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Israel Academia Monitor

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Anti-Israel Activities of Israeli Academics

 

 

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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
     
           
                

Click to view whole articles:
Ben-Gurion University
 
8.12.16
Chapter 7 in "Women and Jihad" detailing Rachel Avraham's Experience of anti-Israel Bias at Ben-Gurion University
 
IAM has the permission to publish chapter seven in Rachel Avraham's new book Women and Jihad. While pursuing an MA degree at Ben Gurion University and writing a thesis on woman suicide bombers, Rachel felt strong anti-Israel biases which she opposed, only to be harshly criticized and intimidated by BGU staff. She turned to IAM for support. This is her story
General Articles
 
01.12.16
Between the Hammer and the Anvil: Activists [TAU] Gadi algazi, Daniel Bar-Tal, [HUJ] Amir Bitan, [Sapir] Yeela Raanan
 
A number of Israeli academics have been engaged in court cases between Israeli Arabs and the state. 
The recent case pertains to a thirteen-year legal battle over an unrecognized village, Umm-al-Hiran in the Negev, which the court ordered it to be demolished. 
The residents were offered plots of land in Hura, the nearby Bedouin town, as well as financial compensation, but they refused to move. They contend that the government’s desire to move them to the cities Rahat or Hura would change their rural way of life. Having lived in the area for decades, they were never given legal title to the land, making the state the legal owner. Equally important, the Hura local council refuses to let them move to Hura and decided to ban residents from outside into the community. Following a plenary meeting of the Hura local council held a few months ago, the council distributed a letter to residents stating that "the town of Hura will not constitute a default by state agencies for other villages housing solution." 
The decision to demolish the unrecognized village prompted large protests by a number of political activists-cum academics. 
Gadi Algadi, Tel Aviv University professor of Medieval History, wrote on his Facebook page that the "large mobilization of activists and political pressure of the Arab Joint List and lawyers succeeded to postpone the demolition of houses... The village committee invites all of us to arrive early on Wednesday evening or early Thursday morning. It is likely they will block the access roads to the area... Residents invite those who can come to stay overnight in the village and help prevent the demolition of houses. Those among us who can - this is the moment to come." 
Daniel Bar-Tal, a retired Tel Aviv University professor of education, wrote on his Facebook page: "I suppose that many will not like this post - Why ruin such a nice day. And to disturb people. Yet why should we say these things to the Chosen People? So that the People will wake up from ignorance, - to be able to fight antisemitism in clean conscience - so he could look at the mirror- so he can remember how others shamelessly abused us, so that he could look in the eyes of his children in 10 years time to tell of Jewish atrocities, --- this is written by my friend's son -- and I know many things like that happen- occupation of a People against his will results in a resistance of the occupied people to the oppression of the conqueror, all over the world and always will be. It is a universal law --- Isaiah Leibowitz was my teacher in physiological psychology in 1967-8. He opened each class with a short prediction on the people of Israel, that because of the occupation, they will inevitably become brutal, standoffish, cruel and he even used the title Judonazi -- What do you say, was he right in his prophecy ??? The tragedy is that these soldiers are our sons." Bar-Tal referred to the writing of Amir Bitan, (director, department of Information System at the Hebrew University) and apparently his friend's son, who wrote of his harrowing experience when participated in the "non-violent" protest in Umm al-Hiran. 
Yeela Raanan, a lecturer at Sapir College was quoted as saying: “The idea that you can replace one group of citizens with another is intolerable... Right now we have a sprinkling number of Jews, but there should be thousands of Jews.” Raanan was a candidate for the Knesset elections in 2013 on the United Arab List, but did not win a seat. In an interview she sheds light on her political activism in the guise of academics. Her Ph.D. in anthropology of the Middle East from the University of Utah, was tailor- made for her deepening convictions: "I was going in this direction, since the issue of social justice and dealing with marginalized populations was in me for many years. The whole purpose of the dissertation was, when I deal with issues of civil rights I will have PhD before my name and then what I do will have more weight. The purpose of the dissertation was in favor of social justice." Raanan’s involvement with the Bedouins was a logical progression of her self-declared passion for social justice. She noted that only after joining Ben Gurion University faculty she became aware of the Bedouin plight and then became an activist for the Negev Coexistence Forum: “I was shocked, entering an unrecognized village, dealing with the barefoot children who live in poverty, without infrastructure, it brought me to work for them." 
Raanan’s trajectory, like that of Gadi Algazi and other scholars/activists, is typical. They are careful to obtain a well-paid academic position and the legitimacy which goes with it before plunging into activism. Universities in Israel are known for making it possible because virtually all social science departments practice cooptation. In other words, they hire scholars based on their activist potential rather than scholarly merits or the curricular needs of the departments. 
Such practices need to stop to protect the interests of students and the tax payers.
General Articles
 
24.11.16
The Oberlin College and anti-Semitism: The Latest Chapter
 
Earlier this year (in March and August) IAM reported on the case of Dr. Joy Karega of Oberlin College. Karega, an assistant professor of rhetoric and composition, posted anti-Semitic messages on social media. Following widespread protest, Karega was placed on a paid leave; subsequently, the Board of Trustees fired her. The Board announced that it voted to dismiss Karega because she "violated the fundamental responsibilities of Oberlin faculty members – namely, adherence to the "Statement of Professional Ethics" of the American Association of University Professors." The Professional Ethics requires faculty members to "accept the obligation to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending and transmitting knowledge" and to "practice intellectual honesty." The Board claimed that "Contrary to this obligation, Dr. Karega attacked her colleagues when they challenged inconsistencies in her description of the connection between her postings and her scholarship. She disclaimed all responsibility for her misconduct. And she continues to blame Oberlin and its faculty committees for undertaking a shared governance review process." 
A few days later, on November 19, a case of anti-Semitism was reported to the police which some connects to the dismissal of Karega. Benjamin Kuperman, an Oberlin College associate professor and chair of the computer science department, was awoken by noise outside his home about 3:25 a.m. He said he found smashed on the porch his decorative items and a note behind his mezuzah with letters glued that said “Gas, Jews, Die.” 
The two cases may or may not be related, but certainly, as can be seen, anti-Semitism is ripe in Oberlin. But this is not first time. An earlier incident took place in 1996 when Kwame Ture, a former prime minister of the Black Panthers and founder of the pan-Africanist group, the All-African People's Revolutionary Party, visited Oberlin and caused a stir which lead to a large campus dialogue between supporters of Zionism and of proponents of a free Palestine. Ture talked about Zionism and the pan-African movement in an anti-Zionist speech that elicited the university to respond. 
Oberlin College received a lot of negative publicity because of the anti-Semitic incidents. The Karega case, however may be just a beginning of a new chapter in Oberlin's troubles. She has threatened to bring legal action against her former employer. It is safe to assume that Professor Karega would claim that her academic freedoms were violated by the college. It would then be up to the courts to decide about the boundaries between anti-Semitic expressions and faculty freedom of expression. IAM will report on this issue.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
 16.11.16
TAU Shlomo Sand endorses BDS
 
IAM reported last August on a study-tour to Israel/Palestine conducted by Le Monde Diplomatique. Participants were expected to meet, among others, Shlomo Sand, the retired Tel Aviv University professor. Sand, a former member of the radical anti-Zionist group Matzpen utilized his tenured position to publish highly controversial books which denied the existence of the Jewish people and/ or their link to the Holy Land. 
Many of his critics claimed that Sand has been a professional provocateur. Also known as a political activist, he published an article in Haaretz in March 2015, "All Israelis Should Vote for the Arab List". But now he is onto something new. Although calls for BDS are illegal in Israel, Sand simply ignores the law. In a recent interview Sand endorsed BDS. He asserted: "I think the world has to put boycotts and sanctions against Israel." Sand explained that those who boycott Israel do not want to destroy the state but pressure the government "to stop the occupation." He noted that "If Europe decided to boycott Russia because of Crimea, there is not any reason European states and the United States cannot start to put pressure on Israel". Sand also stated that "I think the pressure today is not a danger to the existence of the Israeli state. We don’t really have military enemies today" and that "the only hope to save Israel from itself is pressure from outside." 
Sand has been criticized by many of his academic peers who say about him "when it comes to Israel, Sand is less historian than upper-middlebrow conspiracy theorist." For instance, Lynn Levin, who teaches English Literature at Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania, wrote in response to his interview, "Sand proves himself to be one-sided and propagandistic." Levin refuted Sand's arguments to conclude "I do not think that Shlomo Sand’s thinking is very helpful." Levin wrote, "Sand, along with Israel’s most implacable enemies, favors BDS." She explained that, "BDS is basically an attempt to isolate and stigmatize Israel under the mock position of asserting high moral principles. In a self-serving comment, Sand says that he is not in favor of the BDS academic sanctions because he is an academic himself. He is pro-BDS as long as it does not apply to him." She dismissed his arguments: "His charge is baseless and launched not from facts and data... [and he] says nothing of prejudicial attitudes of Palestinians." 
But Levin and the legions of Sand's critics miss an important point. Sand, as a professional provocateur, adopted the provocation tactics of Matzpen. However, unlike his former colleagues who ended in the proverbial dustbin of history, Sand became a superstar in the radical circles because of his academic credentials. Tel Aviv University, which promoted him despite the fact he published outside his field of expertise, French culture, gave this former postal clerk (during his Matzpen days) an academic legitimacy.
General Articles
 
09.11.16
Campus Antisemitism Alive and Kicking
 
A recent study by the Steinhardt Social Research Institute and the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University "Hotspots of Antisemitism and Anti-Israel Sentiment on US Campuses" has revealed an interesting pattern of anti-Semitism on campus. The analysis found that a substantial number of Jewish students reported being exposed to antisemitism and hostility toward Israel on many American campuses. The extent of antisemitism, however, varied considerably from one campus to another. 
The report found that the rise of the BDS movement on campus has contributed to antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment. The report reveals that antisemitic incidents on campus have increased. Among others, the report found that "One of the strongest predictors of perceiving a hostile climate toward Israel and Jews is the presence of an active Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) group on campus." 
The scope of the problem is considerable. About one third of Jewish students reported being verbally harassed because they were Jewish. Almost half were told that "Israelis behave like Nazis toward the Palestinians" and one quarter were blamed for the actions of the Israeli government because they are Jewish. The highest levels of perceived antisemitism and hostility toward Israel were found in schools in the California state system and, to a lesser extent, large land-grant universities in the Midwest. 
Quite surprisingly, the report revealed that more than one third of Jewish students feel a bit uncomfortable to express opinions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because of a lack of adequate knowledge of the issue. Of course, giving Jewish students a better education on issues involving the conflict would help. However, on a positive note, the report found that even with the hostility toward Israel, it did not appear to diminish the students emotional attachment to Israel. 
Holding the university authorities responsible for campus intimidation is a good alternative, as a legal case in a British university indicates. The Tower , which covers the Middle East and America’s interests in the region, reported a case involving a disabled student at Sheffield Hallam University when he was wearing a Star of David or a kippah. The student felt "vulnerable" on campus when "people were giving me dirty looks or trying to block my wheelchair." After contacting the university authorities, he was referred to the student union, only to be dismissed outright. Undeterred, he moved on to seek another advice. 
The student approached Lesley Klaff, an expert on antisemitism and a senior lecturer in law at his university. Together with David Lewis, a law colleague, Klaff took the case to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA), a universities regulator, which took the matter seriously. The OIA cited the European Parliament’s Working Definition of Antisemitism in determining that material circulated by Sheffield Hallam’s Palestine Society "crossed the line" from criticism of Israel into anti-Semitic abuse. The OIA criticized the university for not treating the complaint with appropriate seriousness and noted that it "failed to properly turn its mind to the question of whether [the student] had experienced harassment as a result of certain aspects of PalSoc’s social media activity." The OIA urged the university to pay the student £3,000 in compensation. 
This case shows that if university authorities are faced with fines they would most likely fight expressions of antisemitism on their campuses and that Jewish students should turn to legal remedy if necessary.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
02.11.16
MESA Annual Gathering to Host a Special Session on BDS
 
If anyone had doubts, the BDS initiative is still around and the Israeli public should prepare for many years of battle on this front. Next on the calendar is the upcoming Middle East Studies Association (MESA) annual conference which will be held in November 17-20 in Boston. MESA, with nearly 3000 members, is considered the most important association of Middle East studies. It describes itself as “a private, nonprofit, nonpolitical, learned society that brings together scholars, educators and those interested in the study of the region from all over the world.” 
Among the many panels this year, BDS merits a special session. Titled "BDS, MESA, and the Politics of Academic Associations", the program states that "as several hundred MESA members have signed calls for academic boycott, this panel explores BDS as a political and intellectual strategy as it relates to academic associations in general, and to MESA in particular... The panelists, representing different areas of expertise in Middle East studies, offer insights on the practice of BDS, its significance and interventions in the contemporary higher education system, the relationship between politics and scholarship, and question of responsibility. They also reflect on the role of and the pressures on MESA in particular and academic associations more broadly." 
Organizers of the BDS session are Samera Esmeir, Joshua Stacher, Kent State, Sherene Seikaly, UC Santa Barbara. the Chair is Samera Esmeir, UC Berkeley and the discussants are Michelle Hartman, McGill; Charles Hirschkind, UC Berkeley; Huri Islamoglu, Bogazici; Mary N. Layoun, Wisconsin Madison; Judith E. Tucker, Georgetown. None of which presenting opposing views to BDS. As IAM stated previously, MESA has been the home of the late Edward Said and his many followers with a long history of anti-Israel opinions. Because of its prominence, the MESA paradigm – a mixture of neo-Marxist, anti-colonial, and anti-Israeli themes – has dominated scholarship and classroom instruction on the Middle East and Islam. 
MESA has a long history of calling for BDS. For example, during the 2007 MESA gathering, Omar Barghouti, the co-founder of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) discussed the academic boycott of Israel and argued that "the privileging of academic freedom 'circumscribes the moral obligations of academics.' He told the panelists that international law 'explicitly couples academic freedom with obligations'" and compared the situation to South Africa. 
As IAM reported, in November 2014 (MESA) approved a proposal adopting the rights of its members to support an academic boycott and end cooperation with Israeli academic institutions. The proposal was passed by a majority of 265 against 79; it "affirms the right of MESA members to engage in open and transparent discussion of the boycott of Israeli academic institutions in the context of the Annual Meeting and other forums"; and it "affirms the right of the memberships of all organizations to discuss, debate, and endorse or not endorse the BDS campaign." 
In the November 2015 gathering, two panels focused on BDS. With regarding to MESA’s bylaws which describe the organization as being “nonpolitical," an article at the Inside Higher Ed mentioned Zachary Lockman, former MESA president, who discussed how MESA’s definition of being "nonpolitical" has evolved over time to permit it to protest academic freedom violations around the globe. Yet, Lockman stated that, with one exception during the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait “the association insistently refused to speak out on conflicts in the Middle East itself.” 
Not willing to discuss the conflicts in the Middle East while calling for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions is hypocrisy at its best. All fair minded members of MESA should raise this point. Double standards hurts the academic legitimacy of the organization.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
25.10.16
Scotland's University College Union (UCU) Seminar on Academic Boycott of Israeli Universities
 
A seminar outlining the pros and cons of an academic boycott of Israel will be held on the 16 of November in Glasgow by the Scottish University College Union (UCU), the Scottish chapter of the union of academics, lecturers, etc. Dr Alastair Hunter of the University of Glasgow will outline the cons, Professor Emeritus Jonathan Rosenhead, London School of Economics, and chair of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine, will discuss the pros. The UCU received legal advice that it would be unlawful for UCU to support a boycott, but the attendees will be able to discuss and consider the subject further. 
Scotland has served as a battleground of BDS for quite a while. IAM reported in April this year that Edinburgh University Student Association (EUSA) debated a call to boycott Israel. The motion was passed by 249-153 votes. 
Outside the academy, there were a number of boycott procedures in the last several years. In March 2013 Clackmannanshire, one of Scotland's smallest councils has taken the decision to boycott Israel, comparing it to South Africa during its apartheid period. Its motion stated "Clackmannanshire Council condemns the Government of Israel for its continuing illegal occupation of Palestine's East Jerusalem and the West Bank and for its continuing illegal blockade of Gaza." In August 2014, the Scottish government issued a procurement notice to local authorities which "strongly discourages trade and investment from illegal settlements". Following this non-binding notice, four Scottish councils Clackmannanshire, Midlothian, Stirling and West Dunbartonshire voted for a boycott of ALL Israeli goods. In October 2015 Scotland’s Green Party passed a motion calling for the boycott of Israel and the removal of Hamas from a European Union list of terrorist organizations. 
But in February 2016 the British Government published a press release "Putting a stop to public procurement boycotts." It noted that the "Guidance published today makes clear that procurement boycotts by public authorities are inappropriate, outside where formal legal sanctions, embargoes and restrictions have been put in place by the government. " More specifically, it stated that "Town hall boycotts undermine good community relations, poisoning and polarising debate, weakening integration and fuelling anti-Semitism. Locally imposed boycotts can roll back integration as well as hinder Britain’s export trade and harm international relationship. All contracting authorities will be impacted by this new guidance including central government, executive agencies, non-departmental public bodies, the wider public sector, local authorities and NHS bodies. Any public body found to be in breach of the regulations could be subject to severe penalties." 
Still, in June 2016 the general assembly of the Scottish University College Union debated a motion that "seeks to commit the union to support for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel." But the Union has "received legal advice from leading counsel that it would be unlawful for the union to call for or support such a boycott. Past motions on this subject have been passed by Congress but then on legal advice have been declared void and of no effect." 
As stated in the British Government press release, the connection between the calls for boycott of Israel and the rise of antisemitism is unmistakable. In July 2016 a two-year study was published, titled "What’s Changed About Being Jewish in Scotland", it has found that public attitudes have changed dramatically in the past two years, with many Scots now scared to reveal their Jewish identity. The report was commissioned by the Scottish Government and was carried out by The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities. The report blamed an “unbalanced political comment”, lack of confidence in the police and widespread anti-Israel sentiments. 
The UCU seminar is going ahead and pro-Israel members should attend the debate. Attendees must be UCU Scotland members and should register in advance by Monday 7 November.
Tel Aviv University
 
18.10.16
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
 
10.10.16
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

 
02.10.16
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

 
26.09.16
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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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