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Visitors: 100345921 on Sept. 11, 2014

Israel Academia Monitor Follows

Anti-Israel Activities of Israeli Academics

Reprints of anti-Israel articles do not represent the position

of IAM, and they are being reproduced as a public service

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IAM supports the universal tradition of academic freedom that is an indispensable characteristic of higher education in Israel. At the same time, it is concerned by the activities of a small group of academics--sometimes described as revisionist historians or post-Zionists, among other labels--who go beyond the “free search for truth and its free exposition” (to quote the American Association of University Professors) that is the hallmark of academic freedom. Exploiting the prestige (and security) of their positions, such individuals often propound unsubstantiated and, frequently, demonstrably false arguments that defame Israel and call into question its right to existence.

 

 
 
We are happy to announce the publication of the study Academic Freedom in Israel: A Comparative Perspective; it compares academic freedom in Israel with that enjoyed by faculty in three academic leaders- Germany, Great Britain and the United States. This first of a kind research, is systematic, detailed and meticulously referenced.
The study indicates that, contrary to the view of radical scholars and their liberal supporters, the Israeli academy has enjoyed far greater freedom than its counterparts in the comparative cases. Indeed, in all three countries a combination of case law, ethic codes and strong oversight by boards of directors and politicians who appointed them have prevented radical faculty in public universities from abusing and subverting academic privileges to push an activist political agenda.
Not countervailed by academic duties and a need to account to the public and its elected representatives, the expansive sense of academic freedom has hurt Israel’s academic standing in the world. Liberal arts and social science, in particular, have been trending well below global averages, jeopardizing Israel’s overall competitive quest.
We hope that the study will spur a long-overdue debate on how to restore much- needed balance between academic freedom and the broader interests of the society and the state.
 



A unique opportunity to purchase the IAM book, only 37 copies available




Professor Yakir Plessner has passed away this morning. He has fought cancer.
Yakir was the chairman of IAM as well as of JCPA. His funeral will commence at 15:30 in the cemetery of Rehovot. RIP
פרופסור יקיר פלסנר נפטר הבוקר מסרטן. הלוויה היום, יום א' ה-10.8.14 בשעה שלוש וחצי בבית העלמין ברחובות.
יקיר איש אצילי, עמד בראש מוניטור האקדמיה הישראלית והמרכז הירושלמי לענייני ציבור ומדינה. אדם מדהים יהיה חסר לכולנו
יהי זכרו ברוך
Professor Yakir Plessner was a Senior Lecturer in Economics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem lately based at the HUJ faculty of Agriculture in Rehovot. He was formerly Deputy Governor of the Bank of Israel and economic advisor to the Minister of Finance. He is the author of The Political Economy of Israel: From Ideology to Stagnation.
 
Click to view whole articles:

(Extract)

18.09.14

Tel Aviv University
 
The political career of Assaf Sharon sponsored by Tel Aviv University
 
Dr. Assaf Sharon, a 2012 PhD graduate from Stanford University's Philosophy Department, has joined the ranks of Tel Aviv University's Philosophy Department, the base of operation of the radical political activists, Anat Matar and Anat Biletzki. He will be teaching next month the following courses: Liberalism and Capitalism ; Political Authority: Between Anarchism and Totalitarianism ; Introduction to Political Philosophy. 
By most measures, Sharon has already launched a highly activist career. 
Sharon is a founder of "Breaking the Silence" and serves on its board of directors. 
In a Haaretz article from 2011 Sharon said that he "discovered that the struggle over Sheikh Jarrah has become the way to revive the Israeli left". The article reports that "Veteran politicians and peace activists are keeping track of them [of Assaf Sharon and Avner Inbar] with a mix of envy and concern. They're storming the campuses, and their friends say they wouldn't be surprised if next year Sharon and Inbar stormed the Knesset. "The Israeli left has forgotten that politics is more than just expressing a viewpoint or protesting in the city square, it's a concrete struggle for the street in places where the injustice is taking place," says Sharon." 
Sharon also serves as the academic director of "Molad: The Center for the Renewal of Israeli Democracy". According to a 2012 article in Haaretz Molad is "committed to leftist renewal" in Israel. NGO Monitor listed Molad's funders: Molad is “funded by left-liberal foundations and groups from the U.S. associated with the Democratic party.” Molad received two grants from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund totaling $150,000 (2012-2015). Molad is listed as a grantee of NIF’s Social Justice Fund (Ford-Israel Fund) in 2011. Molad is also listed as a partner by the EU-funded Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation. According to the Anna Lindh Foundation, the Skoll Global Threats Foundations also funds Molad. 
Tel Aviv University has a long history of hiring and promoting political activists who turn their position into an extension of their political agenda. As the following articles indicate, Sharon follows the same line. 
Should Tel Aviv University tolerate once again such political activists among its midst? Surely, students and tax payers deserve better.


15.09.14

Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
Academic BDS in Ireland: The Historic Origin of the anti-Israeli Animus
 
BDS activities are hardly news on Western campus these days. But the case of Ireland stands out in this context. As Amos Oz, who received an Irish Honorary Degree recently, pointed out, that “Dublin is not an easy place for Israelis. The criticism toward Israel and its policies in the territories is even harsher than anywhere else in Europe.“ 
For those seeking understanding of the aggressive stand of the academy, the history of Ireland is a good guide. 
During WWII, the ostensibly neutral Ireland was a hotbed of fascist and pro-Nazi activity. Irish activists provided a safe haven to Nazi agents and there was even a plan to use the island as staging ground for a major attack against Great Britain. The Irish were also hostile to the new state of Israel because of the so-called “Vatican factor.” In 1949 Pope Pious XII expressed his concern that Israel ignored the Partition understanding of turning Jerusalem into an international city. Irish politicians cited this as the reason for their belated recognition of Israel. 
The conflict in Northern Ireland added to anti-Israeli animosity. The Irish republicans on both side of the border came to empathized with the Palestinians as victim of “British colonialism.” Symbolism aside, the Irish Republican Army, supported by arms donated by Muammar Gaddafi developed close ties with the PLO. 
Adding a prestigious presence, Mary Robinson, the former Irish president and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has frequently and harshly attacked Israel’s human rights record 
After joining the European Union Ireland became a leader in anti-Israeli activities. The country is base of one of the best organized branches of the international pro-Palestinian campaigns. In 2013 the Irish Teacher Union (that included many in tertiary education) voted to impose a total boycott on Israel. The website of Academic for Palestine, one of the fruits of the 2013 vote, is subtitled Academics against Apartheid. 
Ireland, of course, has its own anti-Israel Israeli academic and her name is Ronit Lentin whose latest article begins with the following: "On 9 August I spoke at the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign National demonstration for Palestine. As an Israeli Jew, born in Palestine prior to the birth of the State of Israel, I am aching for Gaza and for the ease with which many Israelis and their supporters throughout the world excuse the killing of so many Gazans." 
There is little chance that Ireland, a member of the EU would go beyond the official policies of the organization that, at this moment, do not include plans for a comprehensive boycott against Israel. The academic community, however, will continue to delegitimize Israel as an apartheid state.


11.09.14

Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
Academic BDS is a Security Threat to Israel
 
During the recent counter terrorism conference of the IDC Herzliya, Ambassador Dr. Michael Oren complained for not doing enough to combat academic BDS. Oren, also an academic, argued that this rapidly growing movement on Western campuses is a real security threat to Israel. 
For the past three years, IAM warned about this phenomenon that started in Europe and spread to the United States. But declarations aside, not much has been done. 
The reasons for this failure are complex. Our four part essay indicates the conceptual and organizational difficulties of fighting BDS. In a nutshell, academic BDS is embedded in a social science paradigm that took root in the late 1970s and early 1980s; the neo-Marxist, critical scholarship views Israel as a colonial, apartheid state that subjugates the native Palestinians. The immense tension and the periodical violence such as Operation Protective Edge, gives pro-Palestinian advocates plenty of ammunition. 
The fundraising by the universities and the proliferation of think tanks has opened the door for external influences, including countries and foundations with varied political agenda. A recent investigative article in the New York Times (below) illustrates how countries try and shape public opinion on a variety of issues, including oil exploration in the Arctic, by funding think tanks. Our own series, Academic Forensics revealedsimilar patterns pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 
The Diaspora Jewry, once a reliable source of support for Israel, has split into warring campus factions. Jewish Voices for Peace has not only support boycott but actively engage in lobbying for it. The Open Hillel movement has rejected the official Hillel policy that bans pro-BDS speakers from appearing in Hillel events.
Difficult as these problems are, fighting the so-called “gray BDS,” is even harder. This is an umbrella term pertaining to private initiatives of pro-Palestinian academics who, in their capacity as editors or reviewers, reject papers by Israeli academics or bloc their participation in panels. While limited in the hard sciences, this phenomena is not uncommon in humanities and social sciences. In a new initiative to fight this trend, Professor Asher Cohen, the rector of the Hebrew U, recently called on faculty to report such cases. 
As a rule, government authorities are not well equipped to handle the multifaceted BDS activities and even less adept at dealing with the paradigmatic underpinnings that has nourished it Institutes that specialize in national security have not done much better as a perusal of their literature indicates. Schooled in the traditional approach that views security in terms of military action or terrorism, they are stumped by what is essentially a soft asymmetrical conflict, spearheaded by the academy. Numerous scholars have published article or op-eds denouncing the BDS on various grounds. Though frequently eloquent and occasionally heartfelt, they are all based on the notion that appeals to the public can somewhat influence the situation on the campuses. 
The presidents of Israeli universities created a committee under Professor Zvi Ziegler to coordinate the fight against academic BDS. This is a welcome decision but much work needs to be done as soon as possible.


08.09.14

General Articles
 
Legal Eagle - The Case of Professor Steven Salaita and Israel: The Debate about Academic Freedom in the US
 
Steven Salaita, an associate professor of English at Virginia Tech was apparently on the verge of being hired by the department of American Indian Studies of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 
However, following Salaita harsh anti-Israeli comments on social media, the Department rescinded its offer. 
Cary Nelson, a former president of the Association of American University Professors (AAUP) and a faculty member of the University wrote that, given Salaita’s deeply biased view, the decision was justified. But the president, Rudy Fichtenbaum, stated that Salaita’s expressions are strictly extra-curricular and that his academic freedom, along with that of the faculty who picked him, were violated. The Native Americans and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) followed up with its own condemnation of the University for withdrawing its offer. 
While it is generally understood that extra-curricular expressions of faculty are part of academic freedom, the Salaita case exposed a close connection between his activism and scholarship. Ostensibly, an expert on American Indian Studies, most of his publishing are on Arabs in America and, even more puzzling, on the Israeli Palestinian conflict. His latest book, Israel’s Dead Soul is telling in this context. According to one reader, Salatia’s scholarship is “shoddy;” replete with slogans and generalities rather than empirical research. 
At the moment, the legal ramification of the case are not clear. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has reportedly offered him a settlement to help compensate the wage loss for rescinding his job offer but some critics are saying it's not enough. According to other observers, Salaita received a written offer from the University thus opening an avenue for legal redress. 
IAM will provide updates on the case.

04.09.14

Tel Aviv University
 
TAU Tovi Fenster uses Israel Science Foundation grant to promote Palestinian right of return
 
Professor Tovi Fenster, a Geographer at Tel Aviv University as well as the head of PEC Lab at Tel Aviv University, has recently won NIS 140,000 grant from the Israel Science Foundation (ISF). Her project is entitled "'The archaeology of the address' in urban planning: For Israeli-Palestinian recognition" 
In December 2011 during an event at Zochrot, a group dedicated to the return of Palestinian refugees, she revealed her project's political agenda. Fenster noted that "its focus is the recognition by Jewish society that the history of 1948 can’t be erased through planning. The remains of villages can be erased, but that only distances recognition and the chance of future reconciliation. Institutional and political recognition must come first, and be translated into planning policy. I propose creating planning tools that will be ready when that day comes. Such tools can already be utilized today. I’m doing that with my students. The project is called, “The archaeology of the address – urban planning and recognition (reconciliation).” ...Reconciliation isn’t possible in the absence of formal recognition by the regime and an in-depth discussion of return." 
In a 2013 planners conference in University College Dublin she presented a paper that "explores the possibilities of engaging processes of recognition in developing postcolonial urban spaces in Israel. It is based on a personal and academic journey to discover the original Palestinian owners of my grandparents' home in Jaffa." 
Fenster admits she resents the plans to develop the village of Lifta and turn it into "a boutique village" that will be inhabited by "Jews from abroad" because the Palestinian owners still live nearby. She claims that the "right of return to the city, not only of those who live there today, but also involving the former residents in planning. Such a framework seems to me to be a context in which both groups can jointly think about the return. That’s what we’re doing in Lifta." 
It is not clear whether the Israel Science Foundation understood the real purpose of the study. The ISF should stay away from academics with a radical political agenda.


1.09.14

Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
Middle East Scholars and Librarians call for the boycott of Israel
 
In 2000, Martin Kramer, a noted scholar of the Middle East published Ivory Towers on Sand, an exposé on the Middle East Centers in American universities and their professional organization, the Middle East Scholars Association (MESA). Kramer pointed out that, following the lead of Edward Said, MESA became a political advocate for the Palestinians. Reflecting this mission, up to 70 percent of offering in the field had some connection to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. MESA scholars often depicted Israel as an apartheid state or even a neo-Nazi state in its treatment of Palestinians. 
Kramer's work led to hearings in Congress in 2003 and five years later to a change in the Title VI provisions that control dismemberment of federal funds to Middle East Centers. 
Still, not much has changed in the nexus of academic-political advocacy that the Middle East scholars epitomize. 
The following petition to boycott Israeli institutions of higher education - that includes signatures by a number of former Israeli academics such as Ariella Azoulay - is representative in this respect. A one-sided laundry list of alleged Israeli transgressions, it ends with the demand for "Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194." 
Criticizing the state of Israel is a legitimate right of faculty and lay persons alike. Making up charges and taking them out of context to push for the return of Palestinian refugees is not. But then again, for Said and his disciples, the academic endeavor is all about serving their political agenda.


28.08.14

General Articles
 
University staff call to resist conscription and draft dodging
 
In the past IAM informed its readers of the activities of tenured faculty and their abuse of academic freedom. As Professor Ziva Shamir, the former head of the School of History at TAU, revealed, some faculty have turned their university offices into extensions of their political party bureaus. 
Some junior staff has followed the same path. 
The article below is a call by a group of political activists to fellow-Israeli reservists to evade draft. 
Some of the signatories to this call are university staff, such as Yotam Kidron TAU clinic for refugee rights, Uri Gordon BGU, Ariel Handel TAU & BGU, Chen Misgav TAU PEC Lab. The others are students and some have been teaching assistants. They are, Efrat Even-Tzur, Kalil Agassi, Ofri Ilani, Lior Ben Eliahu, Maya Gutman, Gal Gvili, Or Glicklich, Erez Garnai, Amir Livne Bar-On, Maya Michaeli, Naama Nagar, Tom Pessah, Guy Ron-Gilboa. 
As recently stated, IAM supports the rights of faculty of all ranks to express political opinions outside their classrooms. This is a right they share with other citizens. However, academics have no right to be above the law. According to the Israeli Penal Code, incitement to dodge military service (Section 109) and inciting soldiers to disobey legal orders (Section 110) are criminal offenses. 
Israeli institutions of higher education have an obligation to make sure that their employees do not break the law under the guise of academic freedom. 
Tolerating this behavior sets a clear signal that there are two standards in Israel, one for academics and the other for the rest.


25.08.14

Israelis in Non-Israeli Universities
 
Ilan Pappe, the chief Israeli academic apologist to totalitarian regimes
 
As the previous IAM post indicates, the former Haifa university professor, Ilan Pappe, has been widely associated with denouncing Israel on behalf of a number of totalitarian regimes. They seek legitimacy by referring to Jewish and better even, Israeli academics to promote their anti-Israel agenda while fighting off anti-Semitic accusations. As Pappe admits, "I think the fear of being accused of anti-Semitism is still very strong". 
Teheran Times recruited Pappe for this endeavor. The article below spreads it out clearly that Pappe is "A prominent anti-Zionist Israeli historian and intellectual, who is best known for his outspoken criticism of the Israeli government and his opposition to the occupation of Palestinian territories, believes that the Western mainstream media are giving a lopsided and unfair coverage to the war on Gaza, which has many different reasons, including the influence of the Israeli lobby and the fear of these media outlets of being branded anti-Semitist." 
As expected Pappe "delivers the goods". In order to delegitimize Israel he makes the comparison between Israel and South Africa, "The only way of stopping Israel is adopting towards it the same attitude adopted against South Africa at the time of Apartheid." 
It is worth noticing that Pappe recently got back from a tour in South Africa where he has made similar claims.


21.08.14

Israelis in Non-Israeli Universities
 
Academic Forensics: Ilan Pappe and Exeter University
 
Ilan Pappe, a subject of a number of posts by IAM, has exceeded his past performance in his long quest to portray Israel as Nazi Germany reincarnate. For those familiar with Pappe’s career, the trajectory that brought this former professor at Haifa University is breathtaking.
Styling himself as a New Historian, along with Benny Morris and Avi Shlaim, Pappe made the relatively modest claim that Israel was not as overwhelmed by Arab forces during the 1948 war as traditional historiography would have it. But as his political activism in the Communist Party took off, Pappe revised his own revisionist history of 1948, embellishing it with progressively defamatory incidents of alleged IDF behavior. Things came to a head when, in the early 2000s, Pappe defended his protégé, Teddy Katz in the “Tantura Massacre” case. Katz, a postgraduate student, claimed that the Alexandroni Brigade committed a massacre in the Arab village of Tantura, but retracted when the Brigade veteran sued in court. 
To amplify his position, in April 2005 Pappe appealed to the British Association of University Teachers (AUT) to boycott Haifa University for it alleged violation of academic freedom—a process that lead to a subsequent annual vote of the University and College Union to boycott the Israeli academy. 
In 2007 Pappe left Israel to teach at Exeter University, England, a position he used to create the narrative that Israeli behavior toward the Palestinians is on par with the treatment of Jews by the Nazis. For instance, in his book Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine Pappe claimed that the alleged wholesale expulsion of Palestinians was accompanied by massacres, concentrations camps etc. His new statements (below) on the alleged racist policies of sperm donations are a natural progression of creating the equivalence between Israel and Nazi Germany. 
Needless to say, Pappe has become a tireless activist for academic BDS, signing countless petitions, appearing in countless BDS events and supporting the self-appointed virulently anti-Israel Russell Tribunal where he accused Israel of genocide against the Palestinians. 
Along the way reputable historians condemned Pappe for shoddy scholarship and fabricating facts. In Dec 2011 Dexter Van Zile, the Christian Media Analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting (CAMERA) complained to the Exeter University authorities that Pappe invented key quotes to prove that David Ben Gurion authorized a wholesale expulsion of the Palestinians. But the University declined to pursue the case that would have required a disciplinary action against Pappe. 
This stand should not surprise those familiar with the University’s Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies and its founder, Professor Tim Niblock. A recipient of Saudi largess, Niblock spent years writing laudatory books about Saudi Arabia. Donations from the Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi prompted Niblock to state that “Libya has pursued one of the most engaged and outgoing foreign policies of the Arab world.” 
Niblock's deep admiration for the oppressive regimes in the Middle East was matched by deep animosity for Israel. Expressed in articles, editorials and op-eds, the theme was always the same—occupation of the Palestinians and American failure to exert pressure on Israel are at the core of West’s problems in the Middle East. 
The European Center for Palestine Studies (ECPS) in Niblock’s Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at Exeter was tailored-made for Pappe. Niblock, now retired, is listed as one of the fellows, and the advisory board is made up of frequent critics of Israel like Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky, John Dugard and Richard Falk, the infamous UN rapporteur for Palestinians. 
Even a perfunctory glance at the ECPS’s website indicates that Pappe’s ambitious goal, is taking shape. “Toward a Common Archive” aims to create a replica of Spielberg’s archive of Holocaust’s survivors’ testimonies. Interestingly, the “Testimonies by Zionist Fighters in 1948” was posted first, in an apparent bid to support Pappe’s version of events of 1948. Also Interesting, that some of the ECPS projects are supported by European foundations. 
For those who expect the academy to reflect the pure and objective standards of research, the Niblock-Pappe partnership may come as a surprise. But those who track the extensive finance network in the field see it differently. 
In 2001, Martin Kramer, an esteemed scholar of the Middle East, lamented that Middle East Studies in the United States were being distorted by Saudi money. Since then, Arab money has been all but surpassed by generous donations from European governments and foundations. 
Illuminating as this anecdotal evidence is, to fully understand the functioning of the old and new funding sources requires a systematic study.


18.08.14

Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
Academic Forensics: Qatar’s Educational Empire and Israel
 
Qatar, best known for its Al Jazeera TV franchise and, most recently, for its support for Hamas, should be of interest to anyone analyzing academic BDS and related initiatives. 
The reason is simple. The uber-wealthy and internationally ambitious Qatari emirate, under the Ibn Khalifa Al Thani dynasty has embarked on an unprecedented academic empire building. The Qatar Foundation has invited scores of universities to set up campuses in Doha and Qatar University has launched an ambitious project to hire top notch scholars in a variety of disciplines. Two Doha based foundation have disbursed scholarships to hundreds of students in the United States, Great Britain and Germany. In a testimony to the growing academic importance of Qatar, the prestigious Times Higher Education has recently announced the first Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Universities Summit. 
While most programs relate to hard science, engineering and medicine, some have a liberal arts orientation. Among them, the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Qatar) stands out in its ambition to influence the academic discourse on Islam, Middle East and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Its high profile Center of International and Regional Studies (CIRS) under its director Mehran Kamrava, has taken the lead. As Kamrava explained in a book Qatar: Small States, Big Politics, Qatar is “punching above its weight,” by turning Al Jazeera into an international brand and, no less important, by moving to become a world class academic center. 
Unsurprisingly, the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in collaboration with Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, founded by John Esposito served as a template of the SFS–Qatar. Esposito, who created the center with a grant from the Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal "to advance education in the fields of Islamic civilization and Muslim-Christian understanding and strengthen its presence as a world leader in facilitating cross-cultural and inter-religious dialogue,” has been a close collaborator of Kamrava. 
Esposito, accused by some for serving as chief apologist for Islamism and for whitewashing terrorism, is highly influential; his books, as well as Kamrava’s, dominate the field of Islamic and Middle East studies in the United States and beyond. Needless to say, Esposito is listed on the roster of guest professors at the SFS-Qatar. 
Finally, Qatar shines additional light on the Lancet dispute reported here. After Richard Horton, the editor of Lancet allowed a posting of a controversial letter against Operation Protective Edge, some demanded that Elsevier, the publisher of Lancet, fire Horton. Elsevier's reluctance to censure the Lancet editor has probably something to do with its extensive ties to Qatar University and the Qatar Foundation. 
In September 2013, Elsevier, one of the largest publisher of scientific material signed a multimillion dollar agreement with Qatar University. As one top official in the company stated, "Elsevier is honored to work together with Qatar University by providing them access to SciVal Experts.” "We believe that it will enhance the effectiveness of their research performance, stimulating effective and efficient collaboration initiatives not only among researchers at the University, but also globally." 
In spite of its prominence, Qatar’s contribution to groups and individuals who either support BDS directly or indirectly is virtually unknown. Unless those in charge of fighting BDS can map the large and complex network engaged in this endeavor, their response will remain fragmented and uncoordinated.

 

14.08.14

Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
The Legal Eagle: University of California’s UAW Call to BDS
 
Operation Protective Edge has energized anti-Israel activists on campuses across the United States and Europe. 
On July 29, 2014 the UAW 2865 of the University of California which represents teaching assistants, tutors and readers at the nine teaching campuses of the University of California prepared its membership to vote on BDS. 
From the perspective of Israel, the statement is doubly troubling. 
First, the UAW is seeking to a full membership vote on the planned BDS statement in the coming academic year. The joint council indicates that it will seek a full membership vote on the BDS statement in the coming year. 
Second, the UAW 2865 represents teaching assistants and other junior faculty of the sprawling University of California system. The Union members assert that they have an obligation "as educators" to teach "the social issues of our time, including pressing global struggles such as the struggle of the Palestinian people for liberation from settler-colonialism and apartheid." In other words, junior faculty propose to teach the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the perspective of the neo-Marxist, critical scholarship that considers Israel to be a colonial state and an apartheid state. While it legitimate to mention the Marxist, critical paradigm, the Humboldtian model of classroom as a “marketplace of ideas” requires instructors to also use the positivist approach which deems Israel to be a legitimate sovereign and a democratic state. 
The Louis Brandies Center and eleven other groups appealed to Janet Napolitano, the President of the University of California system to act against the anti-Israeli measures. Kenneth L. Marcus noted: "The union is effectively announcing that its members will abuse their positions by indoctrinating undergraduate students with blatantly politicized, intellectually dishonest, and extraordinarily biased propaganda. This is not what teaching assistants are paid to do, nor is it a proper func'tion of the union. Instead of engaging in proper collective bargaining activity, the union is urging teaching assistants to misuse the classroom for political indoctrination." 
Marcus and others have also asserted that this type of political indoctrination will create an atmosphere of hostility and intimidation with regard to Jewish students in the classroom. 
They urged President Napolitano "to publicly reaffirm the university's policy on course content, provide public assurances that she will not allow UAW 2865 members to promote anti-Semitic propaganda anti-Israel boycotts as part of their contractual teaching responsibilities, and instruct the university's collective bargaining representatives to reject any UAW Local 2865 proposals which seek to inject their positions on Israel into the University's dealings with the union. The groups also urged Napolitano to reject any effort by UAW Local 2865 that any pension fund provided by the University for its employees adhere to any policies of divestment or boycott of businesses that directly or indirectly have business, cultural or academic relations with Israel.” 
The case of UAW 2865 is potentially precedent setting. To the best of our knowledge, it is not clear how Ms Napolitano, who served both as the government of Arizona and the Secretary of Homeland Security, will respond. 
She can, of course, reaffirm the position of the university on balanced class content and voice objections to BDS activity. Though this would be a welcome step, issues of academic freedom complicate matters as it is difficult to police every class room to make sure that instructors refrain from offering a biased view of the conflict. 
Of course, legal recourse is available and has been tried in Great Britain and Australia. Though the cases were not identical, the courts ruled against equating calls for BDS with anti-Semitism.


11.08.14

Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
Academic Forensics: Beyond the Case of Lancet
 
Operation Protective Edge triggered a wave of academic activism, including new demands for BDS. The Israeli response, both by scholars and government officials, can be best described as a mixture of outrage and bewilderment as to why scholars, trained to be objective and scientific, would engage in what is perceived as a one-sided censure of Israel buttressed by a blatantly biased factual information. 
While the question is legitimate, it betrays a misunderstanding of how the pro-Palestinian network in the academy operates. Academic Forensics is a new IAM series that would periodically address this issue. 
The Case of Lancet 
On July 24, 2014 the prestigious medical journal Lancet published an editorial denouncing in the sharpest possible terms the Operation Protective Edge. The essay, titled An Open Letter for the People of Gaza” was signed by Paola Manduca, Iain Chalmers, Derek Summerfield, Mads Gilbert and Swee Ang, on behalf of 24 signatures. It describes the operation as a “massacre” and states: “We register with dismay that only 5% of our Israeli academic colleagues signed an appeal to their government to stop the military operation against Gaza. We are tempted to conclude that with the exception of this 5%, the rest of the Israeli academics are complicit in the massacre and destruction of Gaza.” In other words, the 95 percent who did not protest are fair game for boycott. 
Richard Horton, the editor of Lancet aggravated the situation when he refused letters of rebuttal from some of Lancet readers. Among the many voices that condemned the essay and Horton, a few pointed out that both Horton and the lead signatories have a long history of pro-Palestinian activism. In the below article titled The Poisoned Lancet , Dennis Praeger, an American columnist, mentioned that Manduca, a professor at the University of Genoa, has “testified” at various anti-Israeli tribunal, at one point accused Israel of using “direct energy“ weapons, which she described a cross between chemical and biological agents, against the Palestinians. Sir Iain Chalmers, a former chief U.N. medical officer in Gaza, accused Israel of apartheid and ethnic cleansing; he cited Ilan Pappe’s book of the same title to prove his point. 
Derek Summerfield, a British psychiatrists and the head of the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture (UK) accused Israeli doctors of supporting torture. Summerfield had close relations with Neve Gordon, a professor at BGU and a former executive director of the Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) that made the same allegations. Gordon and Summerfield organized a number of conferences and forums to publicize the alleged torture allegations. After years of protesting the allegations, in 2009, the Israel Medical Association severed all ties with the PHR-I, because of its “use of the international arena to “besmirch and sling mud at Israeli doctors.” 
This act prompted Summerfield, along with the PHR-I, to launch a worldwide protest against Dr. Yoram Blachar who was elected to serve at the head of the Israel Medical Association. At the time Blachar wrote that “Derek Summerfield has a life-long agenda of criticizing Israel; he is well known to us through his inexorable venomous campaign against Israel, the IMA and Dr. Blachar, in numerous letters and on the pages of leading British medical journals such as the BMJ and the Lancet.” Derek Summerfield also “testified” before the Russell Tribunal for Palestine, a virulently anti-Israeli circle of self-appointed activists mascaraing as legitimate international law tribunal where Gordon serves on the International Support Committee. 
The lynchpin of the group is Horton, whose high profile pro-Palestinian activism has earned him accolades across the network. Horton is one of the organizers of the Lancet-Palestinian Health Alliance (L-PHA). At a recent conference Horton stated: “We publish science at the Lancet, but the evidence has to go beyond that to the humanity of people.” 
“We have to tell the story of Palestinians living a caged existence,” Horton suggested. We need to use different types of evidence to bear, he argued, to take more account of dignity and the quality of care and use our evidence and experience, “for resilience, for sustainability, for accountability, for our freedom and the opportunity to write a new future.” 
The pro-Palestinian network in the medical field has existed for more than two decades, fueled by very generous contributions from the Arab world. For instance, the British–based Medical Help for Palestinians (MAP), one of the sponsors of the L-PHA alliance, has been highly active in publicizing the recent plight of the population in Gaza. 
It is beyond the scope of this post to provide an in-depth analysis of the densely connected pro-Palestinian network. Israelis who are concerned about the delegitimizing impact of Lancet, among others, should look at the academic forensics of this and other cases. Writing letters and articles expressing moral outrage is not enough. 
IAM has the largest database on the pro-Palestinian networks in the academy.




 

 

 

 

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