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 Established in 2004



Israel Academia Monitor


Anti-Israel Activities of Israeli Academics

and other Academic-Related Issues



Reprints of anti-Israel articles do not represent the position

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


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.

First IAM Round table in Tel Aviv and videos from the IAM roundtable, May 3, 2013 

The 2nd IAM event "BDS Campaign Against Israel" 2014 and Audio

A unique opportunity to purchase the IAM book on Academic Freedom


Click to view whole articles:
Boycott Calls Against Israel
On-Campus Israeli Apartheid Week and the Boycott Calls to Scientists
Activities for the upcoming Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) have been announced recently and a number of universities are participating. 
Leading In the U.K is SOAS University of London, where the IAW is organized by the SOAS Palestine Society. In the University of Leeds it is organized by the University of Leeds Palestine Solidarity Group (PSG) and in the University of Sussex in Brighton it is organized by the Sussex Friends of Palestine Society. In Finland, IAW is hosted by the ICAHD Finland and Students for Justice in Palestine Helsinki, to recall, ICAHD was founded by Jeff Halper, formerly a lecturer at Ben Gurion University. In South Africa, the newly elected IAW National Spokesperson is Justin de Swardt, a student of Law and English at the University of Pretoria. In Canada, the Toronto Students for Justice in Palestine is hosting a Volunteer Orientation for Israeli Apartheid Week 2018 which is mandatory for all volunteers. 
To abolish accusations of antisemitism, Sussex Friends of Palestine Society added a note to their invitation, "Just to clarify... The British Government has adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. That definition attests that denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, by claiming that the existence of the State of Israel is a racist endeavour, is antisemitic. Using the language ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ is an attempt to delegitimise and demonise Israel by comparing it to Apartheid South Africa. That comparison by dint of the IHRA definition is...antisemitic. (No need for thanks!) Oh and I nearly forget, the IHRA definition was also voted on and passed with a huge majority by.....the Labour Party! #JustSaying." 
But some other developments are essentially positive. The International Meeting for Science in Palestine was held at the University of Cambridge, U.K in January, a first international gathering to help building ties between the Palestinian and the international scientific community. The goal is to implement programs and long term visions to strengthen the growth of science in Palestine. The conference focused on issues such as the current status of science in Palestine and the opportunities for international scientists to get involved. Panels debated the "Organisation of the Palestinian Advanced Physics School and other schools"; "Mentorship program and online resources on opportunities in academia" and "Outreach and communication. Video, audio and social media", among others. 
The conference is part of a new trend among younger Palestinians who try to focus on building up their community through science and technology. This imperative became more urgent given that Israel was recently declared one of the top technologically innovative countries in the world. 
However, old thinking still pervades Palestinian BDS activists who offered a panel to discuss the "challenges of doing science under the occupation". 
The Electronic Intifada, a key BDS advocate, commented on the conference under the heading "Why scientists should boycott Israel," that "The meeting was quite effective in disproving the idea that we can talk about science (or anything) in Palestine without mentioning the occupation... Inevitably, one of the issues discussed in this meeting was the academic boycott of Israel and the (non)neutrality of science. Scientists for Palestine has not taken an official position on the academic boycott." The article argued that when you ask a scientist about Palestine "you will hear that the issue is 'too complicated,' and possibly some orientalist trope about Arabs, Islam or both." 
The article noted that the scientific community prefers not to promote boycotts and build bridges instead. "But this assumes that decades of settler-colonial occupation, ethnic cleansing and human rights abuses can be boiled down to an issue of different peoples not talking to each other. Of course, what is being built are not bridges, but little bubbles where everything seems harmonious as long as you don’t look outside the bubble. The key word here is normalization. Israel’s current existence as a settler-colonial, apartheid state to which international law is not being applied, relies heavily on its projection of itself as a modern, hi-tech, Western-style liberal democracy. Prestigious conferences and joint scientific ventures, either in the name of advancing science or building bridges, all contribute to cementing this narrative. Boycotts can be extremely effective, and the panicked Israeli reaction to the BDS movement is a testament to that." Urging the scientist community to boycott Israel, the article ended with a plea that the "idea of helping science in Palestine is just a charitable exercise, rooted in a Western-savior mentality," so "the scientific community needs to understand that it has a role to play, and boycotts have proven effective." It would be interesting to see if the new initiative to engage Palestinians in scientific collaborations with the global community would be able to resist pressure to boycott Israel. 
No doubt the Palestinians would gain a lot from the development of science in their society. Had they stopped blaming Israel for every aspect of their lives, they would have thrived scientifically and financially. The purpose of BDS is to keep the Palestinians poor and uneducated, a permanent exhibit of the "evils of the Zionist enemy."
Hebrew University
The Number of Arab Students on the Rise and so is the Apartheid Analogy
Surveys indicate that the number of Arab students enrolled in the Israeli universities is on the rise. 
One such a survey was conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). "Higher Education in Israel - Selected Data for 2016/17 On the Occasion of the Beginning of the New Academic Year. It concluded that "in recent years, the percentage of Arab students has increased significantly in all levels: undergraduates - from 9.8% in 1999/2000 to 16.5% (17.4% in new students) 13.6% and in postgraduates - from 2.8% to 6.6%, respectively". Another survey, conducted by the Council of Higher Education (CHE) also indicated that the number of Arab students in Israeli universities is on the rise. The number had grown from 26,000 in 2010 to 47,000 in 2017 by 78.5% over the past seven years. Arab students accounted for 16.1% of undergraduate students, rising from 10.2 % in 2010. In the graduate programs the percentage of Arab students since 2010 has doubled from 6.2% to 13%. In the postgraduate programs Arab students rose from 3.9% to 6.3%. The CHE survey was intended to assess the success of a program integrating Arab Israelis into the higher education system. Between 2012-2016 the government spent NIS 300 million ($88 million) on this program. 
As a result of this success, the government decided to extend it to the year 2022 totaling a budget of NIS 1 billion ($294 million). This program aims also to prevent Arab students from dropping out of university. 
Similarly, in December 2016, Prof. Peretz Lavie, the president of the Technion said of the Technion, that the number of Arab students has tripled over the last decade to 20%. Twelve years ago just 7% of students were Arab, then the Technion began a program for Outstanding Arab Youth, preparing students to meet the admission requirements by offering them free of charge 10 months camp in mathematics, physics, English and Hebrew, paid by Jewish philanthropists. 
To encourage Arab candidates, in October 2017 Prof. Rivka Carmi, Ben-Gurion University's president, announced that beginning in next year, the University will be accepting Arab students without having to take the psychometric exam usually required to enter the university. 
Despite these impressive statistics, the calls for BDS intensify with charges against Israel of conducting apartheid policies. 
Palestinians and pro-Palestinian activists lead such charges. Dahlia Scheindlin, formerly of the BGU Department of Politics and Government published an article on April 3, 2017 "Why 'it's not apartheid' arguments fail: Response to NYT op-ed" arguing that Israel is an apartheid state. She based her argument on the writing of Yael Berda, and wrote "according to Dr. Yael Berda Permits are wielded collectively, racially and demographically. There are no permits governing movement for Jews." Berda, a lawyer representing hundreds of political activists who were denied entry to Israel, is an adjunct professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University. Berda's scholarship focuses on "Israel's Expanding Permit Regime" and its "racial hierarchy". Berda suggests that it is a racial intention that drives Israel to be vigilant to Palestinian acts of terrorism. While studying in Princeton University, Berda was a member of the Princeton Committee on Palestine (PCP) which "works to end the occupation in Palestine, defend Palestinian human rights, and raise awareness in the Princeton community about the Palestinian narrative." As a member of Machsom Watch, "Advs Lea Tsemel and Yael Berda called on the court to recognize the racial discrimination practiced by the Israeli police." 
Berda's newly published book Living Emergency, "offers a first-hand account of how the Israeli secret service, government, and military civil administration control the Palestinian population." As Berda sees it, while "terrorism, crime, and immigration are perceived as intertwined security threats, she reveals how the Israeli example informs global homeland security and border control practices, creating a living emergency for targeted populations worldwide." 
Berda has also written of checkpoints "Searching and Stripping," that the "perverse relationship between Israelis and Palestinians is a depressing B movie that the entire world daily watches. Many actors, spectators, and producers take part in the Mis-en-Scene: soldiers, civilians, international observes, humanitarian organizations, to name few. Despite the attraction to the action, not many realize that the Israeli occupation is all about the body: sweat, heavy breathing, desire. There are several principles to the erotics of the occupation, such as stripping and searching." For Berda, “the desire for the exotic other and his appropriation. Racism becomes more pronounced the greater the desire for appropriation is. In the delirious colonial encounter, the colonizer wants to separate, enclose and protect himself, yet is attracted to the other through the senses as to entertainment or to a cooking spice.” 
Berda's work influences many. For example, in Nili Belkind's PhD thesis at Columbia University she adopted Berda’s final conclusion that "the occupation bureaucracy does not exist only within the West Bank Occupied Territories. Its racialized principles and practices have ‘leaked’ into the very core of governmental, judicial, and other sites of centralized, as well as privatized, governmentality practices within the Green Line as well. According to Berda, This includes the IDF central quarters in Tel Aviv, the government offices in Jerusalem, the police stations, the courts, the border patrol jeeps, Israeli buses in which security personnel profile Palestinian passengers via visual indicators – to which one might also add here – the various agents dealing with foreigners who are guilty ‘by association.’ This too is the byproduct of the spatial management of ‘porous borders.’ For anyone working under these constrictions, the bureaucratic managerial practices of these borders foreground the mundane banalities of the occupation, as manifestations of its appalling dimensions." 
Stephen Lendman cited Berda's calling the measures of Israeli surveillance as “scary and undemocratic…criminalizing an entire population for identifying with an organization that Israel considers terrorist (true or false).” Lendman continues that according to Yael Berda, “(y)ou don’t have to do anything to be considered a terrorist. You can publish an article or make a comment in cyberspace, and you will be criminalized... If you are located in the physical environment of terrorist activities, you are guilty.” 
Currently, Berda is supervising in the department of Sociology at the Hebrew University, the PhD thesis by Leehee Rothschild, a staunch BDS activist, titled "Body Searching and Security" with Prof. Edna Lomsky-Feder. Rothschild BDS activities were described in length in AlJazeera's "Boycotting Israel ... from within." Also, in September 2011 Ali Maniku, a member of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) published an interview with Lehee Rothschild in Scotland, announcing that "Lehee joined at the weekly SPSC Perth Branch Stall and gave us this wee interview". In her interview Rothschild has said: "Hi, my name is Leehee Rothschild I am 27, I am an Israeli who enjoys the privileges under the Israeli apartheid regime. I may be really persecuted for saying that, since 2011 Israel has passed a law which bans calling to boycott Israel, nonetheless, I am calling you to boycott, divest and sanction Israel until it complies with all three Palestinian basic rights and international law, the right of return, the right for freedom and the right for equality." Rothschild was also celebrated in an article in 2014 "Boycotting the land you love: Israeli activist Leehee Rothschild on BDS and the struggle for Palestinian rights." 
Berda's racial allegations against Israel provide the scaffolding for the apartheid analogy. While the Israeli Government spends fortune to encourage Arab students to study, Israeli universities provide positions to political activists masquerading as academics who tarnish Israel's standing in the world.
General Articles
US Educational Groups Urge American Higher Education Reform of Middle East Studies Programs
The Civil Rights Act, updated on July 28, 2017 appears under the title Types of Educational Opportunities Discrimination of the US Department of Justice. It notes that "The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the landmark legislation prohibiting discrimination in several areas including housing, employment and education. The sections of the Act relating to education are Title IV, protecting students from discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion or national origin by public elementary and secondary schools and public institutions of higher learning; Title VI, prohibiting discrimination by recipients of federal funds on the basis of race and national origin; and Title IX, permitting the United States to intervene in pending suits alleging discrimination. Additionally, the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 prohibits, among other conduct, deliberate segregation on the basis of race, color, and national origin." 
Although the Civil Rights Act is clear, on January 24, 2018 a number of Jewish educational groups have written a letter to the U.S Senate Committee of Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions in support of amendments to Title VI of the Higher Education Opportunities Act. The groups concern is that federal funds "are being misused to promote biased, one-sided, and anti-Israel programming in our nation’s Middle East studies centers." Although in 2008 the Congress addressed this issue by requiring that recipients “reflect diverse perspectives and a wide range of views,” yet, many recipients of Title VI funds continue to support programs that "provide only a monochromatic –and biased, anti-American, and anti-Israel—perspective." The groups requested a clear enforcement of the Act. 
Much of the abuse of federal funds and worse was discussed in 2016, by Endowment for Middle East Truth which published an article in the Weekly Standard, contemplating how "US Taxpayer Dollars Contribute to BDS Activity and Anti-Semitism on Campuses." It detailed the misuse of funding from the Title VI educational grant programs as an underlying factor in contributing to the growth of BDS and anti-Semitic activities on American college campuses. 
All this was discussed also in September 2014 by the journal Inside Higher Education. The article reported that a "coalition of Israel advocacy organizations concerned by what they describe as the prevalence of anti-Israel programming at federally-funded Middle East studies centers." The coalition is lobbying for "changes in the Title VI program". Two main requests were reported: "recipients of Title VI funds to establish grievance procedures to address complaints that programs are not reflecting diverse perspectives and a wide range of views” and that the "U.S. Department of Education to establish a formal complaint-resolution process similar to that in use to enforce Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” The coalition published their report “The Morass of Middle East Studies” issued by the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law" which stated that already "Six years ago, Congress recognized the need for “diverse perspectives” in federally funded Middle East Studies programs. Congress had created the so-called “Title VI programs” in 1958 to address Cold War national security demands. After September 11, 2001, it was more important than ever to provide United States intelligence and armed services agencies with a pipeline of skilled workers. Unfortunately, Title VI programs were not serving their intended purpose." The statement referred to the H.R.4137 - Higher Education Opportunity Act by the 110th Congress which was introduced in 11/09/2007 to the House Committees of Education and Labor; Judiciary; Science and Technology; Financial Services by the Senate committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. 
The allegations about the bias actually go back to 2001. Martin Kramer addressed the maladies of Middle East studies programs in his widely discussed book, Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America which was published soon after the tragedy of 9/11. Kramer postulated that "it has been a long time since scholars of the Middle East looked critically at themselves. In the 1970s, the field underwent a wrenching crisis, prompted by Middle Eastern turmoil, academic radicalization, and budget cutting. It ended in a great shakeout and a shift of academic power. The new leaders of the field claimed to be more competent, and prided themselves upon possession of more potent paradigms for explaining and understanding the Middle East. They would not make the mistakes of their predecessors. For more than twenty years they have interpreted and predicted Middle Eastern politics with a supreme confidence in their own powers. Only now have hesitant voices been raised from within the ramparts, pointing to serious problems. They run even deeper than insiders are prepared to admit. It is no exaggeration to say that America’s academics have failed to predict or explain the major evolutions of Middle Eastern politics and society over the past two decades. Time and again, academics have been taken by surprise by their subjects; time and again, their paradigms have been swept away by events. Repeated failures have depleted the credibility of scholarship among influential publics". Kramer intended to "probe how and why a branch of academe once regarded with esteem has descended to such a low point in the public estimate, and what might be done about it." 
Kramer concluded by calling for amendments to Title VI funding. "Changes in Title VI can help erode the culture of irrelevance that has pervaded Middle Eastern studies. But no amount of tweaking this program can cure the more fundamental ailments that afflict the field. This healing can only be achieved by the guild: the physicians must heal themselves." Kramer wished that a new generation will emerge to save Middle Eastern studies, "they will have to cast aside the monopolizing practices of their teachers and actively promote intellectual diversity." For Kramer, Middle East studies "lack a culture of tolerance for diversity in ideas and approaches." he suggested that, "it can be solved only by a deliberate effort to open Middle Eastern studies to debate." 
The repeated requests dating from 2001 to 2018 to amend Title VI funding, ring hollow. In fact, the latest appeal to the U.S Senate Committee, mentioned above, did not get any media attention. Instead, the news reports focused on "Why Trump’s pick to head the Education Department’s civil rights office is so controversial." Marcus who heads the Brandeis Center, already headed the Education Department’s civil rights office in the Bush Administration. But according to the media, Marcus's "ardent support of Israel" has "sparked protests" mostly by Muslim Advocates, which confirms a public anti-Israel bias intended to silence the debate. 
The Middle East is a highly important part of the world and has played a huge role in American foreign policy. Shaping this policy requires a cadre of people who are educated in the arcane aspects of the region. The Middle East studies have been created for this purpose but over the years activist-scholars from the Middle East Studies Association have distorted the goal of providing an objective knowledge. It is incumbent upon Congress to assure that the original mission is preserved.
Anti-Israel Conferences
"Israeli Sexual Violence and Aggression... Inherent to the Zionist Settler Colonial Project" According to a London Scholar
A lecture at the University of Warwick by Dr. Sigrid Vertommen, a researcher at the department of Global Health and Social Medicine at King’s College London, has become the center of controversy. Her lecture was hosted by the Warwick for Justice in Palestine on January 17, 2017. Vertommen scholarship concludes that "Zionism’s demographic arithmetic directed at manufacturing a Jewish majority at the expense of Palestinian life". According to her, Israel is engaged in a "reproductive sabotage framework" [of the Palestinians] because it subsidizes multiple fertilization procedures for its citizens “primarily aimed to serve the reproductive rights of its Jewish population at the expense of the indigenous Palestinian population." 
Vertommen deals primarily with the sexual and reproductive issues of Jewish Israeli and Palestinian women in the context of "settler colonial control and resistance." Yet, according to Vertommen, Israel's military incursions are "particularly gendered and sexualized ones in which discourses of war, sex and reproduction are tightly intertwined. These extremely militarized episodes of Israeli sexual violence and aggression towards Palestinians magnify tendencies that are always present in Palestine/Israel and that are inherent to the Zionist settler colonial project." For Israel, Vertommen continues, Gazan women "deserve to be annihilated simply because of their threatening ability to reproduce the next generation and to assure the continuance of the Palestinian people." Moreover, "While the dominant Israeli discourse is urging the Israeli army to collectively eliminate the Palestinian population in Gaza" pronatalism "represents the intimate connection between war, demography and reproduction in Israel/Palestine and symbolizes the Israeli urge to reproduce the nation through soldiers." Israelis are being encouraged to be fruitful and multiply, while "Gazans and Palestinians in general are being encouraged to die as quickly and massively as possible." 
Vertommen also gives a historical brief: "in Historical Palestine that started at the end of the 19th century when Jewish pioneers, inspired by the Zionist ideology and evading European anti-Semitism, immigrated to Palestine and started accumulating indigenous land. This process of territorial expansion was accompanied by a structural dispossession of Palestinian farmers. The Holy Land was to be depopulated from its Palestinian inhabitants and repopulated with Jewish settlers. The raison d’être of the Zionist settler colonial project has been the perpetual de-Palestinization and Judaization of Historical Palestine." 
While she details in length the outstanding success of Israel's state-of-the-art stem cell research, she relies on work such as “Palestine, Project Europe and the (un-)making of the new Jew. In memory of Edward Said”, in Edward Said: the legacy of a public intellectual or scholars such as, the British Israeli-born and former Matzpen activist Prof. Nira Yuval-Davis and Dr. Yali Hashash of Tel Aviv University, Hashash's research opened with the statement "Feminist and sociology researchers in Israel over the last two decades have consistently claimed that Israeli reproductive policy has always been, and remains, an expression of the State's nation-building efforts." Within this framework "Israel's reproductive policy primarily aims at winning a 'demographic race' against the Palestinian Arabs." 
Stretching this argument, Vertommen discusses the "ongoing Zionist settler colonial project" by focusing on the "Zionist demographic politics which aim to consolidate a Jewish majority in a Jewish state and - by consequence – aim to eliminate the indigenous Palestinian population by symbolically preventing it to be born". Vertommen decided not to "frame the Zionist project in Israel/Palestine as a nationalist project, but rather as settler colonial one where - similar to the United States, Australia or Canada - Europeans have settled in an already populated alien territory and where their descendants have remained politically dominant over the indigenous populations." 
Vertommen's scholarship should have been expected. She has written her PhD thesis in Ghent University, Belgium, under the guidance of Sami Zemni, professor in political and social sciences. Zemni's work includes, "Luxemburg on Tahrir Square: reading the Arab Revolutions with Rosa Luxemburg's the mass strike" and "The shaping of Islam and Islamophobia in Belgium", among others. Naturally, Zemni is pro-Palestinian. He co-hosted a conference "Geographies of aid intervention in Palestine" in September 2010 in Birzeit University, sponsored by the Birzeit University Ghent University Vlaamse Interuniversitaire Raad – University Development Cooperation (VLIR-UOS). The conference focused on "the little effectiveness of the aid industry in the 1967 occupied Palestinian territories, and even its complicity in sustaining the Israeli occupation." Similarly to Vertommen's thesis, Zemni also guided the PhD thesis by Omar Jabary Salamanca on "Fabric of life: the infrastructure of settler colonialism and uneven development in Palestine" in 2014, which "represents an attempt to resist and complicate dominant accounts of occupation and development in Palestine but also to make a vital contribution to a broader scholarship in critical urban studies and settler colonialism." 
In a newly published research Vertommen repeats her politically-driven and groundless accusations of Israeli fertility and stem cell research aimed at eliminating Palestinians. 
Horrified with Vertommen's work, the Jewish community in Britain was fuming over her lecture. Shimon Samuels from the Simon Wiesenthal Center said in an interview that Vertommen's charges resemble the “blood libel” historically leveled at Jews. Taking this argument a step further, Vertommen's scholarship actually falls within the category of antisemitism as described by the Working Definition of Antisemitism which the British Government has adopted in December 2016. 
Such scholarships should be expected to dominate the social sciences and humanities in Western universities in the years to come due to the large number of scholars coming from Arab and Muslim countries who influence students - aimed at debunking Israel's achievements - to focus on "Zionist colonialism" and the "settler colonial state."
Tel Aviv University
Ariel Handel of TAU Minerva Humanities Center: Political Activism Disguised as Scholarship
"Israelis Studying the Occupation" is a compilation of articles in the journal Critical Inquiry published by University of Chicago Press. The current edition was edited by Dr. Ariel Handel and Dr. Ruthie Ginsburg of The Minerva Humanities Center (MHC) at Tel Aviv University. Among the authors in this volume are Amira Hass, Dr. Hagar Kotef, Dr. Maya Rosenfeld, and Dr. Hilla Dayan, are known as staunch political activists. 
MHC has been the subject of numerous IAM posts. In April 2016, IAM reported that Handel replaced Prof. Adi Ophir as an academic co-director at the MHC without going through the standard process of publicizing the position and seeking competitive candidates. To appoint Ophir's Ph.D student to replace him is quite unethical. Also troublesome is the fact Handel is a classic neo-Marxist, critical scholar, an approach which is overrepresented in the Israeli academy. Last November IAM reported on a MHC workshop series intended to "advance academic professionalization from a critical perspective" where IAM noted that critical theory is not accepted by mainstream academic journals. 
MHC's Handler is a political-critical researcher according to his self description. This is attested by his latest publications. In his newest book, Occupation: The Politics of Everyday Life in the West Bank Settlements, co-edited with Marco Allegra and ‎Erez Maggor, the authors provide the following acknowledgment, "We would like to commemorate the memory of our former colleague, Michael Feige, who was one of the four victims of the terror attack that took place in Tel Aviv on June 8, 2016. Michael, an admired teacher and a renowned scholar of Israeli society, was trained at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and taught at Ben-Gurion University, where he most recently served as the head of the Israel Studies program. A scholar of the national-religious settler movement and author of several key studies on Gush Emunim, Michael was among the most vibrant participants of the workshop held at the Minerva Humanities Center in 2014; his death came as a shock and represents a great loss for us all." But in essence, terrorism is what lies behind the dispute between the two Peoples, something the authors prefer to ignore. 
In the introduction to the compilation the authors contend, "it seems that the very possibility of maintaining a relatively open and democratic regime in Israel in the 1948 borders is largely based on the fact that millions of Palestinians are deprived of civil rights like voting for parliament and freedom of speech and assembly. Willingly or not, the critical researcher is also part of the mechanism. The relative freedom of speech granted to the researchers by academia is part of the privilege granted to them as Jewish Israelis." The authors move on to describe how Israeli critical researchers stay in Israel in order to "criticise it from within," even when it means they too are to be blamed for the occupation. While the authors intend to show it as an act of heroism, one could argue it is an act of convenience. 
The type of work Critical Inquiry has published concerning Israel illustrates its negative approach: "'Ethnocracy' and Its Discontents: Minorities, Protests, and the Israeli Polity" by Oren Yiftachel, Jul 2000; "Is There Anything We Might Call Dissent in Israel? (And, If There Is, Why Isn't There?)" by Daniel Dor, Jan 2006; "The Right to Refuse: Abject Theory and the Return of Palestinian Refugees" by Dan Rabinowitz, Mar 2010; "Declaring the State of Israel: Declaring a State of War" by Ariella Azoulay, Jan 2011; "The Post-Zionist Condition" by Hannan Hever, Mar 2012; "Potential History: Thinking through Violence" by Ariella Azoulay, Mar 2013; "Palestine as Symptom, Palestine as Hope: Revising Human Rights Discourse" by Ariella Azoulay, Jun 2014; among others. But missing from the list is criticism of the Palestinians, from over 40 items discussing Palestine and Palestinians none is a critical inquiry. 
The neo-Marxist, critical scholarship dominates some social science departments. It is a convenient tool for political activists because it gives academic legitimacy to those who argue that Israel can do no right and the Palestinians can do no wrong. Tel Aviv University should be more alert to political activism advanced by MHC.
General Articles
Patronage in the Academia
Dr. Yaacov Bergman, emeritus faculty of HUJ Business School, is an expert on academic governance in Israel. He recently wrote to the Academia-IL Network community arguing that there is an excess of doctoral students in Israel. He explained that the universities budget is calculated based on the number of Phd graduates they produce. Bergman advised that the Planning and Budgeting Committee (PBC) "should seriously reconsider its PhD students criterion in budgeting the universities, with the intention of eliminating it altogether." And that the PBC should also "consider recommending to the universities that the PhD criterion be eliminated from those that qualify faculty members for the "Academic Extra (Toseffet)" in their salaries, as it may distort incentives significantly." In other words, the incentive, according to Bergman, is causing an excess of PhD holders in Israel while the higher education system can recruit only a trickle. 
As a result, many PhD holders who seek employment at the universities are turned down. One question to the Academia-IL Network community was where is a list of openings in the Social Sciences and Humanities. Most answers were quite pessimistic admitting that in any given department, without a "patron" from within even the best of candidates will have little chances to win a position. 
The problem of Dr. Galina Weinstein is a case in point. Academia-IL Network moderators introduced Weinstein, who is currently in search for an academic employment. Weinstein describes herself as following: "I completed my doctorate in 2000 at the Hebrew University in the field of history of physics, the Einstein legacy and the Special and General theory of relativity. After my doctorate I did several post-doctorate studies in Israel, Europe and the USA. I published three academic books in England and many articles... In 2004, Prof. Mara Beller, who was my doctorate supervisor, died of cancer. She was a good and dedicated supervisor who cared for me until 2004. Before her death she helped me get a GIF Foundation post-doctorate fellowship until 2007. After that I was left without an active supervisor in Israel, without a patron, which led me to a state of unemployment and lack of income despite my achievements." 
Already in 2011 Weinstein published an article in the Hebrew media YNET arguing that the humanities in Israel are being degraded because of a the lack of academic opportunities. She stressed that "The number of professors in the humanities is declining and will continue to decline, the budget has been cut and some departments are in danger of extinction. Decision-makers talk about the return of brain drain, but the state does not invest in the evaporating humanities." The Keren Neubach Reshet Bet radio program "Seder Yom" in 2015 also discussed Weinstein's search for an academic position. Evidently, not much has changed since 2011. 
There is, however, a possible source to the problem for Weinstein. She has published on her personal blog a complaint of plagiarism, a dynamic which could have caused her employment opportunities to diminish. 
Whatever the source of Weinstein's predicament, it seems odd that the academy would use the institution of patronage to appoint scholars. The university should be a place where achievements are rewarded and not who you know.
Anti-Israel Conferences
The Non-Political MESA Hijacked by Palestinian Agenda
The Middle East Studies Association (MESA), an ostensibly non-political association which was established in 1966 to foster the study and public understanding of the Middle East, has some 2,700 members and holds annual meetings, the last one was on November 18-21, 2017. 
MESA, as reported by IAM, passed a resolution at the 2014 annual business meeting affirming "that calls for institutional boycott, divestment, and/or sanctions are protected free speech and legitimate forms of non-violent political action; it affirms the right of MESA members to engage in open and transparent discussion of the boycott of Israeli academic institutions in the context of the Annual Meeting and other forums." Simply put, the non-political association has bent over to help the Palestinians. 
This should come in no surprise as over the years, MESA has shown a strong pro-Palestinian bias. For instance, the group became involved with Palestinian American Research Center (PARC) which was established in 1998 to promote Palestinian studies and exchange among scholars interested in Palestinian affairs. PARC boasted that in the latest MESA annual meeting it had 50 fellows and board members who participated 63 times throughout the conference. PARC also sponsored some of the MESA panels. 
One observer, Professor Cary Nelson, the former president of the American Association of University Professors, recently wrote his observations after hearing two panels. "MESA is now an academic association deeply compromised by political convictions. Even conference sessions that aimed for evidence-based criticism of the Jewish state were tainted by the organization’s pervasive anti-Zionist political consensus." 
Interestingly, in 2005 MESA objected to an academic boycott of Israeli universities. Professor Ali Banuazizi, the then president of MESA wrote "The Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) is writing to express its profound disagreement with the recent decision of the Association of University Teachers (AUT) calling on its members to 'refrain from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, or joint projects' with Haifa University and Bar Ilan University, in Israel. We strongly urge the Association to withdraw or rescind this resolution to boycott these universities and blacklist their faculty at the very earliest opportunity... We find thoroughly objectionable the call of the AUT to refrain from any and all scholarly interaction with the entire professional staff of two universities because of the policies of the state in which they are situated." All this changed in recent years. 
But MESA is not alone. Last month IAM reported that USACBI, the U.S. campaign focused on a boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions, secretly "took over" the leadership of the American Studies Association (ASA) to impose Israel boycott. 
Similarly, in December 2015 IAM reported of an "Unethical Conduct of the AAA Task Force". To recall, in November 2015, the executive board of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) has decided to recommend a boycott of Israeli institutions. The decision was made following the recommendation of a Task Force commissioned in 2014, to investigate the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. To prevent the appearance of bias, Task Force members were expected to be neutral and “no one with publicly identified positions on the issue." The investigation by IAM indicated that the Task Force did not live up to the AAA mandate of neutrality, as three members were known to be pro-Palestinian and some even supportive of BDS prior to their commission as Task Force members 
The pattern is clear. Professional associations are taken over by Palestinian activists who maneuver the agenda toward attacking Israel while preventing any serious debate on the troubled Middle East.
General Articles
The Working Definition of Antisemitism and its Abuse by BGU Neve Gordon
The Working Definition of Antisemitism was first published in 2005 by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, later in 2007 was adopted by the U.S Department of State. On May 29, 2017, it was adopted by the European Parliament in a resolution which "Calls on the Member States and the Union institutions and agencies to adopt and apply the working definition of anti-Semitism employed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)(4) in order to support the judicial and law enforcement authorities in their efforts to identify and prosecute anti-Semitic attacks more efficiently and effectively, and encourages Member States to follow the example of the UK and Austria in this regard." Bulgaria followed suit last October. Interestingly, Israel hasn't officially adopted the Working Definition yet. 
The European Union takes this matter seriously. On December 7, 2017 The European Parliament has held a conference on "New-Antisemitism" hosted by MEP Péter Niedermüller, Member of the Delegation for relations with Israel, by MEP Heinz K. Becker, the chair of the European Parliament Working Group on Antisemitism and by MEP Fulvio Martusciello, the chair of Delegation for relations with Israel. The conference was organized into two panels of academics and representatives of Jewish advocacy organizations. The first panel dealt with "The new Antisemitism in politics" featured Jonathan Rosenzweig of the Mission of Israel to the EU & NATO; David Hirsh, senior lecturer of Sociology and author of the book Contemporary Left Antisemitism; Raya Kalenova, the executive vice-president of the European Jewish Congress; Antony Lerman, senior fellow of Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue; and Daniel Schwammenthal, the director of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Transatlantic Institute which is based in Brussels. The second panel, "New Antisemitism and the young generation" brought together young Jewish activists and representatives from different European backgrounds to explore challenges and solutions. One speaker stressed that the IHRA working definition, the European Commission Code of Conduct and the upcoming EU Fundamental Rights Agency survey are essential tools in combating antisemitism. 
Soon after, Thomas de Maiziere, the German Interior Minister called in the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag for the creation of an anti-Semitism officer who will tackle increasing violence against Jews in Germany. He said that "hatred towards Jews must never be allowed to take hold again in Germany... Each crime motivated by anti-Semitism is one too many and shameful for our country," and that the number of disparaging remarks, inappropriate jokes and discriminatory behavior against “our Jewish citizens" has increased. "We cannot tolerate it when a country's flag is burned in public... It is the symbolic annihilation of a country's right to exist." 
The Working Definition declares that criticism of Israel per se is not antisemitic but some forms of criticism include anti-Semitic elements. For instance, "denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor"; "drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis," and; applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation" are construed as anti-Semitic. 
The Working Definition does not deal with the identity of the critics, be it Europeans, Arabs or, for this matter, Jews. The emphasis is on the content of the critique. 
For example, Professor Neve Gordon, who is currently on Sabbatical at SOAS London University fits the Working Definition well. Earlier this month he participated in a meeting held at the House of Commons as part of a group "Free Speech on Israel" where he delivered a talk requesting that "the equation between antisemitism and anti-Zionism must first be rejected". Gordon postulated that the "Israeli government needs the ‘new antisemitism’ to justify its actions and to protect it from international and domestic condemnation. Antisemitism is effectively weaponised, not only to stifle speech... its purpose is ‘to cause pain, to produce shame, and to reduce the accused to silence’ – but also to suppress a politics of liberation. The non-violent BDS campaign against Israel’s colonial project and rights abuses is labelled antisemitic not because the proponents of BDS hate Jews, but because it denounces the subjugation of the Palestinian people. This highlights a further disturbing aspect of the ‘new antisemitism’. Conventionally, to call someone ‘antisemitic’ is to expose and condemn their racism; in the new case, the charge ‘antisemite’ is used to defend racism, and to sustain a regime that implements racist policies. The question today is how to preserve a notion of anti-antisemitism that rejects the hatred of Jews, but does not promote injustice and dispossession in Palestinian territories or anywhere else. There is a way out of the quandary. We can oppose two injustices at once. We can condemn hate speech and crimes against Jews, like the ones witnessed recently in the US, or the antisemitism of far-right European political parties, at the same time as we denounce Israel’s colonial project and support Palestinians in their struggle for self-determination." 
By evoking anti-Zionism Gordon negates the right of Jews for self-determination. 
Gordon's comparison of Israel to Nazi Germany is included in his article "Don't Fence me in" from 2002. He wrote of "explicating and trying to understand the continued widespread use of barbed wire" after the Holocaust: "For example, examining the architectural similarity and differences between the camps Israel has constructed to hold Palestinians and the concentration camps Jews were held in during the Holocaust, urges one to ponder how it is that the reappearance of barbed wire in the Israeli landscape does not engender an outcry among survivors." 
As for applying double standards, Gordon's found striking similarities between Israel and South Africa under apartheid. In his book Israel’s Occupation he compares the South African model of apartheid to the Israeli “model of apartheid.” He finds only one major difference between the two regimes, notably, the apartheid regime in South Africa was institutionalized, while “in the West Bank no legislation was introduced to support this practice, and no official government decision was taken to put such legislation into effect". This, according to Gordon, is the only difference between them. 
There is no reason why Ben Gurion University should tolerate such an abuse of academic standards.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
Policing Project by Bar-Ilan University Under Threat of BDS
A remarkable Bar-Ilan initiative, LAW - TRAIN, a police training using virtual reality environment funded by the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, is under threat by BDS pressure. 
The EU project LAW‐TRAIN, which kicked‐off in June 2015 at Bar-Ilan University, "aims to develop a mixed‐reality serious gaming platform, which will provide training opportunities for teams of international interrogators anytime and anywhere." Within this platform, a virtual suspect which generates verbal and physical response can be interrogated. The system provides tools to easily generate new characters and scenarios. An intervention agent would follow the training and comment online on the team members’ performance. Augmented reality glasses will be used to create enhanced realism of the interrogation situation. 
The LAW-TRAIN rationale postulates that crime such as drug trafficking is a multi-national phenomenon which often leads to cross-border investigations. These are beset by obstacles and miscommunication due to different cultural and legal aspects. With LAW-TRAIN, the police forces can cut costs while effectively train their officers in the conduct of joint investigative interviews through the virtual reality training platform. LAW-TRAIN is a multinational project, having technical, methodological and end-user partners from different countries, to create a new and innovative way of training of joint investigative interviews. The project offers the opportunity to train within a virtual reality environment, with both virtual and real characters. The partners of this project intend to create a framework and scenarios for teaching interviews concerning international drug trafficking, in order to train police personnel in such interviews. 
The coordinator of the project is Professor Sarit Kraus, the head of department of Computer Science at Bar Ilan University and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on intelligent agents and multi-agent systems of people and robots. 
In addition to Bar-Ilan University and the Israel Police, another Israeli partner is Compedia, a leading developer of interactive educational systems, content and technology. The international partners include the University of Leuven in Belgium and the Belgian federal prosecution service; the armed forces of Spain, and the Vienna-based USECON consultancy agency. At the latest consortium meeting which was held in Vienna by the end of November, the partners had the chance to view and interact with the latest version of the state of the art 3D virtual reality environments. 
However, just like in any realm of activity that involves Israel these days, in August 2016 one of the initial partners, the Portuguese government, pulled out from the project possibly as a result of pressure directed from the Palestinians. The Portuguese Government denied that the departure was a result of political pressure and the spokesperson of the Justice Ministry of Portugal explained the move was due to internal re-prioritization and shortage in manpower. This was a major blow to the project as Portugal is a main entry point of illegal drugs into Europe. 
Palestinian groups continue to pressure European entities. In March 2017 the The European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine published a dossier addressing the European Parliament Committee of Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE). 
Unfortunately, on the 6th of December 2017, Luc Sels, the rector of the University of Leuven. Belgium stated that the university will complete the current stage of the project but not take part in the next stage due to commence in April 2018. He wrote, "The Israeli Ministry of Public Security's participation does indeed pose an ethical problem in view of the role played by this strong arm of the Israeli government in forcing an unlawful occupation of the Palestinian territories and the associated repression that the Palestinian population is undergoing. Several credible sources, including Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch (to whom KU Leuven rightly awarded an honorary doctorate last year), have documented these violations of international law. I therefore do not consider it appropriate to submit follow-up projects with an identical consortium." 
It's worth noting that the drug trafficking prevention was dealt a major blow in recent years when, as it was revealed, a U.S. task force that intended to target Hezbollah's billion-dollar drug traffic and money laundering network spanning four continents, was blocked by the White House's ambition for a nuclear deal with Iran. In June, the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs has held a hearing “Attacking Hezbollah’s Financial Network: Policy Options" noting that that the Obama administration was keen to get a nuclear deal with Iran therefore “disbanded,” “derailed,” and “put on ice” key investigations and prosecutions of Hezbollah leaders. The hearing transcript stated that prior to the Iran nuclear deal, the U.S. Government was seriously disrupting Hezbollah’s financial network, but to appease Iran, the Obama administration stopped key investigations. 
Israel needs to double its effort to promote projects like this, which was pioneered by Bar Ilan University. Drug trafficking is a serious international problem which affects Israel as well. Simha Landau from the Hebrew University demonstrated it in a chapter "The effects of terrorism on crime patterns in society: the case of Israel." He noted that there is strong evidence that drug trafficking and smuggling into Israel is closely related to terrorism. For instance, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine- General Command has been using infrastructure in Lebanon to support drug trafficking as one source of income. 
Israeli military sources confirm that Palestinian terrorist groups are closely involved in these operations. Terrorist groups generally rely on activities associated with organized crime in order to finance their activities. One of the reports mentioned by Landau demonstrates the activities of at least 30 ongoing terrorist campaigns all over the world as supported by illegal drugs, the chief commodity of organized crime. Radical Islamic groups including Hamas and Hezbollah have been operating in the U.S., South America, and the Middle East. 
From the perspective of the Palestinians, the focus on the Bar Ilan program serves two goals. It is one more front in the diverse BDS campaign which the Palestinians and their supporters have launched in the past decade. But it may also serve to prevent information on the widespread use of drug trafficking by Palestinian terror groups.
Tel Aviv University
Delegitimization of Israel at SOAS University of London Legitimized by TAU Faculty
Last month Britain saw some 176 anti-Israel events, in churches, community centers, galleries and over 70 of them were on university grounds. Many related to the centenary of the Balfour Declaration. Leading in the list is SOAS University of London, which hosted an event by its Centre for the study of Colonialism, Empire and International Law. The conference was titled "Balfour@100: A Century of International Law In Palestine," on November 18. IAM reported before that SOAS is well-known for anti-Israel activism due to the large number of Arab students and faculty. The conference invitation reads, "For international lawyers, the centenary provides an occasion to reflect on a century of international legal engagement with Palestine: from Balfour 1917 to the United Nations Partition Plan 1947; from the Occupation in 1967 to the Palestinian Intifada (uprising) in 1987." The four panels of speakers were titled as following, Panel 1: Balfour@100, Panel 2: Partition@70, Panel 3: Occupation@50, and Panel 4: Intifada@30. 
Participants were all anti-Israel who attacked it from every possible angle. One such a speaker was Nimer Sultany of SOAS, a staunch supporter of BDS. In general, Sultany's scholarship is on attacking Israel, for example "Redrawing the Boundaries of Citizenship: Israel's New Hegemony" postulates a new consensus in Israeli Jewish society with regard to the Arab minority, "the New Zionist Hegemony"; "Activism and legitimation in Israel's jurisprudence of occupation" claims that "Colonial law need not exclude the colonized in order to subordinate them"; Israel and the Palestinian Minority 2004, analyses, inter alia, "Expressions of Racism and Discrimination." In this conference Sultany's lecture was "Against Zionism (including Liberal Zionism)." 
Two Israeli scholars, Anat Matar and Aeyal Gross, both from Tel Aviv University, provided "Israeli flavored" legitimacy. The former spoke on "Securing Occupation: The Threat of the Political Prisoner." The latter's lecture was titled "Occupation: Between Fact and Norm; Between Form and Function," he is a visiting academic at the SOAS Centre for the study of Colonialism, Empire and International Law, as well as an associate member at the Centre for Palestine Studies. 
The conference has made an unethical use of the LGBTQ community by hosting a panel at the end "Queer in Populist Times." Ironically, the Palestinians, the focus of the conference, persecute the LGBTQ community. Gross, who himself a member of the community, like most of his pro-Palestinian peers, does not deal with the violence against LGBTQ in the Palestinian society or, for that matter in the Muslim world. Instead he resorts to cheap rhetoric such as in 2009 when he accused Israel of killing Palestinian children and youth: "the obvious question is whether in a society where shooting at children of the 'other' is the norm, we should be surprised that GLBT children become the target of similar violence. Do rallies of the sort held in Tel-Aviv allow not only the cabinet ministers who participated, but also the general public which came to offer its support, to feel enlightened and liberal, while it is in fact indifferent or worse to Israel’s widespread killing of Palestinian youth?" Gross should know better, Israel offers refuge to fleeing Palestinian LGBTQ. 
IAM has previously noted that, like Matar and other academic activists, Gross spends an inordinate amount of time on his political pursuits. He recently applied for a position as a mandate holder at the UN Human Rights Council. In his application form he wrote of how the academia enables him free time to pursue activism, "I have no doubt I can dedicate a total of three month a year (at least) to the mandate: As my employment is in academia, and I am a tenured full professor, I can dedicate time to the mandate with the flexibility that academia allows. My teaching is usually spread over two terms of up to four months each, so the remaining four months of the year can be mostly dedicated to the mandate, this in addition to time I can dedicate to it during term alongside my teaching and my academic research. This beyond the overlap between my research agenda and the mandate - I am sure they will enrich each other. I can schedule most travel and visits off term but if needed can accommodate travel during term. Also hope to be on sabbatical for 1 or 2 years in the next few years which will allow even more time." 
Much of Gross's activism is detailed in the acknowledgments of his latest book The Writing on the Wall: Rethinking the International Law of Occupation, "Back at Tel Aviv, I benefited from my involvement with several human rights organizations. I am a member of the board in two of them – the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and Gisha: Legal Center for the Freedom of Movement. At ACRI, I especially thank the lawyers who headed the department dealing with the Occupied Territories – first Limor Yehuda and later Tamar Feldman. Interaction with them and with the practicalities of legal work regarding the Occupied Territories enriched my perspectives. At Gisha, I am particularly grateful to the founders, Kenneth Mann and Sari Bashi. Sari was the organization's first executive director. By (literally) asking me on board, she and Kenneth ensured my constant interaction with their work on Gaza, which has been extremely significant to my research and my writing. Many thanks to Eitan Diamond, who succeeded Sari as Gisha's executive director, for his continued engagement and for our many conversations on related topics, also during his previous positions first in B'Tselem and later with the International Committee of the Red Cross. My consultative role in the reports that Gisha issued on the occupation of Gaza after the disengagement, the first one written by Kenneth and Sari, and the second by Sari with Tamar Feldman (when Tamar worked at Gisha before moving to ACRI), intertwined with and broadened my writing. ACRI and Gisha were involved in some of the litigation discussed in the book. The opinions expressed in the book, however, are solely my own. Some of the discussion concerning Gaza in Chapter 3 draws on an article I co-wrote with Tamar Feldman on food security in Gaza, and I am grateful for this cooperation. My first academic article on occupation was co-written with Orna Ben-Naftali and Keren Michaeli, and the ideas laid out in that article form the basis for some of the arguments in Chapter 1 of this book. I am grateful to them both. I owe special and warm thanks to Orna for our many years of thinking together on the topic over much wining and dining, and for her enduring friendship. I am grateful to Duncan Kennedy at Harvard Law School for his interest in this project and for his support ever since he was one of my dissertation advisors." 
IAM has never denied that academic freedom is essential to the university. But Gross, Matar and others abuse this right. The tax payers who support the faculty would feel cheated had they known that activists spent so much time, as Gross noted, on extra curricular work which does not help the student. In no other Western country such flagrant abuse would be permitted in a public university. No wonder then that Gross can devote so much time to "thinking together on the topic over much wining and dining." As the saying goes, "nice work if you can get it."
Boycott Calls Against Israel
BDS Could End 20 Years Academic Partnership of Canada's York University and Arava Institute
Israel sees many collaborations with universities from abroad. Since 1998, Canada's York University Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) has an academic partnership agreement with Israel's Arava Institute for Environmental Studies (AIES). The agreement enables up to three York University Bachelor students in Environmental Studies annually to receive credit for studying at Arava, and up to three graduates from the Arava to enter York's Master in Environmental Studies program. Beyond the exchange of students the agreement includes collaboration in research, teaching, faculty development, and more. 
The agreement is bearing fruit according to Maxwell Brem, manager of external relations at FES as he wrote in 2001, "in a small corner of the Negev desert, specialists and students from around the region are coming together to address environmental problems under the auspices of a regional environmental centre with growing ties to York. The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies brings together Israeli, Jordanian, Palestinian, Egyptian and some international students, including Canadians, to do applied research on ecosystem issues affecting the Middle East region. The students fuse an ecological identity that brings Middle East ecosystems into consideration, not just the particular conditions in their home areas." As well-known, Arava is a unique environment, as explained by Rabbi Michael Cohen, the outreach director of AIES, it "is not only a centre for Middle East environmental studies but for leadership development as well, preparing future Jewish and Arab leaders to solve the region's environmental challenges cooperatively. Students have a unique opportunity to study and live together for an extended period of time. Students live in special dormitories built on the Kibbutz for the institute, but eat their meals in the communal dinning room of the Kibbutz and are adopted by Kibbutz families. Together, they build networks and understanding that will enable future cooperative work in the Middle East and beyond. By encouraging environmental cooperation between peoples, the Institute is working towards peace and sustainable development on a regional and global scale." 
Interestingly, just recently York reported that Arava held a conference on September 13 to 14, 2017, the second annual Track II Environmental Conference, entitled “Promoting environmental agreements between Jordan, Israel and Palestine, to improve lives, protect the environment, and support sustainable resolution of conflict”, which was aimed to highlight the progress of the Track II working groups which was launched at the previous year’s conference. The conference attracted 85 participants from Israel, Jordan, Palestine and the United States, including some members of the Knesset and Palestinian politicians, as well as high ranking environmental stakeholders. The conference included Palestinian speakers such as Tahani Abu Dagga and Dr. Ziad Darwish from the Palestinian Committee for Interaction with Israeli Society, who praised the Arava Institute for discussing regional problems and expressed hope for a common sustainable future in the region; Dr. Shaddad Attilli, a policy advisor for the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Negotiations Affairs Department and former PA Minister of Water and Head of the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA); economist Ahmad Hindi, a member of the Palestinian Committee for Interaction with Israeli Society; Eng. Ahmad Yaqubi, Gazan water resources expert; and Salah Mohsen, Director of the Research Department at Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement; The conference hosted also United States Ambassador Dennis Ross, the facilitator of the peace process of both the George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations, who spoke on the role of Track II in cross-border agreements. He reviewed the history of negotiations during his time with the Clinton administration. 
While the cooperation was well received, pressure from pro-Palestinian groups is now forcing York University to trim its relations with Arava. On November 6, 2017 Rhonda L. Lenton, York University president & vice-chancellor, published a statement "York University responds to false claims regarding the Faculty of Environmental Studies". She was responding to a student group which claimed that York would boycott Arava. Lenton wrote that the student group "publicly and falsely claimed that York’s FES Faculty Council declared an academic boycott against the AIES. No such academic boycott was considered or voted on." 
However, President Lenton actually admitted that the "Faculty Council did pass a motion by a vote of 15-7, to recommend to the Dean that the FES not seek a new agreement with AIES." The academic partnership agreement between the two institutions expired on September 25, 2017. She ended her announcement by stating that "no Faculty Council has the authority to boycott any academic institution." 
But contrary to the president's announcement, that "nor was the term “boycott” included in the motion", the issue of the boycott was very much on the table. The group Students Against Israeli Apartheid at York University (SAIA York)‏ tweeted a series of Tweets on November 7, "We are proud to have been given the opportunity to present to the Faculty of Environmental Studies Council at #YorkU"; "Our presentation highlighted Israel's violations of human rights and international law and its destruction of the environment"; "In the end, Council voted NOT to seek to renew its partnership with the Arava Institute"; "York University's president Rhonda Lenton and the Israel lobby can deny that any vote on our campus had anything to do with BDS"; "But with public opinion shifting in the favour of Palestine's liberation from occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid..."; "there's only so much you can deny and for so long"; "It remains clear to the rest of us which way the wind is blowing: towards freedom, justice and equality." 
But this is not surprising, Ghada Sasa, a Palestinian student wrote her Master's thesis "Israel: Greenwashing, Colonialism and Apartheid" supervised by York FES Professor Sabah Alnasseri, submitted in July 26, 2017. Sasa wrote in the opening: "I decided to write my Major Research Paper (MRP) on Israel, as a Palestinian who lived under Israeli occupation and who witnessed Israel’s social and environmental injustices first-hand. I wanted to understand how people I met in Toronto could describe Israel as an environmental steward, as it oppresses my people and I have seen the Israeli army protect Israeli settlers, as they burned my village’s olive trees. In addition, I wanted to understand how Israel’s environmental policies fit within Israel’s system of oppression. By highlighting how Israel’s self-image as an environmental steward is false, I hope my research can refocus attention on Israel’s oppression of the indigenous Palestinians and urges readers to join the call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel." Sasa's dissertation was rated an outstanding paper at York. 
Although President Lenton denied that the faculty has the right to boycott Arava, the decision on whether to renew the collaboration is still pending. IAM will report on this development.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
Legal Scholars Call to Boycott a Law Research Forum at the Hebrew University
Palestinian and pro-Palestinian activists have been quite busy with new BDS efforts. In the latest endeavor posted on a Critical Legal Thinking website, legal scholars and international lawyers called on the European Society of International Law (ESIL) not to hold the 2018 research forum at the Hebrew University. Scheduled to take place between 28 of February and 1 March 2018, the research forum is titled "International Law in Times of Disorder and Contestation." 
The purpose of the 2018 research forum in Jerusalem is to address "challenges to the international legal order emanating from dynamics of disengagement from multilateral governance, a perceived erosion of support by states and other stakeholders in existing international institutions, contestation of universal values, shifts in hegemonic power at the global and regional level, and the rise in populist, antiliberal, anti-institutional and isolationist political sentiments in various regions of the world. Such processes occur in tandem with growing concerns about the suitability of the existing international legal structures and approaches to address global phenomena such as migration, cyber-security threats and climate change, and to influence the conduct of non-state actors such as corporations. It is the combination of the ‘re-emergence of the state’ from out of the shadows of multilateralism and international governance, a growing discontent and backlash from multiple sectors of society directed against existing international norms and institutions and the limited ability of the latter to address serious contemporary problems, which generate a sense of crisis and a possible plunge towards world disorder (Although, it may also be claimed that the current state of affairs creates new opportunities for introducing much needed reforms in international law)." 
In an internal email from the organizing committee to members of ESIL they promised "to make a good faith effort to involve Palestinian scholars in the event; to facilitate visa formalities for conference participants and arrange video conference facilities for speakers who are unable to travel to Israel; to ensure that no part of the RF takes place in the occupied territories; to include Palestinian-owned hotels in East Jerusalem in the list of recommended places to stay; to not invite government officials to speak at the event; to carefully monitor security and inform the Board of any developments." 
Yet, such intentions were not good enough for the Palestinian and pro-Palestinian group of "Concerned International Lawyers" which endorsed the "widespread boycott of Israeli academic institutions by Palestinian scholars (who also call on other academics to boycott)." The group issued a statement which reads: "We believe that holding the annual forum on international law in an occupied territory legitimates this occupation and all of the other human rights violations that are part of it. While we are aware that the original buildings of the Hebrew University are located in the area that was designated in 1948 as the “Demilitarised Zone”, whose status is contested, the University has expanded significantly since the 1967 occupation, and significant parts of it fall beyond the “Demilitarised Zone” line and are in the Palestinian occupied territory. We believe that it is unbecoming for an organisation that is committed to the rule of law and international law to hold its annual forum in an institution whose campus is at least in part on an occupied territory. It is more so when this occupation is in its 50th year. Therefore, we shall not participate in this event, and we urge ESIL to reconsider its decision." 
But from their explanatory note they omitted the fact that the Hebrew University's official inauguration was in 1925, long before the 1948 and 1967 wars. 
The contemporary Middle East has been buffeted by unprecedented violence, Islamist terrorism, the collapse of the state, and widespread lawlessness. Concerned scholars have not yet organized enough conferences to address these issues which had turned the lives of millions of people in the region into hell. Given the collapse of civilizational norms in large swaths of the region, obsessive focus on Israel by Palestinian and pro-Palestinian groups is all the more glaring. It is also a testimony to intellectual and moral bankruptcy.
General Articles
The University of Amsterdam: Home for Anti-Israel Activism
University of Amsterdam (UoA) has been the home of anti-Israel activism. A combination of a large number of Arab students and staff and the lack of interference by the university authorities made it a fertile ground for this activism. 
UoA is a home of gate48, a group of former Israeli academics - a subject of previous IAM reports - which embraced the Palestinian narrative and tries to promote the boycott of Israel. This month, Gate48 is involved in organizing events at the UoA focusing on the centenary of the Balfour Declaration intending to present Israel in a negative light. 
Erez Tzfadia of Sapir College, Israel's largest public college, was invited to UoA and gave a talk, "Beyond the Balfour Declaration: navigating everyday life in contemporary Israel/Palestine". Tzfadia's lecture dealt with "how colonization is shaped and reshaped in social and cultural practices and discourses within the dominant society – the Jewish society in Israel/Palestine" and how Israel - "To realize territorial control, practices of demographic engineering were implemented, including eviction of the ‘enemy’." Tzfadia's masterclass "Colonization, Culture and the Production of Space in Israel/Palestine" was organized by Noa Roei, the chairperson of gate48. 
UoA has also hosted David Cronin who spoke on "Balfour’s Shadow. A Century of British Support for Zionism and Israel," detailing how Britain "facilitated the dispossession of Palestinians". Cronin is described as an Irish journalist and political activist living in Brussels, author of the Europe’s Alliance With Israel: Aiding the Occupation, and a contributing editor at The Electronic Intifada. 
UoA PhD student Mikki Stelder is working on a thesis titled Queer Visibility and Visions of Palestine-Israel: On Pinkwashing and Resistance, she is also the author of "Zionist sexual politics and the formation of settler subjectivity". Not surprisingly, Stelder is a Palestine solidarity activist at the University of Amsterdam. 
This is not new, among others, in 2015 UoA has held the conference "The politics of cultural freedom" which addressed "different questions in relation to the growing global boycott movement like: Should culture and art be regarded as standing “above politics” and therefore be spared the growing boycott against Israel? Is the cultural boycott inherently in conflict with freedom of speech and freedom of the exchange of ideas? Is it fair to compare Israel to South African apartheid despite the obvious differences? What impact can the cultural boycott have on the global struggle for Palestinian rights, justice and equality? How can Israelis be part of the global boycott movement?" Speakers included Omar Barghouti, Eyal Sivan, and Anne de Jong of UoA. Gate48 was a co-organizer. 
While delegitimizing Israel is taking place by the UoA, pro-Palestinian initiatives are on the rise. Next month, on December 05, the UoA is planning to host Palestinian Ambassador Rawan Sulaiman, head of the Palestinian mission to the Netherlands and Thomas Seiler, the desk officer of the ‘occupied Palestinian territory’ at the European External Action Service. The public lecture titled "The EU and state-building in Palestine: EU policies and Palestinian perceptions," described in the invitation as, "since the 1993 Oslo Accords the EU, more than any other international actor, has heavily invested in the Palestinian state-building with the aim of helping the Palestinians build their own institutions". The invitation explains the "rationale behind this was that the building and well functioning of Palestinian institutions would lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state living alongside Israel in peace and security." The invitation also states that "This was also the rationale behind the Roadmap as well as the Palestinian former Prime Minister’s Salam Fayyad Plan entitled "Palestine — Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State”. Despite the fact that the EU was the main contributor to Fayyad’s plan, its member states failed to reach a consensus in the 2012 UN vote upgrading Palestine to a ’non-Member Observer State’." In particular this event aims "to take stock of the EU’s policies towards the Palestinian state-building, shed light on recent initiatives as well as analyse Palestinian perceptions towards them." 
Also, UoA scholar Dimitris Bouris of the department of Political Science, is publishing a paper with the Italian Istituto Affari Internazionali titled "Imposing Middle East Peace: Why EU Member States Should Recognise Palestine." He implores the EU member states for a "clear paradigm shift," and "real revision of EU policies," as recognizing Palestine is "a moral duty." To his mind a "consensus in Brussels and pressure from big member states can help, acting as potential paradigm and norm setters while encouraging the bandwagoning of other states." By recognizing the state of Palestine, EU member states "would also force the US into action under the weight of an overwhelming international consensus." He argues "while Israel might react badly to this move... recognition would actually send a strong signal that the EU wishes to legitimize the state of Israel within the 1967 borders while clearly delegitimizing the occupation. In the long-term, recognition will help protect Israel from criticism as well as from the eventuality of a one-state approach which Abbas has again promised to endorse if the latest US peace plan is not successful." Bouris suggests that "Recognizing a Palestinian state is cheaper than maintaining (and paying for) the occupation. The EU spends around 500 million euro a year on Palestine." More to the point, "just as the EU’s differentiation policy has activated the Israeli research and economic community to put pressure on the government to resolve the dispute in order to allow them to receive EU grants and research funding, recognition might do the same with Israel’s broader political landscape by sending a strong signal that there is a cost to Israel’s continued occupation." Bouris postulates that recognizing the state of Palestine "will also help to strengthen moderate elements within Palestinian factions and parties". 
It is worth noting that there are no positive conferences of Israel at the UoA and the Israeli perspective is not being presented. The authorities of UoA should make sure that activities pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are balanced. Regrettably, by refusing to get involved, they allow a group of pro-Palestinian activists to turn the university, a seat of prestigious learning, into a source of poisonous propaganda against Israel.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
USACBI Secretly "Took Over" the American Studies Association to Impose Israel Boycott
On December 16, 2013, the American Studies Association (ASA) declared its support for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The announcement read: "The members of the American Studies Association have endorsed the Association’s participation in a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. In an election that attracted 1252 voters, the largest number of participants in the organization’s history, 66.05% of voters endorsed the resolution, while 30.5% of voters voted no and 3.43% abstained. The election was a response to the ASA National Council’s announcement on December 4 that it supported the academic boycott and, in an unprecedented action to ensure a democratic process, asked its membership for their approval." 
However, many long-time ASA members were upset. IAM reported in April 2016 that four members of the ASA filed a law-suit against the ASA for illegally boycotting Israel. According to the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, the law firm representing the professors, the “ASA’s stated mission has nothing to do with boycotting a foreign nation" and that ASA support for BDS "violates the law that governs nonprofit corporations.” 
In April 2017 IAM reported again, that the United States District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled that the lawsuit Bronner v. Duggan, could go ahead, after the ASA asked the court to dismiss it. The Court also rejected ASA’s claims that the case infringes on its First Amendment rights. 
Recently, the plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint, on November 9. Based on a disclosed email exchange among the defendants, the new complaint shows that activists with the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) which is the American chapter of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), "took over" the leadership of the ASA without disclosing their intentions. The complaint also added four new defendants, among them Jasbir Puar and Steven Salaita. 
Jasbir Puar, a USACBI leader who sat on the American Studies Association’s Nominating Committee, acted to ensure that only signed supporters of USACBI were to be nominated for the ASA council and president. In an email by one of the defendants Sunaina Maira sent to other defendants, she wrote, “Jasbir is nominating me and Alex Lubin for the Council and she suggests populating it with as many supporters as possible”; Puar wrote in an email, “I think we should prepare for the longer-term struggle by populating elected positions with as [many] supporters as possible.” The complaint was able to determine that since the 2012 election, continuing for four consecutive years, any candidate that the Nominating Committee selected to run for President was a USACBI endorser and an active member of the boycott movement. 
The plaintiffs claim that the ASA boycott motion actually adopted the position of USACBI and PACBI without any reservation. The ASA relied on USACBI materials in drafting the boycott resolution and related documents. Omar Barghouti, the leader of BDS and a founding member of PACBI and USACBI, personally advised ASA on this. Maira consulted Barghouti over the motion, “I just wanted to send a quick update and request, if you have time, related to the ASA academic boycott campaign... If you have a few minutes, would you mind reviewing the attached FAQ's sheet quickly? Just in case you catch anything that is inaccurate that we may have missed,” to which Barghouti responded, “Great! We shall discuss this among PACBI colleagues and get back to you ASAP. A quick reading of the first part showed at least one factual sentence that needs editing to be as accurate as possible.” In another email exchange between the defendants they wrote, “We are making an FAQ sheet for the upcoming ASA conference, at which we will be trying to pass a boycott resolution. I'm still waiting on final edits from Lisa Taraki and Omar Barghouti,” and that “The text is still being edited by Omar Barghouti and PACBI but I could send you the draft.” 
With regards to BDS, the plaintiffs cited Barghouti as not merely calling to "end the occupation", but rather the end of Israel as a Jewish state. In one interview Barghouti stated that, "you cannot reconcile the right of return for refugees with a two state solution. That is the big white elephant in the room and people are ignoring it — a return for refugees would end Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. The right of return is a basic right that cannot be given away; it’s inalienable." 
Steven Salaita was added to the complaint because he is a member of the USACBI Organizing Collective, and also, since July 2015, member of the ASA National Council. At the time the Council changed the bylaws to allow large withdrawals from the ASA Trust and Development Fund. These withdrawals covered the expenses related to the boycott resolution. 
Pursuant of the email exchanges, the complaint stated the USACBI endorsers on the ASA Nominating Committee "had turned the American Studies Association National Council from a body primarily comprised of American Studies professors and scholars, and otherwise diverse members... to one overwhelmingly comprised of individuals with a singular focus on adopting the USACBI Boycott". 
The complaint also accused the defendants of blocking opposing voices prior to the vote and abusing the financial resources of the ASA to advance their agenda.
The lawsuit raises important questions about the transparency of elected officials and the use of funds for political purposes not immediately associated with the goal of the association. 
IAM will report on future development in the case.
General Articles
Balfour, Churchill and the Rewriting of Israel's History
The marking of the Balfour Declaration Centenary has mobilized academic pro-Palestinian activists. For instance, Ilan Pappe and Avi Shlaim participated in panels such as "Britain and Palestine 1917-2017 One hundred years of broken promises" and "Palestine, Britain & the Balfour Declaration 100 years on." 
As can be expected, these and similar events have intended to rewrite the history of the founding of Israel. In fact, efforts to rewrite the history have been associated with the so-called New Historians, a group of Israeli historians which included Benny Morris, Ilan Pappe and Avi Shlaim. Palestinian scholars have welcomed the Israeli academics because it legitimized their own narrative. The War for Palestine: Rewriting the History of 1948, published in 2001, was a case in point. The book included a chapter by Rashid Khalidi "The Palestinians and 1948: the causes of failure"; Benny Morris "Revisiting the Palestinian exodus of 1948"; Avi Shlaim "Israel and the Arab coalition in 1948"; and chapters by Laila Parsons; Eugene Rogan; Charles Tripp; Fawaz Gerges; Joshua Landis; and Edward Said wrote the "Afterword: the consequences of the 1948 war". 
The book synopsis highlighted the contribution of the Israelis. "Since the late 1980s, however, a group of 'new historians' or revisionist Israeli historians have challenged many of the claims surrounding the birth of the State of Israel and the first Arab-Israeli war. The present volume was conceived as a contribution to the ongoing debate about 1948. The War for Palestine brings together leading Israeli new historians with prominent Arab and Western scholars of the Middle East who revisit 1948 from the perspective of each of the countries involved in the war. The resulting volume offers new material and new insights that add to our understanding of the historical roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict." 
In a review of the book, Prof. Efraim Karsh noted that by Rewriting the history of 1948, the "Israeli academics and journalists who call themselves the 'New Historians' have been pushing this theme since the late 1980s... adds little new or original to these efforts except that they have invited some sympathetic Arabists and Arab academics, including Edward Said and Rashid Khalidi, to join in their efforts. The contributors whitewash the violent Palestinian attempt to abort the United Nations resolution of November 1947. They downplay the pan-Arab invasion of the newly-established state of Israel in May 1948." Khalidi speaks on the Arab side: "the Palestinian people were victims, regardless of what they might have done differently in this situation of formidable difficulty, and of the sins of omission or commission of their leaders." According to Karsh, "Khalidi and Said make no use whatsoever of archival source material and instead engage in sweeping and misconceived assertions about the origin and scope of the Palestinian exodus; others, such as Rogan and Fawaz Gerges, quote the odd docu'ment in support of their case." Avi Shlaim claims to have "overturned the myth of the Arab Goliath" during the 1948 War "but there is nothing here from the archives of the Israeli Defense Forces or its pre-state precursor, the Haganah. Benny Morris makes the IDF and Haganah foremost culprits of the Palestinian exodus but has not consulted the archives of these two military organizations." Karsh quoted Morris as saying, "when writing The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem 1947-1949 in the mid-1980s, I had no access to the materials in the IDFA [IDF Archive] or the Haganah Archive and precious little to first-hand military materials deposited elsewhere. Nonetheless, the new materials I have seen over the past few years tend to confirm and reinforce the major lines of description and analysis, and the conclusions, in The Birth and in a subsequent volume, 1948 and After, published in 1990." Karsh didn't mince words, "Morris inadvertently reveals the falsehood of 'new historian' scholarly pretensions. This group insists on tracing its origin to the opening of Israeli state archives in the late 1980s but now its foremost member admits to having written the single most influential 'revisionist' work without the use of the most important archives". Karsh mocked Morris who "made no use of the Israeli archives due to his own ignorance," after Morris admitted to "some of the material relating to the [Palestinian exodus] may have been open to researchers in the early and mid-1980s, when The Birth was written, but I was not then aware of its existence." 
Distortions and falsifications are not new, Pappe was caught falsifying a quote by David Ben Gurion. When the NGO CAMERA contacted University of Exeter requesting the University to open an inquiry, Exeter refused. 
When Morris reviewed Ilan Pappe's 2010 book The Rise and Fall of a Palestinian Dynasty: The Husaynis, 1700 1948 he noted Pappe's erroneous claim that "While the text of the Balfour Declaration remained unpublished, it was the subject of all kinds of rumors. But these were dispelled that February [1920], when the British government made it public." But in fact the Balfour Declaration was already published in 1917 - one of the many errors Morris found in Pappe's book prompting him to declare, "At best, Ilan Pappe must be one of the world’s sloppiest historians". 
Likewise, Shlomo Sand, another revisionist, stated that "Winston Churchill is said to have stated that 'An anti-Semite is one who hates the Jews more than is necessary'." Sand admits there was no proof it was Churchill," but according to Avi Shlaim it was Isaiah Berlin who coined the term: "What is anti-Semitism? Isaiah Berlin defined an anti-Semite as 'someone who hates Jews more than is strictly necessary!'" Sand attributed to Churchill another statement, "It is, however, true that he wrote about Jews in 1937, that 'they are inviting persecution...they have been partly responsible for the antagonism from which they suffer…The central fact which dominates the relations of Jew and non-Jew is that the Jew is 'different'. He looks different. He thinks differently'". But according to Churchill's official biographer Sir Martin Gilbert, it was not Churchill who wrote this but Adam Marshall Diston, the author of "How the Jews Can Combat Persecution." Churchill briefly employed Diston to write rough drafts for the popular press. Diston's membership in Sir Oswald Mosley's fascist party suggests his sentiments. However, Gilbert noted that Churchill refused to have Diston's article published because it was not his work and did not reflect his views, as Diston has too drastically departed from the guidelines Churchill had sent him earlier. Churchill's assistant wrote a note, "Mr.Churchill thinks it would be inadvisable to publish the article." 
Such disregard for facts among the pro-Palestinian academics should not be surprising. They assert that the "official" version of events is part of the "hegemonic" narrative of history, which gives more weight to the Jews and other "hegemons" at the expense of the indigenous populations such as the Palestinians. Hence, they feel obligated to "correct" the record, notably by distorting history and pushing outlandish interpretations of other facts. Regrettably, this radical revisionism has created a narrative in the study of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict whereby the "Jews cannot do anything right and the Palestinians cannot do anything wrong."
Anti-Israel Petitions Supported by Israeli Academics
Balfour Declaration Centenary and the Academic Radical-Left
Last week, on October 26, 2017 members of the Israeli Political Working Group (PWG) sent a petition to the UK Government titled "Britain’s Broken Promise: Time for a New Approach." They urged the British Government, upon marking the Balfour Declaration Centenary, to issue a statement expressing recognition of the State of Palestine which they believe should correct "historical wrong" and complement the original Declaration. The petitioners suggested that Britain should state that "both the Israeli and the Palestinian people have equal rights to self-determination in two states – Israel and Palestine — living side by side along the 1967 borders in peace, security, and prosperity." 
The PWG group includes a number of academics such as Dr. Alon Liel, Prof. Amiram Goldblum, Prof. Dan Jacobson, Prof. Daniel Bar-Tal, Prof. Eli Barnavie, Prof. Galia Golan, Prof. Menachem Klein, Prof. Nura Resh, Prof. Itzhak Schnell, Dr. Dmitry Shumsky, among others. 
Interestingly, PWG admits that "The year 2017 marks the 70th anniversary of United Nations Resolution 181 which terminated the mandatory powers of Great Britain in Palestine and paved the way for its partition into a Jewish and an Arab state." But as well known, Resolution 181, did admit that both the Jews and the Palestinians have a right to self determination and offered a bigger state to the Palestinians and a very small one to the Jews who accepted it. The Palestinians, on the advice of the Arab nations, rejected the proposal, started a war and suffered grave consequences after losing it. 
Camp David II offered the Palestinians another chance of independence. After arduous negotiations mediated by President Bill Clinton, the Palestinian delegation headed by Yasser Arafat was offered to create a Palestinian state which with minor territorial adjustments would reflect the 1967 borders and a capital in the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem. The Old City and the Holy Sites were to be co-administered by the Palestinian and Israeli states. But Arafat rejected the proposal and, soon after, the Palestinians started the bloody Second Intifada. In their memoirs, the Americans present at Camp David - Clinton, his Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and the CIA director George Tenet, expressed dismay at the erratic behavior of Arafat and lamented the missed opportunity. Ironically, Benny Morris, a leading New Historian and critic of Zionism, was profoundly shaken by these developments. In a series of searing articles in the New York Times and other premier media, Morris denounced the Palestinians as historical losers and questioned their fitness to run a state. He was joined by others who pointed out that the Palestinian Authority which the Oslo Agreement created in 1993 was a corrupt, lawless, and violent entity. If anything, the Gaza Strip, under Hamas management since 2006, has rejected anything the PA was offered. Hamas and the smaller Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a wholly owned subsidiary of Iran, have never been shy about their plans to make Israel disappear from the map. 
The petition is a vacuous gesture of the radical-left, a symbol of its utter failure to admit that the Palestinians are to a large degree responsible for what had befallen them. But then again, what can be expected of a group who has stayed silent about the unparalleled evil which the Jihadists have inflicted on civil populations? These are the same type of academics who spent untold hours in conferences and seminars denouncing the ills of Israeli treatment of the inhabitants of the West Bank, but have failed to discuss the treatment of populations in territories occupied by ISIS, including murder, heinous torture, sexual enslavement of Yazidi and Christian women, among others. 
By their obsessive concentration on Israel, this group and other radical-leftist academics have lost their intellectual and moral footing as purveyors of a balanced view of reality.
General Articles
Polemics as Scholarship: The Case of Accusations of Ethnic Cleansing of the Palestinians
In May 2017 the University of Haifa banned the use of the term "ethnic cleansing" contained in the text of leaflets handed out by students on campus. The leaflets distributed for a Nakba Day events at the university organized by Hadash, a leftist Jewish-Arab party. A leaflet which mentioned an “exhibition of photographs of villages and cities that underwent ethnic cleansing in 1948" was not approved by the university authorities. In a letter to the organizers, Jenny Kurman, the dean of students, wrote that the words “ethnic cleansing” breached the terms of tolerance and undermined public order at the university. 
Benny Morris, a New Historian, was the first Israeli scholar to mention ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948. Morris, who coined the term "partial ethnic cleansing" subsequently retracted this allegation. But Ilan Pappe, another New Historian, formerly of the University of Haifa, made the alleged ethnic cleansing the gist of his academic career. 
After leaving Israel where his scholarship was throughout discredited, Pappe received a cushy job at Exeter University, England. Not incidentally, over the years, Exeter University received generous donations from countries in the Middle East. For instance, Exeter was recently criticized for its links to the ruler of Sharjah, the most conservative emirate in the UAE, who gave more than £8m over 20 years and was described as "the university’s single most important supporter" in the 2007 annual report. 
There is a connection between recruiting post-Zionist scholars and Arab donors to Western universities, as Professor Anthony Glees, of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at Buckingham University, explained, "By donating to higher education institutions, Arab and Islamic states are able to dictate a research agenda and influence public opinion." 
Other radical Israeli scholars have popularized the term "ethnic cleansing." Neve Gordon published an article, "Portrait of an occupation: Human rights of the settler" in Al-Jazeera co-authored with Nicola Perugini in Sept. 2016. The authors posited that "it is crucial to remember that state-sanctioned ethnic cleansing and ongoing human rights violations are what enabled the Jewish settlers to occupy the lands on which they live in the first place." In another article by Neve Gordon and Moriel Ram titled "Ethnic Cleansing and the Formation of Settler Colonial Geographies," the authors refer to ethnic cleansing as defined by the UN in 1994: "By ethnic cleansing we do not mean a genocidal campaign, but rather ‘a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas’ (United Nations, 1994)." Then the authors abandon the UN definition and move on to looking at a different realm of "settler colonialism" which they hoped to conjunct. As they wrote, "In order to advance this argument, we tap into the existing literature on settler colonialism." 
Gordon and co-author failed to prove ethnic cleansing. Instead, they use Foucault's theory of biopower: "as we will show, the biopolitical techniques that were utilized were predominantly illiberal." While they repeated the term ethnic cleansing 62 times, not once they provided vigorous evidence that Israel ethnically cleansed the West Bank or the Golan Heights. Using statements such as "We now turn to demonstrate how the difference in the degree of ethnic cleansing shaped the two colonial geographies by outlining the differences in the production of space and the character of the legal regime in each region." Or, in another, "there appears to be a relation between the degree of ethnic cleansing and the precise configuration of law-preserving and lawmaking in the colonized space," they looked at the latter but not the former. In the end, the authors failed to prove that Israel had "a purposeful policy designed... to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas." As defined by the UN. 
The self-serving scholarship of Pappe, Gordon and others, is not grounded in empirical reality. The 1948 war does not fit the model of ethnic cleansing defined by the United Nations. The war broke out after the Palestinians and their Arab backers rejected the 1947 UN proposal to divide mandatory Palestine into two entities, a larger Palestinian one, and a smaller Jewish one. The Jews accepted the proposal and were caught by surprise when the Palestinians, followed by Egypt, Jordan, and Syria attacked them. The belligerents were confident that they would vanquish the small and vulnerable Jewish community with ease. Had Pappe, and others bothered to look at the literature on the decision making of the Palestinian and the Arab countries, they would have found references to the coming victory over the Jews and the plans to expel them. That the Palestinian leadership was not prepared to tolerate Jewish presence should have been clear from the plans of Haj Amin al Husseini. As well known, al Husseini travelled to Berlin to discuss with Hitler the Final Solution of the Palestinian Jews. It was only the victory of the allies over the Rommel Army in El Alamein in 1942 which saved the Jews from a similar fate of their brethren in Europe. 
As it happened, the overconfident Palestinians lost and suffered the fate of other losing belligerents. In the chaos of war some fled, some were forced to leave and some opted to stay. As the much-chagrined Morris now admits, there was no master plan to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians, and there was little "violent and terror-inspiring means" toward the civilian population. 
Morris is the only New Historian who had the courage to admit that his early work might have overstated the case for ethnic cleansing. Pappe and the others have used polemics masquerading as scholarship to feather their academic nests. In the process they became pawned in the game of cash for scholarship.
Tel Aviv University
Academic Professionalization from a Critical Perspective: Whitewash for Political Activism by TAU Minerva Humanities Center
In the last couple of months we are witnessing a collaboration between the TAU Minerva Humanities Center (MHC) and the activist group Academy for Equality. 
The two are promoting a workshop series for the 2017-2018 academic year in order to "advance academic professionalization from a critical perspective" for first generation research students in the humanities or the social sciences. The brochure explains that "The workshop will combine guided reading in critical texts concerning academia, with practical training in various academic skills: reading and writing academic texts (including research proposals, theses and dissertations, papers and articles etc.), writing CVs and abstracts, applying for conferences and scholarships, approaching journals, junior academic employment, academic networking, etc." The brochure adds that participants "will be mentored by senior researchers from the Minerva Humanities Center and the Academy for Equality group." 
To those who are not familiar with the jargon, the neo-Marxist, critical thought is normative, based on the view that the scholar needs no empirical evidence to his claims. Based on such methods, Palestinian and pro-Palestinian scholars were able to distort history, in particular the founding of Israel. 
Serious scholars should note that this type of scholarship is not accepted by mainstream academic journals. 
The following are two examples of scholarship from a critical perspective: 
Dr. Michal Givoni of BGU's Politics and Government department was in 2009-2010 a postdoctoral fellow, at the MHC at TAU where she is still a fellow at Lexicon for Political Theory. Her doctoral thesis proclaimed that witnessing was not about facts, but rather the projection by the witness of his or her morality on the situation. To put it in simple terms, a fact is what a witness wants it to be. Givoni made quite a career out of bashing Israel. She will participate in a conference to be held in Leiden, The Netherlands, on December 13th 2017. Givoni's paper is titled "Resilient Witnessing: Occupation Testimonies and Left-Wing Despair in Israeli Documentaries". This is an adaptation of a paper she delivered last July in Berlin where she used "the case of the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories in order to interrogate the politics of witnessing and testimony" and looked "at two documentary films that were recently produced in Israel, which turn the spotlight on the reenactment and reiteration of testimonies about the Israeli occupation." Adding to it the "failure to delegitimize the occupation in the eyes of the Israeli public." The films, "amplify and help identify despair as the structure of feeling that currently prevails in the Israeli left". And she asked "what remains of the political promise of witnessing when hope for a better future seems bleak and witnessing appears to sustain a melancholic attachment to bygone, and currently deceptive, ideals?" In order to academize her political activism, Givoni has based her assertions on the work of the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, enabling her to claim that "left-wing despair is a far more complicated attitude than its association with passivity, impotence or depression implies." Not to be cynical, but Givoni, who is piling frequent miles flying from one conference to another, does not seem to be passive or depressed. 
Another example is Dr. Dotan Leshem, formerly of University of Haifa's Political Science department who moved to Columbia University in NY. Recently he posted on the Academia IL Network a lengthy angry email accusing University of Haifa of not giving him tenure, the reason for his departure. According to Leshem, a lecture he gave at TAU a year ago in a conference on "Five Years to the Social Protest" was the main concern of Haifa. His fifteen minutes presentation was titled "How Democratic Social Protest Gave Rise to Right-Wing Populism." The gist of his presentation was "three moments in the short history of the protest: The democratic social protest of 2011 both social and democratic; The violent crashing of the democratic social protest of 2012 by the authorities; The rise of economic right-wing populism that appropriated the protest to itself through distortion of the protest context led by the extreme right-wing paper Haaretz-The Marker." He then discussed actions taken by the Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, such as the bi-annual economic plan and the struggle over the gas monopoly. This is certainly not an academic lecture but polemics. But this is not surprising, Leshem was a member of the TAU MHC political economy research group for three years. In his book The Origins of Neoliberalism: Modeling the Economy from Jesus to Foucault, Leshem thanks the MHC for granting him a post doctoral fellowship at the Political Lexicon Group headed by Adi Ophir. Interestingly, he also noted that the road for publishing his book began a decade earlier as a dissertation that was written at the Hermeneutics and cultural studies program at Bar Ilan University under the supervision of Ariella Azoulay and Yuval Yonay. Bearing this in mind, Leshem spoke in December 2013, at the MHC event to celebrate the first Hebrew translation of Hanna Arendt’s The Human Condition, by Ariella Azoulay and Adi Ophir. 
David Hancock of Buckinghamshire New University who reviewed Leshem's book noted that the text is sometimes unforgiving in its "exegesis of this unfamiliar terrain (from the perspective of one who is not familiar with the intellectual history of late antiquity)." 
That the MHC is trying to proselytize a new generation of scholars is not surprising. The MHC is arguably one of the most ardent neo-Marxist, critical outfits in Israel. Unwilling to rattle the cage, the authorities at Tel Aviv University essentially gave up all control over the Center. However, the brochure which promises "mentoring" should make them realize they are paying the salaries of faculty who are supervising students from other colleges and universities.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
Controversy of the book Assuming Boycott: Resistance, Agency, and Cultural Production
A new Palestinian initiative to delegitimize Israel comes in a form of an academic-cultural book: Assuming Boycott: Resistance, Agency, and Cultural Production, edited by Kareem Estefan, Carin Kuoni, and Laura Raicovich, due to be published in October 20, 2017. It is based on a 2014 a series of lectures held at the New School of Social Research New York, where Kuoni who is a director/curator. In May 2017 the authors and editors promoted the book in New York paid by the New School Vera List Center for Art and Politics. 
The book discusses boycotts by and large but is essentially an attempt to legitimate BDS against Israel. Coming from the New School of Social Research in New York is no surprise. The house of the Frankfurt school of thought, the founding fathers of the critical theory concept which enables adherents to refrain from providing bona fide evidence to their claims, something that Palestinians and their supporters happily embrace. 
The latest BDS brouhaha was in August when the third book editor, Laura Raicovich, director of Queens Museum, turned down a request by Israeli officials to rent the hall where the General Assembly voted for partitioning Palestine into Jewish and Arab states on Nov. 29, 1947. While Israel’s mission to the United Nations reserved the space in June for the November 70th anniversary, Raicovich contacted Danny Danon, Israel's ambassador to the UN, in August after it became known to the public, to inform him that the reservation is cancelled due to pressure by the "Palestinian friends of the museum". After some pressure, the Museum agreed to reinstate the reservation. 
The book's targeted audience is creative leaders and cultural practitioners. It examines boycotts such as the historical precedent of South Africa, the current cultural boycott of Israel, freedom of speech vs self-censorship and activism, and the use of boycotts for civil rights, most notably today in its adoption by the BDS movement. The book also explores the land wars in 19th century Ireland, when Irish farmers defied actions by Captain Charles Boycott and English landlords. In the 20th century boycott played central roles in the liberation of India, South Africa and the U.S. civil rights movement, such as the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott, a turning point for the movement against black and white segregation. 
But the book's main goal is to put the boycott campaign against Israel on the same ontological plane as these successful historical boycotts. As can be seen, most of the contributors are Palestinian and pro-Palestinian activists. The book includes essays by Nasser Abourahme, Ariella Azoulay, Tania Bruguera, Noura Erakat, Kareem Estefan, Mariam Ghani with Haig Aivazian, Nathan Gray and Ahmet Öğüt, Chelsea Haines, Sean Jacobs, Yazan Khalili, Carin Kuoni and Laura Raicovich, Svetlana Mintcheva, Naeem Mohaiemen, Hlonipha Mokoena, John Peffer, Joshua Simon, Ann Laura Stoler, Radhika Subramaniam, Eyal Weizman and Kareem Estefan, and Frank B. 
There are two Israeli academic contributors, Ariella Azoulay (Brown University) and Eyal Weizman (Goldsmiths, University of London), both staunch supporters of BDS who made names to themselves by attacking Israel. In January IAM reported that Azoulay, formally of the Minerva Humanities Center at Tel Aviv University has contributed a chapter, reproduced below. Her chapter is full of venom against Israel. A short example is, "Acknowledging the Nakba is a prerequisite to join the BDS movement, but it cannot be enough for Israeli Jews. The destruction of pre-1948 Palestine should concern them not only as a problem of or a catastrophe for the Palestinians, but also as a crime against humanity for which they bear responsibility. Hence, in recognizing Palestinian rights, they should also supplement them with a right of their own—the right not to be perpetrators, the right to refuse to inhabit the position allocated to them by the Israeli regime. In the context of this regime, under which Jewish responsibility for the destruction of Palestine and the perpetuation of the catastrophe is still widely denied by many Jews, the universal value of the right not to be a perpetrator can be acknowledged today mainly by Palestinians and within the BDS movement." 
Weizman's reading of Israel is quit similar. Yagil Henkin of the Institute for National Security Studies at TAU, who reviewed Weitzman's book notes: "Reading Hollow Land, one is left with the impression that Israel can do nothing at all of which Weizman would approve. Quite simply, the Jewish state contaminates everything with which it comes in contact. Frequently this stance leads him into flagrant contradictions, such as when he condemns Israel both for dismantling evacuated settlements and for considering the possibility of not doing so; both for making life difficult for Palestinian residents of the territories and for preventing a humanitarian crisis there (in order to consolidate its control, of course). He attacks the IDF’s decision to use precision-guided munitions with special warheads (which cause fewer civilian casualties) because, he argues, it renders targeted killings (of terrorists, that is) more “tolerable,” and he denounces Israeli architecture in Jerusalem because it aspires to a false “Orientalist” authenticity. To Weizman, even the shingled roofs used in settlement housing are just a means of demonstrating distinction from Arab homes, although almost every community in Israel has them. His use of data is also decidedly selective." 
Indefatigable Palestinians and their supporters try to delegitimize Israel on every occasion. Among them is a substantial contingent of radical Israeli academics. Indeed, as IAM has frequently pointed out, their job security seems to depend on how much they can trash Israel. It is a sad commentary on the universities which employ them.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
Drop in Anti-Israel BDS Campaigns on US Campuses: Are the Winds Changing?
Israel on Campus Coalition, a group dedicated to Israel-related events on US campuses, published a report on 2016-2017. The report counted a total of 4,327 activities - 1,172 anti-Israel activities and 3,155 pro-Israel ones. The figures represent an almost 20% decline from the 1,437 and 3,886 respectively in 2015-2016. More specifically, with regards to BDS, there was a 40 percent decrease in activities, in 2016-17 there were 20 BDS campaigns while in 2015-16 there were 33. 
This is not surprising since Pro-Palestinian groups have claimed that measures to legislate law prohibiting BDS are restricting their freedom of speech. Palestinian BDS groups assert that Palestinian advocacy is now being targeted. They note facing new threats from anti-BDS organizations. 
It should be noted that there has been a recent uptick in anti-BDS activity. The OutlawBDS, a New York based anti-BDS group that was established to “provide support for New York State Senate Bill S2492” is a case in point. The group published a ‘blacklist’ of BDS supporters in New York and upon passage of anti-BDS law, an entire list of individuals compiled by the group “will be immediately delivered to state authorities, to ensure nothing is hidden from those who wish a better hope for this country.” The group emailed BDS activists to warn them that "According to new legislation in New York State, individuals and organizations that engage in or promote BDS activities with US allies will no longer receive public funding or support. Moreover, the state and its agencies will no longer engage in business or hire these organizations and individuals as they have been deemed problematic and anti-American. You have been marked. You have been identified. You have a limited window of opportunity to cease and desist or face the consequences of your actions in legal proceedings. In case you have ceased your past wrong-doing, please contact us at admin@outlawbds.com for your profile to be removed from the Blacklist." 
Palestinian BDS activists responded that “The goal is to scare these activists before the beginning of their professional careers so they can drop activism for Palestine... if you would like to find a job, you should quit the Palestinian cause—or we will make it impossible for you.” 
Sunaina Maira, professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California Davis, and member of the US campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, has spoken about this blacklisting: “As faculty advisor to Students for Justice in Palestine and member of Faculty for Justice in Palestine at UC Davis, and an academic boycott organizer involved in national campaigns, I've noticed the chilling effect that Zionist blacklists and smear campaigns have had on activists involved in the Palestinian justice movement, especially on campuses where administrators routinely discipline students who dare to demand equality and justice for the Palestinian people... The tactics that alt-right activists and white nationalist groups are using to attack faculty and undermine academic freedom have long been used by Zionists across the US to create what Steven Salaita called the 'Palestine exception' to free speech." 
Echoing this tone, the American center Palestine Legal, an independent organization for the civil rights and liberties of people supporting Palestinian freedom, has published an analysis of the legal status of BDS in New York. It says in March 2017, "with almost no notice, no public hearing, no opportunity for public input, the New York State Senate passed three anti-protest bills targeting Palestine advocacy. S.2492 would create a state-sponsored blacklist of individuals, organizations, and companies that support boycotts for Palestinian rights, and would unconstitutionally deny them state benefits." Palestine Legal also mentioned that "On June 5, 2016, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Executive Order No. 157 (EO 157) Directing State Agencies And Authorities To Divest Public Funds Supporting BDS Campaign Against Israel." 
Arguing that BDS is not considered free speech, Marc Greendorfer, an experienced attorney in legal advocacy and scholarship, postulates that BDS support is not protected by the First Amendment because while commercial boycotts have a history in the United States, "Boycotts that conflicts with established government policy are not protected.” Because BDS violates the rights of Jewish and Israeli American that are protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. In addition, existing federal law prohibits support for foreign-sourced boycotts of Israel. He stressed that both Congress and the Supreme Court have followed the principle that when a boycott interferes with commerce or disrupts important policy goals of the government, the right to boycott is vulnerable to government infringement, particularly if the boycott is not in furtherance of the protection of a substantive right held by United States citizens." Greendorfer clarifies that the American "Supreme Court found that boycotts that are political protests intended to punish foreign nations for their offshore conduct may be limited by the government." He concluded that "It is paradoxical that BDS supporters attempt to cloak their unlawful activities with First Amendment protections.... First, opposition to boycotts of Israel has been longstanding U.S. government policy... Far from being civil rights activists, BDS is nothing more than a thinly-veiled hate group." 
In a recent paper "Boycotting the Boycotters: Turnabout Is Fair Play Under the Commerce Clause and the Unconstitutional Conditions Doctrine," Greendorfer reviewed "the constitutionality of state laws that prohibit the state from investing in, or contracting with, parties engaged in certain boycott activity." He found that "as the boycotts subject to state regulation are often connected to the so-called 'BDS movement' that has been active in promoting commercial and academic boycotts of Israel, the paper focuses on the background of BDS and how the nature of BDS impacts the analysis of Commerce Clause and Unconstitutional Conditions Doctrine applicability." 
Prof. Maira, the BDS supporter, has, of course a different opinion as expressed in her forthcoming book Boycott!: The Academy and Justice for Palestine, to be released on January 31, 2018. According to the blurb, "The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) has expanded rapidly though controversially in the US in the last five years. The academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions is a key component of that movement. What is this boycott? Why does it make sense? And why is this an American Studies issue? These key questions and others are answered in this essential short book. Boycott! situates the academic boycott in the broader history of boycotts in the US as well as Palestine and shows how it has evolved into a transnational social movement that has spurred profound intellectual and political shifts. It explores the movement’s implications for antiracist, feminist, queer, and academic labor organizing and examines the boycott in the context of debates about Palestine, Zionism, race, rights-based politics, academic freedom, decolonization and neoliberal capitalism." 
By the time the book is published, Maira and her fellow BDS activists might discover an entirely different BDS scene that will keep evolving in the US and beyond.
General Articles
Anti-Semitism on the Rise: German Government Adopts the Working Definition of Antisemitism
The rising number of anti-Semitic incidents has forced decision-makers to seek solutions to the phenomenon. To recall, in 2005 the European Union Monitoring Center (EUMC) has proposed a “Working Definition of anti-Semitism” which confirms that anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism. It was later adopted by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights which replaced the EUMC. The Working Definition categorizes that certain expressions such as comparing Israel to Nazi Germany - known as the “nazification of Israel” - are considered modern or neo-anti-Semitism. 
Unsurprisingly, opponents to Israel found the Working Definition controversial and tried to undermine it by claiming it limited the freedom of speech. For a while they were successful, IAM reported in December 2013 on the "Removal of the "Working Definition of Anti-Semitism" by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights." But the Working Definition received a new lease of life when the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), chaired by Romania's special representative Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu, adopted the Working Definition of Antisemitism in May 2016. Soon after the European Parliament adopted the Working Definition, Romania, as well as the US house of representatives. 
Then in December 2016 the UK Government announced its plan to adopt the Working Definition and two months later, the University of Central Lancashire cancelled an event part of "Israel Apartheid Week" activity on its campus. The spokesperson for the university said it contravened the definition of antisemitism adopted by the government and was “unlawful”. 
Recently, the German government announced it adopts the international definition of anti-Semitism. Figures on anti-Semitisms in Germany indicate that the decision is very timely. The German authorities recorded 1,468 anti-Semitic offenses in 2016, a 7.5 percent increase. Per the request of the government, a 311 page preliminary report published in April 2017 provides a breakdown of the incidents. Muslims are the most prevalent group among those accused of anti-Semitic offense. Researchers note that the Middle East conflict has spurred a high level for anti-Semitism among the Muslims. The findings are only partial, however, because only 18 imams volunteered to participate. The experts behind the study acknowledged that far more research is needed to determine the extent of anti-Semitic attitudes, including the impact of Muslim immigration to Germany. 
The report concluded that anti-Semitism exists on both the extreme right and to a lesser extent on the extreme left as well as among Muslim communities. It pointed out that right-wing anti-Semites committed the greatest number of actual anti-Semitic crimes. And the experts were at pains to emphasize that anti-Semitism among people of Arab or Turkish backgrounds had less to do with their religion than with their socialization. Juliane Wetzel, researcher and the the Expert Group co-coordinator said that "A pilot study commissioned by the expert group about the attitudes of imams in Germany was unable to identify any radical anti-Semitism." After reviewing a substantial number of studies on the topic, the Expert Group said that while the traditional forms of anti-Semitism had somewhat declined, it was modern anti-Semitism, for example, criticism of Israel being extended to Jews in general, remained alarmingly popular. Politicians agreed that criticism of Israel is often used to justify anti-Semitism and that "Forty percent of the German population agrees with statements that attack Jewish people by way of remarks that are hostile to Israel." The Expert Group promised to release more findings on the growing modern anti-Semitism. 
According to Deidre Berger, the director of The AJC Berlin Ramer Institute for German-Jewish relations, "The lack of a unified definition has led to anti-Semitic incidents being all too often ignored in recent years... The fact, for example, that the courts considered an arson attack on a synagogue in Wuppertal as non-anti-Semitic illustrates the necessity of a definition." 
Absent a definition it would be harder for law enforcement to combat anti-Semitism. The importance of the Working Definition can not be overestimated.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
South Africa as Battleground for BDS: Palestinian Groups Intensify Pressure for Academic Boycott
While suffering legal and political defeats in the United States and Europe, the BDS initiative has flourished in South Africa. Palestinian groups are strong and well organized there and use their leverage to promote BDS. At the University of Cape Town (UCT) the Palestine Solidarity Forum has organized a series of seminars to debate the issue of boycotting the Israeli academic institutions. 
A local paper The Daily Vox, run by Khadija Patel and Azad Essa, published an editorial "UCT, Decolonisation And The Academic Boycott Of Israel. Patel and Essa, who also work for the Al-Jazeera English edition, claimed that "Israeli universities are especially critical targets for boycotts because of their func'tion of ideologically, politically, economically and militarily propping up the Israeli colonial project... international opposition against colonialism is critical to building the progressive solidarity and ideological clarity necessary to reshape the world". Interestingly, the "new journalism" that this paper claims to promote sought donations from George Soros' Open Society Foundations. 
As always, the BDS advocates recruit Israeli supporters to legitimize their work. Ronnie Barkan, a staunch BDS activist, is a trusted stand-by. In an interview promoting BDS Barkan mentioned Israeli academics: “When [historian] Ilan Pappé and [professor of linguistics] Tanya Reinhardt were targeted for calling for the academic boycott, we decided that it makes sense to speak out as a group.” His aim was to show there is support for BDS in the Israeli academic community. 
However, there are drawbacks to an institutional BDS according to a American law professor David Bernstein of George Mason University. Bernstein has warned UCT that “They are trying to isolate Israel, but they may find that the University of Cape Town is internationally isolated instead... There would be a substantial number of professors like myself who would have nothing to do with UCT should they adopt an academic boycott of Israel.” He explained that the UCT currently has partnership agreements with many American universities in states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Arizona. These three states are among the 22 US states to have passed anti-BDS bills in 2016 which prohibit state governments and agents from doing business with entities that boycott Israel. In other words, should UCT adopt a BDS resolution, it would impair its academic contacts in the United States. 
The Palestinian groups have hitched their wagon to the popular movement for the decolonisation of South Africa. In a symbolic act, UCT removed the statue of Cecil John Rhodes on 09 April, 2015, following weeks of protests and deliberations. Rhodes was a British businessman and politician in South Africa who served as a Prime Minister of the Cape Colony in the 1890s. Since he was an ardent believer in British imperialism, having his statue at UCT removed is "a metaphorical call for the transformation of the university's curriculum, culture and faculty, which many blacks feel are alienating and still reflect a Eurocentric heritage". UCT Vice Chancellor Dr. Max Price said the statue has been moved to a safe storage location as the university awaits a decision from the Western Cape government for the statue's future. 
Noting the climate of change, Professor Mahmood Mamdani, a former lecturer in Columbia University who returned to the University of Cape Town after a 16-year absence, who lectured recently in UCT and argued that the university has a "once-in-a-generation opportunity to change direction – from a colonising outpost to a decolonisation project." Mamdani agreed to return to the University of Cape Town “because Rhodes fell”. In his lecture Mamdani said that the institutional form of the modern African university was not African and there was ‘no connection’ between the institutions of learning we know of and celebrate in pre-colonial Africa, whether it’s in Cairo or in Timbuktu. “The universities of contemporary Africa are based on the European model. The European model of a discipline-based gated community with a distinction between clearly defined groups, administrators, academics, and fee-paying students”. By speaking about university fees he aligned himself with the new movement "Fees Must Fall" which is calling to reduce university fees. 
Its worth noting that Mamdani also supports the BDS movement. In 2010 he was among more than 100 academics across South Africa, from over 13 universities, who pledged their support to a University of Johannesburg initiative for ending collaboration with Ben-Gurion University. 
South Africa is a particularly fertile ground for Palestinian BDS groups because of its history of apartheid. Indeed, radical Israeli scholars have used the apartheid analogy for some two decades now. The South Africans followed suit. The book Apartheid Israel: The Politics of an Analogy, published in 2015, brought eighteen prominent South African scholars to reflect on the analogy between apartheid South Africa and contemporary Israel "with an eye to strengthening and broadening today’s movement for justice in Palestine." Ahmed Kathrada, a veteran anti-apartheid activist and former political prisoner reviewed the book. "A South African who is not white does not need more than one day's stay in Palestine to be thrown back to pre-1994 and realize that apartheid is very much alive under Israel as a colonial power... The essays in Apartheid Israel: The Politics of an Analogy powerfully remind those of us who brought down the apartheid regime in South Africa that we must join with our Palestinian brothers and sisters in their fight to bring down the apartheid regime in Israel.” 
But there are other voices to the debate who take a more pragmatic tone. As political scientist Itumeleng Makgetla wrote recently, "Given South Africa’s recent experience with the 2016 drought, and future preparation for potential phenomena given the changing climate, it is important to note that Israel is leading in water technology." 
In December 2017 the ANC, South Africa's ruling party, would decide whether to downgrade the Embassy in Israel to a liaison office. South Africa would soon have to decide whether to take the ideological position or the practical one. Same with the universities in South Africa that would need to make this choice too. In a world threatened by climate change and Islamist terrorism, a rigid adherence to an equally rigid cause does not pay.
Anti-Israel Conferences
"Freedom of Speech and Higher Education: The Case of the Academic Boycott of Israel" in Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
IAM reported in April on Ronit Lentin, a retired professor of sociology at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) who is one of the organizers of the conference "Freedom of Speech and Higher Education: the Case of the Academic Boycott of Israel" that took place in 11-12 September 2017. She is the chairperson of "Academics for Palestine," a group which has been set up to promote the academic boycott of Israel. The call for papers stated that "The conference does not propose to debate the pros and cons of the academic boycott of Israel but rather to make links and draw lessons about the role of the public university in fostering academic freedom, and the freedom to express critical, even if controversial views." Lentin published a letter in support of the academic boycott of Israel in the Irish Times in January. 
Steven Salaita, profiled by the IAM's posts was one of the featured speakers at the conference. After an introduction by Lentin, he spoke about the circumstances under which he lost his offer of a position at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The university argued that his tweets were egregiously anti-Semitic, but Salaita chose to present a different narrative. In his speech posted on YouTube he claimed that many people have lost their jobs for being anti-Zionists. He added that when it comes to Palestine, there is no freedom of speech, because of threats and that "Zionists tell bullshit lies about this world;" (33:15) that "Israel commits ethnic cleansing" (36:27). Salaita actually apologized in his lecture for being so angry in the summer of 2014 and tweeting the tweets against Israel (39:18). 
Contrary to the conference assertions about promoting freedom of speech, it was Ze’ev Boker, the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland, who was prevented from speaking at the TCD earlier this year by the group Students for Justice in Palestine. TCD provost Patrick Prendergast condemned this incident and said it represented “the antithesis of what Trinity stands for”. Equally important, a number of proposals for alternative views for the conference where turned down although the University issued a statement that "There will be speakers who have opinions both for and against the academic boycott of Israel in attendance and speaking during the event.” Lentin and her cohorts use such events as a propaganda platform against Israel. 
The conference attracted little public attention not least because in the international environment is full of real and grave problems. Huge natural disasters, threats of atomic weapons from North Korea, the violence of ISIS, the still active civil war in Syria, the plight of the Rohingyas in Myanmar, to name just a few. 
But to the radical academics, the suffering of millions and millions of people means little because of their singular obsession with Israel. This type of academy cannot regain its moral authority without addressing its moral blindness.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
Anarchist Kobi Snitz of Weizmann Institute Supports the BDS Community
Before the BDS law was passed by the Knesset in 2011 a number of Israeli academics have been involved in BDS activities. After the law, they stopped promoting BDS but did not renounce it. 
Some have mounted legal challenges to the aspects of the BDS legislation and its bureaucratic management. For instance, recently Israeli academic BDS supporters have filed a request via Freedom of Information Act demanding the government reveals the methodology used in deciding to block entry to Israel of BDS activists. Rachel Giora, a linguist at Tel Aviv University and Kobi Snitz of the Weizmann Institute Department of Neurobiology are among four signatories of the information request which Adv. Eitay Mack filed to the Israeli Ministry of Interior and the Population and Immigration Authority. 
The signatories compare the prevention of entry to BDS supporters to "the military juntas in Latin America and dictatorships in Africa which received security aid from Israel. " They also compare the denial of entry to "the case of U.S. citizen Charles Horman, who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered immediately after Pinochet’s coup in Chile in 1973." Mack alleged that Horman was killed based on "being a radical left activist, transferred to the junta by U.S. intelligence agents." 
The group has asked to receive from the Israeli government the "criteria and procedures that determined which person or organization was added to the blacklist; any protocols or decisions as to how a person or organization was added to the blacklist; any background information gathered on a person or an organization in advance of a decision to add them to the blacklist; details of persons and organizations on the blacklist; messages, appeals and correspondence with foreign entities (airlines, states, foreign security forces, etc.) regarding the blacklist, and persons and organizations on it". 
Previously, the group of petitioners has asked the government to reveal its covert activities against the BDS movement. The group filed requests to both the Foreign Ministry and the Strategic Affairs Ministry, it asked the "government to reveal its financial support to foreign organizations, individuals, journalists or bloggers assisting Israel in its battle against what it calls “delegitimization.”" 
The delegitimization of Israel by Israeli academics is not new, and the university authorities have not reacted because they fear an international backlash. Censuring activists who implicitly support boycott could tarnish a university's reputation in the eyes of the international academic community. As IAM documented, the international academic community threatened Israel with boycott after the Council of Higher Education published a scathing report on the Ben Gurion University's Dept. of Politics and Government. The CHE was forced to retreat its demands behind a flimsy face-saving solution, sending a clear message that activist faculty should be left alone. 
This message has emboldened activists like the self-proclaimed anarchist Kobi Snitz, who has used his position as a faculty member of the Weizmann Institution to engage in anarchist activism. 
In 2010 IAM reported that Snitz has served a 20-day jail sentence for hiding in a house slated for demolition in the village of Harbata in 2004, along with other activists from Anarchists Against the Wall. Snitz was convicted and fined NIS 2,000, "He decided not to pay the fine because he believes he did not do anything, so he went to jail," as reported by a fellow anarchist. 
Snitz who is serving as a webmaster for a Washington D.C. tenants rights group (TENAC) has found an American platform to publicize his grievance. TENAC has published a press release stating that Snitz has apparently been “shot at, fined, jailed, and constantly harassed” for his peace activism. TENAC was "outraged" at these actions. "We strongly support his efforts to secure peace there. We also support the outstanding work of the North American Rabbis for Peace in Israel, who are engaged in the same hard, dangerous work.” One leader of TENAC said that there’s a direct correlation between affordable housing in the District and bulldozed houses in Gaza. “We have a loud voice here on tenant rights and the like... Tenants rights begs the whole rights question. This is a civil rights question in Israel.” The TENAC international outreach encompasses Arab and Israeli issues. There are 350,000 tenants that TENAC represents, about two-thirds of the population are people of Middle Eastern background, Arabs, Jews and others. "We are constantly made aware of the terrible hardships suffered by these populations. We have demonstrated against the murderous, genocidal rule of Bashar al Assad, who has virtually slaughtered his own nation, and we have also strongly supported the peace movement in Israel." What is troubling here is that TENAC likens Israel to other dictatorships in the region and uses Snitz as a symbol. Since the TENAC website says "TENAC is very indebted to Kobi Snitz, our website creator" and web administrator, it goes without saying that those of Middle Eastern origin could potentially be influenced by Snitz. 
Snitz is the director also of Calyx Institute which aims to create an internet service provider that "keeps customer traffic private, away from prying governmental eyes." Calyx Institute provides services helping to avoid the National Security Agency monitoring. "Wouldn't it be nice if we were free to surf the web free from fear of having our traffic monitored and emails scraped by the NSA?" 
It is not surprising that Snitz's sees the Israeli state as a problem as he described, "the joint struggle faces only one main problem: the Israeli state." To emphasis this point he said in an interview that, "the activists who protest with Palestinians are quickly transformed by it and join a core of anti-Zionists living in Israel." More to the point, he was recently interviewed praising BDS. "Kobi Snitz, an Israeli member of the Boycott from Within campaign, says that: BDS tactics are the only example I can think of where the Palestinian movement has a built-in advantage and the Israelis have no effective way to suppress it." 
IAM has repeatedly documented Snitz's extensive involvement in multiple anarchist activities in Israel and abroad. Being an anarchist is a full time job which probably requires overtime as well. Snitz can do all this and more because he receives a salary from the Weizmann Institute. His modest academic record for which he is paid indicates that the Weizmann Institute and the Israeli tax payers receive very little in return.
Tel Aviv University
Brown University M.E. Center Seeks Post-Zionist Academics: Gadi Algazi TAU Medievalist Researches Israel's First Decade
Beshara Doumani, the Director of Middle East Studies at Brown University, has expanded it to include a Center for Palestinians Studies, which was inaugurated in 2014. Like many such outlets, its sole mission seems to be a radical critique of Israel to present it as a colonial state which subjugates the native population. Needless to say, the colonial paradigm, normally applied to the study of European colonialism in Africa and Asia, does not recognize the historical link between the Jews and the Holy Land. 
But Doumani, well versed in the anti-Israel discourse, understands that recruiting Israeli scholars would make the colonial paradigm more credible while avoiding charges of anti-Semitism. Doumani has been hosting well known critics of Israel as Ariella Azoulay and Adi Ophir. 
Professor Gadi Algazi, a scholar of late medieval and early modern social and cultural history at Tel Aviv University is another guest at the Center. After receiving tenure, Algazi, a life-long political activist, switched from his appointed subject, to writing political work on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a colonial perspective, something that in the exact sciences is unheard of. 
While at Brown, earlier this year Algazi took part of a panel titled "Archives, Diaries, and Colonial Appropriation." His paper, "Profits of Military Rule" promised to analyze colonialism and "profit-generating mechanisms" between 1948–1958. In particular, he focused on the "appropriation and of the social groups who owe their wealth to the military rule imposed on Palestinians in Israel". 
To show how far he had traveled from his original training as a medievalist, the paper is bristled with neo-Marxist, critical jargon such as "class formation under settler colonialism" and other phrases beloved by scholars eager to show their neo-Marxist bona fide. The paper begins with "oral accounts of Bedouin deportation and dispossession, originally encountered in the context of my political work" and ends with the goal of establishing the "legacy of past colonial violence and unequal access to modes of transmission." 
Turning his activism into academics, Algazi finds audiences to his theory. He also spoke at the Colgate University Center for Peace and Conflict on "Making Them Pay: Israel and the Political Economy of Military Rule, 1948-1958" detailing the "intersection of military rule and political economy in Israel." More recently he spoke on the subject of "What do we do against colonialism?" at a conference organized by the platform of Balad party, the group which opposes the idea of Israel as a Jewish state, and favors binational state. 
Algazi was never shy of admitting his activist credentials. In a lengthy interview Algazi spoke about growing up in a activist home and his decision to refuse military service while being a student at Tel Aviv University in 1980. He also mentioned his "dear friend" Leon Sheleff from Tel Aviv University's Law School who defended him in court on charges of refusal. Joining the academy was the next logical step, where, as noted, activist faculty could launch a career in political polemics supported by the tax payers. It is this path that led him to the lush campus of Brown University. 
It would be interesting to know whether Algazi is familiar with the encampment of the Pokanoket Nation, a native American tribe, which has been protesting the theft of its land by Brown. So far, the Ivy League school has offered a vague promise to study the charges. Even if he is familiar, he probably would not elaborate on the subject and neither would his host Doumani who served as a discussant at the "Archives, Diaries, and Colonial Appropriation" panel. After all, it doesn't serve their political agenda. 
This is not academically sound. For the sake of proper academic conduct Tel Aviv University should have reined in its staff's penchant for political activism.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
Anat Matar's Group Calls to Boycott Israeli Cancer Research Congress Organized by TAU Professor
In September 10-14, 2017 the Israeli Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, headed by Prof. Abdussalam Azem, hosts in Jerusalem the 42nd Congress of the Federation of the European Biochemical Societies (FEBS). FEBS promotes and supports biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, molecular biophysics and related research areas. Founded in 1964, it is one of Europe's largest organizations in the molecular life sciences, with over 36,000 members across more than 35 biochemistry and molecular biology societies. 
This Congress will be held in Binyanei Hauma and is entitled "From molecules to cells and back" covering the entire spectrum of molecular life sciences. Professor Abdussalam Azem, who signed the invitation is a leading Arab researcher from Tel Aviv University, the head of the TAU Laboratory of Molecular Machines. His lab members, the Azem Group, includes Jewish and non-Jewish members. 
Much to everyone's surprise, the French Association of Academics for the Respect of International Law in Palestine (Association des universitaires pour le respect du droit international en Palestine - AURDIP), headed by secretary Ahmed Abbes, mathematician and director of research in CNRS, Paris, has published a call for the boycott of the FEBS event in Jerusalem. AURDIP was created in cooperation with the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel PACBI and with the British organization BRICUP. 
AURDIP has gathered some 90 signatures of international academics. There are several Israelis and former Israelis, including Azem's colleague at TAU. Such as Dr. Anat Matar, Philosophy, Tel Aviv University, Israel; Emmanuel Farjoun, Professor of Mathematics, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel; Dr Ronit Lentin, Retired Associate Professor of Sociology, Trinity College Dublin ; Chair, Academics for Palestine, Ireland Dr. Hilla Dayan, sociologist, Lecturer at Amsterdam University College, Netherlands; Prof. Haim Bresheeth, Professorial Research Associate, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, UK; Moshé Machover, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University of London, UK; Dror Warschawski, biophysicist, CNRS, France. 
Others are worth noting as they are the most prominent activists of the academic boycott movement: 
Mona Baker, Professor of translation studies, University of Manchester, UK; Mike Cushman, Research Fellow (rtd) London School of Economics, UK; Terri Ginsberg, Assistant Professor of film and director of the film program, The American University in Cairo, Egypt; Tom Hickey, Principal Lecturer in Philosophy and Aesthetics, University of Brighton, UK; Ghada Karmi, Research Fellow, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, UK; David Klein, Professor of Mathematics, California State University, Northridge, Northridge, USA; David Lloyd, Distinguished Professor of English, University of California, Riverside, USA; Sunaina Maira, Professor of Asian American Studies, University of California-Davis, US; Mazin Qumsiyeh, Biology Professor at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities, Palestine; Steven Rose, Emeritus professor of neuroscience, The Open University, UK; Jonathan Rosenhead, Emeritus Professor of Operational Research, London School of Economics, UK; Dr Derek Summerfield, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College, Univ of London, UK. 
The group urge to cancel participation in the forthcoming congress for the following reasons: 
Israel’s direct attacks on Palestinians’ right to education, including the bombing of schools and universities, and the obstruction of access to educational sites. The restrictions Israel places on the teaching and research of our Palestinian colleagues have severe consequences not only on research and educational opportunities, but also on Palestinians’ health. 
The five-year survival rate for breast cancer is as low as 30% in Gaza, which Israel has besieged for the past ten years, as compared to 86% in Israel. In 2016, only 44% of Gaza patients who requested access to Israeli hospitals were admitted ; more than half of those refused entry were cancer patients. 
Israeli military authorities forbid students from Gaza to attend universities in the West Bank, and vice versa, and the system of Israeli checkpoints that crisscrosses the West Bank makes school attendance a matter of painful hardship for most Palestinian students. In addition, Palestinian scholars and researchers are regularly denied permission to travel abroad to further their education, attend conferences and participate in joint projects. 
Within Israel, Palestinian students face institutionalised discrimination. Israeli military forces have not hesitated to violently target educational and research institutions. In April 2002 the Palestine Academy for Science and Technology in Ramallah suffered extensive destruction during the IDF’s incursion into the West Bank, as did most of West Bank university laboratories. Regular invasions of their campuses have now become a fact of life for Palestinian universities. 
During the 2014 Israeli invasion of Gaza, six public and private schools, eleven kindergartens and three higher education institutions were completely destroyed ; 450 additional educational facilities sustained serious damage. 
The FEBS Congress is sponsored by Israeli academic institutions that are deeply complicit in Israel’s human rights violations. Tel Aviv University and Technion, for instance, have developed weapon systems and military doctrines employed in committing what Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have condemned as war crimes, while the Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus campus is partially built on illegally confiscated Palestinian land in occupied East Jerusalem. 
Despite the differences, it is inspired by the academic boycott of South Africa, which was called for in 1965 by 496 academics from 34 universities in the United Kingdom. 
Last year, only one third of invited speakers confirmed their attendance to the FEBS conference scheduled to take place in Turkey. The conference was later canceled, after expressing “solidarity with the Turkish scientific community” which is facing the “curtailment of academic freedoms in Turkey.” 
They end their appeal with: "We urge you to heed the call of Palestinian academics who have called for a boycott of Israel until their basic human rights are met, and to cancel your participation in the upcoming FEBS Congress in Jerusalem. Refraining from lending one’s name to a system of injustice is not a charitable act ; it is a basic moral duty." 
The boycott petition recycles some of the specious arguments against Israel. As a matter of fact, many Palestinian patients are being treated in Israeli hospitals and there are also many Palestinian students and lecturers in Israeli universities. Omar Barghouti as an example. The organizer of the congress is an Israeli Arab and a leading scholar in his field. Perhaps the congress is receiving sponsorship from Israeli universities, but so is Dr. Anat Matar, receiving a salary from Tel Aviv University. 
Signatories such as Mona Baker or Steven Rose are hard core "BDS warmongers" whose activities go back to the early 2000s. Having lost the boycott debate in the University College Union, they are grasping at straws. 
As for the call to exercise "moral duty," the radical left has always been very selective, it stems from the paradigmatic posture that the Jews can do no right and the Palestinians can do no wrong. This logic led to some very tortured explanations in the past and has guided the reference to Turkey in the current petition. As well known, President Erdogan had hundreds if not thousand faculty fired and some were thrown in jail, together with scores of journalists and cultural figures. In Israel, Arab academics occupy a range of important positions and can denounce Israeli policies as some of the IAM posts have suggested. 
Creating this type of "moral duty" is just one more example of the moral bankruptcy of the BDS advocates.
Hebrew University
The New Israel Fund and the Academe: the Case of Avner De-Shalit
The New Israel Fund (NIF) is a multi-million politically engaged, left-leaning foundation designated to transform Israel into a society in which progressive values should trump its Jewish character. As the NIF leadership sees it, democratic and Jewish values in Israel are not compatible. To this end, NIF has donated some $30M annually to progressive and pro-Arab groups. For years large supporter of NIF was the Ford Foundation which launched in 2003 an initial grant of $20 million and in September 2007 another $20 million for extending its partnership in Israel in order to "support civil society, human rights and social justice organizations in Israel." 
Both Ford and NIF are considered controversial and were criticized by some American Jews and Israelis. 
NIF has strong connection to the Israeli academy. The former Hebrew University professor Naomi Chazan served as its president between 2008-2012 and there are many others involved. Professor Avner De Shalit, a political scientist at the Hebrew University and a former dean of the social sciences has been involved with NIF for about two decades, also by serving on NIF's international board. 
His politics is in accordance to NIF's ideology and is quite evident in his writing. In his 2004 "Being Israeli," he writes about Haifa, "one knows that there had been life there before the Jews came. Much of this land was bought for money rather than taken by force, but still . . . Could it be because the price of saving of the Jewish nation – and probably without Zionism preceding the Second World War, most the Jewish nation (at least in Europe) would have vanished in the Nazi gas chambers – was humiliating another nation? Or was it a necessary price? It seems that living with those guilt feelings and hesitations is part of being Israeli. It is morally and emotionally impossible to be indifferent to these feelings. Most Israelis either become obsessed by them or become engaged in a process of denial. So either one tries to prove that, despite what has happened, we Israelis are basically goodhearted, we have been and are ready to divide the land, to negotiate, to compensate, and so on; or one simply denies that a problem exists. ‘There is no such thing as a Palestinian nation’, Golda Meir, Israel’s prime minister between 1969 and 1974, used to say. Some right-wing fanatics in Israeli still claim so. Others admit that saying so would appear ridiculous. Of course there is a Palestinian nation; however, they claim, Israel must not allow this nation to have its own state because it would imply a threat to Israel’s sovereignty. Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Affairs Minister at the time of writing this paper, argues so." 
As a scholar, De-Shalit takes great pride in his alleged academic neutrality and impartiality, according to his 2006 article "Teaching political philosophy and academic neutrality. 
He writes: "In 2002, while I was teaching in Israel, I was very worried about the immorality of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians. A group of several colleagues and myself initiated a petition. The petition set out our position, as university lecturers, on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. It was published in the press and we were interviewed about the moral grounds for our view. The next day, when I entered my MA seminar on ‘Political Philosophy and Practice’, one of the students challenged me: ‘How dare you tell us that political philosophy can change the world if you, Israeli political theorists, have failed to put forward the argument that would stop the occupation?’ Many students joined him, saying that academics in general, but political theorists in particular, were having rather little impact on the state’s policies. As if this was not enough, when I left the classroom I bumped into an ex-student of mine. He was furious: I am so disappointed. You exploited your position as a university professor when you signed this petition as ‘Professor so and so’. You must distinguish between your political opinions and your position as a university professor. This is the opposite of what you have always taught us about the profession of teaching politics. ‘Is that what I taught them?’ I thought to myself while rushing to my room; ‘Can’t be’. I looked at the textbooks they had read in their first year of undergraduate studies. Indeed, they discussed academic objectivity and neutrality. Funny, because I had been feeling during the years following the collapse of the peace process in the Middle East, that political philosophers couldn’t afford the luxury of not referring to the ‘situation’. They were even obliged to put forward their moral arguments and provoke the students to use the tools we had given them, such as concepts, theories, and the like, to reflect more profoundly on these issues. In fact, political philosophers were doing so in any case by the very fact that they were teaching political philosophy in the context of the conflict. So were the books wrong?" 
De-Shalit concludes that "while university lecturers should not adhere to academic neutrality, they should be impartial." 
But a look at some of De-Shalit's actions seem to indicate that, while he talks the talk he does not walk the walk. 
De-Shalit harnesses NIF affiliates as Phd students. Noam Hofstadter was part of the Courage to Refuse Signers' List in 2002. As mentioned above, De-Shalit signed the petition "Open Letter from Faculty Members", who wished to "express our appreciation and support for those of our students and lecturers who refuse to serve as soldiers in the occupied territories" and "our readiness to do our best to help students." 
Hopstadter is being introduced by a NIF think-tank as a "post-doctoral Fellow at Ben Gurion University, where he teaches political science. Previously, he served as Director of Peace Now and as spokesman for B’tselem." Hopstadter's PhD thesis The Expression of Values in the Practice of Not-for-Profit Human and Civil Rights Organizations, explores three NIF grantees The Association for Civil Rights in Israel; Physicians for Human Rights – Israel; and Yesh Din. He writes, "My own activism has taught me lessons that I as of yet have not found in any book... but nevertheless I wish to convey my deepest appreciation to my partners-in-activism, whose determination, creativity, mistakes, experience and companionship have laid the cornerstones for this thesis." 
There is something unethical about it. As a member of the international board of NIF De-Shalit was in conflict of interests and should have not signed on a dissertation which is an academic hagiography of NIF's grantees. 
De-Shalit seemed to fail his own advise on impartiality and objectivity in another issue. In 2001, the Council of Higher Education appointed a two member committee to evaluate the Department of Politics and Government of Ben Gurion University's request to offer a BA program. Professor Zeev Maoz, a leading political scientist and a former head of the Jaffe Centre for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, found that the department did not offer core political science courses and that its faculty were ill equipped to fill the void. He recommended closing the department but the second evaluator, Avner De-Shalit disagreed and, in November 2003, the CHE appointed a new committee under De-Shalit which in 2004 decided that the department offered a "unique program" and approved the department's request. The questionable goings-on in the Department came up again when in 2011, the CHE appointed an International Committee for Evaluation of Political Science and International Relations Programs in Israeli universities. Chaired by Professor Thomas Risse of Berlin’s Free University, the Committee seemed to side with Maoz's 2001 review. The report identified serious problems in the department: weakness of core political science offerings as well as excessive "community activism" and lack of balanced views in the curriculum and the classroom. 
There may be, of course, legitimate explanations as to why De-Shalit's view was at odds with the evaluations of Maoz and the Risse committee. Still, it would be reasonable to question if De-Shalit's service with the NIF had influenced his judgment. 
As his 2006 essay on academic neutrality and impartiality indicates, De-Shalit understands that scholars should not be tainted by suspicions of political partiality. Unfortunately, he does not practice what he preaches.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
Campus Ultimate Missionaries: Steven Salaita as a Case in Point
In a recent Facebook post, Steven Salaita shared his plans for leaving the academe. "My immediate plan is to write and give talks," he wrote. "Despite applying to positions on four continents, I was unable to find an academic job, so I no longer count myself among the professoriate... A number of colleagues have attempted to recruit me, but their efforts always get shut down by management." To recall, Salaita was offered in 2013 a tenured position in the Department of Native American Studies at Illinois University in Urbana-Champaigne but the University withdrew its offer in response to the string of Twitter messages by Salaita in the summer of 2014. 
He tweeted, "Zionists, take responsibility: if your dream of an ethnocratic Israel is worth the murder of children, just fucking own it already." ; 
"This is not a conflict between Israel and 'Hamas'. It's a struggle by an Indigenous people against a colonial Power." ; 
"Let's cut to the chase: If you're defending Israel right now you're an awful human being." ; 
"Will you condemn Hamas? No. Why not? Because Hamas isn't the one incinerating children, you disingenuous prick." ; 
"Zionist uplift in America: every little Jewish boy and girl can grow up to be the leader of a murderous colonial regime." ; 
"Israel's message to Obama and Kerry: we'll kill as many Palestinians as we want, when we want. p.s.: fuck you, pay me." ; 
"You may be too refined to say it, but I am not: I wish all the fucking West Bank settlers would go missing." ; 
"The IDF Spokesperson receives money to justify, conceal, and glamorize genocidal violence. Goebbels much?" ; 
"Israeli Independence Equals sustenance of the European eugenic logic made famous by Hitler," among others. 
After being turned down by University of Illinois, Salaita was offered a visiting position at the American University in Beirut, but ran into some problems and now he is back in the U.S. 
Salaita is the classic anti-Israel activist. In February 2009 IAM reported on the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) which published a petition inviting academics to join the boycott of Israel. Signatory number 174 was Steven Salaita from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. 
Salaita is also fond of Zionist conspiracies, writing, "Zionists have worked overtime to incriminate me, but they’ve never found anything incriminating—not from a lack of diligence, but because there’s nothing to find but plainspoken disdain for settler colonization." Salaita explains his disdain to Israel in his book Israel's Dead Soul (2011). "There is no false advertising in the title: I have no affinity for Israel or Zionism and I wanted to make that clear... my belief that Zionist settler colonization is unsustainable." 
Salaita's anti-Israel stance has evidently began in his upbringing as he stated in his 2003 PhD thesis, "I was raised in Appalachia by Arab immigrants who nurtured my childhood interest in the Middle East, Palestine particularly. My entire life has thus been dedicated to Palestinian politics and activism, and nothing has occupied my thoughts more than Israeli brutality and the way it is described so euphemistically in the United States, if even it is mentioned at all. For the majority of my life. Native America was nothing but an abstract backdrop to the old leftist politics I have since outgrown. I knew, as most Americans do, that the United States was constructed on other peoples’ lands, and that terrible domestic atrocities occurred in America’s past." 
Armed with this missionary vision, Saiaita went to graduate school at the University of Oklahoma. In his doctoral work, Salaita states his goal "to contribute to a culture working hard outside the Academy to eliminate colonialism.... in a way that might satisfy academics as well as any reader interested in issues of justice for Indigenous peoples, especially if they are concerned with formulating resistant strategies or incorporating theoretical models into public debate." As a good missionary that he was, he wrote, "Since entering doctoral school at the University of Oklahoma three years ago with a clear vision of my dissertation topic— a comparative analysis of Native Americans and Palestinians, with attention to how politics influence literary production". 
Although Saiaita managed to secure a position after graduation in Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, his true passion was anti-Israel activity and his egregious social media "production" bordering on the anti-Semitic caught up with him at the University of Illinois. 
Still, as Salaita stated, he is now starting a new career as a freelance writer and speaker. This should not be too difficult as there are many venues in which bashing of Israel is fashionable. For instance, he will speak in the upcoming conference "Freedom of Speech and Higher Education: The Case of the Academic Boycott of Israel" in Trinity College Dublin on 11-12 September 2017, as a keynote speaker. The invitation reads, "Steven Salaita. Author of Uncivil Rites: Palestine and the Limits of Academic Freedom, Steven was denied a Professorship in University of Illinois due to his views on Israel/Palestine and will speak on “Freedom to boycott: BDS and the modern University”." 
There is little doubt that from now on he would present himself as a martyr for the cause of academic freedom. Salaita's progression from missionary to martyr is probably a fitting epitaph for his career. 
Ben-Gurion University
Complaint by Prof. Rivka Carmi to the Knesset Ethics Committee
On May 24, 2017 the Knesset Committee of Education, Culture and Sports has held a quick hearing questioning BGU's support in BDS. The hearing was initiated by MK Anat Berko (Likud), MK Amir Ohana (Likud) and MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) and titled "Fears of continued support of Ben Gurion University in BDS". MK Berko explained that ”There is a problem in Ben-Gurion University's Politics and Government Department, where they call Israel a 'shaved-headed state'." MK Smotrich argued that professors sign petitions with the title professors at Ben-Gurion University, unrelated to academic freedom. ”Freedom of expression, yes, but do I have to fund these people? Of course not”. 
Professor Rivka Carmi, President of Ben-Gurion University rejected these accusations as ”false” and ”detached from reality. ” She added that Ben Gurion University ”is at the forefront of the fight against the BDS movement.” Carmi also said that professors who voice support for BDS do so on their own behalf and do not represent the university's views. 
Education Committee Chairman MK Yakov Margi (Shas) said, ”I had no doubt that Ben-Gurion University does not support or encourage BDS activity... There is no doubt that there is agreement on the need to fight the BDS movements, and this is why we called on the Council for Higher Education to examine how to do this through policy, while allowing a variety of opinion to be heard in [university] courses.” 
But shortly after the hearing Professor Carmi has filed a complaint with the Knesset Ethics committee. She wrote that the title of the hearing did the university a great injustice, since the university is "one of the leaders in the struggle against the BDS movement," and certainly does not support BDS activities. 
There are apparently deep seated grievances that Prof. Carmi has against the hearing. She has apparently felt that the hearing served as a cover to publicize the position of Mr. Michael Gross, one of the members of the Board of Governors of the University. Mr. Gross has been critical of the university's handling of lecturers and activities that seemed to support BDS. According to him, the university retaliated by trying to remove him from the Board and returning his donation. In her complaint to the Ethics Committee, Professor Carmi singled out MK Yoel Hasson. Although MK Hasson disclosed during the hearing that he had received financial support from Mr. Gross in the primaries in 2009, he also attacked the university for its attitude to Mr. Gross. MK Hasson demanded that the university not remove Mr. Gross from the Board of Governors. 
In conclusion, Carmi noted that "it is difficult to avoid the feeling that a member of the Board of Governors" ostensibly "bought" a hearing of a committee of the Knesset using a "baseless political pretext and contempt of the university, in order to prevent what he thought was a move to remove him from the Board of Governors." 
After serious considerations the Ethics Committee concluded as following: 
1. Indeed, in the headline proposed by the initiators could cause damage to the university when official bodies of the state hold a hearing at the Knesset with such a title, and it could even damage the Israeli struggle against BDS supporters, with the title of an official hearing in the Knesset as well as Knesset members claiming that an Israeli university itself supports BDS. Indeed the title of the hearing was intended to defame the university and to attribute it, as an institution, support in BDS - something which had no grounds in the findings presented to the Education Committee. 
2. The BDS issue did serve as a platform for discussion of Mr. Gross's case, Mr Gross's case was not even mentioned in the proposal which lead to the hearing. It would have been appropriate to present it to the Knesset presidency in their detailed request prior to the hearing. 
3. The Ethics Committee found that MKs Berko and Smotritch violated Rule 1A(5) of the Rules of Ethics, according to which "Member of Knesset will carry out his duty in the Knesset with responsibility and fairness." Yet the Committee did not find it necessary to impose sanctions on them. Regarding the claim concerning MK Hasson, who did not initiate the hearing and even objected to the claim that the university supports BDS, the Committee concludes that MK Hasson did not violate the ethics rules. 
4. But the Committee also commented to the university administration, that they must also maintain appropriate manners toward Knesset members, they were wrong to have alleged "buying" a hearing, while the three initiators of the hearing have expressed that they did not receive any contribution from Mr. Gross. Also the university's rector, Prof. Zvi Hacohen, inappropriately expressed his opinion toward the Knesset members. 
As expected, the Ethics Committee focused on the narrow question of the ethics of the hearing, including its provocative title. Thus, the conclusions should be viewed within the narrow mandate of the Committee. Unfortunately, the personal conflict between Mr. Gross and Ben Gurion University has actually distracted from the broader issue at stake here. 
The Department of Politics and Government at BGU has a long history of radical political activism which, in many ways, is equally damaging to calls for BDS. In 2012 an International Evaluation Committee created by the Council of Higher Education (CHE) produced a devastating review of the Department and its offerings. The Council actually threatened to shut down the Department, a move that created a firestorm in the academic community at home and abroad. At the time, Professor Carmi and the Dean of Social Sciences David Newman called upon the international community of scholars to protest the censure. Following thousands of petitions and threats of boycott by a large number of professional associations, the CHE caved in. After reaching an agreement based on a face saving formula of alleged changes, the Department was allowed to operate with small changes in the curriculum with the same activist faculty. 
The abysmal failure of the CHE vis-a vis the Department ended virtually all efforts to impose higher standards on social science departments of Israeli universities. As IAM has repeatedly documented, Israeli social sciences, staffed by devotees of neo-Marxist, critical scholarship, offer outmoded courses and lag badly behind international standards. Similarly, an Evaluation Committee of the Sociological Department of the Hebrew University found a paucity of courses in quantitative methods and other cutting-edge subjects. 
With few exceptions, Israeli universities are public institutions supported by the tax payers and accountable to the elected representatives of the public. The tax payers should expect better than an outmoded paradigm of teaching and research that does not train students for the competitive economy of the twenty first century.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
First BDS Conference in Sydney University
First time in Australia, Sidney University's Department of Peace and Conflict Studies will host a BDS conference on campus on the 28-29 July 2017. The conference is supported by the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network. Speakers include notoriously anti-Israel academics Jake Lynch, Sol Salbe, and Marcelo Svirsky among others. 
The conference includes many non-academic activists. One such group, the Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA) which announced its BDS activities in 2017 online, added that "2017 will also be the year of close collaborations with our pro-Palestinian friends interstate with a national BDS conference planned for 28-29 July in Sydney." 
Sydney University's vice-chancellor Dr. Michael Spence spoke on the topic of BDS activities on campus last year. He said: “BDS is not university policy... We think that we should have academic relations with universities wherever good academic work is being done... Exceptional academic work is being done in Israel and we have relationships across the board, most recently in nanotechnology and agriculture with universities in Israel, so that’s not an issue... We have strong academic relations with Israel, a great tradition of relationships with the Jewish community, a flourishing program in Hebrew and Jewish studies that remains internationally renowned and is very important to us." 
But he also commented on Jake Lynch, the leading force behind BDS in Sydney University. He said “Academic freedom means that there’s nothing I can do to stop him taking that position... I also can’t censure an academic for holding a view or advocating a view, because that’s what academics do.” 
To recall, Lynch was involved in a number of BDS incidents. In 2012 Lynch blocked a request of Dan Avnon, a Hebrew University professor, to spend a sabbatical at Sidney University. In March 2015, Colonel Richard Kemp, a decorated British Army officer, visited the University of Sydney. A group of pro-Palestinian demonstrators led by Lynch interrupted his talk. 
One of the featured speakers in the BDS conference by the end of this week is Dr. David Faber, a co-convenor of AFOPA’s BDS group who "has spent considerable time over the last year preparing for attempts by Zionists in Israel and Australia to steal part of our ANZAC history. The centenary of the Charge of the Light Horse Brigade will be commemorated on 31 October 2017 and David as a historian and AFOPA as a political organisation will be vigorously countering the Zionist claim that young Australian soldiers died on that battlefield to help set up the apartheid state of Israel." Farber's attempt to rewrite Australian history borders on the anti-Semitic. 
Sydney University should be aware that an academic conference should be balanced in the sense that all sorts of views need be presented. There is a huge difference between a legitimate panel and the type of political activism that Lynch and his cohorts have been associated with. Also, Sidney University should not be taking the easy way out to hide behind the shop-worn excuses of academic freedom to avoid dealing with the abuse of academic legitimacy by Palestinian and pro-Palestinian activists on campus.
General Articles
University of California Press One-Sided Recommended Reading
The University of California Press (UCP) announced a recommended reading to commemorate the anniversary of the Six Day War and promote the understanding of the occupation. The UCP announcement is biased against Israel, ignoring the historical background of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute, which include prior Arab assaults against Israel that culminated in the restriction of Palestinian polity. The UCP announcement includes the following statement: "Fifty years ago this week, the Six-Day War transformed the Middle East. Fought from June 5-10 in 1967 by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, the conflict lasted just six days, yet its impact endures today. For Palestinians, this year marks fifty years of military occupation. During the war, Israeli forces captured east Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories — the West Bank and Gaza — as well as the Golan Heights and Sinai. In observance of the fiftieth anniversary of the Six-Day War, we’ve selected a list of recommended titles for understanding the nature of the occupation, the reasons for its longevity, and its impact on Israeli and Palestinian lives, with the following deeply researched titles." 
These are the recommended books: A Half Century of Occupation: Israel, Palestine, and the World’s Most Intractable Conflict by Gershon Shafir; Gaza: An Inquest into Its Martyrdom by Norman G. Finkelstein; Enclosure: Palestinian Landscapes in a Historical Mirror by Gary Fields; Israel’s Occupation by Neve Gordon; One Land, Two States: Israel and Palestine as Parallel States edited by Mark LeVine and Mathias Mossberg; Sustaining Conflict: Apathy and Domination in Israel-Palestine by Katherine Natanel; Struggle and Survival in Palestine/Israel edited by Mark LeVine and Gershon Shafir. 
Gershon Shafir, Norman Finkelstein, Neve Gordon and Gary Fields are self-proclaimed neo-Marxists, who put much of the blame to the ills of the world on capitalism. Neo-Marxist cohorts cherry-pick evidence to fit their arguments while dismiss evidence which counter their arguments. All of the books present Israel in a negative light while none provide a factual historical account. Most importantly, they all downplay the role of Palestinian aggression. More to the point, most of the authors are also academic activists, some with a history of engaging in the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. 
The following is an overview of the recommended books: 
A Half Century of Occupation: Israel, Palestine, and the World’s Most Intractable Conflict by Gershon Shafir, 2017, The book has three chapters: 1. What is the occupation? 2. Why has the occupation lasted this long? 3. How has the occupation transformed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?. Much of the book is ignoring historical facts which lead to the loss of the Palestinians in a war which the Arabs have started. A good example of the author's twisted logic can be seen in the following statement: "I suggest that it is time to replace the Israeli assertion of being 'the only democracy in the Middle East' with the claim of being the 'most legalistic country in the Middle East'. This is not particularly surprising. After all, the Yishuv (the Jewish community in Mandatory Palestine) has been the long-term beneficiary of international legal bodies and frameworks. From the League of Nations' incorporation of the Balfour Declaration into the British Mandate for Palestine, through the UN General Assembly's November 1947 resolution to partition Mandatory Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, to the rejection of claims of Israeli aggression in Security Council Resolution 242 (which concluded the 1967 War), it has been a favored party and wishes to remain so in the future." (p. 23) First, the author does not provide evidence for the assertion that Israel is no longer the only democracy in the Middle East. Second, the author's reading of the history of the conflict is questionable. Israel was legally created by the international bodies he correctly named. But the Palestinians and their Arab supporters had rejected all these decisions and started wars which they had the misfortune to lose. At the very least ,Shafir should have informed his readers that in the dominant realist paradigm in International Relations, belligerents who lose a war suffer the consequences. Even if Shafir does not accept this paradigm, it is important that he explains why the Palestinians should be exempt from the rules of international relations. Absent such an explanation, the book is an emotional exercise in favor of the belligerent Palestinians. 
Gaza: An Inquest into Its Martyrdom by Norman G. Finkelstein, 2018: Finkelstein became notorious for accusing the Jews of creating a "Holocaust industry" to subjugate the Palestinians, he had lost all academic credibility along with his academic position. Hardly chastened by the experience, his new book presents some of the same selective and, at times, tortured logic. The blurb for the book states: "Gaza is among the most densely populated places in the world. Two-thirds of its inhabitants are refugees, and more than half the population is under eighteen years of age. Since Israel occupied Gaza in 1967, it has systematically de-developed the economy. After Hamas won democratic elections in 2006, Israel intensified its blockade of Gaza, and after Hamas consolidated its control of the territory in 2007, Israel tightened its illegal siege another notch. In the meantime, Israel has launched no less than eight military operations against Gaza—culminating in Operation Cast Lead in 2008–9 and Operation Protective Edge in 2014—that left behind over three million tons of rubble. Recent UN reports predict that Gaza will be unlivable by 2020. Israel’s actions of the last decade. He argues that although Israel justified its blockade and violent assaults in the name of self-defense, in fact these actions were cynical exercises of brutal power against an essentially defenseless civilian population. Based on hundreds of human rights reports, the book scrutinizes multifarious violations of international law Israel committed both during its operations and in the course of its decade-long siege of Gaza. It is a monument to Gaza’s martyrs and a scorching accusation against their tormenters." Finkelstein's writing reflects another popular genre of academic apologists for the Palestinians, namely the eternal victim who is not responsible for any action. Not once does he mention that Hamas, a terror organization, has ruled Gaza with an iron fist. Finkelstein who lists all of Israeli violations of international law is quite shy about admitting that the military wing of Hamas, the Izzadin al Qassam Brigades has routinely dispersed its military assets among the civilian population, including schools and hospitals. 
Enclosure: Palestinian Landscapes in a Historical Mirror by Gary Fields, 2017: The author put Israel in a colonial setting of land-grabbing, ignoring the legal title to the land by the League of Nations, as the following blurb indicates: "Enclosure marshals bold new and persuasive arguments about the ongoing dispossession of Palestinians. Revealing the Israel-Palestine landscape primarily as one of enclosure, geographer Gary Fields sheds fresh light on Israel's actions. He places those actions in historical context in a broad analysis of power and landscapes across the modern world. Examining the process of land-grabbing in early modern England, colonial North America, and contemporary Palestine, Enclosure shows how patterns of exclusion and privatization have emerged across time and geography. That the same moral, legal, and cartographic arguments were copied by enclosers of land in very different historical environments challenges Israel's current rationale as being uniquely beleaguered. It also helps readers in the United Kingdom and the United States understand the Israel-Palestine conflict in the context of their own, tortured histories". Quite clearly, the author views the entire conflict from the colonial perspective, a fashionable paradigm among radical academic critics of Israel. Fields does not bother to mention that this is not the only paradigm through which the creation of Israel has been explained. Not surprising, the author is an endorser of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. 
Israel’s Occupation by Neve Gordon, 2008: As described by the author, "This first complete history of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip allows us to see beyond the smoke screen of politics in order to make sense of the dramatic changes that have developed on the ground over the past forty years. Looking at a wide range of topics, from control of water and electricity to health care and education as well as surveillance and torture, Neve Gordon's panoramic account reveals a fundamental shift from a politics of life—when, for instance, Israel helped Palestinians plant more than six-hundred thousand trees in Gaza and provided farmers with improved varieties of seeds—to a macabre politics characterized by an increasing number of deaths. Drawing attention to the interactions, excesses, and contradictions created by the forms of control used in the Occupied Territories, Gordon argues that the occupation's very structure, rather than the policy choices of the Israeli government or the actions of various Palestinian political factions, has led to this radical shift." But there is enough evidence to prove that Gordon is highly biased. For example, when he listed the initial efforts to improve the standard of living of the Palestinians after 1967, he wrote, "In the health field practices were introduced to encourage women to give birth at hospitals (a means of decreasing infant mortality rates and monitoring population growth) and to promote vaccinations (in order to decrease the incidence of contagious and noncontagious diseases)". While most people would applaud the progressive and beneficial measures improving the lives of the Palestinians, to Gordon they were instances of control mechanism. Also, Gordon was one of the first to argue that Israel is an apartheid state and in 2009 he called for boycotting Israel on the pages of the Los Angeles Times. 
One Land, Two States: Israel and Palestine as Parallel States edited by Mark LeVine and Mathias Mossberg, 2014: The project was initiated in 2008 and later received support from the Swedish Foreign Ministry and the Swedish Research Council, orchestrated by Sweden's Lund University. The book description states that, "One Land, Two States imagines a new vision for Israel and Palestine in a situation where the peace process has failed to deliver an end of conflict. 'If the land cannot be shared by geographical division, and if a one-state solution remains unacceptable," the book asks, "can the land be shared in some other way?' Leading Palestinian and Israeli experts along with international diplomats and scholars answer this timely question by examining a scenario with two parallel state structures, both covering the whole territory between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, allowing for shared rather than competing claims of sovereignty. Such a political architecture would radically transform the nature and stakes of the Israel-Palestine conflict, open up for Israelis to remain in the West Bank and maintain their security position, enable Palestinians to settle in all of historic Palestine, and transform Jerusalem into a capital for both of full equality and independence - all without disturbing the demographic balance of each state. Exploring themes of security, resistance, diaspora, globalism, and religion, as well as forms of political and economic power that are not dependent on claims of exclusive territorial sovereignty, this pioneering book offers new ideas for the resolution of conflicts worldwide." Mark LeVine is a known supporter of the one-state solution, and the book which he co-edited essentially discredit the current two-state solution. Of course, academics can support whatever solution they prefer, but it is highly dishonest to construct a book which pushes one proposal only, under the guise of academic scholarship. 
Sustaining Conflict: Apathy and Domination in Israel-Palestine by Katherine Natanel, 2016: The blurb states, "Sustaining Conflict develops a groundbreaking theory of political apathy, using a combination of ethnographic material, narrative, and political, cultural, and feminist theory. It examines how the status quo is maintained in Israel-Palestine, even by the activities of Jewish Israelis who are working against the occupation of Palestinian territories. The book shows how hierarchies and fault lines in Israeli politics lead to fragmentation, and how even oppositional power becomes routine over time. Most importantly, the book exposes how the occupation is sustained through a carefully crafted system that allows sympathetic Israelis to 'knowingly not know,' further disconnecting them from the plight of Palestinians. While focusing on Israel, this is a book that has lessons for how any authoritarian regime is sustained through apathy." This is an adopted version of the author's PhD thesis in SOAS, Gender studies. In a typical convoluted phrasing, she writes, "Yet despite its seeming polarity, normalcy at the (Jewish Israeli) end of the road relies upon and arises through the relations of power which necessitate agricultural subsistence within cityscapes, lock academics at Birzeit University within metaphorical and material prison cells, and fashion understandings of ‘freedom’ through experiences of oppression at the border. Read thus, continuity replaces disparity as occupation, colonisation and domination trace a thread binding Israel with Palestine and Jewish Israelis with Palestinians." But if this is not clear yet, the author aligns herself with the Neo-Marxist, critical scholarship, "including history (Shlaim 2000, 2010; Abu El-Haj 2001; Masalha 2003; Khalidi 2006; Pappe 2006; Pappe and Hilal 2010), sociology (Lentin 2000; Shafir and Peled 2002; Ron 2003), political economy (Gordon 2008; Hever 2010; Abdo 2011) critical geography (Yiftachel 2006; Weizman 2007) and activism (De Jong 2011; Richter-Devroe 2011, 2012; Weizman 2013)". No wonder the book has won the Palestine Book Award in 2016. 
The book Struggle and Survival in Palestine/Israel, is a compilation of articles, moving from the British Mandate, to "a nation is born a nation is dispersed" to a questionable shared future, The book discusses figures such as Benni Gaon, Jonathan Pollack, Yigal Amir and Hillel Kook among others. It includes two chapters that stand out. The first chapter "Becoming a Hamas Suicide Bomber" by Bader Araj detailing with great sympathy the story of Na'el abu-Hilayel, a suicide bomber, recalled by his father the last meeting with his son "with mixed feelings of pride and sadness... He always cared about the afterlife, not this life... He realized his wish to die as a martyr". Na'el carried on his attack in 2002 when he wore an explosive belt packed with five kilograms of explosives and shrapnel, detonating himself on a crowded bus in Jerusalem. The attack killed eleven Israelis including five children. The author complained of the harsh actions taken by Israel against families of suicide bombers. Another suicide bomber discussed in this chapter is Maher Hubashi who detonated himself on a bus in Haifa in 2001. Both suicide bombers were working and earning an income. The author questioned the motives behind these suicide attacks whether they were religion, revenge and liberation. The chapter ends with praising the good personality of Maher and how he supported his family financially before his death. In the ending acknowledgements the author thanks the families and close friends of the two suicide bombers. The second chapter by Sonia Nimr, "Abdul Rahim Hajj Mohammad and the Arab Revolt" describes the "most respected leader of the Great Revolt" and his guerrilla warfare against the British troops and the Jews. The chapter compares the Arab revolt of 1936-9 to other Palestinian violent aggression and offers an account to the emergence of grassroots armed struggle since the 1920s. The author also acknowledges the importance of civil disobedience, as an important part of the revolt since its earliest days. The author postulates that the rebel leaders were "very strict and declared anyone who dealt with the British to be a collaborator... and the sentence was usually death by shooting... They killed anyone suspected of collaboration even without a trial." The author noted it was a widely known fact that during the revolt the Haj Amin al-Husseini faction and others got rebels "to assassinate their traditional rivals". 
Analyzing the recommended reading leaves the reader with the impression that the UCP is promoting pro-Palestinian views including terrorism. Missing from the reading list is the Israeli perspective. By publishing Israeli authors UCP hoped to present a balanced view but this is not the case. By promoting Israeli neo-Marxist, critical scholars known as post-Zionists, their reading list looks exceptionally imbalanced. But this is the case with the UCP books as a whole, not just the recommended reading. A glance on their website reveals that most books on Israel and Palestine present a pro-Palestinian stance, avoiding any criticism of the Palestinians. This kind of literature resembles the notorious polemical genre "Israel cannot do anything right and the Palestinians can not do anything wrong." 
It is deeply disheartening to see that the UCP books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict take a place of pride in this discredited category.
Hebrew University
Political Activist at the Hebrew University: Areej Sabbagh-Khoury as a Case in Point
IAM often reports on political activists masquerading as academics. A young cohort of academic activists is now making a debut. For instance, Hebrew University has recently announced that Areej Sabbagh- Khoury was hired by the department of Sociology, commencing her position in the academic year of 2018-2019. 
A close look at her CV reveals she mixes academics with political activism: 
"Areej Sabbagh-Khoury is the Inaugural Post-doctoral Research Associate in Palestine and Palestinian Studies at Brown University 2016-2017. She is also an associate researcher at Mada al-Carmel – The Arab Center for Applied Social Research. Her current book project, now under contract with Stanford University Press, examines relations between members of leftist Zionists kibbutzim and Palestinian villagers in Northern Palestine within a settler colonial framework. Sabbagh-Khoury completed her Ph.D. in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University. She contributed to several book chapters and articles on citizenship, memory, gender and settler colonialism, among them “Palestinian Predicaments: Jewish Immigration and Refugees Repatriation.” She also co-edited two volumes of The Palestinians in Israel: A Guide to History, Politics, and Society: the first volume was published in 2011 and the second on December 2016 (both volumes were published in English, Hebrew and Arabic). She has received several awards and grants for her research, among them the Fulbright Post-doctoral Scholar Award year 2015-2016; the 2015 Ibrahim Abu-Lughod Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Columbia University; the Meyers Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Taub Center for Israel Studies at NYU year 2016, the Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Center for Humanities at Tufts year 2017-2018 and the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) - Post-doctoral Fellowship in the Social Sciences 2017-2018." 
Her lecture at the Center of Middle East Studies at the Watson Institute, Brown University in October 2016 showcases her stance "The Zionist Left: Settler Colonial Practices and the Representation of the Palestinian Nakba in Northern Palestine". The invitation to the lecture reads, "inquiring the responsibility of the Zionist settlers and Israeli society on the displacement of refugees and not less important from controlling the Palestinian lands and property and banning the return of Palestinian refugees. Based on a meticulous examination of local Zionist archives of Ha-Shomer Ha-Tza’ir Kibbutzim in Marj Ibn 'Amer, I will track some of the discussions that accompanied the process of expulsion of 1948 and the pillaging of the Palestinian property from neighboring Palestinian villages. Furthermore, I will explore how the politics of remembering by members of Ha-Shomer Ha-Tzair kibbutzim reconstructed memories of the colonization practices that preceded 1948 Nakba and their role in the Nakba." 
This the type of scholarship is advanced at the Middle East Center by Professor Beshara Doumani, a Saudi-born Palestinian who has turned the Center into a platform for anti-Israel activism. He has invited the likes of Ariella Azoulay, Ilan Pappe and Neve Gordon to bash Israel. In 2014 Doumani was among the 100 Middle East studies scholars and librarians who petitioned to boycott Israeli institutions. In 2015 Doumani succumbed to BDS pressure and backed down from an Adi Ophir conference at Brown because Ophir is an Israeli scholar with ties to Tel Aviv University. 
Sabbagh-Khoury fits well into the academic-activist milieu; her PhD thesis was co-advised by Yehouda Shenhav (TAU) and Joel Beinin (Stanford), both high profile politically engaged scholars. Sabbagh-Khoury's scholarship examines Israel's settler colonialism and argues it has "discrete characteristics of the colonization processes, predicated on not only relations of domination but the dispossession of the natives and their replacement by a colonizing population." She was hailed by the post-Zionist scholar Gabriel Piterberg who found her PhD dissertation "remarkable" because it illustrated the "centrality of the settler-colonial framework". He has noted that Sabbagh-Khoury "contextualized the Nakba" by focusing on the colonization of land. Piterberg also noted she has used a "critical reconstruction of the formation of settler nations by dissenting" it. 
The Hebrew University Sociology Department, like its peers around the country, has been top heavy with scholars who research the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while lacking faculty capable to teach cutting edge subjects in Sociology at large. A number of evaluation committees of the Council of Higher Education lamented this state of affairs, as IAM repeatedly reported. In particular, the evaluation committee to the Sociology and Anthropology at the Hebrew University found that the department lacks quantitative training. The committee found data of the MA programs on recent graduates comprising of 16 in Anthropology, 27 in Organizational Studies, 13 in Sociology, and 4 in Demography. Making Organizational Studies the most desirable subject of learning. 
The committee expressed concerns that since the founding cohort of sociologists and anthropologists were very prominent and the subsequent generation who are now approaching retirement are still an impressive and productive group, "The problem that the department now faces is one of maintaining its excellence and intellectual vigor at a time of transition to a younger set of scholars." How would recruiting the likes of Sabbagh-Khoury redress the department anomalies? 
The problem is that Israeli social sciences have compared poorly in international indices, but nothing has been done to remedy the situation. It is the university authorities who have an obligation to the Israeli tax payer and the elected officials who foot the bill.
General Articles
Academic Earthquake: Part 4
The series of posts by IAM, Academic Earthquake Part 1 and Part 2 on Asa Kahser’s Academic Code of Conduct, were accepted for distribution by the Academia-IL Network, a forum dedicated to academic-related issues. Part 3 however, was rejected by the webmaster who censored it, so far without any explanation. Should an explanation arrive we would notify our readers. 
These posts have elicited a few comments including by emeritus professor Uzzi Ornan from the Technion. Professor Ornan questioned why we use English in our posts instead of Hebrew. He then proceeded to hypothesize that we wrote about the Ethics Code of Kasher in English to bring it to the attention of “foreigners living in other countries, perhaps in order to create a ‘foreign influence’ on what is happening here.” 
To answer Ornan, since its inception in 2004, IAM has published in English because Israeli social science research is conducted by and large in English. 
But if Professor Ornan is truly concerned about “foreign influence,” he should have paid heed to two posts by Prof. Alon Harel on the same subject. On June 9, Harel wrote that "reporting on the Code of Ethics has also reached the most famous legal blog of Brian Leiter." Harel suggested to his readers to "distribute the post of this blog abroad, it is important to arrange translation of the Ethics Code into English in order to recruit people around the world to raise a cry." Harel did not say how Leiter heard of the Ethics Code but Leiter himself disclosed that "legal scholar and philosopher Alon Harel (Hebrew U) wrote to me." In his second post, on June 24, Harel wrote, "Professor Cary Nelson who in the past headed also the American Association of Law Professors asked me to distribute this document which was approved by the Alliance for Academic Freedom." We would suggest that Professor Ornan complain to Harel about his effort to create “foreign influence.” 
Indeed, the academic debate on ethics code does not address the issue of low standards in the social science and the linkage to academic activism. Notably, academic authorities have allowed some social science departments to hire activist scholars, as noted by the International Evaluation Committee of the BGU department of Politics and Government which reported to this effect: 
"In the original report, which covered a five-year period, only a couple of articles of all faculty members combined were published in leading political science journals. During the whole period examined approximately 30 articles were published by faculty members in political science journals covered by Thomson ISI." The report then questioned the quality of teaching, "But the strong emphasis on “community activism” emphasized by the Department raises at least two questions. First, are students receiving a sufficiently rigorous foundation in the discipline of politics and government to equip them with a necessary grounding in the important ideas and understandings common to the subject and the discipline? At the moment, the committee sees major weaknesses with regard to the Department’s core discipline of Political Science which need to be addressed immediately. Second, is there a balance of views in the curriculum and the classroom? Particularly, political science instructors should see to it that their own opinions are expressed as personal views so that students can take a critical perspective and that there is a broad exposure to alternative perspectives in order to widen and deepen their own understanding." 
Poor academic standards would not have been tolerated in sciences and engineering, something that the Technion-based Ornan is probably aware of. Why should they be tolerated in the social sciences?
General Articles
Academic Earthquake: Part 3
This IAM post, Academic Earthquake: Part 3 intends to present the mixing of academics with politics. The list would be very long if we brought all the evidence available in the last two decades. But it is essential to understand the relations between the political activists-turned-academics. A perusal at the TAU Cohn Institute PhD Dissertations showcases the following: Merav Amir, advisors Adi Ophir and Yehouda Shenav; Ariel Handel, advisors Adi Ophir and Tovi Fenster; Michal Givoni, advisor Adi Ophir; Anat Rimon Or, advisor Adi Ophir; Hagar Kotef, advisors Adi Ophir and Anat Biletzki; Roy Wagner, advisors Adi Ophir and Anat Biletzki; Boaz Hagin, advisors Adi Ophir and Orly Lubin; Dani Filc, advisor Moshe Zuckermann; Ariella Azoulay, advisors Moshe Zuckermann and Gila Blas. This list is a clear indication of how political activist academics promote each other. 
We have gathered a short list of some other key players promoting their political stance in their scholarships, some are familiar and some new names: 
In 2013 IAM reported on Yehouda Shenhav (TAU) who was hired to teach and research the sociology of organizations. Soon after gaining tenure, he neglected his field in order to concentrate on various aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Since then, the self-proclaimed critical sociologist has tailored specific topics to suit his political activism. Upon joining the Mizrahi Rainbow in the 1990s, a group dedicated to bringing together Jews from Arab countries and Palestinians, Shenhav wrote a book and a number of articles on Arab Jews, his name for the Mizrahim, to prove that they, like the Palestinians, were victims of Zionism. In the mid-2000s, Shenhav launched a project to create the intellectual infrastructure for a bi-national state. In another project, in 2012 he headed a research group at Van Leer Institute Jerusalem which aspired to locate the discussion on Zionism explicit within the global matrix of imperialism. The group membership was tailor-made to produce such findings. In addition to stalwarts as Hanna Herzog and Hannan Hever, a number of Shenhav's doctoral students participated, Manar Hassan, Yuval Evri, Areej Sabbagh and Benny Nurieli. In addition to privileging Shenhav's students, it was a signal to potential PhD candidates that radical scholarship pays off. 
IAM discussed Assaf Sharon in 2014, in a post titled "The political career of Assaf Sharon sponsored by Tel Aviv University", which detailed how Sharon, a co-founder of "Breaking the Silence" who sits on its board of directors, has joined the ranks of TAU's Philosophy department, the base of operation of the radical political activists, Anat Matar and Anat Biletzki. By all accounts, Sharon has launched a highly activist career since co-founding the political think tank Molad. In a recent Tweet, he wrote "New study by @moladCRID: West Bank settlements are a burden on Israel's national security." 
Another life-long political activist sponsored by TAU is Gadi Algazi, a former IDF refusenik. He joined the ranks of TAU as an expert on late medieval history but, as other activists, spent much of his career on promoting his political agenda. Algazi is especially active in Germany, where he is scheduled to speak at Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Salon in Berlin today, June 29, on "Common perspectives: what links and separates the left in Germany and Israel." 
Aeyal Gross, a legal scholar at TAU, known to be the intellectual architect of Pinkwashing, a theory which holds that Israel has embraced gay rights in order to mask the sins of occupation. Gross was quoted recently in an Aljazeera article titled "In Israel, racism is the law", to the effect that "Equality cannot be recognised on the constitutional level... since that would challenge the inequality created by the complete identification of the state with only one group." He has recently published a book "The Writing on the Wall: Rethinking the International Law of Occupation." Where he offers insight on the 50th anniversary of the occupation, "the law of occupation in its current version to legitimize new variations of conquest and colonialism". He proposes the "need for reconsidering the law of occupation in light of changing forms of control, such as those evident in Gaza." 
A long-time radical political activist Ofer Cassif, was recently filmed comparing Israeli legislation to those of Nazi Germany in a Politics and Government course of a preparatory college program at the Hebrew University. One of Cassif's students objected to the comparison, but Cassif continued with his analogy, stating that it is comfortable to deny the situation in order not to come to terms with reality, which is very dangerous. He said "those who refuse to see the similarities between what is happening in Israel, specifically in the past two years, and Germany in the 1930s, has a problem and will be responsible for the potential situation of the state." Cassif drew parallel in legislature regarding Arabs and Jews, to the policies of Nazi Germany. He stated that the law "allows Jews to take over Palestinian-owned land for themselves, just like Aryans in 1930 Germany were allowed to kick Jews out of their homes." Hebrew University responded to Channel 2 who reported this story, rather typically: "It is unfortunate that there are individual students who choose to record their professors during class, instead of engaging in debate and open discourse on facts and opinions, and who choose to go to the media when these things do not coincide with their views. Academia is exactly the place to conduct deep and free debates. That's its essence and any other way harms this fabric and endangers the principles of democracy". 
A Hebrew University Law school's new recruit is Ahmad Amara. Amara's scholarship surrounds the legal rights to land by the Bedouin community in the Negev, he calls them Palestinian Bedouin-Arabs and wishes to portray Israel in a colonialist nature. He charges Israel of dispossession of the Bedouins. "The indigenous Bedouin Arab population in the Naqab/Negev desert in Israel has experienced a history of displacement, intense political conflict, and cultural disruption, along with recent rapid modernization, forced urbanization, and migration" Recognizing the Bedouins of the Negev as indigenous people he examines the international human rights framework and how it protects the rights of indigenous peoples to determine which group should be considered rights holders. In a recent article he wished to contest the stereotypes of Bedouins as 'nomads' and 'savages' as in the second half of the nineteenth century. As a lawyer he is representing members of the Dawabsheh family in a lawsuit against the Israeli government for compensation of tens millions of shekels over arson attack in the village of Duma, West Bank in 2015. 
Yael Berda of the Sociology and Anthropology department at the Hebrew University boasts about being "highly engaged in social justice activism and politics in Israel" in her university webpage. Barda, like many academic activists has studied the various facets of the military administration in the West Bank. 
Even this very short survey of scholar-activists is indicative of the confluence of academy and political activism. Quite clearly, these academics abuse academic privileges by using their classroom and research to promote a political agenda. There are two consequences of this deplorable state of affairs which is mostly limited to the social sciences. 
First, students of these professors do not receive the type of balanced education in the classroom as a "marketplace of ideas." Instead, the syllabus and reading materials in many of these classes are solidly neo-Marxist and critical theory oriented. How can students develop a balanced view of the economic system, for instance, if they have never encountered a reading from Adam Smith or neo-liberal economics? 
Second, the incessant preoccupation with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict robs sociology and political science of desperately needed subjects such as quantitative methods, system analysis, rational choice theory, and other cutting-edge topics. In an age that social sciences have rushed to study unique twenty first century social phenomena which require these tools, Israeli scholarship and teaching look inevitably archaic. 
For more than a decade now, IAM has been emphasizing the damage done to social sciences in Israel and the cost to the tax payers who are asked to pay the salaries of political activists masquerading as faculty. We have repeatedly pointed out that it is the duty of the university authorities to supervise their social science departments. So far, the authorities which are intimidated by vocal faculty, the fear of bad publicity, and indeed, threats of international boycott (as in the case of the efforts to close down the department of Politics and Government at BGU) have not acted. To the contrary. Given this state of affairs, an Ethics Code is more urgent than ever.
General Articles
Academic Earthquake, Part 2
The IAM post "Academic Earthquake, Part 1" concerning the ethics code proposed by Prof. Asa Kasher to Minister Naftali Bennett has attracted some criticism. The following is a comment by Professor Fania Oz-Salzberger of the University of Haifa, questioning our statement regarding some academics, that are "known to be too radical." She wrote, "Several names are given, which leaves an unfortunate aftertaste of witch hunting. I disagree with these colleagues on many issues, but wholly respect their right to air their views." She ended with, "'Too radical' is a pathetically self-revealing label." But Oz-Salzberger may not be aware that they all called for boycott. 
As before, an attack on us and the need for an ethics code is couched in the language of academic freedom and free speech. 
Just for the record, we were not the only one to raise this issue. In 2012 Professor Ziva Sharmir, the former head of the School of Jewish Studies and head of the Katz Institute for the Study of Literature at TAU, who upon her retirement wrote in 2012 in Kivunim Hadashim. Shamir, a former member in promotion committees came across teaching evaluation forms by students complaining about “missionary” professors conveying political messages. She noted that such behavior "contribute to hypocrisy in the classroom; on the one hand they speak about academic freedom but on the other, their teaching does not encourage pluralism and a free exchange of ideas." Shamir wrote harshly about a "climate of academic rigidity", and "pseudo-research", "where the conclusions are reached ahead of time and empirical surveys are tailored to fit the foregone conclusions." Shamir added that in many fields, "research has been abandoned in favor of the fashionable “discourse.” In many departments it is impossible to express an opinion because the “knights of free speech” will boycott all those who dare to say things outside the parameters of political correctness". Such radical ideas are sometimes "products of self-interested hypocrisy driven by well-paid service to anti-Israeli elements." The problem lies, Shamir noted, when the majority of academics in those departments were silent due to fear. 
Shamir offered solutions, including an ethics committee: 
There is a need to depoliticize academic instruction, noting that the new trends in critical scholarship give the instructor more political leeway. 
Departments should evaluate themselves in addition to being evaluated by an outside body that would determine if they fulfill the original mandate of the CHE. 
Faculty members should stop using their university office as a branch of their political party, while using the postal, telephone and Internet services of the university, and, sometimes, even the services of research assistants. Academic appointments and university budgets are geared toward helping faculty to research and teach, and no other purposes. 
Faculty members should not be allowed to preach their political views in the classroom. Their personal opinions are not more important than the man in the street; the university did not hire him or her because of political opinions. Faculty members, whose fealty to political activism is first and foremost, should take a leave of absence, or consider a switch to politics. 
A committee of relevant experts should be created to evaluate the difference between legitimate research and political propaganda, even in disciplines where the difference may be difficult to discern. Such a committee would be able to determine whether a faculty member whom students have labeled a “political harasser” crossed the line between offering his or her opinions to engaging in political preaching. 
Academic fields that touch upon the political should be approached from a theoretical perspective that encourages pluralistic thinking. Students are not captives of instructors and political harassment, like sexual harassment, should not be allowed. It is legitimate to ask students to express political opinion, but to ask them to participate in demonstrations or sign petitions is political harassment. Students should be able to assume that their refusal to do so would not affect their grades. 
Academic freedom (libertas scholastica) - an argument used by politically-inclined faculty in response to charges of politicization in the universities - is liberty to research and publish without intervention of authorities or outside interests; it is not a carte blanche to turn a classroom into a political platform. Those who wrap themselves in the mantle of academic freedom misrepresent the true meaning of academic freedom - a cornerstone of Western culture that has encouraged freedom of thinking. 
An ethics committee to examine the issue of proportionality and not just the quality of arguments and their scientific soundness in research. 
Despite the vehement opposition, some academics admit that there is a problem. Legal scholar Iddo Porat who opposes the Kasher version of the ethics code, has noted that many of those who attack the code, "suffer from the same syndrome that caused the need for such a code to begin with - a complete denial that there is a problem. There is a problem, and universities can only blame themselves for not making any attempt to deal with it internally, and avoiding any responsibility for it. The Academy is a public asset, financed by the public, and it is inappropriate and unfair that it would serve as a platform for gaining political influence or transmitting a message from one side of the political map. It also makes sense that the defeated party, the right wing, will not want to stand idly by when it happens. When there are internal professional standards such phenomena are tempered by internal pressures, but if internal standards of academic professionalism are eroded, and there are interests of the public that are harmed, it is impossible to complain about attempts to regulate it from above. There is a great risk of regulation. But if you want to avoid it, you have to start with a much more serious process of internal regulation, and before that, of internal debate." 
Porat's comment about the Israeli universities being financed by the tax payer is welcome. For many years now we have empathized this point. We brought detailed statics which indicate that the standards of Israeli universities has deteriorated not just in comparison with Western institutions but also with the newer Asian institutions of higher learning. Social sciences have deteriorated in particular because of the preponderance of critical, neo-Marxist scholarship. 
Substance aside, the tone of he debate is worrisome because it goes well beyond accepted academic standards of speech. Idan Segev of the Hebrew University wrote in opposition to the code labeling the Minister "Bennett and his aggressive and regressive friends". A petition circulated by Eilon Vaadia called the Kasher ethics code a "disgrace" and claimed it was born in sin. 
Bennett, however, responded that the Kasher code serves as a basis for discussion until a solution is reached. Name calling is not a substitute for a debate. 
Academic Earthquake, Part 3 will look back on mixing academics and politics.
General Articles
Academic Earthquake: Part 1
IAM reported in early Dec 2016 that Naftali Bennett, the Minister of Education and chair of the Council of Higher Education (CHE) had appointed Prof. Asa Kasher to write an ethics code of conduct for the academy. The Code was prepared and the next step is for the CHE to either adopt it as is, amend or abolish. The new Code has also reached the public, in particular Israeli academics, which vehemently rejected it. 
Global media outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Daily Mail, have all published the following brief, "Israel's university leaders have lashed out at the nationalist education minister's plan to impose a code of ethics they say is aimed at limiting their academic freedom. The umbrella organization of Israel's university heads says they "vehemently object" to Education Minister Naftali Bennett's guidelines calling on professors to refrain from expressing political opinions in class or openly supporting an academic boycott of Israel. Bennett says Sunday he tasked Asa Kasher, an ethics and philosophy professor at Tel Aviv University, to draw up guidelines to protect students from lecturers who impose their "political worldview" on them. Bennett and other hardliners accuse Israel's academia of having a disproportionate liberal bias. The university heads said such a code ran counter to the concept of academic freedom and doubted it would be enacted." Worth noting the jargon used opposing Bennett, labeling him "nationalist education minister" and "Bennett and other hardliners"; The radical left is softly labeled as "disproportionate liberal bias". 
In Israel, among tons of criticism, Aeyal Gross, professor of Law in TAU declared his opposition in a column in Haaretz and Sandy Kedar of the Law faculty in Haifa University was quoted in Times Higher Education, expressing his disproval. The Committee of University Heads (VERA); The Middle East & Islamic Studies Association of Israel (MEISAI); the Israeli Democracy Institute; the Israeli Anthropological Association; among others attacked the Code. The Students Union announced a demonstration to protest the docu'ment. 
Both the foreign media and the Israeli protesters misrepresent the Kasher code. It is well known that many in the liberal arts have been leaning left. Some are known to be too radical. Neve Gordon, Anat Matar, Rachel Giora, Kobi Snitz and others have often used their academic positions to promote their politics. In 2002 over three hundred academics called their students to refuse military service in the Palestinian territories. IAM which was established in 2004 has been reporting on numerous cases, available in our archives. Of course, there should have been no need for an ethics code had the university heads were dealing with their radical academics dating back for twenty years, but preferred to do nothing under the excuse of "academic freedom". In the Israeli system, university leaders rely on the backing of staff to be reelected, an arrangement which virtually ensures ennui. 
Ran Chermesh, a retired professor from BGU, touched on the issue of the activists in a post on Forum Academia. "The main problem with the Kasher doc'ument is not in its details, but in the process of its creation. We mustn't allow the political echelon to erode academic freedom. It is a slippery slope, starts minimal but ends severely. Therefore, there is no point in entering into a text analysis. The details are not important. What is needed now is for the academic institutions unanimously to reject this attack. When the flood stops, there will be time for self-examination and no doubt there is room for it." In other words, the university authorities need to examine their role in going easy on academic activists. 
The debate got heated when Bar-Ilan University announced a conference on BDS which featured Asa Kasher as a speaker. Michael Gluzman of the TAU Hebrew Literature department responded, "To meet Asa Kasher? Why give him this honor? He serves a right-wing government with anti-democratic tendencies. The Committee of University Heads has already announced that Kasher's docu'ment contradicts academic freedom and has rejected it completely. Perhaps instead of holding discussions about the BDS, Bar Ilan University will devote a seminar to the threats to the democratic regime in Israel. 
Many opponents of the Kasher Code argue that the American university code as drafted by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has not dealt with expressing political opinions in class, and thus the Israeli code should not do so as well. Such statements grossly misrepresent the American reality with regard to public universities. In the US the governors of the states appoint the governing board of the universities and, in turn, they pick the presidents and other higher administrative officials. The system makes it easy for presidents to admonish or fire faculty members who use their classrooms as an extension of their political agenda. The courts have also intervened in cases in which the political and the academic clashed. 
Also, opponents to the Kasher Code argue that muzzling academic freedom lowers academic excellence. This bogus argument is easily proved. Over more than two decades now, the Israeli universities have been sliding in competitive rankings, not only in the West but also in Asia. The liberal science in particular gets low comparative grades, not least because, as several Evaluation Committees of the CHE noted, they are staffed with neo-Marxist, critical scholars whose research is not part of the Thomson ISI rankings. For example, the five-year period Evaluation Committee Report 2011, of the BGU Department of Politics and Government, found that only a couple of articles of all faculty members combined were published in leading political science journals. The report noted a strong emphasis on “community activism” which raised the question if students received rigorous foundation in the discipline. The answer was that the committee saw major weaknesses with regard to the Department. Likewise, the 2011 Report of Sociology and Anthropology at BGU noted a concern of the Committee, of the modest training that students in the MA program received in quantitative methods and statistics and pointed out that even if students were interested only in qualitative methods there was a core of knowledge common to the profession to include a sufficient familiarity with quantitative techniques to read articles in the main journals. The report named the three areas of specialization: critical social studies, sociology of organizations, and anthropology and concluded there appeared to be a concentration of the faculty in areas of critical studies. The report suggested the "study of organizations from a rigorously evidenced-based perspective." 
With few exceptions Israeli universities are public, but opponents of the Kasher Code pretend that they should have the same latitude as private universities. The Israeli academy has never accepted the core principle of public universities in the US and other Western countries, namely, that public universities are funded by the tax payer and are accountable to the elected representatives of the tax payers. 
Academic Earthquake: Part 2 will discuss specific examples of political activism by Israeli academics.
General Articles
UK: University College Union Dissociates from the Working Definition of Antisemitism
Last week, the European Parliament voted in favor of endorsing the Working Definition of Antisemitism (WDA) of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), drawing praises from Jewish groups. The resolution calls on EU member states, institutions and agencies to adopt and apply the WDA, which in December 2016 was adopted by the British Government. 
The WDA defines antisemitsm as follows: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” The WDA also lists several examples of antisemitic cases. To prevent accusations of shutting up criticism of Israel the definition includes, "However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic." 
Yet, the British University and College Union (UCU), which represents over 110,000 academics across the UK, voted to dissociate itself from the WDA. The vote was taken during the UCU's congress which met on Monday 29 May 2017. 
This should come as no surprise, the UCU has been considered a hotbed for anti-Israel attitudes at least since 2005. Under its previous name, Association of University Teachers (AUT), it voted to boycott University of Haifa and Bar-Ilan University because of alleged violations of human rights and academic freedoms. Eventually this decision was overturned. 
Some blame this bias on Sally Hunt, the general secretary since 2002. In 2012 the group Academic Friends of Israel had warned that the "union's stance on Israel under Ms Hunt had left supporters of Israel 'between a rock and a hard place'. UCU has adopted 16 anti-Israel resolutions under her leadership", according to the group. 
The UCU congress explained its dissociation from WDA, that the definition "conflates anti-semitism with criticism of the state of Israel and has been used to intimidate academics who are engaged in activities that are critical of the policies of the Israeli government but that are not anti-semitic." It also rejected "government-inspired attempts to ban Palestine solidarity events, naming Israel Apartheid Week." 
The UCU congress also boasted that the UCU has an "exemplary anti-racist work," in particular its "Holocaust Memorial Day materials". A quick search in the UCU website, reveals what the Holocaust Memorial Day means to the organization. It states that the "UCU commemorates Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) observed annually on 27 January. It does so in memory of the millions who were murdered in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides in Bosnia, Cambodia, Darfur and Rwanda in order to challenge hatred and persecution in the UK today." 
It should be pointed out that the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP), and the new Jewish-led Free Speech on Israel, two radical anti-Israel groups, have taken credit for the decision, writing that their "model resolution has been adopted by UCU Congress." The groups include long-standing pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel activists Jonathan Rosenhead, Mike Cushman, Sue Blackwell, and Tom Hickey. 
It is now left to the British government to enforce the WDA on the UCU.
General Articles
Political Activism at the Israeli Anthropological and Sociological Associations
During the 2009 Gaza operation, while thousands of Global Jihadists were active in southern Gaza Strip and Gaza was full of "tunnels intended for abducting troops, weapons, anti-aircraft missiles, and booby-trapped buildings in civilian centers... and weapons prepared for future attacks, such as motorbikes intended for kidnapping," some five hundred Israelis posted a petition online urging the UN Security Council to impose sanctions against Israel. The signatories also urged EU member states to adopt "immediate restrictive measures and sanctions, as well as cessation of all upgrade dialogue with Israel." 
Some of the petitioners were academics. Regev Nathansohn, who teaches Anthropology at the University of Haifa, was one of them. Nathansohn was the winner of the best MA thesis in 2007 by the Israeli Sociological Association supervised by Yehouda Shenhav and Dan Rabinowitz, a former president of the Anthropological Association. The thesis was named "Shooting Occupation: Sociology of Visual Representation." 
Nathansohn participated in the activities of the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation (IHJR) in 2009. IHJR, was established in 2004 in order to launch a series of research initiatives to study history. For instance, "The ‘Historical Memory on Haifa 1948’ project encompasses a series of joint research initiatives whereby Israeli and Palestinian scholars focused on actual events of the period surrounding 1948 and how they affected the lives of Jews and Palestinians in Haifa." In spite of its lofty aim, the actual project was essentially an exercise of rewriting history. A chapter which Nathansohn co-authored attests to this statement: "Joseph’s reply showed familiarity with the various Zionist paramilitary groups of that time: You know, history repeats itself. During that war it was the same as what we have today among the Palestinians. There is the Fatah, there is Hammas, and there is the Jihad Islami. Same as it was back then with the Jewish forces: the Palmach and the Haganah – their handling of things was softer, but there was the Etzel and the Lechi of Menahem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir and all this gang. They only knew how to kill. Whoever they caught they killed on the spot." Even a casual observer would have noted that there is no place to compare the Jewish organizations to Fatah, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. 
In spite of such lapses, Yehouda Shenhav, Nathansohn's MA supervisor, wrote enthusiastically of this project: "In this remarkable project, Jews and Palestinians, write together the history and memory of the city of Haifa. Rather than presenting incommensurable national narratives, they offer a fresh and inspiring alternative: each article is co-authored by Arabs and Jews, thus turning the art of research and writing into a bi-national practice. Addressing 1948 as a benchmark, is crucial particularly today in facilitating not only a new reading of the political story, but also offering political possibilities. Haifa Before & After 1948 is an inspirational book that deserves to be read by everyone who is interested in the history and memory of bi-national societies." Nathansohn is part of the younger generation of sociologists and anthropologists who continue the tradition of radical activists like Shenhav. 
Likewise, Matan Kaminer, a conscientious objector, and an activist , is the newly elected coordinator of the migration and demography community at the Israeli Sociological Association. Kaminer's dissertation is "an ethnographic exploration of the conjunction between settler colonialism and global migration" in Israel. Kaminer "has been active in the Israeli conscientious objectors’ movement, in national and municipal politics and in migrant solidarity work in Israel for the past fifteen years." In 2010 he has taught a semester in Anthropology at TAU, but much of his life he has been a political activist. Kaminer describes Israel as a hollow democracy, "The demoralization of the intellectuals may have grave consequences for the Israeli regime; though financial and military aid for Israel still enjoys public support across the United States and Europe, much of this support depends on the continued credibility of the “only democracy” trope. Thus, what increasingly looks like a shutdown of Israel’s ethnic democracy cannot be understood as a premeditated move to serve the regime’s interests. The current dynamic is probably better understood as an acceleration of a trend inherent in Zionism, as well as in other repressive social formations: the need to identify threatening enemies in order to ensure internal cohesion." 
The 2017 annual conference of the Israeli Anthropological Association which took place last week was featured on the website of MAKI, the Israeli Communist Party. The report introduced the academic-activist Yeela Raanan of Sapir College. MAKI's report noted that "Among the participants are activists of the left-wing lecturers' group at the universities and colleges 'Academia for Equality'." The conference marked solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike. In particular the conference addressed Gilad Erdan, Minister of Public Security and urged him to meet the demands of the striking prisoners. Two days after MAKI published the article the Israeli Anthropological Association has posted their statement online. 
There is no better proof of the mixing of politics and academics. Professional associations of this kind should not impose political agenda on the public who sponsor Israeli universities.







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