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Israel Academia Monitor Follows

Anti-Israel Activities of Israeli Academics

 

 

Reprints of anti-Israel articles do not represent the position

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

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

 

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

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
     
           
                

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 Extracts

Dear Reader:  The summer break is upon us, 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.

Tel Aviv University
 
 22.08.16
TAU Gadi Algazi and Shlomo Sand Speak in Fields Not Their Own
 
The French Palestine 13 is a local group of the Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS) based in Bouches-du-Rhône. It declares to be apolitical but the website promotes BDS. It is the only organization to publish an invitation to join Le Monde Diplomatique, the French monthly newspaper, on a study tour to the region of Israel/Palestine in October 2016. 
Le Monde Diplomatique is running tours and courses, it's website explains that "Le Monde Diplomatique shares its expertise and singular look that gives it a decline of sixty years on the turbulent history of the world, in partnership with the European Institute of Public Policies (IEPP) recognized organization, which aims to provide training to the elected that will improve their local and international action." 
The newspaper that offers analysis and opinion on politics, culture, and current affairs, is known to have left-wing leaning. 
But with the current atmosphere in Europe, it is not surprising that it has invited two Israeli radical academics to speak - Gadi Algazi and Shlomo Sand, both of Tel Aviv University. 
IAM has noted before that both Gadi Algazi, an expert on Medieval Europe, and Shlomo Sand, now retired, an expert on French history and culture, for years have used their academic positions to write and speak on the Arab-Israeli conflict - a field not within their expertise - something that Tel Aviv University should have objected to. 
Acknowledging this breach of trust of encroaching on fields of research not his own, Sand stated in the foreword to his book The Invention of the Jewish People that: 
"Though the present work was composed by a professional historian, it takes risks not usually permitted or authorized in this field of endeavor. The accepted rules of academe demand that the scholar follow prescribed pathways and stick to the field in which he is supposedly qualified. A glance at the chapter headings of this book, however, will show that the spectrum of issues discussed herein exceeds the boundaries of a single scientific field. Teachers of Bible studies, historians of the ancient period, archaeologists, medievalists and, above all, experts on the Jewish People will protest that the author has encroached on fields of research not his own. There is some truth in this argument, as the author is well aware. It would have been better had the book been written by a team of scholars rather than by a lone historian. Unfortunately, this was not possible, as the author could find no accomplices. Some inaccuracies may therefore be found in this book, for which the author apologizes, and he invites critics to do their best to correct them." 
Inaccuracies were too many. Anita Shapira, the renowned professor of Jewish History wrote of Sand's "attempt to drag history into a topical argument, and with the help of misrepresentations and half-truths to adapt it to the needs of a political discussion, and all this, ostensibly, under an academic mantle. Sand has written a sharp, pointed polemic drawing on much varied historical material which he re-kneads at will...Sand bases his arguments on the most esoteric and controversial interpretations, while seeking to undermine the credibility of important scholars by dismissing their conclusions without bringing any evidence to bear." 
Similarly with Gadi Algazi, who is described in the invitation to the tour as a professor (French) history at the University of Tel Aviv and representative of the anti-colonial movement Palestinian and Jewish Israeli Tarabut-Hithabrut," will be speaking on "Jewish-Arab movement for social and political change." Also, earlier this year Algazi spoke in a conference in India on "Dispossession, Mediation and Attachment to Land: A Case Study from Israel in the 1950s." Again, Algazi's expertise, as taken from his TAU website, is "Late medieval and early modern social and cultural history; historical anthropology; the history and theory of the social sciences; settler colonialism and frontier societies." His website includes a long list of Publications and lectures including Books, Articles, Editorial Work, Volumes Edited, Reviews, Translations; Courses: Lectures, Graduate Seminars, Undergraduates Seminars, and Introductory Exercises - None of which includes anything even close to the topic of Israel/Palestine and his presentation for Le Monde Diplomatique. 
The damage to the Israeli academic community by professors who speak in fields not related to their own can not be underestimated. Universities should have not tolerated such misbehavior. 
By bringing disqualified persons to speak on the Palestinian/Israeli dispute, and by presenting one-sided perspective alone, Le Monde Diplomatique is presenting partial information. A more balanced Israeli perspective is missing.

General Articles
 
15.08.16
The Ministry of Strategic Affairs' Strategy to Battle BDS
 
The Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs has recently hit the news twice. First, Sima Vaknin-Gil, the office director appeared before a Knesset Committee meeting headed by MK Stav Shaffir on Transparency of the Government. One of the issues raised was the Ministry's fight against BDS. Vaknin-Gil was reluctant to disclose in public too many details on how her office operates, but explained the raison d'etre, “although severe criticism of Israel is legitimate, rejecting the right for Israel to exist is illegitimate... whoever accepts our existence here, including the biggest critics, is a partner. Whoever doesn’t is an opponent. If there is an organization that says we need to give back all of the territories, but recognizes Israel’s existence as a nation-state — to me, that is a partner. Even if there are those who don’t like it.” 
Second, the following day, Minister Gilad Erdan, along with Aryeh Deri, the Interior Minister, announced that both offices cooperate to establish a task-force to trace and deport BDS activists, tourists with foreign passports entering Israel on false tourist visa while is effect they volunteer to some BDS-related NGOs. 
An Haaretz article quoted high-ranking official, without disclosing a name, who stated that, "There is an intention to exercise discretion in every case. For example, we will have to consider whether an expulsion of certain people benefits or harms Israel's interest. If this is a foreign citizen whose actions of boycotting Israel is minor and he is mainly engaged in the promotion of human rights, then we have no problem with that. But if this is an organization whose main activity is promoting a boycott and de-legitimization against Israel then we have no interest in him coming here." 
Erdan also posted on Facebook a public request for information on such tourists. One commentator asked him about the Israeli BDS supporters, eliciting the following: 
"Our initiative relates to the BDS activities by foreigners, not Israeli citizens, who come here in order to bash Israel. The law regarding entry into Israel is different than the law for the citizens of Israel and there is logic in this distinction. We are also considering what sanctions could be taken against Israeli pro-boycott organizations and Israeli boycott activists. But when it comes to the residents of Israel this is of course more complex." 
IAM has been following BDS as it pertains to academic-related issues. We would report on what measures, if any, the Israeli Government will take against BDS activists from within.

Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
08.08.16
Palestinian Influence on Arab States to Accelerate the Boycott of Israel
 
During the last year Israel has put much of its weight into fighting BDS. Equally important, in recent months Israel has been liaising with a number of Arab states such as Saudi Arabia and some African countries. As a result the Palestinians have doubled their efforts to boycott Israel. As our May 2015 conference demonstrated, Qatar has been a leading force behind this new initiative. 
The Doha Institute hosted a three days academic conference on how to bolster the boycott of Israel, “Boycott as a Strategy to Counter Israel’s Occupation and Apartheid: Present-day Realities and Aspirations,” held in Tunis, Tunisia, between the 4th to 6th of August. 
The conference organizers seem to cast their efforts in analytical terms. They state that, in order to improve the boycott of Israel, a "careful consideration and study to better understand its importance and the best means by which it can be bolstered" is needed. Some of the questions raised are "is the boycott movement merely a protest movement that responds instantaneously to Israeli aggressions? Or is it, instead, a complete strategy with both medium- and long-term aims? What role is there for Arab states, and émigré communities to play in the boycott movement? To what extent can Palestinians living both within the Occupied Territories or within the Green Line be expected to take part in the boycott movement?" 
It is worth noting that behind the launch of the Doha Institute in 2014 is Azmi Bishara, a former member of the Knesset, wanted in Israel for espionage, who is the general director of the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies in Doha, Qatar. 
Also, the Arab League has been holding its 90th conference on the Arab boycott against Israel in Cairo from the 2nd to the 4th of August. Delegates from Palestine, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Algeria, Iraq, Sudan, Morocco, Mauritania and Yemen were expected to attend. 
Alhayat, the London-based Saudi newspaper which reported on the Arab League Conference, quoted Salman al-Harfi, Palestine's ambassador to France. He stated that a ministerial meeting will be held in September in the United Nation's General Assembly to prepare for an international peace conference before the end of the year and to "evaluate what we have reached in French and international efforts". 
IAM will keep reporting on these developments.

Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
01.08.16
Push for Israel Boycott at the MLA Convention in Jan 2017 by the "MLA Members for Justice in Palestine"
 
The "MLA Members for Justice in Palestine" is a group founded in 2014 that works tirelessly to boycott Israeli universities within the Modern Language Association (MLA). In June 2014 MLA members failed to pass a resolution that condemned Israel, though the preceding debate was strenuous. Jonathan Marks, a professor of politics at Ursinus College, noted in the Chronicle of Higher Education that, the rhetoric used by sponsors of the MLA vote to boycott Israel was extremely harsh. For example, Elizabeth Jane Ordonez, professor at the University of Texas and a signatory to the MLA Members for Justice in Palestine petition, actually called opponents "Zionist attack dogs." She wrote: "moves to seek justice and opportunity for Palestinians (or to remove obstacles to achieving those goals) are countered by Zionist attack dogs. When the Zionist lobby railroads its way through Congress, universities, and civil society no request is made for equal time for the other side." But, the MLA chose not to consider the proposed resolution endorsing the boycott of Israeli universities at their annual conference in January 2015. Instead, the MLA’s delegate assembly organizing committee convinced the sponsors to withdraw the resolution for further discussion until the annual meeting in 2017. 
Now the vocal group "MLA Members for Justice in Palestine" has been working hard to assure a boycott vote during the next annual convention on the 5th to 8th of January 2017. To this end they gathered 386 signatures for their petition and embraced a number of authors to showcase Israeli apartheid. For example, they adopted J. M. Coetzee, a famous South African novelist and recipient of the Jerusalem Prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society granted on April 10, 1987 by the late Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek. While Coetzee had used the podium during the ceremony to call on his country to dismantle apartheid and its system of racial segregation, he had no criticism for Israel. In fact, on another occasion, in 2010, Coetzee found faults with the Palestinians. He wrote, "the leaders whom the Palestinians have produced thus far strike me as midgets. And if by some chance a savior were to emerge, my guess is that he would pretty soon be gunned down." 
Notwithstanding, MLA Members for Justice in Palestine reported that Coetzee, who has participated recently at the Palestine Festival for Literature in Ramallah, compared Israel to apartheid South Africa. He stated that in Jerusalem and the West Bank, "we see a system of enforced segregation based on religion and ethnicity, put in place by an exclusive self-defined group to consolidate a colonial conquest, in particular to maintain and indeed extend its hold on the land and its natural resources. Draw your own conclusions.” 
MLA Members for Justice in Palestine also reported that six of their members have recently visited Palestine's Birzeit University for a discussion on how to succeed in their attempt to boycott Israel in the upcoming annual conference in January 2017. 
There is little doubt that the fight over BDS in the MLA is going to heat up between now and January. As already noted, MLA, with almost 25,000 members, is a hugely important academic association. The outcome of the BDS would be an important test of the strength of the pro-Palestinian movement in the United States, especially as legislative and legal moves to counter it have been put in place. 
IAM would provide further updates on this important issue.

Ben-Gurion University
 
25.07.16
BGU Faculty Campaign "Against the Tyranny of the 'National Consensus'" for an Alternative Award to Breaking the Silence
 
The latest political development at BGU relates to the Berelson Prize, endowed by the businessman William E. Berelson. Berelson, who died in 1997, intended his Prize to promote peace in the MIddle East. The JWeekly newspaper noted that "Each year, a Ben-Gurion University committee awards the prize to a person who promotes peace between Israel and its neighbors." The then regional director of the S.F.-based American Associates of Ben-Gurion University, Philip Gomperts said of Berelson, "The message of peace was an idea very close to his heart...he really believed that one day peace would come." Berelson was born in China and traded in China and the Far East. "But the Middle East -- and the promise of peace in that region -- also captured his attention." Susan Wolfe, former regional director of Ben-Gurion University and a longtime friend of Berelson said "Because he was such a traveler both for business and personal reasons, he really understood and appreciated that different cultures could work together." 
As IAM discussed, the department for Middle East Studies at BGU intended to award the Berelson Prize to "Breaking the Silence," a group of IDF veterans who collect testimonies about their military service in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem since the Second Intifada. A recent report by HaMakor, an investigative TV program showed that of ten testimonies it examined, two were confirmed as true, two were exaggerated, two were false and four could not be verified. 
Things came to ahead when Professor Rivka Carmi, the BGU President, cancelled the prize this year. The cancellation has caused a stir, prompting the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) to write her a letter of concern, "Your decision to overturn this decision of the Middle East Studies faculty is a clear instance of interference with faculty governance and a violation of academic freedom. We urge you to reverse your decision, respect the collective will of your faculty, regardless of Breaking the Silence’s relationship to a purported 'national political consensus,' and award this group the 2016 Berelson Prize." 
In response, Anne E. Berkeley, the assistant to Carmi, wrote back that "the Berelson Prize Fund was given to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and not to a specific department. The donor did not appoint the Department of Middle East Studies to determine the prize winners. The original purpose of the fund was to bestow the prize on Ben-Gurion University students or faculty who were leaders in peace promotion. They were chosen by a committee that included, among others, the head of the Center for Understanding between Jews and Arabs - and the Dean of Students. Upon the retirement of the aforementioned head of the Center, the University transferred the fund to the Department of Middle East Studies, which bestowed the prize on a variety of personages who, in their judgement, promoted peace... [with regards to Breaking the Silence] awarding a prize is an act of recognition and appreciation which is tantamount to taking a stand and supporting the intended recipient. Such a stand does not fall under the mandate of the University which is comprised of individuals of varying points of view, and all the more so it is not part of the mandate of a single department to make that determination in the name of an entire academic institution." 
As expected, a number of political activists denounced Carmi, including the Haaretz editor, who referred to her in an editorial "The Rhino of the Negev," a wink to the 1959 Eugene Ionesco play, the "Rhinoceros" about inhabitants of a small French town which turned into rhinoceroses while the main character did not succumb to this mass metamorphosis. The play explores the theme of conformity. Haaretz used strong words against Carmi: "In recent years, the Israeli government leads to a systematic campaign to undermine critics of its policies, directed primarily against human rights organizations and those struggling against the occupation. Campaign to discredit people and organizations that has metastasized legally and publicly, has become an obvious reality in the eyes of large segments of society in Israel. The decision of the president of Ben-Gurion University, Prof. Rivka Carmi, to overturn the decision to award the organization Breaking the Silence - after the incitement campaign against the organization - encourages this unacceptable approach. Instead of strengthening civil society, Carmi joined those seeking to suppress it, while adopting a growing delegitimization of organizations critical of government policies and the occupation in particular." 
Equally important, numerous faculty at Ben Gurion University have initiated a campaign titled Against the Tyranny of the "National Consensus", for an alternative ceremony and award to Breaking the Silence. Behind the new initiative is Guy Beiner, a faculty at the history department at BGU. Yitzhak (Yani) Nevo, also of BGU, forwarded the campaign request to the "Academia-IL" Network. The contributions exceeded expectations. 
The campaign included some comments, for example, Daniel Blatman of HUJ wrote: "This act deserves recognition and congratulations to Guy for the initiative. Against the shameful NGOs Law and Rivka Carmi the guardian of the sacred consensus - this is the proper response. Congratulations." 
Oren Yiftachel of BGU wrote: "It turns out that the consensus today is apartheid in the territories, and the organization Breaking the Silence stands against it. Good for the organization and this initiative!" 
Galia Golan of IDC: "Awarding Breaking the Silence is a symbol of support by those who work to end the occupation and for peace between Israel and Palestine." 
Nitza Yanai of BGU has asked "Is there a possibility to hold the alternative ceremony in the university? It will have greater symbolic effect than in the city of Beersheba". 
Among the donors to the campaign were Louise Bethlehem; Hagit Benbaji; Tsafrir Goldberg; Dani Filc; Daniel Jacobson; Hillel Shoken and Efrat Bradzjik Shoken; Maayan and Guy Davidov; Yael Hashiloni-Dolev; Moshe Zuckermann; Ami Ayalon; Yohanan and Hannah Peres; Alon Konfino; Eran Feitelson; Amos Goldberg; Jonathan Anson; Sharon Pardo; Gili Baruch; Avi Rubin; Efraim Davidi; Michal Givoni; Noam Tirosh; Ehud Krinis; Lynn Schler; Naomi Shir; David Enoch; Zvi Mazeh; Tommy Dreifus; Yoram Bilu; Snait Gissis; Amit Shechter; Ofer Cassif; Miri Eliav-Faldon; Dan Yakir; Ilan Saban; Uri Avraham; Ayelet Harel-Shalev; Yoram Meital; Oded Goldreich; Nitza Berkowitz; Tamar Katriel; Renee Poznanski; Haim Yacobi; Becky Cook; Shlomo Moran; Oren Yiftachel; Haggai Ram; Yitzhak Nevo; Dani Ungar; Gidi Nevo; Eitan Bar-Yosef; Chaim Weiss; Neve Gordon; Iris Agmon; Itamar Even Zohar; Galia Golan; Tamar Rapoport; Yeshayahu Tadmor; Harvey Goldberg; Yair Glasner; Daniel Blatman; Nitza Yanai. 
Amit Shechter who advocated for the campaign on Reshet Bet radio, explained that what prompted them to act was Carmi's explanation of the group being outside the consensus. 
Carmi might be losing support at home but should note that the radical fraternity among BGU faculty is BGU own making.

Hebrew University
 
18.07.16
[HUJ] German TV compared Palestinian incitement to kill Israelis to Israeli "propaganda," based on a Nurit Peled-Elhanan interview
 
The German public service television broadcaster ZDF aired on July 5, 2016 on "heute plus" a programme on the propaganda tools that both Israelis and Palestinians use against each other. To prove their case, on the Palestinian side, ZDF showed a clip of a school graduation of young kids in Gaza where the children simulated a war against Israel. On the Israeli side, a ZDF reporter interviewed Nurit Peled-Elhanan, an academic at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, who presented Israeli school books as propaganda tool against the Palestinians. This is not the first time that Peled-Elhanan addresses this issue. In 2012 she published a controversial book in which she found that Israeli textbooks teach children hatred of the Palestinians. In her view, when these children grow up and are conscripted into the IDF, they become killers. 
A promo describes the ZDF programme as "Educated to hatred? As Israeli and Palestinian children to be persuaded to despise each other." 
Stefan Frank in Mena-Watch, an independent Arab-Israeli Think Tank in Vienna, who's goal is "to improve the quality of reporting on the Middle East in general and Israel in particular", offers a scathing review of the ZDF program. Frank cited Israeli journalist Eldad Beck of YNET, who is based in Germany, as stating that "Several research institutes have studied the broadcast content by ZDF and came to the conclusion that they are consistently anti-Israel." 
It is highly regrettable that ZDF and other outlets can find unscrupulous Israeli academics like Peled-Elhanan to support their distorted view of Israel.

Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
11.07.16
The BDS Movement is Advanced by the LA Times
 
The battle of BDS in the U.S, has sparked a ferocious debate over First Amendment issues, a debate that IAM has covered. 
As can be seen from the article below, the Los Angeles Time supports the right to call for boycott as protected speech. The paper dismisses charges that support for boycott is akin to antisemitism. This is hardly surprising, since in 2009 Los Angeles Times published an op-ed by Professor Neve Gordon of Ben Gurion University calling for the boycott of Israel. Arguably, the high profile of the LAT helped to mainstream the notion of BDS which was pretty marginal at the time. 
The LA Times is wrong to dismiss the accusation of antisemitism off hand. As IAM emphasized, both the EU and the US State Department have concluded that some elements in the BDS phenomena could be construed as anti-Semitic. 
First Amendment issues are taken very seriously in the United States and, ultimately, the courts would determine the legal status of the BDS. Until such time, the debate would go on.

Ben-Gurion University
 
04.07.16
BGU is Making Headlines with Political Activism Again: Haggai Ram as a Case in Point
 
Last week, Professor Rivka Carmi, the President of Ben Gurion University, nixed a plan by the Department of Middle East Studies to grant the annual Ben-Gurion University Berelson Prize for Jewish-Arab Understanding of $5100 to the NGO Breaking the Silence. Carmi explained that it is first and foremost the University that picks the recipient and that the Department took the initiative without consulting the authorities. Carmi emphasized that Breaking the Silence is not part of the Israeli consensus and therefore not a candidate. 
But Professor Haggai Ram, the head of the Department, told Haaretz that his colleagues voted unanimously to grant the prize to Breaking the Silence because the "public debate has moved “dangerously” toward right-wing extremism." Ram asserted that "Breaking the Silence has been one of the principal targets of this onslaught, and that "we believe that advancing Jewish-Arab relations requires confronting the public with the truth of the occupation – which may not be pleasant to hear, but constitutes a fundamental condition for reconciliation between the two peoples.” 
Not surprising, condemnation of Carmi poured from the radical left. One critique even suggested that Carmi's decision will boost the calls for boycott. "She appears to have shot herself in the foot with the decision to cancel the prize to Breaking the Silence. It not only undermines the academic independence and freedom of the university, setting a dangerous precedent for further restrictions and the silencing of those who oppose Israeli policies, but it also is constitutes an effective boycott of Breaking the Silence, something she has categorically rejected. Carmi has — perhaps unintentionally — boosted the legitimacy of boycotts in general as a tool, and academic boycott in particular, by endorsing it herself in order to keep her institution afloat." 
Carmi's problems with the radical faculty are of Ben Gurion University own making. BGU has allowed academics-activists to masquerade as bona fide scholars for too long. In 2011, the Council of Higher Education international quality assessment committee found the Department of Politics and Government to be below standard because of a preponderance of critical, neo-Marxist scholars. The committee evaluating the Sociology Department made similar observations. 
Haggai Ram has been a par excellence of an academic-activist. His scholarship is rather meager and his prose obtuse. For instance in the introduction to his book Iranophobia Ram wrote "that Israeli scholarly research on the Middle East and Iran has remained impervious to innovative analytical tools and paradigms used in other disciplines of the humanities and the social sciences that are reminiscent of the 'epistemic self-sufficiency' of Orientalism as a mode of knowledge production." For those who the writing incomprehensible, Ram wants Middle East Studies in Israel to match the neo-Marxist, critical scholarship of his colleagues in the departments of Politics & Government and Sociology. 
As for the nuclear program in Iran, Ram found it to be a fabrication of the Israeli government which was looking to divert attention from its subjugation of the Mizrahim and lower classes: "the Israeli government, academia, and media were disseminating distorted images of Iran that are informed by the [Israeli] state's security and ethnocentric concerns." 
Ram has never let facts to deflect his strongly-held beliefs. Needless to say, he probably did not bother to read the 2011 report of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Iran's nuclear program; after a painstaking analysis the Safeguard Division of the Agency concluded that Iran had an advanced enrichment capacity and conducted numerous experiments to weaponize its uranium stocks. For the same reason, he is probably not aware that in signing the 2015 Comprehensive Joint Plan of Action with the international community, Iran agreed to dismantle much of its enrichment capacity. The question that Ram needs to answer now is: if Iran's nuclear program was a figment of Israeli imagination, what is it that the Iranians are dismantling? 
It is not clear why Ram, who was considered the "Iran expert" in the Department, decided to switch fields. He now describes himself as an expert in Hashish. In his 2016 research he explains: "I begin by examining how hashish traffickers responded to these new conditions of control and prohibition, showing that their persistence in maintaining the illicit trade presented the authorities with unforeseen challenges. I then provide a vista into Mandatory Palestine's consuming subjects and the kinds of colonial knowledge about cannabis which helped to raise critical, racial-cum-cultural, awareness of these people, as well as to deter Jews from consuming the forbidden substance. As opposed to other regions of the British Empire (most notably India and Egypt), the history of cannabis in Palestine has not been told before." 
It is not clear why the taxpayers have to sponsor his new research interest and who in the department is now doing research on Iran, a subject that Ram was apparently hired to do. This question needs to be answered by the BGU authorities that allowed shoddy academic practices to continue for so long.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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