Steven Plaut

Sunday, August 29, 2010


.

 

1.       So let us see if we have this straight.   A professor may not express dissent in Israel and disagree with the politically correct canon when it comes to opinions about the wisdom of gay couples raising children.  But a male professor can have a sex change operation and then return to class as a "female" without being institutionalized as a lunatic. 

 The story in detail about this Israeli academic "he" mutilating himself to pretend to be a "she" follows below.  This is actually the third story in recent weeks involving people getting "sex change surgery," as it is foolishly and erroneously called.  This past spring Ben Gurion University gave a university honorary PhD award to one such person.  (see  http://thejewishpress.blogspot.com/2010/05/you-thought-ben-gurion-university-had.html )

Then we reported the Reform synagogue in Berkeley that hired a woman who had undergone "sex change" mutilation to serve as a "male" and a "rabbi" there. 

And now we have this new story.

I have been meaning to comment on the entire topic of "sex change" mutilations, especially from a Jewish point of view.   More generally, I think one of the most significant developments in leftist wackiness has been the adding of the "T" to the "LGBT" (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) mantra by the politically correct stormtroopers.  Anyone seeking to discredit the LGB's from that acronym could not come up with a better way to do so than by adding the "T".   I am amazed that homosexual activists do not violently reject associating themselves with the "T".

And meanwhile mutilation of people so they can pretend to be from the opposite sex continues to be promoted in the media.   It is hard to turn on television without running across "transgendered" freaks being celebrated, or without Dr. Phil and his ilk lecturing us on how "normal" such people are.  Israeli media promote the "T" nonsense by celebrating "Dana International" and even featuring him/her/it on the local Israeli version of American Idol.

 If someone were to come to a surgeon and request to have his pinky toe chopped off for absolutely no compelling medical reason, he would be directed to a psychiatrist or institutionalized in an asylum.   Any surgeon performing such surgery would be indicted for aggravated assault, and properly so.  If someone came to a medical doctor and claimed he was actually a dolphin or tree frog trapped inside a human body and wanted to be released by being transformed surgically, he would be similarly institutionalized.  So why are we inundated with media idiocy about "men trapped inside women's bodies" and vice versa?  And why are the surgeons who perform these mutilations not in prison?   Most of the world is horrified at the thought of "female circumcision," but this is infinitely worse.

There is no such thing as a man trapped inside a woman's body (or vice versa).  The mere suggestion that there IS insults our collective intelligence.   We may feel sympathy for people suffering from such delusions, but that is no reason to pander to them.  We do not deal with mental patients who believe that they are Napoleon by mutilating them surgically to look like Napoleon.

Things are even more severe from a Jewish viewpoint.  Judaism regards even tattooing the body as an abomination.  Those with damaged or mutilated genital parts are prohibited from entering the Temple or participating in its ritual (as are even peoplewho have an oozing sore), the synagogue being the contemporary continuation to that ritual.   And THAT is when the injury is involuntary.   How much more so if mutilation is done intentionally by the mutilated!

Now it is no secret that I dissent from the entire politically correct dogma with regard to sexual matters in general.  No, Virginia, there is no "gay gene" and, no, 10% of humans are not homosexual.  Yes, homosexuals are entitled to compassion and protection from violence and discrimination.  No, I have no problem if gay people want to own property together or leave their assets or pensions to one another in inheritance.  But there is no room at all in Judaism for a Jewish "gay marriage."  As for secular "gay marriage," Dina d'malkhuta Dina, the law of the land in which Jews live is the law.   Jews should stay out of political battles over it being fought among non-Jews.   They should certainly repudiate the attempt by the Reform synagogue movement to misrepresent "gay marriage" as the highest ethical imperative of Judaism.

But whatever tolerance and compassion one may feel for homosexuals must not be distorted into endorsements for surgical mutilation of mentally ill people who seek thus to "alter" their gender.

 

Lecturer to return as woman after summer break

Senior lecturer in leading Israeli university undergoes sex change procedure, informs students he will be returning as woman next semester. 'Everyone has been very supportive,' he/she says
Reuven Weiss

Many students in one of central Israel's leading universities received an e-mail recently from their favorite lecturer, who informed them that "as of next year I will no longer be Dr. Yoav, but Dr. Ronit (not the real names)."

 

Dr. Yoav, 45, is a senior, esteemed lecturer and married father. During the summer holiday he began a sex change procedure and will be facing his students as a woman in two months time.

 

He is already addressing himself as a woman. "I am currently calling the students I work with closely to inform them on the matter," she says. "Everyone in my close circle – family, kids and colleagues - already know about it."

 

Ronit has been working at the university for 10 years. Her employers, she says, have been informed about her plans. "I informed the university several months ago and to my delight they were very supportive," she says.

 

Her students, too, have encouraged her. "They love taking my classes," she says. "I'm receiving supportive e-mails from students. I don't think it will bother anyone. The student-lecturer dynamic is to the point and my teaching quality will not change, of course."

 

One of Dr. Ronit's students says the step came as no surprise. "Despite the masculine appearance, once he opened his mouth there was no mistaking him," he says.

 

"We've spoken about it amongst ourselves and everyone is very supportive. I have not heard one person say it bothers or makes any difference to them, quite the contrary. As a lecturer he is very interesting and everyone loved taking his classes. I am certain that will not change now."

 

2.  Rabbis or Rabbits?

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/9677

Why "Rabbi" James Ponet belongs in a Tikkun ashram or in a cage.

 

3.  You may recall the radically anti-Israel Prof. Zev Sternhell, who was the target of a bomb planted in front of his home by the lunatic Jack Teitel.   The whole world was screaming its sympathy for Sternhell, who was lightly injured, and denouncing the Israeli Right for its supposed congenital inclinations towards violence.

Well, the very same professor Sternhell issued a call in Haaretz in English and Hebrew this past Friday for the use of violence and force against the Zionist student group Im Tirtzu.   The call appears here: http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/only-force-will-stop-force-1.310464

The Israeli Far Left is getting more violent and treasonous by the day!

 

(Apologies for all the typos in the last posting – I am traveling and was using a Dutch keyboard, where the letters are not where they are supposed to be – so it came out with lots of glitches)

 


Thursday, August 26, 2010


 

1.   Galia Golan Flunks Civics

  http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-EdContributors/Article.aspx?id=185987
Galia Golan (Heryliza IDC, Dept of Government, and a founder of Peace Now) pulls an Orwellian Inversion

Those who Challenge the Leftist Hegemony over Israeli Academia are like Marxists in the Old Soviet Union

Those who Maintain Leftist anti-Zionist Hegemonz over Large Swaths of Israeli Universities have no Resemblence at all to old Communists

Challenging Leftist Uniformity of Thought amounts to deamdning Zionist uniformitz of thought

blurb
One wonders, then, why has this witch-hunt begun against academia and civil society? One explanation may be that it is a reaction to the increasing criticism and delegitimization of Israel from outside, causing a drawing in of ourselves, xenophobia and fundamentalism that demand, as in McCarthyism, clear signs of loyalty lest the enemy gain from our weakness. It could, however, be something else, as in the Soviet Union perhaps, and that is a confidence and mania that comes from power.

 

2.  http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-EdContributors/Article.aspx?id=185731

Im Tirtyu Leader Answers Rivka Carmi


blurb

LAST WEEK, the story developed further. According to Im Tirtzu's research, Ben-Gurion University's Political Science Department is not only homogeneously anti-Zionist, it is also the source of the silencing of Zionist students. As such, Im Tirtzu found it fair to inform donors to the university.

Donors to Israeli universities often find their donation to be an act of Zionism. Helping academic institutions in Israel helps Zionism. Im Tirtzu believed many of those donors would be shocked and dismayed at the findings published in the report. They would feel their donations have become counterproductive. It is the right of those donors to be informed of the situation in the university; a donor is allowed to know where his money goes. Therefore, Im Tirtzu was ready to inform those donors of its findings.

 
However, in a gesture of goodwill toward Ben-Gurion University, Im Tirtzu sent it a letter giving it a 30-day warning while asking it to use this time to change its policies and remove the need for contacting donors.

The university used this gesture of goodwill against Im Tirtzu, accusing it of threatening it with an ultimatum.

 
3.
Our World: Israel fights the demagogues
By CAROLINE B. GLICK
24/08/2010
Im Tirzu's success shows that after a generation of accepting the Left's domination of the public discourse the public has had enough.
 
Israeli academia is in an uproar. And this is a good thing. Last week, the Zionist student movement Im Tirtzu opened a rather modest campaign against Ben- Gurion University's Politics and Government Department.

And the howls of protest stretched from the Negev to the border with Lebanon.

Im Tirtzu is a grass-roots initiative of university students.

Over the past few years it has managed to amass a modest budget funded by Jewish and non-Jewish Zionists here and in the US.

One of Im Tirtzu's central goals is to engender an atmosphere of academic freedom and intellectual pluralism on university campuses. Over the past generation or so, those campuses, and particularly the humanities and social sciences faculties, have become hotbeds of anti- Zionist activism and intellectual terror. Stories of professorial intimidation of and discrimination against Zionist students are widespread, as are instances of outright indoctrination in the classrooms.

As Ma'ariv's Ben Dror Yemini reported this week, at Hebrew University's law school, Prof. Yehuda Shenhav teaches a class called "Bureaucracy, Governance and Human Rights." In the course of their studies, the students are expected to participate in the work of anti-Zionist organizations including Machsom Watch and Yesh Din. At the end of the year, the participants – who will be paid NIS 1,450 for their activism – are expected to write an article describing their experiences which will be turned into a booklet edited by Shenhav and anti-Zionist activists Michael Sfard and Yael Barda and published by their anti-Zionist NGOs.

The situation at Ben-Gurion University's Politics and Government Department is particularly distressing. It is headed by Dr. Neve Gordon, an anti-Zionist activist who has written that Israel is a "proto-fascist state," has castigated it as an "apartheid state" and has signed petitions calling for international academic, scientific, economic and cultural boycotts of the country.

Responding to complaints from students, Im Tirtzu undertook an examination of the Politics and Government Department faculty. It discovered that among the department's 11 tenured instructors, nine are involved in extreme leftist political activity. Led by Gordon, six of the 11 signed a letter supporting soldiers who refuse to serve in the IDF.

Both of the department's research fellows are notorious among their students for their anti-Zionist views. Eight of the department's 19 adjunct lecturers publicly espouse radical leftist views. Three of the department's six doctoral candidates have signed letters in support of Gordon's calls for international boycotts.

AS EREZ Tadmor, Im Tirtzu's research director, noted in a television interview last week, these views represent the politics of but a smattering of the public. And yet, they are the predominant view of the department. In a place where the most radical, dogmatic views – views that reject the state's very right to exist – predominate, it is impossible to imagine that the average student feels comfortable exploring and researching other thought streams. Consequently, it is reasonable to fear that far from educating students, the department engages in wholesale indoctrination of students.

Indeed, as Makor Rishon's Yishai Friedman reported last Friday, the department pays them and gives them academic credit for participation in radical leftist NGOs. As Friedman exposed, students who volunteer at post-Zionist NGOs funded by the New Israel Fund receive academic credit for their efforts and the NIF provides them with generous NIS 7,400 scholarships for their activism.

Several of the department's faculty members serve or have served in leadership positions in these groups. For instance, Gordon served as the head of NIF-funded Physicians for Human Rights, which supported the false claim that the IDF massacred Palestinians in the battle at the Jenin refugee camp in 2002. The scholarship program is funded through the NIF's Shatil group's Everett Social Justice Fellowship initiative.

Last month, Im Tirtzu sent a letter to Ben-Gurion University president Rivka Karmi asking her to take action to correct the atmosphere of intellectual terror in the department.

It asked that she inform the group, within a month, of the actions she had taken in this regard.

It then gave her an ultimatum. If she refused to respond to its query, "we will be forced to utilize our freedom of speech and protest and use all legal means to inform the current and future student body, and especially those who support Ben-Gurion University in Israel and abroad, about the severity of the situation and the administration's prolonged refusal to contend with the situation which has allowed it to reach the current level of severity. We will also recommend that political science students not study at Ben-Gurion University.

Additionally we will request that the university's donors place their contributions in an escrow account overseen by an attorney. The funds will be released to the university after it has substantively proven that the department's bias and distortion, expressed by the faculty and course syllabi, have been corrected."

Predictably, Karmi never acknowledged Im Tirtzu's letter. And so when the month ended last week, the group embarked on a worldwide public relations campaign against the department. The campaign, which was widely covered by the media (and evoked the predictable condemnation of Haaretz), has led to a storm of criticism by professors at Ben-Gurion and their comrades throughout the country. Predictably, they have castigated Im Tirtzu as a McCarthyist group, a fascist group, an extremist group and a farright group that is seeking to silence dissent and destroy the principle of academic freedom.

So too, many professors who have spoken on the issue have argued that Im Tirtzu has no right to be heard. For instance, in a television appearance last week, Prof. Yossi Yonah from Ben-Gurion appeared on Erev Hadash with Tadmor. There he said, "I reject the authority, the legitimacy of a group like this to come and investigate my behavior as a member of the faculty."

These assertions are completely ridiculous. First of all, academic freedom is not threatened. What Im Tirtzu and other organizations like the Institute for Zionist Strategies have criticized is the fact that ideological uniformity in academic departments is not conducive to academic freedom.

NO ONE is criticizing professors' right to engage in academic study. Im Tirtzu and other groups object first to the fact that much of what is presented as academic work is nothing but polemical dogma, unsupported by empirical or theoretical research.

Second they object to the fact that the views of the radical Left, which represents almost no one here, receives the majority of teaching and research positions at Ben-Gurion University's Politics and Government Department.

Karmi has condemned Im Tirtzu and its campaign as McCarthyist and an attempt to silence opposing voices. While these assertions are par for the course for university heads who behave as though they have a divine right to unlimited taxpayer and donor funds, they are utterly false.

In acting as it has, Im Tirtzu has simply pointed out the obvious. No one is under any obligation to fund institutions that advance causes opposite to those they believe in. No one is required to study in a department that seeks to indoctrinate rather than educate. And both donors and students have a right to know what it is they are supporting.

Beyond that, the truth is that initiatives like Im Tirtzu's seek to expand rather than contract academic freedom. It is inarguable that academic freedom flourishes in environments where all dissenting views are given fair representation.

Perhaps more important than the ultimate consequences of Im Tirtzu's campaign is what both the initiative and the Left's response to it tell us about the direction Israeli society is taking.

The Left's hysterical response tells us that it – and particularly the academic Left – is incapable of withstanding even the slightest criticism. Yonah's insistence that the likes of Tadmor have no right to criticize academics exposes a deep and abiding contempt for the public harbored by our publicly funded professors. From a budgetary perspective, Im Tirtzu lacks even a small percentage of the funds available to anti-Zionist NGOs like Physicians for Human Rights, which enjoys seemingly bottomless financial support from the EU and the NIF.

And yet, despite their unrivaled access to funds, their nearly complete control over the country's universities, the often knee-jerk media support for their campaigns against Israel and their ability to spend sabbaticals abroad conferring with their Israel-bashing colleagues in places like Berkeley, for our radical academics, Im Tirtzu's initiative to expose their hostility to the state that supports them evokes group hysteria. In response they call for Bolshevik-style rejection of the public's right to notice their behavior, let alone criticize it.

Despite its modest budget, Im Tirtzu's message is getting across. And not for the first time. In the spring the group launched a wildly successful public awareness campaign about the NIF. The group released a report detailing the central role NIF-sponsored groups played in assisting the Goldstone Commission in preparing its libelous report accusing Israel of committing war crimes in Operation Cast Lead.

What Im Tirtzu's repeated success tells us is that something exciting is happening today. After a generation of meekly accepting the Left's domination of the public discourse – in the media, in academia, in the legal system and in popular culture – the public has finally had enough. Young people like Tadmor and Im Tirtzu's leader Ronen Shoval are finally standing up to their authority. And because they reflect the values and views of the overwhelming majority of the public, their message is getting through.

For the first time in a generation, the Left is on the defensive. Rather than dominating the airwaves with its allegations of Israeli and Zionist racism and criminality, it is forced to defend its right to block out all dissenting voices from the national debate.

There is much reason for concern about prospects for the future. With military threats to the country multiplying by the day and with the political campaign to delegitimize it escalating, Israel is under assault as never before. And yet, what the success of groups like Im Tirtzu shows is that, by and large, the public remains strong, vibrant, defiant and courageous. As our enemies grow stronger, the public is rising to meet and defeat them.

caroline@carolineglick.com
Photo by: Eyal Eshkol/ Im Tirzu
Our World: Israel fights the demagogues
By CAROLINE B. GLICK
24/08/2010
Im Tirzu's success shows that after a generation of accepting the Left's domination of the public discourse the public has had enough.
 
Israeli academia is in an uproar. And this is a good thing. Last week, the Zionist student movement Im Tirtzu opened a rather modest campaign against Ben- Gurion University's Politics and Government Department.

And the howls of protest stretched from the Negev to the border with Lebanon.

Im Tirtzu is a grass-roots initiative of university students.

Over the past few years it has managed to amass a modest budget funded by Jewish and non-Jewish Zionists here and in the US.

One of Im Tirtzu's central goals is to engender an atmosphere of academic freedom and intellectual pluralism on university campuses. Over the past generation or so, those campuses, and particularly the humanities and social sciences faculties, have become hotbeds of anti- Zionist activism and intellectual terror. Stories of professorial intimidation of and discrimination against Zionist students are widespread, as are instances of outright indoctrination in the classrooms.

As Ma'ariv's Ben Dror Yemini reported this week, at Hebrew University's law school, Prof. Yehuda Shenhav teaches a class called "Bureaucracy, Governance and Human Rights." In the course of their studies, the students are expected to participate in the work of anti-Zionist organizations including Machsom Watch and Yesh Din. At the end of the year, the participants – who will be paid NIS 1,450 for their activism – are expected to write an article describing their experiences which will be turned into a booklet edited by Shenhav and anti-Zionist activists Michael Sfard and Yael Barda and published by their anti-Zionist NGOs.

The situation at Ben-Gurion University's Politics and Government Department is particularly distressing. It is headed by Dr. Neve Gordon, an anti-Zionist activist who has written that Israel is a "proto-fascist state," has castigated it as an "apartheid state" and has signed petitions calling for international academic, scientific, economic and cultural boycotts of the country.

Responding to complaints from students, Im Tirtzu undertook an examination of the Politics and Government Department faculty. It discovered that among the department's 11 tenured instructors, nine are involved in extreme leftist political activity. Led by Gordon, six of the 11 signed a letter supporting soldiers who refuse to serve in the IDF.

Both of the department's research fellows are notorious among their students for their anti-Zionist views. Eight of the department's 19 adjunct lecturers publicly espouse radical leftist views. Three of the department's six doctoral candidates have signed letters in support of Gordon's calls for international boycotts.

AS EREZ Tadmor, Im Tirtzu's research director, noted in a television interview last week, these views represent the politics of but a smattering of the public. And yet, they are the predominant view of the department. In a place where the most radical, dogmatic views – views that reject the state's very right to exist – predominate, it is impossible to imagine that the average student feels comfortable exploring and researching other thought streams. Consequently, it is reasonable to fear that far from educating students, the department engages in wholesale indoctrination of students.

Indeed, as Makor Rishon's Yishai Friedman reported last Friday, the department pays them and gives them academic credit for participation in radical leftist NGOs. As Friedman exposed, students who volunteer at post-Zionist NGOs funded by the New Israel Fund receive academic credit for their efforts and the NIF provides them with generous NIS 7,400 scholarships for their activism.

Several of the department's faculty members serve or have served in leadership positions in these groups. For instance, Gordon served as the head of NIF-funded Physicians for Human Rights, which supported the false claim that the IDF massacred Palestinians in the battle at the Jenin refugee camp in 2002. The scholarship program is funded through the NIF's Shatil group's Everett Social Justice Fellowship initiative.

Last month, Im Tirtzu sent a letter to Ben-Gurion University president Rivka Karmi asking her to take action to correct the atmosphere of intellectual terror in the department.

It asked that she inform the group, within a month, of the actions she had taken in this regard.

It then gave her an ultimatum. If she refused to respond to its query, "we will be forced to utilize our freedom of speech and protest and use all legal means to inform the current and future student body, and especially those who support Ben-Gurion University in Israel and abroad, about the severity of the situation and the administration's prolonged refusal to contend with the situation which has allowed it to reach the current level of severity. We will also recommend that political science students not study at Ben-Gurion University.

Additionally we will request that the university's donors place their contributions in an escrow account overseen by an attorney. The funds will be released to the university after it has substantively proven that the department's bias and distortion, expressed by the faculty and course syllabi, have been corrected."

Predictably, Karmi never acknowledged Im Tirtzu's letter. And so when the month ended last week, the group embarked on a worldwide public relations campaign against the department. The campaign, which was widely covered by the media (and evoked the predictable condemnation of Haaretz), has led to a storm of criticism by professors at Ben-Gurion and their comrades throughout the country. Predictably, they have castigated Im Tirtzu as a McCarthyist group, a fascist group, an extremist group and a farright group that is seeking to silence dissent and destroy the principle of academic freedom.

So too, many professors who have spoken on the issue have argued that Im Tirtzu has no right to be heard. For instance, in a television appearance last week, Prof. Yossi Yonah from Ben-Gurion appeared on Erev Hadash with Tadmor. There he said, "I reject the authority, the legitimacy of a group like this to come and investigate my behavior as a member of the faculty."

These assertions are completely ridiculous. First of all, academic freedom is not threatened. What Im Tirtzu and other organizations like the Institute for Zionist Strategies have criticized is the fact that ideological uniformity in academic departments is not conducive to academic freedom.

NO ONE is criticizing professors' right to engage in academic study. Im Tirtzu and other groups object first to the fact that much of what is presented as academic work is nothing but polemical dogma, unsupported by empirical or theoretical research.

Second they object to the fact that the views of the radical Left, which represents almost no one here, receives the majority of teaching and research positions at Ben-Gurion University's Politics and Government Department.

Karmi has condemned Im Tirtzu and its campaign as McCarthyist and an attempt to silence opposing voices. While these assertions are par for the course for university heads who behave as though they have a divine right to unlimited taxpayer and donor funds, they are utterly false.

In acting as it has, Im Tirtzu has simply pointed out the obvious. No one is under any obligation to fund institutions that advance causes opposite to those they believe in. No one is required to study in a department that seeks to indoctrinate rather than educate. And both donors and students have a right to know what it is they are supporting.

Beyond that, the truth is that initiatives like Im Tirtzu's seek to expand rather than contract academic freedom. It is inarguable that academic freedom flourishes in environments where all dissenting views are given fair representation.

Perhaps more important than the ultimate consequences of Im Tirtzu's campaign is what both the initiative and the Left's response to it tell us about the direction Israeli society is taking.

The Left's hysterical response tells us that it – and particularly the academic Left – is incapable of withstanding even the slightest criticism. Yonah's insistence that the likes of Tadmor have no right to criticize academics exposes a deep and abiding contempt for the public harbored by our publicly funded professors. From a budgetary perspective, Im Tirtzu lacks even a small percentage of the funds available to anti-Zionist NGOs like Physicians for Human Rights, which enjoys seemingly bottomless financial support from the EU and the NIF.

And yet, despite their unrivaled access to funds, their nearly complete control over the country's universities, the often knee-jerk media support for their campaigns against Israel and their ability to spend sabbaticals abroad conferring with their Israel-bashing colleagues in places like Berkeley, for our radical academics, Im Tirtzu's initiative to expose their hostility to the state that supports them evokes group hysteria. In response they call for Bolshevik-style rejection of the public's right to notice their behavior, let alone criticize it.

Despite its modest budget, Im Tirtzu's message is getting across. And not for the first time. In the spring the group launched a wildly successful public awareness campaign about the NIF. The group released a report detailing the central role NIF-sponsored groups played in assisting the Goldstone Commission in preparing its libelous report accusing Israel of committing war crimes in Operation Cast Lead.

What Im Tirtzu's repeated success tells us is that something exciting is happening today. After a generation of meekly accepting the Left's domination of the public discourse – in the media, in academia, in the legal system and in popular culture – the public has finally had enough. Young people like Tadmor and Im Tirtzu's leader Ronen Shoval are finally standing up to their authority. And because they reflect the values and views of the overwhelming majority of the public, their message is getting through.

For the first time in a generation, the Left is on the defensive. Rather than dominating the airwaves with its allegations of Israeli and Zionist racism and criminality, it is forced to defend its right to block out all dissenting voices from the national debate.

There is much reason for concern about prospects for the future. With military threats to the country multiplying by the day and with the political campaign to delegitimize it escalating, Israel is under assault as never before. And yet, what the success of groups like Im Tirtzu shows is that, by and large, the public remains strong, vibrant, defiant and courageous. As our enemies grow stronger, the public is rising to meet and defeat them.

caroline@carolineglick.com
Our World: Israel fights the demagogues
By CAROLINE B. GLICK
24/08/2010
Im Tirzu's success shows that after a generation of accepting the Left's domination of the public discourse the public has had enough.
 
Israeli academia is in an uproar. And this is a good thing. Last week, the Zionist student movement Im Tirtzu opened a rather modest campaign against Ben- Gurion University's Politics and Government Department.

And the howls of protest stretched from the Negev to the border with Lebanon.

Im Tirtzu is a grass-roots initiative of university students.

Over the past few years it has managed to amass a modest budget funded by Jewish and non-Jewish Zionists here and in the US.

One of Im Tirtzu's central goals is to engender an atmosphere of academic freedom and intellectual pluralism on university campuses. Over the past generation or so, those campuses, and particularly the humanities and social sciences faculties, have become hotbeds of anti- Zionist activism and intellectual terror. Stories of professorial intimidation of and discrimination against Zionist students are widespread, as are instances of outright indoctrination in the classrooms.

As Ma'ariv's Ben Dror Yemini reported this week, at Hebrew University's law school, Prof. Yehuda Shenhav teaches a class called "Bureaucracy, Governance and Human Rights." In the course of their studies, the students are expected to participate in the work of anti-Zionist organizations including Machsom Watch and Yesh Din. At the end of the year, the participants – who will be paid NIS 1,450 for their activism – are expected to write an article describing their experiences which will be turned into a booklet edited by Shenhav and anti-Zionist activists Michael Sfard and Yael Barda and published by their anti-Zionist NGOs.

The situation at Ben-Gurion University's Politics and Government Department is particularly distressing. It is headed by Dr. Neve Gordon, an anti-Zionist activist who has written that Israel is a "proto-fascist state," has castigated it as an "apartheid state" and has signed petitions calling for international academic, scientific, economic and cultural boycotts of the country.

Responding to complaints from students, Im Tirtzu undertook an examination of the Politics and Government Department faculty. It discovered that among the department's 11 tenured instructors, nine are involved in extreme leftist political activity. Led by Gordon, six of the 11 signed a letter supporting soldiers who refuse to serve in the IDF.

Both of the department's research fellows are notorious among their students for their anti-Zionist views. Eight of the department's 19 adjunct lecturers publicly espouse radical leftist views. Three of the department's six doctoral candidates have signed letters in support of Gordon's calls for international boycotts.

AS EREZ Tadmor, Im Tirtzu's research director, noted in a television interview last week, these views represent the politics of but a smattering of the public. And yet, they are the predominant view of the department. In a place where the most radical, dogmatic views – views that reject the state's very right to exist – predominate, it is impossible to imagine that the average student feels comfortable exploring and researching other thought streams. Consequently, it is reasonable to fear that far from educating students, the department engages in wholesale indoctrination of students.

Indeed, as Makor Rishon's Yishai Friedman reported last Friday, the department pays them and gives them academic credit for participation in radical leftist NGOs. As Friedman exposed, students who volunteer at post-Zionist NGOs funded by the New Israel Fund receive academic credit for their efforts and the NIF provides them with generous NIS 7,400 scholarships for their activism.

Several of the department's faculty members serve or have served in leadership positions in these groups. For instance, Gordon served as the head of NIF-funded Physicians for Human Rights, which supported the false claim that the IDF massacred Palestinians in the battle at the Jenin refugee camp in 2002. The scholarship program is funded through the NIF's Shatil group's Everett Social Justice Fellowship initiative.

Last month, Im Tirtzu sent a letter to Ben-Gurion University president Rivka Karmi asking her to take action to correct the atmosphere of intellectual terror in the department.

It asked that she inform the group, within a month, of the actions she had taken in this regard.

It then gave her an ultimatum. If she refused to respond to its query, "we will be forced to utilize our freedom of speech and protest and use all legal means to inform the current and future student body, and especially those who support Ben-Gurion University in Israel and abroad, about the severity of the situation and the administration's prolonged refusal to contend with the situation which has allowed it to reach the current level of severity. We will also recommend that political science students not study at Ben-Gurion University.

Additionally we will request that the university's donors place their contributions in an escrow account overseen by an attorney. The funds will be released to the university after it has substantively proven that the department's bias and distortion, expressed by the faculty and course syllabi, have been corrected."

Predictably, Karmi never acknowledged Im Tirtzu's letter. And so when the month ended last week, the group embarked on a worldwide public relations campaign against the department. The campaign, which was widely covered by the media (and evoked the predictable condemnation of Haaretz), has led to a storm of criticism by professors at Ben-Gurion and their comrades throughout the country. Predictably, they have castigated Im Tirtzu as a McCarthyist group, a fascist group, an extremist group and a farright group that is seeking to silence dissent and destroy the principle of academic freedom.

So too, many professors who have spoken on the issue have argued that Im Tirtzu has no right to be heard. For instance, in a television appearance last week, Prof. Yossi Yonah from Ben-Gurion appeared on Erev Hadash with Tadmor. There he said, "I reject the authority, the legitimacy of a group like this to come and investigate my behavior as a member of the faculty."

These assertions are completely ridiculous. First of all, academic freedom is not threatened. What Im Tirtzu and other organizations like the Institute for Zionist Strategies have criticized is the fact that ideological uniformity in academic departments is not conducive to academic freedom.

NO ONE is criticizing professors' right to engage in academic study. Im Tirtzu and other groups object first to the fact that much of what is presented as academic work is nothing but polemical dogma, unsupported by empirical or theoretical research.

Second they object to the fact that the views of the radical Left, which represents almost no one here, receives the majority of teaching and research positions at Ben-Gurion University's Politics and Government Department.

Karmi has condemned Im Tirtzu and its campaign as McCarthyist and an attempt to silence opposing voices. While these assertions are par for the course for university heads who behave as though they have a divine right to unlimited taxpayer and donor funds, they are utterly false.

In acting as it has, Im Tirtzu has simply pointed out the obvious. No one is under any obligation to fund institutions that advance causes opposite to those they believe in. No one is required to study in a department that seeks to indoctrinate rather than educate. And both donors and students have a right to know what it is they are supporting.

Beyond that, the truth is that initiatives like Im Tirtzu's seek to expand rather than contract academic freedom. It is inarguable that academic freedom flourishes in environments where all dissenting views are given fair representation.

Perhaps more important than the ultimate consequences of Im Tirtzu's campaign is what both the initiative and the Left's response to it tell us about the direction Israeli society is taking.

The Left's hysterical response tells us that it – and particularly the academic Left – is incapable of withstanding even the slightest criticism. Yonah's insistence that the likes of Tadmor have no right to criticize academics exposes a deep and abiding contempt for the public harbored by our publicly funded professors. From a budgetary perspective, Im Tirtzu lacks even a small percentage of the funds available to anti-Zionist NGOs like Physicians for Human Rights, which enjoys seemingly bottomless financial support from the EU and the NIF.

And yet, despite their unrivaled access to funds, their nearly complete control over the country's universities, the often knee-jerk media support for their campaigns against Israel and their ability to spend sabbaticals abroad conferring with their Israel-bashing colleagues in places like Berkeley, for our radical academics, Im Tirtzu's initiative to expose their hostility to the state that supports them evokes group hysteria. In response they call for Bolshevik-style rejection of the public's right to notice their behavior, let alone criticize it.

Despite its modest budget, Im Tirtzu's message is getting across. And not for the first time. In the spring the group launched a wildly successful public awareness campaign about the NIF. The group released a report detailing the central role NIF-sponsored groups played in assisting the Goldstone Commission in preparing its libelous report accusing Israel of committing war crimes in Operation Cast Lead.

What Im Tirtzu's repeated success tells us is that something exciting is happening today. After a generation of meekly accepting the Left's domination of the public discourse – in the media, in academia, in the legal system and in popular culture – the public has finally had enough. Young people like Tadmor and Im Tirtzu's leader Ronen Shoval are finally standing up to their authority. And because they reflect the values and views of the overwhelming majority of the public, their message is getting through.

For the first time in a generation, the Left is on the defensive. Rather than dominating the airwaves with its allegations of Israeli and Zionist racism and criminality, it is forced to defend its right to block out all dissenting voices from the national debate.

There is much reason for concern about prospects for the future. With military threats to the country multiplying by the day and with the political campaign to delegitimize it escalating, Israel is under assault as never before. And yet, what the success of groups like Im Tirtzu shows is that, by and large, the public remains strong, vibrant, defiant and courageous. As our enemies grow stronger, the public is rising to meet and defeat them.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Origianl in Maariv in Hebrew
 
This is the Isracampus Translation
 

Academic Brainwashing

 

(Isracampus Translation From the Hebrew)

 

Ben Dror Yemini – August 20th, 2010 (a condensed version appeared in print in Maariv and a longer version on the Maariv blog)

 

 

Israeli universities were not established with the sole purpose of promoting any Zionist vision of Israel.  A call for an academic boycott against Israel or a call to dismiss professors from the left or from the right is unworthy of consideration.  Yet when respected branches of Israeli academia allow themselves to be misused as tools of an anti-Zionist agenda and as de facto appendages of radical left-wing NGOs – it is imperative to make this known.

 

The problem arises when the right to publicize and criticize is met with a counter campaign designed to intimidate, expose, and condemn.  That is what threatens both freedom of expression and proper public discourse.

 

A case in point:  Here is the official description (http://law.huji.ac.il/merkazim.asp?cat=936&in=610) of a university course given at an Israeli university:

 

"The course will focus on the controlling techniques that were generated by the Israeli occupation in the territories. We will study the historic sources of these techniques and will attempt to place them within the colonialist context, especially that of the British and French."

 

Sounds somewhat dubious, but nevertheless it is not a crime to teach about the "Israeli Occupation," and it is even permissible to invent an artificial connection with Western colonization from previous centuries.

 

The course description continues as follows: "In addition to Prof. Yehouda Shenhav, attorney Michael Sfard will oversee the course as a guest lecturer and as legal advisor to the Yesh Din NGO – 'Volunteers for Human Rights.'  Twice a month students will participate in activities within the framework of Yesh Din's 'Monitoring the Military Courts Project' and with 'Machsom Watch's' District Coordination and Liaison Aid Project.

 

"The students, working under the guidance and supervision of the above organizations, will document, advocate and confront the IDF Civil Administration authorities, while keeping a precise, daily record of their activities.  Those activities will be overseen by attorney Yael Barda at the individual level and as a group. The students will receive transportation fare to places of activism, in addition to a stipend of NIS 1,450.  At the end of the year, students will submit an article based upon their activities and experiences, relating to the theoretical content of the course.  Some of the articles will be included in a booklet edited by Prof. Shenhav, Michael Sfard and Yael Barda, in cooperation with the above organizations." 

 

So is this an academic course or is it the deliberate brainwashing of students, conducted by three people who have never attempted to conceal their partisan political identities?  Is this an academic seminar, or is it an activism training workshop run by radical left wing organizations?  Should a university be permitted to engage in agitprop within the confines of a "course" that masquerades as an academic exercise?  Should students publish their "course work" in a book written in cooperation with partisan political organizations?

 

We did not have to go to the university for answers to these questions, since from experience we know their kneejerk automatic answer will be: "Freedom of Expression".

 

The syllabus for that course then gets even worse.  It lists a series of articles that taken together could successfully serve as tools for an indoctrination camp, in a course that should be entitled, "Introduction to political brainwashing for the purpose of delegitimizing the State of Israel."

 

There is also a film included in as educational material the syllabus: It is "The Specialist", directed by one of the most lethal anti-Israel directors in the world, Eyal Sivan.  The movie is supposedly based on Hannah Arendt's, "The Banality of Evil" (http://www.tau.ac.il/~shura1/1/paper1.PDF).  Nazism, according to Arendt, is the result of bureaucratic banality.

 

There is no need to create an explicit connection between Eichmann's evil and Sivan's take on Israel, and I have no idea whether or not one was pointed out to students in that course.   However the analogy is obvious.  Murderous Nazism and the Israeli Occupation have in common the same bureaucratic banality.  

 

Pravda, back in the Dark Ages of the USSR, could learn a thing or two from this seminar. Of course the course instructors can also continue to profess innocence and respond, "Who?  Us?  Brainwashing? What are you talking about?!"

 

The filme itself pretends to be a documentary.  In actual fact, it turns out to be a work of fraud.  Hillel Tryster (http://www.notes.co.il/eshed/32229.asp), who was the director of the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive, examined the film and concluded that it was a perverse fraud.   It is a leading contender for championship in the Fabrication Industry.

 

In addition, the legal advisor to Jerusalem's Hebrew University filed a complaint against the movie and its maker, claiming that many sections of the "documentary" film were forged (http://www.fpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/Eichmann/trialfilm_forgery.htm.)

 

Sivan's manipulations are indeed worthy of study as a case point in the use of the cinema for brainwashing –  but not as learning material in a seminar course in the School of Law.  Such a course might work well as part of the list of school requirements at the Islamic University in Gaza, or in a Political Science course in Teheran.  But this is a course taught in the School of Law at the Hebrew University.

 

It is doubtful whether one should even call this an academic course.  It would be more accurate to define it as a left-wing political workshop, coupled with a propaganda movie that the same university filed a complaint against as being fraudulent.  It is masquerading as an academic course.

 

In another course taught by Shenhav at Tel Aviv University, there are no less than 38 articles included in the course work that were published in the Marxist and blatantly anti-Zionist magazine, "Theory and Criticism."   Of course. Shenhav himself is editor of that magazine.  Brainwashing?  Of course not! They'll call it "Critical Discourse." 

 

"Partnership" (a seminar for student activists) is another ambitious project of the Hebrew University.  It is organized by dozens of NGOs, mostly from the radical Left.  In it the "Nakba" is taught by an activist from the radical left organization, "Zochrot," which advocates the Right of Return (for Palestinian Arabs to Israel) and the elimination of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

 

Can such a concentrated exercise in blatantly anti-Zionist brainwashing be considered to be a bona fide academic course?  And where is the Council for Higher Education?  Where is the Minister of Education? And why do Israeli taxpayers have to fund such a "seminar"?

 

As revealed recently in an article by Yishai Friedman in the Makor Rishon newspaper, The New Israel Fund grants NIS 7,400 scholarships to students participating in the Fund's political  activities (http://rotter.net/forum/scoops1/22416.shtml ).  This takes place at the Politics and Government course at Ben-Gurion University and counts as part of the students' program of studies.

 

Does this collaboration with blatant political groups, including NGOs from the radical left, fall under the definition of "academic freedom of expression"?   Is there any connection between this collaboration and the fact that the person who heads this class happens to be calling for an academic boycott against Israel?  Is that what the heads of the academy intend when they publicize automatic support for any anti-Zionist masquerading as an academic?  Or perhaps they intend to demand that discussion itself be subject to censorship?

 

 

The Legitimacy of De-Legitimization

 

Another thing needs to be stated: Despite the fact that Shenhav is very close to the Arab Balad Party - "The National Democratic Assembly" [before the elections he hosted MK Hanin Zuabi at a parlor meeting in his home (http://www.tajamoa.org/?mod=article&ID=834)], despite the fact that the other two collaborators in the above "seminar" are radical left-wing activists, despite the fact that the above seminar is molded according to their extremist views, and despite the fact that what we have here is nothing less than political preaching – the seminar is legitimate.

That is the meaning of academic freedom.  Teaching needs to provoke, anger and deviate from the consensus.

 

Therefore there is no place for calling for the dismissal of those professors nor for an ultimatum to the university, demanding that it should mend its ways.  Threats of boycotts are ugly and unnecessary, whether emanating from the left or the right.

 

But there is something else that is permitted: to publicize the existence of these courses, their contents, their motivations and political bias, and to publicize their use of brainwashing.  It is perfectly acceptable to reveal the fact that, for some reason, under the umbrella of "academic freedom" there is not a chance in hell of finding an academic seminar that refers its students to "practicum" or internships with, for any rightwing NGOs, like "Arteret Kohanim".  Nor will any students publish a joint booklet in conjunction with groups like that.

 

It is also perfectly permissible to disclose that the vast majority of professors from the Political Science and Sociology Departments hold extremist anti-Zionist views.  Anyone who claims otherwise really wants leftist academics to be allowed to do whatever they wish without criticism. 

 

Yet at the same time anyone who so much as dares to think differently from the leftist Canon is not permitted to utter a word.  It is prohibited to criticize, expose or refute.  The reason for that is that the "sanctity of the academia" is reserved exclusively for the radical Left.  Every word of criticism is met with screams about "McCarthyism", "Fascism", and other "isms" from the bla bla of the academic First Amendment.

 

In a forthcoming article, Prof. Amnon Rubenstein states that, according to the German Constitution, academic freedom of expression is a constitutional right as long as it does not (and that's an important condition) undermine the constitutional foundation of the country.  Thus, the restraint imposed upon the academia, within the context of their role in molding the minds of students, is even greater than that upon the rest of society.  This is not a suggestion that we adopt the German model, but food for thought for the purpose of public debate, so essential in this matter.

 

 

Sociology in the Service of Demonization

In recent years, much data have been accumulated dealing with the anti-Zionist tilt in university courses and in "academic conferences" (http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART1/529/615.html), conferences that often have nothing to do with academia and are sponsored by political groups. Here and there a few examples are publicized.   But they are only the tip of the iceberg.

 

Dr, Hannan Moses conducted a research for the Institute for Zionist Strategy about the post-Zionist biases in the sociology departments (http://izs.org.il/documents/Post%20Zionism%20in%20the%20Academy-Draft.doc).  The findings were unequivocal. Their report illuminates the Israeli sociological maze of darkness.

 

The IZS draft was sent to the Council for Higher Education and to close to 1,000 academics.  Not to protest.  Not to silence anyone.  Only for the purpose of presenting findings and to receive feedback in preparation for the report's final publication.

 

Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles.  Prof. Joseph Klafter, President of Tel Aviv University, asked to have a look at the report and check its claims.  He asked to be shown the syllabi of certain courses.  That was the beginning of the deafening national "Gevalt" Campaign.

 

How dare HE examine anything?  He is just a university president!  And once again, like in a Pavlovian reaction, the familiar chorus chants on:  "Fascism!"  "McCarthyism!" 

 

The academic Thought Police adulates freedom, critique, defiance, and provocation – but all on one condition: that those things be the monopoly of the post-Zionists.  And the Thought Police achieved its purpose: There will be no investigation of courses at Tel Aviv University.

 

Predictably, Haaretz newspaper is leading the campaign to silence the criticism of radical academics.  In an editorial under the title, "Politruks in Academia" (http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/politruks-in-academia-1.308486), the newspaper teamed up with the very same Yehoudah Shenhav, who of course was screeching "McCarthyism"!   The same Shenhav is attempting to turn the academy into a branch of "Balad" and leads the seminar in brainwashing sponsored by the series of left-wing organizations noted above.

 

Interestingly enough, the only editorial in Israel that has explicitly preached against freedom of speech and against academic freedom appeared in that same Haaretz (http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/spages/1059719.html).  It was when Israeli army colonel Pnina Baruch-Sharvit was supposed to give a course at the Tel Aviv University.  Baruch-Sharvit served in the military attorney's office and, as part of her job, she had to authorize certain military activities.  The enlightened newspaper decided to accuse her of "war crimes" and rashly hurried to convict and defame her in the court of leftist journalism on its editorial and news pages.

 

Now this same champion of journalistic McCarthyism has the audacity to preach about academic freedom!  The impudence!

 

 

A World Phenomenon

 

A study in the United States (http://www.criticalreview.com/2004/pdfs/cardiff_klein.pdf ) reveals data indicating that political bias exists in every university.   In certain departments, the Republican:Democratic ratio was 1:5, 1:10 or 1:20 in favor of the Democrat professors (left-wing in Israeli terminology).  Except the difference between the US and Israel is immense.  The Democrats in the US consist of 50% of the population, while the post-Zionists are only a tiny fraction in Israeli society.  The problem isn't the dovish bias or even the left-wing politics of many Israeli professors. The problem lies in the fact that their common denominator is much more ambitious: Denial of Israel's right as a Jewish democratic state.

 

Those who research crimes committed against the natives in North America or Australia do not rule out the right of Americans and Australians to exist, nor do they demand the "Right of Return" for millions of outsiders.

 

This is not the case with Israel. Here we have political indoctrination that intentionally undermines the very existence of the state of Israel, at the same time masquerading as "academic freedom."

 

 

Professors or Radical Left-Wing Activism?

 

Dr. Moses's research points to Prof. Oren Yiftachel, one of the most prominent spokesmen for Post-Zionism and a role model for the others.   In "academic" articles, Yiftachel rejects the definition of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.  He has long labored at rearing a new generation of anti-Israel academics.

Moses points out how Yiftachel's students mimic what they learn from their guru:

"Indoctrination dominates these studies, including a consistent use of terminology and theories taken from the Post-Zionism 'School' and in particular from the teachings of Oren Yiftachel.

"The repeated conclusions reached in these papers all proclaim in a single voice: The Jewish-Zionist collective created a non-democratic system (Israel) in order to expand at the expense of the Palestinian People . . .the Zionist-National ethos represents the basis of the discrimination, disinheritance and exclusion of the Palestinian (sic) residents of Israel. The precondition for transforming the State of Israel into an enlightened and democratic state is to cancel its Jewish nature and to cancel the Zionism of the state, and adopt a liberal-civilian, multi-cultured and post-national ethos."

Ok, so if this were but one ideological approach among many presented to students, so be it.   But when all of Yiftachel's students are themselves a generic clone of himself – this is not about critical or academic discourse.  This is pure political propaganda.

Many of Yiftachel's students are active in radical left-wing NGOs.  The fact of the matter is that there is no separation between their political activities and their "academic" activities.

The result is truly frightening:  A powerful campaign of indoctrination with one purpose: revoking the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in their own country.

 

What they don't Teach

Prof. Ephraim Ya'ar, who is not suspected of any right-wing inclinations and who is in fact highly critical of the Right, stated in an article he published recently in Haaretz (https://secure.haaretz.co.il/hasite/spages/1176810.html ) that "academic freedom (in Israel) is being threatened by the radical Left."

Ya'ar had no problem with what is taught in required classes.  His problem was with what is not taught.  He favors broad and critical dialogue.  But some of his colleagues, it turns out, prefer an indoctrination dialogue.

The real problem is that materials from the 'School' of post-nationalism, post-colonization, or anti-Zionism are included in courses. The problem is that ONLY such anti-Israel materials are included, and there are very few dissenting alternatives in the study materials.

Many of the graduates of the anti-Zionist courses are totally unaware that over 50 million people have experienced the difficult process of forced transfer and population exchange in order to create new states and nations (http://www.solomonia.com/blog/archives/009518.shtml ); or that the Jewish Nakba was worse than that of the Palestinians (http://www.solomonia.com/blog/archive/2009/05/ben-dror-yemini-the-jewish-nakba-expulsi/ ); or that the "Venice Committee" (http://amnonrubinstein.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=546&Itemid=101 ), founded by the European Union, recognizes the legitimacy of laws that were intended, in certain places, to give preferences for the sake of preserving the positions of an ethnic majority or national ethnic character (Benefit Laws); or that the right of self-determination of the nations includes the Jewish nation, just like the Slovakians, Armenians, or Palestinians.

Academia does not have to serve as a mouthpiece for the Zionist vision.  And even when parts of the academy become tools in the hands of the anti-Zionists and the radical leftist NGOs – there is still no place for censorship or banning.

Nevertheless it is necessary to expose, critique and demand open public discourse about this.  The problem is that there are those out there who wish to silence and suppress anyone who wishes to engage in such public discourse

 

The Vicious Cycle

Career advancement for many researchers is dependent upon publication in academic journals in the West, where some of those journals are explicitly anti-Zionist.

An academic's chances are higher for publishing an anti-Zionist article.  They are in vogue.  The result of this is, as studies have shown, that post-Zionist academics tend to get far more exposure for their political writings.

But there is a dangerous vicious cycle here.  Since promotion is dependent upon publication, the anti-Zionists benefit from an immense advantage.  Anyone exposed to these "publications" knows that they boil down to a single article with endless generic mutations.

Their writing is uniform.  As long as they use the tested codes and pet phrases - such as "ethnocracy," Zionist colonialism, oppression, narrative, Nakba, "ethnic cleansing," gaining control over territories, exclusion – their publication is assured.  They quote one another, justify one another, and radicalize one another, while creating a sticky hotbed of anti-Israel "orthodoxy."   This is the uniformity of thinking for our Bolshevik crowd.

Prof. Shlomo Sand from Tel Aviv University published a book about the supposed fabricated invention of the Jewish People.  According to the writer, the Jews of today are descendants of Turkic communities that converted to Judaism and have no connection to the Jews of the past.  Hence Jews are at best religious tribes, not a nation.  Serious academics – there are still some out there and they are still the majority – refute most of the claims in the book. This did not interfere with the book becoming a best-seller (outside of Israel).

There is nothing like an Israeli academic in the service of the anti-Zionist assault: there is no Jewish People, therefore they have no right to a state. The success of the book, lapped up around the world by haters of Israel, makes it an intellectual terrorist attack.  No book refuting Sand's nonsense, no matter how excellently researched and written, will be met with similar success.

The reason for this is that something is rotten.  In academic life today, it is not only the quality of the publication that determines academic success. It is political orientation of the writer that is the ticket to success.

Orwell on the Silencing Orthodoxy

It must be stated clearly: the leading universities in Israel are not predominantly anti-Zionist.  The majority of the professors carry out their jobs fairly, and most of the professors with extremist views do not impose their opinions upon their students.  (Isracampus – we are not sure we agree with Yemini!)

The study by the IZS mentioned above is limited to the sociology departments alone, and find them full of bias. The danger is not that someone exposed the bias in sociology departments, but in the kneejerk responses that prohibit such voicing of criticism.

The disease may well spread. Academic freedom in Israel is indeed in danger, but not because someone dares to expose the prevalent and somewhat crazed anti-Zionist biases in certain departments and schools.

George Orwell wrote: "Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness."

That is exactly what is happening today in parts of the Israeli academia. There is no "critical discourse" in academic life, as the pampered academic mandarins like to claim, only an "Orthodox discourse," where that "orthodoxy" is leftist.

There is no need for banning people, for soliciting the university donors to stop donating, and there is no place for dismissing professors because of their politics.  But for the sake of free academic expression, it is necessary to expose the ugly facts about parts of Israeli academia - for the sake preserving public discourse.

 

Epilogue

Before publication, I sent this blog item for comment to about 60 academics, almost all from the left although people who are not anti-Zionist.  From close to 30 who have responded so far, only two claimed that the article was way off the mark.  Many added intelligent comments and a few volunteered examples that reinforce the claims made.

One professor, who teaches in the social-economics field and whose research is but nature critical, sent me the syllabus of the course he teaches.  There he instructs his students to read articles that disagree with himself – and not just in token dosage.

That is how it should be!

Most of the comments I received were taken into consideration and they appear in the present version. The final responsibility for the article, needless to say, is mine alone.

 

--- Ben  Dror Yemini

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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