Home
Search
עברית
Board & Mission Statement
Why IAM?
About Us
Articles by IAM Associates
Ben-Gurion University
Hebrew University
University of Haifa
Tel Aviv University
Other Institutions
Boycott Calls Against Israel
Israelis in Non-Israeli Universities
Anti-Israel Petitions Supported by Israeli Academics
General Articles
Anti-Israel Conferences
Lawfare
Anti-Israel Academic Resolutions
Lectures Interrupted
Activists Profiles
Readers Forum
On the Brighter Side
Photographs
How can I complain?
Contact Us / Subscribe
Donate
Number of visitors to IAM
Home

Amuta registration number 58-051-885-0

 

Contact lAM 

 Established in 2004

Subscribe

Visitors: 130083812 on Jul. 31, 2015

 

Israel Academia Monitor Follows

Anti-Israel Activities of Israeli Academics

 

 

Reprints of anti-Israel articles do not represent the position

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

bbbbb

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:
 Extracts

Dear Reader:  The summer break is upon us.  As of July 1st, we plan to limit the number of our posts in order to attend to routine matters such as database maintenance.   Of course, we would post on issues of special importance as soon as they arise.

Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
27.06.16
The Importance of the Working Definition of Antisemitism: Pro-Palestinian Activist Christoph Glanz as a Case in Point
 
Christoph Glanz is a German pro-Palestinian activist who is connected to Uri Avnery and Ellen Rohlfs of the Institut für Palästinakunde in Bonn (IPK). 
His planned lecture at the University of Oldenburg, “BDS – the Palestinian Human Rights Campaign Introduces Itself,” prompted Sara Rihl, a local politician and a student member of the senate of the University of Oldenburg, to demand the cancellation of his talk from the organiser, the Protestant Student Association (Evangelische Studierenden Gemeinde, ESG). She referred to the speaker as a “known anti-Semite,” working for an “anti-Semitic organisation.” As a result, the ESG cancelled the event, and Glanz took Rihl to court. 
A number of Israelis wrote in support of Glanz, for example, Judith Bernstein, "I am appalled that you designate Mr Christoph Glanz as anti-Semite. We have invited Mr. Glanz to Munich to inform about the BDS movement...I myself am a Jew, born in Jerusalem and defend myself against this comparison which is trivializing the Holocaust. "Do not buy from Jews" was directed on racial grounds against all Jews... By contrast, the BDS campaign directed against the policies of the Israeli government. Once it ends the occupation and the Palestinians get the same rights as Jewish Israelis both in Israel and in Palestine, the BDS campaign would be ended." 
Another group of Israelis in favor of BDS, wrote in support of Glanz, "The Palestinian-led BDS call is similar to the boycott call regarding Apartheid South Africa, several decades ago. We know that campaign was legal and widely supported in Germany at the time. Just as that campaign was not racist against white South Africans, BDS is not an antisemitic campaign. Prominent human rights activists all over the world, including numerous South African, Jewish and other personalities, from Desmond Tutu to Judith Butler, have endorsed the BDS campaign." 
On 14 June 2016, the German regional court in Oldenburg ordered Rihl not to repeat accusations of anti-Semitism against Christoph Glanz. 
Charging BDS activists with antisemitism without evidence can be counterproductive. Rihl would have done better had she referred to the Working Definition of Antisemitism using the clause concerning Israel, "Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation." Blanket accusations of antisemitism are not effective and can create a backlash. Pro-Israel activists need to acquaint themselves with relevant arguments to further their work.


Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
23.06.16
Israelis and BDS: Helping to Sell the "Goods"
 
The Palestinian movement found the BDS a useful front, an issue that the IAM has discussed on various occasions. Al Jazeera, the powerful TV network based in Qatar has helped in promoting BDS. Al Jazeera features radical Israeli scholars who describe Israel as an apartheid state in an effort to deflect charges of anti- Semitism. For instance, Professor Neve Gordon of BGU occasionally writes for Al Jazeera about Israel's behavior in the territories, a theme he first developed in his book Israel's Occupation. Interestingly, he wrote his book while on a Sabbatical at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies in the University of California, Berkeley, chaired by Nezar AlSayyad. The Center is a known recipient of Arab largess, in 1998 it received its single largest donation of $5 million from the Sultan Charity Foundation. 
Another example is Yermi Brenner, an Israeli who recently featured in Al Jazeera. Brenner is a multimedia journalist who moved to Berlin and is 
a former reporter for the Israeli Social TV, a New Israel Fund grantee. Social TV "is a social change organization (nonprofit) acting as a communications body civilian-independent promoting a social agenda in Israel." Brenner produced 66 video reports for Social TV between 2011 to 2013. Among his features are, Palestine is Already a State; Women Solidarity for the Establishment of Palestine; Intifada Art; Anti-Occupation Activists; Public Officials for the Recognition of Palestine. 
In his article "Germany's BDS movement and the paradox of anti-Semitism," Brenner interviews BDS supporters in Berlin saying that "Germans fear criticising Israel and being perceived as anti-Semitic due to legacy of WWII," Brenner interviewed Carsten Koschmieder, a political scientist at the Freie University Berlin, who stated that BDS has some supporters on the very left of the German political spectrum but not many more. "The BDS movement has not - or not yet - achieved [recognition] as legitimate protest," Koschmieder explained, "As long as they are not seen as a legitimate movement but as connected to anti-Semitism, they cannot achieve anything in the public sphere in Germany." 
Peter Ullrich, another academic interviewed by Brenner is a sociologist at Technische University Berlin who has written extensively about anti-Semitism in Germany, explained that anti-Semitism is taboo in Germany because of the country's history. Being labelled an anti-Semite could damage a person's reputation as well as opportunities. "It is a strong accusation indeed, one of the strongest." The article notes that the BDS activists are now very concerned since Minister Gilad Erdan stated in the Jerusalem Post on April 4th, that "We have been working extensively over the past half year to increase awareness among decision-makers in Europe and North America of the anti-Semitic, anti-democratic, and discriminatory nature of the BDS movement. This awareness is growing, and is increasingly being translated into counter-BDS legislation, legal rulings against BDS activities, and decisions by Western institutions to end their financial relationships with BDS organizations." 
Brenner is clearly promoting BDS in Germany by stating, BDS "which has been gaining support in the United States and in Italy, and stirring public debate in the United Kingdom, Canada and other countries - is comparatively quiet in Germany." And that a "BDS activist, sees no contradiction between the historical lessons of the Holocaust and criticising Israel." 
Brenner's work exposes the major difficulty that Israel has when taking on BDS. The movement to boycott Israel is embedded in a broader intellectual and emotional debate about the boundaries between criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism and who is entitled to say what. There are no clear cut answers to any of these questions. But one things is quite obvious. Israelis are good salesmen of the BDS "goods."
 

 

Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
20.06.16
The Battle Against BDS - Upcoming Bar-Ilan Conference and Audio Recording of the 4th IAM Conference in May
 
The effort to combat BDS has galvanized civil society groups and the government to tackle this phenomenon. One such a platform was the IAM conference in May, a recording of which is now available online. 
Two weeks ago Danny Danon, the Israeli Ambassador to the U.N, hosted a conference in the U.N General Assembly with some 1,500 students and dozens of anti-boycott organizations participating. Ambassador Danon, who described BDS as being the face of modern anti-Semitism, stated that the conference intends to send Israel-haters around the world a clear message of the country’s strength. He added that Israel will not surrender and shall continue to expose BDS lies. 
A few days ago, Gilad Erdan, the Minister of Strategic Affairs who was appointed by the Prime Minister to tackle BDS, spoke at the annual Herzliya Conference and outlined the steps the government should take against the boycott movement and its advocates and move from defense to offense. He proposed that Israeli authorities should target bank accounts of such activists and organizations, to expose their sources of funding. He also explained that the government is currently advancing legislation. “There’s no real price for somebody here, or an organization who is working against his country in order to isolate it in the world.” He said. 
On the American front, an Haaretz article reported that in the U.S some twenty states so far and two local governments - one in Florida and one in New York - have taken up the battle against BDS and passed laws or are in the process of considering it. 
From a financial prospective, Bloomberg reported that an examination of foreign capital flow into Israel shows a steep increase, that foreign investments in Israeli assets hit a record high last year, a near-tripling from 2005 when the BDS movement was started by a group of Palestinians. 
It seems that the BDS success is limited to campuses. But even this may change as more and more academic experts are getting involved. 
Next Sunday Bar Ilan University will host a conference on the struggle against BDS. The meeting would bring together a large community of experts. The conference will be conducted in Hebrew and is intended to benefit the academic community at large and in particular academic staff going on sabbatical and post doc.

 

General Articles
 
16.06.16
Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
 
On the 26th of May, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), chaired by Romania's special representative Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu, adopted the Working Definition of Antisemitism, first published in 2005 by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). The Working Definition of Antisemitism is already being referred to by a number of bodies such as the U.S Department of State in its antisemitism Fact Sheet, the European Parliament Working Group on Antisemitism, the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism in their London and Ottawa protocols, and the UK College of Policing. 
The Working Definition of Antisemitism states: “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.” It lists a number of examples: 
- Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion. 
- Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions. 
- Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews. 
- Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust). 
- Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust. 
- Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations. 
- Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor. 
- Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation. 
- Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis. 
- Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis. 
- Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel. 
To combat antisemitism, the European Commission Directorate-General Justice and Consumers launched in Brussels a High Level Group in June 2016. In the Speech Commissioner Vera Jourova stated, "Evidence shows that threats against Jewish people and acts of Antisemitism are on the rise in many Member States...Let us develop, under the guidance of the Fundamental Rights Agency, a common methodology to record incidents and collect comparable data on hate crimes." 
IHRA reports that the German Chair-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) intends to encourage the endorsement of the Working Definition of Antisemitism at the 23rd OSCE Ministerial Council in Hamburg on 8-9 December 2016. IAM will report on this development.

 

Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
13.06.16
American Anthropological Association: A Thin Victory for the anti-BDS Camp?
 
On the 7th of June the AAA members decided by a small majority vote to reject the BDS resolution. But the discourse on the issue indicates that the fight between the BDS and the anti-BDS factions is ongoing.
The AAA resolved to censure the Israeli government over practices that "restrict freedom of movement for Palestinian academics and foreign academics going to the West Bank; restrict access to publications on the West Bank; inflict damage on Palestinian academic life; deny full accreditation for Al-Quds University; deny freedom of expression to Palestinian and dissenting Jewish faculty and students at Israeli universities; and obstruct payment of salaries to West Bank faculty." 
To "repeal Israeli laws that make it a crime to speak publicly in favor of a boycott; change visa regulations for foreign scholars to teach, study and do research in Palestine; dismantle the “closure regime” that includes physical impediments such as checkpoints, roadblocks and gates; improve Internet access in the Occupied Territories; desist from having the IDF raid universities, arrest students on campuses, and use tear gas on campuses; grant Al-Quds University its long overdue accreditation; grant the same rights to Palestinian students on Israeli university campuses as Israeli students enjoy for gathering and action, including expression of their identity." 
To "identify the ways in which US government resources and policies contribute to policies in Israel/Palestine that violate academic freedom and disenfranchise Palestinians, and will call on relevant US government agencies to work towards effective changes in Israeli government policies and practices." 
To implement the 2015 AAA business meeting's “call on the US Government to cease supplying any military and economic aid to Israel which is used directly or indirectly to support the occupation and to violate Palestinian human rights.” 
"AAA will participate in conversations with sister societies with regard to... Israeli-authorized excavations in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the contested ways in which cultural heritage and archaeological research are implicated in these issues." 
"AAA will provide active resource support for Palestinian and Israeli academics as well as visiting scholars in the region...Considering the ways in which Israeli government policies and practices make it difficult for Palestinian academics and non-Palestinian academics working in Palestine...AAA will make its digital, online literature (AnthroSource) available free of charge to Palestinian universities". 
"Considering the ways in which Israeli government policies and practices make it difficult for Palestinian academics...AAA will establish fellowships to enable the travel of Palestinian and/or Israeli academics to AAA conferences, and of academics and/or visiting scholars in anthropology" working with "colleagues in the West Bank and Gaza." 
The "AAA has no investments in any company anywhere that does not fit this criterion, including Israeli companies." It is expected that Securities "Not have policies against discrimination regarding race, gender, religion, age, disability, or sexual orientation." 
A long list indeed. IAM has already noted that the AAA-appointed Task Force mission to visit Israel/Palestine was biased even though its mandate stated that Task Force members comprise of “no one with publicly identified positions on the issue," three of the six proved to be pro-Palestinian. Moreover, the newly elected AAA president, Alisse Waterston, has co-authored with Hugh Gusterson, a member of the Task Force, the Israel/Palestine: A Resource Document in March 2014. Though the document purports to be balanced, it is quite clear that the arguments in favor of BDS are much stronger than those against it. 
Waterston said in response to the failed BDS vote “The consensus within the AAA remains and that is that there are serious human rights problems that exist in Israel/Palestine as a result of Israeli state policy, practices and the occupation and that AAA must take a course of action." Not surprising, Waterston is a lifelong donor to the New Israel Fund (NIF), a report by the Adva Center published in 2002 on "Government Funding of the Israeli Settlements in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights: Update," thanked Waterston and husband for their support. The 2004 Annual Report by New Israel Fund thanked Waterston and husband for their donation, as well as the 2006; the 2011; and the 2013 NIF Annual Report. 
Also, Tel Aviv University professor of sociology and anthropology Dan Rabinowitz told Inside Higher Ed that, with regard to the AAA plans to censure the Israeli government, it is a welcome "measure directed in the right direction." 
Moreover, Anthroboycott, the group of anthropologists that promotes the boycott through their website Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions reported that about 1,300 anthropologists have signed a pledge to uphold the boycott of Israeli universities in their personal capacities, though some 200 signed the petition anonymously. 
The AAA targets Israel alone; it does not censure other countries. AAA is a prime example of the double standards which is a part of modern anti-Semitism. Indeed, the exclusive focus on Israel extends well beyond the AAA into virtually all of Western social sciences. As Steven Salaita wrote in the Chronicle of Higher Education, "Israel Boycott Has Staying Power." 
IAM has frequently discussed the underlying causes of this singular obsession with Israel by Western social scientists: neo-Marxist, critical paradigm; heightened activism; the influx of Arab and Iranian money into higher education in general and social sciences in particular. The results are unmistakable: the profession as a whole has remained silent about the most egregious manifestation of radical Islamism, including the treatment of women and gays by ISIS and other jihadist groups. Those who try to discuss these issues are described as suffering from Islamophobia. 
The double standards in the social sciences hurt the discipline first and foremost. It robs it of the moral authority that is essential to its viability. It is hardly a coincidence that the term "political correctness," first developed on the campus, has become a major political issue in American politics, triggering a major backlash. 
Social scientists, including the AAA scholars need to understand that a loss of moral authority has been part of the rising tide of anti-"political correctness."

 

General Articles
 
09.06.16
Professor Claims: "The Academe is Drowning and its Captains Asleep"
 
Prof. Chaim Rachman's allegations, from the IAM previous post, are all the more alarming amid indications that Israeli universities are sliding in the global ranking of tertiary education - a subject on which IAM has repeatedly reported. As Professor Gabriel (Gabi) Weimann from Haifa University writes in Haaretz in his "The Academe is Drowning and its Captains Asleep", this development has not been addressed neither by the CHE nor the political echelons. Meanwhile, Israel is suffering a serious brain drain, as younger scholars are leaving for the West, notably the United States. 
In a global economy where human capital dominates such a development cannot be tolerated. This phenomenon may have security implications as well. In a closed business meeting, the head of Military Intelligence Maj. General Herzl Halevi noted that Iran has a much larger number of graduates in engineering and computer sciences. According to Halevi, Israel is losing its edge, not just in the West but also in the Middle East. 
In a new 2016 QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings, Israel is ranked 28, after Argentina, Brazil, India, Russia and Malaysia. 
The Israeli public need to take notice.

 

 

Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
06.06.16
Inaccurate Report on 20 Israeli academics promoting anthropology association’s boycott of Israel
 
The general media announced that 20 Israeli academics are backing the boycott call of the AAA. This was based on a report conducted by Dr. Shahar Golan on behalf of Im Tirtzu. The group's website states that it "reveals the truly deep and disturbing connection between Israeli academics and the international boycott movement." Specifically, "the report focuses on the Israeli Anthropological Association as a case study, and reveals how Israeli anthropologists are promoting and encouraging the proposed academic boycott of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) on Israel." 
A large number of media outlets reported on this, including "Jerusalem Post, Israel National News, Israel Hayom, Algemeiner, Jewish Press, and more. The report was even covered by Press TV, the state-funded English news network of Iran!" 
Im Tirtzu also announced that as "as a result of the report MK Oded Forer (Yisrael Beiteinu) called for an emergency meeting in the Knesset’s Education Committee to discuss these disturbing findings." 
IAM found the letter by the group of Israeli anthropologists to the AAA (see below) with all the names mentioned by Im Tirtzu. But contrary to the group's conclusions, IAM established that the signatories did not endorse BDS. In fact, they stated the following, "One does not have to be a supporter of BDS in order to believe, as the undersigned do, that discussion of the academic boycott and other measures of censure of the State of Israel is an ethical prerogative for the AAA... we support the AAA Executive Committee’s call for an open, transparent, and productive process and discussion of the position that the AAA should take with respect to Israel/Palestine... we do not expect that only BDS supporters will participate in the debate. Indeed, we welcome the participation of individuals and organizations that oppose BDS, question it or are simply curious to learn more about BDS... We therefore encourage an open and public discussion of BDS, along with other possible measures. We wish the American Anthropological Association success in pursuing this debate at the coming Annual Meeting, whether its end result is adoption of the boycott or other measures of censure, or simply a productive professional exchange." Nothing in their statement indicated an endorsement of boycott. Also, some of the signatories are not academics but students. 
However, Im Tirtzu mentioned another petition, signed by 22 Israeli anthropologists supporting the boycott, which is anonymous. The petition explains that "to help protect early career academics–in an atmosphere of increasing intimidation and legal restrictions on advocating for academic boycott–all the signatories have agreed to sign anonymously as a single collective." Because of this anonymity, it is hard to establish whether these anthropologists are employed by an Israeli university. Some or all may be based abroad and some maybe students. 
If the signatories to the second petition are indeed employed by Israeli universities, it creates legal and ethical problems. Preaching for boycott of Israeli institutions while receiving a salary from the same institutions is dishonesty and should be exposed as such.

 

 

General Articles
 
02.06.16
Lack of Transparency in Selecting Members to Committees of Budget for Research
 
The Social Science Network has published a letter of protest in Hebrew by Rachman Chaim, a Professor at the Technion in the department of materials science & engineering, where he complained about the lack of transparency over who is selected to become a member of the budget for research committees, and this, according to Rachman, is corrupting the system. In his view, some research proposals have been turned down because an applicant was not acquainted with members of the committee. 
He writes, "For several years I do not submit research proposals to public funding bodies known as 'foundations of competitive research' (such as BSF, GIF, ISF). This is because of lack of correct administration, if not corrupt, whereby members of the professional committees are set/selected using a refer-a-friend method. While sometimes external reports advise otherwise, research proposals are ultimately determined by the members of these committees. This causes harm to many researchers who are not 'connected'. Lack of public supervision over the use of these research funds which are not transparent to the public, is a key factor in this unethical behavior." 
Rachman also protests the "lack of financial transparency of the Technion Research Authority (and probably all the universities in Israel). University administrations have established (or converted) the research foundations into limited liability companies, receiving public funds but are not transparent to this public, which is outrageous in itself. I have described the funds going to research authorities, and because of the lack of transparency they have the capability to utilize funds in an unethical manner, if not corrupt, of research budgets." 
Rachman's homepage at the Technion lists his exchange, backdating over a decade ago, of letters in Hebrew with three research foundations which he titled(The danger of protectionism in public research funds-GIF ; The danger of protectionism in public research funds-BSF ; The danger of protectionism in public research funds-ISF). He explains, "this site deals with the possible corruption circle extending, back and force, between the so-called ‘research universities’ and the ‘competitive’ public research foundations in Israel. My attempt is to open, to expose, and to interrupt this corruption circle, for the better of the new generations of the Israeli scientists and the public funded science in Israel. Some of these files are letters and communications between me and the research foundation authorities, where it became clear that the referees / judges who determine the fate of the research proposals were nominated unethically via the ‘friend brings a friend’ method. This may lead to unethical / biased support of proposals, resulting in a mediocre research in the best case, or to abuse / misuse of the public money in the worse case. The letters dated almost a decade ago are sadly still relevant. Some of these files are letters and communications between me and the Technion authorities, up to the level of the Technion President. Since 2006, all the Israeli universities became legally public entities whose financial activities should be transparent to the public." 
Rachman raises very serious concerns, but so far no one responded to his protest. The Ministry of Education, the Council of Higher Education and even the Ministry of Science and Technology should look into Rachman's allegations and scrutinize his findings.

 

 

Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
30.05.16
The American Anthropological Association (AAA) vote on the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions
 
Tomorrow, May 31st is the last day to vote on the AAA debate whether or not to boycott Israeli academic institutions. A business meeting of the AAA held in Nov 2015 debating two resolutions on Israel and Palestine, one was soft, offering AAA members in "Engaging Israel Palestine: End the Occupation, Oppose Academic Boycott, Support Dialogue," was rejected. The second resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions was adopted, on which the entire AAA community of ten thousand members is voting. 
The resolution resulted from a Task Force mission appointed to investigate the relevance of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute to the AAA, as IAM reported, Task Force members were expected to be neutral and “no one with publicly identified positions on the issue." However, half of its members, three of six, were publicly identified as supporting the Palestinian narrative prior to the mission trip. Also, those who were chosen to help the Task Force during their trip to the area were also publicly identified with the Palestinian narrative. No wonder therefore, the report was biased against Israel and full of flaws. 
This is not really surprising, those who are pushing for the boycott are mostly of Arab origin, as can be seen from the list of signatures below. 
Surprisingly, however, the success of Arab influence on American campuses against Israel which originates from the vast investments by wealthy Arab states investing en mass of petrodollars in American higher education in the last few decades, beginning with the plea of the late professor Edward Said. The 9/11 attack did not change things in this respect. 
Throughout the years the figures of Arab investments in Western campuses have gone up and so is the hostility toward Israel. With the Arab money and the wide popularity of the neo-Marxist, critical paradigm in the social science, such influence on campuses can be recognized in the number of votes to boycott Israel and the AAA is one example of it, whether successful or not.

 

Tel Aviv University
 
26.05.16
Abuse of Academic Freedom: Tel Aviv University Law School
 
Tel Aviv University Law School has a long history of political activism, a fact demonstrated in its one-sided conferences dealing with political issues such as the occupation. For instance, in 2007 Amnon Rubinstein, the first dean of the Law School, lamented this fact in an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post. 
To the charge of unbalanced panels should be added another one: organizing conferences that pay only the skimpiest attention to law. The Conference on Queer Theory co-sponsored by the Law School is a case in point. It has been co-sponsored by Professor Aeyal Gross to showcase a book by Amalia Ziv, Explicit Utopias: Rewriting the Sexual in Women’s Pornography. 
The speaker on the panel include: 
Yael Mishali, gender program, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the program for Gender Studies supported by NCJW, Tel Aviv University, "Pleasure under patriarchy: Feminist Porn Is it possible?" 
Atalia Israeli-Nevo, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, "Girl with cock is not subversive: the surplus and shortage of female transsexuals in porn" 
Lital Weinbaum, program of Gender Studies, Tel Aviv University, "Slash's actions of non-binary gender" 
Avner Rogel, The Steve Tisch School of Film and Television, Tel Aviv University, "Fast forward and pause: temporal queer porn films" 
Amalia Ziv, gender program, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, "Pornography and Pedagogy" 
Out of the other panels at the conference, only one can be legitimately considered as having a legal orientation. The others are a hodgepodge of discussions on gay and queer activism, sexuality and pornography. 
This is not to claim that there should be no academic discussion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) issues. To the contrary, the evolution of the LGBTQ movement has involved intense legal debates. For instance, the United States has been currently gripped by the issue of bathroom access for transgender people. It was provoked by a law in North Carolina which would mandate access to bathrooms based on the gender in the birth certificate. 
The question then is why should a Law School host a conference which has so little to do with legal issues? 
The answer is quite simple. Aeyal Gross and Amalia Ziv are “comrades in arms.” As IAM reported before, Gross started his activist career in Kvisa Shchora (Black Laundry), a splinter of the gay movement in the 1980s, which self defined as queer. Gross and other queer activists developed the so-called “pink washing” theory, that is the notion that Israel’s liberal treatment of gays is a cover up of its sins of occupation. In 1996 she and Gross organized the a study group of queer theory, which subsequently led to the annual Alternative Sex (Sex Acher) conferences. As written in her c.v, Ziv has been giving seminars on the anti-occupation activism for years, such as in NYU on "Performative Politics in Israeli Queer Anti-Occupation Activism"; and published “Performative Politics in Israeli Queer Anti-Occupation Activism,” as well as "Queering Protest and Performing Queerness in Israeli Queer Anti-Occupation Activism." Gross too has chaired a round table, in a Sex Acher conference, "Forty Years of Occupation, and Not a Minute Longer: On Pride and Occupation". 
The “Alternative Sex” conferences is just one in a long series of abuse of academic freedom by activist faculty that IAM discussed in length. University authorities need to make sure that tax payers money is not misappropriated for private political ventures.

 

 

Articles by IAM Associates
 
23.05.16
The BDS Movement Recruited Jewish Israeli Professors to Deflect Accusations of Anti-Semitism
 
The IAM 4th annual conference on Anti-Semitism and BDS on the 10th of May provided the audience with some unexpected information. For example, Dr. Dana Barnett, the IAM editor, explained the role of the Jewish and Israeli activists within the movement to boycott Israel. 
Much to everyone's surprise Barnett revealed that the fun'ction of Jewish Israeli professors is to deflect accusations of anti-Semitism. In an interview with JerusalemOnline shortly after the conference, Barnett cited Israeli professor Rachel Giora, a Tel Aviv University linguist and a staunch supporter of BDS who wrote in an article detailing the movement of boycott from within, that “The major role of the Israeli BDS movement has been to support international BDS calls against Israel and legitimize them both as clearly not anti-Semitic." 
Barnett also revealed that Israeli professors profit from their roles in the delegitimization of Israel campaigns. BGU professors Neve Gordon and Oren Yiftachel are a case in point. The former received Saudi support for his book Israel's Occupation, as he admitted in the foreword of the book, "I began writing the book in 2004 during a sabbatical at the University of California, Berkeley, where Nezar AlSayyad from the Center for Middle Eastern Studies... welcomed me and provided me the necessary resources to write." Berkeley's Center for Middle East Studies has been a recipient of Saudi largess for years. The latter, who coined the apartheid analogy received a trophy from Michael C. Hudson, a veteran Arab propagandist and the director of the Middle East Institute at the University of Singapore, which is supported by Gulf states funding. 
Barnett stated that this pattern is not new and has been used to promote the "New Historians" in the 1980's.

 

 

Hebrew University
 
19.05.16
Commemorating Prof. Robert Wistrich: Hebrew University and the Undermined Research on Antisemitism
 
We approached today the first yahrzeit of late Professor Robert Wistrich, the renowned historian, who chaired the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (SICSA) at the Hebrew University, until his death on the 19th of May 2015. The SICSA website presents his voluminous research, including the conferences he held - all focusing on various aspects of antisemitism. 
SICSA was founded in 1982 by Vidal Sassoon, the famous hair-dresser who came to Israel in 1948 to help her fight in the Independence War. Antisemitism was high on his agenda. In his last interview to Voices on Antisemitism published by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Sassoon said: "I was born in Shepherd’s Bush, West London, in 1928. And the period of my childhood was very interesting, because Britain never went Fascist or Communist. But antisemitism was absolutely rife. I mean, it was nothing for another kid to say to you, “Dirty Jew.” And although England was a good place to be, especially with Churchill and the fight against the Nazis, there was always that sense of the Jews being second-class citizens." The interview was published shortly before his death in 2012. 
Professor Dalia Ofer served as SICSA's chair from 1996 and Wistrich replaced her from 2002. In her concluding remarks upon ending her term Ofer wrote, "From its inception, the Sassoon Center has been dedicated to an independent, non-political approach to the accumulation and dissemination of knowledge necessary for understanding the phenomenon of anti-semitism." 
Before his death Wistrich privately expressed concerns over where would SICSA be heading. Wistrich was right to be worried, exactly one year after his death, SICSA has not been focusing on the study of antisemitism, as can be seen from the activities listed below. 
Things came to a head when some of Wistrich research projects were discontinued soon after his death. For example, the proceedings of a conference hosted by Wistrich were purposed to culminate in a book, two years have gone by and the book is not out yet. 
It is worth noting that SICSA's academic committee of eight professors comprises of half specializing in fields not related to antisemitism: Romance and Latin American Studies; Musicology; English; and Law. 
Ofer's words on "non-political approach" sound hollow, some members of the academic committee participate in political activism. For example, a conference held by the Minerva Humanities Center at TAU together with the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, a political German foundation, questioned "Are Modern Societies Racist? Racism and Xenophobia in Israel and Europe Today," the new chairperson of SICSA, Prof. Manuela Consonni, included comparisons of antisemitism and Islamophobia in Europe. Not a single incident, between 2011 to 2012, organized by Van-Leer, Consonni participated in a discussion group on "Partition and Its Alternatives" promoting a one state solution for Israel/Palestine. By aiming to "examine critically the view that partition is the only logical solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." Group members questioned "whether separation ... is indeed the only solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." And questioning to "what extent partition will ensure sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians." 
Consonni is not the only political activist among SICSA's academic committee. In an interview with Al-Jazeera published in 2012, Yehuda Bauer was questioned on the Israeli demand of the Palestinians to recognise Israel as a Jewish state, Bauer's response was, "I think that is proof of his [Netanyahu's] internal insecurity. If you are secure in your Jewish identity you do not need Abu Mazen or Saeb Erekat to tell you that you are a Jew. Do they need me to fortify their belief that they are Palestinian?" 
Another member of the academic committee, Michael Karayanni, a law professor who wrote about his work, "I teach three courses at the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and engaged in three main research projects: the first deals with the liberal dilemma associated with the accommodation of religious minorities in nation states given that liberalism will work to back such an accommodation but should also be attuned to vulnerable minority members such as women and children; the second deals with the extraterritorial application of access to justice rights; and the third deals with the history and nature of the recognition accorded to the Palestinian-Arab religious communities in Israel... As to my extra-academic activities I would like to list the fact that I was a member of the board of ACRI – Association for Civil Rights in Israel – the country’s major human rights association, and since 2009 serve as a member of the committee awarding the Emil Grunzweig Human Rights Award to organizations and individuals whose work made a significant contribution in the field of human rights in Israel. I have also served as a member in the School of Peace, located in Naveh Shalom – Wahat El Salam that engages in different co-existence activities." He has no background in the study of antisemitism. 
Since Wistrich's death, the legacies of Vidal Sassoon and Robert Wistrich have been undermined. While neo-antisemitism is growing among Muslims in Europe and elsewhere, by having academic committee members associated with pro-Palestinian activist groups, the study of antisemitism will be heading nowhere.

 

Articles by IAM Associates
 
16.05.16
The Israel Academia Monitor Conference on Anti-Semitism and BDS, Tel Aviv University
 
The IAM Conference that took place last week in Bet Hatfutzot, Tel Aviv University, has dealt with BDS and its relations to anti-Semitism. The first panel, in English, was academic; the second was in Hebrew and geared toward applied issues. 
Each of the scholars at the first panel presented an original piece of research. For example, Dr. Sharona Goldenberg, a lecturer of law at the Netanya Academic College and the director of International Freedom of Research Center (IFRC), spoke about the research she had conducted on scholarship applications. She found that one of six Israeli scholars who apply for studies abroad hide their identity in order to increase their prospects. In other words, the national identity of the scholars dooms their chances regardless of their qualifications. 
In an interview to Jewish News Service, Goldenberg explained that these are “new hidden Jews, the new anusim (forced converts) within Israeli academia... By putting them into a situation where they need to hide their identity, the boycotters are breaching their basic rights.” 
The struggle against BDS has taken place mostly on campuses and the fight against it should therefore focus on this arena. IAM is dedicated to educate both academic and the lay pubic about this phenomenon.
 

Israelis in Non-Israeli Universities
 
05.05.16
Oren Ben-Dor Loses High Court Case Against University Over Anti-Israel Conference
 
IAM recently reported on the law-suit filed by former Israeli academic, Oren Ben-Dor and a colleague, against his university, Southampton University, for cancelling their conference questioning Israel's right to exist, on grounds of public safety. 
The High-Court hearing took place last week and the British High Court Judge has ruled against the professors. The Judge explained that the University was "motivated by well-founded concerns for the safety of people and property, and exemplify good and responsible decision-making." 
The Palestinians and their supporters are reaping what they have sown. They instigate provocations, disruptions and "interventions" during lectures by pro-Israelis that the university can now claim that there is a well founded concern for public safety and the recent King's College London brawl is still fresh on the public mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All articles are Israel Academia Monitor COPYRIGHTS unless stated otherwise

Israel Academia Monitor, P.O. Box 997 Even Yehuda 40500, Israel

Tel: +972-54-4283749 e-mail@israel-academia-monitor.com

(Extract)
  

 

 
 

Please fill all the fields

your Name
Phone
E-mail
content
Visual Confirmation
Visual CAPTCHA
Developed by Sitebank & Powered by Blueweb Internet Services
Visitors: 146591259Send to FriendAdd To FavoritesMake It HomepagePrint version
blueweb