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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


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" and Audio

A unique opportunity to purchase the IAM book on Academic Freedom


Click to view whole articles:


General Articles
Fighting Brain Drain and Competing Global Education Rankings
It was recently announced that philanthropist Mortimer Zuckerman has committed more than $100 million to attract postdoctoral researchers in life sciences from Western countries to Israeli universities and lure Israeli academics back to Israel. This step is a major boon for the universities in Israel, but there are currently problems at the managerial level. 
A petition signed by over 1500 academics urged to create a special commission to investigate the firing of Hagit Messer-Yaron as the deputy chair of the Council of Higher Education. The petitioners want to reform the system of selection to the CHE to make it more transparent. While this is a laudable position, it does not go far enough in addressing the main problem of tertiary education in Israel. As IAM already demonstrated, the Israeli universities have been doing poorly in all the major ranking of world indices. Even the Technion, known in the past as the “MIT of Israel", has been on a downhill slope for most of the last decade. 
The academic community should understand that competing with other countries in the annual higher education rankings is of critical importance to Israel. We live in an integrated world where human capital is the coin of trade. So far, the academic community did not recognize it. Perhaps the new recruits arriving with the Mortimer B. Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program would help to make it happen.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
PACBI's Italian and French Academic Boycott Calls with the help of [Weizmann Institute] Kobi Snitz
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) that was launched in Ramallah in April 2004 by a group of Palestinian academics and intellectuals, including Lisa Taraki and Omar Barghouti, has recently opened two new campaigns. One is calling on French academics and intellectuals to endorse the boycott of Israel. PACBI is stating that as a result of it being illegal in France to call for a boycott which is a misdemeanor — a call to national discrimination - they are encouraging academics to join the call by claiming it supports Palestinian's rights. PACBI states that a group of French intellectuals and activists has recently announced their intention to defy court, following an October 22, 2015 ruling by France’s court upholding the conviction of 12 Palestine solidarity activists on "flyering and leafleting about boycotting Israeli products to support Palestinian rights." 
PACBI adds that "Manuel Valls, France’s prime minister, threatened to ban demonstrations in support of the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israeli products and institutions." To encourage French academics to call for boycott two Israeli academics-activists have joined in the call, Haim Bresheeth, the former Israeli who resides in London and Kobi Snitz from Weizmann Institution. 
The second academic boycott initiative pertains to Italian academics To gain publicity , the Italian Society for Middle Eastern Studies (SeSaMO) will host a panel discussion "Knowledge and Power. Discussing the BDS and Academic Boycott Campaigns" hosted by Dr. Enrico Bartolomei a longtime activist with ISM Italy and Paola Rivetti of Dublin City University who is also a signatory of the French call for academic boycott, during its annual conference "MIGRANTS: COMMUNITIES, BORDERS, MEMORIES, CONFLICTS" held on 17-19 March at the University of Catania, Italy. This will be the first time that an academic association in Italy is to publicly debate the BDS/PACBI campaigns. 
IAM suggests that academic members of the SeSaMO who support Israel's academic freedom should make their voices heard in the upcoming gathering in March in Catania.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
BDS, Black Lives Matter, Cecil Rhodes and Pastor Niemoller: Reflections on the Colonial Paradigm
In her article in Haaretz, Baroness Deech quoted Pastor Martin Niemoller, who had gradually turned against Hitler and ended up in a concentration camp. After liberation, Niemoller wrote a famous poem that captured the cowardice of the intellectual classes in Germany because they did not stand up to the widespread rewriting of history carried out by the Nazis.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Socialist. 
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Trade Unionist. 
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew. 
Then they came for me— 
and there was no one left to speak for me. 
For more than thirty years now, liberal arts on campus have used the colonial paradigm in a massive rewrite of history. The paradigm is quite simple; the white race has dominated the world, wrote its history and shaped its culture while oppressing the non-white natives. As a result, it is incumbent on the descendants of the colonial victims on campus to rewrite the history to fit the colonial paradigm. To placate the protestors, universities introduced new programs such as African-American studies, ethnic studies, and women studies - decreed to be the “honorary victims” of the male, colonial oppressors. 
Following the Six Day War, the Palestinians became the poster children of the colonial paradigm, generating a huge wave of history rewriting. In the process, the history of the 1948 War became totally rewritten to suit the colonial paradigm. Later on, research on every facet of Israeli society and politics was likewise distorted to fit the same paradigm; once depicted as a fairly well functioning democracy, Israel became the apartheid state par excellence. 
Though there was a certain amount of discomfort about such intellectual excesses, academic and intellectuals have refrained from getting involved in the debate because the colonial paradigm did not impinge on their field of work. There was also little protest from mainstream academy when the BDS spread on campus since it did not threaten its interests. 
But they should have known better. Once a paradigm takes roots, in tends to colonize (no pun intended) everything around it. 
The new wave of campus protest is a case in point. Black Lives Matter on Campus (BLM) has launched high profile protests against perceived racism and colonialism. As a rule, BLM demands more diversity among the faculty, code name for hiring black and minority professors. This hit home since most faculty in liberal arts are white, threatening their shrinking academic pie (Science and engineering is not affected because affirmative action hiring is not practiced). 
Across the Atlantic, the colonial paradigm hit Oxford. Brian Kwobe organized a group called Rhodes Must Fall to demand the removal of the statue of Cecil Rhodes from a building in Oriel College. Kwoba, ironically, a Rhodes Scholar himself, stated that Rhodes was a “Hitler of Africa” and should not be honored with a statue. Moira Wallace, the provost of Oriel College, initially authorized a lengthy “consultation” process to discuss the removal of the statue. But the “consultation” outraged prominent donors, jeopardizing future gifts and donations. 
The financial shortfall threatens clerical, and junior faculty positions, mostly in liberal arts. Wallace’s own job is at stake, as many called for her resignation. 
The recent developments suggest some lessons for those who fight delegitimization of Israel and BDS. It would be a mistake to explain BDS as an expression of anti-Semitism, although there are some anti-Semitic undertones in the debate. At the root of the problem is the neo-Marxist, colonial paradigm that has colonized liberal arts on Western campuses. Out of indifference or intellectual cowardice, academics and intellectuals did not speak out. But as Pastor Niemoller stated, they need to speak out now or it would be too late. 
Of course, contemporary dangers do not include one way ticket to a concentration camp where many of the pastor’s colleagues died. What is at stake today is arguably more important. Scholars and intellectuals need to speak out against presenting history and contemporary reality in ways that fit a certain paradigm. Respect for facts and objectivity should matter more than a political ideology whether left or right.

General Articles
Baroness Deech: U.K. Universities Rife with Hatred, Closed Minds, Ignorance, Stereotyping and Anti-Semitism
An article by Baroness Ruth Lynn Deech, a former professor at St Anne's College, Oxford, sheds light on the cultural wars on the British campuses. 
Deech's article describes how British Universities have become hotbeds for Islamist preaching where "extremist Islamist speakers promoting the subjugation of women, and extinction of apostates and gays. And the university authorities did not follow the U.K. government's Prevent policy, designed to counter radicalization on campus, because the lecturers' union and the national student union sided with radicals and Palestinian activists." 
But while Islamist preachers are exercising their free speech on campus, others are being silenced. "Attacks on Jewish and Israeli speakers, of whatever complexion, are at the centre of the silencing strategies. It does not matter whether the speaker is an Israeli Beduin (Ishmael Khaldi, Israeli diplomat, was prevented from speaking to the University of Edinburgh Jewish Society in 2011 by pro-Palestinian protesters), or an Ambassador (Ron Prosor received similar treatment at the same university) or a peace activist (Ami Ayalon at King's College London, last week). The mere fact that there is a Jewish gathering or an Israeli theme is seen as provocation by pro-Palestinian activists and therefore to be blocked." 
She moves on to describe the latest incident when Ami Ayalon, chairman of the executive committee of the University of Haifa, tried to speak: "On 19th January the protests plumbed new depths. At King's College the police had to be summoned when an anti-Israel mob threw chairs, smashed windows, and activated fire alarms. Some students in the audience feared for their physical safety." 
"U.K. universities are rife with hatred, closed minds, ignorance, stereotyping and, yes, anti-Semitism. The peaceful Jewish student who only wants an enjoyable three years at university would do well to avoid those colleges where there is a sizeable Palestinian movement (often a cover for anti-Zionism, anti-Semitism and sometimes misogyny). London colleges and Scottish universities are amongst the worst." 
In the same vein, a 30 minutes video by Raphael Shore of Jerusalem U, Crossing the Line: Exploring Israel on Campus (UK) "examines the proliferation of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incidents on British university campuses. The documentary explores whether, and in what ways, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic lines are being blurred." 
Deech suggests using legal tools to deal with the problem: "It is the law that controls freedom of speech and expression, and it is to the law that we must resort when the mark may have been overstepped, not violence."


Boycott Calls Against Israel
Two Academic Boycott Initiatives: Brazil and India
Two new boycott initiatives are gaining momentum. One, The Palestinian BDS campaign in Brazil (Campanha de boicote acadêmico a Israel - BDS-Brasil) has scored success as 249 academics have signed an academic boycott call against Israel. The BDS campaign was initiated by a number of Palestinians with ties to Brazil, such as Abo Ali, a Palestinian from Lebanon who lived in Brazil and is back in Ramallah, he is a former Facebook software engineer; Jihad Abu Ali, and Faruk Zahra. The BDS page was opened on the 12th of January, in three days the number of signatures increased from 50 to 200. 
Arguably, the initiative drew its strength by starting with instructions of PACBI on How to Organize the Academic Boycott of Israel; moving on to an article in Counterpunch "On the Fallacy of ‘Engaging’ with the Israeli Academy" by Haim Bresheeth, from 2013; then a report on BDS by Le Monde Diplomatique Brasil that was published in 2014; followed by reports of International Middle East Media Center; Middle East Monitor and its summary of reactions to BDS in Israel and its description of Israel's BDS despair. 
Still, a few readers left angry comments and one warned that the Brazilian universities are low in ranking so the push for BDS will make them even worse. 
The second initiative is in its initial stages and it is not clear whether it would take off, of an upcoming conference at the Hebrew University. 
The Economic Times of India reported that more than 50 American and Indian academics "including Partha Chatterjee, Aijaz Ahmad and Elisabeth Armstrong, have launched a campaign for boycotting Jerusalem-based Hebrew University’s upcoming seminar on Subhas Chandra Bose, the Indian National Army and related events in Indian history during World War II." 
The report states that this move was initiated after the Indian Foreign Minister returned from a meeting with the Arab League and a visit to Israel and Palestine. According to one of the signatories calling to boycott, "These are institutions of occupation. Hebrew University violates international law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention, 1949." 
Palestinians are spending a lot of time, energy and money on boycotting Israel initiatives. Having been launched on Western campuses, the BDS movement has now spread to South Africa, South America and India. Israel needs to do more to cope with the problem.


Lectures Interrupted
Ami Ayalon lecture interrupted at King's College London
It is now customary on Western campuses for Palestinian and pro-Palestinian activists to disrupt lectures by Israelis. IAM reported on the previous cases such as Ami Pedahtzur at the University of Texas. Last week it was former Shin-Bet chief, Admiral (ret.) Ami Ayalon in King's College London. 
It is worth noting that the Israeli lecturers that belong to the peace camp are also targeted. Ayalon is a case in point. In 2002, Ayalon co-sponsored with Sari Nussiebeh the peace initiative which was signed by over 420,000 individual Israelis and Palestinians. In 2005 Ayalon toured the US to promote The People’s Voice Initiative for an Israeli-Palestinian peace, on behalf of Amenu, a group promoting Progressive Zionism. As described in the article "Israeli Security Chief Turns to Peace Activism" it was a grassroots effort aimed at giving the Israeli and Palestinian leaders the support needed to make peace. 
This initiative promoted two states for the two peoples; The borders will be based on the June 4, 1967 borders, with mutually agreed territorial swap; Jerusalem will be the capital of both states. The Arab neighborhoods will be under Palestinian sovereignty, Jewish neighborhoods under Israeli sovereignty, and the holy basin under no sovereignty; Palestinian refugees will return only to Palestine. Jews will return only to Israel; The Palestinian state will be demilitarized; and an end of conflict." 
In his article "My Vision for Peace" Ayalon wrote, "We Israelis see Hamas as a terror organization and we are right. But we must understand that Hamas is not only a terrorist organization. It is also a way of life and a religious movement. Hamas has charities, they have municipal organizations, and they have financial organizations. Hamas will not fight against the will of the Palestinian street. They will not use terror when Palestinians do not approve of terrorism as a legitimate tool." 
"When Palestinians see progress in the political process (the peace process) they do not approve terror as a legitimate tool. This is why when the Palestinians felt like they were achieving freedom, less humiliation, and an improved economy they did not approve of Hamas or terror. For this reason the PA could fight against terror and Hamas without being perceived as Israeli collaborators. I used to meet the Palestinian security leaders monthly. People like Jibril Rajub, Mohammad Dahlan, Hamin al-Hindi and others. We met to share information and cooperate in fighting terror." 
"They cooperated with me because they understood that at the end of the road they will achieve their freedom as a result of the process which included fighting terror." 
"What we understood then was that the hope of the Palestinian people was the main reason why we were able to reduce the level of violence the way we did it during the late 1990’s. In a way this is the main assumption of the People’s Voice campaign. We have to create hope amongst Palestinians and Israelis because this will create the necessary energy to do what needs to be done. For the Palestinians this means fighting terror the way they did in the late 1990’s." 
For the lecture in King's College Ayalon was brought by Yachad which engages British Jewry in education and debate around the Israel-Palestine conflict and "work to galvanise the British Jewish community in support of a two-state solution." 
The violent disturbance at King's College London prompted Ed Byrne, the President, to announce an investigation into the case. 
The interruption at the Ayalon lecture is not an aberration, and indeed, not limited to Israel only. It is part of a larger phenomenon on Western campuses where freedom of speech is reserved for the politically correct group. All others have to be silenced though intimidation and harassment.


General Articles
Internal Problems of the Council of Higher Education (CHE)
In a recent, unprecedented move, Naftali Bennett, the Minister of Education and chair of the Council of Higher Education (CHE) dismissed Professor Hagit Messer-Yaron from her position as the vice-chair. Messer-Yaron who had only one more year left to serve, is a highly respected scholar; she was on the faculty of Engineering at TAU and later served as the president of the Open University. Bennett replaced her with Dr. Rivka Madmany-Shauman, also a member of the CHE, but a junior academic from a non-research institution, Hakibutzim College for Education. 
Bennett's move created a firestorm among Israeli scholars who objected to the politization of the CHE and the replacement of a prestigious scholar with a low ranked academic from a teachers college. 
Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson, President of the Hebrew University was interviewed for Israeli radio about this case. He said the Bennett's step is unethical, even if only one year is left for the current CHE members, still, Madmany-Shauman is not a professor and has no background in management. Ben-Sasson stated that he believes Bennett decided not to implement the decisions by the Messer-Yaron Committee report on higher education governance and therefore dismissed her. 
Some, like Moshe Shokeid, a professor of sociology, went overboard, writing in the social science forum that this is the "End of innocence, fascism is standing at the gate and the campus will say we have not seen or heard anything." In a more measured tone, Mota Kremnitzer, a law professor noted: "Because Dr. Wadmany is lacking the necessary academic status to function, it is clear that most members of the CHE contributed to this aggressive, arbitrary, illegal move, that tramples the autonomy of higher education, which the CHE is responsible for." 
As the article below indicates, professors from Weizmann Institute sent a letter to Bennett, protesting: “As scientists we first must care for the good of society, science and the country. And it is with this in mind that we would like to express our doubt and worry that we fear we may lose this important asset.” Professor David Newman wrote in his weekly column in the Jerusalem Post, accusing the right-wing government for lowering the standards of the higher education. 
Making it a right-left issue is wrong, but Newman is right on one thing, the standards of the higher education system in Israel have gone down and recent Ministers of Education, including Bennett's predecessor, Shai Piron, had done nothing to address it. 
Contemporary higher education is highly competitive and universities world-wide are evaluated by a number of international ranking services such as QS; Multirank; Times Higher Education powered by Thomson Reuters, among others. 
Ranking are crucial in the global academic and economic infrastructure. For instance, the EU uses its Multiranking Index to allocate millions of euros for scientific project. Other grant-making organizations like the U.S. based National Science Foundation are also known to consider the institutional base of scholars in addition to the individual merits of their proposals. 
Indeed, the comparative ranking of Israeli universities provides an overall picture of decline, as the table below shows. This ranking is provided by the Times Higher Education Index, but other services paint a fairly similar picture. 
There is no doubt that even the top Israeli universities do not measure up to the top Western ones. But, in what comes as a real shock, some Asian universities have surpassed the Israeli ones. 
Neither the Ministry of Education nor the CHE have addressed the issue of plunging scores. The current crisis is a good opportunity to launch a real debate on the issue. Strong academic leadership at the top of the CHE representing prestigious research institutions is sorely needed.



Boycott Calls Against Israel
The Association of American Universities Reaffirms Opposition to Boycott of Israel
On the 14th of January, the Association of American Universities (AAU) reaffirmed its opposition to the academic boycott of Israel. It stated that the association "strongly opposes a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Three U.S. scholarly organizations have now expressed support for such a boycott. Any such boycott of academic institutions directly violates academic freedom, which is a fundamental principle of AAU universities and of American higher education in general." 
The AAU is a professional association of 60 U.S. and two Canadian public and private research universities. "AAU member universities are on the leading edge of innovation, scholarship, and solutions that contribute to the nation's economy, security, and wellbeing." 
The AAU statement ends with, "The boycott of Israeli academic institutions therefore clearly violates the academic freedom not only of Israeli scholars but also of American scholars who might be pressured to comply with it. We urge American scholars and scholars around the world who believe in academic freedom to oppose this and other such academic boycotts." 
The AAU decision is an important development and should help pro-Israel activists in their struggle against BDS.


Anti-Israel Academic Resolutions
American Historical Association Makes the Right Decision
For the second year in a row now, the AHA has resoundingly rejected the proposal of Historians Against War to vote against Israel. Last year they proposed BDS and this year “Protecting the Right to Education in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” by monitoring Israeli actions. 
As IAM noted, Historians Against War is a radical neo-Marxist group which uses the colonial paradigm to present Israel as a colonial, apartheid state. The report presented to the AHA was biased on a number of counts, not least because the group violated its mandate to employ objective observers. Instead, most of the task members were either pro-Palestinian activists or faculty whose neo-Marxist, critical scholarship is easy to doc'ument. 
In its decision, the AHA stated that the report was replete with facts that could not be empirically supported. In plain English, the biases of the authors of the reports led them to create a reality that comported with their view of the conflict. 
According to the AHA report below "Opponents responded that academic freedom violations are legion throughout the world and that the AHA is already affiliated with Scholars at Risk, a group that monitors violations of academic freedom globally. Some opponents argued that a “yes” vote would be divisive, to which proponents responded that the Association has taken stands on other controversial matters and survived. Members disagreed over whether the occupation was the signal moral issue of our time, as well as whether the AHA has the capacity to do what the resolution would commit it to." 
Opponents noted that the AHA should not get involved in issues outside their field of expertise, and that “We should not turn the AHA into a vehicle for a specific Middle East agenda.” 
In voting down the BDS proposal the AHA sent a strong signal that professional associations should not get involved in matters that are well outside the scope of their concerns.


General Articles
Palestinians Drive a Wedge among American Jews on Campus
The Palestinian activist groups understand well that Israel's image in the West depends to a large extent to the Jewish diaspora. Since Israel sees the diaspora as an integral part of the Israeli community at large, the importance of the relations between the two cannot be overstated. 
But the BDS drive and the heated discourse that it generates on campus and beyond has created strife among Jewish students and academics. As IAM reported, one issue of contention pertains to the freedom to debate BDS. Hillel International, the umbrella organization that oversees and funds the network of Hillel chapters, does not allow speakers who support BDS to appear at its events. Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania was the first to challenge this decision in 2013, subsequently leading to the Open Hillel movement. As of now, there are some 3 chapters in campuses in the United States, Swarthmore, Harvard and Vassar. 
But the liberal segments among American Jews have continued to challenge the Hillel decision. J-Street, the liberal lobby that has established its own network on campuses has provided a counterpart to Hillel International. More to the point, Open Hillel has recently created its own Academic Council with the support of 55 American academics. 
The Academic Council endorsed a statement that reads: “Hillel International’s Standards of Partnership narrowly circumscribe discourse about Israel-Palestine and only serve to foster estrangement from the organized Jewish community… Just as our classrooms must be spaces that embrace diversity of experience and opinion, so must Hillel.” 
Needless to say the schism among Jewish students and academics on campus is detrimental to the fight against BDS. At the same time, there are no easy solutions to the problem. 
Israel, which was once a source of identify and cohesion among diaspora Jews, has become a source of division. The Pew survey of 2013 indicates that this trend is generational, in the sense that the younger cohorts are most distant from Israel and less likely to agree with the policies of the Israeli government. Though most Jewish students reject BDS and the occasionally virulent rhetoric of pro-Palestinian activists, many embrace the principle of free speech in and out of classroom.



Ben-Gurion University
BGU Neve Gordon at the Brown University Center Headed by Beshara Doumani, a Saudi Born Palestinian
Professor Beshara Doumani, a Saudi born Palestinian who heads the Middle East Center at Brown University has turned the Center into a platform for anti-Israel activism. He was among the 100 Middle East studies scholars and librarians who petitioned to boycott Israeli institutions in 2014. Last year Doumani has succumbed to pressure by the BDS movement and backed down from participating in an Adi Ophir conference at Brown. 
This is hardly news. In his Ph.D thesis in 1990 at Georgetown University, Doumani ridiculed Israeli academics and stated: "Israeli academics, and ironically, their Palestinian counterparts who sought to rebut them, generally assume that the real history of Palestine did not begin until after the first aliyeh [sic] or wave of Zionist immigration in 1882." 
Doumani also sits on the advisory board of FFIPP, an "Educational Network for Human Rights in Palestine/Israel. It is a network of Palestinian, Israeli, and international faculty and students, working in solidarity for a complete end of occupation and just peace." 
Shortly after the outbreak of the Second Intifada Doumani and other Palestinian academics signed a declaration stating that, "The profoundly irresponsible and self-serving act of the Barak government in allowing Ariel Sharon onto the Haram al Sharif shows not just an alarming lack of judgement, but also a total disregard for Palestinian, Arab and Muslim sensibilities. The use of live ammunition against unarmed Palestinian civilians at demonstrations there the next day and at protests ever since, shows total contempt for Palestinian life." This document also stated that "Israel’s recognition of its responsibility in the creation of the Palestinian refugees in 1948 is a pre-requisite to finding a just and lasting resolution of the refugee problem in accordance with relevant United Nations resolutions." 
Neve Gordon was among the Israelis backing this pledge.
IAM already reported that Gordon was linked to a Saudi sponsored center. When Gordon was in a Sabbatical at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies in the University of California, Berkeley, he wrote his 2008 book Israel's Occupation and it was the head of the center Nezar alSayyad who, as Gordon stated in the acknowledgements, "welcomed me and provided me with the necessary resources to write". 
Last month Gordon was hosting a workshop, "Human Shields and the Force of Discrimination" at Doumani's Middle East Center in Brown University with Nicola Perugini, an assistant Professor and head of the Human Rights and International Law program at the Al Quds Bard Honors College in Jerusalem. They presented a paper together, "The politics of human shielding: On the resignification of space and the constitution of civilians as shields in liberal wars" (see below). The paper intentionally does not criticize the many reported cases of Palestinians, especially Hamas, using civilians as human shields. They merely spoke about actions of the Israeli army during the operation in Gaza in 2014. 
"In order to better understand the politics of human shielding... potentially against entire civilian populations and the spaces they inhabit—we examine the 2014 Israeli military operation in Gaza, dubbed by Israel as ‘‘Protective Edge’’. One of the prominent claims repeated by the Israeli government and military throughout the offensive is that Hamas (the Palestinian Islamist party that rules the Gaza Strip) deliberately used human shields as a warfare technique, and therefore it bears responsibility for the extensive killing of civilians and destruction of civilian buildings and infrastructures carried out by the Israeli army during the military campaign. In his first appearance at the UN General Assembly after Protective Edge, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated the human shields mantra. Showing his international audience a picture of children playing in the vicinity of a rocket launcher, he averred that ‘‘Hamas deliberately placed its rockets where Palestinian children live and play’’." By citing Netanyahu the authors meant to present what he said as untrue or "Israeli propaganda". 
They explain their methodology for addressing human shields but were careful not to blame Palestinians for it. "We begin to address these questions with a concise genealogy of human shields in international law, followed by a brief overview of how the discourse of human shields emerged in the context of Israel/Palestine. Next, we examine the way Israel used the concept human shield in the 2014 Gaza war by analyzing a series of infographics spread by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on its Twitter account, Facebook and official blog. It is in this context that we discuss the intricately knit connection between the resignification of space and the constitution of a civilian as a shield, showing also that the infographics are merely one element in a broader apparatus of discrimination produced by the IDF. After illustrating how the deployment of the phrase human shield helps render legal the deployment of lethal violence against civilians, we conclude by arguing that the relatively recent appearance of human shields highlights the manifestation of a contemporary political antinomy." 
The workshop that Gordon hosted included also Avner Gidron of Amnesty International as a speaker. Gidron is not an objective observer but an activist pushing his political agenda. In a 2014 Huffington Post article "Israeli Land-grabs and Settlements: More Than Merely 'Counterproductive,'" he stated that "Israel's land-grab and dissection of the West Bank including East Jerusalem has had a devastating impact on the lives of Palestinians. Around 40 percent of West Bank has already been classified by Israel as "state" land. And the settlements, built on this illegally seized Palestinian land, are for Jews only. Discrimination against Palestinians on grounds of nationality and religion is the dominant feature of Israel's settlement policy." 
The role of Israelis in pro-Palestinian workshops and conferences is significant. Most people do not realize that the Palestinian activist community on Western campuses will only befriend Israelis who are willing to bash Israel. Neve Gordon, a radical political activist masquerading as academic, has a long history of legitimizing their agenda. 
Gordon's continuous involvement with groups that push for BDS raises questions that the BGU authorities need to address. He is not only active in the BDS movement but also damages Israel's higher education reputation.



Ben-Gurion University
BGU Haim Yacobi at a SOAS Palestine Society Conference: Anti-Israel Fest Sponsored by Qatar
We have been accustomed to seeing Israel-hate fests on Western campuses. This time its the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London, known for its radical pro-Palestinian positions.  In its 10th annual conference in October, the Palestine Society has solely focused on the bashing of Israel instead of addressing Palestinian issues. As usual, Israeli and Jewish activists have been invited to serve as defense against charges of anti- Semitism and anti-Israelism. 
As could be expected, Professor Ilan Pappe, a leading cheerleader for the Palestinian cause was present. The new recruit to SOAS, Hagar Kotef, made an appearance as well. As IAM reported, Kotef, whose paltry academic research focuses on the women of Machsom Watch, is a "politically correct" hire and it was only a matter of time until she had to deliver the bashing Israel "goods". 
Professor Haim Yacobi, the chair of the Politics and Government Department at BGU, was another speaker. His lecture "The "Arab Village": Politics of Land [Counter]Representation and Identity" deals with the consequences of the 1948 war and the destruction of hundreds of Palestinian villages. Yacobi shall argue that "destruction is just one side of the colonial saptio-politics in IsraelPalestine." 
Yacobi recently published an article "Jerusalem: from a ‘divided’ to a ‘contested’ city—and next to a neo-apartheid city?" where he restated his claims that Israel is a colonial entity. He also views Jerusalem as an apartheid city: "while Israeli rhetoric declared Jerusalem a unified city, its planning policies have reflected the paradigm of a colonial city" that, "promoted the Judaization of Jerusalem—that is, the expansion of Jewish political, territorial, demographic and economic control. More specifically, over the past 46 years, Israel has used its military might and economic power to relocate borders and form boundaries, grant and deny rights and resources, shift populations and reshape the Occupied Territories, for the purpose of ensuring Jewish control." 
This type of "scholarship" that Yacobi represents is causing some respected academics to question if social sciences can be objective enough, with some going so far as to suggest that the field should be abolished. The reason is clear: the likes of Yacobi cherry pick their arguments to present a black and white image to fit their political agenda, ignoring any legitimate counter arguments that do not fit their theories. 
To make matters worse, the invitation to the SOAS conference indicated that the conference was held "With the Support of Al-Araby Al-Jadeed", a new media outlet in London, owned by the Qatari company Fadaat Media. In other words, it is Arab money that buys Western and Israeli scholarships that promote anti-Israel agenda. 
SOAS one-sided support for the Palestinians made it a no-trespass zone for Jews. As the March 2015 article "Scared away as hate grows at SOAS" in the Jewish Chronicle stated, "Since SOAS's students' union launched a boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign in January, day-to-day life has become increasingly difficult for the handful of Jews and pro-Israel students on the campus." 
Things will get worse unless universities understand that their social sciences have been hijacked by anti-Israel agenda.










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