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Israel Academia Monitor

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Anti-Israel Activities of Israeli Academics

and other Academic-Related Issues

 

 

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:
(Extract) 
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
23.01.20
Fierce Battle on BDS in the UK: Omar Barghouti is Coming to Speak
 
On Monday, January 27, the BDS campaigner Omar Barghouti would participate in an event organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) at King's College London. He is going to promote "Building a United Anti-Racism Front," and looking "at how liberatory struggles must work together against institutional racism and oppression". The invitation to the event claims that "The struggle for justice in Palestine is a struggle against an institutionalized discriminatory framework of power which meets the legal definition of apartheid."
The invitation explains that "The Palestinian call for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is a call for global resistance to apartheid rooted in the affirmation that challenging Israel’s system of racism and discrimination is a crucial component of a universal anti-racist struggle. This event will look at how we withstand attempts to delegitimise BDS and wider activism for Palestine as a united movement, and how we build widespread support for an end to institutional racism. A crucial part of this is pushing for UK universities to end their investments and institutional links to Israeli apartheid, the extent of which has been revealed by PSC’s online database."
PSC is a UK organization that was incorporated in 2004 with its main focus on BDS. It has a large number of patrons, including Jeremy Corbyn and hosts 63 chapters nationwide.
In late 2019, PSC has published research estimating that UK universities invest nearly £456,311,000 in companies complicit in Israeli "violations of Palestinian human rights, including through supplying weapons and technology to the Israeli military, and investing in Israel’s illegal settlement economy." PSC explains the findings, that it sent Freedom of Information requests to 151 UK Universities while 53 UK universities did not hand over any information and the remaining UK universities have only provided partial data in response to the request. Based on the direct and complete data from 44 universities, PSC calculated an average “complicity percentage” for the sector, i.e. an “average percentage for what proportion of a university’s total endowment is invested in complicit companies (3.78%). It then applied this percentage to all the universities which provided partial or no data.” In response to the report, one commentator protested, "So basically, it is a fiction," for calculating an average “complicity percentage.”
So far, the PSC report has not attracted any special media attention other than the usual pro-Palestinian outlets.
Meanwhile, since mid December 2019, the government of Boris Johnson announced it will pass a law banning local councils from joining BDS. It argues that taxpayers' money should not be used to fund public organizations campaigning on foreign policy, as foreign policy is constructed by the government.
Ben Jamal, the director of PSC opposes adopting this law because it is a "serious assault upon the rights of Palestinians to articulate their oppression and call for peaceful action to address it" and it also means abandoning the fundamental right of freedom of expression.
Of late, the UK Counter Terrorism Policing published a guide which is designed to catch those who are at risk of committing terrorist violence around the UK, including a list of groups that they view as a potential concern. Among these groups is PSC as well as Greenpeace. After a public outcry for Greenpeace, the police has promised to review the list.
Once the Government passes the law it would certainly make a difference. Still, in the academia, the heart of the battles of ideas, Barghouti and his fellow BDS activists would continue to spread venom against Israel.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
16.01.20
Jewish anti-Zionist Congress: a Manifest of anti-Semitism
 
Since July 2019, a group of Jewish pro-Palestinian academics and activists of 45 members, are working to host the first Jewish anti-Zionist Congress, pushing for BDS.
The Founding Declaration expresses a clear hatred of Israel. It opens with a claim that it is time for Jewish anti-Zionist academics and others to "halt the usurpation of the designation of Jewishness by the artificially implanted State that calls itself ‘The State of Israel’."
The group declares its aims. "We are maximising support for the Palestinians and against Zionism by uniting as an international political movement against that State, which is not only inimical to Palestinians but is a threat to the Jewish diaspora as well. Our broader structure incorporates people with different views on an anti-Zionist spectrum which can mobilise around certain common actions such as the BDS (Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions) campaign."
Professor Ilan Pappe of Exeter University, formerly of the University of Haifa, is one of their activists. After reading the final version of the proposition, Pappe wrote in response, "Dear all I would be very happy to be part of it."
The author of the congress proposition is Abraham Weizfeld, Ph.D., a Canadian Jewish Socialist academic and a peace activist. Weizfeld is, a self-proclaimed, "Revolutionary academic, human-rights activist, and Jewish Bundist," who in the past, has "travelled to Libya on several occasions to defend the rule of the Jamahiriya of Muammar Gaddafi and ultimately the Libyan National Council revolt".
Weizfeld resides in both Montréal, Québec, Canada and Nablus, Palestine. He has authored three books, among them, Sabra and Shatila,
2009, which is described by Google Books as a Fiction, "At this time of the 60th commemoration for the 1948 Palestinian Nakba/ethnic cleansing of 88% of the Palestinian Arab population from what became the Zionist State of Israel, this second edition of the documentary study 'Sabra & Shatila' brings us to contemplate the 'pogrom' of these refugee camps resulting in some 3,000 deaths over a three-day period." The original edition of the book, in 1984, "gave a voice for the Jewish oppositon to the rampage and tragedy of Zionism.” In The Federation of Palestinian and Hebrew Nations, 2018, he declared that: "the dominance of one nation in one land, with the subsequent degeneration into the series of war crimes that began in 1947. To move away from this conception of a Zionist State requires another methodology that offers an alternative to the domination of one nation by another that is rationalized by the myths of nation-building promoted by the Nationalist school of thought. With an approach that is inter-national, in the root meaning of the term, this book fuses the Jewish Bundist concept... By avoiding the notion of the Nation-State, this exit may then be named “the No-State Solution”.
In 2014, Weizfeld has sent a letter to Khalil Maqdesi and the central committee of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, where he "affirmed our determination in confronting Zionism and imperialism" and assured the PFLP that "not all Jewish people are Zionists and that actually there is a very strong Jewish opposition to Zionism... We are not only thousands but hundreds of thousands." Weizfeld praised the non-Zionist Chasidim, the Satmar community. If they are to be considered the enemy, "Then who is left to be the allies of the Palestinians?"
Fifteen Jewish members have so far been invited to participate in the planning of the anti-Zionist Congress. Prof. Ilan Pappe of Exeter University; Sonia Fayman, member of Union Juive Française pour la paix (UJFP); Miko Peled, an Israeli-American activist, author, and karate instructor who authored The General’s Son: The Journey of an Israeli in Palestine; Dan Fischer, a graduate worker in Indiana, member of the Middle East Crisis Committee; Stanley Heller, executive director of the Middle East Crisis Committee who authored, Zionist Betrayal of Jews: from Herzl to Netanyahu; Elizabeth Aaronsohn, Ed.D. Associate Professor Department of Teacher Education Central CT State University; Roland Rance, member of "Jews Against Zionism"; Vivienne Porzsolt, spokesperson and founding member of "Jews against the Occupation", Australia; Robert Naiman, policy director of "Just Foreign Policy"; Naturei Karta Rabbi Hirsh; Michèle Sibony, member of UJFP; Pierre Stambul, member of UJFP; Gabrielle Ben Hamouda; Sara Kershnar, co-founder of the "International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network". These are all members of the "Jewish Anti-Zionist Congress" group. The group exchanges ideas with other like-minded groups, such as: "Jewish People's Liberation Organization"; "Jewish Activism for Middle East Justice and Peace"; "Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians"; "canpalnet news, Palestine & the Canadian connection"; "CPRR Jewish Forum"; "Jewish Non-Zionist FORUM"; "Jewish Peace News"; "J-P_Solidarite-y"; "JUNITY-Canada, Jewish Unity for a Just Peace"; "PAJU The Palestinian and Jewish Unity"; "Collective FARAZ"; "Group FARAZ." Since 2001, Weizfeld has founded and monitors most of these groups.
Weizfeld goes as far as to claim that Zionism, "continues its irrationality by discriminating against the Africans of Jewish origin and the Jewish Arab communities of the Maghreb, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and others. Such displaced persons were lured by the ‘State of Israel’ and are now subject to the second class ‘Dhimmi’ status, which is thus transferred from the Ottoman Caliphate era to the Zionist one of Apartheid."
In a paper which Weizfeld authored, discussing Antisemitism amongst the Arabic political culture, in 2013, Weizfeld suggested that "Being conscious of the evident Antisemitism amongst the Arabic political culture is not evidence that we as a Jewish People do not harbour many, who only think of Arabs as an enemy to be hated. Leaving aside which hatred is stronger".
To recall, Palestinian and pro-Palestinian activists recruit Jewish and Israeli academics and activists to support their cause, in order to deflect accusations of anti-Semitism. However, as can be seen from these writings, since 2001, Weizfeld and his fellow-Jewish academics such as Pappe with all the other activists actually contribute to the spreading of anti-Semitic notions, as defined by the Working Definition of anti-Semitism. Therefore, a Jewish anti-Zionist congress should not take place.
Ben-Gurion University
 
08.01.2020
What Happened to the Promised Reform at the BGU Department of Politics and Government
 

The Department of Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University was at the center of controversy in 2012. An evaluation committee appointed by the Council of Higher Education (CHE) published a scathing report which found the Department below the required standards of comparable departments. Excessive community activism, high percentage of neo-Marxist critical theory, and failure of faculty to publish in mainstream journals, among others, prompted the CHE to threaten to close the Department unless it improved its offerings.
After considerable pressure organized by the Department, including numerous petitions from foreign academics, the CHE retreated. The Department stayed open after a promise to correct the problems. It stated its willingness to recruit some mainstream established scholars and add core course offering.
IAM examined the Department staff and offerings for the academic year 2019-2020. Some courses such as "Introduction to politics and government" by Dr. Menachem Ratzon, and "Introduction to International Relations" by Prof. Guy Ben-Porat, comport to accepted standards.
However, IAM notes a few problems with the staff and the offering. For example:
Prof. Dani Filc and Dr. Michal Givoni, both neo-Marxist, critical scholars, have been discussed by IAM before. Givoni is teaching a seminar "Hope and Despair in the Political Life". The seminar is about "The despair that surrounds political life today, in Israel and elsewhere, is a renewed interest in the role of the politics of hope. It seems there is a sweeping agreement that there are good reasons to despair - From the harms of the neoliberal market economy and its frequent crises, through the rise of the populist right wing, to climate change - makes the question of whether it is possible to hope for a crucial question of more and more developments and events that politics is structured through it… Along with engaging in hope and loss, the seminar will be devoted to conceptualizing, mapping and analyzing emotions and other feelings that characterize the collective emotional life in Israel and elsewhere in the face of the deceiving withdrawal of the future."
Jennifer Oser offers the course "Can We Make a Difference? Citizens and Policy Change" The course "will examine the relationship between citizen participation and social/political change in democratic polities from a cross-national and historical perspective. Students will be expected to engage critically with classic texts on the topic."
Dr. Dov Khanin, former MK of the communist leaning Joint List, is teaching "How to Make a Change?" "This course is designed to address the widespread feeling that in our society, change cannot be promoted. Within the course, we seek to challenge this feeling and to show that changes are constantly taking place in our society and that there is a direct connection to the conscious activity of people who promote them. We will discuss different change theories and we will analyze in their light, struggles in the world and in Israel. The course will combine theoretical insights with case studies and situations in Israeli reality and will be based on active involvement of the students."
Dr. Itay Snir is teaching a course on the "Frankfurt School: Marxism, Culture and Criticism." The course is dealing with "The political theory originating from the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research has been for almost a century a dynamic tradition of critical thought influenced by Marxism and seeking to update it and adapt it for changing social realities. The researchers identified with "The Frankfurt School" challenges many of the accepted assumptions in academic discourse and combining different fields of knowledge such as philosophy, psychology, sociology, communication, and cultural criticism, in order to understand the mechanisms of control and oppression -- The complexities that operate in the modern capitalist society.”
However, the case of Dr. Chen Misgav showcases the defaults in the Department. Misgav is teaching a course "Politics of Life, Body, and Sexuality”, discussing “three concepts in the context of political, social and the spatial - life, body, and sexuality. The concepts refer to the politics of the human activity of the living body, aspects of life itself in the world and the sexuality of the body. We will discuss in the way a person's life, body and sexuality shape his political presence in the world, the way is to life, the bodies we live in, and the sexuality of those actual bodies play a role in designing the political role, how they are used or may be used as a political tool and as part of politics of social movements, activism and protest, and how the inherent political dimension is expressed in different social, cultural and spatial environments." Misgav's course has not attracted enough students so he appealed to his Facebook friends and stated, "Unfortunately this year, there is a shortage of students enrolled in my Ben Gurion University course 'Politics of Life, Body, and Sexuality,' so if you know someone at BA who may be interested and would like to enroll please offer them." Misgav’s plea is a highly unorthodox way to attract students.
As noted by these examples, the offerings of the Department are still top heavy with courses on the far left of what one would expect in a political science department. These would not provide students with relevant skills in the twenty first century. Equally to the point, the Department and the university are public institutions which are supported by taxpayers and should, as the evaluating committee noted, serve the interest of the Israeli society which needs citizens with appropriate skills. Instead, the Department is still a refuge for a motley assembly of radical activists who push their political agenda on government-provided salaries.

Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
02.01.20
Ariella Azoulay among pro-Palestinians Pushing for BDS: Brown U Committee Votes on non-Binding Resolution to Divest
 
Palestinian and pro-Palestinian groups obsessed with harming Israel are busy. The method is simple, they convince people with no knowledge of the complexity of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute that only Israel is to be blamed. They recruit Israelis and Jews to push this agenda. Brown University as a case in point.
In December, a divest resolution was approved by the university’s Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies (ACCRIP) paving the way for activists to pressure the university to withdraw support for companies "facilitating the occupation and its human rights abuses".
In March 2019 Brown University Palestinian groups among them Brown Divest! advised ACCRIP to divest from companies doing business with Israel. They provided a number of investment screening criteria, "based on international human rights law" on companies that:
Provide products or services that contribute to the maintenance of the Israeli military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem;
Provide products or services to the maintenance and expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories;
Establish facilities or operations in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories;
Provide products or services that contribute to the maintenance and construction of the Separation Wall;
Provide products or services that contribute to violent acts against either Israeli or Palestinian civilians.
Christina Paxson, Brown University’s President, wrote in March 2019 against the Brown Divest referendum, that “Brown’s endowment is not a political instrument to be used to express views on complex social and political issues.”
But already in November 2012, ACCRIP wrote President Paxson that for two years, "we have had an ongoing dialog with Brown Students for Justice in Palestine (BSJP). The group raises serious allegations that major US corporations in which Brown may be an investor, such as Caterpillar, Boeing, and others," that are "profiting from the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories.”
Paxson responded in 2012, explaining that "the conflict between Israel and Palestine is deeply troubling, complex and divisive," that needs to be resolved to establish a lasting peace. As a university, "we have forums for civil, inclusive and open discourse". But "When it comes to divestiture, ACCRIP has the narrow charge of applying a well-defined set of criteria to the facts of each case brought to its attention."
Brown Professor Beshara Doumani, a Saudi born Palestinian who heads Brown's Middle East Studies program is one of the faculty members who signed an open letter in support of Brown Divest referendum. He said, "This is a clear case of systematic discrimination and violence by one powerful party against another that has been going on for decades." To recall, IAM reported that Doumani has helped to recruit Ariella Azoulay to Brown University because she is an Israeli academic supportive of the boycott of Israel. Not surprisingly, Azoulay, of the department of Comparative Literature and Modern Culture and Media, also called upon other Jewish people as well as ACCRIP to support the divestment proposal. She said, “I insist on our right as Jews to support and to take responsibility towards the catastrophe that is happening on a daily basis in Palestine... It’s true that it will not solve the Palestinian catastrophe, but it will be what students can do today. Even if it is small, it is significant.”
IAM reported in February 2018, on a conference promoting BDS chaired by Doumani and held at Brown on March 8, 2018. "Do boycotts foreclose or open up socially productive conversations about the ethics of cultural and academic production?" It was based on the published book, Assuming Boycott: Resistance, Agency, and Cultural Production, and asked, "What are the political possibilities embodied in emerging forms of intersectional solidarity around boycott movements, such as BDS?" Doumani was also a signatory in the BDS petition in August 2014 "Over 100 Middle East Studies Scholars and Librarians Call for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions." Evidently, Doumani's Palestine Studies program mostly attacks Israel. Besides Azoulay, Gadi Algazi, a scholar of late medieval history at TAU who has switched to writing political polemics on the Palestinian-Israeli dispute, was another invitee to Brown. Also, BGU Neve Gordon lectured at Brown, in 2015.
After sharp criticism for its pro-Palestinian bias, in late 2016 Brown University has launched the Israel Fund, an endowment offering opportunities for Brown community members to learn about Israel from Israelis, hosted by the Judaic Studies program. Not surprisingly, the Israel Fund faced opposition from Doumani who decried the "uncertainty about the agenda behind the Israel Fund.” Doumani was evidently upset that the Israel Fund may provide a positive perspective of Israel, but he should not have been worried. Unlike the highly politicized program which Doumani runs, the Israel Fund awards themes such as “The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Contested Narratives.”
Meanwhile, Azoulay and other Israelis and Jews serve as the “fig leaves” of Doumani’s long term BDS drive.
Tel Aviv University
 
25.12.19
Columbia University Accused of "Importing Racism from Israel" for Dual Program with TAU
 
A new initiative of dual degree between Tel Aviv and Columbia Universities is under attack. The Program inaugurates in the fall of 2020, to provide the opportunity for students wishing to pursue a rigorous undergraduate liberal arts education spanning two continents. As part of the program, students will begin their college education in one of six academic programs at Tel Aviv University. Upon completion of the four-year program, graduates earn two bachelor’s degrees, one from each institution.
Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) accuses Columbia University of "importing racism from Israel." SJP denounces the elite US university for choosing to connect with an institution “complicit in Israel's oppression of Palestinians." SJP joins Jewish Voice for Peace in asking Columbia University to reconsider, or "face becoming part of the oppressive architecture of the Israeli state."
SJP argues that “Israel has targeted Palestinian students, graduate workers and faculty members based at American universities with years-long travel bans from their homeland and research sites, often with little to no clear justification." According to SJP, Columbia University risks "abetting systemic anti-Palestinian racism and reproducing the racial inequalities of Israeli policies", unless it attempts to address these issues.
One staff member, Katherine Franke, the director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia university, who collaborates with SJP, said she was surprised to hear about the program. "Had we been consulted, we would have raised issues relating to Columbia creating a new program that is not accessible to many of our students explicitly because of their nationality, ethnicity, and/or political speech. "It is akin to Columbia creating a dual degree program with University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa in the 1980s," she said.
As IAM reported in June 2018, Franke was refused entry to Israel for being a proponent of BDS. In 2012 Franke has made a public declaration
supporting the Palestinian call for BDS against Israel upon boycotting the "Equality Forum", which chose Israel as a nation to discuss its culture and policies toward LGBTQ individuals. Franke was a panelist in February 2016 at the “Israeli Apartheid Week” discussing the book “The Case for Academic Boycott.” Franke has been a signatory of the 2016 “Faculty Petition” supporting Columbia University Apartheid Divest statement. Franke’s University page lists her as a member of the executive committee of the Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University, her writings include "Why We Boycotted the Equality Forum: Gay Rights Become a Tool in Israel's Rebranding Campaign." and "PFLAG Holds Israeli Pinkwashing Event."
SJP argues that "Tel Aviv University is a known accomplice of the Israeli military industrial complex and complicit in the displacement and occupation of Palestinians." Such accusations have been circulating the BDS sphere and it is clear where they were coming from. "Academia for Equality," a group of Israeli "dissident academics" (aka neo-Marxist, critical scholars), announced a collection of database which they call "Complicit Academy". They began working on the database since early 2017, using a small batch of articles compiled by Shir Hever, an Israeli economic researcher. The database includes items on the "repression of Palestinian academics in Israel and the West Bank." The database reveals how the Israeli academy works in concert with the state. The project comprises of news articles, documents, NGO reports, and official university publications to “shed light on Israeli academic institutions’ repression of dissent, institutionalized discrimination against Palestinian-Israeli students and faculty, collusion with the settlement enterprise, military R&D, and hasbara." The rationale behind the database is to provide "empirical evidence to counter the prevailing narrative of Israeli academia as a bastion of opposition and resistance to the regime... Israeli academia, from the Council for Higher Education to the various student unions, collaborates in one way or another with the occupation.” Ironically, many in the Academia for Equality are Israeli scholars employed by Israeli academic institutions with a salary paid by the taxpayers.
The most astonishing part of the Academia for Equality database refers to "institutional racism against Palestinian students in Israeli universities and colleges." Israeli academic institutions are even accused of "discriminatory admissions policies." Nothing could be further from the truth. It is well known that Palestinian students enjoy equal freedoms and made enormous strides in Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The Technion, known as the “MIT of Israel,” has offered remedial classes to Palestinian students to increase enrollment. The Jerusalem Engineering College has tripled its Palestinian student body in recent years. All this is to encourage the Palestinians to graduate from programs that provide technological skills and financial stability later in life. In fact, a survey conducted by Israel’s Council for Higher Education in January 2018, found that the number of Arab students in Israeli universities grew by 78.5% over the past seven years.
In addition to a misrepresentation of the situation in Israel, the SJP students also engage in blatant hypocrisy. They argue that the dual program of Columbia with Tel Aviv University will not allow participation to some students from nationalities unable to enter Israel. Yet, they don’t complain about the fact that Israeli students and scholars have never been able to participate in programs that take place in most Arab and Muslim countries.
The BDS movement has turned the American universities into a highly successful platform for its activities. Columbia University is one of its prominent BDS venues.
General Articles
 
19.12.19
The Middle East Studies Association Urges President Trump to Revoke his Executive Order Combating Anti-Semitism
 
The Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA), is a known anti-Israel academic association. Of late, MESA has sent a letter to President Donald Trump expressing concerns about his Executive Order on “Combating Anti-Semitism” and urging him to revoke it.
The letter is signed by MESA's president, Prof. Dina Rizk-Khoury, a Lebanese-American historian at George Washington University. She has been involved in calls to boycott Israel before, as a signatory of a public letter from 2014, which announced that "Over 400 Middle East scholars and librarians call for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions." It is not surprising, Rizk-Khoury is a long-time activist promoting Palestinian issues. Before joining MESA, Rizk-Khoury was on the board of directors of the Palestinian American Research Center (PARC) as its' patron, contributing money to PARC together with her husband, Alfred Khoury. In 2008, the then director of PARK wrote that Rizk-Khoury "has contributed immensely to PARC in terms of time, material support, and resources since joining the board in 2001. As a member of PARC’s Board and its Executive Committee, she was indefatigable in her fundraising efforts on behalf of PARC. Her contributions, particularly during PARC’s early years, were critical, significant, and deeply appreciated... She will be greatly missed by all of us at PARC."
The MESA-Rizk-Khoury letter actually claims that anti-Semitism is a free speech. She begins by expressing deep distress "by the rising tide of racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism" in the US and that “combatting anti-Semitism and all other forms of racism, bigotry and discrimination is an essential duty for colleges and universities". But, as can be seen, Rizk-Khoury is downplaying the rise of anti-Semitism.
Her letter opposes President Trump’s Executive Order because "key elements" in it "threaten the right to free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment and undermine the principles of academic freedom." According to her, section 1 of the executive order is wrong because since Jews identify themselves in a wide variety of ways, implying that all Jews share a common national origin is not a fact but an"ill-informed and potentially dangerous... ideological assertion." Likewise, she claims that section 2 of the executive order which urges Title VI departments and agencies to “consider” the definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in 2016 on anti-Semitism, Ritz-Khoury sees as a "conflate criticism of Israeli actions and policies, and of Zionism as a political ideology, with anti-Semitism." According to her, this may have a "chilling effect" on teaching and discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in college and university campuses, "thereby undermining the academic freedom." This could "have the perverse effect of defining as anti-Semitism criticisms of Israel or of Zionism" which is advanced by Israeli or American Jewish scholars, or students, she claims.
MESA's letter also mentions the Department of Education which is "already engaged in what must be understood as politically motivated and spurious investigations of alleged anti-Semitism on college campuses, apparently intended to silence criticism by faculty, students and staff of certain policies of the government of Israel."
The letter ends with the statement that, "At our institutions of higher education this constitutional protection must be accompanied by rigorous adherence to the standards and traditions of academic freedom, including freedom from the threat of politically motivated harassment by government agencies."
Rizk-Khoury’s letter is replete with wrong argumentation and mistakes. First, according to her, Jews, who originate from Judea, have no common national origin. Second, she believes that anti-Semitic speech is protected by First Amendment and academic freedom. Third, she ignores that the 2016 International Definition of Anti-Semitism states clearly that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.” Fourth, the US Department of Education has also accused Middle East Departments of favoring Islam over Christianity, Judaism and other religions.
Rizk-Khoury forgets that pro-Israel speakers are often abruptly disrupted during lectures and that their freedom of speech is ignored.
Whatever the stated arguments, MESA is really unnerved by the fact that the President’s Executive Order gave the Jews the same protected status which other minorities have enjoyed, such as African-Americans or Hispanics. Jews have never enjoyed such protection as a religious group, making them the target of radical attacks which would not have been tolerated in the case of other minorities. Rizk-Khoury conveniently forgets that MESA has never invoked the issue of academic freedom in other cases of minority groups. This type of double standards and hypocrisy detracts from whatever little academic credibility MESA enjoys.
Israelis in Non-Israeli Universities
 
11.12.19
New Platform for Debunking Israel at Harvard Law School's Mizrahi Legal Studies Conference
 
Mizrahi Jews, the descendants of Jews from Arab and Muslim countries, are the center of a new initiative. A newly-emerging field, Mizrahi Legal Studies, is having its first-ever international conference at Harvard on December 10-11, 2019. The central tenet of the conference is that the identity of Mizrahim has "traditionally been neglected in legal academia". One of the organizers is Lihi Yona, a doctoral student at the Columbia Law School, a Shusterman fellow, and a former student at the University of Haifa where she co-founded an Arab-Jewish student political movement.
All the panels at the conference discuss the following issues: Mizrahi Interventions in Political/Legal Thought; Mizrahi Legal History/ies; Mizrahi Methodologies; Knowing Mizrahi Identity: Criterions, Records, Adjudication; Mizrahi Jews and Jewish Law; Shas; Mizrahi Discrimination and Clinical Education; Mizrahi Representation and Speech Regulation; Spatial Dimensions and Mizrahi Positionality.
According to conference guideline, the first wave of legal writing on Mizrahi issues has focused primarily on the "absence" of Mizrahi Jews from Israeli law, "Despite a robust tradition of critical writing on Israeli law, as well as prolific research in Mizrahi Studies in other disciplines such as history, sociology, and anthropology, the Mizrahi perspective has been traditionally neglected in Israeli legal academia."
The conference keynote speaker is Prof. Yifat Bitton, a pioneer in the field, who's Hebrew language article, "Mizrahis and Law: Absence as Existence,” published in Mishpatim Law Review, in 2011. Her thesis is "The Mizrahi population is discriminated in Israel. This population, which is suffering from ongoing and proven discrimination, is invisible in Israeli law and is not recognized in it as a category of discriminated groups.” Bitton notes that the Israeli Prohibition of Discrimination Law indicates that the judicial system reflects and at the same time allows ignoring its existence in Israel as a discriminated group.” She calls this phenomenon, "denial dynamics" which "allows hardship to the structure in which the struggle of Mizrahim for equality is a limited struggle, and the analysis of the use of the law to prevent discrimination reflects these limitations in a sharp and systematic way. "
The conference brochure shows a photograph of the 1971 Black Panther's movement demonstrating in Haifa, while holding signs "How long would a ten member family reside in one room?" The Panthers were protesting the dire living conditions of the poor. The fact that the conference is using a dated image of the Mizrahhim is telling. It allows Bitton and her cohorts to conveniently ignore that in the past forty years since the Black Panthers were founded, the Mizrahim have made tremendous progress. Some of the wealthiest Israelis are Mizrahim, and many Mizrahim have also reached the top positions of the political, cultural, financial, and legel realms of Israeli life. Bitton herself was a candidate for a position on the Supreme Court until the media disclosed she is a member of the New Israel Fund International Board, a politically-tainted organization.
The conference is hosted by the Harvard Julis-Rabinowitz Program on Jewish and Israeli Law. Its director, Prof. Noah Feldman, has been writing articles postulating that a Palestinian democracy is possible and that Islamic law is compatible with democracy. As befitting an activist professor, the conference has a political agenda of building a Palestinian-Mizrahi alliance. This has been a long staining goal of radical Israeli scholars like Yehuda Shenhav who, as well known, went to great length to “prove” that the Mizrahim are “ Arab Jews.”
To push for the new alliance, the conference invited papers on the "Mizrahi positionality and identity vis-à-vis Israel/Palestine." Several speakers address the issue. Yael Berda, a partly Mizrahi, will be speaking of "Reversing Internal Colonialism – Towards Administrative Principles of Affirmative Inclusion" Berda's scholarship is mostly focusing on entry permits obtained by Palestinians to travel or work in Israel; Lana Tatour, Palestinian Israeli, will speak on On "the (Im)possibility of Palestinian-Mizrahi Alliance". Tatour is a Palestinian citizen of Israel, who was a post doctoral student at the Hebrew University and received grants from the AVI Fellowships for Ph.D. Studies; British Friends of Hebrew University; and the Anglo-Israel Association; Alexandre Kedar, of Ashkenazi origin, speaks of "Mizhrahi Jews under the Israeli Land Regime: Between Asheknazi Founders and Indigenous Palestinians"; Fady Khoury, a Palestinian Israeli and a Doctoral student at Harvard Law faculty and formerly a student at the University of Haifa, presents "The Ambiguity of Segregation Regulation in Israel in Relation to Palestinians and Mizrahim." Khoury has been a Palestinian human rights lawyer living in Israel.
The conference, not surprisingly, is "Drawing on critical race theory and critical legal studies," which suggests that empirical evidence is highly unlikely. As IAM repeatedly reported concerning the neo-Marxist, critical scholarship, it tends to lean on polemics rather than evidence.
Focusing on the Black Panthers intends to draw the connection between Mizrahim and Palestinians as expressed in the article "When Israel’s Black Panthers found common cause with Palestinians," published by the Palestinian Electronic Intifada earlier this year. It uses the same photograph of the Black Panthers. It interviewed Black Panther founder Reuven Abergel, who reatrated the fact that the Black Panther's demonstrations were taken place because people were incredibly poor. He said, “The movement came from the people who were suffering. It all started from the pain... The reality was so hard. We didn’t have time to sit and plan. We protested because it was a response to the difficulties we faced in our everyday lives." Another Electronic Intifada interviewee was Sami (Shalom) Chetrit, a Mizrahi scholar who wrote a book on the Mizrahi experience in Israel, titled Intra-Jewish Conflict in Israel: White Jews, Black Jews. Chetrit has told The Electronic Intifada that around 55 percent of Mizrahi children have dropped out of school during the time the Black Panthers was founded. “Kids were just on the streets and no one really cared,” Chetrit said. Likewise, 80% of welfare-supported families were Mizrahim. “It was not just quantitative poverty; they were also deprived of their families and structure. The family and community structure that was so strong in their countries of origin completely collapsed... People [Mizrahim] who came from very stable communities for many years found themselves living in slums. It all happened in front of your eyes, within four or five years, hundreds of thousands of people suddenly had no community. Their whole lives collapsed,” Chetrit said. The purpose of the article is to show how the Mizrahim have been treated badly by the authorities, just like the Palestinians.
The conference invites all those who are "interested in the inner-Jewish racial rift," ignoring the fact that the extensive intermarriage levels in Israel have shrunk the ranks of the Mizrahim. As noted, the need to resurrect the Black Panthers movement and the socio-economic reality which existed in the early 1970s is a symbol of the desperation of the conference organizers. Ironically, the only large identifiable “pure” Mizrahi group are the followers of Shas, an ultra-orthodox Mizrahi party, who harbor extreme anti-Palestinian positions. In fact, Shas has been a constant fixture in the right-wing Likud coalition.
To admit this reality would, of course, undermine the critical, neo-Marxist approach of the conference organizers. With no empirical limitations on their writings, they can indulge in the old dream of “Arab Jews,” a.k.a. the Mizrahim, ready to create an alliance with the Palestinians.
General Articles
 
04.12.19
The Dispute Between the US Department of Education and the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies Program
 
IAM reported in October, that the US Education Department has alerted the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies program which is supported by Title VI funds, that it might be unauthorized and may not qualify to receive the grants. Federal funding is conditioned that the given center or program is a "National Resource" for foreign language, providing a full understanding of areas, regions, or countries for research and training in world affairs by teaching foreign languages and cultures to American students, required to develop a pool of experts "to meet our national needs." It also added that "It is unlawful for institutions of higher education to use Title VI funds differently."
The Education Department raised a number of concerns:
That of over 6 thousand students enrolled in the program only 960 took foreign language courses.
There are collaborations with academic departments not aligned with the requirements and are not eligible for the grants.
Many of the topics taught have little or no relevance to Title VI, for example, Iranian art and films such as “Love and Desire in Modem Iran and Diaspora;” "Mihri Hatun: Performance, Gender-Bending and Subversion in the Early Modern Ottoman Intellectual History"; or, "Radical Love: Teachings from Islamic Mystical Tradition." These should not be subsidized unless they help students in Middle Eastern languages.
The program appears to be lacking balance and doesn't include, for example, historic discrimination faced by religious minorities in the Middle East, including Christians, Jews, Baha'is, Yazidis, Kurds, Druze, and others. There is a clear effort to present the positive aspects of Islam, such as an outdoor concert series "Islam, music, and social change," but no effort to present the positive aspects of Christianity, Judaism, or other religions in the Middle East.
The program offers very little attention to "understand the geopolitical challenges to U.S. national security and economic needs." Instead, it emphasizes "advancing ideological priorities," such as presenting "dominant American frameworks," or American "aggressively capitalist environment.”
In response, Terry Magnuson, the UNC vice chancellor for research, wrote a letter where he included a list of all the courses of Fall 2019 by Duke-UNC Middle East. He stated that the Consortium "deeply values its partnership with the Department of Education and has always been strongly committed to complying with the purposes and requirements of the Title VI program." He noted that the figures that were given by the Dept. of Education concerning student enrollments were wrong because students who enrolled in both fall and spring semesters were counted twice. He also added that according to the Modern Language Association Database, enrollment in the Consortium’s Urdu courses is the highest in the US, enrollment in Arabic is 8th highest, and enrollment in Turkish is 8th highest.
Magnuson referred to the Dept. of Education's warnings that the Consortium fails to develop a pool of experts in foreign languages "for the benefit of U.S. national security and economic stability,” and that cultural events like Iranian art and films should not be funded. His response was that the Consortium has organized dozens of educational programs related to security and economic issues in the Middle East and events featuring former national security officials. The Consortium also organizes an array of programs on cultural and historical subjects that are closely linked with the Consortium’s language programs. Students in language courses are required to attend Middle Eastern films and engage with Middle Eastern arts to improve their language acquisition. Contrary to the Dept. of Education assertion, he wrote, the Consortium has organized programs on the persecution of the Yazidis, Armenian Christians, Iranian Baha’is, and other minorities in the Middle East, and these are also covered in the Consortium’s coursework. As for the positive image of other minorities, not only of Islam, the Consortium held activities such as on Christianity and Judaism in the Middle East. As for "advancing ideological priorities,” he wrote, out of more than 100 programs that the Consortium organizes each year, none of those activities mentioned by Dept. of Education were supported with Title VI funding. The Consortium does organize events presenting diverse perspectives and a wide range of views on many of the Middle East’s most challenging subjects.
Magnuson listed all the courses given by the Consortium in order to counter the Dept. of Education's allegations of abuse of Title VI funding.
But from this exchange, it seems that in their public letter, the Department of Education emphasized the cultural events which are publicized by the Consortium, rather than the actual coursework.
Looking at these events online, an explanatory note is posted, stating that "The Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies supports events that increase awareness of the history and cultures of the Middle East and Muslim civilizations, and values diverse perspectives that promote dialogue and understanding. Events listed here originate from a variety of campus units and community organizations. The listing of an event does not constitute endorsement of or agreement with the views presented therein”.
These cultural events, as noted by the Department of Education, present Iran, Turkey, and the Palestinians in a positive light while the US and Israel, when they are mentioned, are sometimes presented negatively. Out of the many events posted online, IAM selected examples on such topics.
Palestinian events:
Palestine Solidarity Week was held on October 11-18, 2019 at Duke University.
Discussion: “Teaching Palestine: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and Academic Freedom” with Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi from San Francisco State University, was held on October 21, 2019, at UNC.
Artist Talk: Photographer Rania Matar was held on October 23, 2019, at UNC. Matar is a Lebanese/Palestinian/American.
Ackland Film Forum: Mussolini’s Sister on November 5, 2019, at UNC by Dir. Juna Suleiman, Palestine, 2018 about a Palestinian woman from Nazareth.
Countering Hate: Overcoming Fear of Differences” series: “Painful Hope: An Israeli Settler and Palestinian Activist in Dialogue” November 13, 2019, at UNC, Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger, an Israeli, and Shadi Abu Awwad, a Palestinian.
Ackland Film Forum: 3000 Nights, on November 19, 2019, UNC by Mai Masri, Palestine, about a Palestinian woman, Layal who "finds herself incarcerated in a top security Israeli prison."
Lecture: Colonizing Imagination: Early Photography and Palestine, with Professor Issam Nassar, on November 22, 2019, at Duke University. Focusing on the representation of Palestine in early photographic practices.
Israeli-related events:
Discussion: “Start Up Nation: Cybersecurity and Israel’s strategic partnership with the United States” with Samantha Ravich, Chair of the Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies on September 23, 2019, at Duke University. A conversation with Samantha Ravich, on cybersecurity and Israel’s strategic partnership with the United States.
Discussion: “US-Israel Relations: Between the White House, Congress, and the Israeli Government” with journalist Amir Tibon, on October 29, 2019, on the "growing split between Democrats and Republicans, as well as between the White House and Congress, on the issue of Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
A Conversation: “Israel, the United States & the Middle East: Threats, Challenges and Opportunities” with former Israeli Minister Tzipi Livni, on October 23, 2019, at Duke University.
Lecture: David Makovsky and Ghaith Al-Omari on November 18, 2019, at Duke University, on Arab-Israel Relations.
Advancing ideological priorities:
Lecture: “Human Rights, Faith, and the Border” with Imam Omar Suleiman, on September 23, 2019, Duke University. Suleiman was recognized by CNN as one of the 25 most influential Muslims in America.
Humanities in Class Webinar: “Understanding the Modern Middle East" with Akram Khater, on April 21, 2020. "Far too often, the Middle East appears as doubly alien... at least two centuries of Orientalist representations, and decades of American military interventions, have all fed into the notion of the Middle East as turmoil-laden, sectarian and tribal pre-modern world." Going beyond these stereotypes.
Workshop: Been Here, Still Here: Muslims and Islamophobia 101, on November 14, 2019, at Duke University, to "understand the critical role Islam and Muslims have played in the history of the US."
Iranian Cultural events:
Film Screening: Finding Farideh on September 4, 2019, Persian with English Subtitles Iran’s entry for the international feature film category in the 92nd Academy Awards (the Oscars) in 2020.
Persian Art Center in Carolina: The Life and Poetry of Wise Sanai with Maryam Tabibzadeh September 15, 2019, a presentation on Sanai, a Persian poet.
Persian Art Center in Carolina: A Study of Mysticism in Persian Poetry and Literature with Mr. Sadegh Hosseini, October 13, 2019, a study of mysticism in Persian poetry and literature.
Film Screening: Homework, November 7, 2019, Persian with English Subtitles. a documentary Abbas Kiarostami directed in 1989 after realizing he was having difficulties assisting his son with his homework.
Persian Art Center in Carolina: “Poetry of Entanglement and Barbed Seats in Farhadi’s Cinema” with Ehsan Sheikholharam. November 10, 2019. Poetry readings by the audience and live Persian music.
Film Screening: #63: The Story of Boulevard, on December 5, 2019. Persian with no subtitles. A documentary about Keshavarz Boulevard, one of Tehran’s important streets.
Persian Art Center in Carolina: “Dancing of Words and Tones: The Fusion of Music and Poetry in the Persian Culture” with Hamid Yazdani, December 8, 2019.
Performance: Celebration of Winter Solstice, December 8, 2019, Graduate Student Association of Iranians at Duke University featuring Persian music, poetry, and dance.
Interestingly, according to Magnuson, these events are not sponsored with Title VI funding. Still, it is clearly evident that the Consortium does not intervene to balance the biased events. To recall, the Tzipi Livni lecture was met with interruption by pro-Palestinian activists. Likewise, Palestinian Solidarity Week has not been countered by something like Israeli Solidarity Week, or similar.
While the US Ministry of Education should examine the figures given by the Consortium, it should also make a decision whether it is acceptable for Title VI funded institutions to allow Middle Eastern interest-groups to influence their teachings by hosting events as part of their programs.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
28.11.19
BDS is Just a Symptom: The Real Cause of anti-Israel Animus is Hiding in Social Science Paradigms
 
As the most visible symptom of anti-Israel agitation, BDS has attracted considerable attention. The Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy, as well as numerous organizations in the United States and Great Britain, have been actively fighting BDS. The Ministry’s website states that such efforts strive to undermine “Israel's legitimate position as a national home for the Jewish people.”
However, the anti-BDS effort does not touch on the broader issue of how Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is presented in the vast academic literature on the subject.
Those familiar with the sociology of knowledge of Karl Mannheim know that ideology impacts the production of knowledge on a given topic. Nowhere is Mannheim's dictum more applicable than in the rise of the critical, neo-Marxist paradigm in the social sciences. An umbrella term for varied approaches such as New Criticism, Marxism, deconstruction, and post-colonial theory, it has become the most prevalent paradigm in liberal arts in the contemporary academy. The problem with this paradigm is that it doesn't value rigorous research. For the practitioners, repeating a lie over and over again makes it a truth that needs no evidence.
According to the paradigm, Israel is a par-excellence example of a colonial state which Great Britain and Western imperialists foisted on the indigenous Palestinian population. Consequently, the paradigm does not recognize the legitimate rights of Jews to their country. Some of the critical, neo-Marxist practitioners, including Israeli academics, go so far as to describe Israel as an apartheid state. Not surprisingly, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), has become a hotbed of anti-Israel advocacy thinly disguised as scholarship. For instance, during the 2019 MESA convention, Marc Lamont Hill, a professor of Media Studies and Urban Education at Temple University, Philadelphia, delivered the keynote address. Hill has no background in Middle East studies, but a long history of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic expressions. Hill astonishingly told MESA members to join BDS even if it means the end of the organization. "If MESA must fall for Palestinians to be free, let MESA fall!" Already at the 2018 conference by the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), Lamont Hill spoke of Israel as a white supremacist nation and also spoke in favor of BDS.
Deplorable as this incident is, it pales in comparison to the cumulative damage that the academic output guided by the critical, neo-Marxist paradigm has done to the image of Israel. Middle East courses are popular electives among a range of liberal arts students, including those in media and journalism programs, political science, and international relations. Little wonder that younger and college-educated Americans have more negative attitudes toward Israel than older cohorts who lack a college degree, according to opinion polls.
Challenging the dominance of the critical, neo-Marxist paradigm in Middle East scholarship is daunting. As a rule, liberal arts should be a “marketplace” of ideas, but how can such a market func'tion in a field that is lopsidedly biased against Israel. Creating Israel studies programs, an idea that was popular in the early 2000s, proved ineffective or, in some cases, backfired, when radical Israeli scholars were invited to teach in the program. By all accounts, the initiative made only a slight dent in the negative academic narrative.
Without tackling the root cause of academic animus, the anti-BDS initiative cannot fully succeed.
Hebrew University
 
21.11.19
[Hebrew U] The Double-Headed Professor Amiram Goldblum
 
Professor Amiram Goldblum is a renowned pharmaceutical scientist at the Hebrew University Jerusalem (HUJ) whose many discoveries have been lauded in the scientific world. Goldblum and his team at the Institute for Drug Research have discovered 27 new molecules that activate a special protein and have the potential to treat fatty liver disease, obesity, diabetic nephrotoxicity, and to heal wounds.
However, astonishing as it may sound, Goldblum has earned a reputation for egregious attacks on the State of Israel and the IDF.
Goldblum has called pro-Israel activists "Nazi dogs," and refused to teach them. In July, the news reported that Goldblum called IDF soldiers who demoted an Arab building "Jewish terrorists” and wished for a “lighting bolt” to strike them down. Goldblum’s political polemics are extreme, in March, referring to a comment by Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State, he used foul language and wrote the following comment: “So you Idiot Evaneglists, the most stupid religion on this earth and as dangerous, if not more, than extreme Islam - ask yourselves where was your God when the Nazis killed 6 millions of us, including 1.5 million children ? I can tell you where YOU were then, you murderers of Jews and Blacks, YOU - sons of the most despicable KKK - you did not allow Jews to flee from Europe to the US, you bitches. Go to hell, Evangelists with your crazy religion. You are supporters of bloodshed and racism, and for that very good reason, lots of Jews HATE you.”
Goldblum's Facebook page is replete with hatred towards religious Jews while, unsurprisingly, full of expressions of support for Arabs.
Recently, Goldblum decided to pen a new revision of history. According to him, the ongoing war between the Palestinians and the Israelis is a result of Jewish settler's provocations. He proposes to destroy the homes of "Jewish terrorists." He points out to the cases of Jewish terrorism against Palestinians, such as the Israeli "settler" Baruch Goldstein, following his 1994 Hebron Cave of the Patriarchs Massacre. "Using provocations in order to elicit retaliation from the Palestinians has been a cornerstone in the settlers’ methods of expanding their control." For Goldblum "This wasn’t the first time: the Hadassah Convoy Massacre, in which Arab forces killed 77 Jewish doctors and nurses on April 13, 1948, came four days after Zionist paramilitary militias, Irgun and Lehi, committed the infamous massacre in the village of Deir Yassin." Goldblum adds that "The settlers have internalized and improved upon the method." Goldblum accepts the Arab version, that the Hadassah Convoy Massacre was a result of the Deir Yassin Massacre, and ignores that on March 2, 1948, the Hadassah Hospital received a phone call from an Arab, warning that the hospital would be blown up. Although it didn't happen, two weeks later, during a press conference, Abdul Kader al-Husseini, the leader of the Arab forces in Jerusalem, threatened that Hadassah Hospital and the Hebrew University would be captured or destroyed. This was a month before the Deir Yassin Massacre, when Palestinian attackers targeted the road to Hadassah hospital on a regular basis.
Naturally, Goldblum’s dislike of Jews attracts neo-Nazis. His article was picked up by the "Jew World Order: Jewish Supremacy 卐" a website created among others, by “true Hebrew Semite Israelite Christians, who wish to spread the truth to the people of the world about the criminal murderous Khazars, that fraudulently call themselves Jews, a Rothschild Invention of satanic origins. The word Jew was invented in 1770. All historical and Holy books were re-written to convince us of the fake identity and history of the Jew." Not surprisingly, Jew World Order also embraces Shlomo Sand’s Khazar theories.
As well known, Israel has a very permissive academic freedom policy. Scores of radical scholar-activists have used it to push fanciful theories that have painted Israel as an apartheid state, a colonial state, a fascist state and so on. However, Goldblum’s use of invectives and attacks on people of faith, be it Christians or Orthodox Jews stand out. Such language would not have been tolerated in the American academy where a few professors were fired for using highly derogatory language against Jews and Israel on their social media platforms. At the very least, the Hebrew University authorities should censure Goldblum for his pernicious attacks on all those he disagrees with.
Tel Aviv University
 
14.11.19
TAU Anat Matar and Academia for Equality - Are They Promoting Human Rights?
 
Dr. Anat Matar, TAU senior lecturer emerita, has more time than ever to engage in political activism. As IAM noted, she is a veteran radical activist who spent most of her academic career engaging in radical causes which left her precious little time to engage in research in the field for which she was hired. So much so, that she was never promoted beyond the rank of senior lecturer. She, along with a number of radical scholars at TAU whose political activism was supported by the Israeli taxpayer. Among others, she co-edited the book Threat: Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israel, in a field she has no expertise. Even worse, she promoted BDS against Israel, for years.
These days, she is also involved with Academia for Equality (A4E) which she co-founded, a group “dedicated to advancing equality and democratization of Israeli academia and society.” In 2017, a delegation from A4E travelled to Istanbul to support Turkish academics imprisoned by the authorities for voicing political opinions. As well known, Turkey jailed thousands of academics, journalists, and civil servants for criticizing President Erdogan and his brutal treatment of Kurds and dissenters. A4E wrote, “In the summer of 2015, following the collapse of the peace process between the Turkish government and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Turkey launched a brutal attack against the Kurds, which included the bombing of entire cities identified with the PKK, as well as the raping and massacring of civilians. Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to flee their hometowns.”
A4E used their visit to compare Israel to Turkey, stating that “in Israel, too, we have been experiencing more and more violations of the freedom of speech and open academic inquiry in recent years: conferences and lectures have been cancelled due to party pressures; faculty members have faced threats after making statements that challenge the status quo; and, of course, the formulation of the “code of ethics” has aimed to ban academics from voicing political opinions on, or showing support for, the academic boycott of Israel.”
At a June 2018 conference at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Matar and her team introduced the so-called “complicit academy” database. That is, documenting Israeli "academic institutions’ repression of dissent", as well as "institutionalized racism against Palestinian students and faculty". It also registered "collusion with the settlement project", and "military research and development". It also looked at "hasbara operations abroad". The database also included tracking "repression and resistance in the Palestinian academy, and international academic institutions’ collaboration with and critique of their Israeli peers."
In a new open letter which Matar recently published, she wrote that "We would like to extend an open invitation to colleagues from Palestine, the Palestinian diaspora, and from around the world to get in touch with us and consider us as potential hosts for talks and lectures." Matar promises that since Academia for Equality is not affiliated with an individual institution it is able to host academics "who wish not to violate BDS guidelines".
The activities of the Academia for Equality in general and Matar’s position in particular, are a breathtaking exercise in double standards. Israel has never attested Israeli students or faculty for voicing opposition to official policies. If Matar lived in Turkey she would undoubtedly be in jail. In Israel, as noted, she received a salary for essentially full-time political activism.
Palestinian academics and students are not so lucky. The Palestinian Authority arrests students suspected of protesting the PA, particularly if they challenge the dominant Fatah position. According to reports, since the beginning of the current academic year, the PA arrested 12 students and then released them. The student-run Facebook group The Voice of Palestinian Students, has documented some five additional arrests by the PA forces in October. The Palestinian Authority has not held any general election since 2005 which means that the Palestinian People are not participating in the democratic process.
For Palestinians in the Gaza Strip it is even harsher. The Hamas rulers of the Strip have kept the population under a brutal political dictatorship. According to Human Rights Watch, imprisonment and death sentences are routinely used against all those who are perceived to be enemies of the authorities. Democracy does not exist, and the rare protest is met with deadly force.
If Matar and the Academia for Equality were really interested in democracy and human rights, as they claim, they could bring the poor record of the PA and Hamas to public knowledge. However, this is not likely to happen because the group is dedicated to the proposition that “the Palestinians cannot do anything wrong and the Israelis cannot do anything right.” The scurrilous comparison between Israel and Turkey in their treatment or academics is just one more step in this direction.
Matar's latest book in Hebrew is No Moral Ground: On the Poverty of Ethics. For her, morality is left-wing. Her main concern now is that the "ongoing deterioration into the abyss" on the political level, might lead to the end of the Left.
But Matar and her comrades on the radical-Left are in fact promoting contradictions. The Palestinian national struggle is no way near to the Philosophy espoused by the Left. And this is the moral bankruptcy of Matar and her ilk.
Israelis in Non-Israeli Universities
 
07.11.19
Israel's Radical Fraternity is Operating on UK Campuses
 
An interesting development had occurred in the past two decades. Several Israeli radial academics, from Ben Gurion University, among others, have relocated to British universities. Paving their way is the generous donations that wealthy Arab countries have made to universities over the years. Arab Gulf money which buys influence is a topic discussed in many articles, such as "Saudis donate most to UK universities" and "Some of Britain's top universities are becoming no-go zones for Jews, Baroness Deech claims”. It is quite possible that some of this money is used to recruit Israeli anti-Israel academics.
The list of activist-Israelis who found university positions in Great Britain is rather long. To name a few, Ilan Pappe, formerly of the University of Haifa, was invited to the University of Exeter as a Professor of History and Director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies. Pappe was one of the original “New Historians” who went on to “prove” that Israel has committed Nazi-like atrocities against the Palestinians. Naturally, this secured him this prestigious job.
Another example is Eyal Weizman, Professor of Spatial and Visual Cultures, who founded and directed the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths University of London. In 2010 he founded the research agency Forensic Architecture. His book The Least of All Possible Evils, examines the damage following the 2010 "bombardment" by Israel and it’s "regime imposed upon Gaza". Weizman "pieces together the systematic process of destruction, revealing the political atrocity within the debris." In his other book, Hollow Land, he “unravels” Israel’s transformation of Palestinian homes into a war zone under constant surveillance” and how Israel is using architecture “as lethal weapons in the formation of Israel." Of course, Weizman is a rising star among the pro-Palestinian cohorts.
Prof. Neve Gordon, a prominent anti-Israel radical from Ben Gurion University who compared Israel to the apartheid regime in South Africa, is now teaching International Law at Queen Mary University of London, a field in which he has no expertise.
Others like Moriel Ram followed suit. Ram HAS relocated to SOAS and UCL. Ram's M.A. at BGU titled "The Eyes that became a gaze: Mt. Hermon and Israel's geopolitical discourse," was co-supervised by Prof. Oren Yiftachel. Like Gordon, Yiftachel has promoted the idea of Israeli apartheid. The "gaze" is a critical neo-Marxist term referring to Michel Foucault. Ram's Ph.D., also at BGU, describing the Golan Heights as a "Colonial Conquest," was supervised by Neve Gordon and Haim Yacobi.
Some find Ram's scholarship questionable, as one scholar complained, "Ram’s review regrettably fails [it is] replete with contradictions, misinterpretations, and mistakes." This scholar accused Ram of "flawed" reading, “unfounded, thereby doing disservice to readers”. In particular, the scholar noted that Ram is "evidently more concerned with raising alternative interpretations that have no foundation in the historical record than with the evidence itself."
Of late, Ram found a new venue to smear Israel. He is now researching Israel’s medical aid to Africa from 1957 to 1973. He states that Israel’s medical work utilized "health aid for its strategic interests" and mobilized medical knowledge, personnel, and infrastructure for “racializing” Africans, while "culturally dislocating itself from Africa." Ram suggests that Israel's medical knowledge is based on "data collection, manipulation of limited resource and governance of immigration in ways that reorganise cultural hierarchies and national identities." For Ram, Israel's "interventions in Africa" is a political exercise to gain influence. This paper was delivered at The Middle East Studies Association (MESA) 2019 Annual Meeting, a bastion of anti-Israel gathering.
As noted, Ram's expertise is the Golan Heights. For him, the “Israelification” of the Golan “entailed massive population displacement, spatial demolition, and European rebranding,” It is a “battle-tested template to how annexation could look like in the West Bank". President Donald Trump’s "blatant flaunting of international law in Iran, Jerusalem, and now the Golan" points to America's weakening. Ram also egregiously claims that "Britain and France tried to take over the Suez Canal in 1956, a scheme that also involved Israel’s active participation and occupation of the Sinai Peninsula."
Ram recently promoted the book Emptied Lands - A Legal Geography of Bedouin Rights in the Negev by Alexandre Kedar, Oren Yiftachel and Ahmad Amara. The book investigates the territorial conflict between the "settler Israeli state" and the "indigenous Bedouin" citizens, over ownership of lands in southern "Israel/Palestine". According to the authors, the "dead Negev doctrine" is used by Israel to "dispossess and forcefully displace Bedouin inhabitants in order to Judaize the region." The authors "reveal" that this is done "through manipulative use of Ottoman, British and Israeli laws." The Bedouins perform an "ongoing resistance to the Jewish state" over their "indigenous property." However, as IAM reported before, Yiftachel has testified as an expert in one of the trials on behalf of a Bedouin family, but the court dismissed the case over lack of proof of ownership. The presiding Judge censured Yiftachel for his sloppy research.
The harm done to Bedouin communities by the likes of Yiftachel cannot be exaggerated. As noted by leading scholars, some of the illegal Bedouin constructions are erected in dangerous locations unfit for residence, for example underneath high-voltage lines or next to industrial zones, such as Ramat Hovav, the petrochemical plant of hazardous substances. Some are even built on approved routes of future roads, military zones, or nature reserves, thus obstructing the planned development of the area. Families residing in unauthorized areas cannot benefit from public services enjoyed by the community at large, and they are unable to pay for travel to places for these services because of the physical distance. As a result, many Bedouin families with young children cannot enjoy the standard of living which they could have had. To solve this, Israeli governments appointed several committees to find accepted solutions, but the steady increase in the compensation tariff causes the Bedouins to think it is worth resisting the offers and wait for better offers in the future. Yiftachel and ilk encourage the Bedouins to "resist" Israel's proposed solutions.
The one-sided and tendentious representations of Israel as an apartheid state which maltreats the Palestinians, the Bedouins, and Arab citizens, feeds into the rising anti-Semitism in the UK. As well known, the anti-Jewish atmosphere in Britain is so bad that, by one account, a large number of Jews would leave the country if Labor wins power in the forthcoming election.
As Jews and Israelis, the members of the radical academic fraternity provide cover for the insidious anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic sentiments that have affected parts of the British society.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
30.10.19
Proposed 'Occupied Territories Bill' in Ireland and Ronit Lentin its Proponent
 
The Government of Ireland is debating whether to adopt a law that would prohibit business relations with Israelis because of the occupation of the West Bank.
The proposed Act, named the Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill, was first introduced in 2018. It has yet to be adopted by the Irish Government. The text states: "An Act to give effect to the State’s obligations arising under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and under customary international humanitarian law; and for that purpose to make it an offence for a person to import or sell goods or services originating in an occupied territory or to extract resources from an occupied territory in certain circumstances; and to provide for related matters." The penalties proposed in this Act, upon conviction on indictment, could lead to a fine of maximum €250,000 or imprisonment for a term of maximum 5 years, or both.
Israel rejects presenting as illegal the Jewish settlement in the West Bank. It states that in the ancient Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) Jewish presence has existed for thousands of years. It was recognized as legitimate in the Mandate for Palestine as adopted by the League of Nations in 1922, as "the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country". The Mandate specifically stipulated that, "The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in cooperation with the Jewish Agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands not required for public use". In fact, Some Jewish settlements, such as in Hebron, existed for many centuries, among other settlements. According to Israel, it is questionable whether the Fourth Geneva Convention applies de jure to territory such as the West Bank where no previous legitimate sovereign ever existed. Also, the case of Jews voluntarily living in their ancient homeland and alongside Palestinian communities does not match the kind of forced population transfers contemplated in the Fourth Geneva Convention. Equally important, the Additional Protocols describing as "grave breach" or "war crimes", of Jews living in Judea and Samaria were introduced only in 1977, as a result of political pressure by Arab States, to which leading States, including Israel are not party. Israel argues that in legal terms, the West Bank is best regarded as territories that have competing claims to, and that should be resolved in peace process negotiations
One of the leading proponents of the Irish bill is the Israeli-born Professor Ronit Lentin, a retired sociologist from Trinity College, Dublin, and a veteran pro-Palestinian activist. In an article published by the Irish Times earlier this year, Lentin posited that the "Deep empathy of Irish for Palestinians is in no way anti-Semitic." According to her, "Occupied Territories Bill and criticism of Israel’s colonisation are not attacks on Jews." Lentin postulates that "the settlements, from which products would be banned if the Bill becomes law, are considered illegal under international law." A lengthy exchange as Letters to the Editor of the Irish Times took place recently between Lentin and Alan Shatter, Ireland’s former Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, who opposes the Bill.
Lentin is the chairperson of Academics for Palestine and describes herself as, "a Palestine-born Israeli Jew, indoctrinated with the dual message of Jewish victimhood and Jewish supremacy throughout my youth, and a citizen of Ireland for the past 50 years." She explains the reasons for solidarity between Ireland and the Palestinians, that the "solidarity exists because of the human empathy between those who have been victims of colonial brutality. It continues the long line of Irish solidarity with oppressed peoples." Lentin belongs to a group of radical-leftists, as she claims, "Like increasing numbers of American and European Jews, I am an active supporter of Palestinian rights."
Lentin's expertise on race has led her also to accuse western states, including Ireland, of racism, as they refuse to take in illegal immigrants. Her co-edited 2009 book with her daughter Alana, also an expert on race, examines the democratic and "civilised" modern states, as "state racism appears to be here to stay [and] is more acceptable than ever before." Because of the "Immigration detention centres, the deportation of 'failed' asylum seekers and 'illegal' immigrants, racial profiling and the rolling back of liberties won by the civil rights movement are all examples of how state racism impacts on our daily lives." Their book moves on to investigate "the racialisation of 'terror'", where "the business of the war on terror at home echoes longer-running practices of state racism." Ronit and Alana's accusations of racism have prompted a barrage of anti-Semitic expressions against them, as Ronit admitted in a New York Times interview in 2004. ''My daughter has articulated it well in a paper she wrote for a lecturer at her university... It is very uncomfortable to live in Ireland as a member of an ethnic minority.'' One antisemitic letter said, ''If you don't like our treatment of refugees why don't you [expletive] to a more congenial location, like [Bergen-] Belsen.'' But Lentin holds the state itself as responsible, ''I'm increasingly looking at the state as racial,'' she said, and compared it to the current restrictions on immigration from non-E.U. countries. Most certainly, Lentin's accusations of Ireland as racist contributes to the increasing levels of anti-Semitism there.
While Ireland in general and Lentin in particular claim to be supportive of Palestinian rights, they deliberately decline to help the Palestinians on two issues. A delegation from the Irish Ministry of Foreign Affairs was hosted in Ramallah a few days ago, while on the same day, the Palestinian Authority blocked 51 online news sources. As reported by the international press, “In so doing, the Palestinian Authority confirms its refusal to accept media pluralism and its desire to eliminate all opposition by making it invisible to the public.” And not for the first time. But neither Lentin nor the Irish delegation have something to say against it. Likewise, another issue needs their helping hand. The Arab Israeli community is shattered by internal Arab crime. The Arab leadership is crying for help. Issawi Frej, former member of parliament, complained in a recent interview, “Only now, millions of shekels have been invested in voting campaigns in the Israeli Arab society. Campaigns through left-wing organizations, Jews who came to the Arab communities and persuaded residents to come out and vote. I want to see these left-wing organizations join and stand alongside the Arab society in its war against crime. I need them now. Give me a hand and help me restore security for the children and women in our community. Where are the left-wing organizations gone?" He asked. But neither the Irish delegation nor Lentin and her fellow-activists hear this cry.
The reason is simple, the purpose of the 'Occupied Territories Bill' is to attack Israel. However, as much as it would harm Israeli companies and the Palestinian employees, it could also harm Ireland, as several American officials warned that commercial relations with Ireland could be affected adversely. A price which Lentin and her pro-Palestinian camaraderie don't mind to pay.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
 23.10.19
TAU Rachel Giora among the Signatories Calling to Cancel Tzipi Livni's Talk at Duke University
 
Tzipi Livni, the former Foreign Minister of Israel, former Vice Prime Minister, and former Minister of Justice, is scheduled to speak at Duke University today, October 23, 2019. She is invited by DIPAC - Duke Israel Public Affairs Committee; Duke University Middle East Studies Center; Duke Political Science, and the American Grand Strategy program (AGS). Livni's talk is titled "Israel, the US & the Middle East: Threats, Challenges & Opportunities."
Duke University is a hotbed of pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel activities.
In 2012, Duke Students for Justice in Palestine publicized events for Israeli Apartheid Week with posters depicting an old Jewish woman lifting a miniature Palestinian soldier. The woman was gargantuanly proportioned which invoked old Jewish stereotypes. These images were quite unsettling. The poster was described as distasteful and anti-Semitic. Such posters never should have seen the light of day.
In 2017, Joyce Dalsheim, the author of Unsettling Gaza: Secular Liberalism, Radical Religion, and the Israeli Settlement Project, gave a talk on "The Anthropologist and the Settler: Updates From the Field in Israel/Palestine” Also in 2017, Helen Yanovsky, an Israeli filmmaker, discussed the "Human Rights on Camera in the Palestinian West Bank", on the Israeli NGO B’Tselem. Yanovosky has been a core member of the B'Tselem video project and discussed "the history of the project and the importance of cameras and filmmaking to Palestinians living under occupation.” Critics, however, accuse the organization of selective presentation of the complex realities of life in the West Bank, and, in some cases, of fabricating narratives which have no relation to reality.
In 2018 Swastika was found painted on top of students' mural at the Duke University campus.
Such anti-Semitic and one-sided presentations of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should come as no surprise. In September, the US Department of Education accused Duke University and the University of North Carolina Consortium for Middle East Studies, of making inappropriate use of Title VI, a federal program that funds international studies and foreign langue programs at universities. The Department of Education listed classes and activities which are way out of the mandate of the program that was envisioned as a training platform for diplomats and foreign policy specialists planning to serve in the Middle East. Ironically, the Middle East programs across the United States have also provided employment opportunities for scholars, many from Arab countries, who use it to promote anti-Israeli propaganda dressed up as academic research. Surveys of Middle East Studies Association (MESA), the largest professional organization of Middle East professors, have indicated that the field is top heavy with experts in the Arab-Israeli conflict, to the detriment of much needed review of other subjects.
Middle East programs have also attracted would be pro-Palestinian activists. Duke has large and vocal chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Students against Israeli Apartheid, and Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights. Among the many Facebook activities of the groups, several stand out as crossing the border between legitimate criticism of Israel into anti-Semitism. For instance, the SJP screen the documentary, the Lobby, which alleges that Jews control the American foreign policy. To top all this, the SJP lambasted the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for killing Palestinians. “Don't forget the victims of Israel and their AIPAC collaborators,” they wrote.
Equally unsurprising, SJP Lama Hantash took the lead in attacking Livni’s presence on the campus. Hantash, a Duke senior and the treasurer of the SJP branch, drafted an article "Don't bring an accused war criminal to campus" and a petition “Can't Learn about Justice from a War Criminal.” For Hantash, Livni is "wholly unqualified to serve in an educational capacity at any institution which values diplomacy over war crimes and peace over apartheid." Because as Foreign Minister and a member of the security cabinet, Livni "'played a key role in the decisions made before and during the three-week offensive' known as Operation Cast Lead". According to Hantash, Livni is "not simply an ethno-supremacist pundit endorsing Zionist settler-colonialism... rather, she is an unapologetic accused war criminal with blood on her hands. Hosting her for a lecture minimizes the lives and deaths of her victims while encouraging future reproductions of her crimes." Hantash urged "members of the Duke community, the academic community and the public stand in solidarity with the Palestinian victims of Israeli war crimes and demand the cancellation of Livni’s speech by signing our petition and lending your voice to the victims that Livni so eagerly and cruelly silenced."
Hantash didn’t mention that to make Israeli operations difficult, Hamas is deeply embedded with the local population. Its command and control centers are located in the basement of the al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City and mortar launchers and ammunition are positioned in schools, mosques and other public buildings. Operation Cast Lead was one of the three Israeli retaliatory actions to eliminate the danger of unprovoked rocket attacks, something that Hantash conveniently omitted.
To shield itself from charges of anti-Semitism and bias, the SJP at Duke, like many other pro-Palestinian activists likes to collaborate with radical Israeli academics. On this occasion, it solicited the signature of TAU Prof. Rachel Giora on its petition. Giora is one of the earliest proponents of BDS and has persisted in the BDS campaign, a fact that IAM has documented. This is also not first time Giora supports attacks against Livni. Tel Aviv University should have reigned in its radical faculty many years ago, still, better late than never.

Tel Aviv University

 
17.10.19
Fantastic News for TAU Shlomo Sand: Iran Embraces Your Book
 
TAU Prof. Shlomo Sand should be thrilled because his book The Invention of ‎the Jewish People, which was translated into Persian in January 2019, will be at the center of an event in Tehran. Iran's book news agency, IBNA, has announced a discussion of Sand's book on October 21. The event will be held in cooperation with Nashr-e No Publishing and Mardom-Nameh Magazine. Several Iranian experts - Hashem Aghajari, Hossein-Ali Nozari, and Dariush Rahmanian - will speak at the panel.
According to IBNA, the book is a "study of the historiography of the Jewish people" that generated a heated controversy upon publication, "partly due to its non-Zionist view." IBNA adds, that "The book concludes that the historical expulsion of Jewish people simply did not happen, that no one exiled the Jewish people from the region, and that the Jewish diaspora is essentially a modern invention."
Teheran Times which also wrote about the book, noted that "Sand tries to find historical evidence of the forcible exile of Jews from the area now bordered by modern Israel, and its surrounding regions at the study but as he couldn’t find any proof, he concludes that the expulsion simply did not happen and no one exiled the Jewish people from the region, and therefore the Jewish diaspora is a modern invention."
Sand, the retired Tel Aviv University professor, is not new to the Iranian regime. In 2009, he appeared on Iran's Press TV discussing his work, and repeated his performance on Press TV in 2013. On both occasions he bolstered the Iranian propaganda against Israel by stressing that the Jews were not exiled from Judea by the Romans in the first century, that this was a myth, and "even a lie." Jews were not expelled from Palestine and didn't want to go back to Palestine, “people don't admit it because of the nationalist modernity thinking that it was a homeland, the promised land." Israel wasn't a homeland for the Jews, and Zionism is a modern invention, "because Judaism couldn't accept a nation state that could be called Jewish state then Judaism is not Zionism and Zionism is not Judaism".
Sand is doing great in all the anti-Israel circles. In 2014 Sand told The Guardian, "I am aware of living in one of the most racist societies in the western world. Racism is present to some degree everywhere, but in Israel it exists deep within the spirit of the laws. It is taught in schools and colleges, spread in the media, and above all and most dreadful, in Israel the racists do not know what they are doing”. In addition to his books, Sand has been involved in a campaign to deny that some forms of anti-Zionism carry anti-Semitic overtones. In 2017 he published an Open Letter to the French President where he rejected the claim that anti-Zionism is "the reinvented form of anti-Semitism.” Press TV published Sand’s letter on its website.
On September 18, 2019, Sand participated at the conference in Bordeaux, France. The conference was promoted by the Union Juive Française pour la Paix (UJFP) which supports BDS. He spoke on "Judeophobia, Islamophobia, and Zionism.” The lecture was organized by several groups including Palestine 33-AFPS, (Association France Palestine Solidarité); FFIPP, (Educational Network for Human Rights in Palestine/Israel); and UJFP, among others
Prof. Anita Shapira, an expert on the study of Zionism and Israel at Tel Aviv University, has reviewed Sand's book in her 2009 article "The Jewish-people deniers." She wrote that this work is polemical, that he "contests the historical connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel. He argues that the Jewish people, to use his words, is an ‘invented’ entity or ‘implanted memory’ with no connection, in fact, to the land of Israel.” Shapira pointed out that “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”. Shapira also argues that “the concept of exile is not necessarily related to expulsion but to the self-awareness of a people that had lost control over itself and its land. The Jews were no less ‘a people’ than the Romans or Greeks, which is how their contemporaries saw them.” Shapira concludes by stating that Sand's intention is to promote a new Israeli agenda, instead of a Jewish one in order to create harmony between Jews and Arabs. However positive his goal, “reconciliation between peoples makes necessary a mutual recognition of truth, not an artificial analysis that presents a fabricated front, a quasi-mask that hides the real differences. What Sand is offering is this kind of artificial analysis.”
According to his Tel Aviv University personal page, Sand's expertise between 1977 to 2004, has been French Intellectual History and Cinema and has no background in researching Jewish history. For personal gains, he chose to become a Jewish People denier, which is anti-Semitic. Tel Aviv University should have dissociated from him on two counts, fabricating history and abusing tax-payers money.
IAM would report on the Iranian review of Sand's book when reports become available.
General Articles
 
10.10.19
Middle East Studies and the U.S. Department of Education: The Duke-UNC Consortium Case
 
No doubt that the Middle East plays a significant role in American foreign policy. Shaping it requires a cadre of people educated in the arcane aspects of the region. The Middle East Studies have been created for this purpose and supported by the federal government, but over the years activist-scholars from the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) have been distorting the goal of providing objective knowledge.
Recently, the US Education Department has alerted two universities, Duke and North Carolina at Chapel Hill, that the Duke-U.N.C. Consortium for Middle East Studies program (CMES) which is supported with Title VI funds, is unauthorized and may not qualify as an eligible National Resource Center to receive the grants.
According to the Title VI of the Higher Education Act of 1965, the "Congress authorizes grants to protect the security, stability, and economic vitality of the United States" by teaching foreign languages and cultures to American students, required to develop a pool of experts "to meet our national needs." Title VI grants are made to institutions of higher education or consortia, for comprehensive foreign language and international studies centers and programs. Federal funding is conditioned that the given center or program is a "National Resource" for foreign language, providing a full understanding of areas, regions, or countries for research and training in world affairs. "It is unlawful for institutions of higher education to use Title VI funds differently."
The US Education Department raised a number of concerns regarding Duke-UNC Consortium program: First, that of over 6 thousand students enrolled in the program only 960 took foreign language courses. Second, there are collaborations with academic departments that are not aligned with the requirements of the National Resource Centers and are not eligible for the grants. Third, many of the topics taught have little or no relevance to Title VI, for example, Iranian art and film, “Love and Desire in Modem Iran;” "Amihri Hatun: Performance, Gender-Bending and Subversion in the Early Modern Ottoman Intellectual History"; or, "Radical Love: Teachings from Islamic Mystical Tradition." These should not be funded or subsidized by the American taxpayers under Title VI unless demonstrated they are helping American students to become fluent in Middle Eastern languages. Forth, the program appears to be lacking balance and doesn't include, for example, historic discrimination faced by religious minorities in the Middle East, including Christians, Jews, Baha'is, Yadizis, Kurds, Druze, and others. There is a clear effort to present the positive aspects of Islam, such as an outdoor concert series "Islam, music, and social change," but no effort to present the positive aspects of Christianity, Judaism, or other religions in the Middle East. Fifth, the program offers very little attention to "understand the geopolitical challenges to U.S. national security and economic needs." Instead, it emphasizes "advancing ideological priorities," such as presenting "dominant American frameworks," or American "aggressively capitalist environment.”
The debate over the abuse of Title VI is not new, IAM reported in February 2018 of a coalition of American Jewish educational groups which has written in request of amendments to Title VI. The groups’ concern was that federal funds "are being misused to promote biased, one-sided, and anti-Israel programming in our nation’s Middle East studies centers" as many recipients of Title VI funds "provide only a monochromatic –and biased, anti-American, and anti-Israel—perspective."
This bias was discussed also in 2016, in an article in the Weekly Standard, contemplating how "US Taxpayer Dollars Contribute to BDS Activity and Anti-Semitism on Campuses.” In 2014, the journal Inside Higher Education noted that a "coalition of Israel advocacy organizations concerned by what they describe as the prevalence of anti-Israel programming at federally-funded Middle East studies centers.”
As mentioned earlier, such trends have been promoted by the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), a hotbed of anti-Israeli activity. Unsurprisingly, MESA is also a bastion of academics like John Esposito who have been accused of whitewashing Islam.
In 2001, Martin Kramer, a Middle East expert, made the most comprehensive study on bias in the Middle East studies programs in his widely discussed book, Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America. Kramer postulated that "It is no exaggeration to say that America’s academics have failed to predict or explain the major evolutions of Middle Eastern politics and society over the past two decades. Time and again, academics have been taken by surprise by their subjects; time and again, their paradigms have been swept away by events. Repeated failures have depleted the credibility of scholarship among influential publics". Kramer requested to "probe how and why a branch of academe once regarded with esteem has descended to such a low point in the public estimate, and what might be done about it." Kramer urged amendments to Title VI funding, "Changes in Title VI can help erode the culture of irrelevance that has pervaded Middle Eastern studies. But no amount of tweaking this program can cure the more fundamental ailments that afflict the field. This healing can only be achieved by the guild: the physicians must heal themselves." For Kramer, Middle East studies "lack a culture of tolerance for diversity in ideas and approaches." He suggested, "it can be solved only by a deliberate effort to open Middle Eastern studies to debate."
As for the current crisis of the Duke-UNC Consortium, the latest report states that despite the concerns from the U.S. Department of Education over uses of Title VI grants, it received funding for the 2019-20 academic year. Still, it looks as if the Title VI grants for Middle East studies will be under a magnifying glass from now on.
This step has an effect on Israeli academia as well. For two decades, Israeli academics willing to bash Israel were recruited to teach and research by MESA scholars who abuse the Title VI grants, something IAM reported in length.
Criticism of Israel is, of course, a legitimate issue, but it needs to be balanced with criticism of the Arab world and Islam, something MESA members have prevented for too long.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
03.10.19
Israeli Scholars Defend BDS: Two Initiatives, by Moshe Zuckermann, and by Rachel Giora with Kobi Snitz
 
An interim report by Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, was presented at the UN general assembly on 23 September 2019. Articles 17 and 18 of the report are dealing with antisemitism and BDS. In article 17, the Special Rapporteur noted an increase of incidents in "what is sometimes called ‘left-wing’ antisemitism," in many countries. Of individuals who claim to hold anti-racist or anti-imperialist views, employ antisemitic narratives and sometimes even Holocaust denial, when expressing anger at the policies and practices of the Government of Israel. Some have "conflated Zionism, the self-determination movement of the Jewish people, with racism" and claim that Israel has no right to exist. In article 18, the Special Rapporteur noted that the "objectives, activities and effects” of BDS are “fundamentally antisemitic." The movement promotes BDS against those who they think "‘complicit’ in violations of the human rights of Palestinians by the Government of Israel." But in fact, the Special Rapporteur states that BDS, "one of its core aims is to bring about the end of the State of Israel." By often employing "antisemitic narratives, conspiracies and tropes in the course of expressing support for the BDS campaign". The Special Rapporteur emphasized that "expression which draws upon antisemitic tropes or stereotypes, rejects the right of Israel to exist, or advocates discrimination against Jewish individuals because of their religion, should be condemned."
Coinciding with the UN determination of BDS as anti-Semitic, Israel's Ministry of Strategic Affairs has recently published a report, “Behind the Mask: The Antisemitic Nature of BDS Exposed”. The report, which was presented to the European Parliament on September 25, 2019, showcased numerous examples of the antisemitic nature of BDS. Such as, calls for Jews to “go back to the ovens!”, accusations of poisoning water supplies, equation of Israel with Nazi Germany, and calls for the destruction of the Jewish State, among others. The report includes antisemitic imagery of Jews as pigs, octopuses, Jewish big noses, Jewish obsession with wealth, Jews as controlling the world and the global “Jewish lobby.”
Amid the efforts to define BDS as anti-Semitic, activist-academics in Western universities who are closely associated with Palestinians increased their efforts to defend BDS. IAM has reported on many cases since 2004.
One recent example was featured on September 18, 2019, by the Middle East Monitor, a media outlet run by Dr. Daud Abdullah, the deputy secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain and a lecturer of Islamic Studies at Birkbeck College U.K. The article discussed a German court-case which ruled unlawful the exclusion of a Palestinian organization from cultural events, on account of supporting BDS. The court constituted it is an “unequal treatment”. The ruling came four months after the German Bundestag voted in favor of a non-binding motion defining BDS as anti-Semitic. The court decision upheld the principals of freedom of speech, including the freedom to discuss and promote boycott campaigns, as protected speech. Claiming victory is the European Legal Support Centre (ELSC), representative of the German-Palestinian Women’s Association which was excluded by the City of Bonn for supporting BDS. Among the documents filed by ELSC's Attorney Ahmed Abed, was an expert opinion by Prof. Moshe Zuckermann, emeritus professor at Tel Aviv University. In his opinion, Zuckermann argued that anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel are three distinct categories which must be treated separately and that the attempt to portray the BDS movement as anti-Semitic is “manipulative and guided by ideological interests”. Arguably, Zuckermann himself is ideologically motivated.
Last but not least, another group of Israeli political activists among them academics have launched a campaign to undermine the Israeli attempts to prevent BDS. Some, like Rachel Giora and Kobi Snitz, are the earliest proponents of BDS. Gush Shalom, the Israeli peace group, reported the case, that in a recent hearing at the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Justice refused to reveal the identity of international law firms that help with anti BDS efforts in Europe. The Petition for freedom of information was filed by Attorney Itay Mac, demanding to disclose the details of the law firms' identity and the nature of the service which they give to the Israeli Ministry of Justice. The petition was originally filed by Mac in November 2017 along with “human rights activists” TAU Prof. Rachel Giora and Dr. Kobi Snitz of Weizmann Institute, among others.
For years IAM has reported on Israeli academics who advance their political agenda while being paid by the Israeli taxpayers. University administrators have been reluctant to put an end to this abuse for fear of backlash by the international academic community which can be easily mobilized to defend the “academic freedoms” of pro-Palestinian academics. The fear of international pressure contributed to the fact that Israel has the most liberal definition of academic freedom, a definition that would not be tolerated in other Western countries. The result is as sad as it is predictable: an outmoded social science curriculum where cutting edge subjects and methodology are pushed aside, to offer slots to radical activists. Despite poor international ranking for Israeli social sciences, nothing has been done to rescue the field.
Hebrew University
 
26.09.19
HUJ Yael Berda Delegitimizes Israel at a United Nations Meeting
 
Dr. Yael Berda is a lawyer teaching Sociology at the Hebrew University. Berda is also a political activist who uses her academic position to discredit Israel, a fact that IAM reported before. In her academic writing she focuses on Israel's permit system in the West bank and East Jerusalem, portraying it a "colonial form of power". Palestinian newspaper recently wrote she is convinced that the "security restrictions on Palestinians have nothing to do with security issues." For her, it’s racial segregation.
Berda has participated in June, at a United Nations meeting in Geneva, titled "the International Conference on the Question of Jerusalem.” Invited by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and sponsored by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, an inter-governmental organization with 57 member states. The participants looked for ways of “Preserving the cultural and religious character of Jerusalem,” under Palestinian control. The meeting criticized Israel’s policies and measures "aiming to change the character of Jerusalem". Other speakers included Ambassador Cheikh Niang, Chair of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People; ASG Samir Bakr, Assistant Secretary-General for Palestine and Al-Quds Affairs of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation; Ms. Carla Khijoyan, Program Executive for the Middle East; WCC Min. Ahmad Majdalani, Minister of Social Affairs of the State of Palestine; among others.
Berda's speech presented a very dire picture of East Jerusalem under Israel, blaming Israel alone. For Berda, it is Israel's "colonial control" and the residents are “under constant threat of violence". According to her, city tax is part of the "bureaucracy of the occupation", which is "an effective tool against Palestinians". She coined it "colonial bureaucracy" and "racial hierarchy." Berda absolves all Palestinian violence and blames Israel for "rampant arrests," where "youth might find themselves detained." The essence of her talk was that the Jerusalem Municipality, which collects high taxes, gives almost nothing in return, only the security forces are visible. For Berda, the "regime" separates between Palestinians and Palestinians, evidence the regime is not dedicated to security provisions but to other "colonial goals". For her, most of these activities are on administrative bases, such as the court orders and demolitions orders, that can be stopped with political pressure. “It can be incredibly affective if the administration has an active opposition,” she urged the audience.
Just before Rosh Hashana, on Saturday morning of September 28, Berda will speak at the University of Basel in a conference "Comparing Colonialism: Beyond European Exceptionalism" Her talk is "Bureaucratic Tools of Emergency and Citizenship in the Colonial Past and Present: Israel/Palestine and India." Berda investigates the bureaucratic classification of population, based on the "practices of identification, registration, mapping and zoning" and questions "how colonial practices, designed to control subjugated populations, have become organizing principles of the modern state". She will be discussing the "administrative colonial legacies" of the historical colonial rule, with the rise of contemporary colonial forms of power." In particular, Berda will focus on "Israel's military government over the Palestinians 1949-1966 in 'security zones', and its practices of population classification", comparing with "classification practices of Palestinians in Israel's contemporary military rule over the Occupied West Bank."
Similarly, in 2017, Berda was invited to deliver a lecture at Harvard University on Israel's anti-terrorism law. Berda discussed "the colonial origins of these security laws and their relation to citizenship." Berda provided an alternative analysis of the ways the anti-terrorism bill uses the emergency laws by the British Empire. According to Berda, this "legal toolkit" produced a triple bind between security, loyalty, and identity through bureaucratic means. Berda argued that the British colonial roots of security practices, which focus on "population management and its classification as loyal to the state, or suspicious," have formed the boundaries of citizenship. For Berda, the "institutionalization of British colonial emergency laws... deeply impacted the scope and authority of executive power to justify consistent violation to civil rights." by the contemporary state.
Berda, however, does not consider terrorism against civilians to be a major factor for instilling security measures.
Like many of her political comradery, she remade herself an expert on Israeli history. In the spring, she will be teaching a course at India's Jindal Global University on "State and Society from Mandate Palestine to Present day Israel." Berda is often invited to speak at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. Given her written record, it is not hard to imagine that her message would be stridently anti-Israel.
Barda's activist career included Machsom Watch and often represented members of the organization International Solidarity Movement (ISM, aka PalSolidarity). In 2004, Berda represented Ewa Jasiewicz, a British-Polish journalist who was detained at Ben Gurion Airport upon arrival, because in 2002, the journalist lived and worked in the West Bank city of Jenin. In an email published by the ISM, the journalist told a story of the son of the family she stayed with, who opened fire on Israelis a few months earlier. The journalist wrote: "I don’t get why activists can’t go and do the Knesset or something, or do a sophisticated politician bump-off like the PFLP?” These are the types Berda represented.
In 2005, after newspapers charged Berda with waging a war against Israel’s secret service she went to the United States for two months. As a lawyer, Berda represented more than two hundred Palestinians trying to obtain labor permits to enter Israel.
Like her other radical peers, Berda receives a salary from the Hebrew University, that is, from the Israeli taxpayer. Even a casual perusal of her activities indicates that she spends an inordinate part of her time traveling and giving talks to delegitimize Israel.
The university authorities are custodians of the public money that enables them to thrive. The question is whether in the case of Yael Barda the HUJ has been a responsible custodian.
Tel Aviv University
 
18.09.19
TAU Daniel Bar-Tal Responds to IAM: "Delegitimization of Me and My Contribution"
 
IAM encourages readers to respond to the posts and publishes them as a matter of courtesy.
Our previous post "The Delegitimization of Israel from the Academy: TAU Daniel Bar-Tal as a Case in Point" enraged Prof. Daniel Bar-Tal and prompted his response.
Bar-Tal wrote, "The reaction was expected because IAM is acting in the spirit of Orwell of "1984" that develops in Israel. The reaction derogates the research, the affiliation and then makes an absurd association with Galtung whom I met once in my life—all in the name of free speech and democracy." Bar-Tal continued, "Anyone who respects Israel, who supports democracy and cherishes moral values, has to be appalled by the activity of such an organization. But In Israel of today there are several organizations of this kind that delegitimizes free research and speech, that is coming with the objective of carrying valid research as well as practicing constructive patriotism. In the present zeitgeist in Israel I take into consideration that a bad thing may happen to me. But I promise to all of you that I will not be afraid and will not scale down my critical and opened minded academic work. Ill continue my line of research because it is our responsibility and obligation to shed light on all the social phenomena that bring bloodshed, misery and suffering in this world.”
Bar-Tal’s answer is in line with the tactics of radical activist scholars who accuse their critics as "Orwellians" who want to stifle all free discourse in the society. Such blanket accusations are convenient because they absolve activists of responding to the particular points raised in the post. Once critics are delegitimized as “Orwellians", their critique can be described as pages from the "1948" playbook.
Indeed, Bar-Tal has either failed to reply to the issues raised by the IAM post or responded in a highly deceitful way.
First, Bar-Tal does not explain how, after being hired to teach and research early childhood education, he ended up writing about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Indeed, despite his switch of disciplines, he was promoted and rewarded by Tel Aviv University. A good salary, steady promotion, not to mention a good pension upon retirement, is not exactly hard life. He was very lucky because the Tel Aviv university authorities were too scared to stand up to his career retooling. As IAM has been repeatedly reporting since 2004, Bar-Tal was not alone in taking advantage of the academic leadership's fear to confront their activist faculty.
Second, Bar-Tal had nothing to say about his research methods in his “Masada Complex" studies. Bar-Tal never considered the horrific terror attacks as an alternative explanation to the Israeli reticence to go ahead with the peace process. The Peace Index of Tel Aviv University clearly indicated that in 1993, the public support for the Oslo peace was quite high, but as the suicide bombings took a toll, the good will evaporated. More to the point, when Prime Minister Rabin tried to describe the victims as "victims of peace”, the public reacted with outrage. Bar-Tal and his peace camp comrades should be reminded that it was not the memory of Masada, but the trauma of watching the suicide attacks nightly on television that soured the Israelis on peace.
Third, Bar-Tal dismisses the importance of Galtung to his career. In fact, Bar-Tal cited Galtung and even declared him to be "the greatest peace researcher”. As for “meeting Galtung once,” in a 2012 post, IAM pointed out that in a 2006 conference which was organized by Bar-Tal, Galtung was invited to deliver the keynote address. It was during this lecture that Galtung made invidious comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany, a theme that he pursued before. While one Israeli scholar expressed dismay, Bar-Tal kept silent.
Finally, Bar-Tal simply has no answer to IAM's criticism
Tel Aviv University
 
12.09.19
The Delegitimization of Israel from the Academy: TAU Daniel Bar-Tal as a Case in Point
 
The delegitimization of Israel would have not been possible without the helping hands of Israeli intellectuals, notably some scholars.
Daniel Bar-Tal, the Branco Weiss Professor of Research in Child Development and Education at the School of Education at Tel Aviv University, has been discussed by IAM before. Despite his title, Bar-Tal spent little time researching child development. In fact, he switched his attention to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Bar-Tal recently wrote a short autobiography detailing his academic development in an article published by the American Psychological Association. Titled "The Challenges of Social and Political Psychology in Pursuit of Peace: Personal Account," he explained the shift in career. "The opportunity for the major shift came on my sabbatical at Vanderbilt University in 1981–1982. It was there that I began to conceptualize the phenomena of delegitimization, siege mentality, and patriotism that have absorbed me, especially observing them in Israeli society... Many Jews have seen Arab animosity and hatred as a continuation of European anti-Semitism. Moreover, Israeli Jews view the criticism of Israeli policies and behaviors regarding the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, especially in the context of the occupation, as an indication of world anti- Semitism." Bar-Tal mocked those beliefs because he viewed them as “hegemonic narratives”.
Bar-Tal explains himself as following: "Social scientists also have to recognize that they may pay a price, especially in certain societies, for their research questions and lines of research that advance knowledge, contradicting the hegemonic narrative of the regime. This is also the case in Israel. More than once did I have the honor of appearing on the black lists of various organizations that monitor academia, and I have been reprimanded by politicians who did not like the results of my studies. They thought that I was harming the standing of Israel in the international community. Fear of paying a price robs the mind not only of human beings, but also of scientists. It can affect their research in different ways. Thus, scientists have to be brave and independent in their science making.” In other words, Bar-Tal's "science" was trashing Israel while embracing the Palestinian narrative. More egregiously, he has done it under the auspices of the so-called Peace Studies movement pioneered by Professor Johan Galtung. Bar-Tal, for example, invited Galtung to keynote a conference at Tel Aviv University.
Anyone familiar with the history of Galtung’s Peace Studies knows that this was a cover for bashing Israel and accusing Israelis of all the ills in the region while absolving the Palestinians for any blame. In addition, Galtung turned to be a notorious anti-Semite. Late Prof. Robert S. Wistrich, an expert in research on anti-Semitism, wrote in his 2013 article, "Parallel Lines: Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century," that "Professor Galtung, a veteran anti-American and anti-Zionist leftist declared the notorious antisemitic forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, to be a serious text for understanding Israeli policy. If that were not enough, he also insisted that the main source of contemporary evils was Jewish-Zionist control of American politics, the banks and the media. For his skewed information, Galtung relied on the bogus statistics of a deceased American neo-Nazi, William Pierce." Wistrich added that Galtung even suggested in 2012, "that the Israeli Mossad was behind the cold-blooded massacre in Norway a year earlier by the lone gunman Andrei Breivik of seventy-seven Norwegian youngsters at a summercamp outside Oslo."
Galtung was one of the first to recognize that in order to deflect charges of anti-Semitism, he needs Jewish, or preferably Israeli academics to partner in his Peace Studies movement. Bar-Tal's self-proclaimed “epiphany” at Vanderbilt University made him an ideal candidate.
Bar-Tal took off to political activism. He became a member of the Israeli NGO Middle East Publications which publishes the Palestine-Israel Journal (PIJ) and became the co-editor of the journal between 2001 to 2005. He has been serving on the editorial board ever since. Notably, NATO's Partners for Peace program, UNESCO, the European Commission, Canadian Rep. Office, The Canadian International Development Agency, Austrian Development Agency, The Fund for Reconciliation & Development, and Ploughshares Fund, among others, have all contributed money to PIJ over the years. PIJ is also closely linked to the American A.J. Muste Memorial Institute For Nonviolence and Social Justice. Not surprisingly, Muste's grantees include several BDS groups. Not surprising, PIJ portrays Israel in a negative light while gives a pass to Palestinian aggression. From the Israeli side, Bar-Tal, Meir Margalit, Hillel Shenkar, and Mossi Raz, are all members of the Meretz Party and from the Palestinian side, Ziad Abu Ziad is a Palestinian politician. While Israeli NGO's are not allowed to take on politics, Meretz members are behind this NGO.
Bar-Tal's popular theory analyzing the Israeli psyche is known as the Masada Syndrome, allegedly because of their defeat by the Romans. Combined with a Holocaust syndrome, Bar-Tal postulates that Israelis developed a siege mentality and a sense of victimhood which prevents them from reaching peace with the Palestinians. Of course, the Masada theory enabled Bar-Tal to ignore the fact that it was the Palestinians, with the help of Arab countries, who rejected the 1947 Partition Proposal. After losing a war which they started, they embarked on decades of terrorism against Israel. He also ignored the key role of Iran in playing a spoiler in the Oslo peace process. As well known, after the 1993 agreement between the Palestinians and the Israeli Labor government, the Iranian leadership ordered its terror proxies - Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad - to launch a series of devastating suicide bombings which eroded the peace process and discredited the Israeli peace camp.
Bar-Tal has published articles blaming the Israelis for the deadlock in negotiations, stating, "We hope that the Israelis will choose the road of negotiation, peace process and reconciliation, rejecting the path of violent confrontation and continuation of the conflict. The Palestinians can do much to encourage this trend. Palestinian attacks against Israelis have to stop. Such attacks generate support for the hawkish candidates in the Israel elections. The Palestinians can indirectly decide who the next Israeli leader will be. At the same time, Israel has to stop all collective punishment measures against the Palestinians, such as closures, sieges, other restrictions and killing Palestinians. This will encourage moderates in that camp by assuring them that there is another way to solve the conflict rather than violence.” Bar-Tal’s effort to sound “balanced” is laughable. He tells the Palestinians to stop the “attacks,” his euphemism for the brutal suicide bombing by the violent jihadis.
Finally, Bar-Tal’s complaints about the “sacrifices” he made for challenging the “hegemonic” narrative sound particularly specious, he was promoted and rewarded by Tel Aviv University despite the fact that he did not research in the field for which he was hired. The administration of Tel Aviv University, or his colleagues at the school of education, did not dare to confront him. This situation, unfortunately, is not unique to Bar-Tal. Over the years IAM reported on numerous cases of scholars who turned their taxpayers supported positions into a platform for radical political activism aimed to delegitimize Israel. Unless the academic authorities in Israel stand up to such practices, new generations of activists would continue to abuse the Israeli taxpayers.
Israelis in Non-Israeli Universities
 
04.09.19
(Manchester U) Eyal Clyne: Middle East Centers as Agents of Zionist Hegemony
 
An interesting exchange was posted recently on the blog of the Forum for Regional Thinking. Shimon Shamir, professor emeritus of Middle East History at Tel Aviv University criticized the 2019 book by Dr. Eyal Clyne of Manchester University, Orientalism, Zionism and Academic Practice. Clyne, who interviewed Israeli Middle East experts, portrayed these experts as motivated by selfishness. Since experts see the creation and dissemination of qualified knowledge in Middle East studies as a “mission”, for Clyne, the "mission" is selfish because it involves receiving rewards from the state. It comes to strengthen the expert and expertise and provides more power and status. Shamir rejects Clyne’s assertion that the “mission” is an exercise in seeking the power that is reinforced by various strategies of "hegemony and authority building". Shamir takes issue with Clyne’s overall assessment that the “mission” is a latent expression of a desire for power and national recognition, combined with a "commitment to the state and security system of Zionist ideology". 
Even by the lamentably low standards of anti-Israel scholarships, Clyne's book stands out. He refers to scholars as studying and teaching "within the racist, militarist and capitalist bounds of their society," or, writing on the "imbalance of power (e.g. global imperialism, capitalism, global 'western' hegemony, or Israeli colonialism).” He claims that several Israeli Middle East Centers, "agents and agencies express manifest racist views, [such as] the propaganda works of Efraim Karsh or [Mordechai] Kedar". Clyne even describes Kedar of Bar-Ilan University, as a purveyor of hate statements. To prove Kedar’s alleged “hate speech,” Clyne misquotes Kedar: "The existence of a living Jewish people in a functioning Jewish state threatens the very raison d'être of Islam, which came into being Judaism obsolete', in a piece where Arabs and Muslims are also systematically conflated." But in fact, Kedar wrote that "The existence of a living Jewish people in a functioning Jewish state threatens the very raison d’être of Islam, which came into being TO RENDER [emphasis added] Judaism obsolete." Kedar continues, "For that reason, Arabs and Muslims will never accept Israel as the Jewish State." Kedar explained that "The religious reason is rooted in Islam’s conception of itself as a faith whose mission is to bring both Judaism and Christianity to an end and inherit all that was once Jewish or Christian: land, places of worship, and people. In Islam’s worldview, Palestine in its entirety belongs to Muslims alone because both Jews and Christians betrayed Allah when they refused to become followers of the prophet Muhammad. Their punishment is to be expulsion from their lands and the forfeiture of all rights to them.” Instead of debating Kedar over his statement, Clyne dismissed his argument as hate. 
Clyne is one of a large number of anti-Israel academic activists recruited to trash Israel, as noted in the November 2018 IAM report, "Employment Opportunities Abroad: Critics of Israel Wanted,” the transaction is mutually beneficial. The activist-scholars gain legitimacy by having an Israeli who asserts that Israel is an immoral apartheid state. The Israeli scholars get access to coveted research or teaching positions in a tight job market. 
Interestingly, Clyne’s Ph.D. supervisor at Manchester University, Prof. Erica Burman, is an expert on Developmental Psychology with Cognitive Studies and has been teaching developmental psychology, educational psychology, psychology of childhood, counselling and psychotherapy, human development, and qualitative and discursive research methods. She became a professor of Psychology and Women's Studies. She also co-founded with Ian Parker the Discourse Unit (transinstitutional and transdisciplinary center for the study of the reproduction and transformation of language and subjectivity). As can be seen, nothing in her background relates to Middle East Studies, yet, according to her university webpage, she supervised the thesis "Orientalism, Zionism and the academic everyday: Middle eastern studies in Israeli Universities (Eyal Clyne, full-time, PhD awarded 2016)." Not surprisingly, Burman is also an anti-Israel activist, she was among the signatories of the 2015, the Guardian ad calling for the boycott of Israel, titled "A Commitment by UK Scholars to the Rights of Palestinians," which was signed by 343 academics affiliated with UK academic institutions, pledging that: "Responding to the appeal from Palestinian civil society, we therefore declare that we will not: • accept invitations to visit Israeli academic institutions; • act as referees in any of their processes; • participate in conferences funded, organised or sponsored by them, or otherwise cooperate with them." Burman was also a signatory in a 2016 open letter by "psychotherapists, researchers and other mental health professionals, write to express our dismay at the decision of the Society for Psychotherapy Research (SPR) to hold its next international conference in Jerusalem." 
Clyne, did a review of Burman's colleague, Ian Parker's book Revolutionary Keywords for A New Left, noting that "Parker is an experienced Marxist activist... having surfaced in his years of activism in British radical-left groups," and also praised Parker for "maintaining anti-Zionism without racism.” 
Clyne has worked overtime to uphold his end of the transaction. In addition to publishing the above book, Clyne has been recently engaged in bashing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism. He has circulated a “protest” version of the IHRA definition which pro-Palestinian activists bitterly resent because it limits their ability to portray Israel as an irredeemable “racist," “apartheid," “colonial,” imperialist” state. The “protest" version is called "Anti-Palestinian Racism", and replaces the words “anti-Semitism”, “Jews” and “Israel” with the words “Palestinians”, and “Palestine." Clyne sent a version of the “bill” to the Jewish Voice for Labour. As well known, the Labour Party is embroiled in a scandal over its anti-Semitism. 
As for Clyne's statement that scholars are having a selfishly motivated mission, it takes one to know one. Middle East Centers in British universities are a hotbed for pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel activism often fueled by Arab Gulf money.
Hebrew University
 
29.08.19
HUJ Prof. Amos Goldberg Protecting Holocaust Denial for Political Gains
 
IAM reported that Prof. Amos Goldberg, a Hebrew University scholar of the Holocaust, has been a staunch political activist for many years. IAM covered in length some of his activities. 
In recent years, with the support of the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, Goldberg has been involved in Holocaust Reductionism, that is, comparing the Holocaust to lesser catastrophes thus enabling scholars to claim similarities between the two. This is a softer form of Holocaust denial. An example of this trend is the recent Goldberg's co-edited book with Prof. Bashir Bashir, published in 2018, The Holocaust and the Nakba: A New Grammar of Trauma and History. As Bashir and Goldberg stated in the introduction, that many Palestinians "find it hard to recognize the Holocaust and the suffering experienced by the Jews. Some prefer to ignore the issue, downplay its importance, or even deny the Holocaust entirely, dismissing it as the invention of a powerful Zionist propaganda machine. In many other cases, even when Palestinians or other Arabs do recognize the historical reality of the Holocaust, they acknowledge it as merely a matter of historical fact. In this view, the Holocaust doesn’t merit any empathy toward the Jews or isn’t linked to their conditions and fate." 
After explaining how many Palestinians refuse to acknowledge the Holocaust, the book contributors compare the Nakba to the Holocaust because this is the only way for Palestinians to relate to the Holocaust: "At times they view it as a deliberate distraction from their own suffering or as an event of which they themselves are the ultimate victims. As such, both the Holocaust and the Nakba, as dominant national narratives, serve to bolster exclusive identities within the two groups. For the most part, each group sees its own catastrophe as a unique event and seeks to devalue or even deny the catastrophe of the other. These two national narratives are, in fact, connected to two far greater narratives embraced by contemporary global culture." 
Instead of exposing Palestinian Holocaust denial, the editors prefer to establish the comparison between the Holocaust - the catastrophe befallen on the Jews when 6 million were murdered - to the Nakba, a self-inflicted loss in a war which they initiated. 
Earlier this month, Goldberg co-authored an article, "Distorting the definition of antisemitism to shield Israel from all criticism.” He lamented that the new definition of antisemitism, formulated by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), "initially sought to combat racism against Jews and Holocaust denialism, but its definition of antisemitism serves as a tool to silence all criticism of Israel." Goldberg explain this logic as "deployed by supporters of Israel’s occupation and nationalistic government in order to delegitimize anyone who dares criticize Israeli policies." As Goldberg sees it, it's an "attempt to silence criticism of Israel’s 52-year-old military occupation (one of the longest running in the world), which includes dispossession, humiliation, expulsions, and daily violence against Palestinians, plays into the hands of avowed antisemites." 
Goldberg argues that the IHRA definition is "catastrophic" because it is diverting attention from "real anti-Semites," and is silencing criticism of Israel and its "ethno-nationalist vision". Whereby viewing "Palestinians – residents of the occupied territories, refugees from the 1948 war, and citizens of Israel (as well as refugees from Africa) – as an existential danger. But the IHRA definition and its derivatives contribute precisely to that. Right-wing politicians, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli right-wing media, have understood that the focus of the fight against antisemitism has shifted from racist nationalists to criticism of Israel, and they use the IHRA definition for their purposes... the right understands very well the powerful potential of the IHRA definition, not only for the purpose of shielding Zionism from any criticism, but also for defending the occupation itself. Using the IHRA’s poor definition of antisemitism, they have succeeded in completely changing the discourse: rather than talk about the occupation, the Nakba, or its violation of national, human and civil rights, the dominant public discourse now revolves around what is or is not forbidden when it comes to criticism of Israel, and to what extent said criticism is antisemitic. In this reality, Israel no longer needs to defend itself against allegation — it has a free hand to throw around accusations." 
For Goldberg, the IHRA definition is unnecessary, because the idea that only Israel is targeted by this kind of criticism "is not only divorced from reality, it aims at creating a chilling effect. It suffices, for example, to take one look at the list of people charged by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which includes not a single Israeli, to ask ourselves whether there is a need for such a provision in the bill, apart from the desire to suppress any criticism of Israel." Goldberg is also unhappy because the New Jersey State Senate introduced a law based on the IHRA definition, adding a clause forbidding peace or human rights investigations to focus solely on Israel. 
Goldberg has been recently involved in attempting to persuade the German Parliament, the Bundestag, to drop their decision equating BDS with anti-Semitism. Not only circulated a petition, Goldberg has also published an appeal, which IAM translated from German by Google Translate. "An appeal from Israel to my German friends," in which he claims that adopting the IHRA definition "endangers the values of democracy." He argues that "I have often heard well-meaning German friends say that they understand my criticism of the policy of the Israeli government towards the Palestinians. Sometimes they even admitted to supporting them. But they did not want to say that out loud." For Goldberg, the "failure to distinguish between anti-Semitism and legitimate criticism becomes moral and intellectual convenience, even laziness. Benjamin Netanyahu announces annexation of large parts of the West Bank… Minister Bezalel Smotrich has suggested that apartheid should be the solution to the conflict with the Palestinians. Education Minister Rafi Perez expressed similarly." For Goldberg, the Germans are also paying the price for passivity. “I observe how the political system in Germany is rapidly eroding free speech when it comes to Israel and Palestine, and how public discourse derives from defamation and character assassination. Bundestag equates BDS with anti-Semitism." 
Goldberg complains that now in Germany, "Palestinians are forbidden to protest, scientists suspected of sympathizing with BDS are not invited to conferences... I warn my friends in Germany about our experiences in Israel: There is more trouble ahead if you vigorously defend the principles of democracy, freedom of expression and principled foreign policy." Goldberg continues, "Democracy needs active citizens, History teaches us, that protecting a democracy requires the courage of active citizens, because if too many decent people refrain from defending their underlying principles and rules, they will stagger or fall. Germans who appreciate these values and care about the integrity of Israel must now overcome their anxious hesitation and join the Israeli and Jewish democratic camps. They must muster the energy to distinguish between anti-Semitism and manipulation that should protect Israel from legitimate criticism of its violations.” 
Also in 2018, Goldberg contributed an article, an extended version originally published in 2012, to MADAR, the Palestinian Forum for Israeli Studies based in Ramallah. MADAR was established in 2000 by a group of Palestinian intellectuals and academics. Not surprising, it serves as an academic propaganda tool to attack Israel. In their journal Israeli Affairs (Issue no. 70), which focuses on the relations between Israel and Germany, Goldberg's article, translated to Arabic, criticizes the Yad Vashem Museum. The museum, according to its website, "presents the story of the Shoah from a unique Jewish perspective." Goldberg's problem is that "One can also wonder what groups and issues are included in this ‘Jewish perspective’ and in what ways? And which ones are left out?" For Goldberg, "the Yad Vashem ‘Jewish narrative’ is self-contained and is closed to any ‘otherness’ of historicity that makes the story much more complex, and therefore becomes, as I claim, a mythic narrative.” Goldberg protests it excludes non-Jewish otherness. 
Goldberg stated that, "Though very narcissistic and problematic,” this narrative of this victim group tends to adopt such a melancholic narrative, which makes sense in the Israeli context because the Holocaust is “the major pillar of current Israeli victimized identity." Because "According to the most updated comprehensive survey of Israeli Jewish identity conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute together with The Guttman Center for Surveys, 98 per cent of the Jewish population believe that it is ‘fairly important’ or ‘very important’ to remember the Holocaust.” Such a complete consensus, for Goldberg, "has proven itself to be an extremely powerful and useful diplomatic tool in gaining international support in the context of the Israeli-Arab conflict and in maintaining the occupation in Palestine." 
Another problem which Goldberg finds is that most video testimonies are in Hebrew. “The focus on Hebrew is therefore a Zionization of the ‘Jewish perspective’." Goldberg laments the "tendency to experience Holocaust memory by almost exclusively and entirely ‘identifying with the (Jewish) victim’ is a much broader cultural phenomenon that tends to dominate many of the major Holocaust representations.” Goldberg questions "why does the Israeli national (perhaps even chauvinistic) version of the ‘Jewish narrative’ so closely correlate to the global allegedly cosmopolitan Holocaust narrative." The answer is, according to Goldberg, that the state of Israel, “has used the memory of the Holocaust for decades to refute any criticism of its 1948 Nakba or the severe deprivation and violation of fundamental collective and individual human and civil rights of the Palestinians." Goldberg ends his piece by warning that excluding otherness will result in "extreme violence", that is the "basis of the fascist enterprise,” which is now “more than ever relevant to the Israeli context." 
Goldberg was hired to teach and research the Holocaust. But he spends much time and energy peddling Holocaust Reductionist theories. And, as IAM has emphasized, the taxpayers are left to sponsor his activities.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
22.08.19
Anti-Semitic Expressions as Legitimate Speech: the Steven Salaita Case
 
An article published by the journal Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, the official publication of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, deserves attention. "Regulating Rude: Tensions Between Free Speech and Civility in Academic Employment" was written by three authors, Lilia M. Cortina, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan; Attorney Michael G. Cortina, SmithAmundsen, LLC, Chicago, IL; and, Jose; M. Cortina, School of Business, Virginia Commonwealth University. 
The authors provide several examples of how free speech is curtailed in universities. One of their case-studies is Professor Steven Salaita. Like the general public, Cortina at al. assume that the Salaita story, as printed in the press, is a simple case of extramural freedom of speech by a professor. Think again. Cortina at al. rightly explain that in August 2014, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign blocked his academic appointment because of profane tweets about Israel. But they overlook Saliata’s long history of expressing irrational hate and contempt of Israel. 
Already in April 2001, Salaita charged Israel with undertaking one of the "most vicious civilian slaughters of this century." In August 2001, as a doctoral student, Salaita visited the West Bank and wrote an opinion piece in the Houston Chronicle, stating that Israel is fundamentally an apartheid state, because "Christians and Muslims are required to carry identity cards stating their religion, on which movement and privilege are predicated. License plates are also color-coded based on the driver's religion. Only Jews are afforded the full benefits of citizenship.” Salaita’s facts are outright lies, all Israelis carry identity cards stating their religion and all Israelis receive equal privileges. There are no color-codes for car’s license plates. All Israelis are afforded full benefits and citizenship. But worse, with regards to Palestinian suicide bombing which Salaita morally approves of, he affirms that “specific historical and political realities lead to violent actions… Palestinians revolt, sometimes with violence." 
In an article “Why Americans should oppose Zionism,” published by The Electronic Intifada in 2010, Salaita claimed that “Zionists always intended to ethnically cleanse Palestinians, a strategy they carried out and continue to pursue with horrifying efficiency.” 
He lists four reasons why Americans, and all people, should oppose Zionism (that is, the right of the Jews for a state of their own in Israel). To his mind, “Zionism is unethical and immoral”; “Zionism is racist”; “Zionism contravenes the geopolitical interests of the United States.”, and, “Zionism is fundamentally incompatible with democracy.” 
In 2013, just a short time before the cancellation of his appointment at the University of Illinois, Salaita has published an article, “Academics should boycott Israel”. In his view, the boycott movement, aka Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) has "the potential to topple a colonial empire… I will teach my son the history of Palestine. He will teach it to his children. Our stories will outlast Zionism." 
Salaita’s hate speech can be considered anti-Semitic because he negates Israel’s right to exist, as defined by the widely accepted Working Definition of Anti-Semitism that was adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) committee on anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial, in 2016. Some of the expressions of the Working Definition include: “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”; and, “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”. 
The numerous Salaita’s tweets include the following: 
"Zionists, take responsibility: if your dream of an ethnocratic Israel is worth the murder of children, just fucking own it already." ; "Will you condemn Hamas? No. Why not? Because Hamas isn't the one incinerating children, you disingenuous prick." ; "Israel's message to Obama and Kerry: we'll kill as many Palestinians as we want, when we want. p.s.: fuck you, pay me."; "You may be too refined to say it, but I am not: I wish all the fucking West Bank settlers would go missing." ; "The IDF Spokesperson receives money to justify, conceal, and glamorize genocidal violence. Goebbels much?" ; "Israeli Independence Equals sustenance of the European eugenic logic made famous by Hitler." 
The purpose of bringing these examples of Salaita’s outright anti-Semitic expressions is to demonstrate that Zionist students would have felt extreme unease and intimidation facing Salaita in the classroom. 
Cortina et al. even suggested that if a university president felt that a professor had failed to act in an appropriate level of dignity, then the university could publicly dissociate and express their disapproval of such objectionable expressions, without having to cancel his appointment. 
The authors are wrong in their suggestion that Salaita’s job could have been saved. It is quite clear that Salaita is anti-Semitic and would have upset Jewish students. But more to the point, abusive language should not be tolerated, no matter which segment of the society it targets.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
14.08.19
Update on the BDS Proposal at the APSA section Foundation of Political Theory
 
Two weeks ago, IAM published a post about a new attempt to boycott Israel in the American Political Science Association (APSA) Annual Meeting. A group within the private APSA section, the Foundation of Political Theory, aka section 17, requested a discussion on BDS and brought a BDS resolution. 
A few days ago, Prof. Robyn Marasco, the chair of the APSA Foundation section, wrote a letter to members of the Foundation to clarify her position. She explained that a BDS proposal was brought to her by some members of the Foundation and they requested a discussion on this topic. She decided to have an open meeting. She explained that there will be no vote on the BDS resolution at APSA this year because based on the Foundations by-laws, votes on new policy can only take place at the business meeting. The business meeting is scheduled to lunchtime while the open meeting is later, in the evening. 
She explained about herself that throughout the years she has taken "no position on BDS or this particular resolution, neither in my capacity as chair of Foundations nor in my own scholarship. Never have I made any public statements about BDS." 
She added that the organization has not been “captured” by activists. 
But, Marasco may be unaware of the group Political Scientists for Justice in Palestine (PSJP), which "works to further BDS at APSA and the discipline overall." Marasco should note that some members of her Foundation, those who brought the BDS proposal, are members of PSJP. PSJP has a Twitter account and a Facebook group since 2014. The admins of the closed Facebook group of 118 members are all members of APSA, Isaac Kamola; Shirin Deylami, a council member in the Foundation; Ayten Gundogdu; Susan Kang; Eli Meyerhoff; and Meghana Nayak. 
Such a BDS activity at APSA is actually not a new one. In 2015, a group of Palestinian-engaged political scientists has hosted a workshop, "Politics at APSA: New Political Science, Anti-Apartheid Movements, and Israel/Palestine," during the APSA annual meeting. As indicated in the workshop brochure, the workshop was to question "Where is the line between the study of politics and an engagement with politics? What relationship should Political Scientists have with difficult political issues?" These questions were purposely pushing APSA to become "a viable space for political organizing", not wanting APSA's social fun'ction to "remain limited to professional development" alone. They wanted to focus on the "current debate about the conflict in Israel/Palestine and the growing number of academic associations taking explicitly political positions on the matter," and in particular, the boycott of Israel. The group was not happy that "APSA is prohibited from taking positions on political matters." Since the Caucus for a New Political Science published a condemnation of apartheid South Africa, they were hoping this workshop will "debate these political and professional questions concerning position-taking at APSA." In order to compare Israel to South Africa, they first had to establish the "relationship between APSA and the NPS to develop a shared understanding of what kinds of spaces exist within APSA for taking political positions." But they emphasized, "that this is not a workshop on the Israel/Palestine conflict." Leila Farsakh was scheduled to present BDS in "a comparative study of scholarly responses to the situations of South Africa and Israel". Farsakh has endorsed BDS in two petitions in 2014 and participated in a teach-in on "BDS and Anthropology" at Harvard University by "anthropologists and activists" who discussed "BDS strategy for justice," in 2016. The workshop brochure then proposed Sunaina Maira to orchestrate "an open discussion about solidarity organizing within universities and professional associations, specifically with regard to Israel/Palestine and academic boycott." Maira is a founding organizer of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI). Marasco should pay attention to how these activists work to "capture" APSA.
In response to our previous posting, some readers asked why IAM called the BDS resolution anti-Semitic. 
The answer is twofold: First, the resolution negates Israel's right to be a Jewish (and democratic) state. It states, "The conflation of Israel with either Judaism or Jewish people is both empirically inaccurate and ideologically objectionable to many Jewish people around the world." It doesn't matter if there are Jews who object to Israel, still, Israel is the state of the Jewish People. Negating this right is anti-Semitic. Second, it singles out Israel. It states, "It is true that the academic boycott resolution does specify and pertain solely to Israel." While they claim they might work to boycott other countries in the future. This is mischievous, if they don't want to be considered as anti-Semites, they should start with boycotting the most-worthy country to boycott first, and along with the list of countries to boycott, get down to boycott Israel. But targeting only Israel is anti-Semitic. 
Those who attend the open meeting should address these issues.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
08.08.19
'Scholasticide' Accusations against Israel: Birzeit University as a Case in Point
 
Academics are gearing up to attack Israel from another front. Accusations of "Scholasticide," that is, the "systematic destruction by Israeli forces of centres of education," are now resurfacing. It was coined in January 2009 by Prof. Karma Nabulsi, a former PLO representative and a professor in Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford. 
Nabulsi won "inspiring leader” by The Guardian University Awards in 2017, when she directed "The Palestinian Revolution", a bilingual Arabic-English digital teaching resource for exploring "Palestinian revolutionary thought and practice". The award was supported by HSBC Bank, which in Dec 2018, decided to divest from the Israeli company Elbit for human rights causes, claiming that HSBC “strongly supports observance of international human rights principles as they apply to business.” 
Borrowing the concept of "scholasticide" from Nabulsi, Prof. emeritus Herman De Ley, former director of the Centre for Islam In Europe at the University of Gent, Belgium, and a leading activist with the Belgian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (BACBI), announced that since last year BACBI launched a "global academics' solidarity campaign with our Palestinian colleagues and students.” He referred to a recent article by Amira Hass in Haaretz, "As Israel tightens entry rules, foreign lecturers at Palestinian universities forced to leave," De Ley accused Israel of "scholasticide policies... clearly driven by the desire to weaken our institutions and destroy the Palestinian future." There was another article by Hass in Haaretz two days later, "Israel’s Academy for Indifference," questioning why should Israeli professors and students care if Israel is subverting academic freedom and interfering with Palestinian universities hiring of foreign lecturers? 
In reality, things are a bit more complicated. Just days before the Hass Haaretz articles, on 2nd of July, Israeli security forces detained five Hamas operatives inside Birzeit University while raising money and recruiting activists. This was just another instance of a foiled Hamas attempt under the guise of students belonging to the Islamic bloc at Birzeit University. Members of the cell were arrested, and money was confiscated, including a vehicle funded by Hamas. The detainees were named as Ma'ad 'Abed, Muhammad Nakhla, Usama Fakhuri, Bara' Atzi, and Bilal Hamed. The purpose was to raise funds and recruit new Hamas operatives to execute terror attacks in Judea and Samaria, as Hamas tries to establish itself within the West Bank. Unsurprisingly, Hass did not mention the security angle of the story. 
Birzeit has a history of association with Hamas. Just recently, in March 2019, about 150 Palestinian students threw firebombs and rocks at Israeli soldiers who responded with tear gas and rubber-coated metal bullets. This protest broke out after Israeli forces, in a night-time raid, arrested three students at Birzeit University identified with the Islamist group. Shortly before that, in October 2018, the Israeli security services said it arrested 3 members of Hamas terror network that has been recruited by a network of Hamas military wing members in the Gaza Strip to carry out attacks beyond the Green Line. Their cell is alleged to have been established in 2015 and has been devoting efforts to recruit engineering students at Birzeit University. Two of the arrested Palestinians, 21-year-old Issa Shalalda and 20-year-old Omar Ma’soud, were active in the Hamas-affiliated Islamic bloc at Birzeit University. According to the Israeli security forces, the pair also underwent military training during their recruitment. Likewise, in March 2018 Israel arrested two Birzeit University students for receiving funds from Hamas. 24-year-old Omar Al-Kiswani and 20-year-old Yahya Alawi had received $178,000 after contacting Hamas operative in Gaza and members of the movement in Turkey asking them to cover Hamas activities at Birzeit University. 
In July Israel commemorated the 17th anniversary of the Hebrew University cafeteria bombing. Clearly, Israel's security concerns do not attract attention, instead, protesters present Israel as deliberately evil. Times Higher Education has reported on the prevention of visas, quoting Prof. David Palumbo-Liu, a long-time endorser of BDS for alleging of "privations Palestinians suffer" at the hands of Israel. Also quoting Amira Hass accusing Israel of the “onslaught against the Palestinian people is multisystemic." 
Even the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) tried to intervene by writing a letter "Arbitrary arrests of Birzeit University students," addressing the Israeli Prime Minister but ignoring Hamas recruit of students for the purpose of terrorism. 
These reports also ignore a racist law which surfaced in Birzeit University. In 2014, Hass attended the conference "Alternatives to Neo-Liberal Development in the Occupied Palestinian Territories – Critical Perspectives,” organized by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and the Center for Development Studies at Birzeit University. Hass was told to leave because Birzeit University has passed a law making it illegal for Israelis to be present on the university grounds. This was highly ironic because Hass has been one of the staunchest defenders of the Palestinians. 
Also worth noting that none of her articles paid any attention to the Hamas-Fatah bitter split inside Birzeit University. In December 2018, the University suspended all its activities for two days after a brawl erupted between the student blocs of Hamas and Fatah after Palestinian security forces wearing civilian attire attempted to arrest a student belonging to the Islamic Bloc, Hamas’ student wing. Gunshots were reported, but no one was injured. Enraged by what had happened, Birzeit students yelled at the security personnel and hurled insults about the PA, angering members of Fatah's student party, Shabiba. An altercation developed into a brawl. The school canceled courses for the next day, and classes resumed two days later. The Islamic Bloc members at the West Bank universities say they are constantly hunted by Palestinian security forces due to the students' school activities designed to raise money from students. Yet, students who are arrested are often charged with serious crimes such as sectarian violence, libel, defamation, or even receiving funds from illicit parties or possessing weapons. Hamza Abu Qaraa, a student and the Islamic Bloc's coordinator at Birzeit University, was also arrested in June 2018 by PA intelligence affiliates as they started shooting in the air, "they caught me, handcuffed me and beat me in the street." Abu Qaraa was held for 19 days. More than 400 students from various West Bank universities have been arrested during the school year, Abu Qaraa said. About 24 Birzeit students have been arrested since May, when the Islamic Bloc won student council elections for the fourth year in a row, in December 2018. 
But no one protests Palestinian security forces arresting students, only Israeli security forces. 
The timely accusations against Israel prompted also Israeli academics and peace activists to write a letter in protest to the leaderships of both the Hebrew and Ben Gurion Universities, stating "We are a group of faculty and emeriti concerned about the violation of the academic freedom of Palestinian universities as reflected in restrictions on exchange of students and lecturers with academic institutions abroad and employment of lecturers from abroad. As you can see in the attached documents, this is not a single harm. We appeal to you to raise your voices against the systematic violation of academic freedom. We are very anxious about violating our academic freedom, but academic freedom is indivisible to national affiliation, and just as we are anxious about our freedom, we must be concerned of its prevention from our neighbors. This is for moral and even selfish reasons: as history has taught us, those who are paralyzed while others are hurt end up being hurt as well." Prof. Amotz Agnon has initiated the letter. His partner Daphna Golan-Agnon has published an article a year ago, "Destroying Palestinian Universities" where she lamented that "Foreign lecturers as well as Palestinian lecturers who studied or taught abroad are being expelled from West Bank academic institutes with a form of bureaucratic violence." She ended her piece by questioning whether Israel’s "bureaucratic violence" would lead to similar restrictions imposed on Israeli students and academics. Evidently, De Ley and the BACBI campaign of "scholasticide" are gaining support. Haaretz published a piece "It is Time to Boycott Israeli Academia." 
According to Adalah, the NGO which deals with Palestinian minorities rights in Israel, between 2017 and 2019, four full-time foreign faculty members, and three part-time lecturers were forced to leave after Israel refused to renew their visas. In 2019, Israel denied entry to two international lecturers with Birzeit contracts. Adalah plans to take the case to the Israeli High Court of Justice. 
IAM will report on the case in due course.
 
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
31.07.19
New BDS Attempt Targeting the American Political Science Association Upcoming Annual Meeting
 
The 115th American Political Science Association (APSA) Annual Meeting & Exhibition will be taking place from August 29 to September 1, 2019, in Washington, DC. APSA is the leading professional organization for the study of political science and serves more than 11,000 members in more than 100 countries. It was founded in 1903 and brings together all fields of inquiry and regions to deepen understanding of politics, democracy, and citizenship. 
Last year, the conference also held a roundtable "BDS and Political Theory," which was described as a "conversation" on BDS. "This will not be a debate – we have no interest in giving another platform to BDS opponents – but an opportunity for political theorists sympathetic to BDS to advance and develop the critical, analytical, and normative stakes of the movement." 
William Clare Roberts of McGill University was the chair, and the speakers were C. Heike Schotten, University of Massachusetts Boston; Corey Robin, Brooklyn College and the City University of New York; Jakeet Singh, York University; Jodi Dean, Hobart & William Smith Colleges; Elisabeth Robin Anker, George Washington University; Jack Jackson, Whitman College; Kevin M. Bruyneel, Babson College; and, Dana Olwan, Doha Institute. Worth noting that the general director of the Doha Institute is Azmi Bishara, the former MK who is suspected of supplying information to Hezbollah. 
A summery of the proceedings of the roundtable were published in an article earlier this month, "Critical Exchange: Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) and Political Theory." 
The speakers are associated with the group PSJP @PS4PalJustice, described as "Political Scientists for Justice in Palestine works to further BDS at APSA and the discipline overall. Decolonize Political Science / Free Palestine!". The article thanks them for their work. 
Publishing the article just a short period before the annual meeting aims to influence participants and to generate interest in holding a session and a vote for BDS. Bruyneel, who is pictured wearing a Kaffiyeh around his neck, has also endorsed the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI), with some of his colleagues. He wishes "APSA to pass a resolution in support of a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. As a next step to that end, I endorse the passage of the following resolution by the Foundations of Political Theory section of APSA: ‘‘Be it resolved that the Foundations of Political Theory section endorses and will honor the call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions’’ (unpublished document)." The unpublished document appears below. 
The Foundations of Political Theory Section of APSA, aka Section 17, is a Private Section with 880 Members aiming to "advance the linkage of political theory and philosophy with political science as a discipline." A group within it recently discussed a BDS resolution which will be brought further to the Foundation and later to APSA. 
The Resolution is replete with distorted and bias information. It states that "We are acutely aware of the ways that Israeli academic institutions are complicit in Israel's settler colonization of Palestine, and the attendant ethnic cleansing, dispossession, military occupation, and apartheid policies that constitute this colonization. Moreover, we are cognizant of the ways that this colonization consistently violates the academic freedom of Palestinian students and faculty to attend school, conduct research, and make contributions to knowledge. The colonization of Palestine is the silencing of Palestinian scholarly contributions to knowledge." It then moves to resolve, "Be it resolved that the Foundations of Political Theory section endorses and will honor the call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Be it also resolved that the Foundations of Political Theory supports the protected rights of students and scholars everywhere to engage in research and public speaking about Israel-Palestine and in support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement." 
The Resolution is accompanied by a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) sheet. It asks "Plenty of other countries in the world engage in human rights violations. Doesn’t this academic boycott resolution single out Israel?" To which it answers, "No. It is true that the academic boycott resolution does specify and pertain solely to Israel; however, this does not mean that Israel is the only country worth boycotting or that other boycotts should not be undertaken of other countries elsewhere in the world." 
It asks, "Isn’t boycotting Israel anti-Semitic?" It answers "No. Israel is a state with many citizens, not all of whom are Jewish. Critiquing the actions of that state has nothing to do with criticizing or condemning its citizens, much less Judaism or Jewish people. Not only are not all Israelis Jewish, but not all Jewish people support Israel or aspire to become Israelis. The conflation of Israel with either Judaism or Jewish people is both empirically inaccurate and ideologically objectionable to many Jewish people around the world, who do not speak with one voice on the subject of Israel and are only presumed to do so by folks who think it reasonable to believe all Jews think alike." 
To the question "What about Palestinian violence?" It actually approves Palestinian violence. It says, "Palestinians have the right to defend themselves. All too often this internationally recognized right of self-defense is mobilized solely with regard to Israel and used to justify its massive, disproportionate, genocidal brutalities in, for example, the Gaza Strip in response to rockets fired by Hamas, or in the West Bank in response to teenagers throwing stones at soldiers. Yet the overall context of colonialism and occupation are never taken into account as the defining and precipitating factors of those rockets or stone-throwings. Palestinian violence can and should be understood as the exercise of the internationally recognized right of self-defense by a people facing eliminatory colonial and military violence." 
Clearly, the FAQ proves to be anti-Semitic because it postulates that Jews have no right for a state, and it does single out Israel. The FAQ sheet ends with the hope that the resolution is adopted, and we "inshallah, succeed in making some sort of political change, no matter how minimal." 
As a rule, APSA has very few panels devoted to the Palestinian question. Pro-Palestinian activists are now trying to push their anti-Israel agenda by setting up sections and panels using a page from their strategy in other professional associations. APSA community should be alerted to this blatant attempt to politicize it.
 
General Articles
 
24.07.19
Infiltration of "the Zionists" at Oxford University Conference on African Studies
 
A conference hosted by Oxford University's Africa Studies Center, on June 27-28, 2019, caused a stir. Five delegates have written an article "Zionism and the infiltration of global African studies," protesting how "Zionists and their apologists are infiltrating and co-opting the academy." 
The Oxford University conference, titled “Racialization and Publicness in Africa and the African Diaspora,” co-hosted with the School of Global and Area Studies, aimed to “address the contemporary problem of racialization in Africa and the African Diaspora.” The conference intended to explore how “people of African descent are racialized" as well as "why and how racial identities and categories are constructed, imagined and inscribed (in)to the social, political and economic processes, practices and relationships in Africa and the African Diaspora." 
But the five delegates who participated, Samar Al-Bulushi of UC Irvine; Zachary Mondesire of UCLA; Peter James Hudson of UCLA; Corinna Mullin of New School; and Jemima Pierre of UCLA, wrote their critique on the conference, that it was "co-opted into a project to legitimize the settler-colonial, apartheid state of Israel and 'black-wash' its racist policies and practices... in light of Israel’s ongoing attempts to normalize its relations with African states in coordination with US imperialism." 
Now, who are these five delegates? Three of them are pro-Palestinian activists with the BDS movement: Al-Bulushi is a signatory of "Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions," in 2015. Al-Bulushi already expressed anti-Israel sentiments in a co-authored article "Violent Rhetoric" protesting "Israeli brutality" against the Palestinians in 2013. Mullin signed the PACBI Statement "Campaign to Boycott the Oral History Conference at Hebrew University of Jerusalem," in 2013. Mullin legitimized Hamas murderous methods, in 2010, claiming that "the West, and often Israel, its civilization proxy, is constructed as ontologically innocent, rational and peaceful in nature, in contrast to the Islamist terrorist, who is inherently guilty, irrational and violent... jihad, misconstrued as an ideological concept. As these movements are reduced merely to the tactics/strategies they sometimes employ," ignoring the circumstances "such as brutal occupation, dispossession, daily humiliation and international isolation, and hence the motives behind their use." Pierre is the author of "Zionism, Anti-Blackness, and the Struggle for Palestine: Jemima Pierre on the Boycott", in 2015, which described "The Zionist dehumanization of Palestinians and its culture of anti-Blackness." Pierre has also written, in 2012, that "The Palestinian cry for dignity especially demands Black support," urging to "recognize that Palestinians are living under military occupation, a stifling and racist apartheid system." Likewise, Hudson and Mondesire also expressed pro-Palestinian, and anti-American sentiments. 
The five delegates, Al-Bulushi et al., complained that out of the 12 panels, two were part 1 and part 2 of “Notions of Diaspora and Homeland: The Impact of the Contemporary Emergence of Racism(s), Antisemitism(s), Nationalism(s) and White Supremacy in the Age of Globalization.” The problem is, that these two panels were organized by the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP) which is, "an advocacy body, not an academic organization." They claim that the founder of ISGAP, Charles Asher Small, is a "Canadian without a permanent academic position who holds a degree from St. Anthony’s College, Oxford." 
But, Al-Bulushi et al. should have checked their facts, a perusal at the ISGAP website reveals that Dr. Small is an accomplished academic. He was previously the Koret Distinguished Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and currently, is the Goldman Fellow at the Harold Hartog School of Government and Policy, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Moshe Dayan Centre for Middle East and African Studies at Tel Aviv University. In September he will be a visiting scholar – senior member, at St. Antony’s College of Oxford University. 
What Al-Bulushi et al. find most troubling is that in a January 2019 interview, Small described ISGAP as “an intellectual grassroots movement within the academy” whose main aims include fighting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a movement Small has equated with anti-Semitism. The ISGAP works by “conducting strategic research and providing intelligence” in order to “influence future generations of policymakers, scholars and community leaders.” 
Contrary to the Al-Bulushi et al. assertion, ISGAP posted information on its website about the panels explaining that this interdisciplinary panel aims also to examine the "re-emergence of white supremacy – which has a long history of impacting African and Jewish diaspora communities," among other issues. The speakers and lectures fit well with the conference themes. For example, MK Avraham Neguise spoke about the Ethiopian Jewish community. But for Al-Bulushi et al., he is a "Likud Party member of the Israeli Knesset." 
According to Al-Bulushi et al., at first glance the panel title seemed "innocuous" and even "properly scholarly, if slightly outdated, and appeared to fall within the expressed themes of the conference." Then they claimed that the ISGAP panel composes a "strange unit," while, admitting that "Many of the presenters on the two ISGAP panels were from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the United States." 
But, according to Al-Bulushi et al., "The HBCU connection is important” because “In recent years, the right-wing American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has been recruiting at Black colleges, targeting students and faculty interested in international politics. The AIPAC has sponsored travel to Washington DC to meet with politicians who are supporters of Israel, and provided all-expenses paid trips to Israel. Its aim is to cultivate sympathy for Zionism while driving a wedge between Black and Palestinian liberation struggles." Al-Bulushi et al. did not explain what is the relevance of this information to the conference. 
Al-Bulushi et al. have also claimed that Israel is "a state founded on ethnic cleansing and the dehumanization and dispossession of the indigenous Palestinian population." 
They warned the "future Black Studies and African Studies conference organizers who may encounter similar tactics by Zionist organizations." They are worried about the "potential backlash," and cannot "let the study of Global Africa be hijacked by Zionists." They cannot "support the defamation and desecration of the history of pan-Africanism by academic charlatans and agents of a racist, settler-colonial state... a continuation of Zionist racism, dressed up in the finery of academic language." 
Mullin and Al-Bulushi spoke in a panel on the ‘War on Terror’ in Africa and beyond. Mullin spoke about counter-terror in Tunisia, and Al-Bulushi spoke about East Africa Warscape. Al-Bulushi explained in an article, that in an Al-Jazeera film, “members of the Kenyan security apparatus report that they have received direct orders from the US government for the targeted assassinations of terror suspects.” So, for Albulushi, “Africans, rather than Americans, are the most visible agents of counterterror abuses.” 
Interestingly, A-Bulushi et al. voiced no criticism over a panel titled “A British National Dialogue on the Big Conversation of Racism: Beyond the Hidden Resistance,” which included only independent scholars with no affiliation. 
For those unfamiliar with the jargon, the "infiltration of the Zionists" is a shorthand for delegitimizing respectable scholars by pro-Palestinian activists. This is a new trend in the anti-Israel academic circles. We should expect more of this approach in the future.
 
General Articles
 
17.07.19
The Campus War Against Israel
 
Over the years, the academy has become a prominent venue for anti-Israel activity. Arab oil-wealthy states invested large sums of money in Western Universities, to buy influence. With Middle East Centers or Islamic Centers, it gave them the opportunity to teach a revision of history tainting Israel in a negative light, and to influence who would be invited to teach and research in the social sciences. Staunch enemies of Israel were recruited, as well as Israelis who are critics of Israel. For example, Ilan Pappe, Neve Gordon, Adi Ophir, Ariella Azoulay, Hagar Kotef, Merav Amir, Amir-Paz Fuchs, and Uri Gordon, among others, were all recruited to Western campuses upon publicly expressing post-Zionist (read: anti-Zionist) views. 
Last week, the New York Times published an article "Why Is There So Much Saudi Money in American Universities?" Which details Saudi investments in Western campuses, adding that the benefits to Saudi Arabia from these investments are clear. The Kingdom gets access to the brain trust of the world's top academic institutions when planning to modernize its economy. Equally important, the entree to Ivy League schools softens the image of Riyadh. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy, hostile to women and LGBTQ with neither free press nor freedom of expression. Its associations beyond its borders intend to present it as an honorary Western nation. According to Robert Jordan, an ambassador to Saudi Arabia under President George W. Bush, "It’s a way of spreading soft power... in the same way the U.S. has done for years around the world.” 
As it happens, last month, due to concerns of foreign money coming from China, among others, "Trump administration reviewing foreign money to US colleges," revealing that the "U.S. Education Department has opened investigations into foreign funding at Georgetown University and Texas A&M University as part of a broader push to monitor international money flowing to American colleges." 
Still, Western countries haven't investigated the hatred and attacks against Israel, largely brought by the Arab-invested money, along with the paradigm change in social sciences with the rise of post-modernist teaching. Interestingly, when working the other way around, investments made by China on Israeli soil prompted the U.S to object to such collaborations for fears of harming American interests. 
The war against Israel is also driven by some Jewish organizations, J-Street comes to mind in this context. Jewish American scholars deflect accusations of anti-Semitism. They are writing polemics against Israel while ignoring abuses of human rights by Arab regimes, including the Palestinians. By criticizing Israel alone, they subscribe to the notion that Israel can do no right and the Palestinians can do no wrong. One such a Jewish anti-Israel scholar is Rebecca L. Stein, an associate professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University who often publishes articles and books attacking Israel. In 2009 she was among a group of academics who signed a "call for divestment and pressure against Israeli apartheid" and in 2014 she signed a call "Operation Protective Edge: Stop the Carnage!" declaring that "We, the undersigned, are united in calling for an end to Israel's obscene assault on Gaza." 
Stein recently published a report on a new Palestinian initiative intending to defame Israel through scholarships. Billed as a collaboration between the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (known as the Doha Institute) in Qatar, which is headed by former MK Azmi Bishara - who sought refuge in Qatar after escaping allegations of spying for Hizballah - and Birzeit University (BZU). Inaugurated a Master's program in the field of Israel Studies, which began operating in 2015. The first round of some 30 postgraduate students is due to complete their studies in the summer of 2019. 
The purpose of the program is to "produce Palestinian knowledge of Israeli society” aimed at the "fundamentally remaking the dominant paradigm of Israel Studies as it has been configured in the United States and increasingly in Great Britain, with its proud 'advocacy' mandate on behalf of the Israeli state. Birzeit’s program turns this paradigm inside out, providing students with a radical alternative." 
For decades, institutions of higher education across the Middle East were teaching Hebrew and "Zionist ideology" to Arab students as part of a "know your enemy" educational paradigm. Such educational projects also existed in the 1970s, when the PLO research center in Beirut had its own educational program along these lines, teaching Arabic translations of foundational Zionist writings. 
Stein reveals the background behind the making of this program, which began informally in 2010 in conversations between Birzeit faculty and president, with the Ramallah-based Institute for Palestine Studies. Disagreeing weather to call it “settler-colonial studies,” or “Israel Studies,” it was later approved by the Palestinian Ministry of Education, and the funding was secured from Qatar. 
The program director, Dr. Munir Fakher Eldin, a historian of modern Palestine, declares that his "basic strategy" is to show students that "all of the atrocities of Zionism and the occupation are basically comparable atrocities." He explains that in one of his classes, "we don’t only speak about settler colonialism and the Zionist land grab. I also talk about capitalism, because settler-colonialism benefited from the history of private property." 
The program encourages students to continue to Ph.D. at Western universities to produce anti-Israel scholarships. One such a student is Izz Al-Deen Araj, during his MA studies, he "started to think about Israel as a settler-colonial society, not [merely] as soldiers...We understand the conflict through one model: settler-colonialism or apartheid". When another student, Marah Khalifeh, began the program, "Israel was something abstract: the enemy, the colonizer." Now with the "in-depth knowledge about Israeli society…It’s part of knowing your enemy, part of the knowledge of resistance." According to Khalife, "It’s all about the type of knowledge we are trying to produce. We are trying to produce a Palestinian knowledge of Israeli society… to create our own tools." 
One professor in the program is Magid Shihade, an Israeli Arab resident of the Galilee and an expert in postcolonial theory. Shihade has taught in the program from 2015-2018. One of his courses was on the "1948 Palestinian society and politics", teaching the history of "Israeli state-sponsored discrimination, de-development and de-education within its Palestinian communities." Another professor is Nabih, who also holds a faculty position at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. 
There is no regional equivalent of the Israel Studies program in Birzeit outside of Palestine due to fear of accusations of normalization with Israel. In fact, the BZU’s Israel Studies program has a strong anti-normalization stance and supports BDS. 
In striking contrast, in Israel, a Hebrew University Prof. David Levi-Faur, protested through the pages of the Academia-IL network, against Israeli security measures refusing to extend visas to foreign lecturers in the Palestinian territories, echoing an article by Amira Hass in Haaretz on the issue. “I do this also to say that we care, but also to ask for additional comments on the conduct of the Population Authority. Is it true that the abuse is only of Palestinians or is it the abuse of tourists and visitors because they are the 'other'? Are we indifferent…? It seems to me that the abuse is also committed against students and lecturers who come to Israeli universities. I believe that on the level of maltreatment of the 'other' by immigration authorities, Israel is high, alongside immigration authorities like the US and Britain." In response, long-time activist Dr. Efraim Davidi assured him, yes "there are those who deal with solidarity with the Palestinian universities! It is the organization of lecturers from the left in Israeli higher education: the "Academy for Equality". 
Now, the question is, when will the West take notice of the war against a single country, that is Israel, on its campuses?
Ben-Gurion University
 
11.07.19
"Standing Together" of BGU Dani Filc Initiating Civil Unrest
 
IAM has reported on how political activist-academics abuse their university tolerance and resources to push their political agenda. 
The Ethiopian protest following the killing of Solomon Tekah by an off-duty police officer is the most recent case in point. 
Although the general public did not realize it, the violent protest was adopted and apparently encouraged by radical left-wing groups. According to one Ethiopian protester, the groups that joined the protest were "inciting the young people of my community against the State of Israel... [they want to] see blood in the streets more than they want to help our community. They push themselves into any legitimate struggle and turn it into a struggle against the state.” 
One such a group is "Standing Together," which distributed ready-made placards. The images of "Standing Together" taking part in the protest didn't escape the international media, see below some examples, even Iran reported on these events. 
"Standing Together" is a political group formed by various activists and academics, among them BGU Prof. Dani Filc, Sapir College Dr. Yeela Raanan, TAU Prof. Roy Kreitner. "Standing Together" is registered in Israel as a Company for the Benefit of the Public (acronym: Halatz). 
In 2016, Filc explained the raison d'être of the new movement while it received financial support from Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, a German foundation associated with the German Socialist Left Party. Writing on the Rosa-Lux website, Filc stated that "Standing Together” is an “attempt to build a broad Left Jewish-Arab movement... [against] the attacks by the government on democratic freedoms and on the Arab-Palestinian minority." 
Filc also listed several events of civil unrest which his group initiated, sometimes collaborating with other groups: "'Standing Together' initiated a peace march in the center of Jerusalem (October 17th, 2015), attended by 2,000 Jewish and Arab participants (CNN Report). This was quickly followed by a Jewish-Arab rally in the southern Arab-Bedouin town of Rahat (October 31st) and in northern city of Haifa (November 1st), attended by hundreds. When the Right-Extremist group 'Im Tirtzu' launched a smear campaign against 'Breaking the Silence' and other organizations, 'Standing Together' organized in December 19th, 2015, a 3,000-strong march in Tel-Aviv (Times of Israel). Since November, they hold monthly Israeli-Palestinian peace demonstrations in the occupied territories, organized jointly with 'Combatants for Peace'. Hundreds attend these demonstrations, called the 'Freedom Marches.' (Jerusalem Post)." 
Filc also listed the plans for the future, "a rally in Tel-Aviv on May 20th, in support of the Arab-Bedouin unrecognized village of Umm El-Hiran. They have begun the planning of a long-term process towards a broad 'Equality March', to be held in late 2016, that will march from Nazareth to Jerusalem, bringing together, under one umbrella, the demand for equality for various groups in Israeli society: Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, immigrants from the former USSR and from Ethiopia, Mizrahi (‘Sephardic’) Jews, precarious workers, women, the LGBT community, etc." 
Filc ended his piece by expressing hopes that "Standing Together" will be the next Jewish-Arab political movement for both NGOs working together with electoral parties. "In order to combat apathy and demoralization, They need a political movement which occupies the vast empty space between the electoral parties on the one hand and the NGOs on the other hand. This Jewish-Arab movement will be inclusive, pluralistic, activist-based and democratically operated. hopefully ‘Standing Together’ will be the beginning of such a movement.” 
Obviously, Filc forgets that teachers are not allowed to take up political activities, as published by the Ministry of Education in 2009, that the "teaching staff, as being trusted and responsible for students, must be seen as impartial, including in private communications, as neutral and objective as possible. He must act with restraint and tolerance, and not encourage or give preference to one political position or another." While it is accepted that campuses host student chapters of political parties, still, members of staff affiliated with these parties may find themselves preferring students from their own party, while rejecting students affiliated with the opposition. Such cases could present bias. 
The list of activists in “Standing Together” is composed of current and former students. There are four student chapters, Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University, Ben Gurion University, and the University of Haifa. By recruiting students, Filc and his comrades use university facilities and resources. 
Filc is a longstanding political figure who was once elected to the board of directors of Meretz. The Meretz website lists his activities. He is currently affiliated with the Communist Party which recently announced the publication of his new book, co-authored with MK Dov Khenin. 
The academic-political nexus of Filc is also evident in his supervision of graduate students. Filc was a second supervisor of a Ph.D. thesis of Dr. Abed (AlKader) Kanaaneh at the Hebrew University, who wrote a dissertation on "Hezbollah in Lebanon: The Muqawamah as a Contra-Hegemonic Project" under the supervision of Prof. Eyal Zisser and Filc. Zisser is a renowned expert on Syria and Lebanon, but Filc is a medical doctor focusing on academic-medical topics. Not surprisingly, Kanaaneh is a member of the Communist party and Hadash, as well as the former parliamentary advisor of MK Dov Khenin, and the director of the department of equality policy of Sikkuy, the Association for Civil Equality in Israel. 
As a radical left wing activist, Filc writes academic papers on the "Political Radicalization in Israel: From a Populist Habitus to Radical Right Populism in Government" which analyzes the "process of radicalization of the Likud party". And also co-authored an article with Dr. Amit Avigur-Eshel, another member of Meretz. 
The political activism by academics is unethical because the Israeli taxpayer is essentially subsidizing their political agenda, which in return instigate civil unrest.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
03.07.19
Pro-Palestinian Activists Take-Over Professional Associations in order to Promote BDS: BRISMES As a Case in Point
 
In recent years IAM wrote of the many attempts by professional associations to endorse the boycott of Israel. Last year IAM reported that the leadership of the American Studies Association (ASA), was "taken-over" by a group of BDS activists, supported by the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI). 
Another attempt was thwarted last week when the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) has voted in favor of BDS during the annual general meeting (AGM) in Leeds. The resolution was proposed by BRISMES Council Member Prof. John Chalcraft from London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and seconded by Dr. Rafeef Ziadah of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). According to the BDS resolution, BRISMES endorses "the call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions until these institutions publicly end their support and complicity in violating Palestinian rights as stipulated in international law". 
Charlcraft is a veteran anti-Israel activist. In 2007 he wrote an opinion piece in the Guardian, "Should we vote for a boycott" advocating for a boycott. Since then he has signed many petitions endorsing BDS. In 2009 he was a signatory in a letter to the editor of the Guardian, urging the UK Government to revoke its support for any new agreements with Israel, as well as urging the European Parliament to refuse to any upgrades of EU benefits to Israel. In his article "Israel's Bankrupt Politics," first posted in 2009 and updated in 2012, Chalcraft describes Israel as a "settler society adopting the colonial languages of cultural superiority, and based on the expulsion and dispossession of the indigenous Palestinian-Arab population, whose nationalist resistance is often called terrorism." He ends his piece with a direct call for BDS. 
His 2015 MESA paper "The BDS Movement and the Question of Radical Democracy" focuses on BDS and explores "the radically democratic characteristics of the movement" which deserves recognition. Charcraft also "draws out homologies between the BDS movement and other democratic movements of recent origin in the region." 
Suzanne Morrison, Charcraft's Ph.D. student in LSE, have submitted a thesis on "The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement: Activism Across Borders for Palestinian Justice", in 2015. 
In the 2017 Middle East Studies Association (MESA) annual conference, Charlcraft organized a panel, Protest in the Contemporary Middle East and North Africa: strategic interaction perspectives, where he presented the paper "Transnational activism and Veolia: A dynamic interaction analysis," discussing the French environmental and transport services, Veolia, which withdrew in 2015 from participating in the Jerusalem Light Rail. His paper begins with the first challenges to Veolia’s involvement in 2005-6 and aims "to shed light on the causal mechanisms at work: how did actions by the BDS movement translate into pressures on Veolia? What activist strategies were viable and effective? How were actors reconstituted over time? The case-study aims to shed light on the possibilities and limits of the BDS movement, to offer tools for studying transnational activism, and to address debates about strategic interaction perspectives on protest." 
The perception that Israel can do no right and the Palestinians can do no wrong also occurs in the recent BRISMES annual conference. For example, on the 26 June, a panel titled Interdisciplinarity, Academic Freedom, Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, and Palestine, was organized by Chalcraft. The first paper, "A praxis of solidarity: Palestine, Stop G4S and the Prison Industrial Complex" was presented by Rafeef Ziadah of SOAS; next paper was "BDS and the Boycott of Study Abroad Programs to Israel" by Bill Mullen, Purdue University; Followed by "The Academic Boycott Movement in the US: Academic (Un)Freedom and Decolonizing Palestine" by Sunaina Maira, of the University of California, Davis; and then "Transnational Solidarity with Palestine: lessons about the articulation of struggles from participatory action research" presented by Chalcraft. Not even a single paper opposing BDS was presented. In fact, the program is replete with anti-Israel papers, not one presenting Israel in a positive light. All papers on Israel/Palestine were in favor of the Palestinians and no criticism was offered. 
Another BRISMES council member is Nicola Pratt who has posted on Facebook on the eve of the 24th of June, after the vote, that "The British Society for Middle Eastern Studies made history today by being the 1st UK scholarly society to vote to endorse the academic boycott of Israeli universities until they end their complicity with the occupation and violations of Palestinian human rights. It’s so rare that I’m on the winning side that I can’t believe this has happened." Various Palestinians and pro-Palestinian colleagues have congratulated Pratt for her success, her FB friend Ronit Lentin, an anti-Israel academic- activist, wrote, "Mabrouk comrades!! Shukran." Pratt responded to another FB friend that "MESA next I hope." 
Pratt has already hit the news once. In 2010 an Israeli student of Pratt, Smadar Bakovic was completing an MA in Warwick University, Department of Politics and International Studies and Pratt was her assigned supervisor. After noting that Pratt chaired an anti-Israel event on campus, Bakovic discovered that Pratt was a vocal advocate of BDS. Bakovic requested to be assigned to another supervisor but was refused. Later that year Bakovic received her grade from Pratt, a pass. Bakowic accused Pratt of under grading her due to anti-Israel sentiments. In her feedback, Pratt wrote Bakovic, that she had the tendency to "adopt Israeli/Zionist narratives as thought they were uncontested facts." Bakovic decided to appeal against her grade and requested a regrading. After seven months the Complaints Committee agreed to have her dissertation re-marked and in 2011, she was awarded a distinction. 
But the BRISMES case has a twist. Immediately after the announcement that BRISMES is endorsing the boycott - which was first published by the Middle East Monitor, a media outlet dedicated to attacking Israel - the officers of BRISMES have published a notice on their website explaining that BRISMES "has not endorsed the academic boycott of Israeli Institutions as advocated by BDS.” While the AGM has voted in favor of a boycott, “This vote is not binding on the Society". 
BRISMES was established in 1973 "to encourage and promote the study of the Middle East in the United Kingdom... and to bring together teachers, researchers, students, diplomats, journalists and others who deal professionally with the Middle East." In reality, it was highjacked to promote pro-Palestinian agenda and to besmirch Israel, acting against British interests.
Tel Aviv University
 
 27.06.19
Omar Barghouti: Milking the Tel Aviv University Cow
 
Tel Aviv University has a long history of supporting politically-motivated scholars, a trend on which IAM has frequently reported. 
One such an example is late Prof. Marcelo Dascal, a professor of Philosophy and a former Dean of Social Science at TAU who recently passed away. As reported in Haaretz, Dascal resided in those years in Jaffa where he was busy facilitating Jewish-Arab gatherings at his home, aimed at condemning violence on both sides. Omar Barghouti, who co-founded the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), was one of Dascal's students. In 2001, Barghouti has joined the MA program in Philosophy which jump-started his activist career. 
It didn't take long for Barghouti to enter the philosophical circles with the help of Prof. Anat Biletzki, Dascals' colleague from the Philosophy Department and a leading political activist in her own right. In 2003, Barghouti joined Dascal, Biletzki and other TAU Philosophers and traveled to Turkey to participate in the World Congress of Philosophy. Interestingly, Barghouti was listed as coming from Palestine although he was studying in Israel. While the main topic of the conference was philosophical, there were plenty of political undertones. One panel, "The Opposition between Universalism and Politics in the Sphere of Human Rights" was organized by Biletzki, and featured Barghouti, among others. 
Barghouti, who studied at TAU for nearly a decade, until 2010, became quite active in academic circles. His first publication appeared in a book, The New Intifada: Resisting Israel's Apartheid, edited by Roane Carey, in 2001. Barghouti who described himself in the book as a doctoral candidate in philosophy (ethics) at TAU, contributed the chapter "Palestine's Tell-Tale Heart.” He started off by discussing the short story by Edgar Allen Poe, "The Tell-Tale Heart,” about a person who killed an old man because he couldn't bear his vulture looking eyes and dismembered his corpse, Barghouti compared Israel to the "tell-tale heart of the old Palestine after it was dismembered." Barghouti moved on to assume that Israel exaggerated the threats it faces, he then negated Israel's right to exist by stating that there are "problematic assumptions: that Jews are a nation, and that such a nation has a right to exist as such in Palestine.” 
During his studies at TAU, he published 27 articles in Counterpunch, a radical leftist publication known for its extreme hostility to Israel. 
From the very beginning, Barghouti's work was anti-Semitic. For example, his article "The spirit of Auschwitz" which was published in Al-Ahram in 2002 states that: 
"several Israeli policies evoke a strong analogy with the Nazis." 
"Some of the wicked practices of the Nazis in concentration camps were even imported, wholesale and unabashedly, by Israeli army officers." 
"The victims of one of history's worst crimes against humanity are increasingly resorting to some of the same tools of racist hatred and collective punishment to complete the job that the founders of Zionism had envisioned: a 'pure' Jewish state." 
"The victims of the Holocaust are victimizing the byproduct victims of the Holocaust yet another time." 
Another article, "'The Pianist' of Palestine: Reflections on Israel’s ubiquitous abuse", published by the Electronic Intifada in 2004, discussed the Oscar-winning film "The Pianist," declaring: 
"I could not help but compare the Warsaw ghetto wall with Israel’s much more ominous wall caging 3.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza in fragmented, sprawling prisons." 
"Many of the methods of collective and individual 'punishment' meted out to Palestinian civilians at the hands of young, racist, often sadistic and ever impervious Israeli soldiers at the hundreds of checkpoints littering the occupied Palestinian territories are reminiscent of common Nazi practices against the Jews." 
"Unsettlingly similar to the way persecuted Jews were marked during the Holocaust, young Palestinian have been tattooed by Israeli soldiers during the current intifada." 
Soon after, Barghouti contributed a chapter to Dascal’s co-edited book in philosophy, Controversies and Subjectivity, published in 2005. Barghouti's chapter "Ethical implications of de-dichotomization of identities in conflict" was illustrating the 9/11 attack and brought examples of cases, reflecting on the "New York calamity". One of his listed cases was of a Holocaust survivor from the Warsaw Ghetto and Maidanek concentration camp. Barghouti described the Holocaust survivor as she reflected on the news which filtered back during the Second World War, that the Russians were "indiscriminately bombing German cities with a massive toll of civilian lives", to which the Holocaust survivor replied "I wanted the Germans to die… I knew I wouldn’t live, so I wanted them to die, too. We cheered the Russians. We wanted them to destroy anything and everything German. We wished [the Germans’] death every second of the day because we faced death every second of the day". Clearly, Barghouti intended to present the Holocaust survivor as evil. 
It is clear why Barghouti used the legitimacy of TAU to publish material that was anti-Semitic, even before the widely adopted international definition of anti-Semitism. What is difficult to understand is why Tel Aviv University not only put up but evidently encouraged this student to engage in anti-Semitic calumnies under the guise of academic research.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
20.06.19
When BDS Meets anti-Semitism
 
In May, IAM reported on a group of sixty Jewish and Israeli scholars who signed an open letter to German political parties, requesting not to equate BDS with anti-Semitism. They argued that supporting BDS is supporting Palestinian human rights, therefore, conflating the two is "incorrect, unacceptable and a threat to the liberal-democratic order in Germany." The group insisted that Palestinians "refrain from violence when opposing the occupation of their land and the ongoing discrimination and oppression they are exposed to. BDS is essentially a non-violent movement, which protests serious human rights violations." 
Their reference to the BDS movement as non-violent is misleading. Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin, a left-leaning American-Israeli researcher, formerly of BGU, has written in 2011, that methods of disruption such as "Heckling of Israeli Orchestra in London spews hatred, not solutions". The hecklers were "shutting down the BBC’s broadcast of the performance, I felt all sorts of prickly anger." She concluded that "the assault on people’s attempt to be knowledgeable, makes me doubt how informed the hecklers themselves are. It is frighteningly clear that a cheap, one-sided reduction of the conflict to a message of 'hate all things Israeli' will lead to dangerously reductionist solutions. If you want to change their minds, don’t force them – convince them." 
BDS activists hating "anything Israeli" was evident at the violent incidents which took place at King’s College London in Jan 2016. Pro-Palestinian activists raided a talk by an Israeli speaker, Ami Ayalon, former head of the Security Agency who switched to peace activism, breaking windows, throwing chairs and setting off multiple fire alarms. These violent forms of BDS activism fit the global definition of anti-Semitism. 
American campuses have looked at evidence suggesting that violence is present during BDS protest. A year ago, the Algeminer editors published the "2nd Annual List of the Most Challenging North American Campuses for Jewish Students" for 2017. There are approximately 400,000 Jewish undergraduates at colleges and universities in North America. The report establishes that "high percentages of Jewish students say they have witnessed, experienced or heard antisemitism on their campus." The report finds that "those campuses with the most active Jewish communities are also home to the most antisemitism." The report also refers to the success of the BDS campaign as a significant factor. In particular when there is an active presence of both anti-Israel groups and pro-boycott faculty members, creating a hostile environment. Also, the Amcha initiative, a group protecting Jewish students on North American campuses, published in late 2017 a study revealing “How Faculty who Boycott Israel Increase Likelihood of anti-Semitism”. Their report brings the first empirical evidence to explain how faculty promotion of an academic boycott of Israel is different from other advocacy on campus and poses a threat to Jewish students. 
Going back to Germany, another attempt to dissuade the German government from equating BDS with anti-Semitism was expressed in a letter, this time signed by 240 Jewish and Israeli scholars, disseminated by the BDS movement. While repeating the claim that BDS is non-violent, they ignore the amount of hostility, intimidation, and harassment by BDS supporters. 
But the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that “Germany is accused of downplaying anti-Semitic attacks by Muslims”. The German government blames mostly the far-right for anti-Semitism, even the annual al-Quds Day demonstrations in Berlin have been classified by the authorities as forms of far-right anti-Semitism. Last month, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said that supporters of far-right groups were responsible for about 90 percent of the 1,800 recorded anti-Semitic incidents in in 2018, a 20 percent increase from the previous year. This goes in contrast to a 2016 survey of hundreds of German Jews who had experienced anti-Semitic incidents when 41 percent said the perpetrator was "someone with a Muslim extremist view," and 16 percent identified their aggressor as someone from the far left. Only 20 percent identified their aggressors as belonging to the far-right. According to Daniel Poensgen, a researcher at the Department for Research and Information on Anti-Semitism (RIAS) "It means we can’t really use the official statistics on anti-Semitism in Germany." He gave an example for the German confusion when the German court ruled that anti-Semitism was not the motivation behind the attempt by three Palestinians to set fire to a synagogue, later the higher court affirmed this ruling. 
Unlike Germany, an Austrian report on anti-Semitism included a section on "Imported antisemitic narratives" which surveyed the "imported" or "immigrant" anti-Semitism in a nationwide representative survey by 300 interviews. The respondents, including two groups of Turkish and Arabic speakers, almost consistently agreed with anti-Semitic statements more than the general Austrian population. For example, the respondents were given a statement, "If the state of Israel no longer exists, then peace prevails in the Middle East." In response, 76% of Arabic speakers and 51% of Turkish speakers agreed with this statement. These results indicate a greater level of anti-Semitic feelings coming from Arabic and Turkish speakers, respectively. 
In Germany, no such distinction is measured. The vote of the German Bundestag declaring that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic and therefore illegitimate has spurred another confrontation. Those who fight against BDS expect the German government to adopt this motion, and those in favor of BDS, such as pro-Palestinian activists and scholars, including some Israelis, write petitions against it. 
The intense debate shifted the focus to Peter Schaefer, the director of the Jewish Museum in Berlin (JMB), who expressed support with the petition and, following criticism, quit his job. In response, Prof. Amos Goldberg of the Hebrew University, a pro-Palestinian activist who equates the Palestinian Nakba to the Jewish Holocaust and one of the initiators of the petition, wrote an email (below) to fellow-activists expressing support with the museum director: "What we’re witnessing is pure incitement, designed to intimidate the JMB and others into silence. It’s an outrageous assault on the freedom of speech and on the principle and value of a free, fair and open discussion. Goldberg ended with a plea, "consider contributing to the several discussions on twitter... These are simple steps but might be highly influential." 
IAM will report on the developments in Germany in due course.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
13.06.19
Case Study on Three BDS Activists Working for Israeli Universities: Tom Pessah, Ronnen Ben-Arie and Merav Amir
 
IAM has been reporting on academic BDS for years. BDS in general, including the academic BDS, has prompted the Israeli Knesset to pass the Anti-BDS Law in July 2011 entitled "Law Preventing Harm to the State of Israel by Means of Boycott." By the definition of the Law, "Boycott" is a civil wrong. "He who knowingly publishes a public call for a boycott against the State of Israel, where according to the content and circumstances of the publication there is a reasonable probability that the call will lead to a boycott." 
Universities, like all other institutions, are expected to abide by the anti-BDS Law. 
Still, IAM found three examples of academic BDS propagators with direct ties to Israeli universities. 
Dr. Tom Pessah has been pursuing postdoctoral positions at the Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University and has taught two courses: "Ethnicity and 'Race' – A Global Perspective" at the Sociology and Anthropology Department at Ben-Gurion University, and "Violence and Politics – Selected Topics" at the Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University. Pessah is a sociologist from the University of California, Berkeley. His 2014 Ph.D. thesis focuses on internal debates regarding ethnic cleansing within settler colonial societies. Pessah's endorsement of BDS began before the anti-BDS Law was passed. In 2010, a bill in "Support of UC Divestment from War Crimes," referring to Israel, was co-authored by Pessah. Also, on October 29, 2018, in a teach-in at the University of Michigan, titled "What is BDS? And Why Does it Matter?" Pessah spoke as an expert on the BDS movement. As reported by the press, Pessah said: "BDS has been a model of solidarity from my knowledge of participation in the movement... You see many Palestinians, many Jews, many Israelis working side by side, acknowledging the rights of Palestinians." 
Dr. Ronnen Ben-Arie is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Minerva Center for the Rule of Law under Extreme Conditions at the University of Haifa and an adjunct lecturer at the Technion Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning. Before the anti-BDS Law, Ben-Arie was among the signatories in a 2010 letter to the rock band Pixies urging them to "postpone your performance in Israel." In another petition, Ben-Arie was a signatory to "Dissident Israelis support Marrickville BDS plan" that was published in April 2011. After the Law was passed, Ben-Arie is promoting divestment from Israel in a co-authored book, From Shared Life to Co-resistance in Historic Palestine, published in 2017. The book asks "In what ways can we divest from settler arrangements in the present-day? Exploring the Zionist takeover of Palestine as a settler colonial case." The book suggests "How do we contribute to the decolonisation of Palestine?" And charges Israel with an "attempt to eliminate native life involved the destruction of Arab society"; "settlerist process of dispossession of the Arabs"; "elimination of shared life", among other accusations. The book offers an "Arab-Jewish co-resistance as a way of defying Israel's Zionist regime, to oppose "an unacceptable state of affairs." The book discusses "possible futures," exploring ways to divest from Israel, as mentioned before. 
Dr. Merav Amir is a senior lecturer in Human Geography at Queen's University Belfast who is often involved in academic publications of Israeli universities. Recently, she co-edited the Tel Aviv University Minerva Humanities Journal Mafteakh Issue 13. The Journal aims to create an open "political lexicon". In 2012-2013, Amir was a fellow at the Hebrew University Davis Institute. In 2014 Amir participated in the journal Public Sphere of the Tel Aviv University School of Political Science. Amir is a long-time supporter of BDS. She was a contributor to the 2012 book The Case for Sanctions Against Israel. In 2015, Amir was described by a Dutch-Palestinian initiative as "an activist in the BDS movement." She is also one of the initiators of a 2016 petition "Jews Across Northern Ireland Support Sanctions Against Israel," stating clearly "We support boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, as called for by Palestinian civil society." The petition also claims that "The State of Israel does not represent the Jewish people" and protests against those who "conflated Jews with Zionists, which is frankly offensive." 
The case study of the three BDS activists shows quite clearly that university authorities do not keep a close watch on their faculty. Since universities are supported by the tax payers, it behooves them to pay attention to the laws which are passed by the Knesset.
Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
06.06.19
Scientists Protest Against the 50th International Physics Olympiad in July in Tel Aviv University
 

The 50th International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) 2019, is taking place on July 7-15, 2019 in Tel Aviv. The IPhO 2019 is organized in collaboration with Tel Aviv University's Faculty of Exact Sciences and the Ministry of Education. 
The IPhO is an annual international physics competition for secondary school students aimed to enhance the development of international contacts in the field of school education in physics. The first IPhO was held in Warsaw (Poland) in 1967 to create an event which prizes the knowledge in physics of the best students around the world. Participating countries take a turn in hosting the IPhO, an event which is typically organized by the Ministry of Education, the local Physical Society or another appropriate institution of the country where the competition is being held. The competition lasts for two days, one devoted to theoretical problems, and the other to experimental problems, with at least one full day of rest in between. 
Like all international events in recent years, the competition which is due to be hosted in Israel next month is provoking a barrage of opposition and protests by the Palestinians and their allies. This time, twenty scientists from various universities around the world, including Prof. George P. Smith, the 2018 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, wrote an open letter to the organizers to protest against holding it in Israel. 
The letter explains that the event is promoted by the "denial of Palestinian human rights, including the right to education." The group of scientists claims that "Under the present circumstances, citizens of many countries are de facto excluded from entering Israel and attending the IPhO, not to mention Palestinian students from the West Bank and Gaza... The people in Gaza live under a harsh blockade, students and academics cannot leave even if they have a scholarship to study abroad. The people in the West Bank live under military occupation, and are routinely detained by Israeli forces." To prove their point the group of scientists provides one-sided reports from Haaretz and B’Tselem. 
They end their letter with a plea: "We call on all students and mentors from all over the world not to participate to the next International Physics Olympiad in Israel and to stand for Human rights of the young Palestinian pupils and students, including their right to education. We call on the boards of other International Science Olympiads to refrain from organizing their future contests in Israel, as long as it continues its military occupation and apartheid policy, in defiance of international law." 
As often the case, among the signatories are two Israelis: Emmanuel Farjoun, Professor of Mathematics, Hebrew University; and, Dror Warschawski, Biophysicist, Research Associate at the National Center for Scientific Research, Paris, and at Université du Québec à Montréal. 
The group of scientists ignores the fact that members of the Olympiad include countries such as Iran, Kuwait, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, among others. By singling out Israel alone and ignoring countries with a far worse record of abusing human rights, the group of scientists follows in the footsteps of anti-Israeli activists who perfected the tactics of double standards. The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism holds that such double standards amount to anti-Semitism. 
Interestingly, Prof. Farjoun, one of the signatories, is a long-time activist of the radical anti-Zionist group Matzpen. Another signatory is Prof. Dror Warschawski, the son of Michel Warschawski, another long-time Matzpen activist. While the virulently anti-Israel group Matzpen disbanded decades ago, its message has been propagated by academic-activists around the globe.

Boycott Calls Against Israel
 
30.05.19
Tackling Anti-Semitism and BDS
 
With the rising number of anti-Semitic incidents on a global scale, a number of initiatives to tackle the problem have emerged, drawing a link to the BDS movement. 
Earlier this month, the Florida Senate has unanimously approved a bill prohibiting anti-Semitism in Florida public schools and universities. The legislation determines that students or employees or "institutional policies motivated by anti-Semitic intent [should be treated] in an identical manner to discrimination motivated by race.” Based on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition, the bill describes anti-Semitism as following: A certain perception of the Jewish people, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jewish people; Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism directed toward a person, his or her property, or toward Jewish community institutions or religious facilities. Like the IHRA definition, the bill also provides examples of anti-Semitism, such as: Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews, often in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion; Accusing Jews as a people or the State of Israel of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust; Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interest of their own nations. The bill also provides examples of anti-Semitism related to the State of Israel, such as: Applying a double standard to Israel by requiring behavior of Israel that is not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation; Delegitimizing Israel by denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination and denying Israel the right to exist. The American version, in addition to the IHRA definition, also includes: Peace or human rights investigations focusing on Israel alone. 
The bill now awaits Gov. Ron DeSantis to sign into law. DeSantis referred to the bill in a recent appearance, stating "we have an anti-Semitism bill, which is one of the strongest in the nation, that I’ll sign into law, actually I think I will sign it into law when we’re in Jerusalem doing a Cabinet meeting." DeSantis, however, has met with strong opposition to signing the bill in Israel, when a watchdog group and a number of media outlets, filed a lawsuit against him and the members of the Florida State Cabinet, because meeting in Israel violates the Florida state constitution and state open government laws requiring Cabinet meetings to be held with public access. DeSantis arrived in Israel for a few days with some 90 members of the state trade delegation and signed agreements with various Israeli companies in a number of fields such as space, agriculture, water, and cybersecurity. DeSantis also visited Ariel University to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Ariel University and Florida State University. In Israel, DeSantis joined Florida Atlantic University, the University of North Florida, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, and Miami Dade College, as they signed an MOU with the University of Haifa. 
The University of Haifa has also recently hosted Prof. Melvin L. Oliver, the president of Pitzer College in Claremont, California, who defied internal pressure to boycott the exchange agreement with Haifa and vetoed the vote. Oliver has given a keynote lecture at the University of Haifa annual board of governors meeting. In an interview, Oliver notes that the BDS motion began when Prof. Dan Segal, the adviser of the local chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, has led the campaign to suspend Pitzer’s program with Haifa. Segal’s BDS motion was one of the first and was faculty-led. Shortly afterwards, an initial BDS vote was passed by the Pitzer faculty, and then the students' governance body has voted to suspend the following semester of the Haifa program. At the same day, Oliver announced that he would veto the resolution. Oliver adds that a boycott of Israel "sets us on a path away from the free exchange of ideas, a direction which ultimately destroys the academy’s ability to fulfill our educational mission." Oliver notes it was an uncomfortable situation for Jewish students who felt singled out for "having positions that SJP gave to them or were assumed to have as defenders of Israel." 
But drawing a direct link between BDS and anti-Semitism occurred on May 15, when the German Bundestag became the first parliament to pass a resolution designating BDS as anti-Semitic. The resolution states that the campaign to boycott Israeli goods along with the “Don’t Buy” stickers, recalled "the most terrible chapter in German history." It argues that the pattern of arguments and the methods used by BDS activists is anti-Semitic. It resolved not to fund an organization which questions Israel’s right to exist, calls for a boycott of Israel, or actively supports BDS. 
The resolution comes after a “growing unease” of the German Jewish community, as anti-Semitism has increased tremendously in recent years. 
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union party, and it's Social Democratic coalition partner, along with the liberal party and the Greens, have brought the resolution to the Bundestag. 
In response, the Palestinian BDS National Committee issued a statement condemning the "anti-Palestinian, McCarthyite and unconstitutional resolution." They urged "people of conscience" to defend the "sanctity of universal human rights and freedom of expression by protecting the right to BDS". The BDS Committee also declared that BDS “rejects all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism" and that the academic and cultural boycott of Israel is "strictly institutional and does not target individual Israelis.” But contrary to these claims, IAM noted in April, individual Israeli scholars were in fact targeted when they were disinvited to a conference in South Africa, due to pressure from BDS activists on the organizers. None of the Palestinian BDS leadership intervened to oppose the targeting of individual Israelis which contradicts the published goals of BDS. 
Interestingly, some radical academics joined the criticism of the German parliament. Some sixty Jewish and Israeli scholars, many of them who research Jewish history and anti-Semitism, signed an open letter, "A Call to German Parties not to Equate BDS with Anti-Semitism." According to the group, supporting BDS is actually supporting Palestinian human rights and the conflation between supporting BDS and anti-Semitism is "incorrect, unacceptable and a threat to the liberal-democratic order in Germany." The group insisted that Palestinians "refrain from violence when opposing the occupation of their land and the ongoing discrimination and oppression they are exposed to. BDS is essentially a non-violent movement, which protests serious human rights violations." 
To isolate BDS from the Palestinian violence against Israelis and Jews is misleading. The group also failed to warn the BDS leadership that the South African conference which boycotted Israeli individuals breached the published goals of the BDS movement, making such incidents anti-Semitic.
Hebrew University
 

HUJ Daphna Golan-Agnon Accused by Students of being Biased and Aggressive

23.05.19
In March 2019, IAM was contacted by an international student who studies at the International School of the Hebrew University. The student claimed an anti-Israel and anti-Semitic atmosphere on campus. The student also felt been treated differently and discriminated against, for being visually Jewish. But the student was unable to provide IAM with any written material to prove this case. In general, IAM is cautious when approached by students who may be unhappy with their grades only to blame the institution for political bias. 
A few days ago, the media reported a complaint by students from the same International School at the Hebrew University, titled "Hebrew University’s International Graduate Professor Spouts Anti-Israel Rhetoric," as well as "Hebrew U. Prof Accused of ‘Systematic Misinformation,’ Political Bias.” This time the student provided proof, including a print-screen of an email arriving from Prof. Daphna Golan, who teaches this class, saying: “I am not sure why you are studying in my course – but both of your handouts are disgraceful... You are a student whose presence in class is very disturbing to the whole group and your remarks are very unpleasant. I am sorry I had to read your unpleasant and not intelligent papers. You got zero on both.” The print-screen shows this email was also sent to the program director Rula Abu Zayyad. 
The media also interviewed another student from this class who said in response about Golan, that “The way she had attacked him [the student] was not okay... everyone in class was upset by the way she spoke to him.” The friend from class added that the assigned paper of this student was actually professional. “You could tell that the professor was very biased and aggressive to people whose positions weren’t the same as hers.” 
A perusal at the syllabus of Golan's course "The Role of NGOs in Promoting Human Rights and Transitional Justice" reveals a one-sided picture and excess of activism. Students learn "the importance of the Nakba for Israelis and Palestinians." Golan’s reading assignment presents the Palestinian narrative alone and refers to Palestinian and Israeli NGOs protecting Palestinians rights. There is no effort to include the Israeli point of view. 
Hebrew University is failing its duty to promote a more balanced view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is especially regrettable because many American universities have taken steps to curtail the one-sided presentations driven by pro-Palestinian activists on campus. 
Also, with regards to discrimination, Hebrew University should seriously look into all these cases by speaking to all the students participating in Golan's class. It should re-evaluate the student's assigned paper by an external examiner in order to determine whether the failing grade was a political bias on Golan's part. Whether it is or isn't, her use of language aimed at this or other students is unacceptable. 
IAM will report in due course on further development of this case.

General Articles
 
14.05.19
Protest Over the Summer Special Issue of Israel Studies
 
A special summer issue of the journal Israel Studies, "Word Crimes; Reclaiming The Language of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict," created the academic equivalent of a hurricane. Edited by Donna Robinson Divine, a professor emerita of Jewish Studies and Government at Smith College, the issue covered the one-sided vocabulary used these days to describe Israel as an apartheid state, a colonial usurper in the Middle East, and a country which commits war crimes toward the Palestinians. Divine explains that Israel, once a trope for self-sacrifice and solidarity, now "stands accused of practicing apartheid, genocide, ethnic cleansing" and colonialism. The issue explores this "lexical transformation" and describes "how and why it acquired its totemic standing". 
For those familiar with the history of social sciences in the West, the answer is quite simple. In the 1970s, driven by political and social upheavals, the dominant positivist paradigm was replaced by the neo-Marxist, critical approach, which, over the years, painted Israel as a purely colonial power with no historical rights to the land. Unsurprisingly, the new paradigm depicted the Palestinians as the victims of the colonial machinations of the Jews and their Western allies. Edward Said’s Orientalism became the icon of the new paradigm. With the wealthy Gulf States investing in Middle East Centers on Western campuses, the new paradigm was spread globally. Equally important, this investment enabled them to influence who would be hired or invited to lecture in the Middle East Centers and the Israel Studies Departments, hence, the critics themselves. 
A discussion of the merits of the two paradigms to depict the realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is legitimate and, indeed, desirable. However, the critics chose to ignore all this, and instead chose to attack the scholarship of the journal contributors by writing that the journal "ignores basic standards of academic scholarship, is heavily slanted in favor of Israel and relies on contributions from lightweights in the field." So much so, that Prof. Ian Lustick, who serves on the board of the Association for Israel Studies (AIS) stated that "the board would 'reconsider' its relationship with the journal". 
In a public letter to the AIS, the group of critics voiced their concerns, "we were dismayed" because the issue "fell far short of standards expected of academic journals... we believe has done serious damage to the reputation of the journal, and could cast a long shadow on the AIS and the field." Because the issue features essays on key terms in "critical scholarship of Israel/Palestine". They argue that "The castigation of intellectual categories as 'word crimes' is not a starting point for a good-faith discussion: it is a call to arms. By describing terms as 'linguistic transgressions' and scholarship as lacking in 'sanity', the issue made clear that its aim was not to contribute to vigorous debate, but rather to police and shut down this debate." The critics also claimed that "barely a third of the 17 contributors to the issue could claim academic expertise in the subject they were writing on. Disciplinary boundaries are not sacred, but the selection of so many non-specialists (including non-academics)." 
The critics argue that "It is not clear why an archaeologist was chosen to write on "Human Rights", and a communication professor served as an expert on "Apartheid". The essays made minimal and inadequate reference to relevant scholarship. The pieces on “Anti-Zionism” and “Occupation” did not have a single footnote. The essay on “Arab-Palestinian Refugees” failed to refer to key works by Benny Morris, Yoav Gelber, Walid Khalidi, and other scholars. The essay on “Colonialism” did not engage the rich literature on settler-colonialism from the last 15 years. These are a few examples of the numerous and pervasive failings of the issue. Overall the special issue read as a partisan and polemical exercise in advocacy rather than serious scholarship." 
The critics also issued a veiled threat: "Inability to make the distinction between advocacy and scholarship could threaten the future of the AIS as a vital scholarly space for research and discussion of contemporary Israel. The journal Israel Studies must undergo a serious overhaul to address these concerns in order to save its reputation and prevent such failures in the future. If such effort is not undertaken, the AIS should end its sponsorship of the journal and disaffiliate from it." 
As noted, a proper debate on the issue of academic coverage of Israel, and the Arab-Palestinian conflict is long overdue. In the meanwhile, three notes are in order. 
The critics railed against the fact that some of the contributors did not have the proper qualifications to write on the subjects. They should be reminded that many of the radical scholar-activists, which IAM covered for almost two decades, switched from their original disciplines to write about the Arab-Israeli conflict. For instance, Prof. Daniel Bar-Tal who was hired to teach and research child development and education has switched focus to the conflict; Prof. Yehouda Shenhav who was hired to teach and research on the sociology of organizations ended up writing about the conflict. Indeed, the Israel Studies Association gave him a prize for this work; Dr. Anat Matar was hired to teach and research philosophy and not Palestinian prisoners; Avner Ben Amos, a researcher in education who switched to the conflict; Prof. Nurit Peled-Elhanan, a researcher on child education started lecturing on the conflict; Prof. Gadi Algazi is an expert of late medieval and early modern history and not the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; Prof. Shlomo Sand, an expert on French cinema and culture became an "expert" on Judaism; Among others. With the sole exception of IAM, no one has ever questioned the fact that they were not qualified to do so. 
The critics had complained that many of the articles did not follow accepted scholarly standards. They should be aware that the 2011 Evaluation Committee report by the Council of Higher Education on the Department of Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University noted that many of the faculty published in neo-Marxist, critical journals which did not maintain mainstream, (read: positivist) scholarly standards. 
The critics chastised the contributors for failing to refer to the key works on refugees such as Walid Khalidi or Benny Morris. They should be aware of the fact that Khalidi’s work on the refugees was criticized for lack of proper academic standards. As for Benny Morris, the question is what version of the 1948 story needs to be included. It is well known that after the failure of the Oslo peace process, Morris became disenchanted with the Palestinians and soon after revised his 1948 narrative about the refugees. 
In fact, as the list of signatories of the petition reveals, the critics themselves are not all coming from this field of expertise. 
In response, the journal editors Prof. Ilan Troen and Dr. Natan Aridan, wrote that the next published issues of Israel Studies would allow critics to analyze the "controversial" issue. This is the proper academic resolve. Using academic tools, critics should be able to debate. Calls to silence the opposition is nothing but charlatanism.
 
 
 
 

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