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 Established in 2004



Israel Academia Monitor


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" 2014 and Audio

A unique opportunity to purchase the IAM book on Academic Freedom

Click to view whole articles:
Tel Aviv University
The Next Generation of Neo-Marxist, Critical Scholars: TAU Yoav Kenny
Consecutive Evaluation Committees created by the Council for Higher Education to evaluate social sciences noted that in certain departments, there is a high concentration of neo-Marxist, critical scholars, a school of though that opposes mainstream approaches in social science. The preponderance of such scholars, who also tend to be political activists, has undermined the standing of Israeli social science in the international academic ranking, and forced the tax payer to support activists masquerading as scholars. 
IAM has covered this issue extensively but, by now, many of the older generation of these academic-activists retire. A new generation has been recruited into the academic ranks, many of them, students of the older scholars. Yoav Kenny, a post-doctorate fellow from Tel Aviv University is a prominent case in point. 
Kenny completed his Ph.D degree at TAU's Philosophy department under the leading neo-Marxist critical theorists Adi Ophir and Anat Matar. Kenny's recent proposal for post-doctoral research at the TAU Ethics department is titled: The War on Terror and the “Weaponization of Life”: Toward a Normative Ethics of Individual Corporal Violence in Extreme Political Circumstances. 
Kenny proposes to analyze neo-liberal sovereign states and how in the "normative ethos of liberal democracies... Suicide bombings, individual military targeted killings, force-feeding of detainees who are hunger-striking unto death, torturing of inmates who are suspected of being “ticking-bombs”, self-immolation of political prisoners, the use of human-shields by both soldiers and terrorists – all of these manifestations of individual corporal violence... currently underlies the political violence of terrorists, dissidents and nation-states alike." 
Kenny plans to use Foucault’s "bio-political conclusion" on the symmetry and reciprocity of power and violence, and "between hunger striking and force feeding, between human shields used by terrorists and those used by the army, between self immolation of prisoners and detainees and the torture of the same individuals by the state, and between suicide bombings and the killing of civilians as “collateral damage” of individual military targeted killings." Kenny will juxtapose acts of terrorism and acts of states fighting it. 
Here is a plain language translation for those who may be confused by this neo-Marxist, critical theory jargon. Israel and other liberal democracies which are fighting jihadist terrorism are equivalent to the terrorists themselves. 
IAM has emphasized that it is the responsibility of the academic authorities to make sure that a balance between neo-Marxist, critical scholarship and mainstream approaches is maintained. If the authorities do not act, the balance would be breached in favor of the former. The consequences for failure to act are known. The tax payers would be footing the bill for subpar social science performance.

Tel Aviv University
TAU Daniel Bar-Tal Uses his Academic Position to Promote his Politics
IAM has written extensively about Daniel Bar-Tal, a retired political psychologist from the TAU school of Education and a staunch political activist. On September 28, Bar-Tal spoke at the prestigious School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (SCAR) in George Mason University. The purpose of his lecture, according to the invitation, was to "promote his political initiative 'Save Israel - Stop the Occupation'." Bar-Tal was presented as "one of the leading scholars of the psychology of conflict." 
Bar-Tal has been a long time political activist. IAM reported that he claimed authorship of 'Occupartheid' to describe the Israeli regime, and to prove his point he posted an open letter on the website of Juan Cole, a professor at Michigan University and a notorious critic of Israel. On another occasion he authored a letter addressing liberal Jews calling for their active involvement in "our struggle for the image of Israel." Bar-Tal has served in an expert committee that produced a report on Israeli and Palestinian school books which was described by the Israeli Ministry of Education as "biased, unprofessional and severely lacking objectivity." Those who appointed Bar-Tal should have looked into his objectivity, a required standard for academic analysts. 
Ironically, Bar Tal makes little secret of his political views coloring his academic writings. 
A longstanding member of the leftist Meretz Party, in a 2014 Meretz publication he admitted as much. "There is no doubt my subjective perception is fueled by the knowledge, values, and worldview in which I hold. In fact it is impossible to be aware of the extent of the effects of these factors have on my current thinking... I too can analyze the events only from my own world and I try to analyze the current war with my expertise in Political Psychology, with data I have, in looking at the recent past in our region, the history of our conflict in its entirety and general history which possible to learn from quite a bit. Also, I try to see things from the perspective of Hamas and the Palestinians in order to understand their notions, interests and feelings and this is reflected quite a bit in this regard." 
Bar-Tal is one of pioneers of the theory that Israelis cannot assume peace with the Palestinians due to a Holocaust trauma and a Masada syndrome. This “all in their head” absolves Bar-Tal from considering the role of the Palestinians in hindering the peace process. Since Bar-Tal is not an expert in Middle East Studies and lacks knowledge on Islamist Jihadism, his observations are partial, based on scrutinizing the Israeli side alone and blaming it for all the ills of the region. 
By inviting Bar-Tal, SCAR has provided a distorted picture of the conflict to its students.

General Articles

High Court Proceeding: Professors vs. Minister of Education
A few month ago, in an 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 is a highly respected scholar; she was on the faculty of Engineering at TAU and later served as vice president of the Open University. Bennett replaced her with Dr. Rivka Madmany-Shauman, also a member of the CHE but a junior academic from Hakibutzim College for Education which is a non-research institution. 
Bennett's move created a firestorm among Israeli scholars who objected to what they call the politization of the CHE. A number of academics joined forces and petitioned the Supreme Court on the grounds that the procedure used to dismiss Messer-Yaron was illegal. The claimants also objected to the fact the CHE has operated without the full quorum of members. 
Last week, the Supreme Court issued a preliminary ruling on the case. In a short statement the Court has ordered the Minister of Education to submit, no later than November 3, 2016, the appropriate procedure used for appointing members to the CHE. Court has allowed the claimants to respond within 15 days and shall conclude soon after that. 
IAM would report on the progression of the case.

General Articles

CHE to Review the Law Schools Clinics
The Council of Higher Education (CHE) has recently approved the findings of an International Committee commissioned for the evaluation of academic standards in the law study programs. Evaluations were submitted for HUJ Law Faculty ; University of Haifa Law Faculty ; and Tel Aviv University Law Faculty, among others. The procedure of commissioning International Committees to evaluate study programs is a standard practice and an integral role of the CHE.
One aspect of the this evaluation was the Law Clinics that operate within all the law faculties. This International Committee concluded that, "It is desirable to establish that the budget of the Clinics should be taken from the institutions rather than from outside agencies; There is room to improve working conditions and the employment of staff in the clinics; There is a necessity of transparency in the selection process of the clinics' activities, especially when these are determined by external stakeholders; There should be an increased cooperation between clinic activity and staff at all the institutions and their research centers." Upon reviewing the recommendations of the International Committee, the CHE concluded that "In light of the recommendations by the International Commission with regards to the Law Clinics, the CHE is in a review process with reference to the above comments." 
IAM readers may recall reports on one sided political activism of some the Law Clinics. For example, in 2006 IAM reported that the TAU Law School set up a "Refugee Rights Clinic" involving the political organization "Physicians for Human Rights." In 2008 IAM reported that the Law Clinics were involved with "Gisha," the Israeli NGO protecting the freedom of movement of Palestinians, where on its board were a number of academics, such as Kenneth Mann (TAU, Law), Yishai Blank (TAU, Law), Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian (Hebrew U, Law), among others. In 2009 IAM reported that the University of Haifa Law Clinic stood against the State Prosecutor. The Prisoners Rights Clinic at the University of Haifa was run by Abeer Baker who co-authored the book Threat: Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israel with Anat Matar. The book made the claim that Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jail are not terrorists but rather political prisoners. Also in 2009 IAM reported that a number of Law Clinic staff spoke in a conference "Absence of Justice and State Accountability" of Adalah (the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel) designated for Arab Law students, with participants including Neta Ziv, the Director of Law Clinics at Tel Aviv University; Michael Karayanni of the Faculty of Law, Hebrew University; Yousef Tayseer Jabareen, Law lecturer at Haifa University; Hala Khoury-Bisharat of Haifa and Tel Aviv Universities and chair of the board of Adalah; as well as Abeer Baker, as Adalah described, "Seventy law students from Israeli colleges and universities and Al Quds University and 25 human rights lawyers, academics and activists participated in the event." In 2011 IAM reported that Neta Ziv was due to represent in Montreal the radical Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement. 
It is significant that the CHE is reviewing the Universities' Law Clinics to make sure that their budget will be taken from the universities rather than from outside sources. This means that political groups will no longer determine the clinics' work. The need for transparency in selecting the Law Clinics' activities is highly important, as well as incorporating the work of the Law Clinics with that of the universities and other research centres. 
It will be interesting to see if the CHE is successful in implementing changes to the Law Clinics. IAM will report on the developments.

Israelis in Non-Israeli Universities
Simona Sharoni, Former Israeli Scholar Promotes False Allegations Against Israel
We see often Israeli academics recruited by Palestinians to promote their cause. But this time there is a twist. An article on various media outlets, including Inside Higher Education, reports on harassment of a former Israeli scholar, Simona Sharoni from SUNY Plattsburgh University. It says that "on 6 September, Sharoni says she was informed by a school administrator that an individual had made five requests under New York’s Freedom of Information Law asking for records on her hiring, employment history and participation in academic conferences. According to Sharoni, Sean Brian Dermody, assistant to the vice president for administration and director of management services at SUNY Plattsburgh, asked Sharoni to help with the request by locating the records and turning them over. The next day, Sharoni says, Dermody sent a follow-up email asking her to give him all correspondence in her possession related to her hiring." 
Sharoni explains that this harassment is due to her highlighting "parallels between Palestinian victims of Israeli violence and victims of sexual assault." Quite contrary to Sharoni's assertion, some years ago an MA thesis by Tal Nitsan at the Hebrew University blamed Jewish Israeli men, in particularly soldiers, for racist behavior, that is, refusing to rape Palestinian women. 
Outlandish as her analogy is, Sharoni is another Israeli activist promoting the Palestinian cause and calling for BDS. In 2014 she was among the 100 members of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) who signed a petition calling to boycott Israeli academic institutions. 
Sharoni has also travelled to promote her message. An IAM post from August 2015 noted that Sharoni gave a talk at the Arab and Islamic Studies at Exeter University, a well known hub of anti-Israel activity connected to Ilan Pappe. In her talk "Violence, Resistance, and Solidarity in Israel and Palestine: Feminist Perspectives," Sharoni explains that "By focusing on gender and resistance, this book addresses dimensions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that are often overlooked or altogether ignored by politicians, ordinary scholars, and the mainstream media. Unlike conventional accounts that portray the conflict as a primordial, intractable war between two collectivities with competing claims over the same territory, the analysis featured in this talk exposes the power asymmetries and systemic injustices at the heart of the conflict. The talk chronicles the gendered aspects of the conflict and resistance acts in both Palestine and Israel with special attention to the situation on the ground in the aftermath of the July 2014 Massive Israeli attack on Gaza. Using an original framework that foregrounds feminism as a theory of anti-oppression and liberation the talk offers an original analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the prospects for its resolution.” Sharoni gave this same talk on a number of campuses at the time. 
Not unexpectedly, this Institute does no deem it important to organize an event on the treatment of women by ISIS, Al-Qaeda or other occupying forces. As IAM noted, the constant emphasis on Israel is a good diversion technique, it is politically correct, and pleases the Arab funders of Western universities. 
Equally interesting, there is even a direct link between Rachel Corrie and Sharoni. Corrie, which was accidently killed while protecting a house from demolishing in Gaza, was a former student of Sharoni at Evergreen State College in Washington State. In a press release after Corrie died, Sharoni stated that she influenced Corrie's decision to go to Gaza. On this issue, Haaretz's Nathan Guttman explained that "After the terrorist attacks of September 11, she [Corrie] decided to join a group of activists in Olympia. She contacted all the organizations but decided to focus on one that deals with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to a large extent as a result of conversations with Simona Sharoni, a former Israeli who taught Corrie at Evergreen College and told her about what was going on in the territories. From there she came to the International Solidarity Movement and got the idea of coming to the territories." 
The Sharoni case at SUNY Plattsburgh University joins a number of other cases which touch upon the boundaries between academic freedoms and political activism against Israel. IAM will report on future developments.

Hebrew University
[HUJ] New generation of political activists assume positions in Israeli universities - Yael Berda as a case in point
IAM has written extensively on how political activists in the guise of academics have used their positions to promote their political agenda. IAM has repeatedly noted that after being tenured, some, like Yehouda Shenhav and Anat Matar from Tel Aviv University, essentially devoted all their time to political work. 
The older generation of academics-activists is slowly retiring, but, in a move known as co-option, they are hiring new activists. Yael Berda as a case in point. In 2013, while studying for her doctorate at Princeton University, Berda contacted Israeli media to announce she joined a group of Israeli academics at various universities in the United States to form the "Israeli Opposition Network". In a press release Berda stated “We want Israel to be a democracy. We are part a growing opposition in Israel, not only to the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza but also to the corrupt and unjust economic policies that have sent the middle classes spiraling into poverty. We care deeply for the public in Israel, are extremely concerned for the residents of the occupied territories and for future of the state in the region. We believe we must raise our voices in the US to show that there is a young and capable democratic opposition to the current Israeli leadership.” 
Barda wrote a chapter in Anat Matar's book on Palestinian prisoners, "The Security Risk as a Security Risk: Notes on the Classification Practices of the Israeli Security Services" and served as a teaching assistant in Yehouda Shenhav's course Bureaucracy, Governmentality and Human Rights, the course goal was to "primarily 'look over the shoulder' of those working in service of the state, in order to try and understand the mechanisms and the networks of events operating in reality." Berda also co-authored with Shenhav, "The Colonial Foundations of the State of Exception: Juxtaposing the Israeli Occupation of the Palestinian Territories with Colonial Bureaucratic History " in The Power of Inclusive Exclusion: anatomy of israeli rule in the occupied palestinian territories (eds.) Adi Ophir, Michal Givoni, and Sari Hanafi, 2009. 
As an expert on the Israeli Secret Service, Berda told a pro-Palestinian news program in 2012: "I call it Fathom Sovereignty because there is a huge control omnipotent army presence form of governmental control that literally controls not only the lines but the physical movement of people and perhaps the most powerful organ in the bureaucracy of the occupation is the secret service, the Shabak... there is no interest specifically only in terrorists or only in people who are involved in military actions but their is a wide interest in all the information about the population that is used to control everything about his life... Now, trying to figure out why this is information was interesting and someone told me that had worked previously in the secret service, he said its a very powerful thing because I can invite someone and I can tell him oh, you have this painting in your wall that so and so gave to you it makes them feel that all their life is open and all their secrets are known to you even when they are not so it gives an extra amount of power to pressure someone to become an informer." 
Upon completing her Ph.D Berda assumed a position in the department of Sociology at the Hebrew University. Berda's scholarship focuses on the methods of control Israel impose on the Palestinian population and her latest book explores the regime of work permits. "We tend to associate practices of population surveillance with Western modernity and the intensification of security routines with the last decade defined by the “Global War on Terror.” I suggest, however, that proliferation of methods to monitor and control populations are legacies of the practices that were developed in the colonies to manage civilian populations. Here, I outline those institutional colonial legacies." 
There is little doubt that Berda is a political activist and would use her position at the Hebrew University to sponsor her activities. IAM pointed out that the social sciences in the Israeli universities have deteriorated because they rely heavily on neo-Marxist, critical approaches. The Sociology Department at the Hebrew University, which boasted on world renowned scholars like S.N. Eisenstadt, is now quite mediocre, according to the international indices of higher education. A Committee that evaluated the department on behalf of the Council for Higher Education noted its weakness in Rational choice theory, quantitative methods, and other cutting edge fields. 
By hiring Berda, the department seems to defy the guidance of the CHE. The Israeli public who pays for Israeli universities to excel should not be forced to pay for yet another activist scholar.

General Articles
Anti-Israel vis-a-vis Antisemitism
IAM received a comment from Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta, a Canadian author and translator, in response to our recent post "Oberlin College Solution to Anti-Semitic Professor." She stated that "Anti-Israel does not equal anti-semitic... Israel purposely blurs the distinction between Israel and Jewishness [to] exploit the confusion this causes by branding any criticism of Israeli policies and leaders as antisemitic." She concludes that "Prof. Salaita's comments were certainly not antisemitic by any stretch of the imagination. Nor are Prof. Karega's - riddled with crazy conspiracy theories as they may be." 
IAM has never asserted that all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic. To the contrary, we made it clear over and over again, that "criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic." The situation becomes murky, however, when double standards are applied, a tool that both the radical right and the radical left have frequently used. 
In fact, religious-historical anti-Semitism was built around the notion that Jews should be upheld to a different (read: higher) standard because of their self-proclaimed role as God's Chosen People and "Light onto the Nations." Contemporary antisemitism which equates the State of Israel with the "Jew" takes the same position. In other words, Israel is not allowed the right to self-defense embodied in the Geneva convention, even in the face of grave provocations. 
Kaufman-Lacusta needs to remember that the EU Working Definition of Antisemitism which was adopted by the U.S State Department states that antisemitism includes "Double Standard for Israel: Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation." The double standards doctrine has attracted increasing attention in legal international circles and has served as a guide in domestic case law. 
The Working Definition of Antisemitism also notes that "making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective—especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions." is also anti-Semitic. Arguably, Karega's antisemitic imagery of the banker Jacob Rothschild, certainly fits this definition. Again, Kaufman-Lacusta needs to be reminded that charges of Jewish world domination are at the core of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. This particular conspiracy theory is "crazy" as Kaumfan-Lacusta rightly states, but it is also extremely enduring, providing the bedrock of global anti-Semitism, as it is. Steven Salaita's refusal to affirm Israel’s right to exist is antisemitic as well. 
Kaufman-Lacusta makes the astonishing claim that "Israel purposely blurs the distinction between Israel and Jewishness [to] exploit the confusion this causes by branding any criticism of Israeli policies and leaders as antisemitic." Israel was created as a Jewish state and, in spite of having a sizable Arab minority, Jewishness is an integral part of its being. No one needs to deliberately blur the two, since it is hard to separate them to begin with. Ironically, leftist critics have claimed that Israel does not separate enough the Jewish and Israeli parts of its existence. 
Finally, Kaufman-Lacusta can be reassured that the Israeli government makes the distinction between legitimate criticism and anti-Semitism. As Director-General of the Strategic Affairs Ministry Sima Vaknin-Gil stated, “although severe criticism of Israel is legitimate, rejecting the right for Israel to exist is illegitimate".

General Articles
Oberlin College Solution to Anti-Semitic Professor
In March this year IAM reported the case of Joy Karega of Oberlin College who posted anti-Semitic messages on her Facebook page. The assistant professor shared a graphic of an ISIS terrorist pulling off a mask of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a tattoo of Star of David. Shortly after the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris Karega wrote: “This ain’t even hard. They unleashed Mossad on France and it’s clear why.” She added that Netanyahu went to the free-speech rally that took place in Paris “uninvited and of course he went even when he was asked by Pres. Hollande (France) not to come. Netanyahu wanted to bend Hollande and French governmental officials over one more time in public just in case the message wasn’t received via Massod [sic] and the ‘attacks’ they orchestrated in Paris.” In a following post in November 2015 Karega wrote that ISIS was not really Islamic, but “a CIA and Mossad operation, and there’s too much information out here for the general public not to know this.” 
In a response to public uproar, Marvin Krislov, Oberlin College President wrote in March that "Oberlin College respects the rights of its faculty, students, staff and alumni to express their personal views. Acknowledgement of this right does not signal institutional support for, or endorsement of, any specific position. The statements posted on social media by Dr. Joy Karega, assistant professor of rhetoric and composition, are hers alone and do not represent the views of Oberlin College". 
However, recently Oberlin College has announced that Karega is being placed on a paid leave. A statement by the College explained: “In March, in consultation with President Marvin Krislov, the trustees of Oberlin College asked the administration and faculty to ‘challenge the assertion that there is any justification for these repugnant postings’... The college initiated its faculty governance process to review Dr. Karega’s professional fitness in light of these postings. The faculty governance process that began thereafter is ongoing, and the Oberlin administration will continue to respect this process as it plays out. Until that process is complete, Dr. Karega has been placed on paid leave and will not teach at Oberlin.” 
The dramatic change in tone (and action) in the Karega case is related to the public outrage created by her statements and anxiety of the administration over the possible reaction of donors and alumni. In a similar case the President of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, acting under pressure from the Board of Trustees, rescinded the job offer to Steven Salaita because of anti-Semitic posts on social media. IAM reported at the time that the Salaita affair posed an important First Amendment test case. IAM would follow the Karega case as it develops.

Tel Aviv University
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
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
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
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.








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