Steven Plaut

Sunday, July 25, 2010


 

 

1.  More Oslo Success:   Story of life and death http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3924144,00.html

Op-ed: What did Palestinian man do while Jewish doctors were treating his daughter?
Hagai Segal

What a coincidence: One of the terrorists who roughly a month ago murdered police officer Shuki Sofer was designated as a "humanitarian case" just two months ago.

 

Here is the story: The terrorist's six-year-old daughter required surgery to remove a tumor in her eye and was hospitalized in Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, at the expense of an Israeli non-profit organization. During his Shin Bet interrogation, the terrorist said he stayed by her bed at the hospital.

 

Now, imagine that the security establishment would have refused to allow the girl an entry permit to Jerusalem. Merciful human rights organizations and physicians without borders would immediately feed the media with yet another story of the indifference shown by the occupier's government: A story about a sick Palestinian girl, concerned parents, and a military roadblock.

 

Preoccupied with murder

According to the rhetoric common around here in such cases, someone would have remarked that later we nonetheless wonder why the Palestinians hate us.

 

Well, the occupation authorities showed mercy to the family in question, without the intervention of the High Court of Justice or human rights group B'Tselem, and the girl was treated at the Jerusalem hospital.

 

Yet despite this, her father the terrorist did not manage to get rid of his hatred. According to the timeline constructed during the probe, he continued to plan the murder that he later carried out while his daughter was hospitalized.

 

 

Indeed, this is what the terrorist was preoccupied with while Jewish medical teams treated his daughter as if she was their own daughter.

 

Yet later the Palestinians will nonetheless wonder why we have roadblocks.

 

 

2.  Special Isracampus Report

 

  Ben Gurion University Leftists Conduct Indoctrination Session for Foreign Scholars – Teaching them how Evil Israel Is

 

http://isracampus.org.il/third%20level%20pages/Editorial%20-%20Samuel%20Forman%20-%20Review%20of%20the%20Bash%20Israel%20IGU%20Pre-Conference.htm

 

A Review of the Bash-Israel Pre-Conference organized by Far-Leftist Academics prior to the Prestigious International Geographical Union's regional conference held in Tel Aviv

As happens so often, the ideological opinion offered by Israeli scholars, under the banner of free speech and pluralism, at these conferences was primarily monolithic, anti-Israel, and leftist. If scholars were somehow still able to leave these conferences with a neutral or positive view about Israel, it was in spite of the best efforts of Israel's academics who organized the pre-conferences, not because of them.

... For Newman, only one voice should be heard in a democratic society, the voice of critique and anti-state hatred. The only 'beacon of light' in Israel are the organizations and individuals who compare the country to a fascist state and the only "value" of democracy is the voice of extremism. On the other side democracy is having a "black day" when other organizations use free speech to critique those who critique.

 

 

Freedom of Speech's Dictatorship: Political Geography, the international community and the conquest of the Israeli academy

Samuel Forman
July 2010

Between July 6 and 12th Ben-Gurion University of the Negev was host to a prestigious gathering of political geographers at a pre-conference to the International Geographical Union's regional conference, held in Tel Aviv (July 13-16). The regional conference was hosted in cooperation with British scholars. It was entitled 'Borders, Territory and Conflict in a Globalizing World.' Another pre-conference on gender was held at Ein Karim in Jerusalem during the same dates.

Israel's academics claim that they are under threat and that their free speech is stifled. They argue that those who denounce Israel are freedom's true champions. The two recent pre-conferences hosted by Israeli academics for international academics visiting Israel were designed to demonize Israel and send the guests home as haters of Israel.

As happens so often, the ideological opinion offered by Israeli scholars, under the banner of free speech and pluralism, at these conferences was primarily monolithic, anti-Israel, and leftist. If scholars were somehow still able to leave these conferences with a neutral or positive view about Israel, it was in spite of the best efforts of Israel's academics who organized the pre-conferences, not because of them.

Politicizing Geography and Gender

The Ein Karim pre-conference was held at a monastery and was focused on 'Bridging Gendered Diversity in a Globalizing World.' Its call for papers stated: "Considering the great variety of Israeli landscapes and population we center our attention on issues of diversity and multiculturalism. These terms refrain from identifying social and cultural differences as merely demographic analytical categories. Rather they tend to criticize the universal principles typical of modernity, and uncover the processes of differential inclusion of national, social and cultural groups. Gender is a well known excuse for structuring hierarchical categorizations. Because often gender is fractured at the intersection with other aspects of identity, it is critically used to challenge the modern notion of universal participation."

Diversity did they say? The gender pre-conference was part of a commission on gender and geography, and like its cousin in Beersheba, was part of the International Geographical Union (IGU) and was planned by an organizing committee. That committee was composed of far-leftist Tovi Fenster of Tel-Aviv University, Orna Blumen of Haifa University and Chen Misgav of Tel Aviv University. Chen's thesis advisor is none other than the same Tovi Fenster.[1] Blumen and Fenster both claim to be Israeli pioneers in the realm of gender and geography, according to the Israeli Geographical Society (IGS). In an article entitled, 'The Academic Conference and the status of women,' Blumen writes: "All five IGS sessions on gender emerged as a consequence of the second tactic; they were initiated by Orna Blumen and Tovi Fenster and chaired by them."[2]

Orna Blumen is not an Israeli activist academic but the other two members of the organizing committee, the one being a patron of the other, certainly are. Tovi Fenster is a long time far-leftist academic-activist. She was a signatory of the 'Academic Freedom Petition,' circulated in the last years. It stated: "We see ourselves as having a duty to fight for the academic freedom of our Palestinian colleagues." The petition was highlighted on the website of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign against Israel, http://www.bigcampaign.org, alongside the petition was the image of a bleeding Jaffa orange (right).

Fenster was one of the founders of the Israeli radical NGO Bimkom, which works almost exclusively for 'planning rights' of Palestinians. Along with colleagues like Oren Yiftachel, about whom more will be written below, and Dr. Erez Tzfadia, Fenster has been a leading agitator in Bimkom. She was co-author with Yiftachel of 'Frontiers, Planning and Indigenous Peoples' in the journal Progress in Planning (Introduction to a Special Issue) in 1997.[3] She is the editor of Gender and Planning Rights, published by Routledge. Fenster was also on the board of directors of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel from 1994-1999.[4] Along with Haim (Chaim) Jacoby she edited Remembering, Forgetting and City Builders. In a 2003 paper by Leone Sandercock she is listed as the source, along with Yiftachel, for the claim: "Ethnocratic states today, such as Israel, where a dominant ethnicity imposes its power through the management of space (see Fenster 1999a, 1999b; Yiftachel 1992, 1996, 2000)."[5] In a 1999 article, 'Mapping the Boundaries of Social Change' she examines the problem a feminist supposedly confronts when dealing with cultural sensitivities related to communities such as the Bedouin.[6]

Fenster was able to transmit her activism to her student, Misgav, whose thesis is titled, 'Activism for justice in space: body, identity and memory in the urban environment.' Together they were able to dominate the IGU's pre-conference on gender hosted in Israel. They crafted the pre-conference suited to their ideological goals. It is one more example of how a dictatorship of opinion gets cloaked by the rhetoric of activism and academic freedom.

Political Geography at Ben Gurion University: A One Sided coin

David Newman, newly appointed dean of the faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is a signer of the petition that declares: "our appreciation and support for those of our students and lecturers who refuse to serve as soldiers in the occupied territories." Newman played an integral role in organizing the pre-conference for political geography at his university. London-born leftist Newman is also editor of the academic journal Geopolitics.

On the eve of the pre-conference, Newman published an article in the Jerusalem Post, in which he asked, 'What is Happening to our Freedom of Speech? (July 12, 2010)' In it he claimed, "The academic community here is showing signs of growing intolerance and attempts to deny the free and open debate." He noted that forty scholars of geopolitics from around the world were on their way to Israel "to take part in a weeklong seminar, accompanied by professional field trips, to discuss and analyze the changing nature of borders, territory and conflict in a globalizing world." Newman claimed, "The decision by the IGU to hold its meeting here is itself indicative of the fact that most academic institutions make a necessary distinction between political critique and scientific scholarship." Newman then claimed that he and his colleagues were being threatened with hate mail and campaigns by watchdog groups and by student organizations like Im Tirzu. Their activities are designed to criticize and expose the political extremism of some Israeli academics. But according to Newman, these groups are "severely damaging the country's image as a free and open society in the eyes of many European lawmakers."

How ironic that a dean at a major university who claims to care about freedom of speech also attacks and condemns student groups and watchdogs like Isracampus and NGO-Monitor. The latter engage in exactly that type of free speech in which he supposedly believes. What Newman's article and other opinion columns suggest is that only one type of speech should be supported in the "open society," the opinions he supports. For instance in a December 1, 2009 article entitled 'Who's Monitoring the Monitor', In the article he compared Israel to Syria and Algeria and praised extreme leftist 'human rights organizations "Organizations such as B'Tselem, Adalah, Bimkom and Ir Amim, to name but a few of those attacked in the NGO Monitor report, are a credit to Israel and its values of democracy and are one of the few beacons of light that Israel is able to show to an increasingly skeptical international community." He claimed that NGO Monitor's activities have become so blatantly political," and, "It is a black day for Israeli democracy and will only bring even greater international disrepute and criticism to the country which packages itself as the 'only' democracy in the Middle East." For Newman, only one voice should be heard in a democratic society, the voice of critique and anti-state hatred. The only 'beacon of light' in Israel are the organizations and individuals who compare the country to a fascist state and the only "value" of democracy is the voice of extremism. On the other side democracy is having a "black day" when other organizations use free speech to critique those who critique.

Newman's thesis in his July 12, 2010 op-ed is this: "It is this sort of action on the part of our 'friends' which causes our universities much greater damage than all of the failed attempts to implement mass boycotts and undertake collective action, most of which can be measured in terms of hot air rather than any form of significant implementation." His column sums up his ideas thus: "It is important for our guests, regardless of whatever criticisms that some of them may have concerning Israeli and Palestinian national politics, to see the vibrancy, openness and diversity of opinion on the campus and in the street. And for this to continue to be the case, we must stand up against all those who would wish to impose their own narrow, unquestioning, world view on the rest of us, and who would pretend that they are more loyal citizens of the state than those with whom they disagree. It is a challenge for democracy and we cannot remain silent."

Towards this end Newman, whose salary is paid by the state of Israel, set out to organize that pre-conference for the international attendees. It was relatively free of overly political anti-Israel papers presented by the foreign attendees, but not by the Israelis. Newman had claimed the foreign guests would include "many participants who are critical of Israel's policies and will, no doubt, make these positions known to their Israeli colleagues during the course of their stay." But the real "criticism" of Israel there, which was actually naked political propaganda, came from Ben-Gurion University academics. These included Oren Yiftachel who presented Territorial (Mis)management of Ethnic Conflict: 'Creeping Apartheid' and "Gray Space' in Israel/Palestine. Ariel Handel of Tel Aviv University presented 'Movement, Continuity and Spatial Control: The Case of the Palestinian Territories.' Erez Tzfadia of Sapir College presented 'Suspending the Law: Ethno-Nationalism, Colonialism and Informal Outposts in the West Bank.' Nary a single pro-Israel opinion was aired.

Yiftachel's paper in particular described Israel as having aspects of "Apartheid." It was a re-hashing of similar papers he already published elsewhere. Those include a paper in the journal Planning Theory in February in 2009, in which he argued, "The vast expansion of gray spaces in contemporary cities reflects the emergence of new types of colonial relations, which are managed by urban regimes facilitating a process of `creeping apartheid'."[7] Then in the journal City in 2009, in a paper titled 'Critical Theory and gray spaces.' He opined: "In the Israeli context, the ethnocratic state has forced the indigenous Bedouins into impoverished and criminalized gray space."[8]

If the pre-conference had not succeeded in convincing the international foreign attendees that Israel is a racist ethnocratic apartheid state, then the "field trips" organized for them by Newman and his pals cemented that view. The first field trip was led by none other than Oren Yiftachel and billed itself as an excursion in 'Territory, Conflict and Ethnicity in the Negev Region.' The trip was sponsored by the Department of Geography and Environmental Development at BGU. Participants were given a one-sided anti-Israel view of Israel, not by a licensed tour guide but by an Israeli "academic" who holds the opinion that Israel is a ethnocratic settler state. It is not clear whether Yiftachel informed his audience that he himself resides in Omer, one of the most affluent communities of the Negev, in which no Bedouin is allowed to live. Omer has been cited numerous times in fact as a community that has been particularly hard on its Bedouin neighbors, "driving them away" and pressuring to have them evicted.[9] Yiftachel's personal participation in the ethnocracy and apartheid, living in an all-Jewish town, was not brought up.[10]

If the hypocritical Yiftachel led field trip was not enough to show the international scholars only the negative side of Israel, then the second field trip completed the task. That second one took them from Beersheba to the West Bank to examine 'Borders, settlements and conflict in Israel and the West Bank.' It was led by David Newman himself. When the bus of academics attempted to re-enter Israel at a crossing south of Jerusalem, the female border guards dared to asked where the bus had been. She was informed that it had been in the Palestinian areas. When she made the bus wait a bit, she was, according to witnesses, harangued and yelled at by Newman, who accused her of holding up a bus of "international scholars."

 

The Demonization of Israel provided to International Scholars by Anti-Israel Israeli Academics

Newman has an interesting way of claiming that Israel's most important quality is its "vibrancy, openness and diversity of opinion." He also claims that the international scholars who come to Israel should be exposed to this "vibrancy, openness and diversity of opinion on the campus and in the street." Diversity of opinion of course is something absent from Newman's own Department of Politics at Ben Gurion University, iwhere leftist academics dominate and where political activism is accepted and encouraged, pretending it is scholarship.

Newman and his colleague Yiftachel crafted an international conference in such a way that the participants did not view any diversity, openness or vibrancy. What they got was masses of anti-Israel propaganda from far-leftists and post-Zionists. Aside from the inside of conference rooms, all the foreign guests saw was, in the words of one attendee, "Palestinian Bedouin" and "Palestinians in the West Bank." They did not, according to this author's sources, meet with any Jewish communities in Israel, who also happen to be diverse. Did they meet with Orthodox Jews? Did they meet with poverty-stricken Ethiopians and Russians who make up a large segment of Beersheba's population? How about families of Sderot who survived the Hamas rocket attacks? Did they meet with Jews of Middle Eastern descent, refugees from Arab countries, such as Yemenites, Moroccans and Iraqis? Did they meet with Israeli farmers in the Negev who are harassed and robbed by the local Bedouin? Did they talk to actual Jewish settlers in the West Bank or were they merely shown them from a bus and from a Palestinian perspective?

The pre-conference at BGU, funded and sponsored in part by the Israeli government, offered international attendees one single opinion, a banal anti-Israel viewpoint and a closed mind. The field trips for the international attendees were designed to show them the radical anti-Israel political perspective. The Israeli academics presented papers at the pre-conference intended to make all the foreign guests believe that Israel is an "ethnocratic" and racist "apartheid" state.

Geography at Ben-Gurion university is but one example of a department and discipline that has been hijacked by those holding a single radical viewpoint. Free speech is no longer prized there and faculty members are promoted and celebrated based upon their adherence to a very narrow range of opinions. University funding and bodies like the Israel Academy of Sciences (which funded much of Yiftachel's initial work on 'ethnocracy') reinforce all this. Academics who have a radical anti-Israel view are able to ladle out to international scholars their detestation of Israel with institutional funding.

International IGU conferences in other countries, even the pre-conferences of the sort discussed here, usually provide visiting scholars with field trips that are neutral, showing the host country's beauty and rich history. Only in Israel are these used to conduct naked propaganda against the host country. It is a tragic commentary on the distortion of the notions of free speech and an open society. It is the death of pluralism and the handing over of democracy to radical anti-Israeli extremists. And it is funded, even more tragically, by the State of Israel itself.


 


[1] http://telaviv.academia.edu/ChenMisgav

[2] http://geo.haifa.ac.il/~bargal/bluman.htm

[3] 'Frontiers, Planning and Indigenous Peoples' (Introduction to a Special Issue) in Progress In Planning in (1997),  47: 251-258ֶ

[4] http://www.tau.ac.il/~tobiws/

[5] http://mbc.metropolis.net/assets/uploads/files/wp/2003/WP03-20.pdf

[6] Fenster, T. 1999a. On particularism and universalism in modernist planning: Mapping the boundaries of social change. Plurimondi 2:147-68; Fenster, T., ed. 1999b. Gender, Planning, and Human Rights. London: Routledge.

[7] http://plt.sagepub.com/content/8/1/88.abstract

[8] http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a912724893~db=all~jumptype=rss

[9] 'Upscale Negev suburb hopes to drive away Bedouin by planting trees', http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/upscale-negev-suburb-hopes-to-drive-away-bedouin-by-planting-trees-1.270946

[10] Yiftachel does claim on his website that he was born in an elite Kibbutz (which itself discriminated against Israel's Jewish and Arab ethnic-minorities), in the north where "social justice was not a mere theory." http://www.geog.bgu.ac.il/members/yiftachel/personal.html

 
 
 
3.  British judge so anti-Semitic - maybe he can get an appointment in Israel?
Is that really John Cleese with a wig on?

Friday, July 23, 2010


Yesterday I sent out a special posting about the heroic policeman Shachar Mizrachi, condemned to serve 30 months in prison with hard criminals because he dared to do his job.  If you missed the posting , it can still be read here:  http://zioncon.blogspot.com/2010/07/israel-jails-another-hero-for-doing-his.html
 
There are some new elements of the story that I was not aware of yesterday and I think they are worthy of a separate posting on this, so please bear with me.
 
According to the column in Maariv today by editor Ben Dror Yemini, when Mizrachi confronted the Arab thief stealing a car, it turns out it was not his first confrontation with such a thief engaged in such a theft.  Sometime before this incident, the same police officer was badly injured by a different thief making his getaway with a stolen car away from the scene of the theft.   Mizrachi's partner was struck by that car, and has been in a coma ever since, a vegetable.
 
The thief that Mizrachi shot, and for which he has just been sentenced to 30 months by Miss Judicial Activism, Dorit Beinisch, Israel's chief justice, had threatened the officer with a screw driver before hopping into the stolen car and also tried to run him down with the car.
 
Officer Mizrachi should not only be set free, he should receive a medal of valor, a promotion, a large compensation check, and the family of the thief now screaming for the media in Arabic should be sent a bill for the cost of the bullet officer Mizrachi used to shoot the perp.
 
 

Thursday, July 22, 2010


  

 

   Israel is a dangerous place for patriots and heroes because the entrenched Left in the Prosecutor's Office and in the Courts likes to jail heroes and patriots.  The Bedouin soldier jailed for hitting an ISM "Solidarity" terrorist after shooting back at Palestinian terrorists who had opened fire on him was just released from jail after serving his time.  (see http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/idf-soldier-who-shot-british-peace-activist-to-be-released-from-jail-1.302839 )  The farmer Shai Dromi was eventually freed from threat of being jailed after he shot Arab thieves who had illegally entered his property to steal his sheep.  The Attorney General had wanted Dromi prosecuted for murder because he defended himself against Arab thieves.   See this:  http://www.haaretz.com/news/negev-farmer-who-killed-burglar-will-not-be-tried-for-murder-1.210717  If he had only shot Jewish thieves, no one would have thought anything of it.  But in post-survivalist Israel one must never shoot Arab criminals.  It violates their rights.  The fact that there was an intensive effort by the Israeli prosecution to go after Dromi tells you all you need to know.

 

   Which brings us to the gross miscarriage of justice in the case of the heroic police officer Shahar Mizrachi.  He is a great hero of Israel, which is why Miss Judicial Activism, Dorit Beinisch, Israel's Chief Justice, yesterday decided to send Mizrachi to prison for 30 months.  There he will be jailed with common criminals, some of whom he put behind bars.  Let us hope he survives.

 

   Mizrachi's crime?  He saw a thief in the process of stealing a car and he shot the thief to stop the theft.  The problem was that the thief was an Arab, and, just as the Dromi case already proved, Jews in Israel are not allowed to shoot Arab criminals and thieves (or, for that matter, murderers).   The entire police chain of command backed Mizrachi and insists he acted properly.  He had originally been sentenced by a Haifa court to 15 months in prison for doing his job .   Chief Justice Beinisch just doubled that. 

 

   Mizrachi is a hero who should have been granted medals of valor and a promotion instead of a prison term.  Other police in Israel will henceforth prefer to let thieves, rapists, and murderers run off scot free rather than risk using force to capture them and then be sent to prison.  After all, in the heat of the moment, police may find it difficult to distinguish between Jewish criminals, whom may be legitimately shot by the Israeli police, and Arab criminals, who enjoy immunity from being shot.   (Arabs by the way are allowed to shoot Jewish criminals, and some who have done so were exempted from prosecution!)

 

     To avoid being prosecuted for shooting Arab criminals, Israeli police will now prefer to play it safe and just let all criminals of all ethnicities run away, rather than risk using force against a criminal who turns out to be an Arab.  That could explain the near-zero success rate of the Israeli police in solving many categories of crime, like burglaries of homes and stores.

 

    Meanwhile, I understand that Russian and Jewish criminals and assorted drug addicts have now signed up for Ulpan courses in spoken Arabic, so that, if the Israeli police ever apprehend them in the middle of committing a serious crime, they can toss out a few phrases in street Arabic and then rest assured that the police will turn their backs and allow them to run off.  Maybe even give them a left in the patrol car to their hideouts.

 

 


Wednesday, July 21, 2010


 

1.  It seems that the Hebrew University intends to challenge Ben Gurion University and Tel Aviv University as the worst center for academic fascism in Israel. 

 

Just a few days back we posted a piece on the saga of the Hebrew University leftist sociology professor accused of raping at least 10 of his students.  The Hebrew University circled their wagons around him, backed him, protected him, and he is still on the payroll, teaching (and fondling?) his students.  That article is here. http://frontpagemag.com/2010/07/19/a-tale-of-two-professors/

 

The same leftist Israeli media that had a field day attacking (and continuing to report in detail every nuance concerning) a prominent Rabbi accused of making sexual advances on his male students have completely forgotten and suppressed that story of the accused tenured rapist.

 

But the Hebrew University DOES fire some faculty members.  Maariv today reports (only in Hebrew – at http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART2/135/354.html ) that the "Hebrew" University of Jerusalem has just decided to fire Dr. Ron Baratz, of its philosophy department.  Baratz is the most popular teacher in the department.  His student ratings appear here: http://www.dargoo.co.il/displayRanking.asp?lecturerID=3186 and they average a 5.0, the highest you can get (an average I can only dream of for myself!).   

 

Baratz's felony?  It seems he is guilty of being a non-leftist.  And the Hebrew University thinks that disqualifies him to work there.  This is not MY take on the firing, but Maariv's!!!  Baratz has worked with the Zionist student organization Im Tirtzu, another felony.   And he works with the Likudish Shalem Center.  Oh the Humanity! 

 

His firing has set off a firestorm of rage against the "Hebrew" University.  The Maariv web page has almost 600 talkbacks on it, many from LEFTIST students who support Baratz, say he was their best teacher, and denouncing the university!  Many of his faculty colleagues from the Left have also expressed outrage at the firing.

 

Ron's email is here: baratz@pluto.huji.ac.il in case you want to send him a note.

 

It is kind of a shame that he is not a leftist rapist, because then he could keep his job and salary and maybe even purchase vibrators with his research funds (as Hebrew University Prof. Eyal Ben-Ari did!!  For details, see this:  http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Blogs/Blog.aspx/1/21 )

 

 

2.  When anti-Semites and Nazis pretend to be "Critics"

 http://frontpagemag.com/2010/07/21/israels-critics-and-israels-enemies/

 

Dissent or Destruction?

Posted By Edward Alexander On July 21, 2010 @ 12:00 am In FrontPage | 4 Comments

A recent addition to the ever-burgeoning genre of books instructing Israel on the most suitable method of ceasing to exist (one-state solution, no-state solution, final solution) is adorned by the following from Noam Chomsky:

Constance Hilliard raises very critical issues…and unless those who call themselves 'supporters of Israel' are willing to face these moral and geopolitical realities, they may in reality be supporters of Israel's moral degeneration and ultimate destruction.

It is commonplace that moral passions are far more imperious and impatient than self-seeking ones, and who could have a stronger sense of his own moral rectitude than a man who has been an apologist for Pol Pot in Cambodia, a collaborator with neo-Nazi Holocaust-deniers in France, and a cohort to anti-Semitism-deniers everywhere?

"Anti-Semitism," Chomsky has declared, "is  no longer a problem, fortunately. It's raised, but it's raised because privileged people want to make sure they have total control, not just 98% control; That's why anti-Semitism is becoming an issue…" Beautiful and touching words, but words by no means unusual in the parlance of those who deem Israel uniquely evil  and, with help from its "supporters," responsible for every misery on the planet with the (possible) exception of global warming.  (Here reality outpaces my rhetorical flourishes: Clare Short, a member of  Tony Blair's cabinet until 2003, charged that Israel is "much worse than the original apartheid state" because  it "undermines the international community's reaction to global warming.")

Chomsky is generally and mistakenly identified as "a critic of Israel." But he is by no means the only beneficiary of the flagrantly euphemistic redefinition of "criticism" where Israel and its numerous enemies are concerned. Examples, in fact, abound. A Vassar professor (writing in Judaism Magazine, no less) referred to the second Intifada, during which Palestinian Arab suicide bombers, pogromists, and lynch mobs slaughtered a thousand people (most of them Israeli Jews) and wounded thousands more, as "a critique of Zionism." A Panglossian writer in the Chronicle of Higher Education assures readers that "calls to destroy Israel, or to throw it into the Mediterranean Sea…are not evidence of hatred of Jews," but merely "reflect a quarrel with the State of Israel." Some critique, some quarrel. When questions were raised in November 2003 about the indecency of Harvard and Columbia honoring and playing host to the Oxford poetaster, blood libel subscriber, and London Review of Books regular Tom Paulin after he had urged that Jews living in Judea/Samaria "should be shot dead" and announced that he "never believed that Israel had the right to exist at all," his apologists in Cambridge and Morningside Heights defended his right "to criticize Israeli policy." But the prize for redefinition of the term "criticism" should probably go to the Swedish Chancellor of Justice Goran Lambertz who, in 2006, ruled that repeated calls from the Grand Mosque of Stockholm to "Kill the Jews" by dispatching suicide bombers to Israel and other Jewish population centers, was not racial incitement to murder. Rather, ruled this Solomon, they:

Should be judged differently and therefore be regarded as permissible because they were used by one side in an ongoing and far-reaching conflict where calls to arms and insults are part of the everyday climate in the rhetoric that surrounds this conflict.

Just what, then, does "criticism" mean? The Victorian poet and critic Matthew Arnold defined criticism (by which he did not mean merely literary criticism) as "the attempt to see the object as in itself it really is."  Writing in 1865, he believed he was still living in the shadow of the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror, but also in the new age of science. He wanted criticism to model itself on the disinterested observation of  science and not the fierce political partisanship that derived from the Revolution. Like science, criticism should espouse no party and no cause except the cause of truth. Its proper aim is to see the object as it really is, not to destroy the object. Dickens, a few years earlier in Tale of Two Cities (1859), had encapsulated the murderous aspect of French politicide by mocking its two favorite slogans: "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity—or Death" and (Chamfort's version) "Sois Mon Frere, ou Je Te Tue." (Be my brother, or I'll kill you.)

The "critics of Israel," who deny its right to exist and threaten it with destruction if it fails to dance to their tune, may be dishonest, despicable, consumed with blood-lust, but let us not deny them their triumph. In the war of ideas, they have beaten us at almost every turn — and by "us" I mean those for whom the foundation of Israel was one of the few redeeming acts of a blood-soaked and shameful century. A widely-publicized 2007 BBC poll of 28,000 people in 27 countries shows Israel as the "least-liked" country in the entire world. Among Europeans polled, Israel was most disliked in Germany.  Yes, in the very country where the Jews' "right to live" was once a popular topic, Israel-haters outpolled Israel-admirers by 77% to 10%. And still greater triumphs than those in the war for public opinion may yet await these "critics." Their threats to Israel are not idle ones. On their own, the Chomskys, Paulins, Norman Finkelsteins, Tony Judts and Alexander Cockburns of this world cannot visit upon Israel the terrible fate they think it deserves. But they know they have a powerful ally named Iran, which is under the leadership of someone bent not merely, on politicide (like the "critics") but on genocide; someone who daily promises to "remove Israel from the map" and watches with glee as the international noose tightens around Israel's throat and the umbrellas go up in Europe and Washington.

Edward Alexander is the co-author, with Paul Bogdanor, of The Jewish Divide over Israel: Accusers and Defenders (Transaction Publishers).


Article printed from FrontPage Magazine: http://frontpagemag.com

URL to article: http://frontpagemag.com/2010/07/21/israels-critics-and-israels-enemies/

 

 

3.  Note how many articles are suddenly appearing in the Israeli press about academic freedom – and this one actually appeared in Haaretz and was actually written by a TAU prof!  And it actually favors academic freedom!  This is shocking because Haaretz generally opposes academic freedom for non-traitors, and certainly opposes pluralism and diversity of any sort … in Haaretz!!

 

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/what-do-boycotts-have-to-do-with-academic-freedom-1.303132

 

What do boycotts have to do with academic freedom?

The pretension of wrapping political critique in academic garb will end up curtailing the right to criticize - as if people who do not enjoy academic freedom should not express their opinions.

By Asher Maoz

A university lecturer calls the naval commandos who raided the Mavi Marmara cold-blooded murderers. Another lecturer refuses to permit a student returning from reserve duty to enter the classroom in uniform. A third tells his students that he does not believe reserve duty in the territories justifies absence from class - but he is prepared to excuse the absence of students who attend a protest at a checkpoint.

Yet another lecturer calls for a boycott of Israel because of the occupation. His colleague calls for an academic boycott of Israeli universities, including the one that employs him. Another lecturer's students claim he silences them when they disagree with him.

But the greatest threat to academic freedom is the academic boycott. This weapon - even if those who preach it are trying to target government policy - strikes a mortal blow at the freedom to research and develop, because it cuts the scholar off from sources of funding for his research and from colloquy with colleagues, which is essential to academic research.

Nor can we ignore the fact that those who call for a boycott will not be harmed by it themselves. They will enjoy the best of both worlds - both the rights conferred by belonging to the boycotted university and the right to exemption from the very boycott they advocate.

The writer is a professor of constitutional law at Tel Aviv University

 


Monday, July 19, 2010


 

A Tale of Two Professors

Posted By Steven Plaut On July 19, 2010 @ 12:06 am In FrontPage | No Comments

Academic freedom continues to be destroyed by the tenured Left.  Academic freedom today increasingly means that faculty members have the right to agree with radical leftists and Marxists but not the right to disagree with them.   And criticism of radical leftist academics is never permitted.  It is considered "McCarthyism."

The absurdities surrounding the leftist take on academic freedom have never been so glaring as in a pair of events, involving two very different professors in Israel, both allegedly involved in "sexual insensitivity."

Ben Gurion University in Israel has long been something of a public laughingstock.  Outside its science and engineering departments, it is largely a parody of a real university.  It hires and promotes large number of anti-Israel faculty extremists, in many cases people whose academic records consist of nothing more than churning out anti-Israel hate propaganda.  The political science department there is without a doubt Israel's worst; it does not contain a single non-leftist and it fired the one non-leftist who had worked there on grounds of incorrect thinking.  It and other departments in the humanities and social sciences at Ben Gurion University see their mission as indoctrinating students into Marxism and far-leftist hatred of Zionism.  Ben Gurion University hosts Neve Gordon, the Israeli equivalent of Norman Finkelstein, best known for his campaign for a world boycott against Israel.  Gordon has built an academic career upon denouncing Israel as a fascist, apartheid regime, engaged in state terror, a country whose existence Gordon wants ended.  Gordon recently hosted a convicted Palestinian terrorist [1] in his own home for several months, to serve as a moral role model for Gordon's own children.

The tenured extremism at Ben Gurion University [2] has long been defended by the university officials on grounds of "academic freedom."   But that just made the recent firing of professor Yeruham Leavitt all the more outrageous.  Leavitt is actually a retired professor who was retained by Ben Gurion University to teach an ethics course to students in the Clinical Pharmaceutical Department.   Alas, Leavitt, was guilty [3] of political incorrectness, and was fired for that.  The very same President of the University, Rivka Carmi, who defends having dozens of radical tenured traitors on her academic staff, defended the decision [4] to fire Leavitt because he had made "offensive" and "insensitive" statements.

Just what was Leavitt's horrific crime?  In the ethics class the subject of children being raised by homosexual couples came up.  Leavitt expressed skepticism [5] as to whether such arrangements are healthy for the children.  He also claimed in class that homosexuals who wish to do so can suppress or ignore their sexual urges, much like he himself does when he sees a pretty young coed.  The university reacted in a statement,

"The lecturer made a categorical comment on the homosexuality phenomenon. During his hearing, (Leavitt) did not apologize for his offensive comments and even repeated them.   Ben-Gurion University sanctifies freedom of thought and expression, but the lecturer blatantly crossed the line."

Leavitt actually favors airing different views in the classroom.  He was quoted in the local press [6] as insisting he is in favor of pluralism and equality. "In my many lectures on medical bioethics I have always tried to instill pluralistic culture while stressing multiple opinions and making them heard in a respectable fashion," he said.  The President of Ben Gurion University issued a public letter in which [4] she defended the firing of Leavitt, making it clear that politically incorrect comments will not be tolerated in Ben Gurion University, but treasonous anti-Israel and anti-Semitic pronouncements are protected speech and students will be tested on them.  Even the far-leftist Israel Association for Civil Rights in Israel, which ordinarily does not favor freedom of speech for non-leftists, attacked the University for firing Leavitt.

Leavitt was quoted in the press as saying, "My embarrassing dismissal from Ben-Gurion University constitutes a severe violation of basic rights, including the right to dignity, academic freedom and freedom of expression."

Now one can agree or disagree with Leavitt's comments.  Sexual psychologists seem to be divided over the matters he discussed.  Even if one believes he is wrong, since when is being wrong a basis for firing faculty members?  If it were, most of Ben Gurion University would be a ghost town.  It should also be borne in mind that he was teaching an ethics course, where ethical debate and controversy are the focus of the class.

Ben Gurion University's anti-democratic officials claimed that a student in Leavitt's class had felt offended by what he said about homosexuals.  But Ben Gurion University has always refused to take action against any of its many far-leftist faculty members who routinely denounce Israeli soldiers as Nazis, who endorse terrorist attacks against Jews, who call for the extermination of Israel, and who dismiss Jews as moral inferiors.  They do so even when many of the students in class are themselves reserves soldiers, and some are people who have lost fathers and brothers in Middle East wars.  No one has ever thought that offending the feelings of these people should serve as grounds for dismissal of the tenured extremists.

******

For the second of our Tales, let us introduce Eyal Ben-Ari [7].  He is a far-leftist full professor of sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a department famous for employing far-leftist and Marxist anti-Israel radicals.  He claims to know something [8] about the sociology of the military. He is an anti-Zionist extremist with a track record of turning out anti-Israel propaganda, such as claims that Israel is an ultra-militarist society [9]. Much of his propaganda is misrepresented as scholarly research [10].  Ben-Ari has also served as a consultant to the Israeli army over the role of women in the military.

He is now famous for two things – his supervising a ludicrous thesis claiming that Jewish soldiers are racists because they do not rape Arab women, and for himself being arrested under suspicion of multiple counts of rape.  From his role in that now famous "rape thesis," it was already known that Ben-Ari had goofy ideas about sexual (mis-) behavior. But it turns out that the ultra-feminist Israel-bashing professor of sociology practices what he preaches.

In the summer of 2008 Ben-Ari was arrested after numerous complaints had been submitted to the police that he had raped his female graduate students.  According to the leftist daily Haaretz [11], "Both professors and students Thursday described a reign of terror at Hebrew University's sociology department that kept female students from reporting his sexual harassment."  Complaints had come from at least 10 women students.  Ben-Ari was suspected of indecent acts and extorting sexual favors from students and doctoral candidates. He allegedly threatened their grades and funding if they refused to comply.  One student published a blog of her being harassed, under the byline  "A.-from the Sociology Department."  Ben-Ari was accused of taking his female students on sexual trysts with his university research funds.  He purchased for one of them a vibrator [12] and then submitted the bill for reimbursement to the Hebrew University's Shaine Center.   He was not the first Hebrew University professor arrested for sexual misbehavior [13].

The head of Ben-Ari's own department admitted publicly that Ben-Ari was harassing female students.   In a letter published on the Internet he confirmed in a letter that there exists a "reign of terror" in the department.  "Neither academic freedom nor academics can exist in this environment," he wrote.  Moreover, complaints about Ben-Ari had been brought to the attention of the university administrators years before Ben-Ari was arrested.  The University officials had buried them and stonewalled, [14] refusing to take action until the police got involved, and even then circling their wagons to support Ben-Ari.

Ben-Ari was the supervisor of what may be the most embarrassing piece of pseudo-research ever to emerge from an academic institution.  Shortly before he himself was arrested for rape, one of Ben-Ari's MA students, Tal Nitzan, received a Hebrew University award for her "research" purporting to prove that the absence of cases of rapes of Arab women by Israeli Jewish soldiers [15] indicates that the Jewish soldiers are racists.

The Hebrew University graduate student claimed [16]in her thesis that the Jews are racists and oppressors, people who do not even regard Arab women as worthy of being sexually abused.  She and her "research" were awarded an honor for these impressive "discoveries" by the same Shaine Center, a Hebrew University sociology "research" center dominated by far leftists.  Under Ben-Ari's supervision Nitzan claimed that abstaining from rape is just as inhumane and oppressive as "symptomatically raping" and in fact replaces it, because it just serves to reinforce the intolerance felt toward Arabs by Jewish soldiers. These racist soldiers think of Arabs as so inferior and horrid that they do not even feel a compulsion to rape them. While giving some shallow lip service to how the "question" of rape refusal is "very complex," Nitzan's own "answer" was quite simple and straightforward – it reflects Jewish racism against Arabs.

Israel, she claimed, is so racist and anti-Arab that abstaining from rape is part and parcel of its determination to enforce rigid "lines of division."  She asserted that individual soldiers who refuse to rape represent an intentional policy of oppression roughly similar to when governments order mass rape, because in both cases the "policy" serves to subordinate and dehumanize the oppressed victim population. The thesis drew its "scientific" conclusions from interviews with 25 reserve soldiers, ages 23-32, who served as combat troops in the "occupied territories" during the intifada. None of the comments by any of these soldiers supported or provided any confirmation, even the most indirect, to any of the lunatic "conclusions" reached by Nitzan.  (I know, because I read the whole piece.)

When the world media first discovered this "thesis," they had a field day.  The Hebrew University was transformed overnight into a laughingstock, particularly when the President and the Rector of the University jointly issued an announcement defending [17]the student and dismissing those who expressed outrage over the contents of the thesis.  Israeli feminists were strangely silent [18], no doubt to show their solidarity with the far-leftist Ben-Ari and Nitzan.  The same ultra-feminists in Israel, who insisted that an (unmarried) cabinet minister be indicted because he gave a French kiss to a woman in his office, have had nothing to say about the behavior of this member of the Tenured Left.

The police later closed the file on Ben-Ari and never indicted him.  There are rumors that the Hebrew University pulled strings to prevent an indictment.  Ben-Ari still teaches his wacky sexual political "ideas" to hapless students in the sociology department there, to the chagrin of the female students [19] who claim they were molested by him.

Ben-Ari has not been dismissed for his "sexual insensitivity."  Unlike Leavitt, Ben-Ari is a far leftist.  Could that have anything to do with the difference in his treatment?


Article printed from FrontPage Magazine: http://frontpagemag.com

URL to article: http://frontpagemag.com/2010/07/19/a-tale-of-two-professors/

URLs in this post:

[1] recently hosted a convicted Palestinian terrorist: http://www.isracampus.org.il/third%20level%20pages/BGU%20-%20Neve%20Gordon%20-%20home%20spa%20for%20terrorists.htm

[2] tenured extremism at Ben Gurion University: http://isracampus.org.il/third%20level%20pages/third%20level%20pages/BGU%20-%20Israel%20David%20-%20scolds%20BGU%20administration%20indifference%20to%20Far%20Leftist%20events%20on%20campus.htm

[3] Leavitt, was guilty: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/06/yeruham-leavitt-ben-gurio_n_636927.html

[4] defended the decision: http://thejewishpress.blogspot.com/2010/07/leftwing-fascism-comes-to-ben-gurion.html

[5] Leavitt expressed skepticism: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3914683,00.html

[6] He was quoted in the local press: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3914994,00.html

[7] Eyal Ben-Ari: http://sociology.huji.ac.il/2006/staff/ben-ari/

[8] claims to know something: http://sociology.huji.ac.il/docs/Staff/Eyal-cv.pdf

[9] ultra-militarist society: http://shopping.yahoo.com/p:Military%20and%20Militarism%20in%20Israeli%20Society::3000569688;_ylc=X3oDMTB1c21tcDhkBF9TAzk2NjMyOTA3BHNlYwNmZWVkBHNsawNib29rcw--

[10] misrepresented as scholarly research: http://fds.duke.edu/db?attachment-17--5859-view-65

[11] According to the leftist daily Haaretz: http://www.haaretz.com/news/professors-accused-of-sexual-harassment-led-reign-of-terror-says-colleague-1.250938

[12] one of them a vibrator: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Blogs/Blog.aspx/1/21

[13] arrested for sexual misbehavior: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1202742150222&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter

[14] officials had buried them and stonewalled,: http://www.haaretz.com/news/three-students-file-harassment-complaints-against-professor-1.251160

[15] to prove that the absence of cases of rapes of Arab women by Israeli Jewish soldiers: http://www.jewishpress.com/content.cfm?contentid=28129

[16] graduate student claimed : http://www.jewishpress.com/displaycontent_new.cfm?contentid=28129&mode=a&sectionid=14&contentname=Guilty_By_Reason_Of_Innocence%3A__New_Insanity_From_Israel%27s_Academic_Leftists&recnum=1

[17] jointly issued an announcement defending : http://wordsandwar.com/2008/01/03/complete-story-of-no-rape-racism-essay/

[18] feminists were strangely silent: http://www.isracampus.org.il/third%20level%20pages/Editorial%20-%20Seth%20Frantzman%20-%20Eyal%20Ben%20Ari.htm

[19] to the chagrin of the female students: http://www.nrg.co.il/online/54/ART1/827/575.html

 


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