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Israel Academia Monitor Follows

Anti-Israel Activities of Israeli Academics

 

 

Reprints of anti-Israel articles do not represent the position

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

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

 

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

First IAM Round table in Tel Aviv and videos from the IAM roundtable, May 3, 2013 

The 2nd IAM event "BDS Campaign Against Israel" 2014 and Audio


A unique opportunity to purchase the IAM book on Academic Freedom
     
           
                

Click to view whole articles:
 Extracts

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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