואל ופקיד שלטון גם יחד שכיהן כשר החינוך מטעם מפא”י בארבע ממשלות (1951–1955). דינור, שיזם את חוק החינוך הממלכתי וחוק זכרון השואה והגבורה, הגה וייסד בין השאר את פרס ישראל על כל דקדוקי בחירותיו ופרטי טקס הענקתו. דינור, שהיה בוודאי אדם ראוי, זכה פעמיים בפרס ישראל (ללימודי יהדות ולחינוך), ולא סירב לקבלו, כבן-גוריון למשל. לא רק את הפרס כונן, אם כך, אלא גם את הסבב המעגלי שבו איש המחקר מעניק את הפרס לאיש החזון והרוח, וזה בתורו מעניק את הפרס לאיש המחקר.

מרטין בובר היה נואם הכבוד בטקס הענקת פרס ישראל הראשון, שנערך ב-5 באפריל 1953. בנאומו הציג שתי גישות שונות ליחסים שבין מדינה לאנשי הרוח שבה. המודל הראשון הוא של הכפפה מוחלטת של התרבות למדינה. “המדינה היא שקובעת את קנה-המידה התרבותי, היא שמגדירה את האמת למדע ואת היופי לאמנות, וכל יצירה תרבותית נעשית בהכוונתה וביוזמתה”. המודל האחר הוא “הכרה של המדינה בערך התרבות העצמאית, והפקת תועלת ממנה דווקא מתוקף עצמאותה”. לפי גישה זו, “המדינה והתרבות הן שותפות במפעל משותף, למען מטרה משותפת. החופש שמוענק לתרבות הוא שמאפשר יצירה מקורית, ובזכות היצירה הזו מגיע העם לגישוּם אחדותו העמוקה שגם המדינה שואפת לו”.

בובר בירך על כך שישראל, בזכות “מורשתה ומסורתה הקדומה”, שייכת לסוג השני של המדינות.

חרף שלטונו הריכוזי של בן-גוריון, יחסי האליטה האינטלקטואלית והמדינה התגבשו ברוח תקוותו של בובר יותר מאשר ברוח חזונו של דינור. ואמנם, רק בשנים ההן יכלה להתקיים תופעת אבא חושי, ראש העיר הנצחי של חיפה, שיזם פרויקט להעתקת משכנם של סופרים לעיר בתקווה לכונן בה סצינה ספרותית. עידוד היצירה מבחינתו התגלם בהענקת דירות עם מרפסת המשקיפה לים לאלה שיהגרו מן המרכז ומירושלים להר הכרמל.

אבל זה היה קוריוז מקומי, שהתאים לזמנו, ובסך-הכל צמחה כאן סצינה אינטלקטואלית עצמאית, תוססת, שנבנתה ממחלוקות פנימיות עזות בתוכה וכמה מאנשיה לא חששו להטיח את הפרס בחזרה במעניקיו – לא חשוב מאיזו ממשלה – ולא מתוך סגפנות בן-גוריוניסטית, אלא מתוך חתרנות לשמה. משנים די מוקדמות הפרס לא רק נתפס כאן כאות הערכה, אלא גם כאינטרס שלטוני, והחזרת הפרס לנותניו ביטאה גם מחאה כלפי העובדה שהפרס החליף ידיים בין ההגמונים לבין עצמם.

מי שירצה יוכל לכרוך את כל מהפכות התרבות המתחוללות כאן עם שקיעת ההגמוניה הוותיקה – בפיקוד הבכיר על צבא, בריסוק האוניברסיטאות, במאבק המר נגד התקשורת – ועכשיו היד הנעלמה נשלחת אל המחקר והיצירה. היה אפשר לברך על חילופי הדורות אילו היו מתרחשים מתוך שיח פנימי, כפי שדורות יוצרים מרדו באבותיהם הרוחניים. אבל כאן נראה שמחזירים את השעון לאחור. לימי דינור ובן-גוריון. נראה כי הפקידות התרבותית תופסת מחדש את השלטון שהופקע מידיה. לא מהפך, אלא מהפכת נגד. האם ההגמונים החדשים מתכוונים להקים כאן את המדינה מחדש?

תרעלה רוחנית

“להחזיר את פרס ישראל לישראל”, קורא נדב העצני במאמרו בעמוד הדעות של “מעריב”, שמובאה ממנו מודפסת בעמודו הראשון. “כמה טוב שיש מערכת בחירות מדי פעם. מסתבר שזו אולי הדרך היחידה לגרום לליכוד, ובעיקר לעומד בראשו – בנימין נתניהו, לפעול להגשמת המנדט שקיבל מהבוחרים שלו ולא רק לדאוג לג’ובים ובקבוקים. כל-כך הרבה שנים הליכוד בשלטון והנה, לראשונה, עושה ראש הממשלה צעד ראשון לקראת מה שהיו חייבים לעשות ראשי הממשלה מאז 1977 – לשמוט את השליטה של השמאל הקיצוני בתחום התרבות”.

העצני מציג כמה פריטים ברשימה השחורה שלו: פרופ’ הירשפלד התייצב בגלוי וחתם על עצומה המביעה תמיכה במי שמסרבים לשרת ביו”ש והוא חבר המועצה הציבורית של הארגון האנטי-ישראלי בצלם; פרופ’ נסים קלדרון כתב מאמר תמיכה נלהב בסרבני 8200; דוד טרטקובר, “שמוציא את דיבתנו רעה באופן שיטתי”, ומאז קיבל את הפרס נוסף לכל עצומה ויצירה מסיתה שהוא חתום עליהן התואר המכובד “חתן פרס ישראל”; א”ב יהושע, עמוס עוז, “וכמובן יוסי יונה – הציוני מהמחנה. הדעות הקיצוניות של אלו ידועות מזה שנים. רק לאחרונה חתמו מי מהם על עצומה שקראה לפרלמנטים זרים להכיר במדינה פלסטינית, אבל התייצבותם בפאתי השמאל הקיצוני לא מונעת מהם ומרבים שכמותם – במאים, תסריטאים, אמנים, שחקנים ועוד – לקבל מענקים ופרסים ממלכתיים ולהזריק לעורקי התודעה שלנו את התרעלה הרוחנית שהם משווקים”.

“אינני אוהב התערבות פוליטית בתהליכי תרבות, וחבל שאבנר הולצמן, חוקר ראוי, חטף בעקבו של אריאל הירשפלד”, כותב דרור אידר ב”ישראל היום”, “אבל מה הטענה? הוועדות הללו הן ברובן פוליטיזציה אסתטית במסווה. אפשר להבין את חבורת פורסי הפרסים שהתרגלה להעניק יוקרה ומעמד לאנ”ש ולהם בלבד. פתאום גם הם עומדים למבחן, ולא רק בני-טיפוחיהם. המצב העלוב של מדעי הרוח והחברה באוניברסיטאות נובע, בין השאר, בשל פוליטיזציה יתרה שבמסגרתה הפכו חוקרים ומרצים את הקתדרה שלהם לבמה פוליטית חד-ממדית. לפוליטיקה יש סימני קריאה ולחוקרים מהמחקר המדעי – סימני שאלה.

“הירשפלד הסתובב אמש באולפני הטלוויזיה כקדוש מעונה. הוא תהה כיצד פסלוהו משיקולים פוליטיים ולא תרבותיים, בעוד זה מה שהוא עצמו עשה במשך שנים. כי זאת האמת, מכלול מפעלו הביקורתי של הירשפלד בתחום הספרות נגוע בפוליטיזציה. באוקטובר 2006 התקיים פסטיבל המשוררים הבינלאומי בירושלים שהירשפלד היה מנהלו האמנותי. באותו זמן פירסמה המשוררת חוה פנחס-כהן את ספר שיריה השישי. כמי שחקר את שירתה, מדובר לטעמי במשוררת המוכשרת, הפורייה והמעמיקה ביותר כיום בשירה העברית. פשוט קראו את שירתה וראו את שכבות העומק הלשוניות, תרבותיות, ספרותיות, מיתולוגיות, יהודיות, נשיות המככבות תדיר בכתיבתה. והנה הירשפלד לא הזמין אותה לפסטיבל, כפי שלא הזמינו אותה לפסטיבלים הקודמים.

“[…] כך החבורה הזאת עובדת: יש לה מונופול על המוסר, האינטלקט, האסתטיקה. בקיצור, בדיחה. לא רק חוה פנחס-כהן, אלא מכלול יוצרים גדול, מלא ומקיף זכה להדרה מכתיבתו ומפעליו של הירשפלד ואחרים המשתמשים בקריטריונים אמנותיים כמסווה לקריטריונים פוליטיים, והדוגמאות מרובות […] עכשיו הירשפלד תוהה כיצד מערבים פוליטיקה בתרבות. אז מה עשית כל השנים, ספרות?”.

כותב דן מרגלית ב”ישראל היום”: “בקבלו מהשר שי פירון את האחריות למשרד החינוך מצא בנימין נתניהו שקודמו קבע כי הפרופסורים אריאל הירשפלד ואבנר הולצמן (וכן הסופרת גיל הראבן) ישמשו השנה כחברי הוועדה לבחירת חתן פרס ישראל לספרות. לשכתו הורתה להדיח את הירשפלד והולצמן (מדוע גם אותו? שאלתי במשרד ראש הממשלה ולא קיבלתי תשובה). הירשפלד כתב בקיץ מאמר חריף נגד נתניהו ב”הארץ”, אבל ההסבר להדחתו היה שקרא לסרב לשרת בצה”ל. איני חוקר כליות ולב, אבל גם אם נכון שהמניע הוא תמיכתו בסרבנות, היה זה משגה דרמטי מאת נתניהו לפטרו. מפני שהדחתו בדיעבד עלולה ליצור מראית עין של ז’דנוביזם (רדיפה).

“[…] רק שמנגד קיימת תהייה: כיצד קורה שכל התקציבים לעידוד התרבות זורמים בישראל למי שבכתיבתם נוטים לצד הפלשתיני בעודם עוסקים בסכסוך הישראלי-ערבי? ניתנים גם למי שבכל מחלוקת חילונית-דתית כותבים נגד חובשי הכיפות. לא סביר שכבר עשרות שנים לא נראה על הבמה או על צג הטלוויזיה מחזה כלשהו המתאר דווקא את האור הגדול של הציונות. גם זה דורש תיקון”.

שתי מודעות

“הארץ”, עמוד ראשון, מודעת רבע עמוד של מרצ: כותרת: “פרס חורבן ישראל”. מתוך הטקסט: “ביבי הופך את פרס ישראל לפרס ארץ ישראל השלמה”; “היום זו משטרת דעות, מחר זו תהיה משטרת מחשבות”.

“הארץ”, עמ’ 6, ריבוע בן 3 טורים: “קראנו בתדהמה על החלטת לשכת ראש הממשלה לפסול ללא נימוק את מועמדותם של שני חברים בוועדת השופטים לפרס ישראל בספרות, פרופ אריאל הירשפלד ופרופ’ אבנר הולצמן. אנו קוראים לראש הממשלה לחזור בו”. על הקריאה חתומים 26 שמות. 19 פרופסורים, 3 דוקטורים, 3 סופרים ומשוררת. 8 מהחתומים זכו בפרס ישראל – 6 חתנים ו-2 כלות.

מחכים להוראות מלשכת רה”מ

הכותרת הראשית ב”הארץ”: “בצל גל הפרישות: חשש לביטול פרס ישראל השנה”. על הידיעה חתום אור קשתי, מי שפירסם לראשונה את דבר פסילתם של הירשפלד והולצמן מחברות בוועדת הפרס. קשתי דיווח כי בעקבות החשיפה התפטרו במחאה 4 מ-5 חברי ועדת השופטים בפרס ישראל לחקר הספרות (שהוקמה במקביל לוועדה לפרס הסופר): פרופ’ נסים קלדרון, פרופ’ נורית גרץ, פרופ’ זיוה בן-פורת וד”ר אורי הולנדר. זאת, נוסף לסופרת גיל הר-אבן, שהתפטרה מהוועדה לפרס הספרות, וליוצר הקולנועי רם לוי, שהתפטר מהוועדה לפרס הקולנוע (בעקבות פסילת מפיק הקולנוע והטלוויזיה חיים שריר לחברות בוועדה זו). אמש הודיע פרופ’ יגאל שוורץ כי החליט לוותר על מועמדותו לפרס.

עופר אדרת סוקר ב”הארץ” כמה מן השערוריות שעורר הפרס ב-51 שנותיו. ב-1968, במלאות שני עשורים לקום המדינה, סירב דוד בן-גוריון לקבל את הפרס על מפעל חיים, וכך כתב לשר החינוך זלמן ארן: “פועלי בארצנו לא היה יותר ממילוי חובתי האזרחית. אני רואה כחובה להודיע לכבודו שאינני רואה לי כל זכות לקבל פרס זה […] לפי הכרתי לא מגיע לי כל פרס בעד מילוי חובה, ולכן הפרס נשאר לרשותך ותוכל למסור אותו למי שתראה צורך בכך”. ב-1961 התבשר הרב צבי יהודה הכהן קוק על-ידי שר החינוך אבא אבן כי יקבל את פרס ישראל לספרות תורנית על ההוצאה לאור של כתבי אביו, הרב קוק. הוא סירב לקבל את הפרס בטענה שאינו ראוי לכך ובשל התרחקותו מכל כיבוד.

“ב-1993 הודיע פרופ’ ישעיהו ליבוביץ כי אינו מעוניין לקבל את הפרס בשל המהומה שעוררה ההחלטה להעניק לו אותו והודעתו של ראש הממשלה יצחק רבין כי יחרים את הטקס באופן חסר תקדים. על ליבוביץ נמתחה אז ביקורת ציבורית רחבה בשל ההשוואה שערך בין חמאס למסתערבים”. יצחק שמיר אמר אז כי ההחלטה להעניק לו את הפרס “מעוררת בי גועל נפש” וכי היא “תקלקל את אווירת יום-העצמאות”. שרת החינוך והתרבות דאז, שולמית אלוני, לא התרשמה מהביקורת ואמרה כי לממשלה ולכנסת אין מעמד בהחלטה על מקבלי הפרס. “אי-אפשר לבחור רק אנשים שמקובלים על הכל. מי שמקובל על כולם מותר לחשוד בו שאינו מקורי ויצירתי כל-כך”, אמרה.

ב-1976 זכה אורי זוהר בפרס ישראל לקולנוע ולטלוויזיה על סרטיו, לצד מוטי קירשנבאום, שזכה על “ניקוי ראש”. “ירידה ברמה” ו”מעשה ליצנות” היתה רוח התגובות שהציפו את העיתונים באותה תקופה במחאה על הבחירה בשניים. “אחד שהשתמש בסמים – צריך לתת לו את פרס ישראל?”, תהה אדם אחר, בהתייחסו לזוהר, שלבסוף ויתר על הפרס.

ב-1992 הוענק הפרס למשורר הערבי-ישראלי אמיל חביבי. הביקורת נגד ההחלטה באה משני עברי המתרס – פלסטינים ויהודים כאחד. העיתונאי הערבי הנודע לוטפי משעור ליגלג, ומחמוד דרוויש דרש מחביבי לא לקבל את הפרס. “ואולי נפל חביבי טרף לתכסיס תעמולה של הממסד הישראלי, המבקש להראות כי הדמוקרטיה חוגגת בישראל עד כדי כך שמעלים על נס את הישגיו של סופר ערבי”, תהה פרופ’ שמעון בלס מהחוג לספרות ערבית באוניברסיטת חיפה.

חביבי לא נרתע מהביקורת וקיבל את הפרס. “אני אוחז בתהילה בשני קצותיה. דבק בעמדותי בלי לוותר על מקומי […] איני בוגד […] אני ממשיך להילחם על זכויותי ובמשנה מרץ. עובדה היא שכיום, לאחר דרך ארוכה של מאבק למען זכויות עמי, מכירים בי גם השלטונות הישראליים. עצם הענקת הפרס מביעה את השלמתם עם היות ערביי ישראל עובדה קיימת, וכי לא יוכלו לגרשם מכאן”, אמר.

במחאה על הענקת הפרס לחביבי, החזיר יובל נאמן, ראש תנועת התחייה, את פרס ישראל בפיזיקה שניתן לו ב-1969, ויצא עם תומכיו מהאולם. הקהל, מצדו, הגיב בתשואות לחביבי, שבהמשך העניק את הפרס לסהר-האדום בעזה.

התערבות פוליטית בפרס ישראל נרשמה ב-2003, כששרת החינוך לימור לבנת שללה את הפרס ממשה גרשוני, בעקבות סירובו ללחוץ את ידה ואת ידו של ראש הממשלה אריאל שרון. שנה אחר-כך שוב נגררה לבנת למחלוקת, כשפנתה לוועדה בבקשה לדון מחדש בהמלצה להעניק את הפרס לאמן אחר, יגאל תומרקין. זאת, “בשל התנהגות והתבטאויות פוגעות של הפסל”. הוועדה, שבחנה את הנושא פעם נוספת, עמדה על החלטתה והפרס הוענק לו.

לאורך השנים הוגשו כמה עתירות לבג”ץ נגד מקבלי פרסים. כולן נדחו. ברשימה היו גם השרה שולמית אלוני והפרופ’ זאב שטרנהל. בהתייחסה לאחרון, כתבה השופטת עדנה ארבל: “בעוד פרס ישראל ניתן בגין הישגים מקצועיים ראויים להערכה, ההתבטאויות בהן מדובר על פי רוב נעשות מחוץ למסגרת המקצועית בגינה ניתן הפרס. במצב דברים זה קשה שלא לראות את מניעת הפרס ממי שנמצא ראוי לו בשל הישגיו המקצועיים, אך על בסיס עמדות שהביע, כפגיעה בחופש הביטוי”.

ב-1997, באופן חריג, התערב בג”ץ בהחלטה על מתן הפרס. השופטים ביטלו אז את החלטת שר החינוך זבולון המר לאשר את מתן פרס ישראל לעיתונות לשמואל שניצר מ”מעריב”, והורו לוועדת הפרס לקיים דיון חוזר. הוועדה נקראה להתחשב בכך ששניצר הורשע בעבירת אתיקה עיתונאית על פרסום מאמר שבו תיאר את בני הפלשמורה כ”שחורים” ומפיצי מחלות מסוכנות. בדיון בבג”ץ התברר כי ועדת השופטים שהמליצה לשר לתת את הפרס לשניצר כלל לא ידעה על פרסום המאמר, וגם לא על העובדה שבית-הדין לערעורים בענייני אתיקה של מועצת העיתונות קבע שעבר בו עבירה אתית.

בפסק הדין שביטל את החלטת המר קבע השופט תיאודור אור, בהסכמת השופטים דליה דורנר ודורית ביניש, כי העובדה שהשר והוועדה לא ידעו על המאמר, על ההרשעה ועל סירובו של שניצר לחזור בו פוגמת בהחלטת השר באופן המצדיק את ביטולה. אור הדגיש כי אין בפסק הדין משום קביעת עמדה בשאלה אם ראוי לתת את הפרס לשניצר.

כמה ימים לאחר מכן התכנסה הוועדה שנית והחליטה שלא להעניק את הפרס לשניצר, בשל אי-יכולתם של חבריה להגיע להסכמה פה אחד בנושא. בהודעה שפירסמו אמרו, עם זאת, כי אין במאמר של שניצר בכדי לערער את תרומתו לעיתונות העברית במשך למעלה מחמישה עשורים, אך התנצלותו עליו לא הניחה את דעתם.

ביקורת על התנהלות הוועדה מתח מבקר המדינה מיכה לינדנשטראוס ב-2010. “יוקרתו של פרס ישראל מחייבת שתהליך בחירת הזוכים יהיה הוגן, שוויוני, נטול כל ליקויים בהליך בחירת חתני הפרס, בשל זיקה בין יועצי השר לענייני הפרס לבין ארגונים שקיבלו אותו”.

המבקר התייחס אז לשני יועצים לשר החינוך, שבדיקתו מצאה כי המליצו על הענקת הפרס לגופים שהיו קשורים עימם מקצועית. המבקר קבע עוד כי בחירת החברים לוועדות השופטים אינה שקופה לציבור, וכי תהליך זה מוביל גם לכך ש”אין הלימה בין התפלגות האוכלוסייה לבין מקבלי הפרס במשך השנים”. כך, מבין כ-620 זוכים יחידים בפרס רק כ-90 הן נשים, ורק חמישה אינם יהודים.

Academics Urged Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance & Combating Antisemitism to Stop Instrumentalization of Antisemitism

30.12.21

Editorial Note

Sweden is set to assume the Presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance of Antisemitism (IHRA) from March 2022 to the end of February 2023.  Sweden has taken this role seriously. In October 2021, Sweden hosted the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism, where the leaders of the European Union, the United Nations, and heads of state and government from many countries have met.  Forty-seven members of states and several international organizations have participated.  

Sweden presented its pledges to fight antisemitism with EUR 9.3 million a year.  

In 2022, a museum will be established in Sweden to preserve and pass on the memory of the Holocaust.  The Swedish Government will contribute 5.5 million kronor to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation so that this place is preserved, and new generations can build a future from learning, reflecting, and remembering the terrible past. 

Sweden pledges “to promote education to prevent antisemitism and other forms of racism and to strengthen Holocaust research education for active citizenship to prevent antisemitism and other forms of racism will be promoted through a nationwide undertaking conducted by the Swedish National Agency for Education in cooperation with the Living History Forum. It will focus on a wide range of target groups encompassing formal and non-formal education. Activities will be initiated during 2022, with funding allocated by the Swedish Research Council.  

Sweden pledges to combat antisemitism and antigypsyism, and other forms of racism, both online and offline. Action programs with measures against antisemitism will be presented in 2022, such as criminalizing all forms of organized racism.  The Swedish Government will “consult the Parliament and appoint a parliamentary committee of inquiry to unbiasedly consider whether Holocaust denial should be more clearly criminalized.” Sweden also pledges to “promote Jewish life.” For this, a “government inquiry on a strategy to promote Jewish life in Sweden will be appointed… Funding for security-enhancing measures for civil society, including the Jewish community, will increase significantly from 2022.”

Unfortunately, during the Malmö Forum, Swedish police investigated how the words “the Holocaust was a scam” were projected onto the main synagogue in Malmö and on other buildings in cities across southern Sweden. The Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported that the police are handling the case as a hate crime. The Nordic Resistance Movement, a neo-Nazi group, claimed responsibility for the incident. 

A group of academics mounted a much more sophisticated attack on the Malmo Forum.  They wrote the Forum urging to reject and counter the “instrumentalization” of antisemitism. For them, several of the IHRA examples are “being weaponized against human rights organizations and solidarity activists who denounce Israel’s occupation and human rights violations.” The seven IHRA examples concerning Israel “legitimize wrongful accusations of antisemitism, which serve as a warning for anyone voicing criticism of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. This has a chilling effect on free speech and academic freedom and compromises the fight against antisemitism. Regrettably, this clear abuse of the IHRA definition and of the examples has so far not been acknowledged by governments and parliaments that have adopted it.” Instead, the group offers the alternative definition of antisemitism that was launched the year before, the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (JDA).  

The JDA was an initiative of a number of scholars from the US, Israel, Europe, and the UK, “who have vast experience with the IHRA definition.” For the group, “the JDA is clearer and more coherent than the IHRA definition. Without any underlying political agenda, it offers guidance concerning political speech where the IHRA definition has created muddle and controversy.” 

Not surprisingly, the letter to the Malmo Forum boasts several Israeli academics as signatories, including  Moshe Behar; Jose Brunner; Amos Goldberg; David Shulman; Moshe Zimmermann, and Moshe Zuckermann. IAM reported in the past on their anti-Israel/pro-Palestinian activism, including borderline antisemitism.

For example, Prof. Goldberg has espoused the equivalence between the Holocaust and the Palestinian Nakba. 

Prof. Zimmerman found similarities “Between Hebron youth and Hitler Youth, between the motivation and conditions of service in some of the IDF’s elite units and that of the Waffen SS, between Israeli soccer fans and those of the Third Reich, and between the Old Testament and Mein Kampf.” Zimmerman, a well-known scholar and head of the Minerva Center for German History at the Hebrew University, must be aware that the Waffen-SS, the military branch of the SS has been involved in some of the most heinous crimes against Jews and other civilians during WWII.  During the Nuremberg Trials the Waffen-SS was declared a criminal organization responsible for the murder of millions.  Zimmerman’s comparison between “the motivation and the condition of service in some of the IDF’s elite units” and the Waffen-SS is a malevolent act of antisemitism that the IHRA definition seeks to target.  

Prof. Zuckermann wrote in his book Shoah Baheder Haatum, that “The Zionist collective which cannot escape the truth, that every “deviation” in Gaza, every victim of a “warning shot in the air” in the West Bank, that every act of brutal suppression is distancing it from the ethical and humane conduct befitting victims of the Holocaust, and is moving it into the realm of a mentality represented by the identity of the murderers.” 

Others seem to give to wanton outbursts of rage similar to blood libel.  Dr. Behar, Program Director of Arabic & Middle Eastern Studies, University of Manchester, is a case in point.  In a recent comment on Facebook concerning Israel Academia Monitor (IAM), he commented, “There are not many expectations from a person [IAM] whose entire livelihood is built on allowing blood spill, incitement and lies… You do nothing but allow blood to spill. And what do you think gave birth to Baruch Goldstein and Yigal Amir if not people like you… There is a close connection between you and murderous violence against non-Jews and democratic Jews (bombing of [Zeev] Sternhell).”

Antisemitism has surged around the world to levels not seen since WWII.  The IHRA working definition is among the few tools available to fight it.  Scholars who oppose it legitimize this new wave of antisemitism. They may not necessarily wish to protect free speech but rather to spread antisemitic ideas. The IHRA working definition prevents them from doing so.

References
https://www.government.se/articles/2021/09/swedens-pledges-at-the-malmo-forum/

Sweden’s pledges at the Malmö Forum

Published 13 September 2021

Sweden will assume the Presidency of the IHRA from March 2022 to the end of February 2023. This was Sweden’s first pledge in connection with the Malmö Forum. Pledges presented at the Malmö Forum will be followed up during the Swedish Presidency. The ambition of the Swedish Government is to implement the measures below and allocate a total amount of approximately EUR 9.3 million/year.

We pledge to preserve and pass on the memory of the Holocaust

A museum to preserve and pass on the memory of the Holocaust will be established in Sweden in 2022. The activities of the museum will be built up and formed over the years to come. One starting point is that stories of Holocaust survivors with a connection to Sweden will be at the core of the museum’s activities. A Swedish-language version of the Dimensions in Testimony installation (developed by the Shoah Foundation) that allows visitors to interact with Holocaust survivors via pre-recorded answers to questions – using artificial intelligence technology – will be spread by the museum to schools and other museums all over the country.

The Swedish Government will make a contribution of 5,5 million kronor to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, so that this place is preserved and new generations can build a future from learning, reflecting and remembering the terrible past.

We pledge to promote education to prevent antisemitism and other forms of racism and to strengthen Holocaust research

Education for active citizenship to prevent antisemitism and other forms of racism will be promoted through a nationwide undertaking conducted by the Swedish National Agency for Education in cooperation with the Living History Forum. It will focus on a wide range of target groups encompassing formal and non-formal education.
Activities, based on the recommendations of the Swedish Research Council’s survey of Swedish research on the Holocaust and antisemitism, including groups such as the Roma and antigypsyism, will be initiated during 2022, with funding allocated by the Swedish Research Council.

We pledge to combat antisemitism, antigypsyism and other forms of racism – online and offline

An action programme with measures against antisemitism will be presented in 2022. Action programmes targeting antigypsyism, islamophobia, Afrophobia and racism against the Sami will also be presented. The IHRA working definitions of antisemitism and antigypsyism/Roma discrimination will be considered in these respective programmes. The programmes will e.g. include measures in the field of education, continued and enhanced efforts by the police to counter racism and hate crime, as well as an assignment to the Swedish Defence Research Agency to continuously monitor antisemitism and other forms of racism, hate speech and violent extremism in digital environments.
Organised racism and support for organised racism will be criminalised. The Government will also consult the Parliament and appoint a parliamentary committee of inquiry to unbiasedly consider whether Holocaust denial should be more clearly criminalised.

We pledge to promote Jewish life, strengthen Roma inclusion and enhance security for civil society

A government inquiry on a strategy to promote Jewish life in Sweden will be appointed. The National strategy for Roma inclusion will continue and permanent resources will be allocated from 2022. Language centres for Yiddish and Romani will be established.
Funding for security-enhancing measures for civil society, including the Jewish community, will increase significantly from 2022.

====================================================

Outcome Document
Pledges presented at the
Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism
Remember—ReAct 2 (89)
At the invitation of Stefan Löfven, Prime Minister of Sweden, Heads of State and Government, ministers and other representatives of governments, international organisations, civil society organisations, companies, researchers, experts and survivors of the Holocaust gathered in Malmö the 13 October 2021 at the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism – Remember ReAct. In total 74 delegations participated.
Determined to strengthen the work on Holocaust remembrance and to combat antisemitism and other forms of racism, both nationally and internationally participants affirmed their commitment to Holocaust remembrance, Holocaust education, antisemitism on social media, and combating antisemitism, antigypsyism and other forms of racism.
Taking into account the Stockholm Declaration adopted at the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust held in 2000 and the 2020 International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Ministerial Declaration, participants at the Malmö Forum pledged to strengthen their work and international cooperation in this area.
The pledges made by participants, listed below, will be followed up during the Swedish Presidency of the IHRA, March 2022–February 2023.
Pledges are presented in their entirety as formulated by the participants of the Malmö Forum (as per 30 November 2021). The Swedish Government Offices does not take responsibility for the content or formulation of pledges made by others than Sweden.
Remember—ReAct 3 (89)
Pledges presented at the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism
Countries ………………………………………………………………………………. 6
1. Albania ……………………………………………………………………………….. 6
2. Argentina …………………………………………………………………………….. 7
3. Australia ……………………………………………………………………………… 8
4. Austria ………………………………………………………………………………… 8
5. Belgium …………………………………………………………………………….. 15
6. Bosnia and Herzegovina ……………………………………………………… 16
7. Bulgaria …………………………………………………………………………….. 18
8. Canada …………………………………………………………………………….. 19
9. Croatia ……………………………………………………………………………… 21
10. Cyprus…………………………………………………………………………….. 22
11. Denmark …………………………………………………………………………. 22
12. Estonia ……………………………………………………………………………. 24
13. Finland ……………………………………………………………………………. 24
14. France …………………………………………………………………………….. 25
15. Germany …………………………………………………………………………. 26
16. Greece ……………………………………………………………………………. 29
17. Hungary ………………………………………………………………………….. 30
18. Ireland …………………………………………………………………………….. 31
19. Israel ………………………………………………………………………………. 33
20. Italy ………………………………………………………………………………… 34
21. Latvia ……………………………………………………………………………… 34
22. Lithuania …………………………………………………………………………. 35
23. Luxemburg ………………………………………………………………………. 39
Remember—ReAct 4 (89)
24. Moldova ………………………………………………………………………….. 40
25. Monaco …………………………………………………………………………… 41
26. North Macedonia ………………………………………………………………. 43
27. Norway ……………………………………………………………………………. 44
28. Poland …………………………………………………………………………….. 45
29. Portugal …………………………………………………………………………… 47
30. Romania ………………………………………………………………………….. 47
31. Rwanda …………………………………………………………………………… 49
32. Serbia……………………………………………………………………………… 50
33. Slovakia ………………………………………………………………………….. 51
34. Slovenia ………………………………………………………………………….. 52
35. Spain ………………………………………………………………………………. 54
36. Sweden …………………………………………………………………………… 55
37. Switzerland ……………………………………………………………………… 57
38. The Czech Republic ………………………………………………………….. 57
39. The Netherlands ………………………………………………………………. 58
40. Turkey …………………………………………………………………………….. 59
41. Ukraine ……………………………………………………………………………. 61
42. United Kingdom ……………………………………………………………….. 62
43. United States of America …………………………………………………… 63
International organisations …………………………………………………… 64
44. European Commission ………………………………………………………. 64
45. European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights ………………….. 66
46. International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) …………. 67
47. OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) ……………………………………………………………………………….. 68
Remember—ReAct 5 (89)
48. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) ……………………………………………………………………………. 69
Civil Society organisations …………………………………………………… 70
49. American Jewish Committee ………………………………………………. 70
50. Anti-defamation league ……………………………………………………… 71
51. B’nai B’rith International …………………………………………………….. 71
52. European Jewish Congress ……………………………………………….. 72
53. European Roma Rights Centre …………………………………………… 74
54. The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA World) ………………………………………………………… 75
55. World Jewish Congress …………………………………………………….. 76
Private sector ………………………………………………………………………. 80
56. Facebook ………………………………………………………………………… 80
57. Google & YouTube …………………………………………………………… 81
58. TikTok …………………………………………………………………………….. 83
Others …………………………………………………………………………………. 84
59. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum …………………………. 84
60. Yad Vashem ……………………………………………………………………. 84
Annex ………………………………………………………………………………….. 86
Participants at Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism, 13 October 2021 ……. 86
Remember—ReAct 6 (89)
Countries
1. Albania
Albania pledges to continue to educate and help its society especially younger generations to understand the evils of anti-Semitism and commits to oppose to the Holocaust denial.
In this context, in addition to initiatives already undertaken in Albania against anti-Semitism, including through education curricula, Albania pledges: To translate and publish in Albanian the four-volume publication on Addressing Anti-Semitism in Schools: Training Curricula for trainers of primary school teachers, secondary school teachers, vocational school teachers, and school principals. These curricula will aim to strengthening the capacity of school principals and teachers to prevent and respond to anti-Semitism.
A didactic package to be supplemented with other publications produced by ODIHR such as:
Addressing Anti-Semitism through Education: Guidelines for Policymakers;
Training and Addressing Anti-Semitism in Schools: Educational Videos.
Teaching about Holocaust: continue the inclusion of the topic in the new school textbooks Teachers will continue to refer to materials produced by the Council of Europe, such as the “Guidelines for teachers and educators” for teaching about the Holocaust, publication of UNESCO, ODIHR, recommendations for teaching and learning about the holocaust- 2019, IHRA.
Training of teachers and education professionals:
History teacher, civic education teacher and geography teachers to receive training on how to deal with discrimination.
Enriching the section of the National Historical Museum in Tirana dedicated to the Holocaust since 2004 and consisting of photographs, texts, maps, and wartime documents.
Remember—ReAct 7 (89)
Opening the Cultural Center for Albanian-Jewish relations in Tirana and Jerusalem, an initiative taken by PM Rama. (DCM No 246, 25.10.2019)
Establishing the Albanian Jewish Museum in the city of Vlora, a proposal of the Ministry of Culture approved by the National Council of Museums in July 2020. Currently there is an international competition for the project design supported through collaboration by Jewish Museums curators.
We also pledge to invest and develop further the Solomon Museum in Berat.
Investing in Jewish Museum in Berat will be followed up by the pledge of Mayor of Tirana to turn into museums the Tirana Houses that sheltered Jews. This promise was declared during the Albania-Israel cultural festival taking place in Tirana, by the Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj focusing on the relations between the Albanian and Jewish people, expressed pride in the protection of Jews in our country during the Holocaust.
2. Argentina
Proposal I: “Argentina is committed to continuing the fight against anti-Semitism, a commitment that will be reflected in the new National Plan against Discrimination 2021-2024 that is being prepared by INADI” (source: INADI).
Proposal II: “The Argentine State, according to the National Education Law 26.206 art. 3 and 92 and in the Resolutions of the Federal Council of Education N ° 80/09, 188/12 and 269/15 and in the Priority Learning Centers, has the objective to consolidate an educational policy that promotes the teaching of subjects related to the violation of human rights in order to build a democratic citizenship.
In relation to the teaching of the Holocaust and the fight against anti-Semitism, the Ministry of Education, through the Education and Memory program, is committed to carry out:
• Training actions for teachers with a national scope;
• Accompaniment and assistance to technical teams for the insertion of topics in schools in the provinces;
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• Develop educational materials for the implementation of the contents related to the teaching of the Holocaust and the fight against anti-Semitism.
3. Australia
Australia recognises the importance of continuing to act with regards to racism in the community and welcomes the Australian Human Rights Commission’s ongoing consultations on developing a National Anti-Racism Framework.
Australia pledges to support efforts to preserve and pass on the memory of the Holocaust by undertaking and promoting activities of Holocaust Memorial week and International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27).
Australia pledges to call out antisemitism online, facilitate public reporting to online service providers, and encourage public engagement in this process.
Australia welcomes the upcoming Gandel Philanthropy and Deakin University Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness in Australia survey, the first and largest of its kind, which will assist research and future policy directions.
To further endeavours on preserving and passing on the memory of the Holocaust, Australia is working toward Holocaust Museums or Education Centres in each jurisdiction. We appreciate the ongoing assistance and leadership of philanthropic organisations to fulfil this ambition.
4. Austria
Pledge: New Austrian exhibition in Auschwitz
A new Austrian exhibition is being created to go on display at the former concentration and extermination camp and present-day State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau. It is accommodated on the ground floor of Block 17 of Auschwitz I, where the first Austrian exhibition was on display from 1978 to 2013.
The original exhibition was initiated and co-conceived by former inmates. It reflected the then prevalent victim paradigm. In 2009, the Austrian Federal Government decided to renew the exhibition. The National Fund was
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entrusted with the tasks of renewing the content and design of the exhibition and overseeing the challenging restoration of the former inmate block 17, a listed building, to ensure that it is fit to house the new exhibition.
Following a pan-European call to tender the National Fund appointed a team led by curator Hannes Sulzenbacher and architect Martin Kohlbauer to conceive and design the new exhibition.
The new exhibition bears the title “Far Removed. Austria and Auschwitz”. The notion “far removed” refers to the geographical distance between Austria and Auschwitz, which was part of the Nazi strategy to conceal the genocide. At the same time, removal was synonymous with extermination: it meant the physical removal of the deportees – from Austria and from the realm of the living. The main elements of the exhibition consist of three interdependent and yet interrelated levels: “Here” (Auschwitz), “There” (Austria) and “The Void”.
The exhibition will portray the fates of the Austrian victims in Auschwitz, the acts of resistance carried out by Austrian inmates there and the involvement of Austrians as perpetrators of and accessories to the atrocities committed there. As well as providing historical information, it will also provide a space for collective commemoration and private remembrance.
The exhibition will open in autumn 2021.
As a place or remembrance and learning, it is to be hoped that it will help fostering the understanding and dialogue between the generations and people with different religious, national and ethnic backgrounds.
Pledge: Stepping up training for educators and adapting teacher training curricula
Currently an IHRA co-funded international research project is conducted to develop a catalogue of qualifications and measures for appropriate initial training as well as further training for teachers in the areas of the Holocaust and National Socialism as well as the prevention of antisemitism (also in the context of anti-racist educational work). For Austria, the research is carried out by _erinnern.at_, the Holocaust Education Institute of the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research.
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The recommendations of the international research group will be implemented both in the training curricula of teachers and in programs for teacher further training. To this end a thorough evaluation of Austrian teacher training curricula will be carried out which will result in respective adaptations of initial and further training for educators.
Furthermore, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education plans the expansion of educational offers for educators to enable them to appropriately deal with current challenges with regard to antisemitism and racism in classroom.
To support this goal cooperation and exchange measures with international educational institutions, including Israel will be expanded.
Pledge: Systematic hate crime data collection and police training
The Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) has implemented “hate crime” as an international monitoring definition since July 2019. Since then, the BMI has worked on improving the systematic recognition of bias motives in criminal charges as part of a two-year EU-co-funded project. 17 consultations with civil society organisations, especially with the Jewish Community of Vienna, have taken place. For the training of approximately 30,000 police officers nationwide, a comprehensive e-learning seminar was developed. Face-to-face trainings are carried out by 207 specially trained instructors.
On 1 November 2020, the “Motive” tab was activated in the police data processing system in order to recognise “bias motives according to victim group”. As a result, data is transmitted automatically to the judiciary via a specially created interface using “E-Justice”. There are 9 categories of bias motive: age, disability, gender, skin colour, national/ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, social status and ideology/political views.
Data (November 2020 to April 2021) was statistically evaluated and a pilot report was published in July 2021. In 1,936 bias-motivated crimes, 2,401 bias motives were registered. Two details concerning antisemitism stand out: Firstly, offences against public order, in particular hate speech and those under the law banning National Socialist activities (the Prohibition Act), were especially prevalent in the categories skin colour and the Jewish faith. Secondly, concerning the sites of the crimes, a large proportion of online
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crimes detected was committed – again – due to “skin colour” or Jewish affiliation.
Systematic recognition of bias motives in criminal charges has been fully implemented within the police force and this system is now being developed further with a victim-centered approach – in close cooperation with the Jewish Community of Vienna in particular.
Pledge: National strategy against antisemitism
On 21 January 2021, the Austrian Federal Government has presented the National Strategy to combat and prevent all forms of antisemitism. The strategy was developed by several ministries and with the involvement of the Jewish community and relevant organisations.
The strategy draws together 38 concrete measures within the fields of security, law enforcement, education and research, integration and at the level of the whole society.
One of the main tasks is to join forces, create better coordination and clear structures, through regular exchange with the Jewish communities and the broadest possible involvement of all public actors and civil society organisations. To this end, a new coordinating task force in the Federal Chancellery, the central body of the Austrian governmental institutions, was established.
Another important measure is a new legislative act ensuring a yearly financial support of 4 million Euro to the Jewish community. It aims to offer sustainable prospects to Jews in Austria. They need an outlook for a life in peace, stability, and security, the provision of services such as schools, cultural and social events.
The national strategy sets out a holistic approach to prevent and combat all forms of antisemitism, and foster Jewish life in Austria. It aims to provide prospects to Jews in Austria and thereby safeguard the continuation of Jewish life in Austria for generations to come.
Pledge: Centre for research on Antisemitism at the Austrian Academy of Sciences
Austria is currently implementing the recently finalised “National Strategy against Antisemitism”, which also mentions research on antisemitism.
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The Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research expressly welcomes the efforts of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW) to tackle the lack of structured, multi-perspective antisemitism research in the Austrian academic landscape.
Until 2023, the OeAW will establish a centre for research on antisemitism – supported by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research. The focus will be on interdisciplinary basic research on antisemitism, anti-Judaism, and anti-Zionism regarding causes, manifestations, and effects in the present, with a focus on Austria and Europe.
Pledge: Simon Wiesenthal Prize
In view of the darkest chapter of its history, Austria has a special historical responsibility. Part of this is fighting antisemitism, which has taken on many faces today.
In 2021, for the first time, the National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism will confer the annual Simon Wiesenthal Prize1 for outstanding civic engagement to combat antisemitism and/or promote Holocaust education endowed annually with a total of 30,000 euros.
The international award is named after Holocaust survivor and so-called Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal (1908–2005) who had an unparalleled impact on dealing with Nazi crimes. An unshakeable admonisher of antisemitism, he made it his life’s work to foster remembrance of the victims of Nazi terror and bring Nazi criminals to justice.
The Simon Wiesenthal Prize aims to recognize individuals or groups from civil society who follow his example by making an outstanding contribution through their special civic engagement to combat antisemitism and/or to promote Holocaust education.
The winner(s) of the Simon Wiesenthal Prize shall be selected by the Board of Trustees of the National Fund on the basis of the shortlist drawn up by a jury.
The Simon Wiesenthal Prize Jury consists of six members:
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• The family of Simon Wiesenthal has appointed as their representative Ariel Muzicant, Vice-President of the European Jewish Congress (EJC) and former President of the Jewish Community Vienna.
Other members are:
• Oskar Deutsch, President of the Jewish Religious Community in Austria,
as well as recognized figures from public or cultural life or persons with an academic reputation. As such, we are happy to welcome to the jury:
• Brigitte Bailer(-Galanda), lecturer in Contemporary History at the University of Vienna.
• Katharina von Schnurbein, Antisemitism Officer of the EU Commission.
• Barbara Stelzl-Marx, University Professor of Contemporary European History at Karl Franzens University Graz and Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Research on the Consequences of War, Graz
• Monika Schwarz-Friesel, professor at the Institute for Language and Communication at the TU Berlin
The Simon Wiesenthal Prize aims at fostering and reinforcing awareness and efforts within society to fight antisemitism and educate people about the Holocaust.
Pledge: Training the judiciary:
The Austrian judiciary is particularly concerned with providing well-founded training in the context of antisemitism, racism and National Socialism.
In the area of training for judicial trainees, two periodic training events in particular, which are mandatory, deal in detail with fundamental rights in the context of judicial history and current affairs:
Curriculum on judicial and contemporary history for trainee judges
Duration: 1 week
Curriculum on basic rights for trainee judges
Duration: 3 days
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In the area of further training, the seminar series “Justice and Contemporary History” for judges and public prosecutors deals with the topic.
Duration: 1.5–2 days
The IHRA working definition of antisemitism is used by the trainers and in the training materials of the two above-mentioned seminars, as well as in specific seminars for candidate judges, judges and prosecutors on hate crimes and the law banning National Socialist activities (the Prohibition Act).
In addition, in 2020 comprehensive information on the IHRA working definition was published on the intranet for all judicial staff.
The Austrian judiciary provides assurance that these training activities will be continued and that it will continuously develop and grow its programme.
Pledge: Shoa wall of names memorial
More than 64,000 Jewish Holocaust victims from Austria shall not be forgotten. In order to create a place of remembrance, the Memorial to the Jewish children, women and men of Austria who were murdered in the Shoah is now being erected in Vienna.
A Holocaust survivor from Austria, Kurt Yakov Tutter initiated this memorial. Born in Vienna in 1930, he had to flee Austria. His parents perished in the Holocaust. His longing for a place of personal remembrance, which he shares with many survivors and descendants of the victims, was a motivation for his commitment to the project.
The realisation of the memorial began in the Year of Remembrance 2018.
The project is being implemented and funded by the Federal Government, which provided the main part of the financing, the Federal Provinces, the City of Vienna, the Federation of Austrian Industries and the Austrian National Bank. It is under the patronage of the President of the Austrian National Council. The costs amount to around 5.3 million Euros.
Names and dates for the Memorial are based on the Shoah Victim Database by the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (DÖW). From 1992 to 2001, the DÖW recorded the biographical data and circumstances of death of around 62,000 Austrian Holocaust victims. In the summer of 2020, there was a global appeal to review the names. After years of intensive research,
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the database currently contains records on 64,435 persons (as at March 2021).
The ideal location for the Shoah Wall of Names Memorial was found in Ostarrichi Park in Vienna’s 9th district – a green area in front of the Austrian National Bank, named after the oldest form of Austria’s name, “Ostarrîchi”.
Construction work began in June 2020. The Wall of Names will comprise 180 stone slabs on which the victims’ names are engraved. Several of the slabs have already been set in place. It is already an impressive sight.
A separate plaque will commemorate all other groups of victims persecuted under National Socialism.
The inauguration of the Shoah Wall of Names Memorial will take place on 9 November 2021. It will be a central yet peaceful place to commemorate the fate of the victims and to honour their lives. Due to the historical importance of the memorial, the City of Vienna and the National Fund will jointly assume responsibility for its maintenance and ongoing operation.
5. Belgium
Belgium remains deeply concerned about the rise of antisemitism, online as well as offline, and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The federal government is, in collaboration with the regions, taking its responsibility to strongly respond to and curb antisemitic incidents and hate crimes.
The federal government pledges to take further measures to strengthen the protection of victims, including its work on improving recording and collecting data on hate incidents and hate crimes by law enforcement and judicial authorities. The aim is to develop an efficient and effective method that makes it possible to register the hate motive in a consistent way in the registration systems of the police and judiciary. In doing so, more detailed and more reliable figures on hate crimes, hate speech and discrimination will become available, as well as specific figures on antisemitic offences. Reliable official data is essential for developing policy measures which will effectively counter antisemitism offline and online.
In its aim to further the efforts to combat antisemitism, Belgium is currently working on the adoption of a comprehensive and horizontal national action plan against racism. This plan is prepared by the governments of the federal State, the Regions and Communities, together with experts, affected
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communities and civil society to further the goal of countering all forms of racism that undermine human rights. The first Belgian national action plan against racism will cover issues ranging from education, employment, housing, health care to the justice systems The plan will mainstreams an anti-racism approach in all policies it also tackles specific forms of racism, including antisemitism.
The Community governments competent inter alia for education, will continue supporting many existing initiatives to tackle antisemitism, especially in the field of education. Including financial support to develop didactic materials and training about the holocaust, antisemitism and remembrance education, amongst others to further roll out of the IHRA Recommendations for Teaching and Learning about the Holocaust.
6. Bosnia and Herzegovina
Chairman of the Presidency Željko Komšić
This year marks the 76th anniversary of the most brutal crime of the last century. It will remain forever engraved in the memory of civilization.
The Holocaust, a unique and systematically planned crime against one nation – the Jews, has left lasting consequences on the society we live in. The genocide committed against Jews, Croats – political opponents of the Ustasha regime, Serbs and Roma in Jasenovac left unforeseeable consequences and has shown how dangerous and evil the human mind can be. The events of the Second World War left a deep mark on all of us. We have the daily obligation to fight against all forms of ideologies born from hatred, segregation and intolerance.
Unfortunately, despite the painstaking struggle against the divisions and inhuman actions, recent history also remembers the suffering of innocent victims of all ethnic groups. That includes crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990s. The genocide committed in Srebrenica, in the heart of Europe, took lives of a large number of victims. It once again showed that great criminal ideologies are not a matter of the past. They still exist in the present too.
As witnesses of the dark side of history, we have an obligation to keep talking about it and not allow it to happen again. My obligation, as a politician, is to be persistent and concrete in my fight against any kind of divisions, fascism, antisemitism and all other forms of intolerance and
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discrimination. My moral obligation is to promote civilizational values in the society I live in and to work on improving mutual relations. I want to build a future where fundamental human freedoms, rule of law and moral values will prevail.
My country, Bosnia and Herzegovina, has been a home to Jews and members of other ethnic groups for centuries. That particular diversity, that we need to preserve and respect, is our greatest wealth. Preservation of the Jewish cultural heritage and the heritage of all people living in Bosnia and Herzegovina should be a positive story to guide the future generations. It is our obligation to educate young people about everything that has happened in the past so that they can be able to appreciate the society in which they live now even more.
The International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism is a great opportunity to exchange experiences and send clear messages as leaders of the countries we represent here. Unfortunately, fascism and antisemitism are gaining strength throughout the world. We need to act in a timely manner to prevent them from spreading any further.
Member of the Presidency Šefik Džaferović
While attending the last year’s 75th Anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp Auschwitz, in a memorial complex located at the site of that concentration camp, I was deeply shaken by the survivors’ testimonies.
The death industry devised by Nazi criminals was the largest killing machinery in human history. If there is an illustration of absolute evil, then it is this very crime, without precedent.
At the same time, if there is an absolute symbol of human strength, it is the strength of the surviving victims who, despite their immense suffering, were able to testify on their own behalf, but also on the behalf of all of those who did not get to see freedom and peace.
Seventy-six years later, we can only feel hope that humanity will be redeemed through reflection, unreserved respect for human life, and effective efforts to finally stop the evil of hatred, segregation, and crime, once and for all.
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The crimes committed during the last war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the Srebrenica genocide, testified in a frightening way that the world has failed to learn its most important lessons.
In this place, I wish to reaffirm my commitment to preserving memory and truth.
On that note, I will initiate the activities of the Srebrenica Memorial Center, in cooperation with the Jewish community and institutions dedicated to preserving the Holocaust memory, with the aim of implementing a special project within the Srebrenica Memorial Center dedicated to protecting the memories of crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia during Holocaust.
7. Bulgaria
The Bulgarian society has a long-standing historic tradition of tolerance. On this solid basis, the Republic of Bulgaria has pursued a consistent policy aimed at preventing and eliminating any form of discrimination, in particular antisemitism.
The Republic of Bulgaria is a full member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and has adopted the Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism.
In the light of its participation in the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism, the Republic of Bulgaria has identified four strands of work that would further enhance the effect of the efforts to fight against antisemitism, intolerance and hate speech.
The position of the National Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism will be upgraded into a permanent one, at the level of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affair. The initial appointment of a National Coordinator in 2017 has led to visible improvements in the coordination of the relevant ministries, other authorities and the civil society.
The Government will work with the leading sport clubs to encourage the adoption and application in their activities of the Working Definition of Antisemitism. Bulgaria has started already a nationwide campaign for the definition’s adoption by the leading Bulgarian universities.
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The Bulgarian authorities will work for the establishment of a permanent exhibition at the National History Museum and/or a virtual “Pantheon of Saviours”, dedicated to the saving of the Bulgarian Jewish citizens during WWII. Among others, this will provide an additional tool to spread the knowledge about a major positive example of how the active and massive engagement of citizens can stop occurrences of intolerance and hate speech, in particular antisemitism.
The Republic of Bulgaria will finalize the National Action Plan on Combating Antisemitism by the end of 2022. It will be drafted through a joint project of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria and the Norwegian Centre for Holocaust and Minority Studies. The National Action Plan will further consolidate the comprehensive and systematic approach in the fight against antisemitism.
8. Canada
The Government of Canada unequivocally condemns the disturbing rise of antisemitism at home and abroad. Canada is committed to reinforcing efforts to advance Holocaust awareness, remembrance and research, and to combat antisemitism as key elements of the promotion and protection of human rights globally. We know that antisemitism is not a problem for the Jewish community to solve alone, it is a challenge for all of us, especially governments, to take on. The Government of Canada will always stand with the Jewish community to fight antisemitism and hatred in all its forms. To that end, since November 2020, the Honourable Irwin Cotler, Canada’s first Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism, has worked to promote Holocaust education, remembrance, and research, as Canada continues working with partners at home and around the world to fight against hate and intolerance, including convening the National Summit on Antisemitism in July 2021.
Antisemitism has no place in Canada or elsewhere. The Government of Canada commits therefore to the following pledges today:
We pledge to combat antisemitism, Holocaust denial and distortion, hate crimes and all other forms of racism and to protect at-risk communities
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• As part of a renewed Anti-Racism Strategy, we will engage with Jewish communities in the development of our National Action Plan on Combatting Hate.
• Establishing the Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism as a permanent position, supported by dedicated resources.
• We will strengthen the Canada Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to more effectively combat online antisemitism and hate.
• We will introduce legislation to combat serious forms of harmful online content.
We pledge to promote awareness about the Holocaust and antisemitism in Canada
• Building on lessons learned regarding the increase of antisemitism and of Holocaust distortion, we will continue to expand publicly accessible Holocaust-related material and to bring awareness to the dangers of antisemitism. This will include using the historical legacy of Raoul Wallenberg – Hero of the Holocaust and Canada’s first honorary citizen – as an inspirational role model for educational purposes.
We pledge to continue supporting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and to promoting the IHRA working definition of antisemitism
• We will continue to enhance the adoption and implementation of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism.
• We will encourage mainstreaming the implementation of the definition to dovetail with the Canadian adoption of the IHRA definition in June 2019, as part of Canada’s federal anti-racism strategy (2019-2022).
• We will work internationally to encourage broader cross-regional representation at the IHRA, toward a more inclusive organization.
We are reminded every day that antisemitism is still very much alive. Its new and resurgent forms require constant vigilance and action. Canada remains
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unwavering in its commitment to challenge antisemitism wherever and whenever it occurs and to build more just and inclusive societies.
9. Croatia
We pledge the IHRA Presidency from March 2023 to the end of February 2024
• As IHRA Presidency, Croatia will continue to promote cooperation among IHRA member states in the field of Holocaust research, education and remembrance as well as countering Holocaust distortion and denial, while at the same time fostering our shared responsibility in fighting antisemitism, intolerance and hate speech. This is Croatia’s umbrella pledge that confirms our strong commitment to IHRA’s activities and goals. For the preparation and implementation of Presidency activities we intend to allocate all necessary funds and resources, including establishing a dedicated inter-agency working body.
We pledge to preserve and pass on the memory of the Holocaust
• Croatia will continue with efforts to strengthen the activities and content of the Jasenovac Memorial Site, with continuous consideration of the modernization and upgrading of museum material. Croatian Government will logistically and financially support the introduction of high technology and contemporary approaches in the presentation and interpretation of historical content.
We pledge to promote education to prevent antisemitism and other forms of racism and to strengthen Holocaust research
• In 2022, in cooperation with the Mémorial de la Shoah Museum, Croatia will continue to participate in organization of international seminars in the form of expert dialogues with neighboring countries, one with Italy and Slovenia and the other with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. In cooperation with Yad Vashem, Croatia will continue to upgrade its education programmes intended to raise the awareness among the young population about the Holocaust.
We pledge to combat antisemitism, anti-Roma discrimination and other forms of racism – online and offline
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• In accordance with the Operative Program for National Minorities for the period 2021-2024, Croatian Government will intensify activities aimed at countering violence and hate speech, especially towards the vulnerable groups and national minorities. It will continue to raise awareness that discrimination, public hate speech and incitement to violence are unacceptable and will be prosecuted, in accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Code and Anti-discrimination Act.
We pledge to continue strengthening Roma inclusion, including by strengthening civil society
• In accordance with the new National Plan for Roma inclusion for the period 2021-2027, Croatian Government will continue to increase the funding allocated for the main pillars of Roma inclusion – education, employment, housing and health.
10. Cyprus
The Republic of Cyprus, despite its newly established participation in the Alliance, is swiftly taking substantial steps to underscore the value of our participation.
Cyprus adopted the IHRA definition for Antisemitism in 2019. Procedures are now under way to also adopt the IHRA definition on Holocaust Denial and Distortion, not only as a tribute to victims and survivors, but also as an indispensable tool for education and training.
In addition, a specialized training program on anti-semitism is being planned for police and law enforcement officers. Let me also mention that, as we did last year, we are again proceeding with a voluntary contribution to IHRA.
11. Denmark
We pledge to step up our fight against antisemitism significantly
The Danish Government will present a comprehensive plan to fight antisemitism in Denmark in the near future. The overarching goal of the plan is to strengthen the general resilience against antisemitism and to ensure that antisemitism does not take root in Denmark.
We pledge to protect the Danish Jews
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The Danish Government will keep its promise to protect the Danish Jews. We will continue to uphold a high level of protection around Jewish institutions in Denmark in close cooperation with the Jewish Community in Denmark.
We pledge to strengthen our knowledge about contemporary forms of antisemitism in Denmark
We will strengthen monitoring of antisemitic incidents and through research increase our understanding of contemporary forms of antisemitism.
We pledge to develop tools to detect and counter antisemitism in schools and on the work place
The plan will aim at improving the way the Danish authorities handle antisemitic incidents in order to improve support for victims of antisemitism and strengthen the cooperation and coordination among relevant Danish authorities and the Danish Jewish Society.
We pledge to strengthen education on Holocaust and other genocides
The plan will focus on how schools and institutions educate children and young people about antisemitism and how we define antisemitism. No child in Denmark should leave school without being taught about the six million Jews who died in the horrors of Holocaust – and about those who survived and were saved through courageous civic actions.
We pledge to teach ourselves on and sustain Jewish life in Denmark
We want not only to fight antisemitism, so that Jews can live safely and freely in the Danish society. We want to create the conditions to sustain Jewish life for generations to come. This will be achieved through a comprehensive plan that also addresses education and information about Jews, Jewish life, history and practices.
We pledge to strengthen our focus on antisemitism internationally
Denmark will underline the importance of fighting antisemitism and respecting human rights and non-discrimination globally when participating in international fora.
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12. Estonia
Estonia commits itself
1. to safeguarding the memory of the Holocaust.
We intend to mark with dignity the remaining Holocaust-related sites in Estonia. In November, a memorial stone to the Estonian Jews killed in 1941/42 will be consecrated at the Liiva graveyard in Tallinn.
2. to vigorously combatting antisemitism.
We will implement the recently adopted governmental policy for combatting antisemitism by all means and measures, both in the field of security and safety, as well as Holocaust remembrance and education in the broadest sense. Our policy is guided by the non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism adopted by IHRA member-states.
13. Finland
Finland commits itself to ensure that all national and religious communities and minorities can feel safe in our country. We are committed to safeguarding human rights, freedom, tolerance and equality in our society.
Finland will make sure that freedom of speech is not confused with hate speech. We will make sure that incitement against anyone based on descent, national or ethnic background or religion does not pass in our country as free speech. It is hate speech and will be treated as such.
High-quality research and education is a key means of preventing antisemitism and other forms of discrimination in our society. Finland will continue to invest in research and communication concerning The Holocaust. We will translate all relevant documents into Finnish and Swedish and will make sure that they are used in education and research.
Finland has a strong research tradition concerning The Holocaust. We will make sure that this tradition continues and the actions of Finnish authorities and individuals in The Second World War are brought to light without any interference from the Finnish authorities.
The Constitution of Finland guarantees freedom of religion and freedom of conscience. We will make sure that all places of worship are protected by the national authorities. Finland has strong legislation concerning freedom of
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speech and thought and we will make sure that all people residing in Finland can live freely and practice their faith without fearing for their security. We will also make sure that religious communities can fully exert their influence on the legislation that concerns them.
In its international activities, Finland will make sure that international organizations, such as the UN, the OSCE and the Council of Europe, continue to tackle these issues. We will also consider bringing them up in the framework of Nordic Cooperation.
We will consider organizing a seminar on The Holocaust around The Holocaust Remembrance Day to bring together all researchers in this area together with the relevant civil society organizations. If any gaps in our national remembrance are identified in this seminar, we commit ourselves to address those gaps with public financing.
14. France
The guarantee of the rights and equality of every citizen “without distinction as to origin, race or religion” is at the heart of the French Constitution. France remains uncompromising in the face of antisemitism -of which we have endorsed the operational definition set forth by the IHRA-, as well as being actively engaged in the remembrance of the Shoah.
At the domestic level, the French government has strengthened its institutional arsenal through the work of the “Interministerial Delegation to the fight against racism, antisemitism and anti-LGBT hate” (DILCRAH). Among the main priorities of the soon-to-be-adopted “national plan to combat racism and antisemitism” are:
New educational tools for professionals that will strengthen the education and training aimed at helping teachers address the history of the Holocaust. It will also support the effort of publishers and authors of school textbooks to raise awareness against anti-Semitic stereotypes.
Victims of anti-Semitic acts will be more strongly supported thanks to simplified complaint-filing procedures, the training of victim support associations, and a greater awareness among the users of platforms and social networks on a more protective use of these tools.
We will improve the prevention of anti-Semitic acts thanks to research and dissemination of knowledge on racism and anti-Semitism, the development
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of citizenship-training courses and the mobilization of the private sector as well as the economic circles.
We will enhance the crackdown on hate speech online by strengthening the investigative teams of the Interior Ministry’s reporting platform (Pharos), and by enabling the creation of a prosecutor’s office specializing in digital affairs. This repressive arsenal is supplemented by the faculty to dissolve any association or group that promotes antisemitism or Nazism.
At the international level, France is relentless in advocating for the fight against antisemitism and in promoting Holocaust remembrance within UN bodies or the Council of Europe (particularly within the European commission against racism and intolerance – ECRI or the International Holocaust remembrance alliance – IHRA). As part of the French presidency of the European Union, we will consolidate actions at the European level in order to fight the resurgence of antisemitism and Holocaust denial, as well as to pursue the development of the Digital services Act.
Memorial institutions, like the Holocaust Memorial, are very active in terms of education, training, research, and communication to maintain the work on Holocaust remembrance. The French State allocates 6 million euros to financing the interventions of partner associations and places of memory, both at local and national level. January 27, selected as the day of “International Holocaust Remembrance Day” is the opportunity for numerous commemorations, particularly for young people. As part of the many educational projects, the “Convoy 77” project encourages students from different countries to carry out educational work whose purpose is to retrace the lives of those deported last towards the Auschwitz camp by this large convoy.
15. Germany
I. Remembrance of the Holocaust and the genocide of the Sinti and Roma Germany will contribute to making eye-witness accounts accessible to more people everywhere by means of digitising remembrance of the Holocaust and the genocide of the Sinti and Roma, in particular in memorials and museums in Germany and abroad.
Germany will campaign through the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance for the continued existence of the Global Task Force against Holocaust
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Distortion and the implementation of its findings, and calls on all IHRA member countries to become involved in these efforts.
II. Holocaust education
Germany will develop independent funding for Holocaust education from the perspective of survivors and survivor organisations.
Germany will, working through the Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future, advance a novel education agenda on Nazi injustice, imparting lessons from the National Socialist past in a historically aware and energising way.
Germany will strengthen remembrance of the Holocaust and the genocide of the Sinti and Roma by continuing to systematically incorporate the perspective of survivors and their advocacy groups.
Germany will develop innovative approaches to Holocaust education in a post-migrant society.
III. Antisemitism in social networks and on social media platforms
Germany will develop both a network of experts and a federal working group on online hate.
Germany will finance a study on digital news skills as well as scientific studies on right-wing extremism, in particular the links between right-wing extremism and antisemitism.
IV. Combating antisemitism, antigypsyism and racism
Germany will continue to actively combat antisemitism, antigypsyism and racism in all spheres of life and in peoples’ daily interactions.
Germany will further anchor a holistic approach to preventing and combating all forms of antisemitism, antigypsyism and racism as a cross-cutting task across all levels and policy fields and will draw up a national strategy against antisemitism and for Jewish life. Germany will strengthen research into antisemitism, establishing and promoting research networks to this end.
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Germany will further develop prevention and study projects on the connection between right-wing extremism and antisemitism as well as between racism and antisemitism.
Germany will support the development of a civil-society monitoring process to record antisemitic assaults and continue to anchor it in the Competence Network on Antisemitism (KOMPAS), which gathers information on this issue and provides expert advice on preventive educational work on antisemitism.
Germany will establish a civil-society monitoring process to record antigypsyist assaults and, based on the Competence Network on Antisemitism, will develop a similar body on antigypsyism to gather information and provide expert advice.
Further information
The promotion of Holocaust remembrance and education as well as efforts to combat antisemitism, antigypsyism and racism are a priority of the German Government at national, European and international level.
In view of the rise in right-wing extremism, racism and antisemitism, a Cabinet Committee for the fight against racism and right-wing extremism was set up in 2020. As well as implementing measures already adopted, the committee has drawn up a catalogue of 89 individual measures. These measures are now being implemented by the relevant lead ministries. The German Government intends to make available a total of more than one billion euro between 2021 and 2024 for the fight against right-wing extremism, racism, antisemitism, antigypsyism and other forms of group hatred. This funding is to be used, among other things, to boost research and prevention, cooperation among security authorities, judicial systems as well as state and civil-society stakeholders and to develop new approaches to fighting the phenomena mentioned. The aims are, inter alia, to create greater awareness of all forms of antisemitism, antigypsyism and racism as a phenomenon which affects society as a whole, strengthen prevention and further develop civic education, promote the work to foster democracy, expand support for those affected, promote recognition of a diverse society and strengthen equal opportunities, as well as bolster vigilant democracy and the security authorities.
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Germany wants, also with the help of newly established bodies such as the Joint Federal and State Commission to fight antisemitism and protect Jewish life founded in 2019, to work at national, European and international level to strengthen the fight against antisemitism, antigypsyism and racism, in particular in the spheres of legislation, basic and further education, public relations work, exchange and remembrance. To this end, we will seek to ensure greater networking among all those affected and stakeholders from civil society, academia and government agencies. The fight against antisemitism, antigypsyism and racism is a cross-cutting task which affects society as a whole. Holocaust remembrance and education are part of this. Given the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and growing technological possibilities, new ways can be found to strengthen and further develop remembrance and education.
16. Greece
Greece’s pledge, in line with the legacy of our Presidency, seeks to bring the Holocaust narrative into the digital era, in a meaningful and efficient manner. In order for the message of the Holocaust to remain relevant forever, it needs, most of all, to adapt to modern circumstances.
Living memory is fading, as survivors and witnesses of the horrors of the Holocaust are leaving us forever. Humanistic studies, including historical studies, unfortunately do not attract young minds as much as they used to. Awareness through education remains essential but may not be sufficient anymore.
For better or worse, information and ideas are now presented, discussed and often fought over in the digital battlefield. This is where the current generation primarily seeks information, explores ideologies and instigates debate. This is also where peddlers of extremist ideas, hate and racism, gain access to large gullible audiences, with unprecedented ease and opportunity to spread views that not only offend the victims of past atrocities, but also threaten democracy and basic human values.
As the current COVID pandemic has regrettably shown, distortion of information is a very real concern and even the most outlandish conspiracy theory claims can still fall to eager ears, often with grave results.
This is where the current threat lies and this is where we intend to take the fight.
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The Greek IHRA Presidency, in collaboration with Greek and foreign State agencies as well as academic institutions and industry agents, is preparing a Congress titled “Combating Anti-Semitism, Holocaust Denial and Distortion and Extremist Resurgences in the Digital Battlefield”.
The Congress is to be held late February – early March of 2022 in the Greek city of Ioannina, home to one of the most ancient Jewish communities in Europe. It will host three round tables:
On Anti-Semitism and other extremist phenomena in Social Media and the Internet.
On the means to detect, counter and suppress such phenomena, using leading edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Prediction.
On the legal aspects, such as the balance that must be achieved between freedom of speech and the need to defend Democracy against racism and discrimination.
Should the Congress prove successful, we shall seek to incorporate its premise as a constant feature in all future IHRA Presidencies, so that the threat can keep being fought and countered as it develops.
Bringing the Holocaust messages to the digital era, bringing the fight against anti-Semitism, racism, fascism and all forms of hate-speech to the digital battlefield, is the most efficient way to ensure the continued memory and relevance of the Holocaust.
This is our pledge and the legacy of Greece’s IHRA Presidency.
17. Hungary
Since the fall of communism – particularly over the last 12 years – Hungary has done its utmost for its Jewish compatriots, and its commitment towards the Jewish community enjoys international recognition. It has carried out a compensation program, has been paying annuities, and has been operating a Public Foundation for Jewish Heritage in Hungary. It makes every effort to combat anti-Semitism and hate speech through comprehensive legislation. A multitude of synagogues and cemeteries have also been renovated with state support and in keeping with Jewish religious customs.
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Today, three established Jewish congregations flourish in Hungary, all of them receiving state support. The Hungarian government remains committed to nurturing Jewish traditions, preserving Jewish culture, and researching and presenting Jewry’s past as well as maintaining and developing its institutions with numerous tools and generous support. And the government will continue to do all of this in the future. To pay tribute to the memory of the Holocaust, a Holocaust Memorial Centre has been operating in Hungary with significant state support. Furthermore, by parliamentary decision, April 16 was declared National Holocaust Memorial Day, when the tragedy of the Jews is commemorated throughout the country, not only by parliament but also by NGOs supported by the government.
In connection with the International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance to be held in Malmö, Hungary will seek to curb the anti-Semitic groups of the BDS movement and prevent them from receiving European Union funds. It will also undertake to fight restrictions and bans on Jewish religious practices and traditions in order to safeguard Jewish freedom. Furthermore, Hungary has adopted and applies the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism and undertakes to further accelerate and deepen its implementation. In the framework of cross-border Hungarian-Serbian cooperation, a Holocaust memorial site will be established in the town of Bor in Serbia, while Hungary will continue its program of renovating synagogues and cemeteries.
Thanks to the above measures, the Jewish community may consider Hungary among the safest places in Europe, a place where they can live freely according to their identity and are not threatened by the growing anti-Semitism caused by the waves of migration affecting Europe. We trust that our commitments will further strengthen Jewish communities in Hungary.
18. Ireland
We pledge to publish a National Action Plan Against Racism, by 21 March 2022, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It will be guided by best practice, as set out in the Practical Guide to Developing National Action Plans Against Racism published by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights and informed by the EU Action Plan Against Racism (2020-25), which itself reflects the UN Guide. The action plan will:
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have regard to the review of evidence, including state responses to UN and European commitments; international practice; the outcome of stakeholder dialogues; and taking account of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action;
include an action programme, that identifies priority issues, as well as measures that strengthen the Government’s approach to combating racism, building on the actions currently included in the Migrant Integration Strategy, and the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy, preventing antisemitism and other forms of racism.
We pledge to combat antisemitism, antigypsyism and other forms of racism, online and offline.
We will continue to ensure that discrimination on the grounds of race is prohibited in the provision of goods and services, education and accommodation, and in employment settings. Victims of discrimination will have recourse to redress mechanisms where the discrimination occurs.
We will conclude the review of our Equality Acts to examine the functioning of the Acts and their effectiveness in combatting antisemitism, antigypsyism and other forms of racism, and promoting equality. A public consultation process is currently live and will conclude at the end of November 2021.
We will continue to support the commemoration of Holocaust remembrance in Ireland.
We pledge to take steps to put in place ethnic equality monitoring across our public services, to inform initiatives to address inequalities experienced by minority ethnic groups.
We will deliver an action programme to implement an interdepartmental initiative on Ethnic Equality Monitoring, in line with recommendations contained in the OECD review (2019), and including measures to improve the collection and analysis of data in line with the National Equality Strategies.
We pledge to renew our commitment to respect, celebrate and recognise the normality of diversity in all parts of human life, promote equality and human rights, challenge unfair discrimination and promote the values upon which
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equality is built through supporting intercultural education in primary and post-primary schools.
We will commence the update of the Intercultural Guidelines for primary and post-primary schools, to support the further integration of intercultural education in the curriculum.
We will prepare a report on Traveller Culture and History with examples of teaching and learning to support learning and teaching about Traveller Culture and History in the curriculum in primary and post-primary schools.
We pledge to introduce new hate crime legislation and update the 1989 Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act.
The new Hate Crime Bill will introduce new offences of incitement to hatred, which are clearer and simpler than those in the 1989 Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act. These offences will cover inciting hatred against a person or persons because they are associated with a protected characteristic, and also disseminating or distributing material inciting hatred. A protected characteristic will be defined to include race; colour; nationality; religion, ethnic or national origin; sexual orientation; gender; or disability. “Ethnicity” includes membership of the Traveller community.
We will create a new offence of publicly condoning, denying or grossly trivialising crimes of genocide, including holocaust denial, based on the definition of genocide from the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
The Hate Crime Bill will create specific, aggravated forms of existing criminal offences, where those offences are motivated by prejudice against a protected characteristic.
19. Israel
The State of Israel is fully committed to promoting Holocaust remembrance and combating antisemitism.
Israel is working alongside governments and non-governmental organizations in creating and expanding partnerships aimed at promoting education programs, monitoring and dealing with the various manifestations of antisemitism.
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In light of the discernible and dangerous increase in antisemitism online, mainly on social-media platforms, Israel pledges to work toward the establishment of an international coalition for combating antisemitism and Holocaust denial and distortion online.
This coalition will work to establish a mechanism that will facilitate the international cooperation in this endeavor.
20. Italy
• In September 2021, the National Coordinator for the fight against Anti-Semitism , with the support of the technical working group composed by Ministries and representatives of Jewish Communities, presented the Report with the National Strategy to combat Antisemitism to the Government and the Parliament: now all Italian Institutions are called to implement its recommendations in a close coordination with the recently adopted EU strategy on combating antisemitism and in line with IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism.
• It is also on that basis that the Ministry of Education is currently finalising the Guidelines for combating Antisemitism which will be used in schools and in teachers’ training.
21. Latvia
In these turbulent times the Forum has served as a reminder of the continued need to strengthen Holocaust research, education and commemoration across Europe.
In Latvia much has been done in the past three decades since regaining independence. Already in 1990, Latvian parliamentarians adopted a declaration on condemning genocide and antisemitism, and the Commemoration Day of Genocide against the Jews – 4 July – was officially established. A Commission of Historians was established in 1998 upon the initiative of the then President of Latvia and its academic research on the Holocaust has resulted in a series of significant publications. Latvia has carried out fundamental research on crimes against humanity committed by totalitarian regi.mes on the territory of Latvia. Memorials to the victims of the Holocaust are marked with monuments and commemorative plaques. The Holocaust has become an integral part of history lessons in all Latvian schools, and in study programmes related to history and culture. Cooperation with Yad Vashem in this field is essential and has been very
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successful. Latvia’s highest officials are directly involved in Holocaust remembrance.
Let me assure you that Latvia will continue to further develop these endeavours, also with my personal participation at the commemoration next month of 80 years since the horrific events on the outskirts of Riga at Rumbula and Bikernieki.
Despite the continuous efforts of the international community, and in particular by IHRA countries, we realize that the tragic lessons of 20th century history have not been adequately understood or acted upon – we continue to witness expressions of Holocaust denial, xenophobia, racism, antisemitism and acts of violence world-wide, as well as attempts to distort the history of the World War II.
We must prevent attempts to rewrite the history in a hybrid warfare aimed at manipulating public opinion.
At the global level, combating disinformation effectively requires even doser understanding and cooperation in international organizations. Earlier this year Latvia was one of the initiators of the UN General Assembly resolution on the promotion of media and information literacy at the global level. We will continue to provide support to partners with our expertise in combating disinformation.
Latvia has consistently condemned all totalitarian ideologies, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during the World War Il, categorically denounces the Holocaust and mourns its victims. As a member state of the IHRA, Latvia reaffirms its full commitment to the goals of the Stockholm Declaration. The major future objectives in this field embrace the efforts to further raise awareness of the general public concerning the history of the Holocaust as well as the continual promotion of an attitude and practice of zero-tolerance for any signs or expressions of antisemitism and racial discrimination. In this context I would like to inform you that in 2022 the newly renovated Museum of the Occupation of Latvia will host an exhibition entitled “Riga as a Place of Crime and Remembrance – The Deportation and the Holocaust in Latvia”.
22. Lithuania
The Lithuanian government is engaged in a number of initiatives on Holocaust remembrance and education, which are to be implemented within
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a 5-year perspective. The most significant of them include opening new museum spaces and updating existing school curricula incorporating modern teaching recommendations on the Holocaust. This is an important contribution to raising awareness and educating society not only about the Holocaust but also the ages rich history of Jews in Lithuania. It was extensively presented during the year 2020, which was officially dedicated to the Vilna Gaon and saw a significant increase of interest in Jewish life, history and heritage in Lithuania.
Development of museums and memorials
1. Currently two museums devoted to Lithuanian Jewry are undergoing renovation to be completed in 2023-2024. Both will become branches of the Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History which is a state museum under the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture.
• The Memorial Museum of Holocaust in Lithuania and the Vilna Ghetto will be located in the building which housed Meficei Haskala (Education Disseminators) society library before World War II. The library was nationalized during the first Soviet occupation in 1940. After the establishment of the ghetto in 1941, the library found itself enclosed in the ghetto area and functioned there until the liquidation of the ghetto in 1943. The library witnessed cultural activities as well as the activities of the underground armed resistance organization in the Vilna Ghetto. Survivors of the Holocaust (among them writers Shmerke Kaczerginski and Avrom Sutzkever) founded the Jewish Museum there in 1944. It was closed by the Soviet government in 1949. The new Memorial Museum of Holocaust in Lithuania and the Vilna Ghetto will replace the current Holocaust exposition. The museum is expected to be opened at the end of 2024. It is funded by the state budget.
• The Museum of Culture and Identity of Lithuanian Jews is to be opened in 2023 in the building of the former Tarbut Gymnasium in Vilnius. It will be a modern interactive exposition with authentic exhibits on Lithuanian Jewish history and culture. The project is funded by the European Union.
2. Paneriai (Ponar) killing site
An action plan for the re-arrangement and accessibility of the Paneriai (Ponar) Memorial for 2019–2024 was approved by the Government in 2018.
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The plan stipulated that the project should be fully implemented in mid-2024. However, its implementation will be extended due to several reasons, first and foremost, due to the process of choosing a location for the new visitor center.
3. Other killing sites
The central and local governments in cooperation with the Lithuanian Jewish Community continue to re-arrange, maintain and mark the sites of mass killings of Jews by 1) putting up memorial plaques and erecting monuments; 2) putting up directional signs on roads leading to the sites of killings and burial; 3) installing information stands telling the history of the Holocaust. While most of the Holocaust killing sites in Lithuania are marked, the priority for the near future is the identification of the names of the Holocaust victims and their commemoration in Lithuanian towns and villages, which has already started. Currently, information stands with the names of the victims are installed at the killing sites of Jews in five towns.
Education
1. Secondary education
Currently, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports is reviewing all actual educational curricula for the grades from 1 to 10 adopted in 2008. The review process aimed at the modernization of the educational system should be completed in 2022. In the new curriculum of history, IHRA Recommendations for Teaching and Learning about the Holocaust will play an important role. The Holocaust will be taught in the context of World War II. The contents will be more detailed and developed by introducing a better explanation of specific terms such as ghettos, pogroms, collaboration, antisemitism and so on. It will include the individualization of the Holocaust narrative through personal stories as well as study visits by students to the Holocaust memorial sites. The genocide of the Roma will also become an integral part of the curriculum for the first time. One of the important objectives is to stimulate critical thinking of students and to ensure a more precise understanding of the consequences of antisemitism.
2. Non-formal education
The Secretariat of the International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania plays an
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important role in non-formal Holocaust education. It was on the initiative of the Secretariat that starting from 2003 Tolerance Education Centers were established in 151 schools, local museums and educational centers. Teachers who work at these centers support the International Commission’s initiatives and are active participants in its educational programme about the Holocaust. The Commission together with Tolerance Education Centers, local Jewish communities and other partners have been inviting people to unite on the Memory Road across Lithuania for over a decade now. The participants (most of them schoolchildren and teachers) retrace the paths that the Holocaust victims were forced to walk from central parts of towns and settlements to the sites of their massacre. There are about 260 such killing sites in Lithuania. The Memory Road visits from 100 to 150 sites every year. 200 to 300 schools have joined the campaign, and the total number of participants exceeds 10 000. The Prime Minister, Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Education as well as MPs walked down the Memory Road in 2021, which marks the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Holocaust in Lithuania and is held in cities and towns across the country from June to December.
Private initiatives A unique private museum of the history of Jewish towns (shtetlakh) has been launched in the town of Šeduva in 2015. The project is funded by private sponsors from Lithuania and the RSA in cooperation with the local municipality. It will tell the story of Jews in Šeduva before the Holocaust, about the traditions, businesses and culture life of all Lithuanian shtetlakh. It will be a state-of-the-art museum designed by US and Finnish architects. The museum is expected to open in 2023. The Lost Shtetl Museum is a segment of a broader project, the Lithuanian Jewish Culture and Heritage Project implemented since 2012. The other segments of the project: restoration of the Old Jewish Cemetery in Šeduva; three monuments on the sites of mass killings; monument in the center of Šeduva; historical monograph about the Šeduva Jews; documentary film “Petrified Time”.
Artistic means of expression to fight against modern forms of antisemitism
To commemorate the Holocaust, one of the most promising composers of the younger generation in Lithuania, Jievaras Jasinskis, and shofarist Tadas Daujotas presented a bespoke music project “Symphony from Jerusalem of the North” this September. This contemporary symphony is unique and one
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of its kind. It showcases classical music intertwined with Lithuanian and Hebrew folklore motifs. The music project honors the memory of Jews living in Lithuania, expresses solidarity to the Jewish community, and uses artistic means of expression to fight against modern forms of antisemitism. The symphony has started its journey across Lithuania, witnessing the most important moments of Israel’s and Lithuania’s history.
23. Luxemburg
With the number of Holocaust survivors diminishing from year to year, thus reducing the precious witness accounts of these horrors, and with antisemitism on the rise again, Governments face the important challenge to perpetuate the remembrance of the Holocaust, to educate younger generations and to vigorously combat antisemitism.
The Luxembourg Government is committed to upholding its responsibilities and continuing to play an active role in addressing these issues in close consultation with the local Jewish Community.
Luxembourg will continue to fully implement the 27th January 2021 Agreement on Outstanding Holocaust Asset Issues in close collaboration with the local Jewish Community and concerned non-state actors. Signed between the Luxembourg Government and the local Jewish Community, this historic agreement, that was commended both nationally and internationally, contains a series of measures which includes but is not limited to a final lump-sum payment to Holocaust survivors, increased financial support for the Foundation for the Memory of the Holocaust, as well as additional funds for Holocaust remembrance and academic research to be realized in the coming years.
In addition to previous and ongoing efforts to remember the Holocaust and its victims, and keeping in mind the vanishing nature of monuments, Luxembourg is further set on establishing a living place of remembrance and education to guarantee that future generations learn about the Holocaust and its causes.
As part of the above-mentioned agreement, Luxembourg acquired and is currently developing the site of the “Abbaye de Cinqfontaines“ which holds a unique place in our national history for being the only place of internment for Jews operated by the Nazis in Luxembourg during World War II and from where 658 Jewish men, women, and children, were deported to concentration and extermination camps.
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The aim is to create a continuity from a place of remembrance to a place of education in tolerance and respect for Human Rights that shall prevent the roots of evil to corrode society again.
The memorial site will thus be enhanced to not only honour the fate of those whose lives took a dramatic turn in this particular place, but also to educate all generations on the history of Holocaust and provide them with tools in identifying and fighting antisemitism and racism.
In line with the EU Strategy on Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish life, presented on the 5th October 2021, Luxembourg will finalize its National Strategy on Combatting Antisemitism in the next months.
24. Moldova
The efforts undertaken by my country in building a cohesive and inclusive society based on the respect for human rights, includes both implementation of concrete actions or projects in combating antisemitism and work on complex and long-term issues such as developing an appropriate legal framework in compliance with the international standards and practices.
In this regard, here are the pledges that Moldova assumed in its efforts on combating anti-Semitism, Holocaust remembrance, education and research:
1. Acknowledging the importance of preserving the memory of Holocaust and at the same time giving due recognition to the contribution of the Jewish people on the development of our societies through history, we continue our work on establishing the fully fledged Jewish History Museum of the Republic of Moldova.
2. Continue developing the framework for education to prevent intolerance and anti-Semitism in general education system and of the teaching resources (digitization) to expand the scope of the optional subject “Holocaust: history and life lessons”. Education proved to be one of the most efficient instruments in promoting the Holocaust remembrance, and we continue our work on developing programs, methodological regulation and adapting teaching aids on anti-Semitism education.
3. Deepening and consolidating the knowledge about the phenomenon of the Holocaust and introducing this knowledge in education and public policies.
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4. Adjusting the national legislation to the international standards on combating anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia and intolerance.
5. Facilitating expert research for the purpose of identifying and mapping sites and localities from where Roma were deported to concentration camps for mass execution during World War II with purpose of increasing the visibility and investigation of the Roma community as victims of the Holocaust.
Considering the growing demand for engagement in the field of human rights, the Government of Republic of Moldova will continue its efforts for implementing the international commitments on combating antisemitism, racial discrimination and intolerance. We are determined to stand undeniably against all forms of hatred and discrimination on any ground.
25. Monaco Monaco is a cosmopolitan country that guarantees all human rights, among which freedom of worship. The Monegasque population is extremely diverse and the city-state offers a safe environment for people of all religious backgrounds to practice their faith. There are extremely few cases of hate speech or acts of racist or anti-Semitic nature.
Monaco pledges to include the transmission of the memory of the Holocaust in its cultural and educational programs Education is an essential tool to address anti-Semitism. Monaco will emphasize the inclusion of the History of the Shoah in the school curricula and raise awareness among schoolchildren about genocides and mass crimes. Monaco will develop educational programs that address antisemitism in a framework of human rights and global citizenship. The Principality will encourage students to participate in the commemorations of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27th). In addition, school trips will be organized regularly to former concentration camps.
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Monaco will also make sure that more Holocaust remembrance is included in its cultural and theater programming in order to raise awareness among a wider audience.
Monaco pledges to perpetuate the memory of the deportees Following on the creation, in 2015, of a monument in homage to the Jewish deportees, Monaco wishes to perpetuate the memory of people of Jewish faith arrested in Monaco and deported. Soon, a conference room of the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco will be named after the former Consul of Poland in Monaco, Mr. Mieczyslaw OXNER. He was an eminent expert in marine biology who refused to cooperate with the Germans. Mr. OXNER was arrested on September 1st, 1944 and sent to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, where he died soon after.
Monaco pledges to perpetuate the financial support provided for the activities of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation On several occasions, Monaco has allocated a funding to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation. As of 2022, the Principality will dedicate an annual contribution to support the work of this Foundation.
The Government of Monaco commits to transparency by opening its archives for research purposes In March 2020, the Government of Monaco allowed access to the archives covering the period 1942–1944 to several experts of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The Principality shall continue to foster transparency by allowing access to historical documentation for research purposes.
Monaco pledges to promote the restitution of Jewish property looted during the Second World War and the compensation of victims or their heirs The Government of Monaco is determined to continue the task of resolving claims and compensating victims, or their heirs, who lost possession of
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property in Monaco during the Second World War. The Commission for Assistance to Victims of Despoliation has been active since 2006.
26. North Macedonia
On behalf of the Republic of North Macedonia, I would like to present 3 pledges that are going to be implemented by the country in the upcoming period:
As part of the reform of the curricula for primary education, the Republic of North Macedonia, in the next two years, will include teaching content that will address Antisemitism and Holocaust denial for students in the final grades. The Ministry of Education and Science is already working on the procedure for supplementing the teaching contents. It is our great responsibility and duty to preserve the memories of the Holocaust and to pass them on to the next generation.
Within the calendar for mandatory visits of primary and secondary school students, we will include a mandatory educational visit to the Holocaust Memorial Center for the Jews from Macedonia in Skopje. The Center is dedicated to 7148 Jews from Macedonia during the Holocaust and is located in a former Jewish quarter. The museum building displays the life of the Jews, their identity, spirituality and culture, which the Museum conveys to visitors and thus maintains the spirit of the place, its uniqueness and recognition, and at the same time, is a symbolic place that points to the horror of the Holocaust. Visiting this Memorial Center by students, will contribute to building a healthy society in which cultural, racial and other diversity will be the basis for unity, not division.
The third commitment refers to the adoption of the IHRA working definition on antigypsyism/anti-Roma discrimination, by the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia. Modern societies must not allow denial of the genocide against Roma and Sinti during the Second World War. Their suffering, losses and traumas should be a warning to us to pledge that this terrible period of history will never happen again elsewhere in the world. We as societies, should have institutional policies and practices for Roma inclusion and prevent any further marginalization, exclusion, physical violence, devaluation of Roma cultures and lifestyles, and hate speech directed at Roma, as well as other individuals and groups. It is the responsibility of today’s generations to create open societies in which every
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individual, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, religion or skin color, has the right to a dignified life.
27. Norway
1) Norway will develop relevant education and aim at reaching out to new groups.
Key in our efforts is the Dembra program for schools: a program for the prevention of racism, group-based hostility and antidemocratic attitudes, lead by the Norwegian Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies.
Dembra offers schools guidance, courses and online resources to prevent various forms of group hostility and undemocratic attitudes. Competence development is about building democratic competence. Inclusion, participation, critical thinking, and diversity competence are central to the offer. Thus, Dembra is also relevant for, and has overlapping themes with, competence development in a safe and good school environment. The basic principles of Dembra are based on the idea that students develop their identity, their attitudes, and their behavior in interaction with others. Democratic preparedness is built through knowledge and reflection, but not least through social experiences, experiences of equal interaction and dissent. Therefore, the development of a democratic and inclusive school culture is essential.
With full implementation from 2021, between 30 and 40 schools will participate annually. This involves courses and follow-up of between 800 and 1500 teachers per year.
2) Countering contemporary antisemitism and other forms of racism online and offline.
In the spring of 2021, The Norwegian Centre against Racism carried out a pilot which monitored antisemitism online – limited to Facebook and Twitter. Later in 2021 and in 2022 the Centre aims at extending the project to additional platforms, which will give a unique picture of the extent of antisemitic statements on social media and how these are followed-up by big tech. Some years ago, the Norwegian Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies presented a media analysis on antisemitism.
Together, these reports will help us understand the extent of antisemitism on- and offline
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and be a basis for developing policies within the framework of freedom of speech.
3) Promoting remembrance and fighting distortion.
In 2022, Norway will, through the Norwegian Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies, launch a new population survey on attitudes towards Jews and other minorities in Norway. The survey has been carried out every few years since 2013 and is initiated by the Norwegian government.
The Day of the Commemoration of the Victims of the Holocaust is marked in several Norwegian cities, including Oslo. Knowledge can help to break down prejudices. There are several Norwegian institutions that provide knowledge about Judaism and Jewish cultural life and history in Norway. The Jewish museums in Oslo and Trondheim, the Falstad Centre and the Norwegian Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies convey such knowledge to a wider audience. The Norwegian Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies has in 2021 extended its exhibition area substantially, which gives a potential for even more activities in the years to come. The Jewish communities in Trondheim and Oslo play an important role in disseminating knowledge. With the support of the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation the Jewish Pathfinders Program was established some years back and will be continued in the years to come. The Pathfinders Program involves visits by two young Jews to upper secondary schools
The Norwegian Government has decided to continue a grant scheme for school trips to former concentration camps and World War II for the coming years.
Details on the Norwegian commitments to following up the Malmö Forum are to be found in the Norwegian Government’s Action Plan against antisemitism 2021–2023.
28. Poland
Poland consistently continues and intensifies actions aimed at:
• commemorating, strengthening academic research and promoting education about the Holocaust;
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• continuing support of Jewish life in contemporary Poland, supporting the revival of Jewish culture and preserving the Jewish Heritage in Poland;
• combating antisemitism and other forms of discrimination and racism;
• strengthening the academic research on the extermination of Roma and Sinti as a vital part to preserve the memory of the Second World War and the German occupation of Poland.
The Republic of Poland has a vital role on fighting and combating antisemitism due to the fact that within the present borders of our country there is the key material evidence on Genocide against European Jews, on the grounds of former German concentration and death camps and other mass killing sites. The most important actors in that regard are state and local museums: Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial, the State Museum at Majdanek together with Museum and Memorial in Sobibór and Museum and Memorial Site in Bełżec, Museum of the Former German Kulmhof Death Camp in Chełmno on Ner, the Stutthof Museum in Sztutowo and others, all financed mainly from the Polish state budget and local authorities supported in this respect by the government. From year to year we are observing the significant rise in the number of projects, more and more sites of key historical significance to the Holocaust, and repression of Poles, Sinti and Roma, Soviet war prisoners and victims of other nationalities and groups are being protected and preserved. In the upcoming years, we pledge in particular to implement the following projects:
Actions aimed at expanding a new cultural institution “Treblinka Museum. The Nazi German Extermination and Forced Labour Camp 1941-1944” with a total value of EUR 5,500,000. The project completion date: 2025;
Establishment of a cultural institution “Kraków Museum and Memorial Site. The Nazi German Extermination and Forced Labour Camp 1942-1945 “. Total value of the project: EUR 11,000,000. The project completion date: 2025;
Actions aimed at building new facilities: Visitors Service Center and a new permanent exhibition at the Auschwitz Memorial, with a scheduled completion date in 2028;
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The construction of the Warsaw Ghetto Museum in Warsaw, which is scheduled in 2025.
The Republic of Poland, in accordance with the spirit of Stockholm Declaration of 2000 and the joint ministerial statement of IHRA Member States, issued on January 19, 2020 in Brussels, will continue its actions aimed at honoring all those who resisted the Third Reich, especially the Righteous among the Nations, and others who protected or sought to rescue those who were in danger. It is our duty to keep alive the memory of crimes committed during World War II by German Nazis and its collaborators. The legacy of Holocaust and suffering of Victims as well as heroism of those who sought to rescue must not expire over time. It is our duty to pass remembrance about this tragedy to future generations, this is how we can avoid in the future what has already happened in the past.
29. Portugal
1. Developing education for the future to prevent anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance, discrimination and racism – to launch and implement a training program for civil servants and other public officials on Human Rights and the Holocaust, with the goal of preventing and combating anti-Semitism and all other forms of intolerance, discrimination and racism;
2. Developing education for the future to prevent anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance, discrimination and racism – translate into Portuguese and disseminate widely the IHRA “Recommendations for Recognizing and Countering Holocaust Distortion”, which will be used for education and capacity building initiatives in Portugal and to mobilize support by other Portuguese speaking countries and actors;
3. Preserve testimonies, promote remembrance, fight distortion and strengthen research on the Holocaust – create the annual municipal prize “Aristides de Sousa Mendes” to award those local authorities which best promoted universal values, humanism and justice and preserved the remembrance and lessons of the Holocaust.
30. Romania
We reunited, in Malmö, 21 years after the adoption of the Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust, which is the founding
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document of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance – IHRA and one year since the adoption of the 2020 IHRA Ministerial Declaration.
This was the perfect occasion to take stock of our successes and failures, to draw lessons learned over the past two decades and to reiterate our commitment to upholding Holocaust education, research and remembrance, as well as to preventing and combating antisemitism, by presenting new national pledges.
Against this background, we pledge to:
Continue to encourage the use of IHRA’s non-legally binding working definition of Antisemitism, both in Romania and on the international arena;
Review, update and strengthen Holocaust education for Romanian pupils;
Review, update and strengthen the training programs for professors, teachers and instructors teaching about the Holocaust;
Increase the number of Romanian pupils participating at the Marches of the Living;
Inaugurate the recently established National Museum of Jewish History and of the Holocaust in Romania;
Work diligently with the Romanian universities in order to expand the number of bachelor, Master and PhD degree programs dedicated to the study and research of the Holocaust, as well as to combatting antisemitism, xenophobia, radicalization and hate speech;
Promote the adoption of Codes of Conduct on Preventing and Combatting Antisemitism by Romanian universities, academic and cultural institutions;
Develop dedicated training programs for managers of cultural institutions, such as museums and theaters, in order to prevent antisemitism and Holocaust denial and distortion and to encourage the fight against racism throughout the cultural expressions;
Support the Federation of the Jewish Communities of Romania, in developing programs for the preservation of Jewish heritage;
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Improve data collection regarding anti-Semitic incidents that do not reach the threshold envisaged in the current administrative regulations and criminal code;
Establish a national annual award for Romanian and international personalities that will contribute to Holocaust education, research and remembrance, as well as to preventing and combatting antisemitism;
Continue to engage with our international likeminded partners in order to promote Holocaust education, research and remembrance at the international level, and to develop international instruments for fighting against antisemitism.
The pandemic that continues to affect our lives has facilitated the proliferation, especially online, of conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic speech. This is unacceptable, and today we reiterate our strong resolve to decisively act against these phenomena, both online and offline.
31. Rwanda
The Constitution of Rwanda of 2003 revised in 2015 indicates the Commitment of the Government of Rwanda to preventing and punishing the crime of genocide, fighting genocide negationism and revisionism, eradicating genocide ideology and all its manifestations, divisionism and discrimination based on ethnicity, region or any other ground. In the same line, the Government of Rwanda will strengthen existing efforts to fight against the impunity of the perpetrators of all Genocide recognized by the international community.
The Government of Rwanda will collaborate with other stakeholders to join the effort to eradicate Holocaust denial and denial of genocide recognized by the international community as indicated in the NST1 on the priority area 4 related to Strengthening justice, law and order under Transformation Governance Pillar2.
To overcome the challenge related to the persistence of genocide ideology despite legal enforcement towards preventing and punishing the crime of genocide ideology.3 The Government of Rwanda will continue to ensure the implementation of law no 59/2018 of 22/08/2019 on the crime of genocide
2 7 years Government Programme: National Strategy for Transformation (NST1) 2017-2024, Page 37
3 Justice, Reconciliation, Law & Order Sector Strategic Plan 2018/19-2023/24, Page 12p
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ideology and related on the ideology of genocide that punishes the denial of any internationally recognized genocide on the Rwandan territory.
Kigali Genocide Memorial is an important place of remembrance and learning about the Genocide against the Tutsi. It proposed educational programme on other genocides and atrocities through exhibitions. Kigali Genocide Memorial will continue to display a Holocaust exhibit for the visitors.
Rwandan schools will continue to teach the Holocaust to help students understanding the historical events of the Holocaust.
The Government of Rwanda will continue its efforts of transmitting memory through the exchange of experience and archives with the Paris Shoah Memorial aiming to promote research on the Holocaust and the Genocide against the Tutsi.
As started with the Government of Sweden4, the Government of Rwanda will continue to advocate for the adoption of a law by all States to punish on their territory the denial of any genocide recognized by the international community.
32. Serbia
We, the Republic of Serbia, pledge to preserve the Memory of the Holocaust
Holocaust Memorial at the city of Bor, one of the largest forced labor camps in Europe during the Second World War, will be established during 2022. The Memorial center is envisaged as an interactive venue where educational and research project would be carried out, engaging wider society, especially children and young adults. The Memorial center would, at the same time, encourage cultural and educational exchange with relevant international partners, institutions and experts in the field of the Holocaust. Within the Center, the Park of friendship between Serbia and Hungary will be established in the memory of many prominent Hungarian Jews who died working in the inhumane conditions of the labor camp. We commit to invest a sum exceeding 500.000 EUR into this project, together with Hungary.
4 Letter to Swedish Parliament requesting to initiate a law on genocide denial and a letter to the Swedish Minister of Justice on genocide denial law.
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We pledge to further honor the victims of the Holocaust
The reconstruction of the Jewish cemetery in the city of Bor will be carried out in 2022 and all the locations of suffering will be mapped and marked. Furthermore, all locations along the “March of death” to which most of the labor camps workers were forced to, on their way to concentration camps in Germany, will be marked as well. Throughout 2022, reconstruction works will be conducted at the central remembrance site in Serbia -Staro Sajmiste, Belgrade. This location will be allotted partially to the Museum of the Genocide victims and for the permanent Memorial center “Staro sajmiste”.
We pledge to further promote education on the Holocaust
Education for children and young adults, as well as teachers and others in the formal and informal educational system, to prevent antisemitism and other forms of racism, will be carried out through an extensive and interactive program in schools and other institutions. Furthermore, literature festival dedicated to the memory of the Holocaust will be inaugurated in 2022, initially on the national level and, in later stages, international level.
We pledge to continue supporting the Jewish community in the Republic of Serbia
Being the first country in Europe to adopt the Holocaust Property Restitution Bill in 2016, we pledge to continue the restitution of all property belonging to the victims of the Holocaust without legal heirs, by compensating Jewish community with 950.000 EUR each year, until 2041.
33. Slovakia
Slovakia pledges to preserve and pass on the remembrance of the Holocaust
Holocaust Museum of the Slovak National Museum – Museum of Jewish Culture was opened in the town of Sereď in 2016. The Museum is located on the grounds of a former labour and concentration camp from the Second World War. The aim is to complete the construction of the entire area of the Holocaust Museum and to create a memorial for Holocaust victims on the grounds of the former appelplatz, which will be a dignified commemorative place appropriate to remember the Holocaust tragedy and to pay tribute to its victims.
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Slovakia pledges to promote education on Holocaust, education to prevent antisemitism and other forms of racism and to strengthen Holocaust research
The use of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism will be supported as a part of further education of judges, prosecutors, attorneys, police officers and other legal professions. The use of IHRA working definition of antigypsyism/anti-Roma racism will be supported.
The use of the existing educational materials on the history of the Roma and about the Roma genocide during World War II will be intensified with the aim to extend the knowledge of pupils and students. Once the IHRA recommendations for teaching and learning about the Roma genocide, currently under preparation, are adopted, they will be actively used in the preparation of educational processes.
The IHRA document Recognizing and Countering Holocaust Distortion Recommendations will be translated into Slovak and awareness of it will be raised among educational institutions, Slovak universities, institutes of the Slovak Academy of Sciences and institutions raising future teachers and policy-makers and among drafters of teaching materials. The document will be disclosed on dissemination portals focused on lifelong learning.
A creation of the Slovak national node of the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI) and a prospective membership of the Slovak Republic in the permanent organisation of EHRI will be carefully considered.
Events for teachers and drafters of educational materials related to promotion and use of the IHRA Recommendations for teaching and learning about the Holocaust will be organised. Targeted measures to raise awareness of the young generation about the Holocaust and the risk of its distortion will be implemented.
34. Slovenia
To preserve and pass on the memory of the Holocaust
Slovenia will continue with the annual project every January to commemorate the International Holocaust Day by many events throughout the country that are coordinated by the Sinagogue Maribor under the umbrella name “Shoah – We remember”. Until the COVID-19 pandemic these events in state premises, museums, schools, galleries, cultural
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institutions were physical, but since 2021 (more than 70 events) also in virtual form, which multiplied the public attendance. In the future these events will probably be in a hybrid form, targeting the young generation, survivors and their families and friends as well as public at large.
The yearly traditional Festival of Tolerance, a one week event, which builds awareness with international movies, theatre performances, exhibitions, lectures, new book presentations on the topics of Holocaust and different kinds of intolerance, as well as educational mornings for the young and lively debates of intellectuals, will continue in the years to come.
The ”Stoplersteine” project of remembering the victims of national-socialism and fascism, who have lived in Slovenia, before they were forcefully transported to concentration and extermination camps, will continue.
To promote education on Holocaust
The education of teachers to promote Holocaust education within the school curricula will continue in cooperation with Yad Vashem (currently it is underway virtually) and within other international projects like Memorial de la Shoah (group seminars organised for Slovenian, Italian and Croatian teachers).
A Yad Vashem Exhibition on the Holocaust, which has been recently translated into the Slovenian language, will be made available in the next period to schools and possibly also for public at large. Teachers have just received training about the methodology how to promote this exhibition.
Slovenia has translated among the first all the working definitions of IHRA (Antisemitism, Holocaust Denial and Distortion, Antigypsism) as well as “Educational Guidelines on Teaching ad Learning about the Holocaust” which are available on the internet. Slovenia expects the ”EU Handbook for the practical use of the IHRA definition of antisemitism” to be translated into the Slovene language in due time. Currently the translation of “Recommendations for Policy and Decision Makers on Recognizing and Countering Holocaust Distortion” is underway into the Slovene language.
To continue Holocaust research
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Yearly academic symposiums at the Sinagogue Maribor “Each Year One Name” will be continued as well as occasional publications about the history of “Jews in Slovenia: History and Holocaust” and about “Porajmos-The Roma Genocide”.
35. Spain
Spain is in many respects a leading country regarding Holocaust remembrance and combating anti-Semitism. Our efforts over the last few years have been effective in both areas.
Nevertheless, we support the Swedish presidency of the IHRA in the idea that new grounds can always be found in order to enhance and improve social sensitivity and public commitment to preventing anti-Semitism and to fostering remembrance of the Shoa.
Therefore, the Spanish government wishes to present three pledges which can be developed in the next few years:
1. Disseminate and explain the working definition of anti-Semitism, as defined by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance
After Spain endorsed the definition on July 22nd 2020, we commit to continue our work so that the definition is known and its usefulness is properly understood by all public institutions, as well as by different entities of civil society in the political, social, cultural, educational, and sports fields. We will thus reaffirm Spain’s commitment to fighting anti-Semitism.
2. Work with Spanish municipalities in order to encourage tolerance and the understanding of cultural and religious diversity, by implementing public policies focused on dealing with pluralism
“Municipalities for tolerance” is a project sponsored by the public foundation “Pluralismo y Convicencia” and the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces. It intends to promote respect and awareness of the diversity present in Spanish society, as well as to prevent any form of hatred. The project includes specific actions aiming to raise awareness of our historical Jewish heritage and its presence in our cities today.
3. Enlarge the network of teachers who receive training in anti-Semitism and Remembrance of the Holocaust
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“Centro Sefarad-Israel”, a public diplomacy institution linked to the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation will strengthen and enlarge its training programmes for teachers, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and with the Autonomous Communities.
These pledges will be implemented by public Spanish institutions, such as the Spanish delegation to IHRA, different Ministries, the Centro Sefarad-Israel and the Foundation “Pluralismo y Convivencia”. Support will be also requested from regional and local authorities, as well as from agents of the civil society, universities in particular, with which cooperation has already begun.
36. Sweden
Sweden will assume the Presidency of the IHRA from March 2022 to the end of February 2023. This was Sweden’s first pledge in connection with the Malmö Forum. Pledges presented at the Malmö Forum will be followed up during the Swedish Presidency. The ambition of the Swedish Government is to implement the measures below and allocate a total amount of approximately EUR 9.3 million/year.
We pledge to preserve and pass on the memory of the Holocaust
• A museum to preserve and pass on the memory of the Holocaust will be established in Sweden in 2022. The activities of the museum will be built up and formed over the years to come. One starting point is that stories of Holocaust survivors with a connection to Sweden will be at the core of the museum’s activities. A Swedish-language version of the Dimensions in Testimony installation (developed by the Shoah Foundation) that allows visitors to interact with Holocaust survivors via pre-recorded answers to questions – using artificial intelligence technology – will be spread by the museum to schools and other museums all over the country.
• The Swedish Government will make a contribution of 5,5 million kronor to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, so that this place is preserved and new generations can build a future from learning, reflecting and remembering the terrible past.
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We pledge to promote education to prevent antisemitism and other forms of racism and to strengthen Holocaust research
• Education for active citizenship to prevent antisemitism and other forms of racism will be promoted through a nationwide undertaking conducted by the Swedish National Agency for Education in cooperation with the Living History Forum. It will focus on a wide range of target groups encompassing formal and non-formal education.
• Activities, based on the recommendations of the Swedish Research Council’s survey of Swedish research on the Holocaust and antisemitism, including groups such as the Roma and antigypsyism, will be initiated during 2022, with funding allocated by the Swedish Research Council.
We pledge to combat antisemitism, antigypsyism and other forms of racism – online and offline
• An action programme with measures against antisemitism will be presented in 2022. Action programmes targeting antigypsyism, islamophobia, Afrophobia and racism against the Sami will also be presented. The IHRA working definitions of antisemitism and antigypsyism/Roma discrimination will be considered in these respective programmes. The programmes will e.g. include measures in the field of education, continued and enhanced efforts by the police to counter racism and hate crime, as well as an assignment to the Swedish Defence Research Agency to continuously monitor antisemitism and other forms of racism, hate speech and violent extremism in digital environments.
• Organised racism and support for organised racism will be criminalised. The Government will also consult the Parliament and appoint a parliamentary committee of inquiry to unbiasedly consider whether Holocaust denial should be more clearly criminalised.
We pledge to promote Jewish life, strengthen Roma inclusion and enhance security for civil society
• A government inquiry on a strategy to promote Jewish life in Sweden will be appointed. The National strategy for Roma inclusion will continue and permanent resources will be allocated from 2022. Language centres for Yiddish and Romani will be established.
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• Funding for security-enhancing measures for civil society, including the Jewish community, will increase significantly from 2022.
37. Switzerland
Switzerland has always made a strong connection between dealing with the past and prevention of atrocities. While we are very active in dealing with the past and memorialisation, we also have the responsibility to create conditions to prevent violence, end the commission of atrocities and promote conditions for a peaceful world.
In this context, Switzerland is pleased to announce the following pledges – from now on and beyond 2022:
Switzerland will work on the development of a memorial for the victims of National Socialism.
Switzerland will continue the development of educational material about the Holocaust, with a special focus on victims who have not been considered much until now – like the Roma/Sinti.
Switzerland will be actively involved in the organization of the annual Holocaust commemorations on 27 January and 2 August.
Switzerland will continue its active engagement within the IHRA.
Switzerland will continue to take on an active role in making prevention a reality through the global initiative for atrocity prevention GAAMAC, where during its fourth international meeting in November, IHRA will offer a workshop on strengthening national efforts to address hate speech, discrimination and prevent incitement. A highly relevant topic to this day!
38. The Czech Republic
• The Czech Republic is committed to preventing and combating antisemitism both offline and online. The Czech Republic will prepare the Czech National Strategy for Combating Antisemitism. The intention is to create a working platform among the respective state institutions and the Federation of Jewish Communities for long-term cooperation on combating antisemitism. The Strategy aims mainly at shortening the time between the appearance of antisemitic texts online, their removal and the official punishment.
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• The Czech Republic will establish a state subsidized institution called Memorial of Silence. The institution will commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and will serve as a Holocaust education center for people of all ages. As a state institution, it will also have the ambition to join all other Holocaust memory institutions in the Czech Republic. The institution will also focus on the comparison of the past experiences with current signs of xenophobia and antisemitism.
• The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic will organize an International Ministerial Conference as a part of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2022. The conference will be organized as a follow up to the Terezín Declaration endorsed by 47 countries. The main goal of the conference will be to support educational and remembrance programs for young people, to review progress in rectifying injustices from the time of the Holocaust, and encourage the creation of strategies and funds for combating antisemitism, xenophobia and hate.
39. The Netherlands
Thanks to the unwavering efforts of the chairman of the Dutch Auschwitz Committee, Mr. Jacques Grishaver, the Holocaust Memorial of Names was unveiled last month. In the very heart of Amsterdam, a brick labyrinth slowly took form, bearing the names and ages of all 102,163 Dutch Jews, Roma and Sinti murdered by the Nazis during World War II. Each brick is inscribed by a single name.
According to Mr. Grishaver commemoration is more than honouring the dead. It also leads us to account for the actions of the past, and sustains us in the fight against the poison of antisemitism.
The Dutch government has developed four initiatives to support this fight. This year, we appointed a National Coordinator for Countering Antisemitism (NCAB) whose role is to offer advice, both solicited and unsolicited, on tackling intimidation, discrimination and threats against the Jewish community.
Secondly, the Netherlands is pleased to announce that we wish to host the headquarters of the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI) in the Netherlands and contribute financially to the establishment of the EHRI.
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The task of the EHRI is to safeguard continuing international research into commemoration of and education about the holocaust.
Thirdly, in line with the European framework decision on racism, the Netherlands aims to cover specific forms of hate speech – such as public denial of genocide – explicitly in an existing criminal provision. Denying the evil that was committed is nothing short of a new assault.
The fourth and final initiative involves additional efforts aimed at raising awareness of the Holocaust and broadening understanding of the Jewish culture, among schoolchildren.
Some of the bricks that make up the new Memorial of Names are now marked by small stones. According to this Jewish custom, the descendants of the deceased show that their thoughts are still with their lost loved ones.
Let all of us try in our lives to symbolically leave behind our own stone of remembrance every day. By honouring the dead, by remembering the horrors, and by pledging our relentless commitment to the fight against today’s antisemitism.
40. Turkey
On Holocaust Remembrance;
We are determined to continue our efforts for commemorating and reminding the public of the victims of the Holocaust, in observance of the “never again” motto.
The visibility is closely related to awareness. Therefore, we are resolved to continue organizing high-profile ceremonies and public events held in memory of the victims on 27 January and 24 February every year -the occasions of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the Struma Incident- engaging a wider audience in the Turkish public.
The “Weremember” website, launched by the Directorate of Communications of the Presidency on 27 January 2021, is a testimony to our determination in this regard.
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On Holocaust Education;
We are engaged to better educating the younger generations about the Holocaust, the most vicious crime against humanity which gave its meaning to the term genocide, not only through the present curriculum but also scholarly research and the power of social media platforms.
The “IHRA Recommendations for Teaching and Learning About the Holocaust,” published on the afore-mentioned website “Weremember,” is a noteworthy step towards this direction.
We will also encourage extensive scholarly work on the Holocaust through the Institute on Genocide Studies to be established in Istanbul University.
On Antisemitism on social media platforms;
We will continue raising awareness against Antisemitism in social media.
One of our priorities will be to facilitate public access to the Turkish translation of the “UNESCO/OSCE Guidelines on Addressing Antisemitism Through Education” on suitable channels.
On combating Antisemitism and other forms of racism in all spheres of life;
We are committed to promoting academic work on the intersecting lines between Antisemitism and other forms of racism and discrimination, including the Islamophobia.
We will also continue to support civil society initiatives to combat Antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism and discrimination.
Next year, we will mark the 530th Anniversary of the welcoming by the Ottoman Empire of the Jewish people fleeing from the Inquisition and persecution. We aim to promote and organize activities both at home and abroad to remember this event and draw lessons from the history of Antisemitism.
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41. Ukraine
1. Preserving the memory of the Holocaust victims:
Preservation of historical memory is an important component of Ukraine’s humanitarian policy. The issue of historical justice is very acute. We are responsible to all past and all future generations for historical justice. That is especially crucial to preserve and pass on to future generations the memory of the tragedy in Babyn Yar and to convey to the world community the truthful information about this mourning symbol of Holocaust on the Ukrainian soil, as there are almost no survivors of this human drama nowadays.
a. Therefore, the National Historical Memorial Preserve Babyn Yar or the Ukrainian Holocaust Museum will be created on the base of the complex of historical monuments on the place of mass extermination of civilians and prisoners of war in the Babyn Yar ravine during the Nazi occupation. It is our duty to make Babyn Yar a place of memory, not a place of oblivion. As a state, we strive to make this place worthy of the memory of more than 100,000 Holocaust victims.
b. We also pledge to preserve and pass on the memory of the Holocaust by ensuring that the permanent exhibition of the National History Museum of Ukraine properly represents and reflects the rich history of Ukrainian Jews, their centuries-long input into cultural, economic, social and political development of Ukraine. We will enhance substantially cooperation between Ukraine’s local history museums, museums of Ukrainian Jews and museums of Holocaust through organization of joint exhibition projects, online public lectures and virtual exhibitions to ensure better education of the Ukrainian citizens on the subject of Holocaust and history of the Ukrainian Jews.
2. Support for research on the Holocaust and reflection of this issue in educational and academic programs of Ukraine:
Ukraine pledges to enhance knowledge about the Holocaust by elaborating of the National educational program to spread awareness about the Holocaust, ensuring proper representation of this subject in school textbooks, academic programs and research institutions. To this end, the Government of Ukraine will provide the state funding under existing undergraduate and graduate Jewish Studies programs in Ukraine, namely those at the Ukrainian Catholic University (Lviv) and National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.
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3. Combating antisemitism, racism, xenophobia and discrimination in Ukrainian society:
To develop a strategy for promoting and protecting the Jewish life in Ukraine by conducting a National information campaign on the historical lessons of genocides of the XX century in the context of combatting xenophobia and antisemitism and appointing liaison officers/national focal points for an operative interaction with the local Jewish communities in relevant law enforcement bodies.
42. United Kingdom
Today we must confront the reality that around the world antisemitism is on the rise. We cannot remain silent. Antisemitism has absolutely no place in our society, which is why we are taking a strong lead in tackling it in all its forms whether it be in our universities, schools or in our communities. When we see swastikas daubed on walls of synagogues and hear vile verbal abuse, we must not be silent. That is why we pledge to keep up the fight against Antisemitism.
To mark the 21st anniversary of the Stockholm Declaration the United Kingdom Government pledges to:
UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre
• build and open a new national Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre to honour the six million Jewish men, women and children who were murdered during the Holocaust and all other victims of Nazi persecution by January 2025.
• ensure that the learning centre focuses on subsequent genocides, and provides a balanced narrative, addressing the complexities of Britain’s responses to the Holocaust, avoiding simplistic judgements and encouraging visitors to critically reflect on this pivotal period of history
Holocaust Remembrance
• continue supporting the annual Holocaust Memorial Day Ceremony on 27 January, alongside local ceremonies across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom
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Holocaust Education
• continue to encourage higher education providers to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism
• continue to ensure that teacher training supports teachers to understand equality issues and subject knowledge, including through the Initial Teacher Training Teachers’ Standards and providers’ own legal duties on equality.
Online Harms
• bring forward the government’s proposals for a new regulatory framework that will usher in a new age of accountability for technology companies. The draft Online Safety Bill, published in May 2021, will give rise to the regulatory framework which will place a duty of care on platforms, requiring them to tackle illegal and legal but harmful abuse online, including antisemitic abuse. The regime will be overseen by an independent regulator who will have powers to issue large fines of up to 10% of annual turnover or £18 million, whichever is higher.
UK Holocaust Sites Map
• jointly fund with the Association of Jewish Refugees the development of a new digital resource to map sites and documents relevant to the Holocaust and Nazism in Britain.
Engagement with the next generation
• continue building links with the children, grandchildren and future descendants of Holocaust survivors, to ensure that they are never forgotten.
• empower the next generation so they can challenge Holocaust denial and distortion and champion the cause of Holocaust remembrance.
43. United States of America
Promoting Holocaust remembrance and combatting anti-Semitism remain top policy priorities of the United States, especially as the world witnesses an alarming rise in anti-Semitism. We unequivocally condemn all attacks targeting Jews, Jewish places of worship, community centers, and cemeteries,
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as well as anti-Semitic rhetoric in the United States and abroad. As President Biden said on May 28, 2021, “In recent days, we have seen that no community is immune. We must all stand together to silence these terrible and terrifying echoes of the worst chapters in world history, and pledge to give hate no safe harbor.”
Secretary of State Blinken is announcing the following United States pledges at the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism:
• One-million-dollars for a program to counter anti-Semitic hate speech online in the Middle East and North Africa.
• An expanded series of International Visitor Leadership Projects starting Fall/Winter of 2021–2022 to confront and counter Holocaust distortion and anti-Semitism in North Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Latin America. • Working with our Congress, the United States plans to provide $1 million in Central Europe to support the IHRA Global Task Force Against Holocaust Denial and Distortion in Central Europe.
International organisations
44. European Commission
At the Malmö International Forum, the Commission pledges its first-ever EU Strategy on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life. With antisemitism worryingly on the rise, in Europe and beyond, the Strategy sets out a series of measures articulated around three pillars:
I. Preventing and combating all forms of antisemitism;
II. Protecting and fostering Jewish life; and
III Education, Research and Holocaust remembrance.
Some of the key measures in the strategy include:
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I. Preventing and combating all forms of antisemitism:
The Commission will support the creation of a Europe-wide network of independent trusted flaggers, fact checkers and Jewish organisations to help remove illegal hate speech online and address antisemitic conspiracy myths and disinformation through developing counter narratives. The Commission will cooperate with industry and IT companies to prevent the illegal display and selling of Nazi-related symbols, memorabilia and literature online. The Commission will mobilise EU funds and support Member States in designing and implementing their national strategies as well as improve and align their methodologies for recording and collecting of data on antisemitic hate crime.
II. Protecting and fostering Jewish life in the EU:
To ensure that Jews feel safe and can participate fully in European life, the Commission will double EU funding to better protect public spaces and places of worship to 24 Mio in 2022. It will cooperate closely with Europol and encourage Member States to make use of Europol’s support to counter terrorism activities, both online and offline. To foster Jewish life, the Commission will support actions together with Jewish communities, to safeguard Jewish heritage and raise awareness around Jewish life, culture and traditions.
III. Education, research and Holocaust remembrance:
The Commission will support the creation of a network of lesser-known local places “where the Holocaust happened”, such as hiding places or shooting grounds. The Commission will also support a new network of Young European Ambassadors to promote remembrance of the Holocaust. With EU funding, the Commission will support the creation of a European research hub on contemporary antisemitism and Jewish life and finance educational professionals’ training on “Adressing antisemitism through education” by UNESCO/OSCE-ODIHR. To highlight Jewish heritage, the Commission will invite cities applying for the title of European Capital of Culture to address the history of their minorities, including Jewish community history.
The EU will use all available tools to call on partner countries to combat antisemitism in the EU neighbourhood and beyond, including through cooperation with international organisations. It will ensure that EU external
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funds may not be misallocated to activities that incite hatred and violence, including against Jewish people. The EU will strengthen EU-Israel cooperation in the fight against antisemitism and promote the revitalisation of Jewish heritage worldwide.
45. European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights
If the European Union fails its Jewish Community, then it itself has failed. The stakes are that high. The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights is steadfast in its commitment to combat antisemitism in all its forms and manifestations. In doing so, it will continue to work with the EU and its Member States; with international organisations; with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance; with Jewish community organisations; and, with national bodies with a human rights or equality remit.
Pledge 1: Periodic surveys on the lived experience of antisemitism
The Agency pledges to continue conducting its periodic survey on experiences and perceptions of antisemitism among Jews in the EU. The Agency will roll out its next survey in 2022, and at regular intervals thereafter. This survey provides all stakeholders in the field with the most comprehensive source of reliable evidence on the lived experience of antisemitism among Jews in the EU, including as regards experiences of online antisemitism. This evidence can be the basis for taking targeted action to protect Jewish life in the EU. The Agency also stands ready to provide interested parties with advice on how to conduct such surveys, at the national and international levels.
Pledge 2: Assistance in monitoring the implementation of strategies on combating antisemitism
The Agency pledges to provide the EU and its Member States with evidence, assistance and expertise to support them in monitoring the implementation of their strategies on combating antisemitism and promoting Jewish life. As part of this, the Agency will publish an annual update on antisemitism in the EU, with a focus on three areas: the situation of recording of and data collection on antisemitic incidents; the state of play on the roll out of strategies to combat antisemitism; and, the ways in which EU Member States (intend to) use the IHRA working definition of antisemitism.
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Pledge 3: Assistance in improving recording and encouraging reporting of antisemitic incidents
The Agency pledges to assist national authorities in EU Member States in improving the recording of and data collection on antisemitism, including law enforcement authorities. The Agency will also work with these authorities and other bodies to encourage victims and witnesses to report antisemitic incidents to relevant organisations, so that they can seek justice and redress against perpetrators. The Agency will work with public bodies and civil society organisations to enhance their cooperation in all of these areas.
46. International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) is committed to fulfill its mandate as stipulated in the Stockholm Declaration (2000) and the 2020 IHRA Ministerial Declaration. Therefore, on the occasion of the Malmö International Forum, the IHRA makes three pledges that will provide practical responses to the pressing societal challenges of Holocaust distortion, education about the Genocide of the Roma and ensuring open access to archival material bearing on the Holocaust.
1. Holocaust distortion attacks the very heart of our democratic and open societies. It paves the way for Holocaust denial, conspiracy thinking, violent antisemitism and extreme forms of nationalism. Holocaust distortion does not stop at national borders, and countering it requires international cooperation. Therefore,
the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and UNESCO pledge to jointly address rising Holocaust denial and distortion as a virulent form of contemporary antisemitism. We will develop resources and trainings to support policymakers, civil servants, journalists, and stakeholders from the field of education, to address Holocaust distortion in their respective professional environments.
2. Discrimination against Roma has existed for centuries. The neglect of the genocide of the Roma, carried out by Nazi Germany and its collaborators, has contributed to the prejudice and discrimination that many Roma communities still experience today. Anti-Roma discrimination, like any other form of discrimination, undermines the core values of our democratic societies. Therefore,
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the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance pledges to develop recommendations for teaching and learning about the genocide of the Roma.
These recommendations will provide policymakers and stakeholders from the field of education with an educationally sound framework for teaching about the genocide of the Roma, and help to increase awareness of this history as well as existing forms of anti-Roma discrimination in our societies.
3. Six million Jewish men, women and children were murdered in the Holocaust. More than one million are yet to be identified by name. Holocaust-related documents, that can help to identify victims as well as perpetrators, are scattered across the world, often not recognized as such in financial, business, and academic archives. Therefore,
the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance pledges to develop recommendations on identifying Holocaust-related materials, so that victims, survivors, and their descendants can reclaim their histories and their identities.
The recommendations aim to empower archivists, researchers, and civil society to identify, preserve, and make available archival material that will help us to better understand the history of the Holocaust.
47. OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR)
OSCE participating States have repeatedly condemned anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance and discrimination, beginning with the Copenhagen Document of the Conference on Security and Co-operation Europe in 1990.
With the 2014 Basel Ministerial Council Declaration on “Enhancing Efforts to Combat Anti-Semitism”, participating States expressed their “concern at the disconcerting number of anti-Semitic incidents that continue to take place in the OSCE area and remain a challenge to stability and security” and called on ODIHR to “facilitate co-operation between governmental officials and civil society on issues related to anti-Semitism, including hate crime and Holocaust remembrance.”
Against the backdrop of the disquieting rise of anti-Semitism across the OSCE region, ODIHR will provide robust assistance to OSCE participating States and civil society to effectively address anti-Semitism in all its forms:
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• In the area of security, ODIHR pledges to build effective communication between law enforcement officials and Jewish communities to better address the security needs of Jewish communities and further improve governmental responses to anti-Semitic hate crimes.
• In the area of education, ODIHR pledges to address anti-Semitism by developing a new course and building on its existing tools and programmes.
• In the area of online anti-Semitism, ODIHR pledges to build the capacity of Jewish communities and civil society to engage with technology companies on matters of policy and regulation.
48. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Throughout the year, UNESCO promotes education about the Holocaust around the world, recalling the universal importance of Holocaust remembrance and our global duty to teach and learn about this history. Furthermore, UNESCO is dedicated, in partnership with other international bodies, civil society organizations and governments across the globe to combatting antisemitism under all its forms, with focus on the role of education.
As we enter a new era of remembrance, in a world with ever fewer survivors of the Holocaust, UNESCO will expand its global programme on Holocaust education, strengthening the collective responsibility to remember, care for historic sites, promote education, documentation and research about the genocide of the Jewish people. UNESCO will also strengthen its engagement to address the alarming rise of antisemitism, hate speech and other forms of intolerance and discrimination, and to provide education authorities with the tools to tackle all forms of contemporary antisemitism:
Firstly, UNESCO pledges to advance the institutionalization of Holocaust education globally by developing programmes that resonate with local audiences and histories.
In partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and with the support of the Government of Canada, UNESCO will support Holocaust and genocide education initiatives worldwide, prioritizing countries in which Holocaust education is not advanced. To accompany the
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programme, UNESCO will develop further guidelines for policymakers and an e-learning course on addressing violent pasts through education.
Secondly, UNESCO pledges to advance education to counter the rise of antisemitism.
UNESCO commits to this by building the capacity of policymakers, educators, school leaders and young people through international, regional and national workshops to recognize and respond to antisemitism, conspiracy theories and all other forms of hate speech, in a framework of human rights and global citizenship education. Building on our guidance for policymakers and set of training curricula, UNESCO and the OSCE/ODIHR will jointly develop a free e-learning course for educators and staff in international organizations.
Thirdly, in partnership with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), UNESCO jointly pledges to counter rising Holocaust denial and distortion as virulent forms of contemporary antisemitism.
UNESCO and IHRA will develop resources and training to support educators, policymakers, civil servants and journalists in addressing Holocaust distortion in their respective professional environments. The resources will supplement a guide and online tool to support teachers in strengthening the resilience of learners against Holocaust denial and distortion, developed with the United Nations and the World Jewish Congress.
Civil Society organisations
49. American Jewish Committee
1. AJC has been involved in fighting antisemitism around the world since 1906. We are delighted to share that extensive experience with any and all governments, as well as non-governmental institutions, that would like to draw upon it.
2. Knowing there is no overnight solution to antisemitism—alas, there is not yet a Pfizer vaccine against antisemitism—we will hold governments accountable for years to come, because this is a commitment that must be sustained over the long haul. There’s a millennia-long history to
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antisemitism. Consequently, attention and focus must remain on antisemitism not only today, but also tomorrow and the day after.
3. We share in the belief that Holocaust memory and education are absolutely essential to the fight against antisemitism. We also know the ultimate expression of understanding is to defend living Jews, and not only to mourn dead Jews.
4. For us, Israel, the nation-state of the Jewish people, is absolutely central to our belief in the wellbeing and security of the Jewish people. We will encourage nations to deepen their relations with Israel, and we will oppose all efforts to delegitimize Israel, isolate it within the community of nations, or deny the Jewish people their sovereign right to self-determination in their ancestral land.
50. Anti-defamation league
Pledge of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism, 13 October 2021.
We pledge to share ADL’s digital education program about antisemitism education for students with partners in Europe and around the world. The program addresses the number one concern we hear from Jewish communities – that the general public doesn’t know enough about Jews and Jewish identity, and that knowledge vacuum is often filled by antisemitic stereotypes. The digital education program about antisemitism will be adapted for each Jewish community to reflect their history and the antisemitism challenges they face. Through the program’s relatable stories, students build knowledge, empathy, perspective and allyship.
51. B’nai B’rith International
B’nai B’rith International is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people around the globe, together with our over 100 000 members and supporters around the world. Since our founding in 1843, B’nai B’rith has spoken out against anti-Semitism and intolerance in all its forms.
We are proud to pledge our sponsorship of the None Shall Be Afraid program, which provides a way for individuals and local communities to foster tolerance and responsibility.
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Through None Shall Be Afraid, B’nai B’rith will continue to remind the world that hatred and violence against Jews is unacceptable and indifference has dire consequences.
In the wake of the utter devastation of the Holocaust, we witnessed the persistence of anti-Semitism across over the more than 70 years that followed Nazi rule. Collectively we learned that, far from being merely a threat to Jews, anti-Semitism erodes the very fabric of democratic societies.
We are committed to bringing about a society where “None Shall Be Afraid”. This is our pledge in response to the world’s oldest hatred.
On the occasion of the Malmö International Forum, we are promoting a personal pledge to respect others, as well as introducing essay and art competitions for youth. This pledge addresses the most fundamental issues being tackled by the forum: the importance of education, of combating Holocaust distortion, of promoting respect for human rights and dignity. It seeks to raise awareness of contemporary forms of anti-Semitism and invites signatories to disengage from discourses of difference.
The creative competitions are meant to stimulate engagement and to create a sense of responsibility among students. Communities are encouraged to promote the competition within their schools and youth groups. Young people are essential to the fight against anti-Semitism and hatred. Younger generations are at the heart of fostering Jewish life today.
Our message is one of perseverance: We continue to inform and advise policymakers, to speak out against Holocaust denial, distortion and trivialization, to unmask anti-Semitism stemming from double standards, delegitimization and the demonization of Israel – and to address rising online hate and extremism.
But combating anti-Semitism is everyone’s responsibility. We are committed to raising awareness and building understanding across every part of society.
We need everyone’s help in defeating the world’s oldest hatred, because everyone counts.
52. European Jewish Congress
The European Jewish Congress (EJC), the representative umbrella organisation of 42 national Jewish communities across Europe, welcomes
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the initiative of a concrete outcome document for the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism.
This document, consisting of concrete pledges strengthening Holocaust remembrance and combatting antisemitism and racism, will inform joint efforts between governments and civil society and bring about tangible progress.
On this historic occasion, the European Jewish Congress pledges to:
• Continue its enduring task of preserving the memory of the Holocaust through the promotion of educational programmes and materials, visits to concentration camps, commemorative events and other activities.
• Continue organising annual high-level events honouring the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and combatting antisemitism, in cooperation with the European institutions and national governments.
• In particular, hold high-level international fora on Holocaust remembrance and renewing the fight against antisemitism every five years, in cooperation with the World Holocaust Forum Foundation.
• Gather, preserve, translate and disseminate the written and recorded testimonies of the survivors of the Holocaust.
• Engage with all relevant stakeholders to explore new and innovative ways to transmit the memory of the Holocaust to the young generation.
• Engage with all relevant stakeholders to explore ways to channel social media as a force for good in the fight against extremism, including through the use of influencers and counter-narratives.
• Promote the freedom to conduct academic research on the Holocaust, free from political interference.
• Support grassroots initiatives combating antisemitism, racism and all forms of intolerance as well as preserving and promoting the memory of the Holocaust through the European Jewish Fund.
• Strengthen resilience, security awareness and crisis management among Jewish communities and enhance cooperation with law enforcement
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authorities through the Security and Crisis Center by EJC (SACC by EJC).
• Continue gathering data and producing annual reports on contemporary manifestations of antisemitism worldwide to inform governments and civil society, in cooperation with the Kantor Center at Tel Aviv University.
• Promote the IHRA working definition of antisemitism, the IHRA working definition of antigypsyism/anti-Roma discrimination, and the IHRA working definition of Holocaust denial and distortion.
• Strengthen inter-religious and intercultural dialogue and cooperation to contribute to a democratic Europe based on peace, understanding and tolerance.
• Speak out against any and all forms of hatred and intolerance.
53. European Roma Rights Centre
We pledge to remember the panj shel mila – the 500,000 or more Romani people who, alongside Jews, were the only two peoples targeted in the Nazi’s final solution to rid the continent of our ancestors.
We pledge to commemorate the injustices done to us, and the further years of injustice done by Europe in the denial of the Romani Holocaust. For Roma, the Holocaust did not mean the end of hatred and discrimination against us. The ideologies of white supremacy which led to the indiscriminate slaughter of our families in the 1940s remained firmly embedded in European society, long after the liberation of the concentration camps. The legacy of the Nazi Race Laws, of the propaganda, the persecution, and the categorisation of Roma as “undesirable” lives on in Europe today: in every segregated community without water or electricity; in every Romani woman coercively sterilised from 1945 to 2012; in every Romani schoolchild segregated from her non-Roma peers, in every Romani person beaten to death at the hands of police officers just doing their job.
We pledge to disrupt this ideology. We pledge to agitate, to educate, and to litigate in every way we can to ensure that the horrors of the 20th century are not repeated in an increasingly illiberal and institutionally racist Europe. We pledge to fight until we are no longer necessary, and Europe’s Romani
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peoples are free to enjoy what most other European citizens take for granted: the freedom to live an ordinary life.
54. The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA World)
During the Nazi regime, millions of persons were annihilated at the hands of a system and society that had been warped into compliant acceptance of hate.
Among those millions, are an estimated 100,000 persons who were, or were assumed to be, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex and were arrested for violating laws against same-sex sexual conduct or for just being different. They were sentenced to prison, and some were sent to concentration camps.
People were marked with pink triangles, and policies were designed to ‘cure’ them through humiliation and forced labour. Inmates were subject to medical experimentation causing illness, mutilation, and death.
We now know these stories. But that wasn’t always the case. After the war, LGBTI survivors were initially not acknowledged. Often, they were repudiated by their families; some continued to be imprisoned because of continuing laws criminalising consensual same-sex conduct.
We are thankful for those who found the courage to break the silence. But memory is a fragile and precious thing, and most Holocaust survivors are no longer with us.
Their stories matter, especially now that we see nationalism and fascism on the rise again, always searching for enemies to scapegoat. These ideologies employ a strategy of targeting entire marginalized communities and today we face well-resourced and coordinated efforts to again weave seductive lies to the world, often on social media.
The communities targeted are often blurred into one almighty “other”. We witnessed this in 2019 when our office was vandalized twice with a stream of graffiti that blurred transphobia, with anti-semitiism, anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, and homophobia.
Hatred is a fire that spreads without distinction. We cannot just remain vigilant: we need to eradicate it together.
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Therefore, we pledge to:
• combat all forms of intolerance – online and offline – with our advocacy, research and communications work addressing the human rights violations faced by LGBTI persons
• challenge those that seek to normalize prejudice: fighting back misinformation with education on how LGBTI-phobia intersects with other forms of racism and intolerance
• provide positive examples of what inclusion, respect, tolerance, and diversity look like
• call for all governments and other holders of power to use their influence to tackle the underlying causes and consequences of intolerance
• be available to governments with our grass-roots expertise as they develop national responses to tackle the root causes of intoleranc
• continue to mark the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.
55. World Jewish Congress
The World Jewish Congress, under the leadership of President Ronald S. Lauder, represents more than 100 Jewish communities and organizations around the globe and acts as the principal voice representing the Jewish world, advocating on its behalf towards governments, parliaments, international, interfaith and other organizations. Since its founding in 1936, the WJC has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to combating antisemitism in all its guises.
We are currently witnessing an alarming rise in antisemitism across the globe. The growth of extreme far-right parties in Europe and a proliferation of anti-Zionist sentiment has contributed to an atmosphere in which many Jews are afraid to openly identify as such, and Jewish communities are frequently a main target for extremists. Antisemitism is still a deeply-rooted phenomenon in many liberal democracies, despite efforts by governments and independent organizations to tackle it. Antisemitism in all its forms must be combated vigorously by determined actions, including by governments,
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law enforcement, international organizations, civil society organizations, interfaith partners and social media companies.
The WJC pledges to cooperate with these stakeholders and others to fight antisemitism and related phenomena such as Holocaust distortion and denial while working actively to safeguard and protect Jewish life and ensure it can flourish for many generations to come.
Governments
The WJC believes that it is the primary role of governments to ensure the security and welfare of their Jewish communities, safeguard their dignity and safety and combat antisemitism in all its manifestations, including Holocaust denial and distortion. The WJC therefore pledges to work with governments to develop and implement national strategies to combat this millennia-old hatred. In order to address this scourge more effectively, decision and policy makers need to understand what antisemitism is. The WJC will continue to advocate and cooperate with governments to adopt and implement the working definition of antisemitism developed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and encourage states to become members of this important body.
The WJC maintains that strong legislation to combat antisemitism, hate speech and extremism remains one of the most important tools to deter and counter these plagues, both off and online. The WJC renews its commitment to work with lawmakers to enact such laws and hold governments accountable to ensure such legislation is enforced stringently.
Given the repeated attacks against Jewish individuals and communities, providing protection for Jewish institutions and houses of worship is paramount. The WJC will persist in its efforts to work with relevant authorities at all levels to protect and safeguard Jewish communities worldwide and defend their civil rights and religious freedoms.
Education also plays a critical role in the struggle against antisemitism and in sensitizing younger generations to the dangers of hate and extremism. The WJC will continue to encourage governments to develop educational systems which foster critical thinking, digital literacy, democratic citizenship education, as well as education about the Holocaust as well as other genocides to build bridges of understanding and high levels of empathy towards the “other”. Educational institutions should also focus on teaching
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Jewish history and culture, as well as recognizing the many contributions the Jewish people have made to the countries in which they live.
Special Envoys and Coordinators Combating Antisemitism
The World Jewish Congress pledges to continue convening international meetings of Special Envoys and Coordinators Combating Antisemitism (SECCA) to exchange views, share best practices and policies, and evaluate progress in the fight against antisemitism. The WJC will work with special envoys and coordinators to address antisemitism both in the domestic and international context and to seek consultations on the topic with other competent authorities in their countries and international organizations. The WJC will continue to call on all countries that have not yet appointed envoys or coordinators to monitor and combat antisemitism to promptly do so. The WJC will support envoy and coordinator efforts to address the security of Jewish communities, the improvement of data gathering on hate crimes, Holocaust education and education against antisemitism, online hate, neo-Nazi movements, and Holocaust denial and distortion in their respective countries.
Law Enforcement
The WJC pledges to expand its ‘Words into Action to Combat Antisemitism’ program with the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and the European Commission Office of the EC Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish life on monitoring and combating antisemitism and enhancing the security of Jewish communities. In addition, the WJC will work individually with law enforcement agencies in selected countries, through a series of round tables and workshops with the aim of achieving the required standards in the domain of combating antisemitism and hate speech.
International and Civil Society Organizations
The WJC pledges to strengthen its cooperation with all international and regional organizations, such as the Council of Europe, the European Union, the Organization of American States, OSCE, UNESCO and the United Nations, for our joint fight against antisemitism, hatred and intolerance of all kinds. We will continue and intensify our work with international partners on topics such as combating antisemitism and discrimination through education, countering Holocaust denial and distortion, curbing hate speech
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online, protecting the rights of minorities and promoting genocide prevention. At the same time, the WJC pledges to widen our partnership with civil society organizations on these topics and build alliances to increase our impact and effectiveness.
Interfaith Partners
The WJC will promote interfaith and inter-community collaboration and will work with leaders and partners of all faiths and beliefs to enhance understanding and to promote joint projects to educate against racism, discrimination, and extremism. The WJC pledges to spearhead dialogue between the three Abrahamic religions — Judaism, Islam and Christianity — and create opportunities for better understanding between religious leaders and their communities.
Internet Companies, Sharing Platforms, and Social Media
The WJC will further strengthen its cooperation with internet companies, sharing platforms, and social media to ensure that policies are in place to address the ongoing needs and changing circumstances related to combating antisemitism, violent extremism, Holocaust denial and distortion and other relevant issues.
The WJC will continue to collaborate with platforms and companies on improving the enforcement of related policies and will continue to monitor and report incidents via cooperative channels such as “trusted flagger” and “community partnership” programs.
The WJC will further enhance its efforts to promote educational content on sharing platforms and social media and will continue to promote the aboutholocaust.org website in cooperation with UNESCO on a wide variety of platforms as a tool for education about the Holocaust and for combatting Holocaust denial and distortion.
WJC will further engage with international, regional, and national organizations and governments to address the challenges of the spread of hate and antisemitism online and will increase its membership and involvement in relevant forums and networks.
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Jewish Communities
The WJC pledges to work tirelessly together with our affiliated communities to advocate on their behalf and in consultation with them to ensure that they can maintain and celebrate the Jewish religion, culture and heritage, all in accordance with local circumstances and needs. This includes defending religious practices integral to Jewish life, such as kosher slaughter (shechita) and circumcision (brit milah), preserving the memory of the Holocaust, as well as combating antisemitism. Of particular importance are the education of young people, the role of the media, and the action by police and the judiciary in bringing perpetrators of antisemitic crimes to justice.
Just as it did at its founding eighty-five years ago, the WJC pledges to continue to protect and defend Jews in their communities worldwide while upholding the dignity and human rights of all peoples.
Private sector
56. Facebook
With the scourge of antisemitism around the world, we recognize the role we can play to help fulfill the promise ‘Never Again’. Holocaust denial and distortion content is hate speech and has no place on our platforms. We remove it when we detect it or it is reported to us, and will continue to improve our enforcement of this important policy.
The removal of Holocaust denial and distortion is important but this alone will not fill the gap of the alarming level of ignorance about the Holocaust, especially among young people. Facebook is committed to helping our community learn about the events that led to the Holocaust and the genocide of one-third of the Jewish people.
Our partnership with the World Jewish Congress and UNESCO connects people on Facebook with authoritative information about the Holocaust at aboutholocaust.org. We are committed to expanding this partnership to include more languages with this information across the platform; we currently include 12 languages.
There are sadly so few Holocaust survivors left today and we pledge that the stories of the six million will be shared and remembered as we continue to
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dedicate resources, personnel and creativity to promote educational materials about the Holocaust on our platforms.
Our partnership with the Claims Conference supporting their It Started With Words campaign on our platform allows the voices of survivors to explain the origins of the Holocaust so that it will never happen again, and our support of Yad Vashem’s iRemember wall enables people around the world to remember the stories of the victims.
When we partner with March of the Living to promote their Let There Be Light campaign, we want to inspire hope to people around the world on November 9, the anniversary of Kristallnacht, that we stand together in the shared battle against antisemitism, racism, hatred and intolerance.
Facebook will continue to listen to the voice of the Jewish community and is committed to our dedicated partner organization engagement roundtables with representatives of the Jewish community around the world. We are also proud that our policy team has a dedicated Jewish Diaspora Policy Director.
As the internet continues to evolve, we are investing $50M in programs and research to determine how to build augmented and virtual reality in a responsible way. The Anne Frank experience on Oculus is an early example of how technology can help society remember and share stories in new ways. Looking ahead, we will ensure that Holocaust remembrance, education and work on antisemitism are reflected across our efforts to build a safer future.
57. Google & YouTube
We will continue to fight hate speech online through our policies, tools and programs, including new funding for governments and leading NGOs
We’re proud to be a part of the Malmö International Forum. Our pledge to the Forum, to our users, and the wider online community, is that we will continue to fight hate speech online through our policies, tools and programmes.
It is critical to remember the events of the Holocaust and to fight antisemitism today and we are committed to combatting hate speech, including hate speech targeting the Jewish community. Content inciting hatred or violence on the basis of someone’s membership of a protected group is not allowed on our products and services. We have a responsibility
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to provide safety to our users, but we balance that with respect for freedom of expression.
We are always working to improve. Across our products and services we are guided by our 4 Rs:
We remove content that violates our policies or local laws where we operate.
We reduce the spread of content that brushes right up against our policy line.
We raise up authoritative voices when people are looking for breaking news and information. And lastly, we reward trusted, eligible creators and artists.
We recognize the importance of working together with governments and civil society to address these issues, and that we have a shared responsibility to promote Holocaust education and combat antisemitism both online and offiline.
To further strengthen that effort, and building on our previous anti-hate work, today we are committing more than €5M from Google.org in monetary grants and in-kind ad donations to fight antisemitism and promote Holocaust education:
1. A €1 million cash grant commitment to nonprofits fighting antisemitism online. As part of this commitment, Expo foundation has carried out research together with HOPE not Hate and Amadeu Antonio Foundation to understand the growth and spread of antisemitism online in Europe, and these organizations will be educating other civil society actors about the results and learnings of the report.
2. The balance of more than €4 million ($5 million USD) in ad grants will go towards helping governments and nonprofits around the world combat antisemitism online and promote authoritative content through public campaigns about antisemitism and the Holocaust.
We’ll continue to work together to ensure that the world never forgets and we will continue to work together to fight hate speech and antisemitism online.
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58. TikTok
At TikTok, our priority is to provide a safe space for creative expression, with hundreds of millions of people around the world coming to our platform every day to be entertained and find joy.
Hateful behaviour is incompatible with our inclusive environment, and we’ll take all necessary steps to help protect our community from those who seek to spread hate.
We condemn antisemitism in all its forms, and we continually invest in our technology and teams as we work to keep any such content off TikTok.
We know education plays a critical role in striking out hate, which is why we partner with organisations so that people can hear from the Jewish community, learn about the Holocaust, and understand their role in fighting modern-day antisemitism.
We pledge to put our full strength behind keeping TikTok a place that is free of hate, and to harness the power of TikTok to educate our community as we join forces in the fight against antisemitism. In particular, we will commit to:
• Eliminate antisemitism on TikTok: We remove antisemitic content and accounts from our platform, including Holocaust denial or any other form of hate speech directed at the Jewish Community – but our work here is never complete. We will keep strengthening our toolbox for fighting antisemitic content and continue to work with organisations such as the World Jewish Congress to understand evolving trends and improve our strategies and processes.
• Elevate voices representing the Jewish community: We will expand our work to help NGOs and other civil society groups harness the full power of TikTok and find new, creative ways to share their knowledge about topics of importance to the Jewish community and take part in educational campaigns on TikTok.
• Educate our community: We will direct our community to educational resources, including content created by our partners, so that people can learn about the Holocaust, the Jewish community and modern-day antisemitism. We will do this all year round, as well as running campaigns to coincide with important moments such as Holocaust Memorial Day.
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Our goal is to eliminate hate on TikTok, and we are committed to that for as long as it takes.
Others
59. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
For the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum pledges to
1. Expand the translated resources of the Museum’s online content into critical languages, especially those for which authoritative information about the Holocaust may be limited (for example, Spanish, Arabic, Polish and Ukrainian, among others).
2. Through the Never Again Education Act, enhance the ability of the Museum to support all 50 US states by providing educational resources and professional development opportunities for communities that have local Holocaust centers and experts as well as underserved areas in order to strengthen the field of Holocaust education nationwide.
3. Encourage the development of Holocaust-focused institutions in other countries, particularly in the lands where the Holocaust occurred and where engagement with the subject remains uncertain or under threat.
60. Yad Vashem
Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, in Jerusalem, in support of worldwide efforts to ensure accurate and meaningful Holocaust remembrance, by all of humanity, and to effectively combat contemporary antisemitism, in all its forms, hereby issues the following pledges:
Pledge One
As the passage of time endangers the integrity and security of Holocaust memory, Yad Vashem pledges to invest substantial resources and expertise to significantly expand and enhance its already vast collections infrastructure upon the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem.
These efforts will be directed primarily towards:
Remember—ReAct 85 (89)
• The improved preservation Holocaust-era and Holocaust-related documents, artifacts and artwork
• The provision of technologically advanced means of worldwide public access to the preserved materials
• The development of supplementary tools to assist in the appreciation and integration of the preserved materials in coherent educational and communications contexts, including via social media
Pledge Two
As the meanings of the Holocaust for wide and varied societies, cultures and communities become ever more apparent, Yad Vashem pledges to invest substantial resources and expertise to geographically and culturally broaden its educational outreach frameworks, tools and activities. This includes dialogue, training and support for key influencers in such regions as Latin America, East Asia and Oceania, Sub-Saharan Africa, and indigenous communities worldwide. The widened scope of our activities in new areas and contexts must not and will not detract or limit extensive Yad Vashem activity in the existing core arenas of Holocaust remembrance.
Pledge Three
As we witness the alarming increase of hateful expressions and patterns of contemporary antisemitism, racism and xenophobia – in Europe, America and elsewhere – Yad Vashem pledges to devise, develop and implement new strategies and tools that integrate its existing approaches and tools in Holocaust education with social media and public diplomacy to combat current forms of antisemitism. This must and will be done without compromising the factual integrity of each content area and without blurring the substantive distinctions between them.
Pledge Four
Since genuine and effective Holocaust remembrance has always been and will always be rooted in authentic, comprehensive documentation and fact-based research findings, Yad Vashem pledges to expand existing research formats, framework and contacts and establish new ones, whether autonomously or together with corresponding institutions around the world, in regard to the Holocaust and to antisemitism.
Remember—ReAct 86 (89)
Annex
Participants at Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism, 13 October 2021
Countries
1. Albania – Prime Minister Edi Rama
2. Argentina – Ambassador Maria Clara Biglieri
3. Australia – Ambassador Kerin Ayyalaraju
4. Austria – Minister for Europe Karoline Edtstadler
5. Belgium – Ambassador Jean Deboutte
6. Bosnia and Herzegovina – Chairman of the Presidency Željko Komšić and Member of the Presidency Šefik Džaferović
7. Bulgaria – Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Zaritsa Dinkova
8. Canada – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (speech live online) and Ambassador to Germany and Special Envoy to the European Union and Europe Stéphane Dion
9. Croatia – Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlić Radman
10. Cyprus – Ambassador Sotos Liassides
11. Czech Republic – Minister of Foreign Affairs Jakub Kulhanek 12. Denmark – Minister for Justice Nick Hækkerup
13. El Salvador – Vice President Felix Ulloa Jr
14. Estonia – Prime Minister Kaja Kallas
15. Finland – President Sauli Niinistö
16. France – President Emmanuel Macron (video message) and Special Ambassador for Human Rights, responsible for the international dimension of the Shoah, spoliations and the duty of remembrance Delphine Borione
17. Germany – Minister of State for Europe at the Federal Foreign Office Michael Roth
18. Greece – Deputy Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic Panagiotis Pikrammenos
19. Holy See – Apostolic Nuncio James Green
20. Hungary – Minister for Families Katalin Novák
21. Iceland – Ambassador Hannes Heimisson
22. Ireland – Taoiseach Micheál Martin (speech live online) and Ambassador Austin Gromley
23. Israel – President Isaac Herzog (speech live online) and Minister of Diaspora Affairs Nachman Shai
24. Italy – Minister of Education Patrizio Bianchi
25. Latvia – President Egils Levits
26. Lithuania – President Gitanas Nauseda
27. Luxemburg – Ambassador-at-large for Human Rights Anne Goedert
28. Moldova – Ambassador Vitalie Rusu
29. Monaco – Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and cooperation Isabelle Rosabrunetto
Remember—ReAct 87 (89)
30. North Macedonia – President Stevo Pendarovski
31. Norway – Ambassador Aud Kolberg
32. Poland – Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Culture, National Heritage and Sport Piotr Gliński
33. Portugal – Minister of Foreign Affairs Augusto Santos Silva
34. Romania – President Klaus Iohannis
35. Russia – Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council of the federal Assembly Konstantin Kosachev
36. Rwanda – Minister of National Unity and Civic Engagement Jean-Damascène Bizimana
37. Serbia – Ambassador Dragan Momčilović
38. Slovakia – Prime Minister Eduard Heger
39. Slovenia – Ambassador Edvin Skrt
40. Spain – Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation José Manuel Albares
41. Switzerland – State Secretary Simon Geissbühler
42. The Netherlands – Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Kajsa Ollongren
43. Turkey – Ambassador Emre Yunt
44. Ukraine – Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal
45. United Kingdom – Lord Eric Pickles
46. United States of America – United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken (video message) and United States Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Brian McKeon
47. Uruguay – Ambassador José Luis Tejera
International organisations
1. Arolsen Archives – Director Floriane Azoulay (online)
2. Council of Europe – Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić
3. European Commission – President Ursula von der Leyen (speech live online) and Vice President Margaritis Schinas
4. European Council – President Charles Michel
5. European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights – Director Michael O’Flaherty
6. Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme – Manager Tracey Petersen (online)
7. Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) – Chairperson-in-Office Ann Linde
8. Secretariat of International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Secretary General Kathrin Meyer
9. United Nations – Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (video message)
Remember—ReAct 88 (89)
10. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) – ADG/ED Stefania Giannini (speech live online) and Programme Specialist Karel Fracapane
11. High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Miguel Ángel Moratinos
12. United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief Ahmed Shaheed (speech live online)
Civil society organisations
1. American Jewish Committee – President Harriet Schleifer (speech live online) and Managing Director of AJC Europe Simone Rodan-Benzaquen
2. Anti-defamation league – CEO Jonathan Greenblatt
3. B’nai B’rith International – Director EU Affairs Alina Bricman
4. Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations – CEO William Daroff (speech live online)
5. European Jewish Congress – President Moshe Kantor
6. European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture – Deputy Director Anna Mirga-Kruszelnicka (speech live online)
7. European Roma and Travellers Forum – President Miranda Vuolasranta
8. European Roma Rights Centre – Chair of the Board Ethel Brooks (speech live online)
9. International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex World Association – Executive Director André du Plessis
10. World Jewish Congress – President Ronald Lauder
Private sector
1. Facebook – COO Sheryl Sandberg (speech live online) and Facebook Public Policy Director, Israel & the Jewish Diaspora Jordana Cutler
2. Google & YouTube – Vice President of global client & agency solutions in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) Pedro Pina
3. TikTok – Director of Government Relations and Public Policy for Europe Theo Bertram
Others
1. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum – Director Sarah J Bloomfield (online) and Deputy Director for International Affairs Robert Williams
2. Yad Vashem – Chairman Dani Dayan
3. Professor Yehuda Bauer
Remember—ReAct 89 (89)
The Swedish Royal Court
HM King Carl XVI Gustaf and HM Queen Silvia of Sweden
The Riksdag of Sweden
Speaker Andreas Norlén
The Swedish Government
1. Prime Minister Stefan Löfven
2. Minister for Education Anna Ekström
3. Minister of Foreign Affairs Ann Linde
4. Minister for Gender Equality and Housing, with responsibility for urban development, anti-segregation and anti-discrimination Märta Stenevi

==============================================================
https://euobserver.com/opinion/153174

Call by scholars: Stop instrumentalising antisemitism

By 54 SCHOLARS WORKING ON ANTISEMITISM AND RELATED FIELDS

BRUSSELS, 11. OCT, 07:26

We issue this call as scholars working in antisemitism studies and related fields.

On 13-14 October 2021, the leaders of the European Union and the United Nations and heads of state and government from many countries will meet at the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism.

Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven convenes this forum 21 years after the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust, which resulted in the Stockholm Declaration, the founding document of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

We welcome and support the declared purpose of the Malmö Forum “to jointly take concrete steps forward in the work on Holocaust remembrance and the fight against antisemitism”.

Antisemitism and all other forms of racism and bigotry pose a growing threat that must be fought most forcefully. We commend governments’ resolve and efforts in this regard.

At the same time, we issue a stark warning against the political instrumentalisation of the fight against antisemitism. In the interest of the integrity, credibility and effectiveness of that fight, we urge the leaders at the Malmö Forum to reject and counter this instrumentalisation.

A particular concern in this context is the “working definition of antisemitism” that the IHRA adopted in May 2016, in the aftermath of the 2015 Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism organised by the Israeli government.

Eleven “contemporary examples of antisemitism” have been attached to this IHRA definition, seven of which relate to Israel. These examples are being weaponised against human rights organisations and solidarity activists who denounce Israel’s occupation and human-rights violations.

They legitimise wrongful accusations of antisemitism, which serve as a warning for anyone voicing criticism of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. This has a chilling effect on free speech and academic freedom and compromises the fight against antisemitism.

Regrettably, this clear abuse of the IHRA definition and of the examples has so far not been acknowledged by governments and parliaments that have adopted it. More concerning, the European Union is working hard to implement the IHRA definition across multiple policy areas and to entrench it society-wide.

In January 2021, the European Commission published a “Handbook” for that purpose, which was harshly criticised by civil society stakeholders. Among other initiatives, the handbook promotes giving legal effect to the IHRA definition and cultivates it as a criterion to allocate or deny funding to civil society organisations. We fear this is a prelude to discriminatory and repressive policies.

On 5 October 2021, the European Commission presented the EU’s long-awaited “Strategy on Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life”.

Like the aforementioned handbook, this strategy ignores the growing concerns about the shortcomings and instrumentalisation of the IHRA definition, as also raised by various stakeholders in the context of a public consultation launched by the Commission; including this academic expert submission, with an annex illustrating the instrumentalisation of the IHRA definition and a joint letter by 10 European NGOs and networks. In fact, the EU’s new strategy feeds these concerns.

With concern, we note that the political instrumentalisation of the fight against antisemitism and of the IHRA definition is being facilitated by coordinators and commissioners appointed by the European Commission and national governments.

In particular in Germany, this has created a toxic and intimidating atmosphere. We notice coordination with and reliance on lobby organisations shielding the Israeli government.

This political entanglement has a divisive and polarising effect, which undermines broad support for the fight against antisemitism and distracts attention from acute sources of antisemitism. It also contradicts the universalist spirit of the Stockholm Declaration, which is missing from the IHRA definition.

By contrast, an alternative definition of antisemitism launched earlier this year does carry this spirit: the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (JDA).

The JDA was crafted by a group of scholars from the United States, Israel, Europe, and the UK, who have vast experience with the IHRA definition.

After more than one year of deliberations, the JDA was launched in March 2021. It has been endorsed by more than 300 scholars of antisemitism and related fields, including many heads of institutes in Europe and the US.

We encourage the leaders at the Malmö Forum to add the JDA to their policy toolbox and rely on it for guidance. Rooted in universal principles, the JDA is clearer and more coherent than the IHRA definition. Without any underlying political agenda, it offers guidance concerning political speech where the IHRA definition has created muddle and controversy.

We recommend the JDA also in view of prime minister Löfven’s statement, issued in anticipation of the Malmö Forum: “We must address Holocaust denial and antisemitism by protecting and promoting democratic values and respect for human rights”. The JDA reflects and respects democratic values and human rights.

For the sake of a concrete outcome of the Malmö Forum, the Swedish government has invited all participating delegations to present “pledges”.

We call on the leaders at the Malmö Forum to jointly pledge to reject and counter the escalating political instrumentalisation of the fight against antisemitism, which undermines democratic values and human rights and is causing grave harm to this fight.==============================================

Call by scholars on global leaders at Malmö Forum on Combating Antisemitism
11 October 2021
We issue this call as scholars working in antisemitism studies and related fields.
On 13-14 October 2021, the leaders of the European Union and the United Nations and heads of state and government from many countries will meet at the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism. Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven convenes this forum 21 years after the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust, which resulted in the Stockholm Declaration, the founding document of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
We welcome and support the declared purpose of the Malmö Forum “to jointly take concrete steps forward in the work on Holocaust remembrance and the fight against antisemitism”. Antisemitism and all other forms of racism and bigotry pose a growing threat that must be fought most forcefully. We commend governments’ resolve and efforts in this regard.
At the same time, we issue a stark warning against the political instrumentalization of the fight against antisemitism. In the interest of the integrity, credibility and effectiveness of that fight, we urge the leaders at the Malmö Forum to reject and counter this instrumentalization.
A particular concern in this context is the “working definition of antisemitism” that the IHRA adopted in May 2016, in the aftermath of the 2015 Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism organized by the Israeli government.
Eleven “contemporary examples of antisemitism” have been attached to this IHRA definition, seven of which relate to Israel. Several of these examples are being weaponized against human rights organizations and solidarity activists who denounce Israel’s occupation and human rights violations. They legitimize wrongful accusations of antisemitism, which serve as a warning for anyone voicing criticism of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. This has a chilling effect on free speech and academic freedom and compromises the fight against antisemitism.
Regrettably, this clear abuse of the IHRA definition and of the examples has so far not been acknowledged by governments and parliaments that have adopted it. More concerning, the European Union is working hard to implement the IHRA definition across multiple policy areas and to entrench it society-wide. In January 2021, the European Commission published a “Handbook” for that purpose, which was harshly criticized by civil society stakeholders. Among other initiatives, the handbook promotes giving legal effect to the IHRA definition and cultivates it as a criterion to allocate or deny funding to civil society organizations. We fear this is a prelude to discriminatory and repressive policies.
On 5 October 2021, the European Commission presented the EU’s long-awaited “Strategy on Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life”. Like the aforementioned handbook, this strategy ignores the growing concerns about the shortcomings and instrumentalization of the IHRA definition, as also raised by various stakeholders in the context of a public consultation
launched by the Commission; including this academic
expert submission with annex illustrating the instrumentalization of the IHRA definition and a joint letter by ten European NGOs and networks. In fact, the EU’s new strategy feeds these concerns.
With concern, we also note that the political instrumentalization of the fight against antisemitism and of the IHRA definition is being facilitated by coordinators and commissioners appointed by the European Commission and national governments. In particular in Germany, this has created a toxic and intimidating atmosphere. We notice coordination with and reliance on lobby organizations shielding the Israeli government.
This political approach and entanglement has a divisive and polarizing effect, which undermines broad support for the fight against antisemitism and distracts attention from acute sources of antisemitism. It also contradicts the universalist spirit of the Stockholm Declaration, which is missing from the IHRA definition.
By contrast, an alternative definition of antisemitism launched earlier this year does carry this spirit: the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (JDA). The JDA was crafted by a group of scholars from the United States, Israel, Europe and the UK, who have vast experience with the IHRA definition. After more than one year of deliberations, the JDA was launched in March 2021. It has been endorsed by more than 300 scholars of antisemitism and related fields, including many heads of institutes in Europe and the US.
We encourage the leaders at the Malmö Forum to add the JDA to their policy toolbox and to rely on it for guidance. Rooted in universal principles, the JDA is clearer and more coherent than the IHRA definition. Without any underlying political agenda, it offers guidance concerning political speech where the IHRA definition has created muddle and controversy.
We recommend the JDA also in view of Prime Minister Löfven’s statement, issued in anticipation of the Malmö Forum: “We must address Holocaust denial and antisemitism by protecting and promoting democratic values and respect for human rights”. The JDA reflects and respects democratic values and human rights.
For the sake of a concrete outcome of the Malmö Forum, the Swedish government has invited all participating delegations to present “pledges”. We call on the leaders at the Malmö Forum to jointly pledge to reject and counter the escalating political instrumentalization of the fight against antisemitism, which undermines democratic values and human rights and is causing grave harm to this fight.
Taner Akçam, Professor, Kaloosdian/Mugar Chair Armenian History and Genocide, Clark University
Jean-Christophe Attias, Professor of Medieval Jewish Thought, École Pratique des Hautes Études, Université PSL Paris
Leora Auslander, Arthur and Joann Rasmussen Professor of Western Civilization in the College and the Department of History, University of Chicago
Omer Bartov, John P. Birkelund Distinguished Professor of European History, Department of History, Brown University
Moshe Behar, Dr., Programme Director, Arabic & Middle Eastern Studies, School of Arts, Languages & Cultures, The University of Manchester
David Biale, Emanuel Ringelblum Distinguished Professor, University of California, Davis
Donald Bloxham, Richard Pares Professor of History, University of Edinburgh
Micha Brumlik, Professor Dr., fmr. Director of Fritz Bauer Institut-Geschichte und Wirkung des Holocaust, Frankfurt am Main
Jose Brunner, Professor Emeritus, Buchmann Faculty of Law and Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science, Tel Aviv University
Naomi Chazan, Professor Emerita of Political Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Bryan Cheyette, Professor and Chair in Modern Literature and Culture, University of Reading
Alon Confino, Pen Tishkach Chair of Holocaust Studies, Professor of History and Jewish Studies, Director Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Lila Corwin Berman, Murray Friedman Chair of American Jewish History, Temple University
Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi, Professor Emerita of Comparative Literature, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Hasia R. Diner, Professor, New York University
Chaim Gans, Professor Emeritus, The Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University
Sander Gilman, Distinguished Professor of the Liberal Arts and Sciences; Professor of Psychiatry, Emory University
Shai Ginsburg, Associate Professor, Chair of the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and Faculty Member of the Center for Jewish Studies, Duke University
Carlo Ginzburg, Professor Emeritus, UCLA and Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa
Amos Goldberg, Professor, The Jonah M. Machover Chair in Holocaust Studies, Head of the Avraham Harman Research Institute of Contemporary Jewry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Leonard Grob, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Fairleigh Dickinson University
Jeffrey Grossman, Associate Professor, German and Jewish Studies, Chair of the German Department, University of Virginia
Atina Grossmann, Professor of History, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, The Cooper Union, New York
Wolf Gruner, Shapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies and Founding Director of the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research; Professor of History, University of Southern California
Anna Hájková, Associate Professor of Modern Continental European History, Warwick University
Elizabeth Heineman, Professor of History and of Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies, University of Iowa
Didi Herman, Professor of Law and Social Change, University of Kent
Dagmar Herzog, Distinguished Professor of History and Daniel Rose Faculty Scholar Graduate Center, The City University of New York (CUNY)
Jonathan Judaken, Professor, Spence L. Wilson Chair in the Humanities, Rhodes College
Marion Kaplan, Skirball Professor of Modern Jewish History, New York University
Brian Klug, Emeritus Fellow in Philosophy, St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford; Member of the Philosophy Faculty, Oxford University
Claudia Koonz, Professor Emeritus of History, Duke University
Tony Kushner, Professor, Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations, University of Southampton
Dominick LaCapra, Professor Emeritus of History, Cornell University
Ian S. Lustick, Bess W. Heyman Chair, Department of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
Shaul Magid, Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College
Samuel Moyn, Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence and Professor of History, Yale University
Susan Neiman, Professor Dr., Philosopher, Director of the Einstein Forum, Potsdam
Derek Penslar, William Lee Frost Professor of Jewish History, Harvard University
Andrea Pető, Professor, Central European University (CEU), Vienna; CEU Democracy Institute, Budapest
Göran Rosenberg, Writer, Sweden
Michael Rothberg, Professor of Comparative Literature and Holocaust Studies, UCLA
Victoria Sanford, Lehman Professor of Excellence 2021-2024, Professor of Anthropology, Lehman College, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York (CUNY)
Raz Segal, Associate Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Stockton University
Joshua Shanes, Associate Professor and Director of the Arnold Center for Israel Studies, College of Charleston
David Shulman, Professor Emeritus, Department of Asian Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Levi Spectre, Dr., Senior Lecturer at the Department of History, Philosophy and Judaic Studies, The Open University of Israel; Researcher at the Department of Philosophy, Stockholm University
Enzo Traverso, Professor in the Humanities, Department of History, Cornell University, New York
Peter Ullrich, Dr. Dr., Senior Researcher, Fellow at the Center for Research on Antisemitism, Technische Universität Berlin
Dov Waxman, Professor, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Chair in Israel Studies, Director of the UCLA Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies, University of California (UCLA)
Yael Zerubavel, Professor Emeritus of Jewish Studies and History, fmr. Founding Director Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life, Rutgers University
Moshe Zimmermann, Professor Emeritus, The Richard Koebner Minerva Center for German History, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Steven J. Zipperstein, Daniel E. Koshland Professor in Jewish Culture and History, Stanford University
Moshe Zuckermann, Professor Emeritus of History and Philosophy, Tel Aviv University

===========================================================

https://www.facebook.com/groups/bashaaracil/posts/4551656721629976/
שיקו בהרAuthorג’ראלד עוד לא מסוגל לכתוב בעברית?ומדוע שלא תספרי כמה אייטמים הכניס בבמה הזו הימין הקיצוני לעומת המרכז הדמוקרטי? אין הרבה ציפיות מאשה שכל פרנסתה בנויה על התרת דם הסתה ושקר

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  • ActiveDana Barnett
    שיקו בהראין שום התרת דם, הסתה או שקר במה שאני כותבת. כל מה שאני כותבת מבוסס על מה שמופיע ממילא באינטרנט. קשה להאמין שאתה מאמין לשקרים של עצמך.
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  • שיקו בהרAuthorאינך עושה דבר למעט התרת דם. ומה את חושבת הוליד את ברוך גולדשטיין ויגאל עמיר אם לא אנשים דוגמתך ודוגמת ג שטיינברג?
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    • ActiveDana Barnett
      שיקו בהראתה כל כך בור, זה לא יאמן. אין כל קשר בין העמותה שלי לעמותה של ג׳ראלד שטיינברג.
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    • שיקו בהרAuthorDana Barnett יש קשר הדוק בין שניכם לבין אלימות רצחנית מול לא יהודים ויהודים דמוקרטים (הפצצה בבית שטרנהל )
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    • ActiveDana Barnett
      שיקו בהראין שמץ של אמת בדבריך. האמירות שלך הן הוצאת דיבה. תתנצל או שתתבע.
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    • שיקו בהרAuthorDana Barnett תתבעי
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    •  שיקו בהר Authorטוב גם ללמוד עם על מחוייבותך לזכות הדיבור והדעה
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    • ActiveDana Barnett
      שיקו בהר אתה מעליל עלי עלילות דם בסגנון אנטישמי, אין לי שום כוונה להתייחס אל זה כאל דעה או זכות דיבור.
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HUJ Advancing Arab Scholars to Bash Israel: Areej Sabbagh-Khoury a Case in Point

23.12.21

Editorial Note

The Hebrew University Department of Sociology and Anthropology congratulated its member, Dr. Areej Sabbagh-Khoury, for winning the prestigious Guggenheim Scholarship.  Sabbagh-Khoury, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, has a long history of promoting the theory that Israel is a product of “settler colonialism,” which denies Jewish historical rights to the land.  As a critical, neo-Marxist scholar, she has castigated liberal and neoliberal economic policies for the more current problems of her community.

Her Guggenheim project, titled “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Disintegration and Intracommunal Violence Among the Palestinian Citizens in Israel,” intends to discuss the issue of severe intracommunal crime and violence in the Arab society in Israel.  Indeed, the violence has attracted public attention in Israel and abroad.   The Israeli press compared Palestinian Israelis killed, a death toll that far exceeds the number in the Jewish community. Both the New York Times and the BBC reported on the phenomenon.

Sabbagh-Khoury notes in her proposal that Palestinian citizens of Israel have called for help from the state to the “growing intercommunal violence, from homicides to violence against women to organized crime.” 

But, true to her colors, she immediately reverts to her theory: “This crisis is impossible to understand without attention to the larger structural violence inflicted by a settler colonial state on its minority Palestinian citizens.”  For good measure, she also faults the neoliberal policies for Arab violence. The “violence within Palestinian communities in Israel has grown incrementally since the mid-1980s, alongside the implementation of neoliberal policies in Israel.” The neoliberal policies “have led to social transformations in Palestinian society: a Palestinian middle class has developed, and the bottom tier has become increasingly suppressed. Protection racketeering and violence against women are prominent violence plaguing cities and villages performed by Palestinians themselves.” 

Sabbagh-Khoury blames Israel. The “Israeli state practices of population management, including continued dispossession, surveillance, and attempts to suppress nationalist political organizations, have also dramatically shaped the contours of Palestinian life in Israel, especially following the 2000 Second Intifada.”

It seems as if Sabbagh-Khoury conflates between Arab citizens of Israel and the Palestinian non-citizens.  

Sabbagh-Khoury’s project then asks: “What is the relationship between Israeli state practices of political economic neoliberalization and colonization (in the forms of organized abandonment and dispossession), and intracommunal violence among the Palestinian society in Israel? What is the role of a settler state in managing violence among its minority population?”  

Answers to these questions are included in her previous work. In January IAM reported an article by Sabbagh-Khoury , who argued that “the 1948 Nakba was neither the beginning nor the end of a process of settler-colonial expropriation.”   In another article, Sabbagh-Khoury discussed Israel’s mixed cities of Arabs and Jews, that they “result of Israeli’s policies of settler colonialism” where the “Israeli establishment constantly strives to exclude Palestinians from these cities and to make their continued existence there difficult.”

Sabbagh-Khoury also proposes to discuss “Israel’s ongoing policy of Judaizing these cities, of exercising its control over them, and its attempts to remove Palestinians from them and erase them from their history. Because these cities have been absent as Palestinian cities… since the advent of the Nakba,” she wrote.   

However, ignoring the Palestinian-initiated wars against Israel absolves them from taking any responsibility. 

She also states that her project seeks to contribute to comparative and historical scholarships on “minoritarian violence, discovering what the Palestinians-in-Israel case can illuminate for other cases of intracommunal violence, especially those in settler colonial states.”    In other words, the project does not seek to investigate what triggers violence in Arab society and why Arab men insist on subjugating their women. Instead, the project wishes to discuss “settler colonial states” – a euphemism for blaming the West for Arab violence and failures.  

As a sociologist, Sabbagh-Khoury chooses to produce another meaningless report replete with critical, neo-Marxist jargon, which does nothing to advance solutions to the crisis.  Worse, this project is a thinly disguised effort to bash Israel.   

The Hebrew University and the Guggenheim Foundation should notice that valuable resources are being wasted on pushing outlandish theories that shed little light on contemporary problems.  Indeed, Israeli universities wish to help Arab scholars advance their careers, who, in return, bash Israel.

References:

Sociology & Anthropology HUJI סוציולוגיה ואנתרופולוגיה

16 December at 15:21  · ברכות לד”ר אריז’ סבאע’-ח’ורי על זכייתה במלגת גוגנהיים היוקרתית. את התקציר והשם המלא של ההצעה ניתן לקרוא כאן: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Disintegration and Intracommunal Violence Among the Palestinian Citizens in IsraelAbstractSince the turn of the century, Palestinians in Israel have called for a significant response from the Israeli state to the growing intercommunal violence, from homicides to violence against women to organized crime. The declared crisis is impossible to understand without attention to the larger structural violence inflicted by a settler colonial state on its minority Palestinian citizens. By most accounts, non-political (i.e., non-nationalist) violence within Palestinian communities in Israel has grown incrementally since the mid-1980s, alongside the implementation of neoliberal policies in Israel. Together, these have led to social transformations in Palestinian society: a Palestinian middle class has developed, and the bottom tier has become increasingly suppressed. Protection racketeering and violence against women are prominent violences plaguing cities and villages performed by Palestinians themselves. Israeli state practices of population management, including continued dispossession, surveillance, and attempts to suppress nationalist political organizations, have also dramatically shaped the contours of Palestinian life in Israel, especially following the 2000 Second Intifada. But intracommunal violence is neither neutral nor natural, its origins never inevitable. The project asks the following: What is the relationship between Israeli state practices of political economic neoliberalization and colonization (in the forms of organized abandonment and dispossession), and intracommunal violence among the Palestinian society in Israel? What is the role of a settler state in managing violence among its minority population? The project seeks to contribute to the growing comparative and historical scholarship on minoritarian violence, discovering what the Palestinians-in-Israel case can illuminate for other cases of intracommunal violence, especially those in settler colonial states.

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https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/02/world/middleeast/israel-arab-crime-killings-police.html

Violent Crime Spikes Among Arabs in Israel as Officials Admit Neglect

Killings of Arabs by Arabs have soared in Israel. The prevailing assumption, an official said, was “as long as they are killing each other, that’s their problem.”

By Isabel Kershner

Oct. 2, 2021

TAIBEH, Israel — After a day of work in construction, Alaa Sarsour, 25, showered, dressed and walked the short distance to his friend’s pre-wedding henna party in a cobbled alley festooned with ribbons in the old heart of Taibeh, an Arab town in central Israel.

Suddenly, mid-celebration, a wild burst of bullets split the cool night air, hitting Mr. Sarsour and five other guests. Mr. Sarsour died in his brother’s lap, relatives said, apparently the victim of a simmering feud between the gunman — a friend of the groom who had been at the party moments earlier — and a member of Mr. Sarsour’s family.

The shooting last week was just one of at least 16 homicides in Israel’s Arab communities last month, and one of nearly 100 so far this year.

The killings — not by Israeli soldiers but by Arab criminals — account for about 70 percent of all Israeli homicides, though Arabs represent just over 20 percent of the population. The surging violence has shocked the country and put a spotlight on what the government acknowledges to have been decades of neglect of crime in Arab communities.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has described the violence as a “national blight” and will head a new ministerial task force to combat the problem that is set to meet on Sunday.

Omer Bar-Lev, who as Israel’s minister of public security oversees the country’s police force, decried what he said was “the prevailing assumption that as long as they are killing each other, that’s their problem.”

The spike in killings has spawned an “Arab Lives Matter” campaign. But unlike the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States, Arab leaders are begging for police action.

“Can the Israel police really not overcome a bunch of criminal gangs?” demanded Ayman Odeh, the leader of an Arab alliance in Israel’s Parliament, at a demonstration last week. “Of course it can, but to put it simply, it treats us as its backyard.”

The number of homicides within the Arab community has spiraled in recent years, from 58 in 2013, according to the police, to about 97 in 2020, and at least 98 so far this year. An Arab citizen of Israel is far more likely to get killed by a fellow Arab than by the Israeli police, and more Arabs have been killed by Arabs in Israel so far this year than have been killed by Israeli security forces in confrontations in the occupied West Bank, which receive much greater attention.

Fewer than a quarter of the cases have been solved, a symptom, critics say, of both police indifference and Arab distrust of the police.

Out of more than 3,300 shootings in Arab communities in 2019, only five percent resulted in indictments, which the police say is a result of difficulty in gathering evidence and locating suspects and witnesses.

In an impassioned Twitter thread the morning after the Taibeh wedding shooting, Mr. Bar-Lev, the minister of public security, blamed decades of government neglect for the problems of Arab communities, and declared combating crime there the central mission of his ministry and the police.

Arab leaders, experts and government officials attribute the spike in internecine violence mostly to the rise of well-armed Arab crime organizations involved in loan sharking and protection rackets, brutally enforced by ranks of unemployed, aimless youths eager to be foot soldiers for easy money.

But personal grudges, small land disputes between neighbors or even petty slights between schoolchildren add to the numbers, sometimes escalating into deadly clan vendettas. Guns have also been turned against women in cases of domestic violence and so-called “honor killings.”

Disputes easily turn lethal because Arab communities are awash in illegal weapons.

Estimates of illegal guns in Arab communities range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands, though the Arab population of Israel numbers under two million. “Nobody really knows how to quantify it,” says Tomer Lotan, the director-general of the Ministry of Public Security.

Arab politicians and activists have organized mass protests calling for government intervention. Mothers of victims marched from the northern city of Haifa to Jerusalem last year and in recent weeks have staged protests near Mr. Bar-Lev’s house.

“Every day they make promises and plans, him included,” said Watfa Jabali, 52, a Taibeh shopkeeper and activist who lost a son to gun violence. “And we hear on the news about another murder and another and another.”

As the numbers have increased, the killings have only become more brazen.

A month ago, Anas al-Wahwah, 18, an outstanding student and youth volunteer with the Israeli ambulance service, was shot at close range at noon while waiting for his mother in a car in the center of Lod, a mixed Jewish-Arab town in central Israel.

In April, a woman, Suha Mansour, was shot dead at a beauty parlor she ran in Tira, five miles from Taibeh. One Saturday afternoon in June, a couple and their teenage daughter were killed while driving along a highway in northern Israel.

Many Arab citizens question how a technologically advanced country like Israel, which had the intelligence capabilities to pilfer nuclear files out of Iran and to round up six escaped Palestinian prisoners within a week, has been unable to break up a few local criminal gangs.

Some are skeptical of the authorities’ intentions, believing that they have deliberately let violence run amok in order to weaken the Arab minority in Israel, which largely identifies as Palestinian.

“It is all part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” said Jamal Fattum, 47, a lawyer and social activist from the Arab town of Nahef, in northern Israel. “We are part of the Palestinian people, who have national aspirations.”

Mr. Fattum, who has helped organize protests against violence and government inaction, has at least 10 security cameras monitoring his upscale residence. But one night in April his family awoke to shooting at the house and a boom as their car went up in flames. A bullet pierced the thick, wooden front door and lodged high in his dining room wall.

Mr. Fattum said he had no idea who the masked assailants were or what they may have wanted, other than to silence him. The police have investigated but made no arrests.

But in many cases, victims refuse to cooperate.

Whether out of mistrust of the police, fear of revenge, or both, officials and experts say, witnesses and relatives of victims often stick to a code of silence. Some crime scenes are cleaned up before the police arrive.

In the case of the wedding party, a suspect was swiftly apprehended. But once the case comes to court, the father of the groom, Nasser Barabra, said, there would be no witnesses, even though the gunman was unmasked.

“We didn’t see anything,” said Mr. Barabra, a house painter. Speaking in his home a day after the family had gone from Mr. Sarsour’s funeral to what they said was a joyless wedding ceremony, he added, “Some people walk around with guns and some people walk around with fear.”

Distraught female relatives of the victim, mourning in a house nearby, claimed they did not know the identity of the gunman, who was a neighbor. They were scared, they said, and wanted no more trouble.

Successive Israeli governments have made promises and proposed plans of action. A commission including the directors of several ministries and Arab local council representatives studied the problem in 2020 and determined that the informal financial industry behind so much of the violence arose because Arabs have traditionally relied on a cash-based economy and often lack access to regular banking.

The lack of building permits and space for new housing in cramped Arab cities and towns has led to violent land disputes, and precludes obtaining mortgages or loans from banks, making Arab society vulnerable to loan sharks, extortion and ruthless debt collectors.

The illegal weapons flooding Arab towns are often stolen from the military or smuggled across the border from Jordan, according to the state comptroller, the government watchdog. Improvised weapons are manufactured in the West Bank, and airsoft pellet guns that can be ordered from Amazon have been adapted to fire real bullets, comptroller’s reports have said.

The military said it was working with the police and security groups to reduce the theft of weapons from its bases, and had improved surveillance measures. It reported 80 cases of stolen weapons in 2020 and 21 cases so far this year.

The burst of inter-communal mob violence that shook Israel last May has also served as a catalyst for more urgent action by the authorities, raising fears that the weapons could be turned against the Jewish public.

Mr. Lotan, of the Public Security Ministry, said the government had a detailed plan ready to put into action once the state budget is passed in November. It calls for recruiting an additional 1,100 police officers, legislative changes to deal more efficiently with economic crime, more use of technology and an improved witness protection program — all measures intended to improve access and trust in Arab communities.

Mr. Bennett has proposed enlisting the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, in the campaign, though that has become a point of contention, with many people opposing using counterterrorism means against civilians.

“You need a tough hand against the organizations and the weapons,” Mr. Lotan said, “and in parallel, you need to continue to work on the broad social issues,” what he called the “huge inequality in all spheres.”

It is clear that more policing alone is not the solution. In nearby Tamra, when the police did act, it ended in tragedy.

One night in February, masked gunmen fired at a house in a densely populated residential area, telling the owner they would be back two days later to collect money, according to the town’s mayor, Dr. Suheil Diab. When they returned, one of them armed with an M16 assault rifle, a police SWAT team was waiting in ambush.

Bullets started flying. Across the street, Ahmad Hijazi, a nursing student who was visiting a friend, ran out when he heard cries for help and was shot dead. The friend’s brother, Muhammad Armoush, a doctor, followed him out, and was shot in the foot.

One of the gunmen was killed, another was severely wounded and arrested. A third escaped.

Dr. Armoush said he saw the police aiming for Mr. Hijazi and himself, apparently deeming them suspicious. Police investigators have not yet determined if it was their bullets, or those of the criminals, that hit Dr. Armoush and Mr. Hijazi.

Sitting out on his porch at dusk on a recent evening, above the street where the shootout happened, Dr. Armoush was emotional and exasperated.

“After what happened to us, I expected a change,” he said. “Then yesterday somebody goes to a wedding….”

Rawan Sheikh Ahmad contributed reporting.

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https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-58183954

The murderous crime wave sweeping Israel’s Arabs

By Yolande Knell
BBC News, Jerusalem

Published 13 August

Israel’s Arab minority accounts for about one-fifth of the population, but in recent years it has experienced the vast majority of the country’s murders.

In 2020, 97 Arab citizens were killed, compared to less than half of that in the Jewish community, according to a tally by the Abraham Initiatives group, a Jewish-Arab organisation which promotes positive ties between the two communities. So far this year, about 60 have been killed.

Most victims are young men but increasingly others are caught up in a violent crime wave linked to illegal guns, family feuds and organised gangs.

“It’s shocking… we used to think that for these criminals, women and children are the red line,” says activist Maisam Jaljuli from the organisation Mothers for Life. “It’s not the way anymore.”

There is a large padlock on the door of a beauty salon in Maisam’s hometown of Tira. It was run by her friend, 38-year-old Suha Mansour.

In April Suha, a mother-of-three, had two clients inside when she was shot five times at point-blank range by a hooded attacker. No arrests have yet been made.

“The police took the films of the security camera, but the police don’t know who did that until now, or they claim they don’t know,” Maisam tells me.

“I wonder if it’s a case of: ‘Who cares? They are Arabs, so let them kill themselves.'”

Breaking a stigma

As shocking as it sounds, Maisam’s attitude is far from unusual.

In theory, Israeli Arabs – or Palestinian citizens of Israel, as many prefer to be called – have equal rights with Jewish citizens, but they routinely complain of state discrimination.

Bereaved families and Arab officials claim that police inaction is one of the main reasons for the endemic violence plaguing their neighbourhoods.

“I went mad, it was like I had lost my own life, or lost my eyes. They killed my son, the only boy I had,” says an Arab mother in a northern Israeli town.

She is convinced that members of her in-laws’ family carried out the shooting, but police say there is no evidence to charge those she suspects.

“The police do nothing at all. They don’t care about this stuff happening in Arab communities,” she says, weeping.

According to a recent report by the Haaretz newspaper, Israeli police have only solved 23% of Arab murders this year, compared with 71% for the Jewish population.

The police will not confirm those figures, but insist they have nothing to apologise for.

“I’d like to break a stigma,” says Cdr Ygal Ezra, who heads a new Crime Prevention Department for Arab areas. “The police invest a lot in the Arab community.”

He says that in recent years, nearly 700 Muslim police officers have been recruited and more police stations have been built in Arab towns.

When I press him on the disparity in prosecutions between murderers of Arabs and Jews, he says that he and his colleagues are often up against distrust and a lack of co-operation.

“In a murder in an Arab community, you arrive at the scene and people might have washed the blood away or made the bullets disappear or hidden the killer,” Cdr Ezra says.

“Someone might take video evidence and hide it because he doesn’t want to get involved in that experience.”

Demand for action

The past year has seen a series of mass protests by Arab communities. The Mothers for Life group staged a six-day march from Haifa to Jerusalem. However, the misery has continued.

In Jaljulia, the living room of Siham Ades looks like a shrine to her 14-year-old son, Muhammad, an A-grade student who was shot dead in March. It happened while Muhammad was eating pizza outside his home with a friend, who was seriously hurt.

“Fifteen minutes after they left [the house], we heard shooting. We went out to check what was happening only to find Mustafa lying bloody on the ground. Then we couldn’t find Muhammad and I started screaming,” she recalls.

In Umm al-Fahm, I hear how an Arab doctor was shot dead driving his wife and newborn baby home from hospital. In the Galilee, a man and woman were killed along with their teenage daughter in a drive-by shooting. Their nine-year-old daughter was wounded.

Experts say that as police have cracked down on big Jewish Israeli mobsters in the past decade or so, organised crime has increasingly moved into Arab areas. Heavily-armed gangs run protection rackets and act as loan sharks, threatening and blackmailing people.

The current Israeli coalition government – which includes for the first time, an Islamist Arab party – has promised to act.

It has budgeted over a billion shekels ($310m; £225m) for a new plan to fight crime in the Arab community. Many say that must include tackling Israeli Arabs’ relative poverty.

“We want the Israeli government and responsible people to fight economically those organised groups, because if they do not destroy the economic infrastructure that they are building themselves on, nothing will change,” says Aida Touma Suleiman, an Israeli Arab member of parliament who sits in opposition.

Meanwhile, as politicians plan reforms, activists demand action, and police plead for co-operation, the stakes surrounding Israel’s Arab crime wave are getting higher.

In May, feelings of discrimination melded with a new round of conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, to erupt in violent inter-communal clashes. Mobs of Arab and Jewish extremists went on the rampage in Israel’s mixed cities.

There were lynchings, properties were vandalised and religious sites desecrated. Some even warned of impending civil war.

With a sense that Israel’s inter-communal bonds are under threat, Maisam Jaljuli – the activist and friend of the late Suha Mansour – is calling on Jews and Arab citizens to unite to deal with the crime and killings.

“It’s very important for us, because we don’t think that this is an ‘Arab society or a Palestinian society inside Israel’ problem. It’s the whole Israeli problem,” she says.

“The whole Israeli society must be engaged. We all the time said that if you think that the violence and the murders will be only inside the Arab society, you are wrong: It soon will be also in the Jewish society.”  

Canada’s Academic Union Votes to Reject the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism

16.12.21

Editorial Note

Last month, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) Council passed a motion titled “The IHRA and Academic Freedom,” opposing the adoption of the widely accepted IHRA Definition of Antisemitism (IHRAWDA) at the Canadian universities and colleges.   

CAUT decried that “the Canadian federal government has adopted the IHRAWDA, along with provincial governments in Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick, and numerous municipal and provincial governments across Canada are considering the adoption of IHRAWDA.”

For CAUT, the “government adoptions of IHRAWDA can impact federal and provincial academic grants, scholarships and funding for projects that are seen to conflict with the IHRAWDA mandate to shield the state of Israel from criticism and charges of racism and colonialism.”  

According to CAUT, the IHRA definition “poses a significant threat to academic freedom at Canadian universities and colleges and has already been used on a number of occasions to censor and impede the academic freedom of teachers and researchers who have developed anti-racist and decolonial perspectives on the policies and practices of the state of Israel.”  CAUT explained that “the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Working Definition of Antisemitism labels as “antisemitic a broad range of criticisms of the state of Israel, particularly targeting decolonial and anti-racist critiques of the policies, structures, and practices of Israel.” 

This is a baseless accusation as the IHRA definition states clearly that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.”  However, the following should be considered examples of antisemitism: “Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust; Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations; Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor; Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation; Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis; Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis; Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.”

As CAUT stated, the Canadian Government adopted an Anti-Racism Strategy on 27 June 2019. The strategy is titled “Building a Foundation for Change: Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy 2019–2022.” The fight against antisemitism is part of this strategy.  The resolution quotes the IHRAWDA: a “certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews.” Adding that “Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” The anti-racism strategy includes a footnote with a link to the IHRAWDA.

However, CAUT justifies its stand by publishing an article by Rebecca Gould, “Free speech and double standards,” in November 2021, which argues against adopting the IHRAWDA for limiting free speech. Gould is teaching in the UK, at the University of Birmingham, School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Professor and Professorial Research Fellow of Islamic World and Comparative Literature.  

Gould, is a close follower of the historian Arno Mayer, a self-proclaimed “left-dissident Marxist.”   Mayer, a German Jew who fled to the United States, has emerged as one of the most notorious revisionists of the Holocaust.  Rather than denying that the Holocaust, or his preferred term Judeocide, did not occur, Mayer claimed that Antisemitism was never a major drive in the Nazi ideology but rather a byproduct of its animus toward Bolshevism. 

More to the point, Mayer infamously argued that Jews and their collective being, the State of Israel, have used the memory of the Holocaust to block all criticism of Israeli politics.

Gould borrowed his words that the Holocaust had spawned a “collective perspective of ‘memory’ unconducive to critical and contextual thinking about the Jewish calamity.” By calling it “Jewish calamity,” it minimizes the scale of the Holocaust. The theory became popular among pro-Palestinian academic activists like Gould.  She complains that “Mayer’s protest has gone unheeded,” adding that the Holocaust “has sanctified the state of Israel and whitewashed its crime” [against the Palestinians].  For her, “the time has come to stop privileging the Holocaust as the central event in Jewish history.”  She goes further by stating that a “history of past Jewish suffering is unable to dictate the appropriate response to Jewish suffering, let alone to other peoples’ suffering… it is necessary to separate Jewish suffering from the Palestinian crisis. One tragedy does not license another. The Holocaust does not license the Israeli occupation. Nor does it license the bulldozing of Palestinian homes or the razing of Palestinian land.”

In Gould’s version, Palestinians are innocent victims of the Holocaust- empowered Israelis:  “As the situation stands today, the Holocaust persists and its primary victims are the Palestinian people.” 

While Gould’s pro-Palestinian arguments can be contested, however, Gould is Antisemitic according to the IHRAWDA clause, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.” It is not surprising that she advocates against the adoption of the IHRAWDA.

In its resolution, CAUT stated that “CAUT vigorously opposes antisemitism.” With the surge of Antisemitism on Western campuses, CAUT should distance itself from Antisemites and adopt the IHRAWDA to curb Antisemitism. Academics can criticize Israel without having to resort to Antisemitic tropes.  

References:

https://www.caut.ca/sites/default/files/motions_resolutions_for_caut_council_website-en.pdf

Motions from the 91st CAUT Council Meeting
Nov. 25-26, 2021
Agenda
Item #
MOTIONS/RESOLUTIONS MOTION OUTCOME
10. MEMBER RESOLUTION
#1
The IHRA and Academic Freedom
MOVER: AASUA
SECONDER: SGPPUM
MOTION:
WHEREAS CAUT wholeheartedly supports the academic freedom of university and college academic staff, and
WHEREAS CAUT wholeheartedly supports the academic freedom of university and college academic staff, and
WHEREAS CAUT vigorously opposes antisemitism, Islamophobia, anti-Palestinian racism, anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism, and all forms of discrimination, racism, and hatred, and
WHEREAS antisemitism is a legally prohibited form of discrimination in Canadian human rights legislation, and 
WHEREAS the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Working Definition of Antisemitism [IHRAWDA] includes as antisemitic a broad range of criticisms of the state of Israel, particularly targeting decolonial and anti-racist critiques of the policies, structures, and practices of Israel, and
WHEREAS the IHRAWDA poses a significant threat to academic freedom at Canadian universities and colleges and has already been used on a number of occasions to censor and impede the academic freedom of teachers and researchers who have developed anti-racist and decolonial perspectives on the policies and practices of the state of Israel, and
WHEREAS the Canadian federal government has adopted the IHRAWDA, along with provincial governments in Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick, and numerous municipal and provincial governments across Canada are considering the adoption of IHRAWDA, and
WHEREAS government adoptions of IHRAWDA can impact federal and provincial academic grants, scholarships and funding for projects that are seen to conflict with the IHRAWDA mandate to shield the state of Israel from criticism and charges of racism and colonialism,
BE IT RESOLVED THAT CAUT opposes the adoption of IHRAWDA at Canadian universities and colleges. CAUT supports the academic freedom of its members and recognizes the need to safeguard the rights of scholars to develop critical perspectives on all states, including the state of Israel, without fear of outside political influence, cuts to funding, censorship, harassment, threats, and intimidation.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20211202-canada-academics-vote-to-reject-ihra-definition-of-anti-semitism/

Canada: academics vote to reject IHRA definition of anti-Semitism December 2, 2021 at 3:25 pm 

A major Canadian academic association representing more than 70,000 academic faculty and staff around the country has rejected the controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism in an effort to protect academic freedom.

The motion adopted by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), states that it “supports the academic freedom of its members and recognises the need to safeguard the rights of scholars to critique all states, including the state of Israel, without fear of outside political influence, cuts to funding, censorship, harassment, threats, and intimidation.”

Human rights defenders across Canada have applauded the association’s move. It comes as hostile anti-Palestinian groups demand that governments and academic institutions in the western world should adopt the IHRA definition.

Leading this campaign in Canada is B’nai B’rith, an anti-Palestinian lobby group that has long pushed for the formal conflation of valid criticism of Israel with anti-Jewish bigotry. Last year it called for the expulsion of Professor Faisal Bhabha from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. Moreover, B’nai B’rith Canada has reportedly insisted that the government should only fund international humanitarian aid organisations that adhere to the flawed definition.

Critics argue that the IHRA definition is a blunt instrument and not fit for purpose in combating anti-Semitism. With seven of the 11 examples conflating anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel, it’s seen more as a political tool to crackdown on free speech about Israel rather than a credible definition to deal with racism towards Jews.

OPINION: Overthrowing Israel’s bogus definition of anti-Semitism

“Pro-Israel groups have repeatedly pointed to the IHRA definition as a tool that can be used by universities to shut down various forms of student activism, and specifically boycotts of Israel and Israeli Apartheid Week,” explained Michael Bueckert, vice president of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, to The Electronic Intifada. “They have also suggested that the IHRA should be applied to scholarship, and have tried to get professors fired for their criticism of Israeli policies or Zionism.”

CAUT’s motion is just the latest in a series of defeats for the pro-Israel lobby’s push to use the IHRA definition to censor scholarship on Palestinian rights in Canada. Last year, the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations, which represents 17,000 professors and academic librarians in more than 30 faculty associations across the country, publicly rejected the province’s unilateral move to adopt the definition, calling it an abuse of power.

Applauding the motion, Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) and the Academic Alliance Against Anti-Semitism, Racism, Colonialism & Censorship in Canada (ARC), said that it was “a crucial action to protect academic freedom and critical scholarship in Canada.”===============================================
https://westvanlibrary.ca/resource/canadas-anti-racism-strategy/

Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy

From October 2018 to March 2019, the Government of Canada held engagement sessions across the country to gather input from Canadians, especially those with lived experiences of racism and discrimination, in order to help inform the development of a new federal anti-racism strategy. The input is summarized in What we heard — Informing Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy.

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https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/anti-racism-engagement/anti-racism-strategy.html

Building a Foundation for Change: Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy 2019–2022

On this page

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Building a Foundation for Change: Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy 2019–2022[PDF]

AntisemitismAntisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.Footnote3Footnote3International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance “Working Definition of Antisemitism”. For further information, visit: https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/working-definition-antisemitism.

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https://www.caut.ca/bulletin/2021/11/commentary-free-speech-and-double-standards-0
NOVEMBER 2021

Commentary / Free speech and double standards

by REBECCA RUTH GOULD

On 1 October, David Miller was fired by the University of Bristol for his controversial statements about Israel. The reason for terminating his employment, the university said, was that ‘Professor Miller did not meet the standards of behaviour we expect from our staff.’ The behaviour in question consisted of words: contentious words with which many would disagree, but words nonetheless, words not directed against any specific individual and not conforming to any conventional definition of harassment, though respected colleagues have argued otherwise.

In 2017, while teaching at Bristol, I was accused of antisemitism after a student unearthed an article I wrote for Counterpunch four years before joining the university. One of the most appealing aspects of moving to the UK had been the space it seemed to offer me as an American for a less polarised debate about the occupation of Palestine. At Columbia University, where I received my PhD, there had been a fight over the tenure case of the Palestinian anthropologist Nadia Abu El-Haj in 2007. She was granted tenure two months later, but the row left an indelible mark on campus politics, especially in relation to Middle Eastern Studies.

In the UK, the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism by Theresa May’s government in 2016 emboldened those who would conflate antisemitism with criticism of Israel. The IHRA definition was cited by the student who complained about my article.

The university inquiry dragged on for months, during which I learned that institutions are leaned on from many directions when their staff members are accused of antisemitism. The ethical mandate to oppose antisemitism and other forms of racism does not figure nearly as high in their list of concerns as pressure from the government, the media and students. The complaint against me was dismissed, but I left Bristol soon afterwards with the distinct sense that justice had not been served. Palestinian perspectives were ignored in my case, and the suppression of Palestinian voices only increased after my departure.

Four years later, anti-Israeli activism isn’t the only controversial issue on campus. The University of Bristol Islamic Society complained that Steve Greer, a professor of human rights, was promoting Islamophobia during his lectures. The week after Miller was sacked – even though an independent report by a QC concluded that his comments ‘did not constitute unlawful speech’ – the university dismissed the complaint against Greer. With all the attention on Miller’s case, Muslim students found their discontent relegated to the sidelines and their concerns overruled.

Amid these efforts by liberal education administrators, Jews, Muslims and polemicists of all stripes to protect their ideological turf, a crucial fact is getting lost. When a university academic, who was hired to pursue his research and to articulate, publicly and without fear, the consequences of his research, is fired for doing precisely what he was hired to do, everyone suffers a blow. Miller’s dismissal makes it easier for other universities to act as Bristol did, even if on different ideological grounds. Everyone loses out when universities punish their employees for speaking what they consider to be 
the truth.

From this point of view, it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong in the debate over antisemitism on the left, or whether Miller’s thinking displays conspiratorial tendencies. What matters is that a freethinker has had his livelihood taken from him for expressing his views. That is a problem, not just for the fight against antisemitism, but for the idea of democracy.

__________________________________

Rebecca Ruth Gould is the author of Writers and Rebels:  The Literature of Insurgency in the Caucasus. This commentary first appeared in the London Review of Books on October 12, 2021. The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily CAUT.

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BIRMINGHAM UNIVERSITY’S PROF. REBECCA GOULD SEEMS TO IDENTIFY AS JEWISH ONLY WHEN CRITICISING EFFORTS TO FIGHT ANTISEMITISM

A professor at the University of Birmingham is on record claiming both that she is Jewish and also that she is not Jewish.

Prof. Rebecca Gould, who previously taught at the University of Bristol, was one of numerous signatories to a letter calling on the German Government not to equate the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement with antisemitism. The signatories to the May 2019 letter all described themselves as “Jewish and Israeli scholars”.

Meanwhile, in a 2019 academic article titled ‘The Palestine Exception to Academic Freedom’, which she co-authored with fellow academic Malaka Shwaikh, Prof. Gould said: “I am not Jewish according to any widely accepted definition”.

Prof. Gould went on in that article to explain: “On my father’s side, I am of Jewish descent. My father’s ancestors were born in Lodz, in what was then the Pale of Settlement within the Russian empire and is now a part of Poland. They migrated to Australia in the nineteenth century, in search of new opportunities, before arriving in the US, where they became perfect capitalists, converted to Catholicism, and changed their name from the Jewish Goldstein to the gentile Gould to improve their economic prospects. Such is the extent of my ancestral link to Judaism.”

The discrepancy in Prof. Gould’s biography was brought to the attention of Campaign Against Antisemitism by a concerned member of the academic community. Prof. Gould has not responded to our request for comment.

Prof. Gould is apparently prepared to identify herself as Jewish in order to try to lend authority to a matter that impacts the Jewish community (an overwhelming majority of British Jews, for example, feel intimidated by tactics used to boycott Israel) but is much less certain of her Jewish identity on other occasions.

The academic article rightly notes that Campaign Against Antisemitism has criticised both Prof. Gould and her co-author, Dr Shwaikh, in the past. We previously exposed Prof. Gould as having written that “As the situation stands today, the Holocaust persists and its primary victims are the Palestinian people”.

We observed that Prof. Gould’s co-author, Dr Shwaikh, had made various deeply concerning statements, including that “If terrorism means protecting and defending my land, I am so proud to be called terrorist. What an honour for the Palestinians!”; marked Holocaust Memorial Day by tweeting that “The shadow of the Holocaust continues to fall over us from the continuous Israeli occupation of Palestine to the election of Trump”; claimed that “Zionism ideology [sic] is no different than that of Hitler’s”; and wrote that “Hitler did his deed and the Palestinians had to pay for it.” Dr Shwaikh previously claimed through her solicitors that the tweets, sent over a significant period, were the result of a hacking attack, but failed to substantiate her claim when challenged.
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https://www.counterpunch.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/vol-18-no-19.pdf
COUNTERPUNCH November 1-15, 2011

Volume 18 no 19

Beyond Anti-Semitism 

By Rebecca Gould “The last thing I want is to be called an ‘anti-Semite’,” an American friend confided, as we returned to Jerusalem after a daylong excursion to Hebron. We were gliding down the highway that stretched in front of us like a ribbon traversing the gaping darkness. I was so surprised by his words, offered in response to my question rega- rding why so many Israeli flags had to be hoisted above a road that cut through the heart of the Pal estini an territories, that I had to ask for clarification. “I can’t make Israelis the enemy,” he explained. “I live with them. I speak Hebrew better than Arabic. They are my friends:’ I was less surprised by the timing of these comments than by their content, for they marked the culmination to lengthy pronouncements evincing entirely different sentiments, as we traveled between the cave villages surrounding Hebron. As soon as Israel was behind us, I became the captive audience to his unceasing reflections on the injustices attending Israel’s occupation of Palestine, making up for many months of diplomatic silence. At every invitation, my friend was the first to point out that the greater weight of injustices lay on the Israeli side. This was a conflict, he said, marked by misinformation, deception, and fabrications of the past, and the winners were more culpable than the losers. “Israel exists only on subsidies:’ he repeated tirelessly, stressing the violence the state of Israel had introduced into the economy of the Levant. By contrast, Palestine was an “artificially underdeveloped economy” forced into economic depression by Israel’s draconian policies. And now, at the conclusion to a journey that had exposed me to a hitherto unknown aspect of an interlocutor I had believed to be unsympathetic to the Palestinian cause, he confessed his fear of being pegged as an anti-Semite. As we crossed the border into Israel, this confession seemed to mark a turn back to politics as usual. to silent complicity and diplomacy, and an infinite deferral of the mandate to speak the truth wherever it may lead. From a human perspective, my friend’s concerns were entirely legitimate. Indeed, they were shared completely by myself. Although I did not live in Israel, I received financial support from the same Israeli organization as did my friend . Like him. J had no interest in alienating anyone and no desire to acquire a reputation as a despiser of any group. However, no aspect of my question could have legitimated such labeling. That Israeli flags were posted at every single turn of a road that ran straight through Palestinian territory struck me as strange, given that Hebron had not been ceded to Israel after 1967. I wanted to know whether renegade settlers or the Israeli government were behind these unsolicited decorations. That my question evoked fears of the anti-Semitic label rather than a direct confrontation with the problem at hand reveals the power wielded by this ever-present accusation to steer conversation away from the occupation. From casual conversations to political debates. the specter of anti-Semitism constrains open discussion regarding the impact of Israeli policies on Palestinian lives, especially in what are known as Israel’s liberal publications. In a recent review of Han Pappe’s book, The Forgotten Palestinians: A History of the Palestinians in Israel, the Israeli left-wing newspaper Haaretz berated the Israeli historian, who was made to abandon his professorship at the University of Haifa for the University of Exeter in 2007, for lacking “any understanding or empathy for Jewish Israel’s sense of vulnerability and victimization:’ Pappe’s fatal flaw, according to the reviewer in Haaretz, was his failure to recognize Israel as a country that “has never enjoyed a moment when there was n’t somebody calling for its destruction:’ as though such a recognition should have modified whatever criticisms Pappe had to make of Israel today. Stated otherwise, Pappe had no legitimate right to critique Israel’s treatment of Palestinians residing within and outside the Green Line, unless he counterbalanced such complaints with a recognition of Jewish suffering. The evaluative strategy that holds an author responsible not for what he said but for what he didn’t and that calls him to account for not discussing matters that have at most a tangential bearing on his immediate subject does not stand up to the test of rigorous analysis. I submit that such compromised intellectual standards were only deemed adequate because of the special nature of the subject at hand, and because of the contemporary uses that are made of the long, and not always relevant, history of anti -Jewish hate. In a more objective discussion, Pappe’s work would have been read on its own merits, not for what it had to say about Jewish suffering, which was not its subject, but for what it had to say about Israel’s relation to Palestine. Underlying both Haaretz’s dismissal of Pappe’s scholarship as “unbalanced” and my fri end’s fears of being labeled an anti-Semite for the clarity with which he perceived the Pales tinian occupation are events in World War II Germany that, notwithstanding Palestine’s distance from this conflict, continue to infl uence the events in contemporary IsraelPalestine. As Zev Garber and Bruce Zuckerman have shown, Elie Wiesel did the most to popularize the use of the Greek term holokaustos (“entirely consumed by fire”) to translate the Hebrew shoah. Already 20 years ago, the historian Arno Mayer contested the use of the term “holocaust” in lieu of the shoah, because he recognized that this word had spawned “a collective prescriptive ‘memory’ unconducive to critical and contextual thinking about the Jewish calamity:’ Unfortunately, Mayer’s protests have gone unheeded. When the most religiously freighted term imaginable is used to describe a purely human tragedy, memory becomes an instrument of ideology rather than a means of connecting with the past. This problem is only exacerbated by the way “holocaust” implies divine ordinatio n. Defining the shoah vis-a-vis the Greek (and, incidentally, Christian) term for a sacrifice to God has helped make it available to manipulation by governmental elites, aiming to promote the narrative most likely to underwrite their claims to sovereignty. Claiming the Holocaust as a holy event sanctifies the state of Israel and whitewashes its crimes. As Mayer feared, it also forestalls objective critique of any group associated with those who were brutally “sacrificed” half a century ago. I n the face of this overwhelming fear of being labeled anti-Semitic and of promoting anti-Semitic values that haunts nearly eve ry discussion of the Isra elPalestine conflict, perhaps the time has come to stop privileging the Holocaust as the cent ral event in Jewish history. While it may be possible to construct a historically solid argument that Israel as a country, like the Jews as a people, has “never enjoyed a moment when there wasn’t somebody calling for its destruction,” such a his tory could only ever be the starting point for a post-Holocaust reality. Above all, a history of past Jewish suffering is unable to dictate the appropriate response to Jewish suffering, let alone to other peoples’ suffering, in the present or the future. No people’s past should be allowed to determine another people’s future. Against Moral Calculus Just as it is necessary to separate the past from the present in contemporary Israel-Palestine, so, too, it is necessary to separate Jewish suffering from the Palestinian crisis. One tragedy does not license another. The Holocaust does not license the Israeli occupation. Nor does it license the bulldozing of Palestinian homes or the razing of Palestinian land. To refuse the moral calculus that transforms Jewish suffering into a justification of Israeli oppression does not imply insensitivity to or obliviousness of what the Jews have faced over the course of their long, often devastating, history. Even less does it earn one the label of anti-Semite. Rather, it opens a post-Holocaust present to an ethics that looks beyond the “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” principle that has undergirded all three of the world’s most influential monotheisms – regardless of how they toss this label at each other, all have subscribed to such ethics in practice – at various moments in their history. Two wrongs do not make a right. Jewish suffering will never be appeased by making Palestinians pay the price for the world community’s silence half a century ago, when the Jews were being exterminated. The justification of silence regarding Israel’s illegal expansion in Palestine on the grounds that protest against this injustice could be perceived as anti-Semitic merely extends the lifespan of anti-Jewish prejudice. Two wrongs do not make a right, but one wrong, left unresolved and unhealed, often will fester and multiply, until other people suffer for crimes committed before they were born and in which even their ancestors had no share. Unfortunately, the moral calculus encapsulated in the “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” formula delimits the scope of political possibilities with respect to the Palestinian question in Israel today: a tragedy perpetrated on the Jewish people half a century ago by German powers, and sustained by broad Euro-American complicity, is made to justify, sometimes explicitly and at other times by implication, an occupation that violates international law. 1he Jews have been sinned against, the reasoning seems to run , so, now it is the turn of Israel to sin against the Arabs. If the Jews do not engage in violent, pre-emptive “self-defense;’ the logic continues, then they will face another extermination. In today’s topsy-turvy world, Israel is more likely to share strategic goals with Germany, a country that played a major role in creating the JeWish tragedy, than with Palestine, a country that participated in millennia of harmonious Jewish-Arabic coexistence prior to modernity. This peculiar turn of events has led Edward Said to speak paradoxically but cogently of “Zionism from the Standpoint of its Victims,” thereby suggesting that Zionism, an ideology that derives much of its force from the need to prevent the Jews from being victimized, has, in fact. produced more victims than victors. As Edward Said registered, when he argued that “the Jewish tragedy led di rectly to the Palestinian catastrophe,” the Palestinians are, in fact, linked to the Holocaust, although not in ways commonly recognized in the public sphere. The paradoxes do not end here, for, as Gilbert Achcar has pointed out in his recent provocative study, Arabs and the Holocaust, as “a colonial state born at the very moment in which the process of decolonization was first gaining strength,” Israel is a political anachronism. If Israel and Israel’s supporters wish to be remembered by history as the people who merely passed onto others the violence that was cruelly inflicted on them first, then the logic that makes Jewish suffering an obligatory preface to any discussion of Israel’s oppression is eminently justified. If they wish to be remembered as the people who used horrific suffering to fulfill the seemingly impossible yet honorable mandate of benefitting humanity, then another kind of resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and another language for reflecting on Israel’s politics, will have to be found. The Holocaust is Over – Avraham Burg, a former Knesset speaker has claimed in the title to his book. Burg’s bestselling book, which has caused a stir in Israel, bears the subtitle: We Must Rise From its Ashes. Burg is only partially correct. In addition to rising from the ashes of the shoah, Israel must find a way of not passing on the crime the Nazis introduced into the world onto the next generation of its citizens. If Israel can find a way to stop the cycle of bloodletting released into the world over half a century ago, then, even in an era weary of nations and the states that underwrite them, it will merit the world’s admiration. As the situation stands today, the Holocaust persists and its primary victims are the Palestinian people. A long road remains to be traveled, and much fear needs to be discarded before the ashes can be wiped away. CP

Rebecca Gould is assistant professor of literatures of the Caucasus and the Islamic world, Department of Asian & Slavic Languages & Literatures at the University of Iowa.

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https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3608988

The Palestine Exception to Academic Freedom: Intertwined Stories from the Frontlines of UK-Based Palestine Activism

“The Palestine Exception to Academic Freedom: Intertwined Stories from the Frontlines of UK-Based Palestine Activism,” Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly 42(4): 752-73.

15 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2020

Malaka Shwaikh

St. Andrews University

Rebecca Ruth Gould

University of Birmingham; Harvard University – Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies

Date Written: May 23, 2020

Abstract

This autobiographical co-authored essay explores how hate speech wounds within the logic of the Palestine exception, whereby Israel-critical speech is subjected to censorship and silencing that does not affect other controversial speech. Three months after the UK government’s “adoption” of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism in 2016, we were subjected to a series of attacks in the media, in the public sphere, and in our workplaces in connection with our Palestine-related activism and criticisms of Israeli policies from years earlier. The crackdown on academic freedom that has overtaken UK universities since 2017 has been widely condemned, but rarely has this story been told from the vantage point of those who were targeted and censored. We document here in detail how the Palestine exception to free speech and academic freedom has damaged academic freedom within the UK and silenced Palestinian voices.

The Arabist MESA Continues the War on Israel by Other Means

08.12.21

Editorial Note


On December 2, 2021, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) 36 members voted on a proposal to advance, in early 2022, a BDS resolution to the full membership vote. The resolution endorses the 2005 Palestinian call for BDS. If ratified next year, the resolution would direct MESA to find ways to uphold the call for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions, “in alignment with the association’s mission to defend academic freedom, and in a manner consistent with MESA’s bylaws as well as relevant U.S. federal, state, and local laws.” MESA is calling for solidarity with the Palestinians as “they work to safeguard their human rights, including the right to education and academic freedom during their annual meeting.”

MESA’s mission to defend academic freedom and safeguard Palestinian human rights is highly hypocritical because it does not include Palestinian violations.


The Palestinian leaderships are notorious for abusing human rights. For example, on October 23, 2018, Human Rights Watch published a 149-page report titled “‘Two Authorities, One Way, Zero Dissent:’ Arbitrary Arrest and Torture Under the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.” It evaluated arrest and detention conditions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The report detailed over two dozen cases of people detained for no apparent reason beyond writing a critical article or Facebook post or belonging to the wrong student group or political movement.   Tom Porteous, deputy program director at Human Rights Watch said: “Twenty-five years after Oslo, Palestinian authorities have gained only limited power in the West Bank and Gaza, but yet, where they have autonomy, they have developed parallel police states… Calls by Palestinian officials to safeguard Palestinian rights ring hollow as they crush dissent.”

Also, Amnesty International’s report of 2020 stated that: “The Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and the Hamas de facto administration in the Gaza Strip continued to crack down on dissent, including by stifling freedoms of expression and assembly, attacking journalists and detaining opponents. Security forces in both areas used unnecessary and/or excessive force during law enforcement activities, including when imposing lockdown measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees were committed with impunity. Women faced discrimination and violence, including killings as a result of gender-based violence. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people continued to face discrimination and lacked protection. In the West Bank, authorities made widespread use of administrative detention without charge or trial. In Gaza, civilians continued to be tried before military courts. Courts in Gaza handed down death sentences. Palestinian armed groups in Gaza occasionally fired rockets indiscriminately into Israel. Two Israeli civilians were killed after lone attacks by Palestinian individuals.”

However, in support of the MESA boycott call, MESA President, Dina Rizk Khoury, Professor of History and International Affairs at George Washington University, who graduated from the American University of Beirut, said: “Since Palestinian civil society first called on the international community to engage in boycotts, divestment, and sanctions in order to pressure Israel to end its military occupation and other rights violations, our members have been engaged in thoughtful discussions about what it means to participate in academic boycotts, and other ways of showing solidarity with fellow scholars whose lives and livelihoods are under attack… Today’s vote clears a path for our full membership to collectively determine how we can do our part to support the academic freedom and education rights of Palestinian scholars and students, not to mention Israeli scholars facing attacks from their own government for criticizing its policies.” 

Rizk-Khouri is a long-time pro-Palestinian activist, as per the Spring 2001 newsletter of the Palestinian American Research Center (PARC) -“Promoting Palestinian Studies and Scholarly Exchange on Palestinian Issues.” Khouri and her colleague “have already jumped into action on PARC’s behalf, and we are delighted to have them on the steering committee.” The newsletter stated that “Khoury fully supports PARC’s goal to provide support to scholars in Palestinian studies.” She is quoted as saying, “There tends to be very little funding for work for Palestinian studies from other organizations in this country… I think an organization that deals with Palestinian issues and funds research in them is long overdue.” The newsletter noted that in addition to her academic interests, “Khoury, who is from Lebanon, is married to a Palestinian and maintains many connections in the region through family and friends.” In the newsletter, Rizk-Khoury and her husband Alfred Khoury are registered as founding members of PARC. Worth noting that PARC has been a partner organization of MESA since 2018.

MESA has been calling for the boycott of Israel for years and complained about Israel’s arresting Palestinian students in a letter of protest in July 2021. As reported by the media, the 45 students of Bir-Zeit University were members of a Hamas student organization. Some were in the midst of terrorist activities. Interestingly, the Palestinian Authority, fearing Hamas’s take over the West Bank, as happened in the Gaza Strip, tries to prevent it by performing arrests as well. The PA canceled the general elections for fears of Hamas’s win. But MESA’s politics will not criticize the PA. 

It cannot be ignored that the attacks on Israel by MESA and others go hand in hand with the rise of anti-Semitism on campus. 

A recent article by Abigail R. Esman, a freelance writer based in New York and the Netherlands, detailed the experience of students in the UK, the Netherlands, and Belgium:  In the UK, The Times newspaper declared last month that “antisemitic abuse on university campuses has reached record levels,” at 59 percent higher than in 2020. For example, one student at Glasgow University was told to “go gas herself;” another was sent a photoshopped image of her head in a guillotine.  Also important, a recent study in the UK revealed that only 52 percent of Brits knew the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust; other studies found that 10 percent of British students believed no more than 100,000 Jews perished. 

In the Netherlands, Jewish students on campus felt insecure at the University of Maastricht, as detailed in an interview with a Jewish student.  Also in the Netherland, in 2018, members of the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine at the Vrij Universiteit (Free University) in Amsterdam, supported by far left group Revolutionaire Eenheid, invited Palestinian terrorist Rasmieh Odeh to speak.  Odeh participated in two 1969 bombings in Jerusalem which killed two Jewish students. Also in the Netherland, a recent survey conducted by the Anne Frank Foundation, found that 40 percent of Dutch students didn’t know that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.

In Belgium, a professor at the University of Maastricht told a Jewish colleague, “If you want to keep your job, don’t tell anyone that you’re Jewish and that you support Israel.” A Jewish student wrote about anti-Semitism in a student Facebook group, the responses were “Filthy cancer-Jew, I hope that they turn the gas chambers back on;” and “your stinking people will be destroyed.”   Another student found a swastika painted on his student housing door, and his mezuzah smashed.  The majority of his professors have signed up to efforts to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel. The student was told that “universities and student groups will only work with them if Jewish students turn against Israel and establish no links with Israel during joint events.”  Also in Belgium, the University of Gent releasedstatement in May, during the last escalation between Palestine and Israel, declaring “solidarity with the Palestinian people who, since 1948, have opposed a settler-colonial regime involved in ethnic cleansing … and apartheid.”  Thirteen hundred professors, researchers, and students signed the statement.

There is an unmistakable atmosphere of anti-Israel and anti-Jews sentiments on campus, mostly driven by Palestinians and their Arab peers. They ignore Arab and Palestinian human rights abuse and instead customarily target Israel.

Since the Palestinian call for a boycott in 2005, the delegitimization of Israel took another turn, and MESA is part of it.

References
https://mesana.org/news/2021/12/02/mesa-members-vote-to-advance-bds-resolution-to-full-membership-vote-in-early-2022

MESA Members Vote to Advance BDS Resolution to Full Membership Vote in Early 2022

  • DECEMBER 02, 2021
  • NEWS

NEWS UPDATE

December 2, 2021

Contact: secretariat@mesana.org

Middle East Studies Association Members Vote to Advance BDS Resolution to Full Membership Vote in Early 2022

Resolution Endorses Palestinian Civil Society’s Call for Solidarity As They Work to Safeguard Their Human Rights, Including the Right to Education and Academic Freedom

During their annual meeting, members of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) voted to advance a resolution endorsing the Palestinian call for solidarity in the form of boycotts, divestment and sanctions, or BDS, to a full membership vote in early 2022. The resolution was proposed by 36 MESA members based in the United States, Canada and Europe. If ratified next year, the resolution would direct MESA to find ways of upholding the call for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions in alignment with the association’s mission to defend academic freedom, and in a manner consistent with MESA’s bylaws as well as relevant U.S. federal, state, and local laws.

“Since Palestinian civil society first called on the international community to engage in boycotts, divestment, and sanctions in order to pressure Israel to end its military occupation and other rights violations, our members have been engaged in thoughtful discussions about what it means to participate in academic boycotts, and other ways of showing solidarity with fellow scholars whose lives and livelihoods are under attack,” said MESA President Dina Rizk Khoury. “Today’s vote clears a path for our full membership to collectively determine how we can do our part to support the academic freedom and education rights of Palestinian scholars and students, not to mention Israeli scholars facing attacks from their own government for criticizing its policies.”

The BDS resolution outlines ways that the Israeli government systematically violates Palestinians’ right to education. Some of the violations cited in the resolution include restricting the freedom of movement for Palestinians, attacking Palestinian educational institutions, harassing Palestinian students, teachers, and professors, and destroying Palestinian archival material.

The call for an academic boycott extends to Israeli institutions, which the resolution states, are complicit in Israel’s violations of human rights and international law through their provision of direct assistance to the Israeli military and intelligence establishments. The resolution also states that the boycott will not target individual students or scholars, and reiterates the right of individual MESA members to choose whether or not they wish to participate in an academic boycott.

For interviews or further information, please direct inquiries via secretariat@mesana.org

-End-

The Middle East Studies Association (MESA) is a non-profit association that fosters the study of the Middle East, promotes high standards of scholarship and teaching, and encourages public understanding of the region and its peoples through programs, publications and services.

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Resolution regarding BDS
Whereas, Palestinian civil society issued a call in 2005 for boycott, divestment, and sanctions
(BDS) against Israel; and
Whereas, Members of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) have organized various
forums for discussion and debate of that call through MESA’s commitment to academic freedom;
and
Whereas, International intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations,
including Palestinian and Israeli monitoring groups, have documented and verified successive
Israeli governments’ systematic violations of the human rights of Palestinians living under Israeli
direct or indirect control; and
Whereas, Systematic violations include restricting freedom of movement for Palestinians;
isolating, undermining, or otherwise attacking Palestinian educational institutions; harassing
Palestinian professors, teachers, and students; harassing Israeli professors and students
criticizing Israeli policies; destroying, confiscating, or otherwise rendering Palestinian archival
material inaccessible; and maintaining inequality in educational resources between Palestinians
and Israelis; and
Whereas, Israeli universities are imbricated in these systematic violations through their provision
of direct assistance to the Israeli military and intelligence establishments; and
Whereas, The United States government has systematically shielded successive Israeli
governments from being held accountable for such violations and facilitated them through
unprecedented diplomatic, military, and economic support; and
Recalling that the BDS campaign against Israel is one that targets institutions and not individuals;
and
Recalling that MESA recognizes the right of scholars to academic freedom as well as the right of
scholars to choose whether or not to participate in an academic boycott;
Be it resolved that the majority of the MESA membership
(1) Endorses the 2005 call of Palestinian civil society for BDS against Israel; and
(2) Directs the MESA Board of Directors to work in consultation with the Committee on Academic
Freedom to give effect to the spirit and intent of this resolution, in a manner consistent with
MESA’s bylaws as well as relevant US federal, state, and local laws.

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https://events.eventact.com/AIS/33634/uploads/Statement_on_MESA_Resolution_on_BDS.pdf

AIS Statement on MESA Proposed Resolution regarding BDS
The Association for Israel Studies, as an affiliated society of MESA, is deeply concerned regarding
the proposed resolution in support of BDS.
The Association for Israel Studies is neither an Israeli association nor one that takes any
particular political stance on matters of Israeli policy or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The
AIS is committed to academic freedom, fundamentally the freedom to engage in the pursuit
of knowledge without fear of sanction. Membership in AIS has no ideological litmus test, and
members in fact reflect the full range of views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Many AIS
members are also members of MESA. We express our view, then, as an affiliated society
with a strong interest in and commitment to academic freedom.
The proposed resolution accuses Israel alone of violations of human rights. By charging
Israeli universities as being “imbricated in these systematic violations”, it casts a net of
collective and inescapable guilt over any citizen of Israel and ignores the broad range of
opinion and political stances articulated by members of the Israeli academic community. It
effectively calls for collective punishment for all who are thus guilty by association. While the language
of the proposed resolution claims that it will “target institutions and not
individuals”, it is clear that its primary impact will be precisely its effect on individuals,
including many individual members of MESA.
Although claiming to be operating in the spirit of “MESA’s commitment to academic
freedom”, this resolution in fact represents an effort to curtail and to suppress precisely that
freedom for any scholar associated with Israel or with Israeli academic institutions.
In short, If the proposed resolution in support of BDS is passed, MESA will have taken a
clear stance in opposition to academic freedom, and will have transformed itself from an
academic association committed to the free exchange of ideas to an ideological advocacy
organization in which only some ideas are permissible. The damage to MESA and to
academic activity in the field of Middle East Studies will be unambiguous and profound. We
call on the MESA membership to maintain the association’s commitment to academic
freedom and reject this discriminatory and censorious resolution.
Sincerely,
Prof. Arieh Saposnik
AIS President
Association for Israel Studies
University of Haifa | Department of Israel Studies
Eshkol Tower, 1407 |199 Abba Khoushy Ave. | Haifa, 3498838 | Israel
ais@aisisraelstudies.org | www.aisisraelstudies.org

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https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/boycotting-israel-middle-east-studies-association-197478

Boycotting Israel at the Middle East Studies Association
December 4, 2021

Individual Middle East scholars are of course free to their own opinions and approaches. But scholarly organizations endorsing discrimination is both a bad look and self-destructive, both morally and practically.

by Asaf Romirowsky Alex Joffe

The crisis in higher education, faculty, students, and administrations adopting ideological positions radically at odds from those of most Americans and in the process reshaping institutions, is becoming better understood.

But none of this is new. Another Israel boycott resolution being considered by the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) reminds us that the rot in higher education set in long ago and was focused, not surprisingly, on Jews and the Jewish State.

So deep is the rot that the association seems totally oblivious (or indifferent) to the fact that its ongoing endorsement of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, and attendant efforts to obstruct the containment of resurgent anti-Semitism on U.S. campuses, have effectively crossed the thin line between “normal” Israel-bashing and classical Jew-baiting.

Back in 2015, a MESA referendum approved a resolution which not only lauded the “calls for [anti-Israel] institutional boycott, divestment, and/or sanctions [BDS]” as “legitimate forms of non-violent political action” and deplored opposition to these exclusionary moves as an assault on the freedom of speech, but “strongly urge[d] MESA program committees to organize discussions at MESA annual meetings, and the MESA Board of Directors to create opportunities over the course of the year that provide platforms for a sustained discussion of the academic boycott and foster careful consideration of an appropriate position for MESA to assume.”

Now another resolution will be considered at their annual meeting this week the invitation for the annual meeting:

Resolution regarding BDS

Whereas, Palestinian civil society issued a call in 2005 for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel; and

Whereas, Members of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) have organized various forums for discussion and debate of that call through MESA’s commitment to academic freedom; and

Whereas, International intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations, including Palestinian and Israeli monitoring groups, have documented and verified successive Israeli governments’ systematic violations of the human rights of Palestinians living under Israeli direct or indirect control; and

Whereas, Systematic violations include restricting freedom of movement for Palestinians; isolating, undermining, or otherwise attacking Palestinian educational institutions; harassing Palestinian professors, teachers, and students; harassing Israeli professors and students criticizing Israeli policies; destroying, confiscating, or otherwise rendering Palestinian archival material inaccessible; and maintaining inequality in educational resources between Palestinians and Israelis; and

Whereas, Israeli universities are imbricated in these systematic violations through their provision of direct assistance to the Israeli military and intelligence establishments; and

Whereas, The United States government has systematically shielded successive Israeli governments from being held accountable for such violations and facilitated them through unprecedented diplomatic, military, and economic support; and

Recalling that the BDS campaign against Israel is one that targets institutions and not individuals; and

Recalling that MESA recognizes the right of scholars to academic freedom as well as the right of scholars to choose whether or not to participate in an academic boycott;

Be it resolved that the majority of the MESA membership

(1) Endorses the 2005 call of Palestinian civil society for BDS against Israel; and

(2) Directs the MESA Board of Directors to work in consultation with the Committee on Academic Freedom to give effect to the spirit and intent of this resolution, in a manner consistent with MESA’s bylaws as well as relevant US federal, state, and local laws.

The irony that calls for academics to discriminate against an entire society is cast in terms of alleged infringements on academic freedom is equally blatant but is not especially new. Both overt hostility to Israel and anti-Semitism under the guise of anti-Zionism have for years dominated the field of Middle East Studies, a fact illustrated by the parade of anti-Israel vituperation on display annual at MESA conferences and its routine, almost United Nations-like, condemnations of Israel.MESA has thus gone from merely endorsing the call to boycott Israel to calling on its members to do so, and actively doing so itself. Israeli universities, among the most liberal (and multicultural) institutions in that society, are branded as human rights violators. Individual Israeli academics are not formally targeted but will be in reality, as MESA members evaluate job applicants, visiting speakers, grant proposals, and the like. The litmus test for MESA members, and Israelis, is blatant.

But intellectual intolerance is spreading rapidly in academia and American society. Witness the growing chorus of calls on and off campus, from faculty and students alike that there are “no two sides” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that the Israelis and supporters have no right to even be heard. This is one of the sources of “cancel culture,” smugly self-assured, willfully ignorant, and often resolutely racist.

Like most of academia, MESA seems largely impervious to criticism. But the damage being done is precisely to academia’s standing with society as a whole. As more faculty expose themselves as blindly hateful and anxious to judge, American society has reacted in horror. The collapse in the standing of the humanities and social sciences is matched by the actual collapse of those disciplines in terms of enrollments.

Across the board, from Middle East Studies to English, as academia has become strident, judgmental, and one sided, students and society have fled. An Israel boycott resolution that calls on an entire academic discipline to shun a single society is worse than a crime, it is a mistake. The exposure of Israel hatred and anti-Semitism within high school “ethnic studies” curriculums has caused equal shock and disillusionment.

Individual Middle East scholars are of course free to their own opinions and approaches. But scholarly organizations endorsing discrimination is both a bad look and self-destructive, both morally and practically.

Asaf Romirowsky is executive director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) and the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA), Alex Joffe is a senior non-resident scholar at the BESA Center at Bar-Ilan University.

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Middle East Studies Association to vote on BDS resolution next year

“Today’s vote clears a path for our full membership to collectively determine how we can do our part to support the academic freedom and education rights of Palestinian scholars and students, not to mention Israeli scholars facing attacks from their own government for criticizing its policies.”

BY MICHAEL ARRIA

DECEMBER 3, 2021

On December 2 the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) overwhelmingly voted to advance a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolution at the beginning of 2022.

“Since Palestinian civil society first called on the international community to engage in boycotts, divestment, and sanctions in order to pressure Israel to end its military occupation and other rights violations, our members have been engaged in thoughtful discussions about what it means to participate in academic boycotts, and other ways of showing solidarity with fellow scholars whose lives and livelihoods are under attack,” said MESA President Dina Rizk Khoury. “Today’s vote clears a path for our full membership to collectively determine how we can do our part to support the academic freedom and education rights of Palestinian scholars and students, not to mention Israeli scholars facing attacks from their own government for criticizing its policies.”

The resolution was introduced by author, activist, and human rights attorney Noura Erakat. “93% of MESA’s membership voted to push this BDS resolution out of committee and to a full membership vote,” she tweeted. “This reflects a tremendous amount of collective labor and a cultural-political shift. There is no turning back regardless of how this plays out.”

MESA, which was founded in 1966, is the largest Middle East academic body in North America.

You can read the full text of the resolution below:

Whereas, Palestinian civil society issued a call in 2005 for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel; and

Whereas, Members of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) have organized various forums for discussion and debate of that call through MESA’s commitment to academic freedom; and

Whereas, International intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations, including Palestinian and Israeli monitoring groups, have documented and verified successive Israeli governments’ systematic violations of the human rights of Palestinians living under Israeli direct or indirect control; and

Whereas, Systematic violations include restricting freedom of movement for Palestinians; isolating, undermining, or otherwise attacking Palestinian educational institutions; harassing Palestinian professors, teachers, and students; harassing Israeli professors and students criticizing Israeli policies; destroying, confiscating, or otherwise rendering Palestinian archival material inaccessible; and maintaining inequality in educational resources between Palestinians and Israelis; and

Whereas, Israeli universities are imbricated in these systematic violations through their provision of direct assistance to the Israeli military and intelligence establishments; and

Whereas, The United States government has systematically shielded successive Israeli governments from being held accountable for such violations and facilitated them through unprecedented diplomatic, military, and economic support; and

Recalling that the BDS campaign against Israel is one that targets institutions and not individuals; and

Recalling that MESA recognizes the right of scholars to academic freedom as well as the right of scholars to choose whether or not to participate in an academic boycott;

Be it resolved that the majority of the MESA membership

(1) Endorses the 2005 call of Palestinian civil society for BDS against Israel; and

(2) Directs the MESA Board of Directors to work in consultation with the Committee on Academic Freedom to give effect to the spirit and intent of this resolution, in a manner consistent with MESA’s bylaws as well as relevant US federal, state, and local laws.

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AEN Statement on MESA Members Vote to Advance BDS
The Academic Engagement Network (AEN) writes to express its dismay at and opposition to the decision by members of MESA (Middle East Studies Association) taken during its recent annual meeting to advance a BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) Resolution against Israel to a full membership vote in early 2022.
AEN is an educational nonprofit which organizes over 800 faculty members on more than 250 campuses across the U.S. to foster a rigorous study of Jewish identity and experience, promote academic freedom and free speech, and combat antisemitism. As an organization committed to open intellectual exchange and inquiry, we find it deeply ironic that this Resolution is being presented within the framework of MESA’s “commitment to academic freedom,” when BDS is, in fact, antithetical to this very principle and core value that defines the academy.
The endorsement of BDS will inevitably – and inequitably – discriminate against, exclude, and isolate Israeli scholars by singling out the Israeli academy for boycott. Indeed, the Resolution’s assertion that BDS targets only “institutions and not individuals” is untenable. The boycott of Israel’s universities cannot be meaningfully separated from the faculty and students who work, teach, and study in them. BDS is therefore more aptly described as a blacklist which punishes individual academics on the basis of their nationality, political views, and the policies and actions of their government.
We dispute the reasoning put forward to justify endorsing BDS against Israel. Proposed by 36 MESA members, the “Resolution regarding BDS” maintains a singular focus on Israel – and a deafening silence about the travesties committed by many other nations. It paints a picture of a monolithic Israeli academy malevolently hostile to Palestinians when in fact there is a wide range of opinions and many academics in Israel object to the Israeli government’s policies and actions. It accuses Israel alone of causing harm to Palestinian professors and students, ignoring how the academic rights of these scholars and students are severely restricted by the intimidation, harassment, and even violence routinely perpetrated by Palestinian governing authorities as well as radical societal groups. It asserts that Israeli universities are “imbricated” in the oppression of Palestinians when the reality is that Israel’s campuses are a model of diversity and coexistence, with Jews, Arabs, and others studying, researching, and teaching together. In fact, in the past decade the number of Palestinian Arab students in Israel’s higher education institutions has doubled.
At a transformational time in the Middle East and North Africa, when there is ever-more potential for new academic partnerships and exchanges between Israel and its neighbors, the endorsement of BDS will undercut potential opportunities for collaboration, dialogue, and mutual understanding in MESA across national, religious, and cultural divides. Furthermore, should this Resolution be ratified by the full membership in the coming year, it will be profoundly damaging to the association, which will have transformed itself from an academic association ostensibly committed to open intellectual inquiry into an advocacy group mandating political and ideological orthodoxies.
We urge MESA’s membership to reject this Resolution and to reaffirm its commitment to academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas.
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https://www.investigativeproject.org/9082/europe-jewish-students-face-anti-semitic-onslaught

Europe’s Jewish Students Face Anti-Semitic Onslaught

by Abigail R. Esman
IPT News
December 6, 2021

If there were a survival handbook for Jewish students at the universities of Europe, it would probably begin with this:

  1. Tell no one that you’re Jewish
  2. Condemn Israel as a terrorist, genocidal state
  3. Get used to it.

This, at least, has been the experience of students at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, according to recent reports and an eye-opening interview with a Jewish student leader there. But students at universities in Belgium, France and the UK have faced similar forms of anti-Semitism on campus. The UK declared last month that “antisemitic abuse on university campuses has reached record levels” – a full 59 percent higher than in 2020. One student at Glasgow University was encouraged to “go gas herself,” according to the Times; another was sent a photoshopped image of her head in a guillotine.

And it’s not just students. As one professor at the University of Maastricht told a Jewish colleague, “If you want to keep your job, don’t tell anyone that you’re Jewish and that you support Israel.”

Speaking to the Dutch online newspaper Israel Nieuws, Maastricht student Ethan Gabriel Bergman described dozens of incidents at the school, including the administration’s decision to ignore International Holocaust Remembrance Day on the school calendar, noting only “Chocolate Cake Day,” which falls on the same date. This past May, as anti-Israel demonstrations rocked Europe, protesters at the university carried banners claiming that “all [Israel] wants to see is blood. Arab blood, as much as possible – blood, the more the better – blood, the main thing is that Arab blood is spilled,” as others repeated anti-Israel chants in Arabic.

Yet when a Jewish student wrote despairingly of this in a student Facebook group, the replies that came in were anything but supportive. “Filthy cancer-Jew, I hope that they turn the gas chambers back on,” one person wrote, and another: “your stinking people will be destroyed.”

Seeking disciplinary action, the student, who remains anonymous, reported the incident to university administrators. The response: Don’t you think you deserved it for being so unfriendly?

Bergman, too, has seen his share of Jew-hate. Earlier this year, he returned to his apartment in student housing to find a swastika painted on his door, and his mezuzah smashed to the ground. And the majority of his own professors, he told Israel Nieuws, have signed on to support efforts to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel (known as the BDS movement) – a trend that he, as a member of the European Jewish Association (EJA), has seen spreading internationally. The EJA itself, he said, has been told that “universities and student groups will only work with them if Jewish students turn against Israel and establish no links with Israel during joint events.” This, he said, amounts to telling Jews that they must support the BDS movement in order to be accepted by non-Jews.

Despite this history, when Holland’s Jewish human rights organization, Centrum Informatie en Documentatie Israel, asked the University of Maastricht to respond to Bergman’s interview, its board of directors denied knowledge of any of the incidents or trends he described. “Neither employees nor students have made complaints of any concrete instances of discrimination,” they stated.

Maastricht – one of Europe’s top 50 universities, with over 21,000 students – is also not the only university in the Netherlands with a rabid antisemitism problem. In 2018, members of the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine at the Vrij Universiteit (Free University) in Amsterdam, supported by far left group Revolutionaire Eenheid, invited Palestinian terrorist Rasmieh Odeh to speak at the school. (Similar campaigns supporting Odeh, who participated in two 1969 bombings in Jerusalem – one of which killed two Jewish students – also took place at Harvard Law School in 2016.)

Meanwhile, in Belgium, the University of Gent released a statement last May declaring “solidarity with the Palestinian people who, since 1948, have opposed a settler-colonial regime involved in ethnic cleansing … and apartheid.” Thirteen hundred professors, researchers, and students signed the statement, according to Belgium’s Mondiale News.

Some of this anti-Israel mentality can be explained simply by demographics. Muslim students vastly outnumber Jewish students in both secondary schools and universities in Europe. Non-Muslim students have more exposure to Muslims, have more friends who are Muslim, and are more widely exposed to the viewpoints of their Muslim peers, who inevitably support Palestine. As Bergman points out in his interview, he is often the first Jew his fellow students ever meet.

But that doesn’t explain the full aggressiveness of the anti-Jewish hate on Europe’s campuses, nor does it explain the pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel sentiments of so many European professors. Alongside the rapid spread of misinformation via social media is the lack of real knowledge many young Europeans (and Americans) have of the Holocaust, let alone of the history of Israel and the Israel-Palestinian conflict. A recent study in the UK revealed that only 52 percent of Brits knew the number of Jews killed in the Shoah; other studies found that 10 percent of British students believed no more than 100,000 Jews perished. In a survey conducted by the Anne Frank Foundation, nearly 60 percent of Dutch students were aware that 6 million Jews were killed, but that left over 40 percent who don’t know.

What’s more, Holocaust survivor Regine Suchowolski-Sluszny, who regularly gives lectures in Belgian schools about her own experiences, told Israel Nieuws that teachers often come to her with questions about Israel and Palestine, attempting to compare the Nazi regime with Israel.

“They have little knowledge of the history or the actual situation in the Middle East,” she said. “It isn’t of interest to them, and so they go along with what they hear on TV.” Even the books they use, she said, are “far from objective.” The result: Belgium has one of the lowest views of Israel, and of Jews, in Europe. “It is not politically correct to openly support Jewish people,” Suchowolski-Sluszny noted. “And certainly not the state of Israel.”

At times, it goes further. In one instance, she said, a student told the school director, “I will not shake the hand of a Jewess.”

That young people across Europe continue to have either insufficient or inadequate understanding of the Holocaust and little real knowledge of the Israel-Palestinian conflict is causing many Jews to fear for their future, particularly in countries where, as in the Netherlands, anti-Israel protests frequently include Taliban flags and calls for the restoration of the Caliphate.

Moreover, the media, Suchowolski-Sluszny maintains – particularly social media – does not help. “Attacks on Jewish Israelis rarely appear in the news,” she said. “Only the reactions by Israel to the stabbings, the destruction, the rocket attacks from Gaza – they get the news [coverage]. When there is no real explanation of why, it just feeds the antisemitism … And the circle goes around again.”

IPT Senior Fellow Abigail R. Esman is a freelance writer based in New York and the Netherlands. Her new book, Rage: Narcissism, Patriarchy, and the Culture of Terrorism, was published by Potomac Books in October 2020. Follow her at @abigailesman.

Copyright © 2021. Investigative Project on Terrorism. All rights reserved.

TAU’s Anat Matar, Smadar Ben Natan, Aeyal Gross Support the Six Palestinian NGOs Designated as Terrorist

02.12.21

Editorial Note

Last year, the Iranian newspaper Ettelaat published a series of articles by Ilan Pappe, translated to Persian, including “What is Post-Zionism?” The article discusses how Arabs in Western universities espoused anti-Israel theories, and Israeli academics adopted them. For example, the well-known Jewish MIT’s linguist Noam Chomsky promoted Edward Said’s anti-Zionist themes. Chomsky’s student, late Professor Tanya Reinhart, a linguist from Tel Aviv University, attracted like-minded colleagues, Rachel Giora, Mira Ariel, Anat Biletzki and Anat Matar.  Soon after, the post-Zionist trend spread to other Israeli universities. For the Iranian regime, such anti-Zionist academics have been a gift as they echoed the fervent anti-Zionism of Ayatollah Khomeini, who called to destroy Israel. 

To recall, Dr. Matar is a Philosophy lecturer who spent much of her time on political activism.  While tenured, she had a meager publication record, not qualifying for further promotion.  She remade herself into a Human Rights expert, co-published a book on the alleged mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners, Threat: Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israel, without having academic qualifications. Although Matar has not fulfilled her obligation to research and publish in her field, a standard requirement in all universities, the TAU administration did not challenge her.  She later co-established Academia for Equality, a group of radical academics that promote the cause of Palestinians accused of terrorism. 

Matar and her colleagues from Academia for Equality have lately taken up the defense of NGOs that raise money for terror groups. 

Last month, Juana Ruiz Sánchez-Rishmawi, a Spanish citizen married to a Palestinian, was sentenced at the Israeli military court for 13 months in jail in a plea bargain after admitting to raising funds for an NGO that funneled some money to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a secular Palestinian Marxist–Leninist revolutionary organization founded in 1967. PFLP was designated a terrorist entity by several Western countries: in 1997 by the U.S. and in 2003 by Canada. Sánchez-Rishmawi worked for the Health Work Committees. Israel declared the organization illegal in early 2020 after a worker had helped finance an attack against Israelis.

Also last month, after lengthy investigations and soon after the Rishmawi case went to court, Israeli Minister of Defense, Benny Gantz, announced  that six Palestinian NGOs had ties to the PFLP: Bisan Center for Research and Development; Union of Agricultural Work Committees; Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association; Al-Haq Law in the Service of Man; Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees; Defense for Children-International.

Defense Minister Ganz said: “The State of Israel and the defense establishment respect human rights, and respect the activities of human rights organizations that have an important role in a democratic society. Whitewashing terrorism under the guise of human rights activities is a double sin – it fuels terrorism and harms organizations that do important work. We will continue to act against terrorism wherever and in whatever form it wears.”

Yossi Kuperwasser, a senior project director at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, noted that already in May, the Shin Bet security agency presented the international community with hard evidence of NGOs collaborating with the PFLP. While some countries took note and cut off their aid, other countries ignored it.

In 2019, when the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs published the dossier Terrorists in Suits on “The Ties Between NGOs promoting BDS and Terrorist Organizations,” it listed Addameer, Defense for Children and Al Haq as having ties to the terrorist FPLP.

But Matar and her colleagues strongly oppose the view of the Israeli government. She and Prof. Aeyal Gross from the Law Faculty recently organized a conference at Tel Aviv University to discuss the issue with their comrades.  Matar also participated in a webinar by Scientists for Palestine, where she described Israel as a terrorist state. Smadar Ben Natan, a TAU lawyer working for the Palestinians, has also spoken.

In the webinar, Matar said her group promotes justice and democracy in Palestine and beyond and will continue to support the NGOs. “We’ve been shouting this in demonstrations all along that Israel is a terrorist state.” During the 65 years of the occupation, she said, there was a continuous atmosphere of ongoing settler violence. She said the settlers are violent, and then the army protects them. Nothing happens at the higher level, the Knesset or Ministry of Defense total silence and protection of everything the violent settlers do. Also, there are 500 detainees taken in the middle of the night. Israel is terrorizing the whole Palestinian population, she said. Matar urged people to support BDS.  

Ben Natan, who works at the Law Faculty at TAU, talked in support of the accused human rights groups. That Israeli academics and human rights activists initiated solidarity visits organized by B’tselem; one hundred academics signed a petition on Haaretz; Tel Aviv University organized a panel challenging this declaration. She said, “we have worked with these Palestinian organizations for 15 years… and no one can convince us that these organizations are terrorists… We stand by these organizations.” She blamed Israeli far right-wing organizations such as NGO Monitor that took credit for providing information to the security forces; and Im Tirzu issued official complaints against groups that collaborate with the six Palestinian human rights groups.

According to Gross, the Zionist underground organizations pre-1948 should also be included in the definition of terrorism. Israel and Israelis, such as the settlers, are engaged in terrorism against the Palestinians and should be included in the definition of terrorism.

Tel Aviv University, a state-funded institution, should not have tolerated these political-activists-pseudo-scientists that embark on pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel careers and abuse their positions at the university. 

References:
https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-israel-west-bank-militant-groups-be64b585cbbe9e65bbed942b30f5cf2e

Israel sentences Spanish woman for aiding banned group

By JOSEF FEDERMANNovember 17, 2021

Juana Ruiz Sánchez, right, a Spanish citizen accused of raising money for a banned Palestinian militant group, is brought to a courtroom for sentencing, at the Israeli Ofer military base near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. Ruiz, who lives in the West Bank, was sentenced to 13 months in jail in a plea bargain in which she admitted raising funds for a nonprofit group that funnelled some of the money to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

JERUSALEM (AP) — An Israeli military court on Wednesday handed down a reduced sentence to a Spanish woman who admitted in a plea bargain to raising funds for a West Bank charity that were diverted to a banned militant group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Juana Ruiz Sánchez was sentenced to 13 months in prison and ordered to pay a fine of 50,000 shekels, or roughly $16,000. With credit for time already served, she could be released in the coming weeks.

Israel has tried to seize on the conviction as proof that it was justified in branding six Palestinian civil society organizations as terrorist groups last month — all due to alleged connections to the PFLP.

But Ruiz’s employer, the Health Work Committees, was not among those six groups. And in the plea bargain, she said she was unaware of the alleged fund-raising scheme and she was not implicated in any militant activities by the PFLP.

Her lawyer, Avigdor Feldman, said the plea bargain “clarified very clearly” that Ruiz was not involved in passing money to the PFLP and had no idea that the alleged transfers had taken place. He also accused Israeli officials of slandering his client and said he would demand that they take back statements implying she was a PFLP agent.

“The whole case is a political case. They tried to use it to justify the outlawing of the human rights organizations,” he told The Associated Press after the hearing at the Ofer military court in the occupied West Bank.

The PFLP is a secular, leftist political movement with an armed wing that has carried out deadly attacks against Israelis. Israel, the U.S. and European Union consider it to be a terrorist group.

Ruiz was a longtime worker for Health Work Committees, a Palestinian nonprofit group that provides medical services in the occupied West Bank.

Prosecutors say she raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the group from foreign donors, an unspecified amount of which was then diverted to the PFLP. One accusation was that she she raised $4,000 for what she thought was medical equipment that was then steered to the PFLP. Few details on any other alleged misuse of funds were available.

Ruiz was quoted in the documents as saying she was unaware of any wrongdoing and “simply erred.”

But prosecutors noted she continued her work for the Health Work Committees even after learning a co-worker had helped finance an attack and after Israel declared the organization illegal in early 2020. In the end, she was convicted of “performing a service for an outlawed organization” and illegal money transfers into the West Bank.

Feldman said his client, who is in her 60s and has been imprisoned since her arrest in April, agreed to the watered-down charges to help close the case and get out of jail. He said he plans to appear before a parole board to seek a sentence reduction that could get her released in about two weeks.

Her daughter, Maria Rishmawi, said the family was eager to put the episode behind them. “We can’t wait to have her home,” she said.

Israeli officials, referring to Ruiz by her married name of Juana Rishmawi, have trumpeted the conviction as a victory in their war against the PFLP. Israel says the group raises funds from unwitting Western donors under the guise of humanitarian work.

Last month, Israel designated six Palestinian civil society organizations as terrorist groups, saying they were tied to the PFLP. It so far has not yet taken further action against the groups. But Wednesday’s plea bargain could serve as a template for future moves.

The six groups, some of which have close ties to rights groups in Israel and abroad, deny the allegations. They say the terror designation is aimed at muzzling critics of Israel’s half-century military occupation of territories the Palestinians want for their future state.

A confidential Israeli dossier detailing alleged links between the groups and the PFLP contains little concrete evidence and relies almost entirely on the interrogations of two former workers at the Health Works Committees.

Feldman, Ruiz’s lawyer, said Israel appears to be going after groups that have been working to press war crimes charges against Israel via the International Criminal Court in the Hague. The ICC has launched a preliminary investigation into Israeli practices in both the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

“This is part of an overall effort to outlaw any organization in the West Bank that is actually cooperating with international law in the Hague,” he said.

The Spanish government, which provided consular assistance to Ruiz during the trial, has said it has controls to prevent aid money from reaching militant groups. The foreign ministry declined comment on Wednesday’s sentencing.

___

AP video journalist Ami Bentov contributed reporting.

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https://www.israelhayom.com/2021/11/03/israel-stands-by-palestinian-ngos-terror-designation-despite-international-criticism/

Israel stands by Palestinian NGOs’ terror designation despite international criticism

The United States and Europe apparently believe that Israel is criminalizing Palestinian civil society and undermining the Palestinian “struggle for freedom.”

By  Israel Kasnett , JNS and ILH Staff  Published on  11-03-2021 08:30 Last modified: 11-04-2021 11:32

The international criticism against Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s decision last week to designate six Palestinian groups affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine as terrorist organizations continued this week, with the United States and European Union demanding evidence and accusing Israel of “criminalizing Palestinian civil society” and undermining the Palestinian “struggle for freedom.” 01

Israel has now sent an envoy to Washington to meet with administration officials on the matter. Joshua Zarka, deputy director-general of strategy at the Foreign Ministry, told Army Radio that the envoy would “give them all the details and present them all with the intelligence.”

Ministry spokesperson Lior Hayat told JNS Tuesday, “We are sharing information with countries and organizations that prove beyond all doubt the different connections of those NGOs to the PFLP terror organization.”

The PFLP has been designated as a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia and the European Union.

The Defense Ministry designated the following six NGOs as terrorist organizations: Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P), Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Al-Haq, Addameer, Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC) and Bisan, sparking rebukes from the PA and human rights groups that argued the NGOs in questions were operating solely in the civilian sphere.

“These organizations present themselves as acting for humanitarian purposes; however, they serve as a cover for the PFLP’s propaganda and financing,” Gantz said in a statement. “These organizations received large sums of money from European countries and international organizations, using various methods of forgery and deceit,” it continued, adding that the funds are used to support PFLP activities.

Israel has for years either suspected or known about these NGOs’ links to the PFLP but stopped short of labeling them as terrorist groups. This latest move indicates a change in that approach.

These organizations have been described by Nour Odeh, a former spokesperson within the Palestinian Authority government offices, as the “crème de la crème of the human rights community.”

Based on its response to Israel’s announcement, the international community appeared to agree with Odeh’s assessment and her belief that by designating these NGOs as terror organizations, Israel is criminalizing Palestinian civil society and undermining the Palestinian struggle for freedom.

According to Yochanan Tzoreff, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, “some of the six NGOs have gained a good reputation in international human-rights forums, earned professional recognition and many awards … and enjoyed the assistance and funding of many governmental and non-governmental entities.”

The question then is whether this is a trust issue. Do the United States and the European Union not believe Israel’s assessment; are they truly incredulous of the accusations that these six NGOs are connected to the PFLP? The evidence supposedly is precise, with these organizations having already been exposed as having prior connections to the PFLP.

Or is it a political issue? Are America and Europe simply downplaying the accusations by Jerusalem because they want to be able to continue funding these organizations, which serve a larger political purpose in keeping the dream for a Palestinian state alive?

Furthermore, the fuzzy series of events that have taken place since Gantz’s announcement begs the question of why Israel needs to explain anything at this point if it did indeed inform the United States of its decision in the first place.

At a press briefing last week, a few days after Gantz’s announcement, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price denied that they had received advance information on the matter.

“It is to the best of our knowledge accurate that we did not receive a specific heads-up about any forthcoming designations,” he said.

Adding to the confusion, Zarka said he personally updated U.S. officials on Israel’s intention to outlaw the groups and believed that perhaps Washington simply wanted a more thorough explanation of the decision.

‘What will we have achieved?’

Tzoreff told JNS he believes that while there may be enough evidence to place these organizations on the list of terror supporters or collaborators, “this is not the issue.”

According to him, Israel needs to consider the ramifications of such a decision and should also consider the strategic aspect, which in this case involves multiple NGOs, the European Union and the United States.

Tzoreff expressed worry that Israel may come under so much pressure that it will be forced to reverse its decision “and then what will we have achieved?” he asked.

He suggested that instead of outlawing the NGOs, Israel needs to sometimes learn to live with contradictions in order to avoid these types of international blowups.

The question, he posed, is “how do we do it in a smart way and not in a way that complicates the situation?”

“The Israeli security establishment is known for professionalism and caution in its long deliberations before taking steps such as the closure of Palestinian bodies and institutions,” he wrote for INSS. “It is possible to arrest people on a terrorist charge, but closing an association or public body on a similar charge requires further thought and the inclusion of additional levels of government.”

In contrast to Tzoreff’s opinion that Israel should have perhaps taken a different route, Yossi Kuperwasser, a senior project director at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, told JNS designating these organizations “was the right thing to do” since they serve as fronts for the PFLP.

“Many of their operatives are PFLP members,” he emphasized.

If Israel is justified in its designation of these NGOs as aiding and abetting terrorism, the question must also be asked as to why Europe and America aren’t vetting these organizations? Or if they have been, then why are they pouring millions of dollars of taxpayer money into them?

Kuperwasser said the Shin Bet security agency presented the international community with hard evidence in May of NGO collaboration with the PFLP, and while some countries did take note of the information and cut their aid, others ignored it.

He added that “those Europeans who insist on supporting these organizations don’t do due diligence.”

Reprinted with permission from JNS.org.

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https://www.voanews.com/a/european-rights-group-palestinian-civil-society-workers-phones-hacked/6304801.html
MIDDLE EAST European Rights Group: Palestinian Civil Society Workers’ Phones Hacked November 08, 2021 1:32 PM Ken Bredemeier
WASHINGTON — 

A European human rights group alleged Monday that Israeli-made Pegasus spyware was used to hack the phones of staff members of six Palestinian civil society groups that Israel’s defense ministry has designated as terrorist organizations.

Dublin-based Front Line Defenders said its allegation was confirmed independently by researchers for Amnesty International and the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab.

Front Line Defenders stopped short of blaming the Israeli government for installation of the spyware on the phones of the Palestinian human rights workers. But it condemned Israel’s designation of their organizations as linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, or PFLP, a Marxist group labeled as a terrorist organization by many Western nations, including the United States.


Last month, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz designated six Palestinian civil society territory groups in the occupied West Bank territories as “terrorist organizations.” The groups are Addameer, Al-Haq, Defense for Children – Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Bisan Center for Research and Development, and the Union of Palestinian Women Committees.

Israel declined Monday to comment on the allegation that Pegasus was used against the groups’ staff members but pushed back against international criticism of the terrorism designation against the organizations, saying it had an “excellent file” of evidence linking the groups to the PFLP.

Front Line Defenders said use of the Pegasus spyware made by NSO Group turns cell phones into pocket-spying devices, giving attackers “complete access to a phone’s messages, emails, media, microphone, camera, passwords, voice calls on messaging apps, location data, calls and contacts.”

The U.S. Commerce Department sanctioned the NSO Group last week, putting in on a blacklist that prohibits the company from receiving American technologies. It acted after U.S. officials determined that the NSO Group’s phone-hacking tools had been used by foreign governments to “maliciously target” government officials, journalists and activists around the world.

Asked about the new allegations, NSO Group said, “As we stated in the past, NSO Group does not operate the products itself … and we are not privy to the details of individuals monitored.” The company said it only sells to law enforcement and intelligence agencies and that it takes steps to curb abuse.

Front Line Defenders said it examined 75 iPhones and found six of them contaminated with the spyware, including phones used by Ghassan Halaika, a field researcher and human rights defender working for Al-Haq; Ubai Al-Aboudi, an American who is executive director of the Bisan Center for Research and Development; and French national Salah Hammouri, a lawyer and field researcher at the Jerusalem-based Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association.

Three other Palestinians whose phones were hacked declined to be identified.

Front Line Defenders said that use of the Pegasus spyware “means that, in addition to the targeting of Palestinians, including dual nationals, non-Palestinians (including foreign nationals and diplomats) with whom these victims were in contact, including Israeli citizens, could have also been subject to this surveillance, which, in the case of its citizens, would amount to a breach of Israeli law.”

In a statement, Front Line Defenders said it “strongly condemns the decision and allegations of terrorism brought against these Palestinian human rights organizations in response to their peaceful human rights work. Human rights defenders are not terrorists.”

Some material in this report was supplied by Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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https://socialistproject.ca/leftstreamed-video/in-defense-of-palestinian-civil-society/
https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=195591546061253
https://www.facebook.com/Scientists4Palestine/videos/195591546061253

Scientists for Palestine was live.

6 November at 19:0

On Friday October 22nd, in a troubling decision Israel’s Ministry of Defense designated six prominent Palestinian human rights organizations as “terrorist organizations”. This move has sent shockwaves across Palestinian civil society and raised alarms throughout the international community.The decision was made based on “secret evidence” that is essentially impossible to verify. Opposition to the extremely alarming decision has been remarkable, including among Israeli civil society and academics.Among the organizations included in this designation, is the Bisan Center for Research and Development, one of Scientists for Palestine main partners in Palestine. The Bisan center has many international partners and an exemplary reputation among scholars and educators. The other five organizations are Addameer, Al-Haq, Defense for Children International-Palestine, The Union of Agricultural Work Committees and The Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees.Join us for an exceptional and salient webinar where we will be given the chance to hear directly from Ubai Aboudi from the Bisan Center and Sahar Francis from Addameer. As directors of some of these organizations, they will discuss the consequences of this decision. We will also host Anat Matar, Israeli professor and long term activist for Palestinian rights, who will discuss the response of Israeli academia.We believe that as member of the international scientific and academic community, we must respond firmly to this unprecedented attack to academic freedom. Join us in this opportunity to learn first hand, how best to connect, and no longer remain silent!

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https://www.pishkhan.com/Archive/1399/04/13990410/Ettelaat6911610810111649524868205.pdf
https://www.ettelaat.com/new/index.asp?fname=2020%5C06%5C06-29%5C20-38-47.htm

Ettelaat Newspaper

Tehran Mirdamad BoulvardEttelaat International
  News Date: Tuesday 10 July 1399- 8 Dhi Al-Qaeda 1441-30 June 2020- No. 27592
What is post-Zionism? Ilan Pape – Translated by Mohsen Karbasforoshan – Part 6  

News Date: Tuesday 10 July 1399- 8 Dhi Al-Qaeda 1441-30 June 2020- No. 27592
What is post-Zionism? Ilan Pape – Translated by Mohsen Karbasforoshan – Part 6

The more the researcher university takes a position, the better the result will be. If clear and important positions are not taken, the research may be interpreted to the detriment of certain groups. The best way to understand and understand the nature of stance is to compare the result with the work of researchers we do not know. Criticism has allowed scholars in Israel to apply the Zionist interpretation of the idea of Israel as a text that can both destroy and enhance the lives and happiness of the people. The summary of this approach was that the power of Zionism – whether as a national movement in the eyes of some, or as an immigrant colonial movement in the eyes of others – is a powerful narrator. As a result of this approach, human emotions, actions, and cognition can be examined and criticized as a literary text, in which anyone can identify conspiracies, heroism, and crimes.

From the critic’s point of view, Zionism is a powerful story of an idea. In this story, each person’s position determines his or her destiny in real life in the Jewish state. If you are a Palestinian, then in this story you are considered a villain; But if you are a Mizrahi or Eastern Jew, you are a primitive relative. Comparing these definitions and examples, as seen in everything from research to cinema, was the first step in applying and implementing the methodology of cognition. The second step was an attempt to link practical political activities and strategies announced and imposed from above. This work was accompanied by ideas in the general culture and in the high culture of the society. Thus, if you were marginalized or hostile, it was a reflection of the way the centers of power treated you, both in worldly matters and in matters of originality. This meant that the power of interpretation could discover any aspect or aspect of life, whether in heterogeneous areas such as commercials on the radio, or in the characters of comics and television series, children’s literature and textbooks, or in newspapers, newspapers and magazines. Lectures by politicians and the like.

In addition, it is possible to see whether something has been omitted from the texts by looking at what is written or in visual form. As Edward Said has shown, the attitude of Jane Austen and her contemporaries to the issue of colonialism clearly indicates the lack of mention of colonies in books. Similarly, the absence of Arabs, Palestinians, Jewish Jews, and women has been seen in the works of Zionist scholars, as well as in films, museums, books, national celebrations, and signs and symbols. What was criticized in the 1990s was not based on fantasy. In fact, what was seen was criticized in such a way that the feeling was created that the process of investigation and investigation had gone beyond the realm of legitimate research. Overall, the review, analysis, and critique of documents was a kind of effective rescue operation against silent, absent, or unheard voices in texts written by rulers and usurpers. In doing so, oral history was accepted as a legitimate scientific method and source. In this way, even people who, due to illiteracy or lack of facilities due to the destruction of their land, could not keep a written record of the events, could now narrate their experiences and observations through the works and books of these researchers.

However, the academic researcher has more tasks ahead of him. Taking a stand, the social action that entered Israel in the 1990s, is a task that the researcher must bear. Taking a stand means that you have to put yourself in a position that is not in the national Zionist narrative, but against it. When you defend national claims to a collective and common past, identity, and future, you enter the realm of political activity around multicultural identity and order. The most vivid example of this came in the 1970s in the United States. In those years, only a few American universities were involved in what became known as the Cultural Wars (or Campus Wars). Hot debates over identity and equality and alliance and related political activities were identified as legitimate criteria for evaluating issues such as university admission, promotion, curriculum development, and the quality of work or academic textbooks.

In Israel, academics tried to follow suit. They wanted to represent the Palestinians, masseurs and feminists in this way, to announce their presence in the national tradition of the country and even to open a place for them in the cultural standards of the country. They firmly believed that representing these groups within Israeli academia would not only expose them to abuse in the past and present, but also ensure that they would be saved from suffering in the future. The first goal, that is, to show the trials and tribulations imposed on marginalized, oppressed, repressed, and repressed groups, was achieved on a large scale. Not achieved. The only group in Israel today that is better off than it was in the 1990s are women. The Palestinians, the Eastern Jews, and especially the Palestinian and Mazrahi women, formed a small, factional section of tens of thousands of Israeli university staff. Of these, one percent are Palestinians, nine percent are Jewish surgeons, and one percent are women surgeons.
Many Israeli academics are becoming anti-Zionist activists in pursuit of the truth. For many, however, political activity goes beyond writing articles and books; Because it may cost them dearly. Noam Chomsky has fluent prose. He has demonstrated the dominance of American universities in the face of the dominant ideologies in his work. In Israel, Ms. Tanya Reinhart, following Chomsky, wrote a book of fluent prose. In this book, he demonstrates the obedience of Israeli universities to their employers and political leaders. In addition, Chomsky’s dual involvement, who is both an expert linguist and a conscientious commentator on world affairs, has set an example for Reinhart and some of his colleagues, such as Rachel Giora and Mira Ariel in the linguistics department at Tel Aviv University. They joined members of the university’s philosophy department, such as Anat Biletzki and Anat Matar, professional moral philosophers, and questioned and denounced Israeli academics’ indifference to human issues. They even denounced the academics’ cooperation with the Israeli government in the occupation and discrimination against the Palestinians as ugly. “As academics, we must never forget our political duty,” Biletzki wrote. We have a duty to eradicate evil, ugliness and evil in all its forms. The occupation of Palestine is a manifestation of this evil. As academics, we must always sympathize with Palestinian professors and students who are in a state of repression. As academics, we must always criticize the satisfaction of others in Israel with the issue of occupation. “We, as academics, must always shout for the occupation to be condemned and blamed.”

However, Biletzki did not support the idea of boycotting Israeli universities; But at the same time, her colleague at the University of Tel Aviv, Anat Matar, in the Department of Philosophy, while calling for more academics to work against the occupation, also endorsed a call by Palestinian civil society for cultural sanctions. The flag of scientific freedom has been raised, it is the oppressor, not the oppressed, who is among those who raise this flag. What is this scientific freedom that calls for so much of the scientific community? Who cares about the quality and manner of scientific freedom in the Occupied Territories? Members of the Israeli academic community, on the other hand, are steadfastly defending their right to pursue what the Israeli regime expects of them, and are appointing former army commanders to academic positions. “Tel Aviv University boasts that 55 percent of its research funding comes from the Department of Defense, and says that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (APRAD) in the U.S. Department of Defense only funds 9 percent more for similar research!”

https://www.ettelaat.com/new/index.asp?fname=2020%5C06%5C06-29%5C20-38-47.htm

Ettelaat Newspaper

Tehran Mirdamad BoulvardEttelaat International

صفحات پي دي اف روزنامه اطلاعات فردا، ساعت 11 هرشب آپلود ميشود
تاريخ خبر: سه شنبه 10 تير 1399- 8 ذی القعده 1441ـ 30 ژوین 2020ـ شماره 27592

پساصهيونيسم چيست؟ايلان پاپه – ترجمه محسن كرباسفروشان – بخش ششم

دانشگاه محقق هر چه بيشتر موضع‌گيري كند، به همان ميزان هم حاصل کار بهتر خواهد بود. اگر مواضعي روشن و مهم اتخاذ نشود، ممكن است تحقيق به زيان گروه‌هاي خاصي تعبير و تمام شود. بهترين راه براي مغتنم دانستن و درک طبيعت موضع‌گيري اين است که نتيجه حاصله از آن را در قياس با حاصل کار محققاني قرار دهيم که آنها را نمي‌شناسيم. نقد به پژوهشگران در اسرائيل امكان داد تا تفسير صهيونيستي از ايده اسرائيل را به مثابه متني که مي‌تواند زندگي و خوشبختي مردمان را هم تخريب کند و هم ارتقا دهد، مورد عمل قرار دهند. چکيده اين رويکرد اين بود که قدرت صهيونيسم ـ چه به عنوان جنبش ملي در چشم برخي، و چه به عنوان جنبش استعماري مهاجر از نظر ديگران ـ يک راوي قدرتمند است. در نتيجه اين رويکرد، احساسات، عملکرد و شناخت انساني مي‌تواند به عنوان يک متن ادبي، که در آن، هر کسي مي‌تواند توطئه‌ها، قهرماني‌ها و تبهکاري‌ها را بازشناسي کند، مورد بررسي و نقد قرار گيرد.

از ديد نقّاد، صهيونيسم داستان قدرتمند يک انديشه است. در اين داستان، جايگاه هر فرد سرنوشت او را در زندگي واقعي در كشور يهود تعيين مي‌کند. اگر شما فلسطيني هستيد، در اين صورت در اين داستان تبهکاري رذل به حساب مي‌آييد؛ اما اگر يهودي مزراحي يا شرقي باشيد، يک خويشاوند بدوي محسوب مي‌شويد. مقايسه اين تعاريف و مصاديق، آن‌گونه که در همه چيز ـ از تحقيق و پژوهش گرفته تا سينماـ ديده مي‌شد، نخستين گام در کاربرد و پياده‌سازي روش شناخت بود. دومين گام، کوششي بود که براي ربط دادن فعاليت‌هاي سياسي عملي و راهبردهاي اعلام و تحميل شده از بالا، به انجام مي‌رسيد. اين كار، با پنداشت‌هايي در فرهنگ عمومي و در فرهنگ بالاي جامعه، همراه بود. بدين ‌قرار اگر شما جزو به حاشيه رانده‌شدگان يا دشمنان بوديد، اين امر انعکاسي از روش و رفتار مراکز قدرت با شما، هم در مسائل دنيوي و هم در موضوعات مرتبط با اصالت وجود بود. اين امر بدين معنا بود که قدرت تفسير مي‌توانست هر وجه يا جنبه از زندگي را کشف کند، چه در محدوده‌هايي نامتجانس همچون آگهي‌هاي بازرگاني در راديو، يا در شخصيت‌هاي طنزها و سريال‌هاي تلويزيوني، ادبيات کودکان و كتاب‌هاي درسي، و چه در روزنامه‌هاي سياسي دولتي، سخنراني‌هاي سياستمداران و نظاير آنها.

علاوه بر اين، مي‌توان با مراجعه به آنچه به صورت نوشته يا در فرم بصري موجود است، دريافت که آيا از متون چيزي کاسته شده است يا خير. همان‌گونه که ادوارد سعيد نشان داده است، طرز برخورد جين آستين و معاصرانش به مسأله استعمار، از فقدان ذکر کُلُني‌ها در کتاب‌ها به‌روشني حکايت مي‌کند. به همين ترتيب غيبت اعراب، فلسطيني‌ها، يهوديان مزراحي و زنان در کارهاي پژوهشگران صهيونيست و نيز در فيلم‌ها، موزه‌ها، کتاب‌ها، جشنهاي ملي و علائم و نشانه‌ها، ديده شده است. آنچه در سالهاي 1990 نقد شد، بر خيالات و موهومات تکيه نداشت. در حقيقت آنچه ديده مي‌شد، نقد شد، به‌گونه‌اي که اين احساس به‌وجود آمد که روند تحقيق و بررسي فراتر از حوزه تحقيق مشروع پيش رفته است. در مجموع بررسي، تحليل و نقد اسناد و مدارک يک نوع عمليات نجات مؤثر نسبت به صداهاي خاموش و غايب يا شنيده نشده در متون نوشته شده به دست حاکمان و غاصبان بود. با اين كار، تاريخ شفاهي به عنوان شيوه و منبع علمي مشروع، پذيرفته شد. به اين ترتيب حتي مردماني که به واسطه بي‌سوادي يا فقدان امکانات ناشي از تخريب و انهدام سرزمين‌شان، نتوانسته بودند شاهد مکتوبي از رخداد‌ها باقي گذارند، اکنون مي‌توانستند تجربيات و مشاهدات خود را از طريق کارها و کتاب‌هاي اين پژوهشگران روايت کنند.

با اين حال، پژوهشگر دانشگاهي، وظيفه‌اي بيش از اين، پيش رو دارد. اتخاذ موضع، کنش اجتماعي‌اي که در سالهاي 1990 وارد اسرائيل شد، وظيفه‌اي است که پژوهشگر بايد بار آن را بر دوش کشد. موضع‌گيري به اين معناست که شما مجبوريد خود را در موضعي قرار دهيد که در روايت صهيونيستي ملي جاي نگيريد، بلکه عليه آن باشيد. وقتي شما از ادعاهاي ملي نسبت به يک گذشته، هويت و آينده جمعي و مشترک دفاع مي‌کنيد، در اين صورت وارد عرصه فعاليت‌هاي سياسي پيرامون هويت و نظم و نسق چند‌فرهنگي مي‌شويد. پر جنب و جوش‌ترين نمونه دانشگاهي در اين مورد، در سالهاي 1970 در آمريكا بروز كرد. در آن سالها، فقط چند دانشگاهي آمريكايي در رخدادي درگير شدند که به جنگهاي فرهنگي (يا جنگهاي پرديس‌هاي دانشگاهي) شهرت يافت. مباحثه‌هاي داغ پيرامون هويت و يکساني و اتحاد و فعاليت‌هاي سياسي مرتبط با آن به عنوان ضوابط و معيارهاي مشروع براي ارزيابي موضوعاتي چون پذيرش در دانشگاه‌، ترفيع، تدوين برنامه تحصيلي، و کيفيت کار يا کتاب دانشگاهي تعيين شدند.

در اسرائيل، دانشگاهيان کوشيدند از اين وضعيت پيروي کنند. آنها مي‌خواستند فلسطينيان، مزراحي‌ها و فمينيست‌ها را در اين راه نمايندگي کنند، حضورشان را در روايت ملي کشور اعلام و حتي جايي براي آنان در معيار‌هاي فرهنگي کشور باز كنند. آنها عقيده‌اي محکم داشتند که با نمايندگي کردن اين گروه‌ها درون محيط‌هاي دانشگاهي اسرائيل، نه‌تنها بدرفتاري با آنها در گذشته و حال آشکار مي‌شود، بلکه نجات آنان از شر اين مصائب در آينده نيز تضمين خواهد شد. نخستين هدف، يعني نشان دادن محاکمات و عذاب‌هاي تحميل شده بر گروه‌هاي به حاشيه رانده شده، مظلوم، سرکوفته و واپس رانده شده، در سطحي وسيع به دست آمد، دومين خواست و آرزو، يعني رهايي اين گروه‌ها از شرارت‌ها و زشتي‌ها در آينده، اصلا حاصل نشد. تنها گروهي که در اسرائيل امروزي وضعيتي بهتر از سالهاي 1990 دارد، زنان هستند. فلسطينيان، يهوديان شرقي و به‌ويژه زنان فلسطيني و مزراحي، بخش کوچک و فراکسيوني شامل ده‌هزار نفر از کارمندان دانشگاه‌هاي اسرائيل تأسيس کردند. در اين تعداد، يک درصد فلسطيني، نُه درصد يهودي مزراحي و يک درصد زنان مزراحي حضور دارند.‏

بسياري از دانشگاهيان اسرائيل در راه دستيابي به حقيقت، فعال ضد صهيونيست مي‌شوند. با اين حال، براي بسياري از آنان، فعاليت سياسي فراتر از نوشتن مقاله و کتاب نمي‌رود؛ چراكه ممكن است بهاي آن کار برايشان سنگين باشد. نوآم چامسکي نثري روان‌ و روشن دارد. او سلطه‌پذيري دانشگاه‌هاي آمريكايي را در رويارويي با ايدئولوژي‌هاي برتر و مسلط در آثار خود نشان داده است. در اسرائيل، خانم تانيا رينهارت به تبعيت از چامسکي، کتابي با نثري روان‌ و روشن نوشته است. او در اين کتاب فرمانبرداري دانشگاه‌هاي اسرائيل را از کارفرمايان و رؤساي سياسي خود به نمايش گذاشته است. علاوه بر اين، مشغوليت مضاعف چامسکي، که هم زبان‌شناسي خبره است و هم مفسري باوجدان در مسائل جهاني است، از او سرمشقي ساخته است براي رينهارت و برخي همکارانش، نظير راشل جيورا و ميرا آريل در بخش زبان‌شناسي دانشگاه تل‌آويو. ‎‏اين اشخاص به نفراتي از بخش فلسفه دانشگاه، مثل آنات بيلتسکي و آنات متار، که فيلسوفان اخلاقي حرفه‌اي بودند، پيوستند و بي‌عاطفگي دانشگاهيان اسرائيلي را نسبت به مسائل انساني، زير سؤال بردند و محکوم كردند. آنها حتي همکاري اين دانشگاهيان را با دولت‌هاي اسرائيلي در زمينه اشغال و تبعيض عليه فلسطينيان، زشت و ننگين برشمردند و محکوم کردند. بيلتسکي نوشت: «ما به عنوان دانشگاهي، نبايد هرگز وظيفه سياسي خود را فراموش کنيم. ما موظفيم بدي، زشتي و شرّ را در همه اشکالش ريشه‌کن کنيم. اشغال فلسطين مظهر اين شرّ است. ما بايست به عنوان دانشگاهي، همواره با استادان و دانشجويان فلسطيني که در شرايط بد سرکوبي به سر مي‌برند، احساس همدردي کنيم. ما بايد به عنوان دانشگاهي، همواره رضايتمندي ديگران را در اسرائيل، نسبت به مسأله اشغال مورد انتقاد قرار دهيم. ما بايد به عنوان دانشگاهي، همواره محکوميت و قابل سرزنش بودن اشغال را فرياد کنيم.»

با وجود اين، بيلتسکي از ايده تحريم دانشگاه‌هاي اسرائيل حمايت نکرد؛ اما در همان حال، همکارش در دانشگاه تل‌آويو، آنات متار در بخش فلسفه، ضمن اينکه همچون او خواستار فعاليت هر چه بيشتر دانشگاهيان عليه اشغال بود، فراخوان جامعه مدني فلسطيني را هم که مبني بر تحريم فرهنگي بود، تأييد کرد و نوشت: «وقتي پرچم آزادي علمي برافراشته است، اين ستمگر است و نه ستمديده که در جمع كساني قرار دارد که اين پرچم را برافراشته مي‌دارد. اين آزادي علمي چيست که اين همه جامعه علمي را به خود مي‌خواند؟ کي به کيفيت و چگونگي آزادي علمي در سرزمين‌هاي‌ اشغالي اهميت داده شده است؟ از سوي ديگر، اعضاي جامعه دانشگاهي اسرائيل از حق خود براي تحقيق آنچه رژيم اسرائيل از آنان انتظار دارد، با ثبات کامل پاسداري مي‌کنند و فرماندهان سابق ارتش را به منصب‌هاي دانشگاهي منصوب مي‌کنند. دانشگاه تل‌آويو به اينکه 55درصد بودجه تحقيقاتي‌اش را وزارت دفاع تأمين مي‌كند، به خود مي‌بالد و مي‌گويد آژانس پروژه‌هاي تحقيقاتي پيشرفته دفاعي (‏APRAD‏) در بخش دفاعي ايالات متحده فقط 9درصد بيشتر از اين مبلغ براي تحقيقات مشابه تأمين بودجه مي‌کند!»

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Critical, neo-Marxist Scholarship Enables Falsification and Poseur: Smadar Lavie as a Case in Point

24.11.21

Editorial Note

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) recently published an article, “Confession and Mirage: Professor Mas`uda and the Ashkenazim-for-Palestine in Israel’s Academe.” It was written by Professor Emerita Smadar Lavie from UC Berkeley who argued that “Ashkenazi upper-class Israeli faculty make Palestine advocacy their international career.”   This is a bold admission that rings true.  As IAM has repeatedly demonstrated, activist academics have used Palestinian advocacy to build flourishing international careers.  

Lavie’s mother was of Yemeni origin, and her father was a Jew from Latvia who escaped the Holocaust and settled in Palestine. By her account, Lavie had a good childhood in Israel. She became a youth journalist in the Maariv for Youth Journal, where she met many of the Israeli elite, including Prime Minister Golda Meir.  She was well-integrated and suffered no ethnic discrimination or prejudice.  

While at Hebrew University, Lavie focused on the South Sinai Bedouin Tribe of Mzeina and was interviewed twice on the radio station Galei Tzahal.

She had won a Fulbright scholarship to the University of California at Berkeley.  Known as a Mecca of anti-Israeli scholarship, it was one of the first to propagate the idea that Israel was a colonial society created by Ashkenazi Jews who subjugated the native Palestinian population.  It took Lavie little time to catch on to the colonial tune, as her co-written article demonstrated:  

“The Zionist leadership had to invent an Israeli national tradition on account of the immigrant Eastern European Jews’ rapid transformation from a disenfranchised, persecuted ethnoreligious minority to a colonial settler minority among a Palestinian majority, itself colonized by the British. In the Zionists’ aspiration to become the independent majority in Palestine, they had to rupture the European textual continuity of their victimized diasporic Jewish past and create a new fictionalized continuity of bold Jewish experience qua text in the biblical promised land… And colonialism, even when practiced by a persecuted minority, wreaks terror upon not only the colonized peoples but the colonizers themselves. To justify their methods of terror, the colonizers have to invent the colonized as a dangerously bizarre beast… Primitivizing the Bedouin served two purposes for the Zionists and was accomplished with contradictory discursive strategies. The Bedouin were savage because they were Arab, and therefore colonizing them was morally just.”  

During this time, she “converted” herself from being an Israeli to an “Arab Jew.”  In a 1989 interview, she stated:  “As an Arab Jew, I noticed that none of the Israeli leaders ever bothered to find out if I was interested in the image that the Ashkenazis had created of me as part of that exotic and semi-civilized in their society.”  

With her new identity as a Mizrahi victim established, she was on her way to engaging in serious political activism.  In 2002, during Operation Defensive Shield, she signed a petition calling to Boycott Israeli Academic Institutions.

She joined the Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow in 2004, recalling, “from Mizrahi and Palestinian positionalities, Rafi Shubeli and I led the first-ever academic conference to contextualize Ashkenazi Jews in whiteness studies. On the conference day, we had unexpected guests—dozens of retired Ashkenazim who came to remind us that without the education they bestowed upon us, we could not have put on such a conference.”

Also, in 2004, Lavie worked on a project with like-minded activists, submitting a grievance against all Israeli research universities. The grievance complained that there was a nearly complete absence of tenured Mizrahi and Palestinian faculty, mainly women, from their anthropology departments. The grievance urged the ombudsman to investigate—and undo—”the intellectual community property violations committed by Israeli academic faculty who profit from the Mizrahi and Palestinian cultures from which they build their careers. It also requested that the state comptroller investigate why Israeli anthropologists performed their studies without adhering to a research ethics code. To this day, we’re still waiting for an answer.”  Following the grievance, Lavie joined forces with the Palestinian NGO Mossawa and founded the Mizrahi-Palestinian Coalition against Apartheid in Israeli Anthropology (CAAIA) to conduct an “international campaign against the denial of cultural rights for Mizrahim and Palestinians.”

When visiting Israel, she grieved, “The immediacy of Israel-Palestine and the normalization of the occupation constrict my body like the barbed wire of the apartheid wall that cuts deeply into the flesh.” 

With so much time spent on political activism, she had little time for scholarly work.  She wrote, “Unfortunately, my economic hardship and the daily demands of activism took time away from academic research… my professional CV marred by a large gap in scholarly publications.”   

Somewhere along the way, her radicalization as “an Arab Jew” feminist had deepened.  After participating in peace forums for years, she attacked her camp comrades. She wrote that the “peace-industry” of the Israeli-Ashkenazi feminists is “turning magic into science in order to be funded, published, and promoted… With the post-Oslo economics, Mizrahi and Palestinian women trudge around the poverty line and thus often resort to charities.” In late 2002, “the whole dialogue industry rolled about 9 million dollars of US and EU tax deductible donations a year… Almost all peace and coexistence funding comes from abroad. In my work I’ve always argued that the Left is part of Israel’s hegemony. No wonder, thus, that ‘Mizrahi feminist critique is always abhorred by hegemonic discourse’.

Lavie continued, “Without an oncle d’Amerique, the racinated Mizrahi feminist is not allowed to enter either the peace-club or any sites of the tight-knit Israeli cultural and/or economic elites… The Israeli feminist peace camp practices elaborate theatrics – petitions in major newspapers, whether The New York Times or Haaretz, well- televised demonstrations, marches, and teach-ins, cyberspace e-group discussions, or sisterhood weekends with upper class Palestinians in wonderland retreats. These are almost 100 per cent Ashkenazi… there is a paradoxical incongruence between the oracular of the wealthyly-married and the lived experience of everybody else. The feminists’ peace discourse is thus consumed by those who can pay the hard cash necessary to enter the cosmopolitan Ashkenazi intellectual sphere… ‘good Jews’ as performers, audience and constituencies both at home and in the Western abroad. Such Israeli ambiguous peace and co-existence practices are forms of… colonialist witchcraft.” 

Lavie gained further notoriety in a petition calling for the boycott of Israel at the American Anthropological Association business meeting on November 20, 2015. 

She also attracted the attention of radical feminist Judith Butler who professed to be fascinated by Lavie’s “revelations”.  She wrote her a letter saying, “I think you are showing me that the Mizrahim, and Mizrahi women especially, lead lives that do not ‘count’ in the Israeli public and cultural world. What a profound irony for the leading Ashkenazim to find out that by insisting on their racist demand that Jews always maintain majority rule in Israel that they will be, in effect, relying on the majority of Jews from Arab descent. They will then act as if that majority is Ashkenazi, but they will be exploiting the population’s numbers that the Sephardim and Mizrahim secure for them. And also, within the peace camp, it seems incredible that there can be this strong criticism of the occupation, of the treatment of Palestinians under colonial rule, but that somehow no recognition is made that citizenship within Israel is, by definition, racist, and that not all Jews have the cultural and political rights of citizenship. These matters are linked, and in a social movement that put peace and social justice together, they would have to be thought in their systematic relation to one another… I apologize for the fact that my eyes were not fully open before. In solidarity, Judith.”

Had Butler investigated Lavie’s life trajectory, she would have uncovered the truth.  Lavie is a Mizrahi poseur; she grew up in privileged circumstances as part of the Israeli elite and made a switch to a pro-Palestinian “Mizrahi” to promote her career.

References:

https://www.aaup.org/sites/default/files/Lavie-.pdf

Copyright American Association of University Professors, 2021
Confession and Mirage: Professor Mas`uda and the Ashkenazim-for-Palestine in Israel’s Academe*

Smadar Lavie
Abstract 

This autoethnography unveils its thesis as the biographic narrative unfolds. Ashkenazi upper-class Israeli faculty make Palestine advocacy their international career. When threatened, North American–Western European white colleagues, employing the dualism Israel-Palestine, obtain for these Ashkenazi upper-class Israeli faculty cushy Western positions. Mizrahi anti-Zionist intellectuals and activists are not the secular Ashkenazim with whom Western academics are familiar. Shunned from professorships due to the whiteness of Israel’s academe, their activism is in dialogue with the traditional Judaism of right-wing Mizrahi communities. Ashkenazi anti-Zionists have minimal constituencies in Israel and converse in English with Palestine scholars and activists outside Israel. Their impact on Israel’s Mizrahim (roughly half of Israel’s citizen body) is negligeable. Mizrahi exiles, however, converse in Hebrew with their constituencies.
The front-page story published in Haaretz Weekly Magazine got me on a strange Shavuot 2020 holiday eve, sheltering in place in San Francisco with my son and his partner (Littman 2020). It told the story of Israeli leftist professors in exile, mostly Ashkenazim, who left their university appointments for cushy academic positions in Britain and the United States. It triggered my own longings for the homeland. Rippled images of
 For Carol Bruch.
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the anemone fields on the Gaza border. The mulberry tree in my granny’s Jerusalem backyard. Fig season. I yearn for the relative quietude of Tel Aviv at Shabbat eve’s dusk and ache for the cacophony of El Nora `Alila melodies, the prayer that climbed to the skies from the synagogues of my granny’s ‘hood at the end of Yom Kippur.
I am an academic political exile, but my story—personal and professional—is radically different from the one told by Haaretz. Mas`uda (Arabic for “joy”), from the title to this essay, is a common Middle Eastern woman’s name. It is also the colloquial Hebrew slang for the Mizrahi Big Mama from the barrio, often far from Tel Aviv: heavyset, loud, and uneducated. Professor Mas`uda’s destiny lies outside academe. Her college application would be tossed aside for the name alone. Israel’s fifty percent citizen majority is the Mizrahim, or Jews with origins in the Arab and Muslim World and the margins of Ottoman Europe. The other two segments of Israel’s citizenry are the twenty percent Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, and the remaining thirty percent Ashkenazim, or European Jews of Yiddish-speaking origins. Ashkenazim control the division of power and privilege in the state.
Haaretz regularly publishes items about the anticolonial struggle of Palestinians, brazenly reports Israel’s atrocities against Palestinians, and is well read by the Palestinian intelligentsia and in Palestine solidarity circuits in North America and Europe. What Haaretz won’t publish are pieces exposing the racism of Ashkenazi pro-Palestine intellectuals toward Mizrahim. The textual benevolence of these anti-Zionist Ashkenazi intellectuals provides absolution for their daily racist practices toward Mizrahi plumbers, cleaners, nannies—toward all Mizrahim. Thus, my framing complicates the Palestine-Israel binary characterizing much of the critical anticolonial and anti-Zionist dialogue. It highlights the Israeli Ashkenazi intelligentsia’s own in-home, intra-Jewish racism. Israel’s Mizrahi majority is racialized into a disenfranchised minority. Nonacademic Israelis—most of whom are Mizrahim—use the term “Ashkenazi Academic Junta,” or “the Academic Junta” to indicate their estrangement from the impenetrable networks of the Israeli academic elite (Blachman 2005; Zarini 2004). 1
3 Confession and Mirage
Smadar Lavie
A Halfie Kid
Since childhood, I’ve known I’m a guest—an occupier—on this land, a fact that doesn’t detract from my love for it. Unlike many of my comrades in the Mizrahi struggle, I’m a halfie. I grew up in Holon, a Tel Aviv satellite city, in the Labor A neighborhood, a bastion of the Ashkenazi middle class. My Yemeni mother said, “You can’t trust the Arabs. I know them from before the state’s foundation,” but my Litvak father, a Dachau survivor, was highly critical of the Zionist operation (Lavie 2018a). My Jerusalemite Yemeni granny divided history into “before the state burst out” and “after the state burst out.” When I was in third grade, my father told me about the Nakba. “Don’t talk about it or the kids at school will beat you up,” he advised. In sixth grade, he told me about the Haganah commandos expelling the Palestinians from Lubya—the village neighboring his kibbutz, Beit Keshet. “The State of Israel is a historical mistake and a ‘no choice’ fact on the ground. One can always fix mistakes.” This is how, as a child, I was introduced to the One State vision.
My mother worried I would get brown brown. “You have enough problems as a smart gal. Go practice your piano, forget politics, and sign up for Weight Watchers.” My dark skin, wide hips, loud voice, and ever-increasing consciousness of state injustices enforced on Mizrahim made it impossible to enjoy my father’s Ashkenazi privilege. “Shaynele Schwartzele” (Yiddish for “beautiful little black girl”), cooed the neighbors growing up.
During elementary school, I was “a young journalist” for a children’s weekly magazine. At the end of sixth grade, right after the June 1967 war, while everyone was ecstatic about the victory of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), I published an essay condemning the destruction of the Mughrabi quarter and the expulsion from the Western Wall Plaza of Palestinian locals whose ancestors had been there for centuries.2 In 1971, as a youth reporter for another weekly, I interviewed Yitzhak Halutzi and Vicki Shiran—the founder of the 1990s Mizrahi feminist movement—on their Black Panther theater.3 I also interviewed my peers from Kafr Qasim, asking whether their parents’ memories of the Israel Border Police massacre would facilitate our coexistence.4 Despite our political
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differences, Maariv senior journalist and Stern Gang alum Geula Cohen mentored me in journalistic writing.5 Later on, Geula’s son, Tzachi Hanegbi, who would become Israel’s justice minister, whipped me with a bicycle chain during the Hebrew University students’ protests against the dispossession of the Bedouin from their lands.6 “You got what you deserve!” Geula laughed.
Givat Ram, the Hebrew University
After adventurous military service as an IDF hiking guide and a year of fieldwork among the South Sinai Bedouin, I arrived at the Hebrew University’s Givat Ram campus. Appeasing my mother, I registered and was admitted to the very selective medical school.
But I wanted anthropology. The admission committee rebuked me, “Whaat?! A Yemeni studying anthropology?! Why not a stable profession like medicine?”
I owe much of my anthropologist identity to my mentors, Emanuel Marx and Don Handelman, even though we were so divided on politics. Emanuel oversaw my field research, and Don was and still is one of my theoretical lightning rods. On Don’s balcony, discussions on “the historical mistake” and discrimination against Mizrahim always ended in a screaming match followed by heavy silence. Years later, during a visit from Berkeley, Don said, “So . . . now Baruch [Kimmerling] is saying the same [on “the historical mistake”], so you were probably right” (Kimmerling 2004).7
I spent most of my BA years doing anthropological fieldwork in the Sinai. In my student circle, I was the only Mizrahi activist in the Palestinian-Israeli non-Zionist student movement (see Greenberg 2019). At the end of my sophomore year, Don told me, “You are so talented, original, and hardworking, but you don’t stand a chance here. Go to America. They have excellent anthropology departments, and you can get a full scholarship.” Later on, I passed my knowledge of “how to get admitted to US PhD programs on a full scholarship” to generations of Mizrahim and Palestinians who couldn’t realize their full potential due to the choke chain of Israel’s social sciences and humanities.
5 Confession and Mirage
Smadar Lavie
Berkeley
In September 1979, I landed in Berkeley straight from the Sinai, my untamed curls woven, Bedouin girly style, into four braids. Officially, I had not received a BA. In the final course, I received a “fail.” My father and Don filed an appeal with the dean. The external committee the dean convened to evaluate my final paper gave me a 96/100. My BA arrived together with my Berkeley MA. In the spring of 1980, way before the birth of queer theory, I wrote my MA paper on Papua New Guinea initiation rites as drag performances. One teacher, a junior faculty member, gave me an A+, but the senior professor failed me. He told me his parents were best pals with Golda Meir. “You don’t belong in the program!” he announced. “You can’t be more than a typist!” Due to the dispute, all the cultural anthropology professors read the paper and decided that I indeed deserved an A+.
My second-year scholarship was dependent on a teaching assistantship. The anthropology department thought it best used on a Hebrew language course. Word likely got around about my activism to the professors administering the Hebrew teaching assistantships, and they too probably didn’t want me on campus. But they did appoint the Ashkenazi elite Israeli students, who participated in activism critical of Israel, as TAs for Hebrew language courses. Was it because I joined the campus’s Arab Student Union, where Israel was still “the Zionist entity”? Or because during lunch breaks, I argued with the Hillel House campaigners?8 When Middle Eastern studies are at stake—specifically the Palestine-Israel conflict—there is no academic freedom in the United States (see Deeb and Winegar 2016).9
And yet, at Berkeley, I could live up to my agency. It was acceptable to discuss Zionism within the framework of the colonialist-settler project and analyze it through the optics of critical race theory. We were a tight cohort spread between Santa Cruz, Stanford, and Berkeley—the first generation of PhD candidates to contextually analyze comparative colonial discourse and challenge the traditional format of academic writing.
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In 1981, together with a group of Palestinians, Arabs, Arab Americans, Ashkenazi Israelis, and American Jews (Ashkenazi by default), I cofounded the Committee for Academic Freedom in the Israeli-Occupied Territories (CAFIOT). The only two Mizrahim in CAFIOT were myself and a sociology PhD candidate, a former member of Matzpen, a revolutionary socialist, anti-Zionist Israeli group.10 A devout Marxist, he argued that identity politics interfered with class struggle, and thus he ignored the Mizrahi struggle. Despite this, he could not land an academic position in Israel.
In the summer of 1982, just before the Lebanon War, I teamed up with a Palestinian PhD candidate to teach Berkeley’s first-ever student-initiated course on modern Palestine’s history. We also discussed the complicated relationship between Mizrahim and the Palestinian struggle. Hillel conducted a smear campaign to cancel the course. Assisted by the student-of-color unions, we achieved a majority vote in the general assembly. Shortly thereafter, my Palestinian colleague and I were summoned to the president’s office. The two professors who had prevented me from TAing in the Hebrew language courses were already waiting for us inside. “Why teach about Palestine? It ceased to exist in 1948,” said the historian among them. “But you teach about the Ottoman Empire,” I replied. “It ceased to exist way before 1948.” The president, who presented himself as a Jew, approved the course. It was a hit. Its students subsequently organized mass demonstrations on campus after the Sabra and Shatila Massacre.11 Hillel deployed its requisite pair of Yemeni Israeli students as its “diversity assets,” who frequently showed up to interrupt our campus events. But even this didn’t help them secure tenure-track positions at Israeli universities.
I received my PhD in 1989 with four articles published in refereed journals, several articles in press, and a book contract with the University of California Press. Together with me, a CAFIOT member from another department marched down the aisle to receive her doctorate. Two years prior to graduation, she returned to Israel and immediately landed a tenure-track position at the Hebrew University. All she did was submit the proposed chapter titles for her doctoral thesis. For the first time, I understood that as long as you are an elite Ashkenazi, criticizing Israel is
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profitable. Moreover, the university uses you as a trophy to prove its academic freedom.
I wanted to go home. In the final year of my doctoral studies, Emanuel and Don suggested I apply for the Hebrew University’s Alon Scholarship—a postdoc for outstanding young scholars returning to Israel. My application was rejected. The scholarship was granted to another Jerusalemite elite Ashkenazi who lived in Berkeley. Her doctorate was from a study-by-correspondence university with no accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges under the US Department of Education.
I landed a tenure-track position at the University of California, Davis, and commuted from Berkeley. Many of my generation doing critical anthropology about the Israel-Palestine conflict could not secure academic appointments and went to law school or pursued an MBA. Others were stuck in remote universities. US elite universities are fearful of being labeled “anti-Semitic” by the pro-Israel lobby and its Jewish donors (see Deeb and Winegar 2016). “Fortunately, your ethnography is about the theater of Egyptian Bedouin,” remarked my US colleagues. Only after September 11 did the generations of young PhDs in critical anthropology of the Middle East land positions at elite US universities. Still, in today’s star-studded anthropology department at Berkeley, not one faculty member specializes in Israel-Palestine. “Israeli studies” have been exiled from the humanities to Berkeley’s law school.
My career flowered. I obtained generous research grants, invitations to conferences, publications in prestigious periodicals, quotations, and prizes. These led to an accelerated tenured associate professorship after a year of postdoc and three years as faculty. I enjoyed a loving support system of students and colleagues protecting me from the campus’s powerful Zionist lobby. Nevertheless, I wanted to go home. I applied to every job opening in Israeli sociology and anthropology departments. I wanted to be part of the Mizrahi consciousness revolution that started in Israel in the early 1990s, to teach Mizrahi and Palestinian Israeli students. But I was always rejected. Those who rejected me still asked that I pull strings for their abstracts to get admitted to conferences or departmental colloquia.
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In 1990, I shifted my research center from Egypt to Israel, studying the disjuncture between Ashkenazified Mizrahi and Palestinian hybrid poets and authors who write in Hebrew but whose mother tongue is Arabic (see Lavie 1992). My American colleagues started to shift their focus inward to study their own cultures rather than those of faraway places. I, too, wanted to shift from “fieldwork” to “homework” (Lavie and Swedenburg 1996). I understood that research and publication of critical scholarship on Israel-Palestine was a career risk. In 1990, I was a US-based scholar. I knew that studying intra-Jewish racism in the homeland of the Jews could alarm the highly influential pro-Israel lobby. Nevertheless, I thought my tenure-track position would provide safe harbor for “Hebrew as Step-Mother Tongue,” my next project.
In 1993, when visiting Israel, anthropology and sociology departments invited me to lecture. At the Hebrew University, I spoke about the intersection of race(ism) and gender in the lives of Mizrahi women poets. As the lecture went on, faculty left the seminar room one by one, slamming the door each time. From then on, I was boycotted by the Israeli academic establishment. They argued that “racialization,” “racism,” “border crossing,” “silencing,” “hybridity,” or “intersection-ality” were not suitable for analysis of Israeli identities, and that feminism of color lacked a scientific foundation (see Hess 1994). Even so, these same concepts sometimes made their way into Israeli academic and public discourse. My work was appropriated without credit.
Southside Tel Aviv
My Berkeley Camelot ended abruptly in 1999, on the eve of my becoming a full professor. Even with my academic success and activism, my son and I lived the nightmare of domestic violence. In February 1999, we fled to Israel. During the abduction trial, the Israeli courts confiscated our Israeli and US passports, and in 2001, the Israeli Supreme Court (verdict 4445/96) cleared me of any and all allegations brought by my ex-husband in the United States, Israel, and The Hague. After the verdict, my son and I received our US passports but not our Israeli ones. So, we were stuck in Israel until receiving our Israeli passports in October 2005. Israeli citizens
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having multiple citizenships must enter or depart from Israel using their Israeli passports.
These were the years of the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords. Haim Beresheeth, an old friend and a Mazpenist returning from Britain, invited me to the Sapir College in Sderot—a small, largely Mizrahi desert town about five kilometers from the Israeli border with Gaza. Haim hired me as a tenure-track professor to establish a cultural studies department in the communication school he founded, but the college withdrew its promise to allocate tenure lines for other faculty. I couldn’t understand how I, alone, was expected to establish a department, run it, and teach all of its courses. The college aspired to attract “quality students,” that is, affluent Ashkenazim, rather than Mizrahim from the local disenfranchised communities, and relied on inexpensive adjuncts. So I resigned. The October 2000 Palestinian uprisings, Al-Aqsa Intifada,12 and the college’s unfulfilled promises shipped Haim back to Britain and sent me to Israel’s welfare lines. Under abusive employment terms, Beit Berl Teachers College hired me as a part-time adjunct.
In 2001, Haaretz published an article on Ashkenazi women professors who complained about discrimination in academia (Caspi 2001). In response, I wrote “In Search of the Mizrahi Woman Professor” (Lavie 2002a). Haaretz rejected it due to “lack of interest and space.” Yet after I sent it to email lists of Israeli academics, it went viral. It caught the attention of Billie Moscona-Lerman, a senior journalist at Israel’s largest daily, Yediot Aharonot.
Billie’s front-page story, “For You, a Mizrahi Woman Is Just a Maid,” got me on prime-time TV, where I was introduced as the “Mizrahi unemployed professor from Berkeley” (Moscona-Lerman 2002). The leftie Ashkenazi producers cast me as “the angry Mizrahi feminist.” Though it was the habitual TV screaming match, I put on my polite American smile and waited quietly until the ruckus died down.
“The Ashkenazim, in their Mt. Scopus bunker-like campus, have the memory of an elephant, and you must stay sane!” ordered the great mother and soul sister Vicki Shiran. “Come join Ahoti [Israel’s Mizrahi feminist movement]!13 We need you! You have your Berkeley activism and great English. Connect us with similar organizations globally!” One
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of the joint projects Vicki, Yifat Hillel, and I worked on was writing weekly to all academic conferences’ organizers who published ads in Haaretz. We asked why no Mizrahi women were in their list of speakers. We sent follow-ups but never received an answer.
During my Israeli years, I fought against the treatment of children as property. In cases of divorce, children are often shuffled from one parent to another, or even worse, taken from their parents’ homes and forced to attend boarding schools. I assisted dozens of mothers, mostly Mizrahi, to face Israel’s aggressive family courts, welfare authorities, and psychological and psychiatric establishments. In 2002, my essay “A Pedophile Father Is Better than an Alienating Mother” was published on an influential Israeli legal website and submitted to Israel’s Supreme Court as an expert opinion (Lavie 2002b). From then on, the powerful deadbeat dad lobby has denigrated my reputation and threatened me in all possible ways.
In 2004, I cofounded the Coalition of Women for Mothers and Children with Esther Herzog and Hanna Beit Halachmi. It was the widest coalition in Israel’s feminist history, including Islamist feminists and Orthodox Jewish settlers from the Occupied Territories. University feminists opposed my activism, labeling me “an extremist,” but appropriated my ideas for their English-language academic publications. “It’s not because of your politics or ethnic origins,” chimed an Ashkenazi professor who identifies with Mizrahi feminism. “You’re too old to fit in with the academic faculty.” I was forty-seven.
In the spring of 2002, during Operation Defensive Shield, Vicki phoned me.14 “Are you out of your mind? Why did you sign the petition for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions by those British loonies?! How did your name creep into Haaretz’s Hebrew edition? (Levy-Barzilai 2002). I got a phone call that they’ll cut off your NSB allowance!15 What are you going to live on?”
The majority of Ahoti activists were left of Israel’s political center. But our constituencies were right of center and conceived the discussion of justice for Palestine as the territory of the smolavan, the white-leftie-minnies. In Mizrahi lingo, smolavan is a term for Ashkenazi lefties who enjoy white privilege. Conjoining smol (“left” in Hebrew, but also evoking
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the English small) and lavan (“white”), smolavan signifies this miniscule privileged group loathed by Israel’s Mizrahi majority.
Ashkenazi feminists from affluent Jerusalem or Tel Aviv focused on “ending the occupation.” Guided by Vicki, Ahoti’s strategy was to avoid the Palestine conflict. We focused instead on employment security, housing rights, and nutrition stability. In right-wing, working-class communities, the liberation of Palestine wasn’t the major concern—getting food on the table was.
Vicki ordered me to write to the organizers of the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions petition explaining that my inclusion was a mistake. She would then pass on this letter to the entities determined to cut me off the welfare roster. Even though seven other Israeli professors signed the boycott call, no one threatened their academic positions. They were all Ashkenazim, after all.
I also joined the Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow.16 In 2004, from Mizrahi and Palestinian positionalities, Rafi Shubeli and I led the first-ever academic conference to contextualize Ashkenazi Jews in whiteness studies. On the conference day, we had unexpected guests—dozens of retired Ashkenazim who came to remind us that without the education they bestowed upon us, we could not have put on such a conference.
Also in 2004, along with Rafi Shubeli, Reuven Abergel, and Shira Ohayon, I researched and initiated a grievance submitted by Ahoti against all Israeli research universities. This was due to the near complete absence of Mizrahi and Palestinian tenured faculty, mainly women, from their anthropology departments. The grievance urged the ombudsman to investigate—and undo—the intellectual community property violations committed by Israeli academic faculty who profit from the Mizrahi and Palestinian cultures from which they build their careers. It also requested that the state comptroller investigate why Israeli anthropologists performed their studies without adhering to a research ethics code. To this day, we’re still waiting for an answer (Lavie 2005).
Following the grievance, Rafi and I joined forces with the Mossawa Palestinian nongovernmental organization (NGO) and founded the Mizrahi-Palestinian Coalition against Apartheid in Israeli Anthropology (CAAIA). CAAIA conducted an international campaign against the denial
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of cultural rights for Mizrahim and Palestinians, and joined forces with similar NGOs and scholar activists throughout the world.
Unfortunately, my economic hardship and the daily demands of activism took time away from academic research. In addition, in Israel, I was blacklisted. With my Israeli passport confiscated, I could not travel abroad to network. I was stuck, my professional CV marred by a large gap in scholarly publications.
Berkeley, Again
In 2005, on the eve of Yom Kippur, my son and I finally got our Israeli passports after the family court recognized that I am my son’s mother. Right away, we took our first trip abroad to Dahab, in South Sinai, Egypt, to visit my adoptive Bedouin family. Despite our legal freedom, we were stopped from crossing into Egypt because the family court had “overlooked” recording its verdict with Israel’s National Police. “They hold their grudges forever and will always seek revenge,” was one of Vicki’s mantras.
On August 20, 2007, we left Israel. On July 31, while en route to Dahab to say goodbye to my adoptive family, my son and I were stopped at the Taba border. The border police informed me that I had to pay $16,000 bail to leave Israel—supposedly for the child support debt I owed my ex-husband while he was in California. Due to the Israeli courts’ refusal to grant me custody, he was still the legal parent of our son even though I was the sole provider. Again, my magnanimous colleagues helped and paid the bail so that I could leave on time and not lose my job opportunity.
Once back in the United States, I embarked on a series of essays for a book about the web of relationships between the rightward move of the Mizrahi public, the racial formations of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and Mizrahi feminism. I queried how the logjam at the intersection of Mizrahi identity politics prevents social movements, such as Ahoti or the Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow, from achieving the long-term success that might improve the material lives of Mizrahim in central Israel’s low-income neighborhoods and forlorn periphery. I wanted to understand how the Mizrahi love for the homeland results in populism led by an Ashkenazi elite advocating white supremacy. My book Wrapped in the Flag of Israel:
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Mizrahi Single Mothers and Bureaucratic Torture won awards and gifted me with a lecture tour of the United States and Europe (Lavie 2018b). But the pain that my publications are not translated into Hebrew and available in Israel won’t go away.
With the return of my academic success came the pro-Israel lobby. Assisted by improved Internet technology, various online platforms spread fake news about my colleagues and me. These scare campaigns are run by Israeli hasbara (official propaganda) against the critics of Israel on US campuses.
The smolavan professors who leave Israel for cushy positions in the United States and Britain focus their research on the dualism of the conflict: Israel against Palestine and vice versa. They enjoy the support of both the pro-Palestine academic community, whose members praise their bravery, and the liberal academic community, who points to them as exemplars of the academic freedom to criticize Israel. Diaspora Ashkenazim never ponder whether these white-leftie-minnies have any constituencies in Israeli communities, as opposed to Mizrahi intellectuals who were exiled out of Israel’s academe yet continue to be woven into the fabric of their communities. And as for Israeli Mizrahi scholars abroad, it is better to adore them as colorful diversity jewels in departments of Jewish and Israeli studies, financed by the pro-Israel Jewish lobby, rather than house them in their disciplinary departments (see Traubmann 2006). Through a handful of Israeli-Mizrahi scholars who research Mizrahism as if it were not embedded in the Israel-Palestine conflict, departments of Jewish and Israeli studies become a counterpoint to departments of ethnic studies.
In the summer of 2012, my son graduated from college. I returned to Israel to gather the belongings we left in storage before our exit in 2007. Every sweltering day, when I was sorting out objects and memories, I wanted to cry. I knew this was the end. I would live here and there, between time zones and continents. No home. Today, I binge everything possible in Hebrew and am overjoyed as Mizrahi discourse expands its reach into Israel’s public sphere. But alas, this is not reflected in university tenure lines. My fear of the Israeli public’s populist rightward move keeps escalating due to the relentless hijacking of Judaism into the structure of
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Israeli citizenship (Lavie 2018b). Whether here or there, I continue to keep in touch with friends and assist Mizrahi students navigate the academic obstacle course.
Despite my longing, visiting Israel is emotionally taxing. When there, I grieve over my exilic loss. The immediacy of Israel-Palestine and the normalization of the occupation constrict my body like the barbed wire of the apartheid wall that cuts deeply into the flesh. When my friends warn me, “Israel today is not the same. Shut up about politics around commonfolk on public transport or they’ll beat you up,” my heart breaks.
I learned how to daven in the major key, Reform style, but it feels jarring. When I started writing this piece on Shavuot Eve, I envisioned a short response to the Haaretz article, and here, I give a confession. These are pandemic times. My son, his Asian American partner, and I are locked down in San Francisco. It felt so odd for us to participate in my shul’s Zoom for a midnight study of social justice issues in relation to the Torah.17 We changed into white shirts, shut off our laptops and iPhones, lit the candles, blessed and ate takeaway bourekas and cheesecake. We sang holiday tunes. After the meal, we went down memory lane to our lives on welfare when we were stranded in Israel. Our memories, translated into English, feel as if we’d lived in a mirage. They cut less into the soul than in Hebrew, our mother tongue.
Smadar Lavie is professor emerita of anthropology at UC Davis. She authored The Poetics of Military Occupation (1990), which received the honorable mention of the Victor Turner Award, and Wrapped in the Flag of Israel: Mizrahi Single Mothers and Bureaucratic Torture (2014/2018), which received the honorable mention of the Association of Middle East Women’s Studies. The book was finalist in the Clifford Geertz Competition of the Society for the Anthropology of Religion. Lavie won the American Studies Association’s 2009 Gloria Anzaldúa Prize and the “Heart at East” Honor Plaque for lifetime service to Mizrahi communities in Israel-Palestine.
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Notes
1 The only available statistics on the Mizrahi-Ashkenazi-Palestinian women faculty in Israel can be found in Zarini’s MA thesis (2011). She counted 1,032 women professors out of the five thousand or so associate and full professors in Israeli universities and community colleges, and in government services, such as hospitals or agricultural research facilities. Mizrahi women number thirty-seven out of these 1,032. Of these thirty-seven, almost all are married to wealthy and well-placed Ashkenazim. Only six of these thirty-seven were in the non-applied humanities and social sciences. Zarini reports that all thirty-seven self-identified as Zionists. Even more marked is the present state of Israel’s Palestinian academics. In 2011, of Israel’s five thousand total professors, a mere sixty-nine were Palestinian. There was only one woman among them, in the Tel Aviv University School of Education. Since then, as far as I know, only two other Palestinian-Israeli professors have received tenured professorships at Israeli universities.
2 The Mugrabi Quarter was a nearly 800-year-old neighborhood located in Jerusalem’s Walled City.
3 Born in Cairo, Dr. Vicki Shiran was a pathbreaking founder of many Mizrahi social movements and is considered the mother of Mizrahi feminism.
4 The Kafr Qasim massacre took place on October 29, 1956, when Israeli Border Police executed forty-nine Palestinians with Israeli citizenship as they returned from work to their village, Kafr Qasim. They were unaware a curfew had been decreed earlier in the day.
5 Geula Cohen was a Stern Gang leader and a senior Maariv journalist. Between 1974 and 1999, she was a Knesset member from the Tehiya party. The Stern Gang, also known as Lehi, was an extreme right-wing Zionist paramilitary organization that sought to evict British authorities from Palestine by force.
6As of August 2020, Hanegbi was minister of settlement affairs.
7 Baruch Kimmerling was a Hebrew University sociologist, the first from inside Israeli academe to question Israel’s creation.
8 Hillel House is the largest Zionist organization present on North American and Western European college campuses. It creates a framework for campus Jewish life while disseminating pro-Israel propaganda disguised as student activism.
9 Lara Deeb and Jessica Winegar (2016) provide an excellent analysis of the obstacles US scholars encounter when teaching critically about the Middle East.
10 Matzpen (Hebrew for “compass”) was active between the 1960s and 1980s.
11 The Sabra and Shatila Massacre was the murder of 3,500 Palestinian refugees by Christian Phalange militiamen and was masterminded by Ariel Sharon, then Israel’s defense minister.
12 The October 2000 Palestinian uprisings broke out within the 1948 borders of Palestine or the State of Israel in solidarity with West Bank and Gaza mass demonstrations in response to Ariel Sharon’s uninvited pilgrimage to the Temple Mount
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or Al-Aqsa Mosque. During this insurrection, the Israeli police executed twelve Palestinian youth demonstrators in the Galilee. Al-Aqsa Intifada was a 2000–2005 insurrection of West Bank and Gaza Palestinians.
13 Ahoti is Israel’s feminist of color movement. It no longer has a website, so see their Facebook page.
14 Operation Defensive Shield was a 2002 large-scale IDF response directed mainly against Palestinian civilians of the West Bank during the second Intifada.
15 Israel’s National Security Bureau (NSB) is similar to the US Social Security Administration.
16 The Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow is an antiracist, social justice NGO.
17 Tikkun Leil Shavuot is the practice of going to the synagogue for Maariv after a Shavuot holiday meal and studying the Torah into the night.
References
Blachman, Israel. 2005. Mizrahim in the Faculty of Israeli Research Universities. Master’s thesis, Tel Aviv University, Israel [Hebrew].
Caspi, Arie. 2001.”Cherchez la Femme.” Haaretz, December 19. https://www.haaretz.com/1.5450012.
Deeb, Lara, and Jessica Winegar. 2016. Anthropology’s Politics: Disciplining the Middle East. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Greenberg, Lev. 2019. “Once It Was Successful: The Story of an Arab-Jewish Partnership at the Hebrew University” [in Hebrew]. Siha Mekomit, December 12.
Hess, Yizhar. 1994. “Sell-Out Mizrahi and Highbrow Ashkenazi” [in Hebrew]. Shishi—Musaf, no. 7 (January 21): 13–15.
Kimmerling, Baruch. 2004. Immigrants, Settlers, Natives: Israel between Plurality of Cultures and Cultural Wars [in Hebrew]. Tel Aviv: Am Oved.
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Lavie, Smadar. 1992. “Blow-Ups in the Borderzones: Third World Israeli Authors’ Gropings for Home.” New Formations 18: 84–106.
Lavie, Smadar. 2002a. “In Search of the Mizrahi Woman Professor” [in Hebrew]. Tel Aviv Weekly Magazine, January 18.
Lavie, Smadar. 2002b. “A Pedophile Father Is Preferable to an Alienating Mother: Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) and Israel’s Supreme Court” [in Hebrew]. Psak Din, October.
Lavie, Smadar. 2005. “Israeli Anthropology and American Anthropology.” Anthropology Newsletter, January 8, 8.
Lavie, Smadar. 2018a. “Acceptance Speech for My Father’s Posthumous Degree Ceremony.” Facebook, April 13. https://www.facebook.com/smadar.lavie.1/posts/10216082926168718.
Lavie, Smadar. 2018b. Wrapped in the Flag of Israel: Mizrahi Single Mothers and Bureaucratic Torture. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
Lavie, Smadar and Ted Swedenburg, eds. 1996. Displacement, Diaspora and Geographies of Identity. Durham: Duke University Press.
Levy-Barzilai, Vered. 2002. “Boycott Us!” [in Hebrew]. Haaretz, April 24. https://www.haaretz.co.il/misc/1.789453.
Littman, Shany. 2020. “After Losing Hope for Change, Top Left-Wing Activists and Scholars Leave Israel Behind.” Haaretz, May 25. https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-losing-hope-for-change-top-left-wing-activists-and-scholars-leave-israel-behind-1.8864499.
Moscona-Lerman, Billie. 2002. “For You, a Mizrahi Woman Is Just a Maid” [in Hebrew]. Maariv Weekly Magazine, February 1.
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Traubmann, Tamara. 2006. “A Different Way to Fight Academic Boycotts” [in Hebrew]. Haaretz, May 23. https://www.haaretz.com/1.4907511.
Zarini, Iris. 2011. Mizrahi Women Professors in Israel’s Academe. Master’s thesis, Ben Gurion University, Israel [Hebrew].

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http://www.ha-keshet.org.il/israeli-anthropology-and-american-anthropology-our-special-relations-prof-smadar-lavie/

Anthropology and American Anthropology: Our “Special Relations” / Prof. Smadar Lavie

The following article by the brilliant Mizrahi activist author of one of the most insightful books of anthropology The Poetics of Military Occupation is a detailed argument which definitively shows the racism that exists at the very heart of the Israeli academic system.

DS

In March three registered NGOs, Ahoti (Sistah, Hebrew), Israel’s feminists-of-color movement; the Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow; and Mossawa, the Advocacy Centerfor the Palestinian-Arab Citizens of Israel, filed an official complaint to Israel’s State Comptroller against anthropology departments in all Israeli universities.

These NGOs advocate Mizrahi (Arab-Jews of Asian and North African origins) and Palestinian-Israeli human rights. The complaint was researched and co-authored by Yif`at Hillel, Nurit Hajjaj, Vardit Damri-Madar, Rafi Shubeli, Smadar Lavie and by the late Vicki Shiran, founder of Israel’s feminist-of-color movement.

In these NGOs’ complaint, clarification is sought on the almost complete absence of tenured Mizrahi faculty, and the total absence of Palestinian-Israeli faculty in anthropology departments in Israeli universities. Such absences are in complete violation of any principal of equal opportunities employment. Mizrahim and Palestinian citizens of Israel consist of about 70% of Israel’s citizenry.

The complaint also noted the total absence of Mizrahi and Palestinian-Israeli women in both junior and senior faculty positions in Israeli universities’ anthropology departments, violations of our Mizrahi and Palestinian-Israeli intellectual and cultural property rights, and the complete absence of an ethics code for the practice of anthropology in Israel.

The complaint argued that Israeli Ashkenazi (European Jewish) anthropologists have made social and financial gains through the appropriation of Mizrahi and Palestinian cultures. Sixty-seven percent of Israeli anthropologists study Mizrahim and/or Palestinians. Ashkenazim consist of about 30% of Israel’s citizenry and over 90% of Israel’s university faculty body.

The complaint juxtaposes the data about Israeli academic apartheid practices with data about the present gendered-ethnic FTE distribution in major US anthropology departments. It also reviews the careers and influential publications of Mizrahi and Palestinian anthropologists who, after being rejected by Israeli academia due to alleged “collegial incompatibility,” have made names for themselves in Western European and US universities.

International and Israeli Responses 

The Ahoti-Rainbow-Mossawa coalitional team emailed and faxed English translations of the complaint to the AAA, the Royal Anthropological Institute of Britain, the European Association of Social Anthropologists, and the Canadian Society for Anthropology and Sociology. The Society for Cultural Anthropology and the American Ethnological Society, sections of the AAA, discussed the complaint this spring, along with the AAA executive board, as it continues to generate ongoing discussion on the AAA Middle East Section’s listserv.

The Israeli State Comptroller has yet to substantially address the concerns raised in the coalition’s complaint, although he acknowledged its receipt.  Currently the Israeli Anthropological Association is developing an ethics code in response to the complaint.

We find this ironic given the benevolent colonialism of the so-called progressive edition of Israeli anthropology. Even those Israeli anthropologists who pose as radical – and as part of this pose have even expressed their support in our activism – actually preserve the master Ashkenazi-Zionist narrative of anti-Arab apartheid when deciding about their choice of departmental colleagues, whether in FTE allocations, merits and promotions. In some instances when the coalition has tried to address alleged issues of Ashkenazi ethnographic beneficence or institutional racism it has been silenced through threat of lawsuit, on the one hand, and hegemonized cajoling, on the other. Yet the silence ought not be interpreted as evidence that that such acts of racism do not exist.

US Anthropology’s Role

In May, UC Berkeley anthropologist Lawrence Cohen visited Israel as the keynote speaker of the Israeli Anthropological Association and the Israeli Queer Studies Group. Members of the coalition met with him on May 9 to discuss the reasons for the American-focused campaign, and to request further assistance. Cohen was generous with his time and ideas, and also suggested that we organize or consult with Native American activists. Nevertheless, he expressed the fear that by siding with equal opportunity anti-racist struggles outside the US, the AAA might appoint itself a cop of the world, so to speak, Bush- administration style. Considering the so-called “special relations” between Israel’s and the US’s white neo-conservative elites, however, such a fear is difficult for us to grasp.

From the onset of the Mizrahi and Palestinian-Israeli anti-racist struggle, Israeli anthropology has been applied as an arm of governmentality to better suppress it and to design pacifying policies of cooptation. This was done through in-situ cross-cultural application of the works of Victor Turner or Talcott Parsons on our transit camps, neighborhoods and villages. Paradoxically, however, Israeli anthropologists cynically quote US anthropology from the 1960s on, focusing on the liberation struggles of women, minorities, immigrants, queers, and other subjects under post-colonialism. The coalition finds this an empty gesture of interpolation in order to sail through the anonymous review procedures of scholarly periodicals and grants.

A largely decontextualized version of US anthropology has dictated appointments, promotions, research grants and publications politicking of Israeli anthropology at least for the last two decades. For example, many endowed visitors invited to speak at annual meetings, seminars and to guest teach in Israeli anthropology departments are Ashkenazi Jews who are on the faculty of US Ivy League and elite universities. Non-Ivy-League and elite anthropologists are not considered worthwhile of invitation. Perhaps because about 85% of diaspora Jewry is Ashkenazi, these US anthropologists overlook the apartheid practices of Israel’s academe.

After such visits to Israeli anthropology academics, US anthropologists are then requested to reciprocate with weighty career evaluation letters that decide the fate of Israeli anthropologists’ merits and promotions, invitations for sabbaticals, and assistance in getting Israeli articles admitted to prestigious periodicals and edited US-based university press collections.

Israeli anthropologists get promoted in Israeli universities on the basis of English-language publications mainly in US periodicals. Academic English is not accessible to the majority of Israelis. The coalition worries that given the monochromatic, elitist and insular composition of Israeli anthropology faculty, these scholars’ English-language publications, written in the absence of any human subjects procedures, thereby provide a slanted view of Israeli society, and concurrently hurt the scientific reputation of academic US periodicals.

Through the public media, Israelis often learn about US intellectual interventions in sites of grave injustice outside the US, where the principals of human rights are at stake.  The .Ahoti-Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow-Mossawa coalition to end Israeli anthropology’s apartheid merits AAA intervention and support.

From The Anthropology Newsletter, January 2005

============================================https://www.jadaliyya.com/Details/31784/New-Texts-Out-Now-Smadar-Lavie,-Wrapped-in-the-Flag-of-Israel-Mizrahi-Single-Mothers-and-Bureaucratic-Torture

New Texts Out Now: Smadar Lavie, Wrapped in the Flag of Israel: Mizrahi Single Mothers and Bureaucratic Torture

By : Smadar Lavie  

Smadar Lavie, Wrapped in the Flag of Israel: Mizrahi Single Mothers and Bureaucratic Torture. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2014.

Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book?

Smadar Lavie (SL): In February 1999 I was a star academic, on the eve of becoming a full tenured professor at University of California, Davis. I had to pack two suitcases, the family dog, and my son’s cello, and flee with him from Berkeley to save our lives. We were both victims of domestic violence that I kept secret from my colleagues. The California courts had proven unable to help us. So I fled to Israel-Palestine, where my family resides. Upon arrival, our Israeli and US passports were confiscated.

In 2001, I was cleared of any wrongdoing revolving around taking my son away to Israel. My US passport was returned to me. The Israeli state took advantage of the situation, however, to gag me—an outspoken scholar and activist against the state. Israelis with dual citizenship are required to use their Israeli passports to enter and exit the country. When I was cleared, I should have received both of my passports. Instead, the authorities kept my Israeli passport and issued a stop-exit order against me. The revolving door between Israel’s regime and its academe hoped to halt my research—the first of its kind in English to empirically document Israel’s lived, everyday Ashkenazi (“European Jewish” in Hebrew) racism against the Mizrahim (“Easterners” in Hebrew), Jews with origins in the Muslim and Arab World or the European margins of the Ottoman Empire. Mizrahim constitute the majority of Israel’s citizens, at fifty percent. The other two groups of Israeli citizens are Palestinians, at twenty percent, and Ashkenazim, or Jews of Yiddish speaking origins, at thirty percent. The Ashkenazi minority holds the power and privilege in the state.

For six and a half additional years, my passport remained confiscated, trapping me within the state, and barring me from gainful employment by my politics and skin color. I became a single mother dependent on welfare. To stay sane, I joined the effort to build Ahoti (“Sistah,” Hebrew), Israel’s Mizrahi feminist movement. I led many successful initiatives to expose and try to remedy the state’s structural apartheid between Mizrahim and Ashkenazim.

My latest book, Wrapped in the Flag of Israel seeks to expose and explore the predicaments and conundrums facing Mizrahim in Israel and how intra-Jewish racism relates to the Palestine-Israel and Arab-Israeli conflicts.

Statistics officially kept by the Israeli state largely downplay the demographic disparity between Israel’s Mizrahi majority and Ashkenazi minority. Until the last couple of years, Israel’s intra-Jewish apartheid and its impact on Palestine and the Arab World have been rarely discussed in major print and electronic Hebrew media, let alone in the international media.

Diaspora Jews are Israel’s broadest support base in all areas. Most are Ashkenazim themselves, and relate to Israel’s Ashkenazi minority. Many have also been at the forefront of civil rights movements in the United States, anti-colonialist movements in Latin America, and anti-apartheid movements in South Africa. How would these progressive diaspora Jews react to the fact that European Jews in Israel design ideologies and enact practices that can be perceived as colonialist and against civil-rights for Jews inside the Homeland of the Jews?  

During my years in Israel as a welfare mother and Mizrahi feminist leader, I noticed the propensity for Mizrahi social protests to fail. A breaking event such as violence in Gaza, military conflicts with Lebanon’s Hezbollah, or a soon-to-happen Israeli bombardment of Iran’s nuclear facilities would blanket news outlets just as a protest started to gain momentum. This effectively crushes the movement, as Mizrahim would abandon their causes and unite with the Ashkenazim as the last line of Jewish defense against the threatening goyim (“non-Jews,” or “enemies,” in colloquial Hebrew).

I observed that one of the most efficient tools to squelch Mizrahi protest is to get its leaders entangled in a lethal web of bureaucracy. If they dare to complain, they will be silenced by the argument that national unity has to be maintained due to an acute threat to the Jewish state’s survival. Wrapped in the Flag of Israel analyzes this bureaucratic web as it was used against the 2003 single mothers march on Jerusalem led by Vicky Knafo. Then it further illuminates the relationships that tie Mizrahi protest movements, state bureaucracy, and the Arab-Israeli conflict together.

J: What particular topics, issues, and literatures does the book address?

SL: Wrapped in the Flag of Israel focuses on a specific segment of Israel’s Mizrahi population—single mothers on welfare—as a case study. Social work practice, policy, and research focus on circumstances surrounding single mothers’ reliance on welfare, policies that keep them marginal to the workforce and actions that may break mothers away from the poverty cycle. Rarely is bureaucracy itself examined as a ritual inflictor of pain on welfare mothers. Moreover, rarely is there anthropological discussion of the relationship between an ethno-religious state and the sanctity of its military conflicts, on the one hand, and family welfare policies, on the other.

To my knowledge, there are no ethnographies on single, welfare mothers in the Middle East. Yet throughout the Global South, single mothers and their children are one of the populations at highest risk when the nation-state sacrifices human dignity to global neoliberal restructuring. My book discusses state bureaucracy through the intersectionality model employed by feminists of color and critical race theories. In so doing, it exposes some of the problems of this model when it encounters a divine, authoritarian state formation and Arab family dynamics.

In addition, most studies of bureaucracy hold that bureaucracy follows rational logic. Wrapped in the Flag of Israel follows in the footsteps of Don Handelman, who challenges Max Weber’s model of rational, secular bureaucracy and argues instead that bureaucracy is ritualistic. My book builds off Handelman by analyzing bureaucracy as a divine cosmological order whose rituals are constructed around the classifications of race, gender, and religion—the categories that form citizenship in the State of Israel. Among Israeli Jews, race and class almost completely overlap. I therefore do not discuss class as a separate category.

This book also challenges anthropology’s tendency to study subjects the ethnographer is personally comfortable or familiar with. In urban settings, the groups anthropologists prefer to study are often progressive and left leaning. As a result, there are far fewer studies that employ ethnographic compassion or have a deep, experiential understanding of right-wing ultra-nationalist groups. In Israel, this ethnographic “comfort zone” has served to trivialize the victimhood of Mizrahim.

Wrapped in the Flag of Israel attempts to engage foundational theories such as Durkheim’s concepts of organic and mechanic solidarities in order to re-analyze the concept of agency. Alongside critiquing current theories of identity politics and agency, this book hearkens back to anthropology’s theories of classification—one of the discipline’s historical pillars.

At the same time as I address these academic fields analytically, the book also means to address the heavy personal and professional price activists pay—often their own lives—as they fight for justice, dignity, and freedom for communities robbed of their languages, histories, homes, and gainful employment. These activists do not leave obvious traces after they depart from the tangible world. As a scholar-activist, I have the education and opportunity to leave some written traces of failed Mizrahi struggles for social justice in the State of Israel. Perhaps in the future, scholars, policymakers, and activists of the Global South will be able to use my research and writing to break out of the cycle I outline in the book: Mizrahi social protests leading to Israeli-Palestinian bloodletting that, in turn, contributes to the protest’s failure. Without Israel’s Mizrahi majority, there will not be any chance to achieve a just resolution of the Palestine-Israel conflict.

J: How does this book connect to and/or depart from your previous research?

SL: Between 1975 and 1990 I conducted intensive fieldwork among the Mzeina Bedouin of the South Sinai. My first book, The Poetics of Military Occupation: Mzeina Allegories Under Israeli and Egyptian Rule (1990), described and analyzed a handful of charismatic characters who performed the paradoxes and absurdities of Sinai Bedouin life under Israeli rule by means of ritualistic story-telling. It focused on transnational identity politics and agency in both anthropology and cultural studies.

In 1990, when my son was one year old, I shifted my center of research from Egypt to Israel-Palestine. I continued my relationships with the Mzeina Bedouin. These had gone beyond research. The Mzeina became family with whom I still keep close today. The change in my research focus seemed like an exciting switch at the time. My American colleagues were starting to shift their focus inward, to study their own cultures rather than those of faraway places. I, too, wanted to shift from “fieldwork” to “homework.” My research among the Mzeina had addressed the cultural conflicts and conjunctions in modernist colonial systems, and it was set in a context where postcolonial nation-states clashed with indigenous cultures in a transnational setting.

My new project, “Hebrew as Step-Mother Tongue: The Lives and Works of Arabic Speaking Jewish and Palestinian Authors and the Rupture of Israel’s Eurocentrism,” was to explore similar problems yet in a complex, urban, postmodern setting. I studied the lives and words of authors, both Mizrahi and Palestinian, who crossed borders by writing Hebrew literature and poetry even though their native tongue is Arabic. My project was to focus on their life histories, including family, kinship, and their problematic sense of belonging in the Ashkenazi intellectual milieu. These authors tried to avoid what Stuart Hall termed “the burden of representation” of their own communities of origin by avoiding writing about Ashkenazi Zionism’s negative effects. The Mizrahi-Palestinian borderlands provided a setting where articulating and living through the cultural concept of nation was itself under racialized scrutiny from experiential, political, and literary perspectives.

My shift was also practical. I was a young mother in Berkeley. I was without any communal or familial support. Many of my female colleagues had forsaken children in favor of achieving tenure. They had little sympathy for the balancing act I was struggling to maintain. They did not even know about the turmoil at home that I kept private. If I were doing research in Israel, I could at least get communal and emotional support, as well as childcare, from my family and friends.

I understood that research and publication of critical scholarship on Israel-Palestine was a career risk. In 1990, I was a US-based scholar. The pro-Israel lobby was and still is highly influential in North American universities. I knew that studying intra-Jewish racism in the Homeland of the Jews could alarm the lobby. In those days, I could not count on any allies in the burgeoning field of Palestine Studies. The field was not yet nuanced enough to consider any conflict other than the simple Israel vs. Palestine divide. Nevertheless, I thought my tenure-track position would provide safe harbor for “Hebrew as Step-Mother Tongue.” At any rate, my tenure was to be decided on my research on the Sinai Bedouin of Egypt. There was no pro-Egypt lobby meddling with academic freedom. Funded by scholarly grants, I had conducted my first segment of ethnographic research in Israel between 1990 and 1994. The theoretical framework of “Hebrew as a Step Mother Tongue” served as the basis for my collaboration with Ted Swedenburg on Displacement, Diaspora, and Geographies of Identity (1996). Other fragments of “Hebrew as a Step Mother Tongue”—both published and unpublished—also survive today as uncited parts of articles by Mizrahi Studies scholars.

Soon after I arrived in Israel in 1999, I embarked on another segment of my research, lasting until 2007. This time, I was funded mostly by Israel’s National Security Bureau’s (NSB) income augmentation checks and the pittance I received as an adjunct professor at the Beit Berl Teachers College. Between 1999-2007, I did not travel to “the field” from the comfort of a university position. I thus did not have the pleasure of returning to the university after a couple of years of fieldwork. I was stranded in Israel for eight and a half years. My new book provides statistics on the ethnic-racial-gendered distribution of tenured faculty in Israeli universities. Less than one percent of tenured women professors are Mizrahi, mostly in the applied sciences. None of them has questioned the oxymoron of a democratic ethno-religious, Jewish state in mandatory Palestine. I thus was forced to take hourly low-wage, part-time jobs and rely on welfare income augmentations to survive and support my son.

While at the University of California, I focused on the Arab-Israeli borderzone and the hybridity and tactical essentialism at the intersectional crux of Mizrahi identity politics. Ted Swedenburg and I argued that agency sparks up at the borderzones where identity and place grate up against each other and are forced into constantly shifting configurations of partial overlap.

Wrapped in the Flag of Israel diverges away from my old work by going against these two key concepts: identity politics and the agency immanent in its enactment. Likewise, it defies the feminist injunction against binary logic as it analyzes the intersection of gender-race-class with religion as a space of primordial divinity.

Integral to my discussion of Mizrahi single mothers is their distinct lack of personal and communal agency when dealing with the state bureaucracies they depend upon to survive. Much of North American and Western European social anthropology and feminist theory tend to insist that agency is intrinsic—that all oppressed people have it no matter what their situation. By delving into how Israeli citizenship is made into a transcendental essence, I argue that the sanctity of the state on its bureaucratic apparatus short circuits agency and its capacities to resist oppression.

[Single mother at an appointment with an employment bureau placement clerk. His office is stocked with wines and spirits, as well
as a parody of prayer above the clerk`s head in the same font as the Torah scroll: “All are governed by the creator of the universe.
Thus, woe to you if you waste anyone`s time.” Photo by Meir Azulay, Beer Sheba, 2003. Image provided by the author.]

And why is the agency immanent in identity politics impossible to enact? Well, when I, welfare mom, stood in front of the bureaucrat, I couldn’t state that I existed at the intersection of my identities as former UC professor, single mother, repatriated citizen from hip Berkeley, Mizrahi identified with an Ashkenazi father, anti-Zionist, and semi-observant Jew. A Mizrahi welfare mama was all I was allowed to be.

J: Who do you hope will read this book and what impact would you like it to have?

SL: This book is both very accessible and narratively innovative in its write-up of ethnography, weaving multiple genres that cohere into a cohesive whole—subaltern theory and autoethnography, translations of handwritten descriptions and dialogues, printouts of official documents and emails, newspaper clippings, classic quotes from feminist of color theory, poetry, and even Kabalic-style curses. It presents secular government bureaus as sites of sacred, religious pilgrimage, because receiving aid relies not on civil rights, but on serendipity. Moreover, the psychic and somatic effects of single mothers’ bureaucratic encounters—whether standing in line or in their own homes—amounts to torture inflicted upon them by the state.

So my hope is that Wrapped in the Flag of Israel will appeal to many different audiences, including university faculty and students, welfare policy makers, NGO leadership and membership, and a general readership interested in Israel-Palestine. The number of policy-makers, diplomats, foundations, community organizations, and activists devoted to solving the Israel-Palestine conflict keeps growing steadily. Much of the research they base their activities on revolves around the same binary thinking that has dominated the Israel-Palestine conflict since the 1948 beginnings of the state: Israel vs. Palestine; Israel vs. The Arab World; and Jews vs. Arabs (mainly Muslims). Some of these practitioners and policy-makers are starting to suspect that the traditional binary thinking on the Israel/Middle East conflict cannot yield any lasting, positive results.

Longitudinal, participatory studies about Mizrahim, written from a position that is not (post)Zionist, are quite rare. Most critical Mizrahi studies come out of history, literature, or cinema studies. In addition, there are currently few, if any, English-language studies on how bureaucratic entanglements in the Global South—or anywhere, for that matter—promote the deterioration of physical and mental health over time. Thanks to the ever-widening adoption of neo-liberal economic practices, the disenfranchised populations I write about in the book—single mothers—are exploding in number. In coming years, policy makers in governments all over the world will have to take actions to deal with this expanding demographic.

J: What other projects are you working on now?

SL: Wrapped in the Flag of Israel started as a chapter in a book of essays, Crossing Borders, Staying Put: Mizrahi Feminism, Palestine, and the Racial Formations of the Israeli State. The essays all focus on the relationships that exist in the Arab-Israeli borderlands between Mizrahi and Ashkenazi feminists, and between Israel’s Mizrahi majority and the state’s Ashkenazi-dominated regime. Crossing Borders describes and analyzes the ways that the intersections of religion, gender, race, and class interplay with the logjam of the Middle East Peace Process. This interplay serves as the building blocks for the lived experience of Mizrahi women’s everyday lives.

The paradoxical fusion of anti-racist activism and communal right-wing politics on the Israel-Palestine conflict delineates the contours of Mizrahi feminism. This quandary thus transcends the constructivist, coalitional identity politics typical of US-European Feminisms of Color or Third World feminisms. To function in the political, cultural, and racial Arab-Israeli borderlands with efficacy, Mizrahi feminists often deploy foundational strategies that both improve the welfare of their disenfranchised Israeli constituencies, but also alienate them from the feminist fabric of the Arab World or the Global South.

It was in the midst of working on the essays that the timeliness of the Wrapped in the Flag of Israel chapter came to light. Now that Wrapped in the Flag has become its own independent work, I look forward to returning to Crossing Borders and finishing the project.

J: How does the book’s specific focus on Mizrahi single mothers allow you to talk about what you call “bureaucratic torture” in Israel?

SL: Wrapped in the Flag of Israel examines state welfare bureaucracy as a system of torture for its single Mizrahi mother clients. It might seem strange to equate bureaucratic entanglements with torture, but according to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, the first definition of torture is “anguish of body or mind” or “something that causes agony or pain.” In Israel, bureaucracy is one of the state’s gross crimes, even though it might not fit the narrow legal definition of “torture.” Some crimes are unspeakable. Yet anthropologists appreciate the said and often overlook the unsaid. They record discourse and transform it into text. It is difficult for bureaucracy’s clients to notice and articulate the cumulative pain the bureaucrats inflict upon them. Oftentimes, even though the pain is palpable, it is non-representational, and therefore it rarely becomes a discourse readily available for ethnographic description and analysis.

People in all parts of the world, in all classes, have run-ins with bureaucracy. Those with means can either ignore or sidestep bureaucracy’s ill effects. But for disenfranchised populations, who often do not have the ability to voice their concerns to those who would listen, bureaucracy’s lethal webs cannot be easily brushed aside.

The focus on Mizrahi single mothers on welfare is a case study that demonstrates how Israeli bureaucracy operates in all arenas. At bureaus, single mothers on welfare often have to wait in long lines with no promise of a resolution to their problems. Many times, they reach a bureaucrat, only to be sent away to another bureau. Other times, they are offered precious income assurance checks only in exchange for sexual favors. This existence—bouncing from bureau to bureau and back—forces single mothers to live in a constant state of torturous anxiety that is almost impossible to escape.

Israeli bureaucracy is organic to the state’s non-negotiable religious character. I thus identify bureaucracy’s twin “divinities” that operate simultaneously as two claws in a pincer. I term the first “The Divinity of the Jewish State.” This divinity emanates from its very definition—the promised land, the homeland of the Jewish people. No longer imaginary, it is a sovereign state with an army to guard its territorial claims. Jews religiously conceive of themselves as “the chosen people,” and their religiously conceived “chosen land” is Eretz Israel, or historic Palestine. I term the second “The Divinity of Chance.” This divinity is defined by the goals that the faithful have when they go on pilgrimage. A welfare mother petitioning a bureaucrat is like a pilgrim beseeching the jawbone of a saint. Mother and pilgrim are bound by the strict script of religious ritual, on the one hand, and by the serendipity of good luck and divine intervention, on the other.

Yet both mother and bureaucrat conceive themselves as integral parts of the miraculous ingathering of the Jewish diaspora in the promised land. This is the land of divine bureaucracy governed by etsba` Elokim, or “the finger of G-d” in Hebrew. Citizenship is a guaranteed miracle, so long as one can prove five generations back of Jewish mothers. The other guaranteed miracle for Israeli Jews is an IDF draft notice to report for duty at age eighteen.

Excerpt from Wrapped in the Flag of Israel: Mizrahi Single Mothers and Bureaucratic Torture

From Chapter Six: The Price of National Security

Knafoland—The End

The Knafo struggle ended the day after the conversation with Ilana about the Israeli regime’s ethnic cleansing of Mizrahi single mothers. On the evening of 19 August 2003, a Palestinian suicide bomber dressed as an Orthodox Jew carried an explosive device aboard Bus #2 from the Western Wall into Jewish Jerusalem. The device detonated just past Peace Rd. #1 at the American Colony Hotel crossroad—the old 1967 border between Palestinian Jerusalem and Mizrahi Jerusalem. Three hundred meters (around one thousand feet) away from my granny’s house. Twenty-three people died. Over 130 were injured. Most of the casualties were ultra-orthodox Jews. One Filipina domestic worker also died.

This ended the hudna between Israel and Hamas.

Before the bombing, the national and international media whiled away the uneventful days of the hudna in their own encampment near Knafoland. When their beepers, cell phones, and two-way radios buzzed with news of the bombing, they all leapt up in unison. In a press corps’ caravan, they sped across town to cover the carnage at the border. Afterwards, they went to the American Colony Hotel Bar to get drunk. So did I, with my converted food coupons to purchase a drink I would nurse for hours and my California English to gather information. Forever the anthropologist, forever collecting data.

Without media coverage, the sotzialits took advantage. They offered mothers minimal incentives to leave, and reminded them that if their children were not in school come 1 September, they’d be reported as delinquents to the Youth and Family Courts. The judges could then order the removal of the children from their homes to be forcibly placed into boarding schools (Hertzog 1996, 2004b).

The plight of the single mothers was completely off the public agenda in favor of the Palestine-Israel conflict. Most mothers left the encampment within a few days of the bombing. Only Vicky and a few die-hards stayed until 23 September 2003, when Vicky herself departed.

For Jewish New Year 2004, Vicky Knafo, strapped for cash, posed nude for an Israeli porn website. For this photo-op, she had written on her breasts: “The State Milks Single Mothers.” Later, she sued the owners of the site because they didn’t pay her what they promised.

On the eve of Jewish New Year 2005, Vicky’s son committed suicide. Right after Jewish New Year 2006, Vicky joined the Meretz Party, the predominantly Ashkenazi, left-leaning, land-for-peace party, and started giving speeches about peace. Shortly thereafter, she completely disappeared from the public sphere.

From 2006 until January 2009, Bibi Netanyahu, head of Likud, led the Knesset’s parliamentary opposition. Between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, the IDF conducted Operation “Cast Lead.” Its name was borrowed from a lyric about the miracle of Hanukkah written by Haim Nachman Bialik, Israel’s national poet. “My teacher gave me a dreidel cast from solid lead,” Bialik wrote, to the tune of an Ashkenazi folk song. In Arabic, Operation “Cast Lead” is referred to as “The Gaza Carnage.” The operation involved a massive three-week bombing and invasion of the densely populated Gaza Strip. This was prime scheduling, as the United States would be deep in President George W. Bush’s lame duck period after the November 2008 elections and before the January 2009 inauguration of Barack H. Obama.

On 20 February 2009, after parliamentary elections, President Shimon Peres followed procedure and appointed Bibi prime minister to form a new government—on the Mizrahi vote, yet again.

This is Exactly What We Did

On 21 February 2005, I attended a convening of Israel’s Women’s Parliament. The day’s topic was “Minimum Wage: A Woman’s Perspective.” One of the speakers was Dr. Linda `Efroni, a brilliant Iraqi economist and labor attorney. She is a prominent consultant for Israel’s major labor unions on issues concerning income and work conditions and a member of the Israeli Council of Higher Education. At the time, she also had a weekly opinion column in Globes: Israel Business News. Yet she has only been an adjunct at Tel Aviv University. In the discussion after the speeches, she told the following story:

Around 2001, I was invited by the Israeli College of National Security, where military officers are groomed to become generals, to give a lecture at Haifa University. Haifa University regularly hosts events of the college. The audience was made up of students in the special program, but also senior members of the SHABAK—Israel’s secret police—military intelligence, the Israeli police force, and other senior officials in the national security apparatus. There were about forty people in all sitting around a large conference table.

This was around the time of the social unrest following the collapse of the Argentinian economy. They wanted to know if similar unrest was possible in Israel because of socio-economic gaps, and how these gaps could be minimized. I offered my analysis: we have problems with security and with borders. These transcend socio-economic protests. It would take nothing less than a miracle for any social protest to succeed.

If social unrest appeared in the news, I would not be surprised to hear about Hezbollah Katyusha rockets falling on Kiryat Shmona the next day. This would immediately shift public discourse back to security. I could not rule out that the Katyushas on Kiryat Shmona were a response to the IDF Air Force provocation of their fighter jets crossing the border deep into Lebanon. I told them that I didn’t have the knowledge, but my intuition as an analyst told me that.

Everyone was quiet. Everyone was quiet. No one said a thing. And then we broke for a buffet lunch.

At the buffet, a corpulent man approached me. He said, “Shalom, my name is [NAME REDACTED]. I used to be the media advisor for the Minister of Defense. And this is exactly what we did.”

On 9 October 2010, I called Dr. `Efroni from Minneapolis to verify the quote. She said:

Yes, this is exactly what I said. And this is what he said. He didn’t say that it was off the record. As for Vicky and the end of the hudna, I was in a meeting with Bibi in Jerusalem. She wanted me to join her. The man was very stressed. He sweated a lot. Very stressed. In hindsight, even in the Finance Ministry, they didn’t believe it was going to be so easy. Hok HaHesderim nullifies out the legislature. Israel is not a democracy. In the 2003 amendment, they saved five billion NIS.

They transferred the money to the upper echelons in the form of a tax refund. They could have done other things with this money. They were so surprised at how easy the transfer was. I think it is not impossible that they let the suicide bomber slip through.  
[Excerpted from Wrapped in the Flag of Israel: Mizrahi Single Mothers and Bureaucratic Torture, by Smadar Lavie, by permission of the author. © 2014 Berghahn Books. For more information, or to purchase this book, click here.]

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שושנה גמליאלית-לביא
פרישה

בשירותה הצבאי הכירה גמליאלית את קצין התרבות זלמן לוינסון (לביא). היא נישאה לו, והם קבעו את מגוריהם בתל אביב ואח”כ בחולון. 

לאחר נישואיה, לבקשת בעלה, פרשה גמליאלית מבמת הזמר והתיאטרון, והקדישה את זמנה למשפחתה ולפעילויות מוסיקליות אחרות. הופעתה האחרונה הנזכרת בעיתונות, התקיימה בדצמבר 1953(1), והיא בת 25 שנה בלבד. לזוג נולדו שני ילדים – סמדר ויואב(2)

קריירת הזימרה שלה הייתה קצרה יחסית; הפרישה המוקדמת משידורי הרדיו, מהבמה ומהתודעה הציבורית גרמו לא אחת לבלבול בינה לבין הזמרת אסתר גמליאלית, שגם היא, בהיותה צעירה, פרשה מהופעות לאחר נישואיה. לשתיהן היה הרבה מן המשותף: בנוסף לקולן הערב ושם המשפחה, שתיהן הופיעו בתיאטרון “המטאטא”, שתיהן שרו שירי ילדים שהלחין נחום נרדי, ואת שתיהן הוא ליווה בנגינתו בתקליטים. בכתבה ב”מעריב” אודות סמדר לביא, בתה של שושנה גמליאלית, ציין העיתון בטעות, שהיא  בתה של ה”זמיר התימני” אסתר גמליאלית(3). אכן, קול זמיר היה לשושנה גמליאלית, אבל, היא הייתה “גמליאלית אחרת”.

שושנה גמליאלית עסקה בהוראת מוסיקה וזמרה, בתחילה בתל אביב ואח”כ בבית ספר “ביאליק” בחולון. אחדים מתלמידי אותו בית ספר התפרסמו כאמנים ידועי שם; ביניהם, הכנרים שמואל אשכנזי, שלמה מינץ ונגן הכינור, הוויולה והמנצח פנחס צוקרמן(4). בביתה, פתחה גמליאלית סטודיו פרטי למוסיקה, בו לימדה אחר הצהריים נגינה בחלילית ובפסנתר, וכן זמרה. באותן שנים היא גם הדריכה מקהלות, והופיעה איתן כסולנית.אחרי מות בעלה ביוני 1981, עברה גמליאלית לגור בנתניה, שם התגוררה עד פטירתה ב-2011, והיא בת 83 שנים. במודעת אבל על מותה, תיארו אותה בני משפחתה כ”זמרת ומורה שהנחילה אהבת השירה והנגינה למאות רבות של תלמידים”.  

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1. על המשמר, 25 בדצמבר 1953, עמ’ 7. 2. סמדר לביא, פרופסור לאנתרופולוגיה ופעילה חברתית; יואב לביא, נהרג בן 25, בהתהפכות אוטובוס, שהחליק בכביש רטוב. מעריב, 2 באוקטובר, 1986 עמוד שער.3. מעריב, 2 באוקטובר 1986, עמ’ 5.     4. שלושתם למדו נגינת כינור אצל אילונה פהר, תושבת חולון, כנרת ידועה ופדגוגית, שרבים מתלמידיה התפרסמו בארץ ובעולם.

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https://www.nli.org.il/he/newspapers/mar/1986/10/02/01/article/35/?e=——-he-20–1–img-txIN%7ctxTI————–1⁨⁨מעריב⁩⁩, 2 אוקטובר 1986
  סמדר קיבלה אישור להשאר בארה”ב אך היא חוזרת ארצה
כדי להשתתף בלווית אחיה יואב שנהרג אתמול בתאונת דרכים
מאת דן דגוני, סופר “מעריב” בניו־יורק סמדר לביא, האנתרופולוגית הישראלית שחגגה בתחילת השבוע החלטה הפוטרת אותה מהצורך לשוב לישראל והמתירה לה להישאר בארה”ב עמ בעלה השחור, חוזרת היום ארצה בעקבות תעלול אכזרי של הגורל: אחיה של סמדר, יואב לביא, נהרג אתמול בתאונת דרכים ליד קריית גת. סמדר לביא, בתה של אסתר גמליאלי‭”, ‬הזמיר מתימן”, 31, ‬נחלה ביום ו’ ניצחון על הביורוקרטיה האמריקנית וקיבלה היתר להישאר בארה”ב יחד עם בעלה האמריקני, אע”פ שחתמה על התחייבות לשוב לישראל בתום לימודיה בארה”ב. לביא הגיעה לארה”ב ב־ 1979 ולמדה באוניברסיטת קליפורניה בברקלי לאחר שקיבלה מענק מקרן פולברייט. אחד מהתנאים לקבלת המענק הוא שהמקבל ישוב לארצו בתום לימודיו. ב־1983 נישאה לביא לפורסט ראוז, אזרח אמריקני שחור. סוכנות האינפורמציה האמריקנית, המפעילה את קרן פולברייט, דרשה מלביא לחזור לישראל, כפי שהתחייבה. סמדר, הלומדת אנתרופולוגיה, סרבה בגלל שני נימוקים: החיים בארץ יגרמו לה ולבעלה סבל, מפני שהבעל השחור יסבול מייחס עויין בארץ. יתר על כן, בעלה, המשלים לימודי דוקטורט בפיזיקה, לא יוכל לעסוק בישראל במקצועו. בני הזוג פתחו במערכה ציבורית, שחבקה את וושינגטון וירושלים יחד. סמדר הצליחה להביא מכתב רשמי משגרירות ישראל בוושינגטון האומר שלישראל אין התנגדות להישארותה של סמדר בארה”ב. אחת ההתפתחויות שאולי סייעו לסמדר להשיג את האישור המבוקש היתה התערבותם של עזר וייצמן ומזכיר הממשלה יוסי ביילין למענה. שלשום, בשיחה ל”מעריב‭, “‬אמרה סמדר: ניצחנו, אנחנו נשארים בקליפורניה‭.”אתמול אמרה: אני חוזרת מהר הביתה להלוויתו של אחי היחיד.

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מעריב לנוער בגליון השבוע 32 עמודים היש תרבות נוער בישראל? מחקר כתבי נוער *** ראיון מיוחד עם ניסים אלוני מאת כ”נ איציק לץ ***
צייד הפרפרים – כ”נ סמדר לביא ***‬ הצד הרביעי שיל יהונתן גפן – מאת כ”נ ליאורה גיין 

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מעריב⁩⁩, 1 אוגוסט 1971

ערב־ראיונות לנוער \ המראיינים: כתבי הנוער סמדר לביא, יצחק לץ ואוריאל בן־עמי \ המרואיינים: ‭* \‬ אפרים קישון * שייקה אופיר ‭* \ \‬ אורי דן \ ישעיהו פורת \  אהוד מנור * שמחה הולצברג: ‭”)‬אבי הפצועים)”‬ וכן תוכנית אמנותית
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https://www.nli.org.il/he/newspapers/ahr/1971/10/21/01/article/27/?srpos=11&e=——-he-20–1–img-txIN%7ctxTI-%22%d7%a1%d7%9e%d7%93%d7%a8+%d7%9c%d7%91%d7%99%d7%90%22————-1

מפנקס הכנסת מאת יצחק שוד גולדה נפגשת עם נוער אתמול אירח יו״ר הכנסת, ראובן ברקת, מאות חברי פרלמנטים לנוער, יהודים ערבים ודרוזים. שלוש שעות “הפגיזו” את גולדה מאיר ואהרון ידלין בשאלות בוערות של מדיניות, חברה וחינוך לימינו של יו״ר הכנסת ישב מתחרהו הצעיר, אבי בן־שיטרית, מאשדוד, שניהל את הרב־שיח ביד חזקה ובפטיש נטוי. שואלת סמדר לביא : האם ערוכה ישראל למקרה שיפרוץ השלום, או שמה תפרוץ כאן מלחמת אזרחים ? האם אין סכנה כי תתפתח הרגשת עליונות ישראלית על פני שכנינו הערבים ? משיבה גולדה מאיר : אדרבה, יתנו לנו שכנינו שלום אמת ונראה כיצד נצליח לקיים חברה, תוך ויכוח דימוקראטי. הפער, החברתי עדתי מהווה חומר־נפץ מסוכן. אילו היה הדבר תלוי בה, היתה ראש־הממשלה דואגת להטבות למעוטי־הכנסה, ואילו היתר ימתינו. היו ימים “בטלניים ותמימים”, כאשר אדם השתכר לפי גודל משפחתו ולא לפי תפקידו. באותם ימים קיבל מזכיר ההסתדרות משכורת נמוכה מזו של פקיד מודיעין. אך היום קובעת ועדת התיאום של הארגונים האקדמאיים, שהפער קטן לאחרונה ב־l 7 אחוזים. גם הנוער יכול לעשות להקטנת הפער, אם יטול על עצמו את התפקיד לעזור לתלמידים חדשים בלימודיהם ולמצוא דרך ללב העולה החדש, כדי שיהיה לו עם מי להתיעץ. ללא התנדבות בני־נוער לא תוכל אף ממשלה להתגבר על הפער בכוחה בלבד. אשר ליחסינו עם השכנים, אילו עשו מדינות ערב שלום עם ישראל, היינו חיים איתם בהערכה וכבוד. יכולנו להגיש להם סיוע טכני כשם שאנו עושים באפריקה, לא כאנשים עליונים, אלא כאדם אל אדם. בישראל עובדים ערבים רבים בעבודות בלתי־מקצועיות. גולדה לא היתה רוצה שתיווצר כאן חברה, שבה לא יהיו עובדי־בניין, סנדלרים וחייטים יהודיים.

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דבר⁩⁩, 27 יולי 1979
גלי צה”ל‭16. 05‬ . פגשתי נוודים אצילים – סיפורה של סמדר לביא בת ה ־‭,24‬ סטודנטית בחוג לסוציולוגיה, ואנתרופולוניה חברתית באוניברסיטה העברית בירושלים ‬ששהתה במשך ארבע שנים בחברת הבדואים של שבט “אמזנה” בדהב, החחקתה אחר אורח חייהם של הבדואים בדרום סיני. ‬הדימוי של הבדואי — הנווד האציל — ההולך במדבר מ”שום מקום” ל-“שום מקום” הוא רק אחד מהדימויים המופרכים בתוכנית זאת. עורך ומראיין אריאל כהן.  

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דבר⁩⁩, 25 אוגוסט 1981
גלי צה”ל ‭23:05‬ פגשתי נוודים אצילים — סיפורה של סמדר לביא, סטודנטית בחוג לסוציולוגיה ואנתרופולוגיה באונ’ העברית, ששהתה במשך 4 שנים בחברתם של הבדואים משבט “אמזניה” בדהב, התחקתה אחר אורח חייהם ולמדה את דרכי אירגונם החברתי שבטי. עורך ומראיין: אריאל נתן.

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https://www.nli.org.il/he/newspapers/hadashot/1989/10/12/01/article/185/?srpos=13&e=——-he-20–1–img-txIN%7ctxTI-%22%d7%a1%d7%9e%d7%93%d7%a8+%d7%9c%d7%91%d7%99%d7%90%22————-1

חדשות⁩⁩, 12 אוקטובר 1989
המילוי המתובל, הסמוי, של הבורקס
יהודה ג’אד נאמן
כמעט כל האנתרופולוגים בארץ הם אשכנזים, בעוד שהקהילות אותן חקרו הן של יהודים שעלו ארצה מארצות העולם השלישי. מעירה על כך האנתרופולוגית סמדר לביא: “כיהודייה ערבית, שמתי לב שאיש מבין המנהיגים הישראלים מעולם לא טרח לברר אם אני מעוניינת בדימוי שיצרו עלי האשכנזים כאותו חלק אקזוטי ומתורבת למחצה ־בחברה שלהם;”

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https://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-1562348,FF.html

הנה פרופסור מגולגל בתוך נייר עיתון
סיפורים על מובטלים המתפרנסים בקושי יש למכביר. סיפור על פרופסורית בעלת שם עולמי המתקרבת לחרפת רעב הוא קצת יותר נדיר. ynet מביא לכם את סיפורה של סמדר לביא, מהמומחים החשובים בעולם בתחום האנתרופולוגיה, הנאלצת לגדל ילד בן 12 עם הכנסה של 2,700 שקל בחודש ובלי משרה קבועה. את עבודת המחקר הבאה שלה היא לא יכולה לפרסם, כי המחשב מקולקל ואין מי שיממן את תיקונו
דקל שחרור עדכון אחרון:  27.01.02 , 11:07
“אני ובני בן ה-12 חיים מהבטחת הכנסה של 2,700 שקל ומעזרה בשכר דירה של חלמיש”. הציטוט הזה לא לקוח מעוד סיפור של משפחה במצוקה מעיירת פיתוח. הדוברת הפעם היא סמדר לביא, ליתר דיוק פרופסור סמדר לביא, בת 47, מומחית עולמית באנתרופולוגיה.אף שמאחוריה שלושה ספרים שזכו לתפוצה בעולם, מחקרים שראו אור באוניברסיטאות המובילות במערב וקריירה אקדמית חובקת עולם, מגדלת לביא בתל אביב בדוחק רב את בנה הקטן.עד לא מזמן הרצתה כמחליפה, תמורת סכום פעוט, במכללת בית ברל. הסטודנטיות שלה ל”חינוך ושיוויון הזדמנויות” לא ידעו על מצבה הכלכלי הקשה. “היו לי סטודנטיות נפלאות”, אומרת לביא, “לא רציתי לערב שמחה בשמחה. זה לא היה המקום”. עתה, משתם הסמסטר ופרופסור לביא מסיימת את תקופת ההחלפה בבית ברל, לא ברור לה מהיכן תוציא את לחמה ואת לחמו של בנה הקטן.”אנו חיים בדוחק רב”, סיפרה השבוע. “גם אם הייתי רוצה להתקדם מקצועית, אני לא יכולה לעשות זאת כאן, כי המחקרים שלי תקועים עמוק בתוך מחשב. המחשב מקולקל ואין לי כסף לתקנו”.בעיריית תל אביב מכירים את המקרה של לביא ואומרים, כי ללא שירותי הרווחה העירוניים היו מגיעים לביא ובנה לחרפת רעב. “זה פשוט לא ייאמן, שמישהי עם קורות חיים מפוארים כאלה, מגיעה למצב של אין עבודה”, אמרה השבוע בתסכול עובדת רווחה, המנסה להתמודד עם סיפורי המובטלים הרבים הנוחתים על שולחנה.
מברקלי ללשכת הסעד
“המדהים הוא”, מוסיפה העובדת, “שמדובר בפרופסור שוויתרה על המשרה שלה באוניברסיטה הציבורית הטובה בעולם – אוניברסיטת קליפורניה, כדי לשקם את בנה בארץ”.לא בכדי מדברים בשירותי הרווחה של עיריית תל אביב על לביא כידועה, ונדהמים גם שם מסירובה של האקדמיה הישראלית לשכור את ההון התרבותי שלה. גם טענות, אם יהיו, של ראשי האוניברסיטאות, על כך שלביא אינה מתאימה לאקדמיה, בטלות בשישים אל מול הקריירה שלה, שמעט ממנה יכול כל גולש לגלות באתרי אינטרנט ידועים. עיון באתרים של כמה מהאוניברסיטאות המובילות מעלה כי הדוקטורט של לביא, שנעשה באוניברסיטת ברקלי בארה”ב, הוא רק ציון דרך בקריירה שלה. שימוש קצרצר במנוע החיפוש google מביא עשרות פרסומים של מאמרים אקדמיים פרי עטה במגזינים אקדמיים נחשבים. באתר היוקרתי של אוניברסיטת קליפורניה, למשל, תוכלו לקנות את ספרה הנחשב The Poetics of Military Occupation ב-22 דולר, ולקבלו עם שליח עד הבית. הספר מפרט מחקר ומסע אנתרופולוגי מרגש לעולמם של הבדואים. ספר זה, אגב, נחשב לאחד מנכסי הצאן-ברזל של האנתרופולוגיה העולמית.
מה שווה תואר בישראל
לביא מוערכת בעולם, אך לא באקדמיה הישראלית. כאן מעדיפים, כנראה, שהפרופסור תישאר מובטלת. סיפורה ממחיש עד כמה התואר הראשון, השני או השלישי, מכובדים ככל שיהיו, גם אם נרכשו בעמל רב (ולא בסמטה אפלה של אוניברסיטה מפוקפקת תמורת חופן דולרים), הם חסרי משמעות בישראל 2002. הניגוד החמור בין מעמדה העולמי, לבין תנאי החיים של לביא ובנה, עומדים להקיש על דלת האקדמיה הישראלית, וניתן להעריך, שבתוך ימים יתפרס סיפורה על פני עמודים רבים במוספי העיתונים ובראיונות טלוויזיוניים, לפחות עד שהסיפור האנושי הבא יכה בנו. אפשר למשל, לשאול את ראשי המוסדות להשכלה גבוהה בישראל, הממומנים בידי המדינה, מדוע טרקו את הדלת בפני פרופ’ לביא, והביאו אותה ואת בנה לספו של הביטוח הלאומי, ולנזקקות לשירותי הרווחה של עיריית תל אביב.ואם יש למי מהגולשים הצעה לפתרון, הוא מוזמן לפנות למערכת ynet באמצעות התגובות לכתבה.

Ending the Oded Goldreich Israel Prize Saga

18.11.21

Editorial Note

In June 2021, Yoav Galant, the then Israel’s Minister of Education, rejected the recommendation of the Israel Prize Committee to award Professor Oded Goldreich from the Weizmann Institute the Israel Prize for 2021 in the field of Mathematics and Computer Science.  Earlier this year, Goldreich had signed a petition that urged the European Union to withdraw funding from Ariel University in Horizon 2020. 

Goldreich sued, and, in August 2021, the Israeli High Court decided to cancel Galant’s decision. The High Court also tasked the current Minister of Education, Yifat Shasha-Biton, to review the Prize committee recommendation. 

On Thursday, Shasha-Biton rejected the Prize committee recommendation. She stated: “Prof. Goldreich’s signature on a petition calling for a boycott of an Israeli academic institution is an exceptional case that justifies the decision not to award the candidate the prize, despite his outstanding and impressive professional achievements in his field of research.”  She added, “As a Minister of Education and Chairman of the Council for Higher Education, I cannot award the Israel Prize for academic achievements, impressive as they may be, to those who call for a boycott of an Israeli academic institution.”  

She insisted, “In practice, Prof. Goldreich, as a first-class academic, who grew up in the academy in Israel and enjoyed its sponsorship and resources, tried to prevent academic and economic ties from a public institution – Ariel University – only because of its geographical location. This justifies depriving him of receiving the prestigious award,” the Minister wrote in her decision.  

She emphasized “that the purpose of the Israel Prize is to encourage Israeli creativity, excellence and research…  Denying the Prize to anyone who seeks to infringe on freedom of opinion, negates the purpose and objectives of the Israel Prize, and opposes the possibilities of creations and innovations. Awarding the Prize to someone who wishes to harm Israeli creativity and research will go against the purpose of the Prize. Such an absurdity cannot be accepted.” 

Goldreich’s lawyer Adv. Michael Sfard attacked the Minister’s decision, calling it “an unfortunate decision that inflicts a death blow on the prestige of the Israel Prize and continues the trend of incriminating leftist’s positions. A decision marred by improper political considerations and conveys that a prize that should be given for professional achievement is, in fact, also a reward for avoiding criticism of government policy. Prof. Goldreich does not need the honor, he has received international awards and badges for his work, it is the State of Israel that loses from the Minister’s decision.” 

The president of the National Academy of Sciences and its former presidents expressed regret and protest at the Education Minister’s decision: “The President of the Academy and its former presidents view with great concern the involvement of political considerations in decisions regarding the awarding of the Israel Prize to scientists, and express their strong protest against it. Political statements and actions, as in the present case, which are permissible according to the principle of freedom of expression, are irrelevant to the awarding of the prize. Under these circumstances, the current decision damages the status of the prize and that of Israeli science as a whole, as well as Israel’s scientific standing worldwide.” 

It must be added that Goldreich called for the boycott of Ariel University before. In 2010 Goldreich published and circulated an opinion piece by Dr. Anat Matar, discussing a boycott as a tool, which he edited and emphasized some key points, saying: “The only academic institution in the area that I would really like to harm is Ariel College,” emphasizing that “The boycott is the political instrument of the civil community… it is not a step that justifies itself and is detached from its possibilities of success. It is a tool. As such, it is subject to circumstances… Opposition to normalization is one of the main reasons for supporting the boycott policy in general, and those directed at the cultural and academic community of Israel in particular.” 

Both the presidents of the National Academy of Science and Sfard, insisted that it was Goldreich’s politics and ideology that had led to the decision to cancel his award. But this is not true.  Goldreich broke the Boycott Law that the Knesset enacted in 2011, extending to boycotting the settlements.  Calling for the boycott of Ariel University is illegal according to the Boycott Law.

Those who complain about the Minister’s decision need to be reminded that Goldreich broke the law and as a result he is not awarded the Israel Prize.

References:
https://www.jns.org/education-minister-denies-israel-prize-to-professor-who-supports-university-boycott/
Education minister denies Israel Prize to professor who supports university boycott

Professor Oded Goldreich’s attorney, Michael Sfard, pronounced the result “a wretched decision that continues the trend of criminalizing left-wing positions.”

(November 18, 2021 / JNS) Israel’s Minister of Education Yifat Shaha-Biton announced on Thursday that an Israeli professor who signed a petition calling for a boycott of Ariel University Center of Samaria will not receive the Israel Prize.

In doing so, Shasha-Biton upheld a decision by her predecessor, former Education Minister Yoav Galant.

Walla reported that in August, Israel’s Supreme Court judges overturned Galant’s decision to deny the award to Oded Goldreich, a professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science’s Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science, instructing that the matter be returned to the aegis of the current education minister.

In a statement, Shasha-Biton said that Goldreich’s signature on a “petition that calls for the boycott of an Israeli academic institution forms an unusual case that justifies the choice not to grant the prize, despite his prominent, professional and impressive achievements in his area of research.”

She added that “as education minister and the chairperson of the Council for Higher Education, I cannot grant the Israel Prize for academic achievements, as impressive as they are, to someone who calls for a boycott of an Israeli academic institution.”

Shasha-Biton said Goldreich attempted to deny academic and economic links to a public institution “only due to its geographic location,” adding that this formed an unusual external circumstance justifying the decision to withhold the prestigious award.

She affirmed that the goal of the prize is to “encourage Israeli creativity, excellence and research.”

Goldreich’s attorney, Michael Sfard, pronounced the result “a wretched decision that lands a death blow on the prestige of the Israel Prize and continues the trend of criminalizing left-wing positions.”

He added that it “is dipped up to its neck in invalid political considerations and broadcasts [the message] that a prize that should be given for professional achievements is in actuality a prize for withholding criticism of government policy.”

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https://www.academy.ac.il/News/NewsItem.aspx?nodeId=837&id=2213

An Open Letter from the President and Former Presidents of the Academy Regarding the Minister of Education’s Decision Not to Award the Israel Prize to Professor Oded Goldreich

18/11/2021
The President of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and its former presidents express their protest and deep sorrow over the final decision of the Minister of Education, Dr. Yifat Shasha-Biton, not to award the Israel Prize in Mathematics and Computer Science to Professor Oded Goldreich, due to his political views and actions. The sole criterion for awarding the Israel Prize in the scientific fields is excellence in research. It is thanks to this that the prize retains the position of the highest honor that the State of Israel bestows upon its scientists. The Prize Committee repeatedly found Professor Goldreich worthy of receiving the Israel Prize, for his accomplishments and excellence in research. The President of the Academy and its former presidents view with great concern the involvement of political considerations in decisions regarding the awarding of the Israel Prize to scientists, and express their strong protest against it. Political statements and actions, as in the present case, which are permissible according to the principle of freedom of expression, are irrelevant to the awarding of the prize. Under these circumstances, the current decision damages the status of the prize and that of Israeli science as a whole, as well as Israel’s scientific standing worldwide. The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities was established by law (1960/5721). Under this law, the Academy is required to advise the Government of Israel on subjects related to research and scientific planning that are of national importance, and is entrusted with the advancement of scientific excellence in Israel.Professor David Harel, President (elected 2021)Professor Nili Cohen, President Emerita (2015-2021)Professor Ruth Arnon, President Emerita (2010–2015)Professor Menahem Yaari, President Emeritus (2004–2010)Professor Jacob Ziv, President Emeritus (1995–2004)Professor Joshua Jortner, President Emeritus (1986–1995)

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https://news.walla.co.il/item/3471858

שאשא ביטון החליטה לא להעניק את פרס ישראל לפרופסור גולדרייך
לאחר שבג”ץ ביטל את החלטת שר החינוך הקודם גלנט שלא להעניק לגולדרייך את הפרס בשל חתימה על עצומה הקוראת להחרים את אוניברסיטת אריאל, הודיעה שרת החינוך כי ההחלטה עומדת על כנה. “אינני יכולה להעניק את פרס ישראל למי שקורא לחרם על מוסד אקדמי בישראל”
סוניה גורודיסקי וטל שלו יום חמישי 18 בנובמבר 2021

שרת החינוך יפעת שאשא ביטון הודיעה היום (חמישי) כי החליטה שלא להעניק את פרס ישראל בתחום המתמטיקה וחקר מדעי המחשב לפרופסור עודד גולדרייך. בכך, הותירה שאשא ביטון על כנה את החלטתו של שר החינוך הקודם, יואב גלנט.
באוגוסט ביטלו שופטי בג”ץ את החלטת גלנט למנוע מגולדרייך את הפרס בעקבות חתימתו על עצומה הקוראת להחרים את אוניברסיטת אריאל. השופטים הורו להחזיר את ההחלטה לשרה הנוכחית שאשא ביטון.
“חתימתו של פרופ’ גולדרייך על העצומה הקוראת להחרים מוסד אקדמי ישראלי מהווה מקרה חריג המצדיק את הבחירה שלא להעניק למועמד את הפרס, על אף הישגיו המקצועיים הבולטים והמרשימים בתחום מחקרו”, כתבה השרה שאשא ביטון. “כשרת החינוך ויו”ר המל”ג, אינני יכולה להעניק את פרס ישראל על הישגים אקדמיים, מרשימים ככל שיהיו, למי שקורא לחרם על מוסד אקדמי ישראלי”.
“הלכה למעשה, פרופ’ גולדרייך כאקדמאי מן השורה הראשונה, שצמח באקדמיה בישראל ונהנהמחסותה וממשאביה, ניסה למנוע קשרים אקדמיים וכלכליים, ממוסד ציבורי – אוניברסיטת אריאל – רק מחמת מיקומו הגיאוגרפי. קריאה זו לחרם על מוסד אקדמי ישראלי עולה לשיטתי כדי נסיבה ‘חיצונית’ חריגה המצדיקה לשלול ממנו את קבלת הפרס היוקרתי”, כתבה השרה בהחלטתה.
לדבריה, “בהקשר זה חשוב להדגיש, כי מטרתו של פרס ישראל לעודד יצירה ישראלית, מצוינות ומחקר. קריאה לחרם על מוסדות אקדמיים בישראל, חותרת תחת מטרה זו, שכן היא מבקשת לגדוע אתהיצירה, המגוון וחופש הדעות. חרם אקדמי מבקש לקבע עמדות מסוימות, ולשלול אחרות. שלילת הפרס ממי שמבקש לפגוע בחופש הדעות, מגנה למעשה על תכליותיו ומטרותיו של פרס ישראל,מגנה על האפשרות ליצור ולחדש. הענקת פרס ישראל למי שמבקש לחבל ולפגוע בעידוד היצירה והמחקר הישראלי, תחתור תחת התכליות שבהענקת הפרס. אבסורד כזה לא ניתן לקבל”.
עורך דינו של גולדרייך, מיכאל ספרד, תקף את החלטת השרה וכינה אותה “החלטה אומללה שמנחיתה מכת מוות על יוקרתו של פרס ישראל וממשיכה את המגמה של הפללת עמדות שמאל. ההחלטה טובלת עד צוואר בשיקולים פוליטיים פסולים ומשדרת שפרס שאמור להינתן בגין הישגים מקצועיים הוא למעשה גם פרס על הימנעות מביקורת של מדיניות הממשלה. פרופ’ גולדרייך לא צריך את הכבוד, הוא קיבל פרסים ואותות בינלאומיים על עבודתו, זו מדינת ישראל שמפסידה מהחלטת השרה”.
שר החינוך לשעבר, יואב גלנט, שבזמן כהונתו החליט שלא להעניק לגולדרייך את הפרס: ‏”אני מברך על כך ששרת החינוך הנכנסת אימצה את החלטתי שלא להעניק את פרס ישראל לפרופ’ גולדרייך. ‏כפי שקבעתי בהחלטתי, אין לאפשר מצב בו אדם פועל בידו האחת להחרים את מדינת ישראל ומוסדותיה האקדמיים, ובידו השנייה מבקש לקבל את פרס ישראל”.
בקואליציה החלו להישמע דברי ביקורת על החלטת השרה. ח”כ מיכל רוזין (מרצ) כתבה בחשבון הטוויטר שלה: “‏פרס ישראל ניתן על מצוינות אקדמית, לא על עמדות פוליטיות. ממשלה יקרה שלי – איפה השינוי?” בהמשך הוסיפה כי “שרת החינוך שגתה בהחלטתה לא להעניק את פרס ישראל לפרופ’ גולדרייך, זו החלטה שגויה מהותית ומשפטית. המשך רדיפת אנשים בשל דיעותיהם, זו לא ממשלת שינוי”.
גם חברה למפלגה, ח”כ מוסי רז, תקף את שרת החינוך: “שוחחתי עם פרופסור גולדרייך והבעתי בפניו שאט נפש מהחלטת שרת החינוך. ממשלת השינוי ממשיכה בדרכה של ממשלת הרדיפה והשחיתות. פרופסור גולדרייך הוא מדען בעל שם עולמי ונקבע כראוי לפרס ישראל על ידי ועדה מקצועית. רדיפה פוליטית נגדו בשל תמיכתו בשלום שוללת ממנו את הפרס”.
נשיא האקדמיה הלאומית למדעים ונשיאיה לשעבר הביעו צער ומחו על החלטתה של שרת החינוך: “רואים בדאגה רבה עירוב שיקולים פוליטיים בהחלטות הנוגעות למתן פרס ישראל במדעים ומוחים עליו בתוקף. התבטאויות ופעילויות פוליטיות, כמו במקרה הנוכחי, שהן בגדר המותר על פי עקרון חופש הביטוי אינן רלוונטיות בעניין הענקת הפרס. בנסיבות אלה יש משום פגיעה במעמדו של הפרס ובמדע הישראלי כולו, וכן במעמדה המדעי של ישראל בעולם”.
מנגד, בארגון הימין אם תרצו, שהוביל את המאבק נגד הענקת הפרס לגולדרייך, בירכו. “מצדיעים לשרת החינוך שקיבלה את ההחלטה הנכונה. לאחר מאבק ממושך שלנו יחד עם אלפי ישראלים, מי שיקרא להחרים את ישראל לא יקבל את פרס ישראל. נמשיך לפעול כדי לשמור על שקיפות באקדמיה ולחשוף את המחרימים”.
במרץ החליטה ועדת פרס ישראל להעניק לגולדרייך את הפרס, על פועלו בנושא סיבוכיות חישובית. לאחר שגלנט גילה שגולדרייך חתום על פנייה לפרלמנט הגרמני לבטל את ההכרה בתנועת ה-BDS כתנועה אנטישמית, לצד חתימה על עצומה הקוראת להחרים את אוניברסיטת אריאל, הוא פנה לוועדת הפרס בבקשה לבחון מחדש את הענקתו.

בעקבות זאת, הוועדה עתרה לבג”ץ, ובהחלטת ביניים אישר בית המשפט לשר לבדוק תוך 30 ימים האם עמדותיו של פרופ’ גולדרייך מנוגדות לחוק למניעת פגיעה במדינה באמצעות חרם ולכן מצדיקות שלא לאשר את המלצת הוועדה.
בחודש יולי הודיעה השרה שאשא-ביטון כי לא תהפוך את החלטת קודמה בתפקיד. לאחר הודעה זו כתב היועץ המשפטי לממשלה בחוות דעתו לבג”ץ כי ההחלטה לשלול את הפרס לא עומדת במבחן משפטי.

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http://www.wisdom.weizmann.ac.il/~oded/PS/

[   ]anat-bds.doc2010-05-26 12:5654K 

על ההקשר של החרם האקדמי על ישראל

[מתוך תשובת ענת מטר לדיונים ברשת אוניברסיטאית על עניין החרם האקדמי על ישראל.]

[עריכה (ובפרט הדגשות) על ידי עודד גולדרייך]

בשנת 2005 יצאה קריאה מטעם החברה האזרחית הפלסטינית לחרם, משיכת השקעות וסנקציות על מדינת ישראל ומוסדותיה. על הקריאה הזו חתומים גופים רבים, איגודי עובדים, ארגונים חוץ-ממשלתיים ומפלגות, המבקשים לקדם מאבק לא מזוין בכיבוש המתמשך ובמדיניות האפרטהייד של ישראל. המהלך הזה הוא חלק ממכלול, אשר צד אחר שלו הוא, למשל, ההפגנות השבועיות נגד גדר ההפרדה וגזל האדמות. מי שהצטרפו למאבק הזה דוחים, מצד אחד, את שיתוף הפעולה המתמשך של הרשות הפלסטינית עם הפארסה המכונה “תהליך השלום”, ומצד שני את דרך ההתנגדות המזוינת.

הקריאה לחרם שואבת את השראתה מן המאבק באפרטהייד בדרום-אפריקה. מובן שהנסיבות ההיסטוריות אינן זהות, וגם צורות המאבק השונות אינן זהות, אבל ישנם קווי דמיון בצורת המשטר והתנהגותו, וכן ביחס הקהילה הבינלאומית (אני מתכוונת בראש וראשונה לתמיכה המסיבית של ארה”ב ואנגליה, בצד שאט-הנפש של קהילות בינלאומיות, איגודים מקצועיים וכו’). לא אעמיק כאן בניתוח ההשוואות; אציין רק כי אישים רבים, שנודעו במאבקם בדרום-אפריקה של האפרטהייד, מוצאים קווי דמיון כאלה ותומכים במהלכי ההחרמות נגד ישראל בשל כך.

החרם הוא המכשיר הפוליטי של הקהילה האזרחית – הפלסטינית, הבינלאומית, וגם הקהילה הישראלית הזעירה המבקשת להפגין סולידריות עם המאבק הזה, כמיטב יכולתה. הוא איננו תכלית לעצמה וגם לא צעד “מוסרי” גרידא; דהיינו, אין הוא צעד המצדיק את עצמו ומנותק מאפשרויות ההצלחה שלו. הוא כלי. ככזה, הוא כפוף לנסיבות, ואם יתברר, למשל, שהוא מזיק יותר משהוא מועיל – גם בטווח הארוך הנראה לעין – יהיה נכון לסלקו. כרגע, ניתוח המצב מצביע – בעיני תומכי החרם, כמובן – על היותו אחד הכלים הבודדים שעשויים להוליך את ישראל לשינוי מדיניותה הנפשעת (אולי ישירות, ואולי דרך שינוי מדיניותן של מדינות אירופה, ואפילו ארה”ב – מה שקשה להאמין – ביחס אליה). יתר על כן, נראה שדרכים אחרות חסומות לגמרי. התמיכה האמריקאית המסיבית, שטיפת-המוח הלאומנית, תמיכתה הכמעט-טוטלית של האוכלוסייה היהודית בישראל במהלכי ממשלותיה (93% תמכו במבצע “עופרת יצוקה”, למשל), וכן, גם שיתוף פעולה, שלא לומר התגייסות, של האליטה הכלכלית, התקשורתית והאקדמית – כל אלה מצביעים על כך שללא לחץ חיצוני לא יחול שיפור. אין פירושו של דבר שיש לוותר על דרכים אחרות של מאבק לא מזוין. נהפוך הוא. עבודה בתוך הקהילה הישראלית-יהודית נחוצה, ובמקביל, כמובן, נחוצה גם עבודה פנימית בתוך הקהילה הכבושה.

האינטרס הגדול של ממשלות ישראל הוא שמירת מראית-עין של נורמליות. ישראל מבקשת להציג את עצמה כלפי העולם המערבי כחלק אינטגרלי ממנו, כמדינה דמוקרטית, פתוחה, מתקדמת, ליברלית. ככל שמדיניותה הופכת לאלימה יותר, ככל שאופייה מתרחק יותר מן הדימוי הזה, כך מתגברים מאמציה לשמר את הדימוי. הקמפיין של “מיתוג מחודש של ישראל” – אותו ביקר עמיתנו קרלו שטרנגר ב”הארץ” לפני ימים אחדים – הוא חוד החנית של המאמץ הזה. לקהילה התרבותית והאקדמית מייחדים אנשי הקמפיין, במשרדי החוץ וההסברה, תפקיד חשוב. הן אמורות להציג את פניה היפות של ישראל ובכך לטשטש את שאין לראות.

ההתנגדות לנורמליזציה היא אחת מהסיבות העיקריות לתמיכה במדיניות ההחרמות בכלל, וכאלה המופנות כלפי הקהילה התרבותית והאקדמית של ישראל בפרט. כך, למשל, מתארגנות מחאות נגד אירועי תרבות ישראליים הממומנים על ידי משרד החוץ ומכוונים ל”מיתוג המחודש” – כפי שקרה בפסטיבל טורונטו לקולנוע בשנה שעברה; אמנים מתבקשים על-ידי תומכי החרם שלא להופיע בישראל, מרצים מתבקשים שלא להשתתף בכנסים בארץ, וכדומה.

אולם תפקידה של האקדמיה אינו מסתכם בהיותה ה”פנים הנאורות” שיש להציג בפני העולם כמסכה. העולם האקדמי מחובר בטבורו לממסד המדינתי ומשרת אותו, באינספור פרויקטים צבאיים, מדיניים והסברתיים. במקביל, ביקורת על מדיניות הכיבוש והאפרטהייד של ישראל כמעט ואיננה מושמעת בו – למרות ניסיונות גורמים שונים לצייר את התמונה אחרת. כל אלה הובילו את מנסחי הקמפיין הפלסטיני להכללה, באפיון החרם, גם של קריאה למשיכת השקעות במוסדות האקדמיים ולהימנעות ממימון פרויקטים אקדמיים – בפרט, כמובן, פרויקטים המשרתים ישירות את הממשלה. הרעיון הכולל הוא, שוב, הרצון להקשות על ישראל להתמיד בכיבוש, הן על-ידי הפיכת הכיבוש ל”לא משתלם” והן על-ידי חשיפת המקום אליו הידרדרה החברה הישראלית בפני חבריה עצמה, בדרך של הצבת מראה. לכן, אין לדבר על חרם על האקדמיה באופן מופשט ומנותק מן ההיבטים האחרים של המאבק הלא-מזוין לסיום הכיבוש.

עד כאן הצגה בסיסית של הרקע ההכרחי לדיון.  אני מבקשת להתייחס עתה, בקיצור ככל שאוכל, לכמה עניינים שעלו בהתכתבויות שונות.

שאלת החרם האינדיווידואלי מול זה המוסדי

כאמור, החל משנת 2005 נתנה החברה האזרחית הפלסטינית צורה ממוסדת לחרם. בצד הפנייה לקהילה הבינלאומית להחרמה, משיכת השקעות וסנקציות כלפי ישראל, ישנו גם פירוט של אופני ההחרמה הרצויים, וגם הסברים על אופני החרמה לא רצויים. על פי הפירוט הזה, החרם על האקדמיה הישראלית אינו כולל הימנעות מהזמנת אקדמאים ישראליים להרצאות וכנסים בחו”ל, שיתופם במחקרים, שיפוט ופרסום מאמרים וספרים שלהם, וכדומה. עד כמה שידוע לי, החל מאותה שנה, 2005, לא רבים המקרים בהם בחרו אקדמאים ברחבי העולם בדרכי החרמה כאלה.

שתי שאלות נוספות עלו בהקשר זה. ראשית, האם האקדמאים האירופיים מאמצים את הנוסח המוסדי-בלבד עליו דיברתי. לפי מיטב התרשמותי, הקריאה הפלסטינית יצרה מין “רגולציה” של החרם, ולכן פחתו המקרים שבהם קיבלו ההחרמות צורה אינדיווידואלית מן הסוגים האמורים. מקרים כאלה היו ועוד יהיו בוודאי, אבל לא התמיכה בקריאה הפלסטינית לחרם היא המקדמת אותם, אלא להיפך. בכל מקרה, הקריאה הפלסטינית מצביעה על קיומם של “אזורים אפורים”, ולי, כמו לאחרים – פלסטינים, ישראלים וזרים – יש לעתים הסתייגויות מפעולת חרם כזו או אחרת. אחרי הכל, פועל כל אדם לפי טעמו הפוליטי ומזגו האישי.

שנית, האם תמיכה בחרם מוסדי אינה, למעשה, גם תמיכה בחרם אינדיווידואלי. ובכן, כאן התשובה היא כן ולא. מובן שאקדמאים ייפגעו מכך שעמיתיהם יסרבו להגיע לכאן לכנסים שהם מבקשים לארגן. אבל (אם נסלק יוזמות אישיות מן הסוג האמור לעיל), לא תהיה פגיעה בהזמנת אקדמאים ישראליים לשבתונים והרצאות, בפרסומים וכו’. לעומת זאת ברור שקרנות מחקר תדולדלנה, השקעות באוניברסיטה תצטמצמנה, וכו’. כן, זה מחיר שלדעתי הקהילה האקדמית רבת-הפריבילגיות צריכה לשלם – מן הנימוקים שהבאתי לעיל.

תמיכה במהלך מסוים (כמו תמיכה בחרם) מאפשרת – תמיד – ניצול שלו או פרשנות מוטעית שלו

(למשל שימוש בחרם על-ידי גורמים אנטישמיים, או אחרים, שאינם מונעים מרצון לסיום הכיבוש ומדיניות האפרטהייד בלבד). אפשרות זו קיימת, ולדעתי, כל שאפשר לעשות נגדה הוא הבהרה חד-משמעית של הרציונל של החרם, מטרותיו, מסגרתו, וכו’. מצד שני, לא רק מעשים, אלא גם מחדלים, מפורשים ומנוצלים על ידי גורמים שונים ומשונים, ודי לחכימא ברמיזא.

מדוע דווקא ישראל?

אחת מן השאלות הקשות יותר בה נתקלים תומכי החרם היא השאלה, הסבירה לגמרי, בעניין ייחודה של ישראל. האם פשעיה של ארה”ב קטנים יותר? ואלו של אנגליה? כידוע, חומסקי נמנע מהחרמה משום שהוא טוען שהיא מפלה את ישראל לרעה ביחס לארצו. מן הצד השני, נהג הפיסיקאי, פרופ’ דניאל עמית המנוח, להחרים גם את האקדמיה האמריקאית. אבל אני לא שם. למה? משום שהחרם הוא כלי פוליטי ולא מטרה לעצמה ומשום שיש כמה הבדלים בין ישראל לארה”ב. ציינתי שהחרם איננו מצדיק את עצמו כשלעצמו, במנותק מאפשרויות ההצלחה שלו, מהנסיבות. כדי לקבל הנמקה כזו צריך לאמץ גישה מסוימת ליחסים בין מוסר ומחשבה פוליטית. זו סוגיה פילוסופית חשובה, שלא זה הפורום המתאים לבירורה, אך דנתי בה ובכוונתי לדון בה בהקשרים המתאימים. על כל פנים, כמו במקרה של דרום-אפריקה, מסתמן סיכוי שהחרם על ישראל יישא פירות (ואולי משום כך הוא מבהיל כל כך ישראלים רבים). אין צל של אפשרות אפילו לדמיין חרם על כלכלתה, תרבותה והאקדמיה של ארה”ב, ומובן שאין שום סיכויי הצלחה לחרם כזה.

זה המקום בו שואל אדם את עצמו: האם תמכתי, או הייתי תומך, בחרם על דרום-אפריקה? מי שמשיב בחיוב, צריך לדעתי לשאול את עצמו מדוע לא כאן ועכשיו. [עודד: יתכנו תשובות סבירות לשאלה מדוע לא “כאן ועכשיו”, אבל תשובות סבירות צריכות להיות מנוסחות במונחים יחסיים (ולא מוחלטים) ולהתייחס לנסיבות הפוליטיות של “כאן ועכשיו” – הן מבחינת הצורך להחריף את המאבק במדיניות הישראלית והן מבחינת האפקטיביות הצפויה של צעדים מסוימים.]

שאלה מקבילה, מן הצד השני, נוגעת לפשעיהן של ארצות כמו סין או איראן. מדוע לא להחרים גם אותן? ובכן, ישראל מתיימרת להיות מדינה דמוקרטית יותר מסין או איראן, ולדעתי ליומרה הזו יש מחיר. יתר על כן, ישראל זוכה להטבות מפליגות ממדינות המערב בשל ה”דמוקרטיה” בה היא מתפארת לשווא. קיצוץ בפריבילגיות הללו, לנוכח מדיניותה, נראה לי מעשה ראוי וחשוב.

מדוע אינני מתפטרת?

השאלה הזו מניחה תשובה לשאלה אחרת: האם אני, כלשון העצומה, מבקשת לפגוע בעמיתיי ובתלמידיי, באוניברסיטת תל-אביב וביתר האוניברסיטאות בארץ? תשובתי (הצפויה) היא לא ולא. המוסד האקדמי היחיד בסביבה שהייתי רוצה באמת לפגוע בו הוא מכללת אריאל, ולכך, נדמה לי, שותפים גם אחרים. (אגב: אלה צריכים לשאול את עצמם אם אינם מייחלים לחרם על המרכז האוניברסיטאי באריאל; אם יסרבו להרצות שם ולהשתתף בכנסיו; אם יתמכו בהסבת השקעות ממנו. אם ישיבו בהן על השאלות הללו, ברי שאף הם שמים סייגים לאותו “חופש אקדמי” בו מרבים לנפנף כאן לשווא לאחרונה – ובצדק יעשו כן. אינני מבקשת חלילה לגזור גזירה שווה בין מכללת אריאל לבין האוניברסיטאות הישראליות, אולם את הנקודה הזו חשוב להבהיר.)

איך זה שאני תומכת בחרם ובכל זאת רוצה בטובת האוניברסיטה? ממש כשם שאני רוצה בטובת ישראל ומצדדת בחרם עליה. תביעה להתפטרותי מן האוניברסיטה גוררת גם תביעה להסתלקותי מן הארץ. אין לי צל של ספק שסיום הכיבוש ומדיניות האפרטהייד נחוצים למען עתיד טוב יותר, לכולנו, במקום הזה; וכאמור, אני מאמינה שלחץ בינלאומי, כפי שתיארתי לעיל, הוא כלי חשוב לקידום המטרה הזו. כולנו חברים בקהילות שונות, והפגנת סולידריות עם קהילה אחת עשויה להתנגש עם הסולידריות שאנחנו מפגינים כלפי האחרת.  הסולידריות הראשונית שלי עתה היא עם חבריי למאבק הבלתי מזוין נגד הכיבוש. עם זאת, אני רואה את עצמי בשר מבשרה של הקהילה האקדמית בישראל. היא חשובה לי, היא מהווה חלק משמעותי מחיי, תלמידיי חשובים לי מאד וכך גם עבודתי האקדמית. בוודאי שהתנגשות כזו יוצרת מתיחות – אולי אפילו סתירה. מי שמאמין שאפשר לחיות ללא סתירות ומתחים פנימיים, יבושם לו. בלי שום קשר לנושא הנוכחי, אני לא מאמינה באפשרות כזו. רצוי, כמובן, למוסס את המתח, ואת זאת אני עושה יום יום, בתפקודי באוניברסיטה ובשמאל.

לעניין הפגיעה באוניברסיטה יש להוסיף עוד שני היבטים לפחות. הראשון הוא שגם אמצעי השביתה (אף הוא אמצעי פוליטי, לא מנותק מהקשר ולא בר-הכללה באופן פורמלי), שכולנו או לפחות רובינו תומכים בו, עשוי להזיק בטווח הקצר. השביתה הגדולה של הסגל אכן הזיקה לכיסי האוניברסיטה. סטודנטים עזבו לטובת המכללות, בטענה ש”שם לא שובתים”. (למרבה השמחה הם התבדו – ראו את מכללת ספיר.) דרישות שאנחנו מעלים, בצדק רב, לגבי העסקתם של עובדי הקבלן, או המורים-מן-החוץ, אף הן מרעות לכאורה את מצבה הכלכלי של האוניברסיטה – ובכל זאת אנחנו מאמינים שהן מוצדקות, ואף מצדיקות שביתות וסנקציות שונות.

ההיבט השני נוגע למה שאפשר לקרוא לו בהכללה “המיליטריזם של האוניברסיטה”. שיתוף הפעולה הסמוי והגלוי עם הצבא, תוכניות הלימוד המיוחדות, מינוי מרצים שמוצנחים היישר מן הפיקוד הבכיר – כל אלה, שהאוניברסיטה נוטה להתגאות בהם, מזיקים לה, לטעמי, לא פחות מן התמיכה בחרם. הרבה יותר. אינני מתכוונת רק ליחסי-החוץ, לעובדה שהמיליטריזם הזה מקל על תומכי החרם. אני מתכוונת קודם כל לפרצופה של האוניברסיטה עצמה, לסדר היום של מחקריה, למחויבותה האזרחית.

עד כאן. חשבתי לכתוב לכם מסמך קצר המכיל תשובות לשאלות, אך משהתיישבתי לכתוב אותו הבנתי עד כמה ניסיון כזה הוא מופרך. ברור לי לגמרי עד כמה קשה סוגיית החרם (הכולל, וזה על האקדמיה בפרט). אינני מצפה לשכנע איש, אלא לסלק אי הבנות ולהציע לכם לראות את הדברים מפרספקטיבה אחרת. ברור לי גם שלשם ראייה כזו דרושה הסכמה מינימלית בעניינים הפוליטיים. יתר על כן, אני סבורה, וכתבתי על כך בהרחבה בהקשר האקדמי, כי דרוש לה גם שינוי בהוויה, באורח החיים. אבל, כאמור, עד כאן.

[מאי 2010]