|[FOR OLDER ARCHIVED MATERIAL PRE-2004 ]|
| "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.
|Abuse of Scholarship at BGU|
|IAM has written about political activists in the academy. The well paid, tenured positions and flexible working hours as well as the academic freedoms, enable political activists to abuse the higher education system. BGU has often been the case in point.
Prof. Oren Yiftachel of the Geography Department at BGU has been recently on a tour promoting the book, Emptied Lands: A Legal Geography of Bedouin Rights in the Negev, co-authored with Alexandre Kedar and Ahmad Amara, as reported by IAM in May. The book details the disputed ownership of land of a Bedouin tribe in the Negev and the long litigation process which culminated in the ruling in favor of the state. IAM noted that for two decades these scholars, who specialize in the fields of Geography and Law, have advised a group of Bedouins and guided them how to appropriate land without having the proper proof of ownership. In the authors own words, "Novel in Israel is that recently a small number of Bedouin claimants have begun to bolster their claims with expert reports and the assistance of academic experts including the present authors." During August and September Yiftachel gave a series of lectures in Australia, presenting the "territorial conflict between the settler Israeli state and indigenous Bedouin citizens." For him, the “dead Negev doctrine” is used by Israel to "dispossess and forcefully displace Bedouin inhabitants in order to Judaize the region." The venues he spoke at included Thesis Eleven, which bills itself as "Marxist in origin, post-Marxist by necessity," and the Institute of Postcolonial Studies (IPCS), billed as: "The spectre of colonialism still haunts the world, despite assertions about the end of formal colonial control and the rise of democracy and universal human rights. The aim of the Institute of Postcolonial Studies is to understand and undo the continuing legacies of colonialism today: dispossession, displacement, racism, and intercultural violence. In particular, this entails understanding social and economic pressures and cultural prejudices faced by indigenous peoples and impoverished communities, supporting those." At the University of Melbourne Yiftachel was introduced as "using critical perspectives... Yiftachel combines academia and activism, being a founder and leading member of leading civil society and human rights organizations, including Adva, B'tselem (chair 2011-2014) 'the council for unrecognized Bedouin localities', and most recently, the Israeli-Palestinian peace movement "A Land for All"."
Yiftachel is also involved in the project "Ground Truth: Destruction and Return in Al-'Araqib", which "aims to provide historical and juridical evidence on behalf of communities in the illegalised Palestinian Bedouin villages in the northern threshold of the Negev/Naqab desert, Israel. While forced physical displacement and illegalisation render these communities non-existent on maps and aerial imaging, state-led land works and afforestation transform and erase their land and material cultural remains. The project aims to document and collate disparate legal, historical, and material evidence for the continuity of the sedentary presence of the Bedouin population on this land, as well as traces of their repeated displacement and destruction by government forces." The project is a collaboration of the community of al-'Araqīb; Forensic Architecture of Goldsmiths College London led by Eyal Weizman; and Zochrot's team Debby Farber and Hagit Keysar; among others.
Zochrot is an NGO which promotes the "acknowledgement and accountability for the Nakba, the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948 and the reconceptualization of the Return of the Palestinian Refugees." Interestingly, Debby Farber is a BGU PhD student and Dr. Hagit Keysar completed her PhD at BGU, both at the Department of Politics and Government. Farber's dissertation is titled "Visual Genealogy of Changes in the Israeli Landscape between 1949-1967" and her advisors are well known political activists Prof. Haim Yacobi and Prof. Amnon Raz Krakotzkin. Farber did her MA studies with a Summa cum Laude at the Department of Cultural Studies of The Hebrew University, with the thesis "The Grave in the Hula Lake – A Visual Genealogy of the photography album 'The Song of the Dying Lake'," supervised by political activist Dr. Louise Bethlehem. Farber received grants from the Israel Scholarship Education Foundation (ISEF) for excellence in Education. Her publications include works such as "Remembering the Nakba" and "Ground Truth – Records of Dispossession, Return and Environmental Destruction." Working for Zochrot, Farber was instrumental in organizing a "Truth commission" intending that "Israelis who served in the 1948 war and Palestinians uprooted from their homes will testify before an expert panel." Likewise, Dr. Hagit Keysar has taken a similar artistic route with grants paying her education while working as a curator in Zochrot. In July 2014, Keysar was a signatory to a petition to the European Council, Commission and Parliament asking to pressure Israel to accept the terms of truce presented by Hamas. As a staunch political activist, it is not surprising that Keysar is now a post-doctoral researcher at the PECLAB: Planning for the Environment with Communities of the Geography Department at TAU, led by Prof. Tovi Fenster. IAM reported in 2015 on "TAU Tovi Fenster: A Profile of a Political Activist."
There are questions to ask, why does BGU allows Yiftachel to continue with his political activism? How could Farber get a grant from ISEF? How could both Farber and Keysar shift directly from visual arts to a PhD at the Department Politics and Government at BGU?
To recall, in 2011 An evaluation committee to the CHE excoriated the Department for being excessively politicized at the expense of offering solid political science education. Judging by the recent cases, not much has changed.
|Critical Scholars Ambition to Expand at Ben Gurion and Tel Aviv Universities|
|IAM often discusses the neo-Marxist, critical scholarship which found a home in the social science and humanities. This scholarship originates in the post- modern movement in the academy. Practitioners often describe themselves as scholars who embrace the “critical perspective".
In October 2017, IAM reported on a workshop series to "advance academic professionalization from a critical perspective" for first generation research students in Tel Aviv University. The seminar pertained to a collaboration between the TAU Minerva Humanities Center (MHC) and the activist group Academia for Equality.
Last week another invitation was published on the Academia IL Network, billed as an "Academic Proficiency Workshop in Critical Perspective," offered at Ben-Gurion University's Israeli Center for Qualitative Research of People and Societies, in partnership with Academia for Equality. It invites students from the humanities and social sciences to a workshop quite similar to the one held at TAU. The workshop is intended for students thinking to try to climb up the academic ladder and are first generation in higher education. "This population is underrepresented in the humanities and social sciences, particularly among the academic staff." According to the organizers, "the challenges of the first generation in higher education stem from, among others, the lack of a parental model of academic education, lack of access to sources of information and counseling, and/or non-native Hebrew language. These difficulties are expressed in higher dropout rates than average. The workshop will address the difficulties of integration into the academia by providing tools, knowledge and alternative sources of support. The workshop participants will meet with diverse academics - from doctoral students to professors who will share their knowledge, the apparent and hidden aspects of academia and the academic track, through critical discourse and the development of academic specialization skills. We will deal with topics such as academic career track, supervisor-student relations, conferences, journals, impact factor, opportunities, scholarships, post-doctorate fellowships abroad, employee rights in academia, disclosure of secrets and academic networking.”
The workshop seems well-intentioned and praiseworthy. After all, who would not want first generation college graduates to climb the academic ladder? But the workshop is deceptive because it promises to help only scholars who embrace the “critical perspective.” For those not familiar with this academic jargon, "critical perspective” does not employ empirical tools. As critical scholars see it, social sciences and humanities reflect the “hegemonic” position of the West and the capitalist classes and need to be criticized and “deconstructed.” Thus, the critical perspective amounts to a denunciation of the West in general and Israel in particular. The latter is invariably described as a colonialist, hegemonic and capitalist society. As could be expected, critical scholars do not discuss issues such as terrorism, subjugation of women in Islam so as not to tarnish the image of the “politically correct” masses.
More to the point, IAM has pointed out that Israeli social sciences are top heavy with Neo-Marxist, critical scholars and that their pretenses have dragged down the international rankings of social science departments in Israel. A number of evaluations by the Council of Higher Education have noted that social sciences lack offerings which represent cutting-edge teaching and research in the twenty first century. Indeed, some years ago, an international committee which evaluated the Department of Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University found that the faculty and the offerings were heavily biased toward the Neo-Marxist, critical perspective. The Department was allowed to continue but was asked to hire mainstream scholars who publish in mainstream journal. In another case, the Political Science Department at the Hebrew University was urged to hire faculty familiar with research methods and other quantitative tools. There is a reason for all these. Social sciences in the twenty first century need to keep up with market requirements such as quantitative methods, network analysis, and other advanced methodologies which a twenty first century economy requires. Israeli universities are public institutions supported by the taxpayer and should reflect the needs of the society.
It is especially deceptive of the seminar promoters to push their critical agenda on this first generation college graduates. Given the scathing criticism of critical scholarship by the various evaluation committees, social science departments are not likely to hire new critical scholarship faculty.
|The 20th Anniversary of BGU Dept. of Politics and Government: Time for Reflections|
|A short note announcing the 20th anniversary of the BGU Department of Politics and Government was posted by the Academia-IL Network. It was followed by an invitation to a two days conference titled "Are Politics Still Possible?" taking place on June 19-20, 2018. The forum offered a platform for triumphalism and self-congratulation.
In reality, however, the Department had a checkered history; it faced numerous criticism for its failure to offer a proper political science curriculum and employ mainstream political scientists. It was even threatened of closure.
As well known, in 2011 an evaluation report commissioned by the Council for Higher Education (CHE) found in the department excess focus on community activism. Similar observation was given in an earlier report by left-wing political scientist Zeev Maoz who already in 2002 noted the lack of core teaching.
The Evaluation Report expressed concerns that “the Department is too weak in its core discipline of political science in terms of number of faculty, curriculum, and research. The committee believes that this situation needs to be changed immediately and that the Department should institute major changes toward strengthening its disciplinary and methodological core through both hiring more faculty and altering its study programs.” Prof. Ellen Immergut and Prof. Thomas Risse, members of the committee, also commented that, "The Department’s response of October 2011 mentions that the plan for new recruitments “will focus on the core areas of the discipline, such as international relations, comparative politics, political thought, quantitative methods,” for which they asked "What fields will now be represented by the actual faculty being recruited?"
The evaluation committee recommended closing the department, but the CHE did not act on the recommendation because it was intimidated by the international campaign which the faculty mobilized. As a face saving device the Department promised to hire more mainstream faculty and add quantitative methods.
Evidently, the Department still prioritizes activism. For instance, an official announcement of the Department, "The Graduates Award of the Department of Politics and Government for meaningful social action 2018 is underway," appeared online on to May 23, 2018, inviting former students to apply. "The award is intended for the graduates of the department who have been active in promoting social change and justice. Please attach a curriculum vitae and a brief description of the relevant activity."
The excess of social activism is also apparent in the number of representatives of NGOs who were invited to speak at the Roundtable 1: Is there Room for Politics of Change? such as, Coexistence Forum; Rahat Youth Center; Center for International Migration and Integration; ‘Tsaad Kadima’; ‘Gvanim’ project and a Meretz Party Candidate; Earth’s Promise; The Feidel Organisation; "Israel Hofsheet- be free Israel”; Negev Center for Refugees; The Democratic Workers’ Organisation. All are former students at the Department.
An examination of the current 16 faculty and teaching fellows, and the Department’s research clusters, not much has changed. Therefore, some of the cutting-edge subjects which are routinely offered in comparable departments do not exist.
As before, faculty and graduates promote radical political views:
Prof. Ahmad H. Sa'di has played a key role in creating a Palestinian narrative. Sa'di has co-authored the book Nakba: Palestine, 1948, and the Claims of Memory, with Lila Abu-Lughod, professor of Anthropology at Columbia University, in 2007. In an interview she explains the course of events: Her father, Ibrahim Abu-Lughod, the former professor of political science at Northwestern University, was a 1948 Palestinian refugee and active politically and intellectually. In 1992, he moved back to Palestine where he died in 2001. "At his funeral, his close friend Edward Said introduced me to Ahmad Sa’di as 'a brilliant young Palestinian sociologist.' He and Edward had started talking about the silence around the Palestinian “nakba”  (catastrophe) and had decided to get people to write about the expulsion, as a counter-narrative to the dominant story of the birth of Israel that overshadowed ours. When Edward passed away, just a couple of years later, Ahmad asked if I would work on the book with him [And I agreed]. This was a way for me to connect to the place, through scholarship, my métier, rather than activism." Lughod explained the rationale behind writing the book with Sa'di, "I see Nakba as a contribution to the field of cultural memory studies, whose key texts have come from scholars working on the Holocaust." The contributors to the book "are all critical of Zionist narratives and the violent politics they justify... We share the understanding that “the occupation” (by which people usually mean the Israeli take-over of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967) is not the central problem in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Nothing will be resolved until the injustice of the foundational events of 1948 is recognized. As Ahmad Sa’di, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, explains in the Afterword, it is a matter of moral responsibility. We focus on the past but the book is meant to intervene in the present." While helping to promote the Palestinian narrative, Sa'di has been teaching at the Department an MA course "The Colonial Encounter: how Colonialism Affected colonial and colonized societies."
One PhD student and a speaker in the conference is Israeli refusenik Omri Evron, who wrote "I, Omri Evron, refuse to serve in the army because I am faithful to the moral principles in which I believe. My refusal to enlist is a protest against the longstanding military occupation of the Palestinian people, an occupation that deepens and entrenches the hatred and terror between peoples. I oppose participation in the cruel war for the control over the occupied territories, a war waged in order to protect the Israeli settlements and to maintain the "Greater Israel" ideology." He explained that "I refuse against the apartheid and racist regime."
Conference speaker Dr. Yiftah Elazar formerly a member of the Princeton Committee on Palestine wrote in an article on Machsom Watch in 2008 "Counterpoint: A frozen life, "Whether this systematic and institutionalized discrimination should be called “apartheid,” we leave to the reader. The pictures in “Endless Checkpoints” were taken by Israelis, not only because some of us care about the human rights of Palestinians, but also because some of us worry about the effect of occupation and oppression on our own society. "
Last month, the student and a speaker at the conference Arnon Peleg was quoted "For far too long, the Occupation has been looked upon as an issue that is present in the background, as if it is since ever and forever. We have the obligation to be the generation that will end the Occupation and break the cycle of wars," speaking on behalf of the organization IfNotNow, an American Jewish progressive activist group opposing the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
A student and speaker at the conference Aya Shoshan was interviewed by the BBC in 2013, when she gave up her right to vote in the elections. As described by the BBC, her political concerns "made her doubt Israel's very idea of democracy". She said, "I believe that that the act of voting is far less important than that of creating public awareness...There are almost four million Palestinians living under Israeli rule with no civil rights and in a state of shocking inequality."
IAM has repeatedly argued that the social sciences in Israel have failed to update their offerings to reflect twenty first century trends. This state of affairs is quite evident when the global academic rankings are considered. It robs graduates of skills necessary in the modern workplace. In particular, the Department of Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University is a full-fledged incubator for radial political activists at the taxpayers expense.
|Neo-Gramscian Scholarship in the Service of Negev Bedouins|
|In 2012 IAM reported on a court case where the Bedouin Al-'Uqbi tribe claimed in the Negev an area known as Al Araqib. The Bedouins argued their ancestors cultivated the land for centuries. Numerous court cases have dealt with these and other claims. There were several ways to prove rights to land which were discussed in the court proceedings but in many cases the Bedouin tribes failed to provide proof of ownership.
A new book came out recently, Emptied Lands: A Legal Geography of Bedouin Rights in the Negev, by three scholars, Alexandre Kedar, Ahmad Amara and Oren Yiftachel, presenting the complex relations over disputed ownership of land of these Bedouin tribes in the Negev and the State of Israel and detailing the long litigation process in the Israeli courts which culminated in ruling in favor of the state.
This book project, as the authors explain, "spans over two decades of research and activist work. During this period, we collaborated with hundreds of people, and it is impossible to mention each by name. However, we want to extend a warm acknowledgment to each and every one for their help, expertise, courage, and humanity in the uphill battle for Bedouin rights and recognition."
To put it in a simple terms, for two decades these scholars, who specialize in the fields of Geography and Law, have advised a group of Bedouins and guided them how to appropriate land without having the proper proof of ownership. As part of this appropriation some Bedouins invaded land which they consider to be their own which regretfully they can't prove ownership. The scholars promised them success and encourage them to litigate with a vast support from the NGO sector and free service by numerous scholars whose salaries are paid by the taxpayer. The Bedouin tribe was led to believe that in the end of the day they will gain ownership of the land. In the authors wording, "Novel in Israel is that recently a small number of Bedouin claimants have begun to bolster their claims with expert reports and the assistance of academic experts including the present authors."
The book's central tenet is that the State of Israel has considered all of the Negev land as Mawat, that is, dead and empty land. By claiming this, the state, according to the authors, in effect dispossessed Bedouin rights to the land, that their ancestors cultivated and the State prevented the Bedouins from registering it on their names. The authors prove that contrary to this claim the Negev desert was neither dead nor empty. However, not surprising, the State never claimed this, only that the disputed plots of land were such.
To make their case, the scholars argued that their position was supported by a declaration voiced by Winston Churchill, the British Secretary of State for the Colonies, who said in a meeting with the High Commissioner in 1921, that the British will not harm the special rights and customs of the Bedouin. The authors interpret this declaration, that Churchill meant it to be a proof of ownership of land by the Bedouins.
As IAM reported in March 2012 Judge Dovrat was very critical of Yiftachel's conduct as an expert and wrote in her ruling "I felt uncomfortable with Prof. Yiftachel’s cross examination when it transpired that he relied on sources and quoted from them without bothering to read them, instead he quoted from quotes that appeared in a different source. The expert’s squirming on the witness stand on this matter, not only left an uncomfortable feeling, more accurately a sense of embarrassment for the expert, for the predicament in which he found himself. The expert should not only be objective, in offering his opinion, but he should also read the sources to which he refers, or he should immediately state, without prevaricating, that he relied on secondary sources instead of undergoing lengthy and embarrassing questioning, at the end of which he confesses that that is the case, and there is no need to add more. A glimpse of his cross examination will suffice and I will not expound further on this." Instead of admitting making an error in court, in the book the authors claim that "In the al-'Uqbi case Kark faced a strong rebuttal in the form of expert opinions written by one of us (Yiftachel) with the assistance of the other two."
The authors accused Judge Dovrat of preferring Professor Ruth Kark who gave an expert opinion on behalf of the State. Rather than furnishing evidence of bias, the authors evoke Antonio Gramsci, the Italian communist who inspired the Neo-Marxist paradigm in the academy. Gramsci famously claimed that knowledge and facts are not objective but rather represent the views of the hegemonic classes. They write: "The variegated links between power, knowledge, and dispossession have of course been a subject of much analysis in the social sciences and philosophy. Scholars such as Antonio Gramsci, Michel Foucault, and Arundhati Roy, to name but a few, have analyzed the power, economic, and political systems that strengthen the tendency of intellectuals to support hegemonic discourses, often on behalf of the state or social elites, while at the same time representing themselves as 'independent' and 'objective' experts.” They state that Kark, is part of the so-called "organic intellectuals" (who represent their own class) [and] tend to legitimize the existing power structure”. For those who are not familiar with the Neo-Marxist, critical jargon, the authors essentially say that Kark, and by exertion the Judges, represent the ruling classes in Israel and should not be trusted.
In the proceedings of the appeal to the Supreme Court in 2014 Judge Esther Hayut announced dishonesty and misconduct by the authors, as contended by the State:
"The State further contends that the Appellants acted unlawfully and submitted without permission, within the framework of the appeal, an amended version of the opinion on behalf of Prof. Yiftachel. This is despite the fact that the lower court did not allow its submission and ordered that it be ignored. In addition, within the framework of the appeal and without permission, the Appellants submitted an article written by Prof. Yiftachel regarding the issues that arise in the present proceeding and which allegedly constitutes an adaptation of the expert opinion he submitted in the proceeding (Prof. Yiftachel, Sandy Kedar and Ahmad Amara) "Re-Examining the 'Dead Negev Doctrine': Property Rights in Arab Bedouin Regions" 14 Law and Government 7-147 (2012) (Hebrew)). This article, too, did not stand before the lower court. Therefore the State wishes to ignore the revised version of the expert opinion submitted by Prof. Yiftachel, submitted by the appellants at the stage of the appeal, and the article based on the current proceeding. Also, the State further contends that some of the professional literature submitted by the Appellants in the framework of the appeal were not presented by them to court and therefore should be also ignored. I would like to state first of all, that a perusal of the article to which the claim relates indicates that it is indeed based on the expert opinion submitted by Prof. Yiftachel in the present proceeding, while processing the expert opinion into the format of an academic article, and that the Appellants use it as an additional expert opinion on their behalf, without the article being submitted to the lower court. Also, the appellants quote from various sources to which the article refers to without having been submitted to the lower court or the appeal. The is much sense in the State's claim, when referring to this article and the new added references that he is referring to. In addition, and in accordance with the decision of the lower court dated March 7, 2010, the contents of Prof. Yiftachel's third expert opinion should be ignored insofar as it deviates from the response to Prof. Kark's expert opinion."
Unsurprisingly, missing from the book are the all court proceedings that give a totally different perspective on the issue. It is clear that the purpose of the book is to present the reality desired by the authors through the lens of the neo-Marxist, critical paradigm. According to these prisms, the state, with its judges as the Zionist agents, wants to dispossess the Palestinian enemy - in this case the Negev Bedouins - and takeover their lands.
|Academic Boycott: Neve Gordon Departs Ben Gurion University|
|Radio South which broadcasts from the Beer Sheva area has announced that Professor Neve Gordon will not be returning to Ben Gurion University from his Sabbatical in London.
To recall, IAM reported that Gordon has remade himself as an expert in International Law at the Queen Mary University of London. This was made possible as Gordon is neo-Marxist, critical scholar where empirical evidence doesn't count. Interestingly, as IAM reported, the chair of International Law, Trade, and Policy is the Saudi born Professor Malik R. Dahlan who completed his LLB at the University of Jordan and his Professoriate qualification the (‘Alemiyyah’) Habilitation Higher Doctorate (LLD) in Law and Public Policy at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. Dahlan has written in favor of the Arab League peace offer to Israel in 2002, "While Israel has thus far refused to accept the Arab Peace Initiative, it has not rejected it outright, and therefore there is still hope for settlement of the problem with help from regional efforts. More importantly, the mere fact that the entire Arab League has found the consensus necessary to make such a bold offer is remarkable, and proves in some small measure that the region has matured and its leaders capable of coming together for the common good." This ambition could have linked Dahlan to Gordon, just as Gordon's book Israel's Occupation was written during a sabbatical at the University of California, Berkeley, where Nezar AlSayyad has "welcomed me and provided me with the necessary resources to write".
Gordon's neo-Marxist, critical spell has led him to some obscure observations, under the subchapter Setting up the Means of Control in the Occupied Territories, Gordon listed Israeli efforts to improve the standard of living of Palestinians after 1967's victory. "In the health field practices were introduced to encourage women to give birth at hospitals (a means of decreasing infant mortality rates and monitoring population growth) and to promote vaccinations (in order to decrease the incidence of contagious and noncontagious diseases). Palestinian teachers were sent to seminars in Jerusalem, where they were instructed in methods of "correct" teaching. A series of vocational schools were established to prepare Palestinians who wished to join the Israeli workforce, and model plots were created to train farmers. Many of these controlling devices aimed to increase the economic productivity of the Palestinian inhabitants and to secure the well-being of the population." But for Gordon, all these good measures were merely acts of control, "even eating habits were scrutinized, as was the nutritional value of the Palestinian food basket."
Obscure observations indeed. His latest article to Al-Jazeera "Gaza's Passover massacre" claims that "For decades Zionists have blamed the Palestinians for Israel's ongoing colonial project. 'If only the Palestinians had a Mahatma Gandhi,' many Israeli liberals have exclaimed, 'then the occupation would end.' But if one truly wished to find Palestinian Mahatma Gandhi all one needed to do is look at the images of protesters on Friday night's news broadcasts." Looking at the images of the protests, one could argue whether the protest was peaceful. As a staunch neo-Marxist, critical scholar, Gordon also blames Israel for colonialism: "The accusation that Palestinians have failed to adopt non-violent methods of resistance, and therefore share responsibility for Israel's ongoing subjugation and dispossession, not only completely disavows the vast asymmetry in power relations between the coloniser and colonised, but, just as importantly, fails to consider the political history of anticolonial struggles, not least the Palestinian one itself. Indeed, it completely ignores the fact that Israel's colonial project has been upheld through attritional, protracted and widespread violence, and, despite what certain Western media outlets might present, the Palestinians have developed a robust and long-standing tradition of non-violent resistance." Only Gordon could construe attacks on Israel as peaceful.
When Gordon has published his infamous call for boycott on the pages of the Los Angeles Times in August 2009, he contended "Not surprisingly, many Israelis -- even peaceniks -- aren't signing on. A global boycott can't help but contain echoes of anti-Semitism. It also brings up questions of a double standard (why not boycott China for its egregious violations of human rights?) and the seemingly contradictory position of approving a boycott of one's own nation." But Gordon actually failed to answer this contradiction.
Since calling for boycott almost 10 years ago, Gordon has served as Lenin's "useful idiot" to Arab propaganda against Israel from his cushioned position in Ben Gurion University paid by the Israeli taxpayer. Now he is not coming back, but what took him so long to put his money where his mouth is?
|The Working Definition of Antisemitism and its Abuse by BGU Neve Gordon|
|The Working Definition of Antisemitism was first published in 2005 by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, later in 2007 was adopted by the U.S Department of State. On May 29, 2017, it was adopted by the European Parliament in a resolution which "Calls on the Member States and the Union institutions and agencies to adopt and apply the working definition of anti-Semitism employed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)(4) in order to support the judicial and law enforcement authorities in their efforts to identify and prosecute anti-Semitic attacks more efficiently and effectively, and encourages Member States to follow the example of the UK and Austria in this regard." Bulgaria followed suit last October. Interestingly, Israel hasn't officially adopted the Working Definition yet.
The European Union takes this matter seriously. On December 7, 2017 The European Parliament has held a conference on "New-Antisemitism" hosted by MEP Péter Niedermüller, Member of the Delegation for relations with Israel, by MEP Heinz K. Becker, the chair of the European Parliament Working Group on Antisemitism and by MEP Fulvio Martusciello, the chair of Delegation for relations with Israel. The conference was organized into two panels of academics and representatives of Jewish advocacy organizations. The first panel dealt with "The new Antisemitism in politics" featured Jonathan Rosenzweig of the Mission of Israel to the EU & NATO; David Hirsh, senior lecturer of Sociology and author of the book Contemporary Left Antisemitism; Raya Kalenova, the executive vice-president of the European Jewish Congress; Antony Lerman, senior fellow of Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue; and Daniel Schwammenthal, the director of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Transatlantic Institute which is based in Brussels. The second panel, "New Antisemitism and the young generation" brought together young Jewish activists and representatives from different European backgrounds to explore challenges and solutions. One speaker stressed that the IHRA working definition, the European Commission Code of Conduct and the upcoming EU Fundamental Rights Agency survey are essential tools in combating antisemitism.
Soon after, Thomas de Maiziere, the German Interior Minister called in the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag for the creation of an anti-Semitism officer who will tackle increasing violence against Jews in Germany. He said that "hatred towards Jews must never be allowed to take hold again in Germany... Each crime motivated by anti-Semitism is one too many and shameful for our country," and that the number of disparaging remarks, inappropriate jokes and discriminatory behavior against “our Jewish citizens" has increased. "We cannot tolerate it when a country's flag is burned in public... It is the symbolic annihilation of a country's right to exist."
The Working Definition declares that criticism of Israel per se is not antisemitic but some forms of criticism include anti-Semitic elements. For instance, "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"; "drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis," and; applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation" are construed as anti-Semitic.
The Working Definition does not deal with the identity of the critics, be it Europeans, Arabs or, for this matter, Jews. The emphasis is on the content of the critique.
For example, Professor Neve Gordon, who is currently on Sabbatical at SOAS London University fits the Working Definition well. Earlier this month he participated in a meeting held at the House of Commons as part of a group "Free Speech on Israel" where he delivered a talk requesting that "the equation between antisemitism and anti-Zionism must first be rejected". Gordon postulated that the "Israeli government needs the ‘new antisemitism’ to justify its actions and to protect it from international and domestic condemnation. Antisemitism is effectively weaponised, not only to stifle speech... its purpose is ‘to cause pain, to produce shame, and to reduce the accused to silence’ – but also to suppress a politics of liberation. The non-violent BDS campaign against Israel’s colonial project and rights abuses is labelled antisemitic not because the proponents of BDS hate Jews, but because it denounces the subjugation of the Palestinian people. This highlights a further disturbing aspect of the ‘new antisemitism’. Conventionally, to call someone ‘antisemitic’ is to expose and condemn their racism; in the new case, the charge ‘antisemite’ is used to defend racism, and to sustain a regime that implements racist policies. The question today is how to preserve a notion of anti-antisemitism that rejects the hatred of Jews, but does not promote injustice and dispossession in Palestinian territories or anywhere else. There is a way out of the quandary. We can oppose two injustices at once. We can condemn hate speech and crimes against Jews, like the ones witnessed recently in the US, or the antisemitism of far-right European political parties, at the same time as we denounce Israel’s colonial project and support Palestinians in their struggle for self-determination."
By evoking anti-Zionism Gordon negates the right of Jews for self-determination.
Gordon's comparison of Israel to Nazi Germany is included in his article "Don't Fence me in" from 2002. He wrote of "explicating and trying to understand the continued widespread use of barbed wire" after the Holocaust: "For example, examining the architectural similarity and differences between the camps Israel has constructed to hold Palestinians and the concentration camps Jews were held in during the Holocaust, urges one to ponder how it is that the reappearance of barbed wire in the Israeli landscape does not engender an outcry among survivors."
As for applying double standards, Gordon's found striking similarities between Israel and South Africa under apartheid. In his book Israel’s Occupation he compares the South African model of apartheid to the Israeli “model of apartheid.” He finds only one major difference between the two regimes, notably, the apartheid regime in South Africa was institutionalized, while “in the West Bank no legislation was introduced to support this practice, and no official government decision was taken to put such legislation into effect". This, according to Gordon, is the only difference between them.
There is no reason why Ben Gurion University should tolerate such an abuse of academic standards.
|Complaint by Prof. Rivka Carmi to the Knesset Ethics Committee|
|On May 24, 2017 the Knesset Committee of Education, Culture and Sports has held a quick hearing questioning BGU's support in BDS. The hearing was initiated by MK Anat Berko (Likud), MK Amir Ohana (Likud) and MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) and titled "Fears of continued support of Ben Gurion University in BDS". MK Berko explained that ”There is a problem in Ben-Gurion University's Politics and Government Department, where they call Israel a 'shaved-headed state'." MK Smotrich argued that professors sign petitions with the title professors at Ben-Gurion University, unrelated to academic freedom. ”Freedom of expression, yes, but do I have to fund these people? Of course not”.
Professor Rivka Carmi, President of Ben-Gurion University rejected these accusations as ”false” and ”detached from reality. ” She added that Ben Gurion University ”is at the forefront of the fight against the BDS movement.” Carmi also said that professors who voice support for BDS do so on their own behalf and do not represent the university's views.
Education Committee Chairman MK Yakov Margi (Shas) said, ”I had no doubt that Ben-Gurion University does not support or encourage BDS activity... There is no doubt that there is agreement on the need to fight the BDS movements, and this is why we called on the Council for Higher Education to examine how to do this through policy, while allowing a variety of opinion to be heard in [university] courses.”
But shortly after the hearing Professor Carmi has filed a complaint with the Knesset Ethics committee. She wrote that the title of the hearing did the university a great injustice, since the university is "one of the leaders in the struggle against the BDS movement," and certainly does not support BDS activities.
There are apparently deep seated grievances that Prof. Carmi has against the hearing. She has apparently felt that the hearing served as a cover to publicize the position of Mr. Michael Gross, one of the members of the Board of Governors of the University. Mr. Gross has been critical of the university's handling of lecturers and activities that seemed to support BDS. According to him, the university retaliated by trying to remove him from the Board and returning his donation. In her complaint to the Ethics Committee, Professor Carmi singled out MK Yoel Hasson. Although MK Hasson disclosed during the hearing that he had received financial support from Mr. Gross in the primaries in 2009, he also attacked the university for its attitude to Mr. Gross. MK Hasson demanded that the university not remove Mr. Gross from the Board of Governors.
In conclusion, Carmi noted that "it is difficult to avoid the feeling that a member of the Board of Governors" ostensibly "bought" a hearing of a committee of the Knesset using a "baseless political pretext and contempt of the university, in order to prevent what he thought was a move to remove him from the Board of Governors."
After serious considerations the Ethics Committee concluded as following:
1. Indeed, in the headline proposed by the initiators could cause damage to the university when official bodies of the state hold a hearing at the Knesset with such a title, and it could even damage the Israeli struggle against BDS supporters, with the title of an official hearing in the Knesset as well as Knesset members claiming that an Israeli university itself supports BDS. Indeed the title of the hearing was intended to defame the university and to attribute it, as an institution, support in BDS - something which had no grounds in the findings presented to the Education Committee.
2. The BDS issue did serve as a platform for discussion of Mr. Gross's case, Mr Gross's case was not even mentioned in the proposal which lead to the hearing. It would have been appropriate to present it to the Knesset presidency in their detailed request prior to the hearing.
3. The Ethics Committee found that MKs Berko and Smotritch violated Rule 1A(5) of the Rules of Ethics, according to which "Member of Knesset will carry out his duty in the Knesset with responsibility and fairness." Yet the Committee did not find it necessary to impose sanctions on them. Regarding the claim concerning MK Hasson, who did not initiate the hearing and even objected to the claim that the university supports BDS, the Committee concludes that MK Hasson did not violate the ethics rules.
4. But the Committee also commented to the university administration, that they must also maintain appropriate manners toward Knesset members, they were wrong to have alleged "buying" a hearing, while the three initiators of the hearing have expressed that they did not receive any contribution from Mr. Gross. Also the university's rector, Prof. Zvi Hacohen, inappropriately expressed his opinion toward the Knesset members.
As expected, the Ethics Committee focused on the narrow question of the ethics of the hearing, including its provocative title. Thus, the conclusions should be viewed within the narrow mandate of the Committee. Unfortunately, the personal conflict between Mr. Gross and Ben Gurion University has actually distracted from the broader issue at stake here.
The Department of Politics and Government at BGU has a long history of radical political activism which, in many ways, is equally damaging to calls for BDS. In 2012 an International Evaluation Committee created by the Council of Higher Education (CHE) produced a devastating review of the Department and its offerings. The Council actually threatened to shut down the Department, a move that created a firestorm in the academic community at home and abroad. At the time, Professor Carmi and the Dean of Social Sciences David Newman called upon the international community of scholars to protest the censure. Following thousands of petitions and threats of boycott by a large number of professional associations, the CHE caved in. After reaching an agreement based on a face saving formula of alleged changes, the Department was allowed to operate with small changes in the curriculum with the same activist faculty.
The abysmal failure of the CHE vis-a vis the Department ended virtually all efforts to impose higher standards on social science departments of Israeli universities. As IAM has repeatedly documented, Israeli social sciences, staffed by devotees of neo-Marxist, critical scholarship, offer outmoded courses and lag badly behind international standards. Similarly, an Evaluation Committee of the Sociological Department of the Hebrew University found a paucity of courses in quantitative methods and other cutting-edge subjects.
With few exceptions, Israeli universities are public institutions supported by the tax payers and accountable to the elected representatives of the public. The tax payers should expect better than an outmoded paradigm of teaching and research that does not train students for the competitive economy of the twenty first century.
|To the attention of the Board of Governors of BGU |
|Ben Gurion University the Epicenter of Israel-as-an-Apartheid-State Analogy
May 05, 2017
Finally the winds are changing. A report by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (which comprises 18 Arab states) accusing Israel of being an “apartheid state” and racially discriminating against the Palestinian people, was removed from the Commission’s website. The UN spokesman explained that “the report as it stands does not reflect the views of the Secretary-General”. The "apartheid state" crusade has attracted the attention of the US senate which denounced the "singular focus" of the organization on Israel.
While the UN may adopt a more balanced approach in the future, a look at the genesis of the apartheid analogy is informative. When pro-Palestinian activists had toyed with the idea of linking Israel with South Africa under the apartheid regime, Ben Gurion University (BGU) scholars actually provided the academic legitimacy to the apartheid analogy.
Oren Yiftachel, a professor in the Geography Department at BGU is arguably the intellectual architect of the academic analogy. In 2002 Yiftachel submitted a paper to Political Geography which described Israel as "a state dedicated to the expansion and control of one ethnic group." He concluded that society like this "cannot be classified as democracies in a substantive sense". Much to his surprise, his paper was returned unopened with an attached explanatory note that Political Geography could not accept a submission from Israel. After a lengthy discussion, the journal accepted the paper on the condition that Yiftachel makes "substantial revisions" to include a comparison between Israel and apartheid South Africa. Yiftachel agreed. Since then he is riding on his "apartheid" scholarship to considerable fame in the political geography community. Michael C. Hudson, the former director of the notoriously anti-Israel Center for Contemporary Arab Studies in Georgetown University acknowledged Yiftachel's pivotal role and awarded him a medal in 2012.
Neve Gordon a professor in the Department of Politics and Government at BGU, is another academic popularizer of the "apartheid" analogy. Gordon, a veteran political activist started his career as the director of the Physicians for Human Rights – Israel which was denounced by the Israeli Medical Association. In 2004, while a visiting scholar at the notoriously anti-Israel Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Berkeley, which provided him with the necessary resources to write, he worked on the book Israel Occupation. In Gordon's reading, there was only a small difference between Israel and apartheid South Africa, “that in the West Bank no legislation was introduced to support this practice, and no official government decision was taken to put such legislation into effect”. Gordon's logic prompted him to urge a boycott of Israel in an article in the LA Times in 2009 where he wrote “The most accurate way to describe Israel today is as an apartheid state.”
Idan Landau of the Foreign Literature & Linguistics Department at BGU has written in 2007 on the purpose of the boycott. He wrote, “One of the important considerations is whether the boycott does not act as a double-edged sword, in that it creates hostility and alienation among those Israeli academics who also oppose the occupation, and even actively participate in protest against it, yet deny the legitimacy of the academic boycott. Whether or not they are right or wrong, the very fact that activating the boycott creates a wedge between them and potential partners in the struggle outside Israel is already a question of the effectiveness of an academic boycott… After stripping off the layers of insult, victimization, fury and distraction, there is nothing left to the opponents of the boycott to argue with the principle of the moral validity of the academic boycott and sanctions against the state of Israel and the apartheid regime it imposed in the territories.”
Sarai Aharoni from the BGU Gender Studies Program, co-authored a paper in 2015 supporting a partial boycott of Israel. She wrote: “the BDS movement has also relied heavily on the language of freedom and justice, framing the longstanding Israeli occupation as yet another manifestation of a Zionist colonial regime that has transformed over time into an institutionalized Apartheid system based on national and ethnic discrimination.” For her, however, “boycott is a double-edged sword”, because BDS will effectively discourage international scholars from collaborating with Israeli scholars who oppose the Israeli policies. Such scholars “are gradually isolated and silenced within Israeli academia.” She also confirmed that “Supporters of an academic and cultural boycott point out the complicity of Israeli academic institutions with the occupation apparatus. This is of course true in the economic sense.”
In the face of such "engaged scholarship" the leadership of BGU has been strangely silent. When the Council of Higher Education tried to force BGU to reign in its activist faculty and warned to close the Department of Politics and Government, the president of the university and the dean of social science called upon the international academic community to mobilize in protest.
BGU and the other Israeli universities need to be aware of the role played by radical scholars in legitimizing the "Israel-as-an-apartheid-state" analogy that serves as an intellectual justification for BDS. The leaders of the BDS movement welcome these scholars because they deflect accusations of anti-Semitism. In this sense, Yiftachel, Gordon, and others serve as the contemporary reincarnation of Lenin's "useful idiots."
|BGU Neve Gordon's Double Standards|
|IAM reported last week that the British Government adopted the Working Definition of Anti-Semitism as drafted by the European Monitoring Center in 2005. Not surprisingly, this move has prompted a reaction by opponents, including Professor Neve Gordon of Ben Gurion University's department of Politics and Government, who is currently in a two years scholarship at London's SOAS. In a column in the influential London Review of Books, Gordon accuses the British Government of double standards.
Although Gordon admits that anti-Semitism is on the rise and needs to be challenged, he claims that one category of the Working Definition, out of eleven examples, is dangerous. The Working Definition lists "ways in which antisemitism manifests itself with regard to the State of Israel taking into account the overall context". Gordon refers to the example of "applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation." Gordon does not agree with "the categorisation of Israel as a democracy (for me as an Israeli Jew it undoubtedly is, but for my Palestinian neighbours in South Hebron it undoubtedly is not)".
In fact, Gordon himself fits the description of the Working Definition of Anti-Semitism with regard to Israel. Gordon found striking similarities between Israel and South Africa’s apartheid. In his book Israel’s Occupation he found only one "major difference" between the two, that in South Africa the apartheid regime was institutionalized, but "in the West Bank no legislation was introduced to support this practice, and no official government decision was taken to put such legislation into effect".
Gordon tries to demonstrate the fact that countries tend to use double standards when criticizing other countries. For instance, he accuses the British government of Islamophobia "given that the UK condemns Iran more harshly than China for human rights violations." But he is wrong, Iran sponsors terrorism worldwide, a well documented activity which landed the regime a number one on the State Department and EU lists of countries sponsoring terrorism. China, on the other hand, is not a state sponsor of terrorism.
Gordon furnishes other examples of double standards of the British government. He accuses the British Government of failing to speak out against Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen. But he conveniently fails to mention that the Saudi intervention there was triggered by the so-called Houthi rebellion. Operating under the command of Iran's Quds Force, the foreign operation branch of the Revolutionary Guards, the Shite Houhtis occupied the capital city of Sana and deposed the government. Gordon should know that but is probably not ready to write about Iran's persistent use of terror and civil strife to destabilize countries in the Middle East.
In fact, like many of his radical activist- academic peers, Gordon has practiced double standards all along. Anyone familiar with his writings would find it hard to come across criticism of human rights violations by Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or Bashar Assad, who has been massacring his own citizens. Neither does he have anything to say about the universally condemned brutality of ISIS, whose ideology justified killing, torture, and rape of civilians for the sake of recreating the Caliphate.
Gordon should know that practicing such blatant double standards undermines whatever academic legitimacy he may still have.
|Chapter 7 in "Women and Jihad" detailing Rachel Avraham's Experience of anti-Israel Bias at Ben-Gurion University|
|IAM has the permission to publish chapter seven in Rachel Avraham's new book Women and Jihad. While pursuing an MA degree at Ben Gurion University and writing a thesis on woman suicide bombers, Rachel felt strong anti-Israel biases which she opposed, only to be harshly criticized and intimidated by BGU staff. She turned to IAM for support. This is her story|
|BGU Faculty Campaign "Against the Tyranny of the 'National Consensus'" for an Alternative Award to Breaking the Silence|
|The latest political development at BGU relates to the Berelson Prize, endowed by the businessman William E. Berelson. Berelson, who died in 1997, intended his Prize to promote peace in the MIddle East. The JWeekly newspaper noted that "Each year, a Ben-Gurion University committee awards the prize to a person who promotes peace between Israel and its neighbors." The then regional director of the S.F.-based American Associates of Ben-Gurion University, Philip Gomperts said of Berelson, "The message of peace was an idea very close to his heart...he really believed that one day peace would come." Berelson was born in China and traded in China and the Far East. "But the Middle East -- and the promise of peace in that region -- also captured his attention." Susan Wolfe, former regional director of Ben-Gurion University and a longtime friend of Berelson said "Because he was such a traveler both for business and personal reasons, he really understood and appreciated that different cultures could work together."
As IAM discussed, the department for Middle East Studies at BGU intended to award the Berelson Prize to "Breaking the Silence," a group of IDF veterans who collect testimonies about their military service in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem since the Second Intifada. A recent report by HaMakor, an investigative TV program showed that of ten testimonies it examined, two were confirmed as true, two were exaggerated, two were false and four could not be verified.
Things came to ahead when Professor Rivka Carmi, the BGU President, cancelled the prize this year. The cancellation has caused a stir, prompting the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) to write her a letter of concern, "Your decision to overturn this decision of the Middle East Studies faculty is a clear instance of interference with faculty governance and a violation of academic freedom. We urge you to reverse your decision, respect the collective will of your faculty, regardless of Breaking the Silence’s relationship to a purported 'national political consensus,' and award this group the 2016 Berelson Prize."
In response, Anne E. Berkeley, the assistant to Carmi, wrote back that "the Berelson Prize Fund was given to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and not to a specific department. The donor did not appoint the Department of Middle East Studies to determine the prize winners. The original purpose of the fund was to bestow the prize on Ben-Gurion University students or faculty who were leaders in peace promotion. They were chosen by a committee that included, among others, the head of the Center for Understanding between Jews and Arabs - and the Dean of Students. Upon the retirement of the aforementioned head of the Center, the University transferred the fund to the Department of Middle East Studies, which bestowed the prize on a variety of personages who, in their judgement, promoted peace... [with regards to Breaking the Silence] awarding a prize is an act of recognition and appreciation which is tantamount to taking a stand and supporting the intended recipient. Such a stand does not fall under the mandate of the University which is comprised of individuals of varying points of view, and all the more so it is not part of the mandate of a single department to make that determination in the name of an entire academic institution."
As expected, a number of political activists denounced Carmi, including the Haaretz editor, who referred to her in an editorial "The Rhino of the Negev," a wink to the 1959 Eugene Ionesco play, the "Rhinoceros" about inhabitants of a small French town which turned into rhinoceroses while the main character did not succumb to this mass metamorphosis. The play explores the theme of conformity. Haaretz used strong words against Carmi: "In recent years, the Israeli government leads to a systematic campaign to undermine critics of its policies, directed primarily against human rights organizations and those struggling against the occupation. Campaign to discredit people and organizations that has metastasized legally and publicly, has become an obvious reality in the eyes of large segments of society in Israel. The decision of the president of Ben-Gurion University, Prof. Rivka Carmi, to overturn the decision to award the organization Breaking the Silence - after the incitement campaign against the organization - encourages this unacceptable approach. Instead of strengthening civil society, Carmi joined those seeking to suppress it, while adopting a growing delegitimization of organizations critical of government policies and the occupation in particular."
Equally important, numerous faculty at Ben Gurion University have initiated a campaign titled Against the Tyranny of the "National Consensus", for an alternative ceremony and award to Breaking the Silence. Behind the new initiative is Guy Beiner, a faculty at the history department at BGU. Yitzhak (Yani) Nevo, also of BGU, forwarded the campaign request to the "Academia-IL" Network. The contributions exceeded expectations.
The campaign included some comments, for example, Daniel Blatman of HUJ wrote: "This act deserves recognition and congratulations to Guy for the initiative. Against the shameful NGOs Law and Rivka Carmi the guardian of the sacred consensus - this is the proper response. Congratulations."
Oren Yiftachel of BGU wrote: "It turns out that the consensus today is apartheid in the territories, and the organization Breaking the Silence stands against it. Good for the organization and this initiative!"
Galia Golan of IDC: "Awarding Breaking the Silence is a symbol of support by those who work to end the occupation and for peace between Israel and Palestine."
Nitza Yanai of BGU has asked "Is there a possibility to hold the alternative ceremony in the university? It will have greater symbolic effect than in the city of Beersheba".
Among the donors to the campaign were Louise Bethlehem; Hagit Benbaji; Tsafrir Goldberg; Dani Filc; Daniel Jacobson; Hillel Shoken and Efrat Bradzjik Shoken; Maayan and Guy Davidov; Yael Hashiloni-Dolev; Moshe Zuckermann; Ami Ayalon; Yohanan and Hannah Peres; Alon Konfino; Eran Feitelson; Amos Goldberg; Jonathan Anson; Sharon Pardo; Gili Baruch; Avi Rubin; Efraim Davidi; Michal Givoni; Noam Tirosh; Ehud Krinis; Lynn Schler; Naomi Shir; David Enoch; Zvi Mazeh; Tommy Dreifus; Yoram Bilu; Snait Gissis; Amit Shechter; Ofer Cassif; Miri Eliav-Faldon; Dan Yakir; Ilan Saban; Uri Avraham; Ayelet Harel-Shalev; Yoram Meital; Oded Goldreich; Nitza Berkowitz; Tamar Katriel; Renee Poznanski; Haim Yacobi; Becky Cook; Shlomo Moran; Oren Yiftachel; Haggai Ram; Yitzhak Nevo; Dani Ungar; Gidi Nevo; Eitan Bar-Yosef; Chaim Weiss; Neve Gordon; Iris Agmon; Itamar Even Zohar; Galia Golan; Tamar Rapoport; Yeshayahu Tadmor; Harvey Goldberg; Yair Glasner; Daniel Blatman; Nitza Yanai.
Amit Shechter who advocated for the campaign on Reshet Bet radio, explained that what prompted them to act was Carmi's explanation of the group being outside the consensus.
Carmi might be losing support at home but should note that the radical fraternity among BGU faculty is BGU own making.
|BGU is Making Headlines with Political Activism Again: Haggai Ram as a Case in Point|
|Last week, Professor Rivka Carmi, the President of Ben Gurion University, nixed a plan by the Department of Middle East Studies to grant the annual Ben-Gurion University Berelson Prize for Jewish-Arab Understanding of $5100 to the NGO Breaking the Silence. Carmi explained that it is first and foremost the University that picks the recipient and that the Department took the initiative without consulting the authorities. Carmi emphasized that Breaking the Silence is not part of the Israeli consensus and therefore not a candidate.
But Professor Haggai Ram, the head of the Department, told Haaretz that his colleagues voted unanimously to grant the prize to Breaking the Silence because the "public debate has moved “dangerously” toward right-wing extremism." Ram asserted that "Breaking the Silence has been one of the principal targets of this onslaught, and that "we believe that advancing Jewish-Arab relations requires confronting the public with the truth of the occupation – which may not be pleasant to hear, but constitutes a fundamental condition for reconciliation between the two peoples.”
Not surprising, condemnation of Carmi poured from the radical left. One critique even suggested that Carmi's decision will boost the calls for boycott. "She appears to have shot herself in the foot with the decision to cancel the prize to Breaking the Silence. It not only undermines the academic independence and freedom of the university, setting a dangerous precedent for further restrictions and the silencing of those who oppose Israeli policies, but it also is constitutes an effective boycott of Breaking the Silence, something she has categorically rejected. Carmi has — perhaps unintentionally — boosted the legitimacy of boycotts in general as a tool, and academic boycott in particular, by endorsing it herself in order to keep her institution afloat."
Carmi's problems with the radical faculty are of Ben Gurion University own making. BGU has allowed academics-activists to masquerade as bona fide scholars for too long. In 2011, the Council of Higher Education international quality assessment committee found the Department of Politics and Government to be below standard because of a preponderance of critical, neo-Marxist scholars. The committee evaluating the Sociology Department made similar observations.
Haggai Ram has been a par excellence of an academic-activist. His scholarship is rather meager and his prose obtuse. For instance in the introduction to his book Iranophobia Ram wrote "that Israeli scholarly research on the Middle East and Iran has remained impervious to innovative analytical tools and paradigms used in other disciplines of the humanities and the social sciences that are reminiscent of the 'epistemic self-sufficiency' of Orientalism as a mode of knowledge production." For those who the writing incomprehensible, Ram wants Middle East Studies in Israel to match the neo-Marxist, critical scholarship of his colleagues in the departments of Politics & Government and Sociology.
As for the nuclear program in Iran, Ram found it to be a fabrication of the Israeli government which was looking to divert attention from its subjugation of the Mizrahim and lower classes: "the Israeli government, academia, and media were disseminating distorted images of Iran that are informed by the [Israeli] state's security and ethnocentric concerns."
Ram has never let facts to deflect his strongly-held beliefs. Needless to say, he probably did not bother to read the 2011 report of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Iran's nuclear program; after a painstaking analysis the Safeguard Division of the Agency concluded that Iran had an advanced enrichment capacity and conducted numerous experiments to weaponize its uranium stocks. For the same reason, he is probably not aware that in signing the 2015 Comprehensive Joint Plan of Action with the international community, Iran agreed to dismantle much of its enrichment capacity. The question that Ram needs to answer now is: if Iran's nuclear program was a figment of Israeli imagination, what is it that the Iranians are dismantling?
It is not clear why Ram, who was considered the "Iran expert" in the Department, decided to switch fields. He now describes himself as an expert in Hashish. In his 2016 research he explains: "I begin by examining how hashish traffickers responded to these new conditions of control and prohibition, showing that their persistence in maintaining the illicit trade presented the authorities with unforeseen challenges. I then provide a vista into Mandatory Palestine's consuming subjects and the kinds of colonial knowledge about cannabis which helped to raise critical, racial-cum-cultural, awareness of these people, as well as to deter Jews from consuming the forbidden substance. As opposed to other regions of the British Empire (most notably India and Egypt), the history of cannabis in Palestine has not been told before."
It is not clear why the taxpayers have to sponsor his new research interest and who in the department is now doing research on Iran, a subject that Ram was apparently hired to do. This question needs to be answered by the BGU authorities that allowed shoddy academic practices to continue for so long.
|BGU Neve Gordon at the Brown University Center Headed by Beshara Doumani, a Saudi Born Palestinian
|Professor Beshara Doumani, a Saudi born Palestinian who heads the Middle East Center at Brown University has turned the Center into a platform for anti-Israel activism. He was among the 100 Middle East studies scholars and librarians who petitioned to boycott Israeli institutions in 2014. Last year Doumani has succumbed to pressure by the BDS movement and backed down from participating in an Adi Ophir conference at Brown.
This is hardly news. In his Ph.D thesis in 1990 at Georgetown University, Doumani ridiculed Israeli academics and stated: "Israeli academics, and ironically, their Palestinian counterparts who sought to rebut them, generally assume that the real history of Palestine did not begin until after the first aliyeh [sic] or wave of Zionist immigration in 1882."
Doumani also sits on the advisory board of FFIPP, an "Educational Network for Human Rights in Palestine/Israel. It is a network of Palestinian, Israeli, and international faculty and students, working in solidarity for a complete end of occupation and just peace."
Shortly after the outbreak of the Second Intifada Doumani and other Palestinian academics signed a declaration stating that, "The profoundly irresponsible and self-serving act of the Barak government in allowing Ariel Sharon onto the Haram al Sharif shows not just an alarming lack of judgement, but also a total disregard for Palestinian, Arab and Muslim sensibilities. The use of live ammunition against unarmed Palestinian civilians at demonstrations there the next day and at protests ever since, shows total contempt for Palestinian life." This document also stated that "Israel’s recognition of its responsibility in the creation of the Palestinian refugees in 1948 is a pre-requisite to finding a just and lasting resolution of the refugee problem in accordance with relevant United Nations resolutions."
Neve Gordon was among the Israelis backing this pledge.
IAM already reported that Gordon was linked to a Saudi sponsored center. When Gordon was in a Sabbatical at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies in the University of California, Berkeley, he wrote his 2008 book Israel's Occupation and it was the head of the center Nezar alSayyad who, as Gordon stated in the acknowledgements, "welcomed me and provided me with the necessary resources to write".
Last month Gordon was hosting a workshop, "Human Shields and the Force of Discrimination" at Doumani's Middle East Center in Brown University with Nicola Perugini, an assistant Professor and head of the Human Rights and International Law program at the Al Quds Bard Honors College in Jerusalem. They presented a paper together, "The politics of human shielding: On the resignification of space and the constitution of civilians as shields in liberal wars" (see below). The paper intentionally does not criticize the many reported cases of Palestinians, especially Hamas, using civilians as human shields. They merely spoke about actions of the Israeli army during the operation in Gaza in 2014.
"In order to better understand the politics of human shielding... potentially against entire civilian populations and the spaces they inhabit—we examine the 2014 Israeli military operation in Gaza, dubbed by Israel as ‘‘Protective Edge’’. One of the prominent claims repeated by the Israeli government and military throughout the oﬀensive is that Hamas (the Palestinian Islamist party that rules the Gaza Strip) deliberately used human shields as a warfare technique, and therefore it bears responsibility for the extensive killing of civilians and destruction of civilian buildings and infrastructures carried out by the Israeli army during the military campaign. In his ﬁrst appearance at the UN General Assembly after Protective Edge, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated the human shields mantra. Showing his international audience a picture of children playing in the vicinity of a rocket launcher, he averred that ‘‘Hamas deliberately placed its rockets where Palestinian children live and play’’." By citing Netanyahu the authors meant to present what he said as untrue or "Israeli propaganda".
They explain their methodology for addressing human shields but were careful not to blame Palestinians for it. "We begin to address these questions with a concise genealogy of human shields in international law, followed by a brief overview of how the discourse of human shields emerged in the context of Israel/Palestine. Next, we examine the way Israel used the concept human shield in the 2014 Gaza war by analyzing a series of infographics spread by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on its Twitter account, Facebook and oﬃcial blog. It is in this context that we discuss the intricately knit connection between the resigniﬁcation of space and the constitution of a civilian as a shield, showing also that the infographics are merely one element in a broader apparatus of discrimination produced by the IDF. After illustrating how the deployment of the phrase human shield helps render legal the deployment of lethal violence against civilians, we conclude by arguing that the relatively recent appearance of human shields highlights the manifestation of a contemporary political antinomy."
The workshop that Gordon hosted included also Avner Gidron of Amnesty International as a speaker. Gidron is not an objective observer but an activist pushing his political agenda. In a 2014 Huffington Post article "Israeli Land-grabs and Settlements: More Than Merely 'Counterproductive,'" he stated that "Israel's land-grab and dissection of the West Bank including East Jerusalem has had a devastating impact on the lives of Palestinians. Around 40 percent of West Bank has already been classified by Israel as "state" land. And the settlements, built on this illegally seized Palestinian land, are for Jews only. Discrimination against Palestinians on grounds of nationality and religion is the dominant feature of Israel's settlement policy."
The role of Israelis in pro-Palestinian workshops and conferences is significant. Most people do not realize that the Palestinian activist community on Western campuses will only befriend Israelis who are willing to bash Israel. Neve Gordon, a radical political activist masquerading as academic, has a long history of legitimizing their agenda.
Gordon's continuous involvement with groups that push for BDS raises questions that the BGU authorities need to address. He is not only active in the BDS movement but also damages Israel's higher education reputation.
|BGU Haim Yacobi at a SOAS Palestine Society Conference: Anti-Israel Fest Sponsored by Qatar|
|We have been accustomed to seeing Israel-hate fests on Western campuses. This time its the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London, known for its radical pro-Palestinian positions. In its 10th annual conference in October, the Palestine Society has solely focused on the bashing of Israel instead of addressing Palestinian issues. As usual, Israeli and Jewish activists have been invited to serve as defense against charges of anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism.
As could be expected, Professor Ilan Pappe, a leading cheerleader for the Palestinian cause was present. The new recruit to SOAS, Hagar Kotef, made an appearance as well. As IAM reported, Kotef, whose paltry academic research focuses on the women of Machsom Watch, is a "politically correct" hire and it was only a matter of time until she had to deliver the bashing Israel "goods".
Professor Haim Yacobi, the chair of the Politics and Government Department at BGU, was another speaker. His lecture "The "Arab Village": Politics of Land [Counter]Representation and Identity" deals with the consequences of the 1948 war and the destruction of hundreds of Palestinian villages. Yacobi shall argue that "destruction is just one side of the colonial saptio-politics in Israel\Palestine."
Yacobi recently published an article "Jerusalem: from a ‘divided’ to a ‘contested’ city—and next to a neo-apartheid city?" where he restated his claims that Israel is a colonial entity. He also views Jerusalem as an apartheid city: "while Israeli rhetoric declared Jerusalem a unified city, its planning policies have reflected the paradigm of a colonial city" that, "promoted the Judaization of Jerusalem—that is, the expansion of Jewish political, territorial, demographic and economic control. More specifically, over the past 46 years, Israel has used its military might and economic power to relocate borders and form boundaries, grant and deny rights and resources, shift populations and reshape the Occupied Territories, for the purpose of ensuring Jewish control."
This type of "scholarship" that Yacobi represents is causing some respected academics to question if social sciences can be objective enough, with some going so far as to suggest that the field should be abolished. The reason is clear: the likes of Yacobi cherry pick their arguments to present a black and white image to fit their political agenda, ignoring any legitimate counter arguments that do not fit their theories.
To make matters worse, the invitation to the SOAS conference indicated that the conference was held "With the Support of Al-Araby Al-Jadeed", a new media outlet in London, owned by the Qatari company Fadaat Media. In other words, it is Arab money that buys Western and Israeli scholarships that promote anti-Israel agenda.
SOAS one-sided support for the Palestinians made it a no-trespass zone for Jews. As the March 2015 article "Scared away as hate grows at SOAS" in the Jewish Chronicle stated, "Since SOAS's students' union launched a boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign in January, day-to-day life has become increasingly difficult for the handful of Jews and pro-Israel students on the campus."
Things will get worse unless universities understand that their social sciences have been hijacked by anti-Israel agenda.
|More of the Same at BGU Politics and Government|
|In 2011, as part of it routine procedure, the Israeli Council of Higher Education (CHE) has commissioned a professional committee to evaluate the academic standards of all political science departments in Israeli Universities. The CHE hired Prof. Thomas Risse from the Freie Universitat Berlin to chair the Committee for Quality Assessment of the Department of Government and Politics at Ben Gurion University. Prof. Gabriel Ben Dor, University of Haifa; Prof. Benjamin Jerry Cohen, University of California; Prof. Abraham Diskin, Hebrew University; Prof. Galia Golan, IDC; Prof. Ellen Immergut, Humboldt University Berlin; Prof. Robert Lieber, Georgetown University joined him on the panel. The report was scathing. The professional committee found the department long on political and community activism and short on core political science studies.
The report was leaked to Dahlia Scheindlin who published it in the press and triggered accusations of "right-wing witch hunt." In addition, the Department opened a website "Israeli Academia Under Attack" where it posted letters of support from the international community.
In its Defense, the Department published the following:
"This committee, whose members are praised as positivist and empiricist political scientists produced a report that was not only biased but erred on key facts, errors that facilitated its unprecedented conclusion – the department of Politics and Government, which was established purposefully in order to foster and advance interdisciplinary, critical and qualitative research (the kind of research which is currently under represented in all other political science departments in Israel) was instructed to introduce mainstream positivist political science into its research and curricula. Failing to do so, the Council of Higher Education should consider shutting it down. This evaluation, which was biased both politically and disciplinarily, was also based on basic factual errors. For example: The committee counted only 50% of the referreed articles published by department members. And while criticizing the department at BGU, they praised the department of political science at Tel-Aviv University which published the same amount of articles but have twice as many faculty members." The Department also blamed the evaluation for being biased by, among others, trying to link one of its members to collaborating with the right-wing group Im Tirtzu.
Instead of following the requests of the Committee for Quality Assessment, the department, along with the President and Dean, initiated an unprecedented attack against the CHE, that serves a high place in the later rounds of boycott calls against the Israeli higher education institutions.
After extensive pressure from the international academic community, including threats of boycott, the CHE essentially folded. Its threat to close the Department was withdrawn for a promise to hire more main stream, positivist scholars and faculty specializing in quantitative methods, deemed to be a particularly weak spot in the curriculum.
Four years later and not much has changed. The new hire from Exeter University, is Mansour Nasasra who co-edited a book in 2014 "The Naqab Bedouin and Colonialism brings together new scholarship to challenge perceived paradigms, often dominated by orientalist, modernist or developmentalist assumptions on the Naqab Bedouin" that includes a chapter by Ilan Pappe "The Forgotten Victims of the Palestine Ethnic Cleansing" ; A chapter by Safa Abu Rabia, "Land, Identity, and History: New Discourse on the Nakba of Bedouin Arabs in the Naqab"; and a chapter by Ahmad Amara "Colonialism, Cause Advocacy, and the Naqab Case", among others.
The department accepted three post doctorate scholars, two are Ariel Handel and Chen Misgav. Handel's publications include The Political Lexicon of the Social Protest (ed. in chief; Hakibutz Hameuchad, 2012) and Geographies of Occupation(Van Leer, forthcoming). Misgav's publications include "The Protest within the Protest? Political Spaces of Feminism and Ethnicities in the 2011 Israeli Protest Movement", Women's Studies International Forum (2015), and "Dirty dancing: The (non)fluid geographies of a queer night club in Tel Aviv", Social & Cultural Geography (2014).
It seems clear that the BGU Department of Politics and Government is not going to raise its academic standards as repeatedly requested by the Committee for Quality Assessment.
|[BGU & TAU] Efraim Davidi: A Profile of a Political Activist|
|Dr. Efraim Davidi is one of the co-founders of the Left Bank, A Critical Platform for Society and Culture and its “college” The Social Economic Academy (SEA), as well as the editor of the magazine Zu Haderch (The Way), a Marxist publication appearing under the logo “workers of the world unite.” A veteran communist, Davidi is also a member of the HADASH party, The Democratic Front for Peace and Equality, a radical left-wing political coalition in Israel formed by the Israeli Communist Party and other leftist groups. A prolific organizer, Davidi has been busy in promoting conferences on Marx, history of Marxism and, on a more contemporary note, exposing the evils of globalization and capitalism. Unsurprisingly, in the eyes of Davidi, Israel is the epitome of all evil, a confluence of capitalism, colonialism, and globalization - the latter because of its leading role in Information Technology.
But despite of the numerous ventures which Davidi has been engaged in, he apparently needs to support himself, as even radical activists need to pay their bills. And as in the case of numerous radical activists before him, his upkeep comes from the taxpayers. More precisely, he teaches in the Department of Social Work and in Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University as well as in the Institute for Latin American History and Culture at Tel Aviv University.
As previously reported, Davidi treats his classes as an extension of his Marxist ideology. A syllabus of a course he taught, “An Introduction to the European Welfare State in the 20th Century” is more telling. There is no pretense of offering the students a balanced perspectives. His students are fed a diet of Marxist jargon that would not be out of place at Moscow University during the height of the Soviet Union.
Clearly, Davidi and the other activists profiled by IAM, found a cozy and profitable niche in the liberal arts of Israeli universities. They can spend more of their time on activism, they can offer classes bear no resemblance to the Humboldian idea of a “classroom as a marketplace of ideas” and publish in Resling Press, a Hebrew press created to publish critical, neo- Marxist scholarship, as per its own description, Teoria and Bikoret (Theory and Criticism), the flagship publication of critical scholarship and the various Van Leer outlets.
In spite of the fact that numerous international committees have found large swath of social sciences in Israel to be outmoded and drastically lacking in mainstream scholarship, virtually nothing has been done to remedy this situation. Indeed, a new cohort of radical activists is assuming academic positions, a process facilitated by the fact that their academic mentors are still in position of authority. In the case of Davidi, his doctoral supervisor, Professor Raanan Rein, went on from the head of the Sverdlin Institute for Latin American History and Culture to the Vice President of TAU.
Nothing will change as long as this chain of patronage and cooptation based on ideological considerations rather than academic merit is not broken. For too long now, the social sciences have served as a dumping ground for the non-meritorious radical activists. As well known, the social sciences rank well below their counterparts in the West. The Israeli students and the taxpayers deserve better.
|BGU Haim Yacobi - A Political Activist at a SOAS Conference "Settler and Citizens: A Critical View Of Israeli Society"|
|Prof. Haim Yacobi (BGU Department of Politics and Government) is one of the speakers at the annual Palestine Society Conference of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. As well known, SOAS has a long tradition of anti-Israel agitation masquerading as academic discourse.
The 10th Palestine Society Conference is featuring radical academics such as Ilan Pappe and indeed, Yacobi would be rubbing shoulders with Pappe, Hilla Dayan and others.
That Yacobi will participate in the SOAS conference is hardly surprising. His academic background indicates that after completing an undergraduate degree in architecture at Betzalel Academy, he decided to find something more suitable to express his political ideas. To this end, he did work on his doctoral dissertation under Prof. Oren Yiftachel who was the first to “determine” that Israel was an apartheid state.
Like his mentor, Yacobi has worked hard to make sure that Israel is a colonial apartheid society. For instance in 2005, he published an article with Yiftachel titled "Walls, Fences and 'Creeping Apartheid' in Israel/Palestine". A perusal of his work indicates a preponderance of terms like colonial, segregated and divided, discussed in the context of urban planning which seems to be his specialization.
It is not at all surprising that Yacobi would follow his political passion by “proving” that the colonial, apartheid character of Israeli society is reflected in its urban and regional planning. IAM has proved numerous times that faculty activists invariably use their position to propagate their political agenda.
The real surprise here, why was he offered a position in the Department of Politics and Government? Certainly, the classes he offers such as, The Politics of the City; Political Geography: Theory, Methodology, Criticism; The Struggle over Space; are extremely marginal to political science.
Indeed, the 2012 International Evaluation Committee criticized the Department of having no core political science curriculum and virtually no training in research methods. The Council of Higher Education has threatened to close the Department but backed down when the President of BGU Prof. Rivka Carmi and the Dean, Prof. David Newman appealed to international scholars to protest the decision.
So once again the taxpayers are supporting a radical activist with a questionable research agenda who can use their money to travel to a conference which presents Israel as the "poster child" of colonialism and apartheid. To make matter worse, Yacobi and other radical activists have deprived students of a cutting edge education in political science and other disciplines.
Yacobi who is tenured cannot be removed from the Department, but here are a few suggestions what he can offer in the politics of urban planning to educate students for 21st century issues. The topics are taken from urban and regional planning program of a middle-level state (public) university in the United States.
Ecologist and environmental research that focuses on the interrelations between natural and human systems in planning and management; Urban governance, sustainable development and processes of urban restructuring. The Politics and Effects of High Density Zoning in Urban Environment; land use planning and policy, the links between health and the built environment, state and local finance and intergovernmental relations, with a particular emphasis on the impacts of various development patterns and the broad effects of growth on communities.
|Uri Ram and the Dept. of Sociology at BGU: Why Karl Marx and Not Adam Smith?|
|Professor Uri Ram, the dominant figure in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Ben Gurion University, has little regard for liberal economy and the globalization that has popularized the ideas of free market.
To the contrary, in the 1990s, this self-proclaimed critical scholar and architect of New Sociology, launched a crusade against capitalism. He excoriated the eminent Hebrew University sociologist Shmuel Noah Eisenstadt for adopting the developmental model of sociology which, in Ram’s view reflected the “hegemonic” free market thinking. His 2007 book Globalization in Israel vented his frustration with the fact that Israel was becoming part of the free liberal economy.
Needless to say, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology reflects his distaste of all thing mainstream or “hegemonic.” However, a 2012 Council of Higher Education Evaluation Committee offered a scathing report on the Department. Among others the Committee noted that there was a paucity of rigorous research method courses, that the course offerings were heavily biased toward critical sociology and had little to offer the many students who were interested in applied (and market oriented) subjects such as sociology of organizations, etc. The Committee urged hiring faculty well versed in research methods, including networking analysis and other topics that are prevalent in mainstream sociology departments.
Not much has changed since the Evaluation Report which is still top heavy with faculty which specialize in what the Committee described as non-mainstream sociology.
As for Ram himself, he is preoccupied as ever with his vision of what a society should be. In his new book on Buber and the Buberites, The Return of Martin Buber: National and Social Thought in Israel from Buber to Neo-Buberism (Hebrew), Ram writes that Buber, who became a professor in the Sociology Department at the Hebrew University, was a champion of social justice. He goes on to explain that Buberism was undermined by Eisenstadt , but is popular again among the so-called Buberites.
Ram is also organizing a conference on Marx: "The 1917 Bolshevik revolution was central in shaping our age. The revolution was total: an economic, social, cultural, political and educational revolution, and aimed to make true Karl Marx's communist vision, open a new age in the history of the human kind."
Quite clearly, it has probably never occurred to Ram, or anyone else in his Department, to organize a conference on Adam Smith, a name that, according to some observers, is not very familiar to Israeli students. To do that would be to acknowledge that Smith is as important as Buber and Marx to students who need to function in the 21th century.
The Evaluation Committee was emphatic that the Department’s students were not well equipped for this task and, in fact, have been shortchanged by their faculty.
Here is a couple of suggestions on how the Department can enhance the education of their students. It is based on the curriculum of the Department of Sociology of the University of Pennsylvania (the oldest department of sociology in the United States.) First, the department has a very strong research methods program: “Sociology also introduces students to the conceptual and methodological tools of social science research, including ethnography, social statistics, network analysis and demographic methods. It provides a background for careers in law, management, journalism and media, criminology, medicine, education, and applied social research.” Second, it offers a special course on “Work and Careers in the 21th Century.“
|David Newman’s Campaign of Obfuscation and Misinformation
|Professor David Newman, the Dean of Social Sciences at Ben Gurion University, has often used his regular column at the Jerusalem Post to settle scores with real or imaginary enemies of the university. In his recent article, he chooses to settle scores with an unnamed donor and member of the Board of Governors, accusing him of right-wing interference in university affairs. Newman goes as far as to call him a “nuisance” and states that the Board actually deliberated whether to remove him. To hear Newman tell it, the unnamed donor has tarnished the image of the university as a place of stellar scholarship and great achievements in the social sciences.
Conveniently, Newman fails to mention his own considerable contribution to the troubled history of the social sciences. As the head of the Department of Politics and Government and subsequently as the Dean, Newman was responsible for recruiting radical faculty activists such as Neve Gordon, who made news advocating a boycott of Israel in 2008. One donor, who promised a large sum of money to build a much needed science library withdrew his offer over the Gordon affair. Since no other donor came forward, the library has never been built.
In 2012, the International Evaluation Committee created by the Council of Higher Education exposed the Department as a refuge for critical, neo-Marxist scholar-activists. Its chair, Thomas Risse from the Free University of Berlin, wrote that the department does not offer core political science courses and that the faculty publishes in marginal journals not indexed in any of the social sciences indices. When the Committee's recommendations for reforms were ignored, the Council threatened to close down the Department. "If these changes are nevertheless not implemented, the majority of the committee believes that, as a last resort, Ben Gurion University should consider closing the Department of Politics and Government."
Instead of instituting a serious reform, BGU applied the so-called ‘nuclear option,’ In an email leaked to the press, Newman wrote, “I am in favor of applying international pressure — in proper measure — together with a trickle of letters from a number of associations and people with international reputations — some of which will reach the media — in parallel with all the other kinds of pressure that are being applied today to the Council for Higher Education by lawyers and the activity of the president and the rector. It is not a 100-percent match to the policy that we set until now, but it seems to me that they are under pressure now and we need to keep up the pressure and not let up."
The unprecedented mobilization of the international social science community in the form of petitions and threat of boycott, silenced the Council. Nominally, the Department is committed to hiring more mainstream faculty, but as the recent IAM post indicated, the habit for providing employment opportunities to fringe academics is very much alive.
Not deterred, Newman goes on to list the alleged social science achievements of his university and beyond. As Yaacov Bergman, an expert on higher education from the Hebrew University demonstrated, social sciences in Israeli universities, virtually all public, have notoriously low scores compared to their Western counterparts. Taxpayers who fund tertiary education deserve accountability based on clear and transparent measurements. Newman’s bragging will not do.
|Ariel Handel - More of the Same at BGU Department of Politics and Government|
|Dr. Ariel Handel, a post-doctorate fellow of the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) at Ben Gurion University Department of Politics and Government. Handel is one of a group of radical scholars whose research activity is an extension of their political activism.
In July 24, 2014 Handel signed an Open Letter by 50 Israeli Army Reservists explaining why they refuse to fight in Gaza. The fifty reservists expressed opposition to the Israeli military apparatus, the war in Gaza and the conscription law. This is hardly surprising since Handel is one of the original army reservists who published the Combatant's Letter in January 2002, aka "Courage to Refuse", he is listed as number 554.
Handel has the right to sign petitions and engage in other political activity. But like his radical colleagues, Handel has used his academic position to push a political agenda. For instance, In 2008 he participated in a conference organized by Elia Zureik States of Exception, Surveillance and Population Management:The Case of Israel/Palestine". Zureik, a professor at Queens University, Ontario, Canada, is a leader in the Palestinian right of return movement. Zureik published the proceeds of the conference in the book Surveillance and Control in Israel/Palestine.
In his chapter "Exclusionary Surveillance and Spatial Uncertainty in the Occupied Palestinian Territories" Handel wrote that "Nearly every Palestinian that leaves his house in order to reach work, school, shopping, medical treatment, or to visit relatives, must bypass a checkpoint and therefore becomes a violator of the movement regulations set by Israel. Criminalization reaches its highest levels in the Seam Zone and in East Jerusalem, where people require a permit even to live in their own homes. Thus the person is always guilty, without the possibility of justification or correction (since there is no rule and exception, right and wrong). The person is guilty just because he lives, moves, and acts; no correction is possible, and therefore no correcting-inclusive surveillance practices are needed."
Handel ended the chapter with "This is a surveillance-free prison. Guards do not look into cells or supervise – all they do is keep prisoners locked in and alive; they have no other duties. There is neither “correction” nor “rehabilitation” – just locking and removing. The state does not embrace the prisoner in anyway – it merely expels him for a specified period. In a similar way – though for an unspecified period – Israel controls the Palestinians in the OPT. They are kept alive and blocked in their archipelago of isolated cells. What do Palestinians do in their cells? Israel no longer even seems to care."
Handel was to participate in the conference "Sensing War" at Friends House, London on the 12th of June 2014 to present his paper "Soundscapes and Touchscapes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories: Affective Spaces of Uncertainty and Violence".
In the summer of 2015 Handel will be participating in a conference “Power and Space in the Drone Age” in Neuchâtel University, Switzerland, where he will argue that the "condition of Israeli occupation creates is one of deliberate and chronic uncertainty penetrating all levels of life among the occupied population...[that] rests on the asymmetry in what might be termed (following Jacques Ranciere) the distribution of the sensible; namely on who is the one who can see, hear and touch the other, and under what conditions...These relations create distinct soundscapes and touchscapes that, although un-mappable, have an extensive impact on the lives and on the spatial organization and daily activities of the occupied."
Handel's case raises two issues. The first pertains to the judgment of the ISF in sponsoring Handel. As IAM reported, Israeli social sciences lag behind the West; ISF should spend its resources to upgrade the standards rather than sink them further by promoting the likes of Handel.
The second involves the decision-making in the Department of Politics and Government. As widely known, the Department was censured by the International Evaluation Committee for having a serious critical, neo-Marxist bias. Hosting Handel as a fellow helps to deepen this bias.
|Neve Gordon Defies BGU Code of Ethics|
|In December 2011 Ben-Gurion University amended its ethics code to include a clause prohibiting the use of the university's name while speaking publicly about politics. It stated: "In voicing their political or religious opinions, unlike particular professional views, staff members should refrain from using the Ben-Gurion University's name." The purpose was to make sure academics are speaking for themselves and do not represent the university.
This move was a reaction to Neve Gordon, a professor at Ben Gurion's Politics and Government, who in August 2009 called in the Los Angeles Times for a boycott of Israel. Subsequently, the the Israeli Knesset passed a law making it illegal to call for a boycott of Israeli institutions. Soon after, Rivka Carmi wrote a rebuttal to Gordon in the L.A. Times, where she stated "Gordon has forfeited his ability to work effectively within the academic setting, with his colleagues in Israel and around the world. After his very public, personal soul-searching in his Op-Ed article, leading to his extreme description of Israel as an "apartheid" state, how can he, in good faith, create the collaborative atmosphere necessary for true academic research and teaching?"
Now, six years later, as the article below indicates, Gordon has published an article stating "The people of Israel have voted for Apartheid," signing off with his position at BGU.
Gordon does not violate the boycott law, but he does contravene BGU's ethics code requesting not to include the institution's name when publishing political views.
Will Carmi sanction Gordon? Not likely. As IAM repeatedly noted, Israel's system of higher education has avoided censuring radical faculty for fear of provoking backlash from the academic community in the West. To recall, in order to prevent implementing fundamental changes, or else closing, of the substandard Department of Politics and Government of BGU as recommended by the International Evaluation Committee, Carmi and Dean David Newman called on academics to send in their protest. Letters and petitions threatening to boycott the Israeli academy piled up in the offices of the Minister of Education and the Council for Higher Education (MALAG). In the end the MALAG blinked first, leaving the Department open with minimal changes.
As for Carmi's conundrum in dealing with Gordon, her rebuttal in the L.A. Times sounds exceptionally hollow.
|[BGU] Dr. Newman’s Diagnosis: “Boycott Paranoia”|
|Professor David Newman, the longtime dean of social sciences at Ben Gurion University, writes a column for the Jerusalem Post in its Borderline Views slot. Judging by the content of his latest article “Boycott Paranoia,” Newman views are not just borderline, but over the line and in a big way.
As the article below indicates Newman’s main argument is that the BDS is essentially a marginal and a manageable phenomenon, that it is a product of Israeli paranoia and has been exaggerated by the Israeli government and its propaganda machine.
By the way, this is not Newman’s first diagnosis of Israel’s alleged mental conditions. In 2001, he criticized the then Minister of Education saying that “all their camp…are deeply rooted in the mentality of siege. By clinging to the image of the besieged Jew, threatened and isolated they believe that this is the only way to preserve the Jewish personality.”
Apparently free of the “paranoia” that afflicts rank and file Israelis and unencumbered by their “mentality of siege,” Newman does not see any BDS-related dangers to Israel’s academic standing. “At the end of the day, Israel continues to enjoy broad global admiration for its universities and its scientific community.”
Newman uses the case of The Lancet to make his point. To recall, its editor, Richard Horton, was lambasted for allowing an inflammatory letter on the Gaza Operation to be published. In Newman’s take: “An excellent recent example has been the way in which the editor of The Lancet, one of the medical profession’s most respected scientific journals, reversed his position, which had been strongly critical of Israel and sympathetic toward boycott, following a visit to Israeli medical institutes and teaching schools to encounter a vastly different reality to that he had been told about prior to his writing a critical editorial of the Israeli medical profession.”
Unfortunately, this is not the case. Had Newman bothered to read the new report by NGO Monitor, he would have learned that Horton did not live up to his promise and his journal is still showing a deep pro-Palestinian bias. Yitzhak Santis, NGO Monitor’s chief programs officer was quoted as saying that the “non-response by the Lancet (and its parent company Elsevier) fails to address any of the outstanding issues, particularly the need to completely repudiate the infamous Gaza open letter, retract it from the Lancet’s website, and apologize for its publication.”
Had Newman bothered to read the IAM report on the Qatar-Elsevier connection, he would have understood why Horton cannot and would not change.
After “proving” that Israel enjoys “broad global admiration” in the academy, Newman attacks anti-BDS activists. He calls them a “traveling anti-boycott circus” that, in his view, includes Cary Nelson who visited Israel as a guest of the Institute for National Strategic Studies to discuss his new book on the topic. Newman finds the events around Nelson’s visit Orwellian: “The main event was held at the National Institute for Security Studies (the INSS) while all of Israel’s universities were pressed into holding public lectures on the topic as part of an Orwellian newspeak. In some cases, the universities expressly forbade any debate with other speakers from taking place, and it is little wonder that most of the events were attended by no more than a handful of participants.“ Newman does not spell out who was behind “pressing” all of Israel’s universities into holding the debates, leaving the readers with a mystery.
Newman is unaware that some panelists at the INSS event are critical of Israeli policies, including Galia Golan.
Newman then proceeds to demolish the notion that BDS is largely anti-Semitic. He rightly points out that Ronnie Fraser, who sued the British UCU on the ground that its boycott decision was anti-Semitic, lost resoundingly in court. The only problem is that Newman sets up a “straw man” to attack. Most scholars and lay observers acknowledge that some BDS initiatives are anti-Semitic, while others are not.
Newman would be well-advised to read the chapter by Kenneth Marcus, an eminent authority on the subject, in Nelson's book.
Surprisingly, Newman reserves the most vitriol for Israel Academia Monitor, the presumed ring master of the “travelling anti-BDS circus:” “It is not surprising that support for the traveling anti-boycott circus was expressed by the Israel Academic Monitor (IAM), an extremist right-wing website which spends most of its time defaming any Israel academic who holds centrist and left-wing views. IAM has probably done more to damage the international name and reputation of Israel as a place of academic freedom and open dialogue than any other right- or left-wing organization in Israel or beyond.“
Newman grossly misrepresents IAM's activity. As a rule, IAM does not discuss scholars who hold a centrist or left-wing view. It has monitored a small number of radical academics who have cheated tax payers by using their tenured positions to engage in political activism. How can IAM be accused of defamation when it quotes the said academics declaring their intention to expose the alleged apartheid system in Israel? Even a perfunctory perusal of the website would prove that.
But Newman is not interested in facts, but rather in settling a personal score with IAM. IAM has exposed his role in hiring radical scholars like Neve Gordon and, in the past, defending their right to advocate for BDS. It was Newman’s recruitment decisions as the chair of the Department of Politics and Government at BGU that prompted the International Committee of Evaluation to describe it as sub-standard. IAM has also helped publicize Newman’s secret email urging the international academic community to protest against the council of Higher Education. This so-called “nuclear option” resulted in an unprecedented flood of petitions from dozens of professional associations and individual scholars to the Council of Higher Education threatening to boycott Israeli academic institutions.
Newman’s diagnosis of paranoia begs a few questions. How is it that the Presidents of Israeli universities created in 2014 a special committee to fight BDS? How is it that Professor Zvi Ziegler, the chair of the Committee, spent thirty minutes discussing the history of BDS and the ways to fight it, as part of the panel hosting Nelson at the INSS? How is it that Ziegler’s committee contracted with Hillel International to defeat BDS resolutions on the campuses? Ironically, Eric Fingerhut, the president of Hillel referred to the BDS as a “circus of hate.”
If Newman is correct in his diagnosis, then all these individuals, not to mention the Israeli universities they represent, including Rivka Carmi, are paranoid. Right?
|Israeli Scholars and BDS: Providing the Justification, BGU Neve Gordon as an example|
|As the academic BDS movement has turned into a high profile affair on many campuses, the role of Israeli scholars in providing its legitimacy has been neglected. As IAM indicated over the past few years, scholars likeOren Yiftachel and Neve Gordon (BGU) generated the “academically respectable” scholarship to prove that Israel runs an apartheid regime and thus deserves to be boycotted.
A number of groups were founded to promote Palestinian interests within Israeli society, one of them is Zochrot,based in Tel Aviv, promotes the right of return of Palestinians into Israel. Zochrot has been supported by a number of academics like Orly Lubin, Uri Hadar, Ilan Pappe, Louise Bethlehem, Ariella Azoulay, Adi Ophir, Uri Ram, Dalit Baum, Yehuda Shenhav, Tovi Fenster, Haim Yacobi, Ron Dudai, Moshe Zuckermann among others.
Zochrot has been active with the latest efforts to create the South Africa-Israel equivalency. It announced the holding of the first “truth commission” In Beer Sheva to investigate Israel’s alleged war crimes in 1948. Billed as the first ever “truth commission,” the event's purpose is to hear “confessions” from veterans of the war. To those who are not familiar with the term, at the end of the apartheid era in South Africa, a series of “truth commissions” were held to promote reconciliation between blacks and whites.
Needless to say, Neve Gordon has welcomed the event, stating:
“Zochrot had been successful in forcing Israelis to recognise the Nakba and a darker side to the 1948 war.”
Gordon should be happy indeed. The “truth commission” is one more vehicle, where his scholarship – a mixture of cherry-picked facts and outright falsifications – would be promoted. The Israeli taxpayers should be upset as they have supported Gordon’s radical political activism masquerading as scholarship for a better part of two decades now.
Since the Council of Higher Education failed to close the department, the tax payers will be stuck with the bill.
|[BGU] Oren Yiftachel: Still Working Hard on Creating the Israel-South Africa Equivalency|
|Oren Yiftachel, a Geography professor at Ben Gurion University, must feel good these days. Years after joining BGU he fulfilled his goal of using academic research for political gains. Already in 1997 he described his political mission in a forum for Critical Geographers stating, "your list, as well as the Vancouver conference and several recent journals are helping us in 'diffusing' critical material which may have some long-term effect on students and faculty". In his book Ethnocracy: Land and Identity Politics in Israel and Palestine, published in 2004, he identified himself as a neo-Gramscian, a term used by neo-Marxist, critical scholars to denote their intent of mixing scholarship and politics in the service of social change, a vision of the Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci.
Yiftachel admitted as much when he wrote on his homepage that since 1993 he "has tried to combine teaching and activism for social and political justice. Co-founded and was an active member in a range of organizations working to assist Arab-Jewish peace, anti-colonialism and social equality in Israel/Palestine".
Yiftachel was the first Jewish-Israeli academic to define Israel as an apartheid state. Though Judge Sarah Dovrat denounced Yiftachel's expertise as shoddy, he forged on, becoming the most quoted “authority” on apartheid.
Not coincidentally, the “apartheid scholarship” has been used by the BDS movement on campuses. Yiftachel may think it is his great scholarship that made him the “most quoted” but it is most likely, his political agenda that drives his success.
Yiftachel has now gone one step further. He is now involved in a new project by Zochrot, a radical group seeking the right to return of Palestinian refugees from 1948 into Israel. As the invitation indicates, Zochrot and Yiftachel chose to call it Truth Commission on the Responsibility of Israeli Society for the Events 1948-1960 in the South.
As well known, a Truth Commission was created by the South African government after the collapse of apartheid. Though the event does not mention the term apartheid, the equivalency has been bolstered.
|[BGU] The false scholarship of Oren Yiftachel: Advancing political activism in South Africa|
|Oren Yiftachel will arrive today in Cape Town, South Africa to participate at the annual conference by The Association of African Planning Schools (AAPS) on African Urban Planning and the Global South: Pedagogy, Research, Practice. As is stated clearly, AAPS is "dedicated to the promotion of planning education that produces effective professionals who are equipped to deal with the key issues of 21st century urbanization in Africa, and who subscribe to principles of socio-spatial justice and environmental sustainability."
To achieve this goal AAPS invited Oren Yiftachel of BGU, among others.
Anyone who invites Yiftachel should be advised that his work has already been discredited before, when served as an expert witness in court. Sarah Dovrat, the presiding judge, took the unusual step of chastising Yiftachel for his sloppy preparation, evasion of truth and other underhanded tactics.
"I felt uncomfortable with Prof. Yiftachel’s cross examination when it transpired that he relied on sources and quoted from them without bothering to read them, instead he quoted from quotes that appeared in a different source. The expert’s squirming on the witness stand on this matter, not only left an uncomfortable feeling, more accurately a sense of embarrassment for the expert, for the predicament in which he found himself. The expert should not only be objective, in offering his opinion, but he should also read the sources to which he refers, or he should immediately state, without prevaricating, that he relied on secondary sources instead of undergoing lengthy and embarrassing questioning, at the end of which he confesses that that is the case."
For those who are not familiar with his latest work, Yiftachel's scholarship has been presented earlier this year in London, entitled 'Gray Space and the New Urban Regime: Between Liberalism and a Creeping Apartheid':
"analyse the impact of structural economic, identity and governance tensions on urban regimes and societies in the twenty-first century. It draws attention to the pervasive emergence of 'gray spaces', that is, informal, temporary or illegal developments, transactions and populations. 'Gray-spacing' has become a central feature of urbanism in most parts of the world, as well as a strategy to manage the unwanted/irremovable, as well as the wanted/uncontrollable. Urban planning is central to this process, given its ability to approve, deny, legitimate and criminalise urban development. Gray spacing enables the mobility of marginalised groups into privileged regions, often under the guise of liberalising economies. At the same time, this puts in train a process of 'creeping urban apartheid' under which the region is governed through the principle of 'separation and inequality'. These tensions and trends will be illustrated by highlighting research findings on the planning of cities around Europe, Africa and Asia, with special focus on the 'ethnocratic' cities of Israel/Palestine, such as Beersheba, Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem."
In other words, Yiftachel is expanding on the meaning of the gray urban areas created by "wild capitalism" and "socio-economic urbanization."
But Yiftachel, the political activist, plans to combine his appearance at the geographical conference dealing with African issues, with his trade-mark efforts to cast Israel as an apartheid state. He will lecture at an event organized by "Jewish Voices for a Just Peace" - a South African branch of the American organization that advances a bi-national state, and supports BDS. His lecture is entitled The Political Geography of Israel/Palestine.
As IAM has demonstrated, following the Durban conference in 2001 that kick-started the BDS movement, there was a need for "academic proof" of Israel's alleged apartheid regime. After realizing that the apartheid concept - with its South African connotation of race-based segregation and brutal endogamy laws is an eye-catcher - Yiftachel has made an academic career by purveying such "scholarship."
Not incidentally, Yiftachel is part of a group of Israeli academics whose dubious scholarship entered the cannon of the BDS movement. In the murky waters of political scholarship at BGU university, a phenomenon denounced by a number of evaluating committees of the Council of Higher Education, Yiftachel stands out as a beacon of the radical activist faculty conceived by the Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci. Indeed, Yiftachel once described himself as a neo-Gramscian. In his book Land and Identity Politics in Israel and Palestine, he notes that his "own approach draws from neo-Gramscian perspective".
No doubt that Gramsci would have been pleased by the zeal with which Yiftachel adopted his principles. The Israeli taxpayers who pays the salaries of Yiftachel and his colleagues are not just left holding the bag but told that there is nothing they could do because the 1958 Law of Higher Education allows faculty an unprecedented degree of academic freedom. Academic freedom, of course, is highly important to the scholarly endeavor, but, unfortunately, it can be misused by unscrupulous academics, as the case of Yiftachel demonstrates.
|Academic Forensics: BGU Neve Gordon Received Arab Oil Money for his Israel's Occupation Book|
|For those who may still wonder how radical anti-Israeli scholarship has flourished in the academy, Neve Gordon's book Israel's Occupation is a case in point. Gordon, a former executive director of the Physicians for Human Rights-Israel that was denounced by the Israel medical establishment for fabricating propaganda, has moved to Ben Gurion University and continued this tradition. Using neo-Marxist, critical jargon, Gordon essentially accuses the Israeli government of running a Nazi-like state in the West Bank, where Palestinians are constantly monitored, abused, and worse.
In the introduction, page xiv, Gordon states that,
"I began writing the book in 2004 during a sabbatical at the University of California, Berkeley, where Nezar AlSayyad from the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and Eric Stover from the Human Rights Center welcomed me and provided me the necessary resources to write."
Eric Stover worked for years as a freelance writer and a consultant to Physicians for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch. Not surprisingly, he used the recourse of his Human Right Center to sponsor the type of scholarship that Gordon was producing.
More important in this context is Nezar AlSayyad of the University of California, Berkeley, the head of the Middle East Center.
In 2003 AlSayyad's was quoted in an article published by the Saudi Aramco World, a cultural organ of the giant American-Saudi oil corporation, to the effect: "The Middle East is the only area study that is not really geographically based-it refers to the middle of what, and east of what? ... The center's approach in this regard is very transnational: Any intellectual subject that involves either the Arabs or Islam, contemporarily or historically, is a legitimate subject for scholars to take on."
The Aramco article also gives an insight into the extent of Arab oil money "paving the way to greater interregional understanding" by investing in Middle Eastern centers in American universities in order to exert influence on what the neo-Marxist call the "production of knowledge." The article details the amount of donations given to Berkeley by the Saudis,
"Among major donations, Berkeley received two large gifts in the late 1990's from Saudi benefactors, one for technology-transfer studies and one for Arab studies. The Al-Falah ("Success") Program was established with a $2 million endowment from the Alireza family to support a better understanding of Muslims and to promote technology transfer to the Muslim world, particularly Saudi Arabia. The Sultan Endowment for Arab Studies, established by a $5 million gift from the Sultan ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz Charity Foundation, is dedicated to broadening understanding of the Arab and Islamic worlds."
Although sources of funding do not automatically discredit an academic center, but the list of scholars invited to this center indicates anti-Israeli animus. For instance, the Center obtained a grant from the Diller Family to hire Oren Yiftachel, who, as known, provided "academic" backing to the widely used theory that Israel is an apartheid state. The works of Gordon and Yiftachel are widely used by the BDS movement to justify boycott of Israel.
From the perspective of AlSayyad, a professor of urban studies, this was money well spent. As he himself admitted in an 2013 interview, “Urbanists can never be apolitical”.
The larger question though is whether Centers for Middle Eastern Studies in America can afford to be political. In his book Ivory Towers on Sand and subsequent publication How Not to Promote Israel Studies, Martin Kramer demonstrated the extent of politicization of Middle East scholarship, a topic that the US Congress had taken up through its Title VI legislation.
Still, Arab money, newly bolstered by the high profile higher education mission of Qatar, has poured into the United States. So have the invitations to radical anti-Israeli scholars. With rather modest academic accomplishments the likes of Yehouda Shenhav and Hanna Herzog were invited by Princeton University and Harvard University, respectively, to spend their sabbatical leaves there.
Neve Gordon scored even better when, in 2012-3, he spent a sabbatical leave at the prestigious Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton. The School for Social Studies at the IAS listed his topic as “The Political Economy of Governance and Resistance: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict as a Case Study.” With the added prestige of the IAS, Gordon utilized his stay in the United States to appear at events that directly or indirectlypromoted BDS.
Unfortunately, the old adage "money talks" has been enthusiastically applied on the academy.
|[BGU] Neve Gordon - After Pinkwashing Comes "University Washing"|
|Neve Gordon (BGU) took the pinkwashing theory of his radical gay colleagues one step further. As noted, academic pinkwashers such as Aeyal Gross (TAU) and Roy Wagner (HUJ) assert that Israel's liberal treatment of gays is a cover up for the occupation. In an article published by the prestigious Chronicle of Higher Education, Gordon claims that the existence of high-caliber universities in Israel is just another effort of the regime to hide the occupation, hence "university washing." In his words, "it may be precisely that image of freedom, innovation, and critical thinking that helps legitimize Israel’s colonial project." In the strange logic of radical faculty, all aspects of Israeli life are nothing but a public relation ploy to hide the "dark colonial side."
Gordon's assertion that "in its silence," the Israeli academy "colludes with occupation," echoes the academic BDS initiatives on the campuses. While admitting that over the years, many academics have protested - this is not enough - in his view. He demands that all faculty as well as the universities institutions should raise their voices: "But the general failure of the Israeli academy to stand by Palestinian universities and against the occupation is no less colossal."
Apparently Gordon, a veteran Communist, does not see anything wrong with this Stalinist view of academic freedom. He should be advised to peruse the statements adopted by the Association of American University Professors (AAUP) and its equivalent in other Western societies to learn that academic institutions and the faculty are not extensions of political parties, no one has demanded that all French universities should condemn the French war in Algeria or that all American universities should excoriate Washington's war in Vietnam.
But then again, Gordon can be excused for mixing academics and politics as he and his peers turned the Department of Politics and Government at BGU into a hotbed of political activism. In 2012, an International Committee of Evaluation concluded that the Department failed to provide core political science classes because so many of its faculty were critical scholars engaged in furthering their political agenda. The Council for Higher Education recommended closing the Department but was forced to retreat after a huge international outcry.
With his job secured, Gordon can go on repeating the mantra of the academic BDS.
|To the Ben Gurion University Board of Governors|
|Activities of BGU radical academics in the past year:
[BGU, Politics and Government] Neve Gordon Travels -- Should BGU Dismiss Gordon?
Neve Gordon appeared at a talk Belgium, April 26, 2014 "Palestinians in Israel: Undesirable Citizens?" Organized by Palestine Solidarity, a group supporting BDS. Gordon's lecture helps to create an image of Israel deserving to be boycotted. In the lecture entitled "Ethnic Segregation in Education and its Impact on Israeli Society" he said: "When speaking about Apartheid, it is important to know the boundaries of Israel. The Green Line, the armistice line of 1949, marks the de facto Israeli state. This means that the West Bank and Gaza are not part of Israel. These are the occupied Palestinian territories". He continued, "Jewish children are afraid of the Palestinians, and therefore they are racists". As the invitation for the event demonstrates, Gordon's academic credentials are prominently displayed. The group cites Gordon as saying: "The most accurate way to describe Israel today is as an apartheid state. For more than 43 years, Israel has controlled the land between the Jordan Valley and the Mediterranean Sea…The Palestinians are stateless and lack many of the most basic human rights. By sharp contrast, all Jews - whether they live in the occupied territories or in Israel - are citizens of the state of Israel."
BGU Neve Gordon praises 'Zionism Unsettled'
Zionism Unsettled: A Congregational Study Guide published by the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of a group member of the Presbyterian Church USA, attributes the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians to the "pathologies of Zionism." Neve Gordon wrote a warm endorsement for the pamphlet: "In my work I am inspired by the great Jewish prophets’ struggle for justice and freedom, while simultaneously I am often astounded how certain strains in Judaism and Christianity invoke the Bible in order to justify oppression and social wrongs in Israel/Palestine. Therefore I welcome the effort to emphasize a conception of Judaism and Christianity that espouses universalistic ethics – whereby all humans are imago dei – and to use it to expose injustices carried out in my homeland."
[BGU, Social Work] Julia Chaitin: Holocaust-Nakba Equivalency
Journal of Adult Development, November 2013. "'I can Almost Remember it Now': Between Personal and Collective Memories of Massive Social Trauma" by Julia Chaitin and Shoshana Steinberg. In writing up the accounts, Chaitin and Steinberg made sure that the evocative language used by the Palestinian students to describe how their families were expelled from the villages matches that recollection of the Jewish students. The Israeli student seems to be moved to the point of making the same comparison. Along with the Holocaust equivalence, comes the reasonability equivalence, in view of the authors. Amina’s ‘‘memory’’ helped Orit understand what the collective memories of Palestinians and Jews have in common: the feeling of suffering inflicted by others." In other words, the Israelis who inflicted the suffering on the Palestinians are responsible in the same way as the Nazis who inflicting suffering on the Jews.
BGU Haim Yacobi - the "Poster Child" of the Radical-Academic-Activist
The Times of Israel, "On the ruins of a village in Tel Aviv, Jews dream of Palestinian return" October 1, 2013. During a conference "visualizing" the return of Palestinian refugees, Haim Yacobi stated that Israel must go through a process of “decolonization” in order to level the playing field between Israeli “colonizers” and Palestinian “refugees.” He blamed the political reality (meaning the Israeli government) for not taking this debate any further.
[BGU Poli & Govt] Dani Filc interviewed: Israel Fabricates Security Threats
"Hakol Diburim" Reshet Bet radio, October 14, 2013. Dani Filc, asserts that Israel is a serial fabricator of threats as manifested by the allegedly bogus threat of Iran's nuclear program. Filc stated that if it was not for the Iranian threat, the "fear industry" would have been forced to fabricate an invasion of aliens in order to enhance its rule by fear. Filc explained that in order to "rule by fear," the Israeli government needs to invent a bogeyman; as circumstances change so does the identity of the bogeyman.
[BGU, Geography] Oren Yiftachel's Ever Expanding Meaning of Apartheid
U.K: "Professor Oren Yiftachel delivers CITY Journal and UCL Urban Laboratory Lecture on Gray Space and the New Urban Regime 5 February 2014". Yiftachel has made an academic career by promoting the idea that Israel is an apartheid state. The reason for this is obvious: following the Durban conference in 2001 that kick-started the BDS movement, there was a need for "academic proof" of Israel's alleged apartheid regime. After realizing that the apartheid concept - with its South African connotation of race-based segregation and brutal endogamy laws - is an eye-catcher, Yiftachel is now expanding its meaning to the gray urban areas created by "wild capitalism" and socio-economic urbanization."
[BGU, Geography] Oren Yiftachel's Utopia - Paid by the Taxpayer
National University of Singapore, Middle East Institute, 16 Sept. 2013 "Between One and Two: Debating Confederation and One-State Solution for Israel/Palestine" by Oren Yiftachel. The self-proclaimed critical political geographer has been advocating for years for a confederate state between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. Yiftachel asserts that this is the only just solution to the conflict and one that would save the Israeli Jews from turning into a hegemonic People ruling over a Palestinian minority in an apartheid state.
[BGU Geography] Oren Yiftachel's Progression: From Apartheid to Confederation
Yifachel apparently realized that "creeping apartheid" is old hat, a fact that compelled him to come with new idea. As the dramatic titles “The Political Geography of Israel/Palestine: Apartheid or Confederation?” of a lecture on July 2, 2013 in Belgrade and the January 4, 2013 Singapore lecture "Colonial Deadlock or Confederation for Israel/Palestine?" demonstrate, he has become a convert to the currently fashionable concept of confederation.
[BGU Sociology] Lev Grinberg's Confused Narrative
Even by the decidedly modest academic standards of social sciences at BGU, Lev Grinberg, a sociologist and political economist, stands out. A veteran political activist, Grinberg's academic output tends toward the polemical, especially as it trashes all things Israeli. Like many of his radical peers, Grinberg has been thrilled by the Arab Spring and the street protest in Israel in the summer of 2011. "The J14 Resistance Mo(ve)ment." Calling it a mixture of Tahrir Square and Puerta Del Sol (the protest movement in Spain, 2011-12), Grinberg claims that Israel's "local political crisis is related to the disintegration of society into ‘tribes’ and the complete repression of social and economic agendas by the hostility to ‘external enemies’, and internal hostility between the ‘tribes’."
[BGU, Sociology] Lev Grinberg's Bashing Israel is Constant in a Changing Middle East
"Our Limited Democracy" by Lev Grinberg, Haoketz, 06.07.13. The Arab Spring inspired Grinberg to state that Israel has to learn a lot from the Arab democrats. He claims that Israel's democracy is limited to Jews only, a model known as Herrenvolk democracy practiced in South Africa under the apartheid regime.
|[BGU, Politics and Government] Neve Gordon Travels - Part II|
|Neve Gordon has appeared in Belgium at a talk organized by a group supporting BDS.
As the report below indicates, Gordon, one of the pioneers of the "Israel is an apartheid state theory" did not disappoint.
To recall, in 2009 Gordon called to a boycott of Israel from the pages of the Los Angeles Times. His op-ed created an enormous backlash; and led, among others, to Knesset legislation that made calls for BDS illegal. Gordon is more circumspect now, but one does not to read between the lines of his rather torturous prose to understand that he still considers Israel to be apartheid state.
Gordon's lecture is one more example of Israeli academics who help to create an image of Israel deserving to be boycotted, whether they mention the term or not. Israeli taxpayers who pay his salary deserve better.
|Should Ben Gurion University Dismiss Professor Neve Gordon?|
|BGU Neve Gordon to speak in an "Israeli apartheid" conference on April 26, 2014 in Belgium.
In 2009 Professor Neve Gordon (Ben Gurion University) published an article in the Los Angeles Times calling for a boycott of Israel. The article created a firestorm, including demands to fire Gordon but Ben Gurion University refused to sanction him on the ground of academic freedom.
In 2011 the Knesset passed the Boycott Law that makes it illegal to advocate BDS. IAM found that, with few exceptions, the legislation stopped Israeli academics from engaging in BDS activity.
Neve Gordon, arguably one of the most radical academic activist, has found ways to speak on the subject. On Saturday 26, April, he will speak on "Ethnic Segregation in Education and its Impact on Israeli Society" at an event organized by Palestinian Solidarity in Belgium. The group supporting Palestinian causes including BDS. The organizers seek to compare Israel to the apartheid state of South Africa in order to make the case for BDS.
Gordon's writings presenting Israel as an apartheid state are widely used by BDS activists to provide academic legitimacy to their own cause. As the invitation for the event demonstrates, Gordon's academic credentials are prominently displayed.
The group cites Gordon as saying: "The most accurate way to describe Israel today is as an apartheid state. For more than 43 years, Israel has controlled the land between the Jordan Valley and the Mediterranean Sea. Within this region about 6 million Jews and close to 5 million Palestinians reside. Out of this population, 3.5 million Palestinians and almost half a million Jews live in the areas Israel occupied in 1967, and yet while these two groups live in the same area, they are subjected to totally different legal systems. The Palestinians are stateless and lack many of the most basic human rights. By sharp contrast, all Jews — whether they live in the occupied territories or in Israel — are citizens of the state of Israel."
The question to the BGU management still remains, should a public university pay a salary to an employee wishing to sanction his own employer?
This question, among others, will be discussed in the IAM event on BDS, on the 14th of May, in Tel Aviv University, Webb 1, at 18:00.
Panelists are: Kenneth L Marcus, Ofira Seliktar, Richard Landes and Ben Dror Yemini.
|BGU Neve Gordon praises 'Zionism Unsettled' - a study that claims the conflict is fueled by Zionist pathology|
|The Jewish community in the United States has sharply reacted to a Study Guide published by the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of a group member of the Presbyterian Church USA. Titled Zionism Unsettled: A Congregational Study Guide, it attributes the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians to the "pathologies of Zionism." For those familiar with the writings of Israeli post-Zionists, the guide sounds uncanny similar.
Indeed, Neve Gordon from the Politics and Government Department at Ben Gurion University wrote a warm endorsement for the pamphlet:
"In my work I am inspired by the great Jewish prophets’ struggle for justice and freedom, while simultaneously I am often astounded how certain strains in Judaism and Christianity invoke the Bible in order to justify oppression and social wrongs in Israel/Palestine. Therefore I welcome the effort to emphasize a conception of Judaism and Christianity that espouses universalistic ethics – whereby all humans are imago dei – and to use it to expose injustices carried out in my homeland."
The Israel/Palestine Mission Network has been a leader in the Presbyterian Church's drive of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). Following the uproar, however, the Presbyterian Church sought to distance itself from the group and several professors from Theological Seminaries affiliated with the Church condemned the politics and theology of the Guide.
In his endorsement, Gordon lists himself as the author of the book Israel's Occupation that evidently inspired the authors of the Guide. As IAM repeatedly reported, work by post-Zionists are in high demands in pro-Palestinian circles, notably because, they are considered legitimate academic research.
Though the Study Guide is virtually similar to the post-Zionist narrative of the conflict, there has been no official or even a semi-official reaction in Israel, once again proving that what is good for the goose is not good for gander.
One might recall the IAM post "Conclusions to the Knesset Committee of Science and Technology on the boycott of Israel" of 30.01.14, where at the Knesset committee meeting, Prof. Rivka Carmi, President of Ben Gurion University, called for the cooperation of all parties, "including universities and students, to deal with these boycotts". The first step would be dealing with her own faculty involved in the boycott calls, including Neve Gordon.
|[BGU, Geography] Oren Yiftachel's Ever Expanding Meaning of Apartheid|
|Oren Yiftachel (Ben Gurion University) has made an academic career by promoting the idea that Israel is an apartheid state. The reason for this is obvious: following the Durban conference in 2001 that kick-started the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, there was a need for "academic proof" of Israel's alleged apartheid regime. Yiftachel's willingness to supply the proof promoted him from an unknown lecturer to a super-star in the BDS circles.
After realizing that the apartheid concept - with its South African connotation of race-based segregation and brutal endogamy laws - is an eye-catcher, Yiftachel is now expanding its meaning to the gray urban areas created by "wild capitalism" and socio-economic urbanization." Needless to say, all his examples of the "gray spaces in the new urban regime: between liberalism and a creeping apartheid" pertain to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Yiftachel's goal is obviously political - something that he actually acknowledged in one of his books, describing himself as a neo-Gramscian (Ethnocracy: Land and Identity Politics in Israel/Palestine, page 6). To those who are not familiar with jargon of critical, neo-Marxist scholarship, the label denotes followers of Antonio Gramsci, the Italian Communist imprisoned by Mussolini. In his Notes from Prison, Grasmci urges intellectuals and academics to use their work in order to advance a progressive political agenda.
There is no doubt that gray areas and rampant unplanned urbanization is a huge problem that exists around cities around the world, but to call it apartheid is a stretch.
| [BGU] IAM responds to Rivka Carmi's interview: Be careful what you pray for|
|Professor Rivka Carmi, the president of Ben Gurion University has been interviewed in length to Assaf Golan of Maariv. The Iranian media outlet, Press TV picked up the story, reporting that Carmi views the academic isolation as a real threat to Israel.
Most observers notice that some of the boycott calls target Ariel University, but others assert that some boycott cases pertain also to those who served in the Israeli army, as a TV news program by Dana Weiss of Channel 2 reported.
The hot topic of academic BDS has preoccupied the public in the last month; however, advancing BDS has been long in the making - advanced by the various Palestinian organizations, pro-Palestinian scholars and Israeli academics. Over the years, IAM has periodically reported on this campaign, but found little alarm among the academics and the general public.
Ironically, President Carmi did not mention the leading role of her own university in the BDS effort. In 2009, Neve Gordon, then the chair of the department of Politics and Government, called the world to boycott Israel in his high-profile op-ed in the Los Angeles Times. At the time, Carmi strenuously resisted calls to fire Gordon; as a result, a prominent donor who pledged a large sum of money to modernize the library withdrew his offer.
Professor Carmi, and her Dean of Social Sciences, David Newman, have mobilized the international community against the Council Higher Education (CHE) that threatened to close down the Department of Politics and Government because of substandard teaching and research. In what was truly an unprecedented move, they urged scholars from around the world to send letters of protest to the CHE. The then director of the CHE, Moshe Vigdor strongly denounced this move, stating that "The University promised to fix the problems. In a recent discussion of the subcommittee on Quality of the CHE it became clear that large part of the recommendations were not implemented yet."
To bolster the campaign, the Department created a website where only its version of the events was posted, as well as dozens of petitions and letters - mostly from abroad that denounced the CHE for undermining academic freedom in Israel. IAM's analysis of the website found that more than forty professional organizations in social sciences and hundreds of individuals sent petitions. In fact, the American Asian Studies Association - the first to declare an academic boycott against Israel in April 2013 - acted in response to the BGU issue.
Reflecting on current situation, the old saying "be careful of what you pray for" comes to mind.
|[BGU] Making the Holocaust-Nakba Equivalency: Your Trauma is as Bad as My Trauma|
|For years now, post-Zionist scholars have worked a unique project of producing the Holocaust-Nakba equivalence.
On its face, this is a truly daunting effort. Six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis in what was the single, most comprehensive effort of genocide in modern history. To this end, Nazi Germany built hundreds of concentration and extermination camps where killing was practiced on an industrial scale. Those who were not murdered outright, were exploited in many ways - they were forced to work on a starvation diet until "selected" to the gas chambers and used in the most heinous medical experiments run by Dr. Joseph Mengele and his colleagues. Even death did not end the rapacious reach of the Third Reich; gold teeth were extracted from the corpses, women's hair used for mattresses and skin for lamp shades.
But in the equivalency project, scholars has found ingenious ways to present the expulsion and/or voluntary exist of some 700,000 Palestinians as another Holocaust.
One of the more popular ways is to compare the memory of the Holocaust to that of Nakba as manifested in second generation survivors. The article by Julia Chaitin and Shoshana Steinberg, "'I can Almost Remember it Now': Between Personal and Collective Memories of Massive Social Trauma" fits the mold. The authors start with a long survey of literature to make the case that comparing traumatic memory in a "safe place" (that is academic research) can move Israelis and Palestinians closer to reconciliation. It is hard to argue with such a laudable goal, but a careful perusal of the paper reveals the hidden agenda of equivalency.
In writing up the accounts, Chaitin and Steinberg made sure that the evocative language used by the Palestinian students to describe how their families were expelled from the villages matches that recollection of the Jewish students. The Israeli student seems to be moved to the point of making the same comparison. "When I hear about the Holocaust … it’s very hard for me to compare it to any other historical event…I had great difficulty listening…but Amina helped me very much…I suddenly realized: the Holocaust is very emotional for us. It’s a personal event…suddenly your story sounds so horrible, that…I see the connection. I see your pain is even
greater than my pain. I don’t have a relative who went through such a terrible experience."
Along with the Holocaust equivalence, comes the reasonability equivalence, in view of the authors. The authors comment that "Orit (a Jewish student) identified with the feelings of fear, helplessness, and pain conveyed by Amina (a Palestinian student). Amina’s ‘‘memory’’ helped Orit understand what the collective memories of Palestinians and Jews have in common: the feeling of suffering inflicted by others." In other words, the Israelis who inflicted the suffering on the Palestinians are responsible in the same way as the Nazis who inflicting suffering on the Jews.
This sleight of hands dressed up as psychological theory is particularly offensive because the Jews were innocent victims of a murderous ideology. The Palestinians - led by Haj Amin Al-Husseini, a follower of Hitler who spent the war years in Berlin planning an "Auschwitz on the Mediterranean" - rejected the UN Partition Proposal and started a war that they had the misfortune to lose. As losing belligerents, their Nakba is comparable to the fate of millions of Germans who either fled before the advancing Red Army or were later repatriated to Germany. They were rehabilitated and absorbed into their new locations.
In contrast, the Palestinians were never rehabilitated and, in a unique case in international law, they and their descendants were given status as permanent refugees, aided by the specially created United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (UNRRA). Some still carry keys to their former homes and are eager to display them when discussing the Right of Return.
It is not clear to what extent Chaitin and her co-author understand the hard reality of international relations. If anything, fueled by the Nakba memory, has hindered the two state solution along the the lines suggested by the Clinton Parameters. But again, many post-Zionists are ideology committed to a binational state where Jews and Palestinians will live in true camaraderie and peace. Quite possibly, the new entity will serve as the "safe place" as envisaged by Chaitin and Steinberg, where the Jews and the Palestinians can pass their time in a therapeutic exchange of their memories.
|BGU Haim Yacobi - the "Poster Child" of the Radical-Academic-Activist Supported by Taxpayers|
|Haim Yacobi, the head of the Politics and Government Department at Ben Gurion University is a high-profile radical activist. During a recent conference "visualizing" the return of Palestinian refugees, he stated that Israel must go through a process of “decolonization” in order to level the playing field between Israeli “colonizers” and Palestinian “refugees.” He blamed the political reality (meaning the Israeli government) for not taking this debate any further.
There is nothing wrong in holding non-mainstream political opinions. Like any other citizen, Yacobi has the right to engage in political activities within the framework of the law. It is not permissible, however, to use an academic position as an extension of such activity. Indeed, reacting to the Council of Higher Education threat to close the troubled department, Yacobi seemed to make the distinction between scholarships and politics: “To be honest, I really don’t care what my colleagues are doing after they are teaching here or whatever they’re doing on the weekend."
Ironically, Yacobi is a perfect example of mixing the two; according to the Committee for the Evaluation of Political Science and International Relations Programs under Professor Thomas Risse. (RC) the department suffered from a number of problems; most of its faculty have no background in political science, few core political science courses are offered, faculty published in fringe, left-wing outlets and there was an excessive engagement in political activism by faculty.
Yacobi's resumé fits the profile of the RC. An architect by training, Yacobi devoted his career to a sub-field of critical geography pertaining to the political construction of space. Under research interests, he lists "the production of urban space, social justice, the politics of identity, migration, globalization and urban planning." In fact, most of his publications involve various facets of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, with a heavy concentration of the "Zionist dispossession of the Palestinians." More recently, Yacobi has focused on African immigrants in Israel - a new cause célèbre of radical-leftist academics.
Yacobi's list of publications reflects what the RC considered fringe outlets. Virtually all has been published by left-leaning presses or journals, including the Hebrew language Resling Press and the Van Leer Institute - Kibbutz Hameuahd Press, created to popularize critical scholarship. Likewise, the English- language Ashage Press describes itself as "a family owned firm committed to social reasonability." When it comes to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Ashage stands shoulder to shoulder with Pluto, Verso and Zed in featuring a scathing critique of Zionism and Israel. In additional to Yacobi's book. Ashage boast titles by such radical detractors of "Israeli apartheid and colonists" as Marcelo Svirsky and Dan Rabinowitz, among others.
To rectify the serious flows in the department the RC urged to hire more main-stream faculty and reduce what was deemed as an excessive level of activism. While this is a much-needed correction for the future, the past practices of the department that resulted in the hiring of Yacobi and other activists, including the former medical doctor Dani Filc should also be investigated. The responsibility lies squarely with Professor David Newman, the former head of Politics and Government and the current Dean.
In a recent article by Newman in the Jerusalem Post, Newman complained about the neglect of social sciences by the government. In response, IAM would like to ask Dean Newman whether the government should spend more of taxpayers money on subsiding the political activism dressed-up as scholarship of Yacobi and others.
|[BGU Poli & Govt] The Mantra of the Radical Left: Israel Fabricates Security Threats - Dani Filc interviewed|
|Over the years, IAM has posted an number of essays on the perceptions of Israeli security of radical-leftist academics-activists. As a rule, they view security threats as a figment of Israeli imagination allegedly caused by the Holocaust.
Others, including Dani Filc, a Marxist and a former head of the Department of Politics and Government at BGU, assert that Israel is a serial fabricator of threats as manifested by the allegedly bogus threat of Iran's nuclear program. Indeed, in a recent radio interview Filc stated that if it was not for the Iranian threat, the "fear industry" would have been forced to fabricate an invasion of aliens in order to enhance its rule by fear. Filc explained that in order to "rule by fear," the Israeli government needs to invent a bogeyman; as circumstances change so does the identity of the bogeyman.
Filc did not invent this way of explaining away unpleasant realities. The propaganda organs of the former Soviet Union pioneered the "bogeyman" argument, relying on its dedicated followers in the West to spread it around. Filc simply adopted it to the Israeli circumstances.
Filc is entitled to his political views. However, he is wrong to use his academic legitimacy to dress up old communist tricks.
|BGU David Newman's Double Talk|
|David Newman, Dean of Social Sciences at Ben Gurion University, has written a piece in the classic tradition of trying to eat the cake and having it too.
On the one hand, he deplores the management-style university which, in his view, stifles academic autonomy, research and creativity. On the other hand, he admits that not all is well in the Israeli universities and that they cannot expect to receive the bountiful government support of decades ago.
He admits that the universities have to be accountable to the tax payer but decries the mechanism instituted by the 2001 Maltz Report to create this accountability. Indeed, he wants to return the control of the universities to faculty, something that, in the view of the Maltz Report made them ungovernable as symbolized by the bloated and often paralyzed faculty Senates.
Newman was to improve the functi'oning of higher education but bitterly complains about the competition, calling it a "competition for the sake of competition." The British born and educated Newman should know that as part of the Margaret Thatcher reforms, strict criteria for evaluating were introduced, forcing the universities to compete against each other for taxpayers money. This was not "competition for the sake of competition;" but improved academic excellence and propelled many British universities to top international rankings.
The Thatcher reforms abolished tenure and instituted periodical reviews of faculty performance. As Academic Freedom in Israel: A Comparatives Perspective points out, in the United States, were tenure still exits, post-tenure evaluations are the norm. Post-tenure evaluation would have gone a long way to address what Newman sees as abuse of the tenure privileges, namely, faculty "who sit back and do nothing for 30 years."
It should be pointed out that many radical scholars are among the abusers; these full-time political activists who do little or no legitimate research and spend most of their time engaged in politics. To add insult to injury, they use research assistants and mailing services to help with their political work; as Ziva Shamir, a retired professor at Tel Aviv University noted, they have turned their offices into branches of whatever party they belong to. Dean Newman can look up their names - many in his own university - repeatedly provided by IAM.
Double talk aside, Newman's piece is full of obfuscation and misinformation. For instance, it is not true that faculty in social sciences and humanities are evaluated on the basis of articles in indexed journals only, as he claim. Books matter a great deal; in fact, an assistant professor in a respectable American university cannot hope to be promoted to associate professorship without publishing at least one book (a dissertation turned into book does not count for promotion purposes.)
What is true though is that certain journals and presses are judged to be too political to be included into the Social Science indices. As the International Committee on Evaluation of the Department of Politics and Government at BGU asserted, neo-Marxist and critical journals belong to this category, as well as books published by self-proclaimed leftist presses like Pluto, Verso and Zed. Newman should know that, since he recruited many of the radicals in the Department, protected and promoted them during his tenure as Dean.
Finally, Newman should be reminded that the Maltz Report urged universities to increase their fund-raising to compensate for the diminished government support. But foreign donations have suffered in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Ben Gurion Universities, because of high profile radical scholars. At BGU, a prominent donor withdrew his offer to upgrade the main library and no other donor was found to take up the slack. At the time, Dean Newman defended his radical faculty as "misguided" and blasted those who wanted to fire them.
Again, this is a classic Newman strategy of trying to eat the cake and have it too. In this case, however, the cake a.k.a. the new library has not materialized yet.
|[BGU, Geography] Oren Yiftachel's Utopia - Paid by the Taxpayer|
|Following Oren Yiftachel's writing brings to mind the old saying, the "more things change, the more they state the same."
The self-proclaimed critical political geographer from Ben Gurion University has been advocating for years for a confederate state between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. As the rather lengthy essay indicates, Yiftachel asserts that this is the only just solution to the conflict and one that would save the Israeli Jews from turning into a hegemonic People ruling over a Palestinian minority in an apartheid state.
Yiftachel admits that "the confederation path sounds utopian, for the time being. Yet, it enables us to imagine and plan a third space, post-colonial and democratic, between the polarized and unachievable one- and two-state solutions. It also allows the mobilization of wide public support among both Israelis and Palestinians, unattainable by all other political agendas. Under confederation, Israel and Palestine will be able to advance toward real reconciliation, for which generations of Palestinians and Israelis have been yearning in their shared homeland. The path to realizing this horizon may be best captured by the gentle words of the poet Yehuda Amichai, “the two of us together, and each one of us alone.”
He further states that "conditions for peace in Israel/Palestine continue to be confusing. On the one hand, the Israeli government has sustained its unabated colonization of the West Bank, and deepened its attempts to control Israel’s Palestinian citizens, most notably the Bedouins in the south. On the other hand, Prime Minister Netanyahu reaffirmed his (vague) commitment to a ‘two states for two nations’ solution, and agreed to resume peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, still headed by Mahmoud Abbas." On the Palestinian side Hamas maintains its rejectionist position to recognition of Israel, while opinion polls show growing Palestinian support for the one-state solution."
In other words, the situation today does not resemble the "gentle words of Amiahi; to the contrary, the Palestinians seem to have adopted the Hamas position of one [Palestinian] state while the Jews are still indented on a two-state solution. So much for the "real reconciliation, for which generations of Palestinians and Israelis have been yearning in their shared homeland."
Of course, as a private citizen, Yiftachel is free to write poetic paeans to his utopian state. Unfortunately, he has used his academic writings and his classes to pursue his utopian dreams. IAM's Syllabus Project found that Yiftachel relies heavily on his own writings and those of his critical colleagues, as the footnotes in the current essay attests to.
The taxpayers who make it possible for Yiftachel to yearn for a confederate utopia and his students deserve better.
|[BGU]The Epiphany of Professor Idan Landau|
|For several years now IAM has posted occasional editorial notes under the title the "Radical Hypocrisy of the Radical Left."
As the following article indicates, Professor Idan Landau (BGU, Dept. of Foreign Literatures & Linguistics) touches upon many of the points that IAM has raised. Most important, he states that selective outrage - directed towards Israeli infringements, real and imagined, while staying silent in the face of some of the outrages perpetuated by the brutal dictatorial regime in the Middle East - is double-standards.
Unfortunately, these points are made in jest. Still, Landau and the radical cohorts need to consider them seriously. Staying silent in the face atrocities, robs them of moral standing and public legitimacy. They would be well- advised to listen to Rabbi Joachim Prinz, a refugee from Nazi Germany and a close associate of Martin Luther King. Speaking at the same rally where King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, Prinz said, "the most urgent, the most disgraceful, the most shameful and the most tragic problem is silence."
|[BGU Sociology] Lev Grinberg's Confused Narrative - The J14 Resistance Mo(ve)ment|
|Even by the decidedly modest academic standards of social sciences at Ben Gurion University, Lev Grinberg, a sociologist and political economist, stands out. A veteran political activist, Grinberg's academic output tends toward the polemical, especially as it trashes all things Israeli. Grinberg acquired national notoriety when, following the targeted killing of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, he accused the Israeli government of "symbolic genocide" of Palestinians.
Like many of his radical peers, Grinberg has been thrilled by the Arab Spring and the street protest in Israel in the summer of 2011. He readily predicted that the new "mass mobilization" has ushered a new golden age of global justice and popular democracy. Two years later, with his hopes dashed, Grinberg has struggled to reinterpret the events as indicated in his article "The J14 Resistance Mo(ve)ment." Calling it a mixture of Tahrir Square and Puerta Del Sol (a reference to the similar protest movement in Spain, 2011-2012), Grinberg now claims that Israel's "local political crisis is related to the disintegration of society into ‘tribes’ and the complete repression of social and economic agendas by the hostility to ‘external enemies’, and internal hostility between the ‘tribes’." Following his habit of applying Marxist concepts to reality, Grinberg probably did not notice the contradiction in his sentence; if all social and economic issues are repressed by the existence of external enemies, i.e. the Palestinians, how is it that the society disintegrated into hostile"tribes?"
Grinberg's acknowledgment that the ultra-orthodox and the Palestinian Arabs are the poorest groups in Israeli society is also interesting. Keeping with his Marxist dogma, Grinberg has always explained that poverty is created when the wealthy elites exploit the "masses." However, in this case, the poverty of the ultra-orthodox, and to a lesser degree, the Palestinians, is an outcome of life-style choices. The former have large families and a low participation in the labor force for both men and women, in the latter, the female participation in low.
Finally, Grinberg has a hard time squaring his dislike of globalization which has been driven by market economy, with the fact that most of the participants in the Israeli protests were bona fide middle-classes that have benefited tremendously from Israel's ability to partake in the global neoliberal economy.
To escape the conundrum, Grinberg decided to call the Israeli protest a "movement of resistance." Although meshing nicely with his Marxist vocabulary, the reader is left with a nagging question "resistance" against whom?
|[BGU, Sociology] Lev Grinberg's Bashing of the Israeli Democracy is Constant in a Changing Middle East|
|Over the years Lev Grinberg (BGU) has found creative ways of bashing the Israeli democracy. He has claimed that it is a military dictatorship and even implies that it was a fascist state.
The Arab Spring inspired Grinberg to state that Israel has to learn a lot from the Arab democrats. Even the latest bloodshed and upheaval in Egypt did not make him more positively disposed toward the political system in Israel. On the contrary, he claims that democracy is limited to Jews only, a model known as Herrenvolk democracy practiced in South Africa under the apartheid regime.
Grinberg's critique is not limited to popular writings. Much of it is included in his academic work and taught to students. Yet mainstream political science considers Israel to be a functioning democracy defined by such indicators as free and universal election, freedom of speech and association and a robust media.
But then again, as he has proved during the years, Grinberg is not interested in imparting knowledge and creating a "marketplace of ideas" in his classroom. For this veteran political activist, the classroom is a legitimate an extension of his political agenda.
Needless to say, the Israeli taxpayer is underwriting this "agit-prop" education masquerading as academics.
|[BGU Geography] Oren Yiftachel's Progression: From Apartheid to Confederation|
|More than a decade ago, Oren Yiftachel (BGU) made a name among radical critics of Israel by suggesting that Israel is running a "creeping apartheid regime." Even by the lax standards of critical political geography, Yiftachel is easily discredited; how long can one warn about "creeping apartheid" without providing evidence that Israel has indeed turned into the former South Africa?
Yifachel apparently realized that "creeping apartheid" is old hat, a fact that compelled him to come with new idea. As the dramatic titles “The Political Geography of Israel/Palestine: Apartheid or Confederation?” of a lecture on July 2, 2013 in Belgrade and the January 4, 2013 Singapore lecture "Colonial Deadlock or Confederation for Israel/Palestine?" demonstrate, he has become a convert to the currently fashionable concept of confederation.
In the self-imposed detachment from reality which many radical scholars practice, the idea of a confederation is a modern equivalent of the binational state espoused by Judah Magnes and his Hebrew University professors of Brit Shalom. Isolated in their Ivory Tower and cossetted in tax payer-supported tenured positions, Yiftachel and his fellow confederation aficionados such as Yehouda Shenhav (TAU), can dream tall dreams, even as the bloody reality of sectarian wars, civil unrest and military coups is unfolding all around the borders of Israel.
|Answering Dean Newman's Appeal to Increase Spending on Liberal Arts: Fix the System First|
|David Newman (Dean of Social Sciences, BGU) has been in the public eye lately, mostly because of the sordid affair pertaining to the Department of Politics and Government. As is its first chair, he was responsible for hiring a group of faculty who, according to Thomas Risse, the head of the International Committee for Evaluation, had only a tangential connection to core political science subjects. Moreover, as the Risse report indicated, the apparent reason for their recruitment and promotion was radical leftist activism.
Following his reelection as dean, Newman took to describing himself as a crusader against the "forces that would squash academic freedom." To defend the Department that he created, Newman appealed to the international community of scholars to protest the alleged political witch hunt; in an unprecedented response some forty professional associations and hundreds of individual scholars wrote letters of protest to the government.
Now Newman is lamenting that the government is not investing enough in humanities and social sciences. He quotes figures from high-minded European reports to prove that Israel is below the curve on spending. However, there are a few numbers that he should bear in mind.
First, Israeli social sciences have been trending well below Western averages, as Dr. Yaacov Bergman had repeatedly indicated. Among the reasons for this state of affairs is the fact that Israel is lacking on cutting edge social science fields such as rational choice theory and advanced quantitative methods. The Politics and Government department is a case in point: the Risse Committee pointed out that, while there was an abundance of neo-Marxist, critical faculty, there was virtually no one teaching quantitative methods. The Risse report also noted that, by definition, critical scholarship, is published in marginal journals and self-proclaimed critical presses, which do not make in ISI or other common ranking.
Grants offered by the European Research Council (ERC) are a good indicator of the current trends in social sciences and humanities (SSH). The ERC grants are not just highly competitive but have a clear preference for cutting edge social science such rational choice theory and allied quantitative methods. For instance, Israeli universities garnered 17 grants in the 2007-2012 cycle; 7 in the social sciences and the rest were in law and humanities. Whatever Newman's preferences, it is rational choice scholarship that gets recognized. All of seven involved research in rational choice and quantitative analysis.
Second, more than a decade ago, the Maltz Committee suggested that government spending on universities should be augmented by private donations. Indeed, the Committee urged the universities to develop a large donor base to compensate for shrinking public funding. But here again, the type of radical activist faculty that Newman sponsored had made matters difficult. Haifa University has still to recover its donor base after the fire storm created by Ilan Pappe in the early 2000s. At Tel Aviv University, an important donor quit the Board of Governors in a very public protest over the radical faculty; others left more quietly.
Things were not much better at BGU. Upset by Neve Gordon and other radical professors, a donor who promised to fund the extension and modernization of the library withdrew his offer.
Next time Newman complains about lack of funding for libraries he should look at his own back yard. Unlike Israeli taxpayers that are forced to subside a radical cadre under a spurious claim of "academic freedom" donors give selectively. The small and cramped library at BGU is a testament to this fact.
|Im Tirtzu as Rivka Carmi's Savior: The Real Story behind the Department of Politics and Government at BGU|
|Professor Rivka Carmi (president of Ben Gurion University) is a very lucky lady; she can blame the problems at her university on Im Tirtzu, described as a corporate reincarnation of Senator Joe McCarthy. Indeed, Im Tirzu has become the favorite bogeyman of radical scholars and their liberal supporters in the academy.
All this smoke and fury obscures the real problems with the Department of Politics and Government at her university, which actually predates her tenure as president. While radical faculty have attracted public attention by comparing Israel to an apartheid state and/or to Nazi Germany and repeated calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), the troubled academic record of the Department has been less known.
In July 1997, it was approved by the CHE as a dual-minors program; in 2001, the Department sought accreditation for its BA program. The CHE appointed Zeev Maoz and Avner de-Shalit, professors at Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University respectively, to evaluate the Department. In January 2, 2002 Maoz submitted a scathing report, writing that there was a “shocking” lack of core political science classes and that faculty members specialized in topics that were marginal to the discipline. As a result, a large number of them taught courses that had little to do with their academic training and research. Among the faculty listed was David Newman, a political geographer who taught a class on electoral system, Rina Poznansky, a historian by training, who offered a class on political parties and Dani Filc (at the time a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy at Tel Aviv University and a former MD) who instructed a course in Israeli government. Maoz was especially concerned with the absence of courses in methodology and quantitative methods; he noted that the sole instructor (a doctoral candidate) had no background in the field. Since virtually all senior members did not research in core political science subjects, Maoz asserted that it would be hard for the Department to provide qualified instructors for core courses. In his conclusion, he urged the CHE to reject the request for accreditation.
But de-Shalit felt that the Department should not be denied accreditation. Given the split decision, Ben Gurion University was notified that changes were needed in order to receive formal recognition. The then rector, Professor Noah Finger, wrote to the CHE acknowledging that the absence of the core courses was an impediment and promised to correct the problem. In November 2003, the CHE appointed de Shalit, Gad Barzilai from the Department of Political Science at Tel Aviv University and Ella Belfer, a historian from Bar Ilan University, to consider anew the accreditation request. Though Finger’s promise to institute a core political science curriculum was not followed up, the new committee was highly positive. In a March 2004 report, the committee praised the Department for offering a “unique program” – a reference to a course in applied political training (hitmachut politit). A co-operative program, the hitmachut students were expected to work for NGOs and participate in workshops and field trips organized by faculty; the report recommended to make the course mandatory. The committee had also formed a favorable opinion of the faculty, praising the “special relations” with students and the collegial atmosphere in the Department. Ignoring Maoz’s concerns, the report recommended adding a slot in political philosophy and Israeli government. Acting upon its recommendation, the CHE agreed on a temporary accreditation; by 2009, fully-accredited, the Department was allowed to offer an MA program. “The Report of the Committee in Charge of Evaluating the Accreditation Request of the Department of Politics and Government at BGU University“ - obtained through Freedom Information Act by Dr. Yaacov Bergman.
By giving its blessing to a “unique program” as part of a ”pluralistic approach to political science,” the de-Shalit committee accepted the Department’s right to offer a political science program closely modeled on Antioch College in Ohio, a small liberal arts school known for embracing radical causes. Rather than standard political science education, the College proffered courses geared toward political activism, which students then used in a co-operative program for what was termed “progressive political activism.” Had de-Shalit and his colleagues bothered to review the co-operative program in the Department, they would have learned that the field work – reflecting the activist makeup of the faculty - was heavily skewed toward left wing activism. Further empowered by the recommendation, the Department expanded the range of its workshop to include rights of the Negev Bedouins, “exploited workers,” illegal immigrants and Palestinians. An English - language graduate program for international students featured trips to Hebron where students met with representatives of Breaking the Silence, an NGO monitoring the IDF, Land Day activities in the West Bank and the Separation Barrier, among others. According to complaints from some participants, there was no effort to balance the “Palestinian narrative,” making the program an ideal took for educating anti-Israel activists. But Dahlia Scheindlin, an adjunct faculty and a high profile pro-Palestinian activist, stated that following the Antioch model should be considered a source of pride for the Department.
That the CHE allowed a public university to run a program suitable for a small private college was, as noted, clearly at odds with academic practices of Germany, Great Britain and public universities in the United States. Though the activist faculty attracted public attention, there was no scrutiny of the Department’s offerings until 2008, when the CHE ordered a routine evaluation of political science departments. Thomas Risse, a professor at the Free University of Berlin, was asked to chair the five- member International Committee for Evaluation of Political Science and International Relations Programs. In 2011 the Risse Committee (RC) issued a report that echoed the misgivings of Maoz; it identified serious problems with the weak political science core and a virtual absence of quantitative method training. The RC noted the imbalance of views in classroom curricula which were heavily weighted toward a critical perspective. This was hardly surprisingly since the Department practiced hiring and promoting instructors based on paradigmatic similarity or previous political connection. The RC found that, as result, there was a paucity of mainstream political science approaches, a “rather eclectic set of courses that…lack a coherent focus,” and a tenure-track faculty that had no background in political science.
The RC determined that the excessive “community activism” of the faculty was detrimental to the idea of a classroom as a marketplace of ideas. It recommended that “political science instructors should see to it that their own opinions are expressed as personal views, so that students can take critical perspectives and so that there is broad exposure to alternative perspectives, in order to widen and deepen their own understanding.” In yet another concern, the RC urged to improve the research and publication of faculty, noting that most had not published in mainstream presses and journals. It recommended “spelling out more clearly individual performance for tenure and promotion criteria, in line with MALAG [CHE] criteria.”
In its concluding section, the RC report counseled the Department of the need to practice “common standards of scholarly achievement and excellence are emphasized in the process of hiring and promotion.” In an unprecedented move, it advised that “if these changes are not implemented, the majority of the Committee believes that, as a last resort, Ben Gurion University should consider closing the Department of Political Science and Government.” Common standards of scholarly achievement and excellence are emphasized in the process of hiring and promotion.” In an unprecedented move, it advised that “if these changes are not implemented, the majority of the Committee believes that, as a last resort, Ben Gurion University should consider closing the Department of Political Science and Government.”
Yaacov Bergman was one of the few to welcome the CHE’s decision to undertake a new evaluation of the Department. He was joined by Maoz who revealed in Haaretz his 2002 negative evaluation of the Department. To preempt criticism, Maoz proclaimed himself to be a leftist in good standing and assured readers that his concerns were not political but academic. But such assurances did not quell the protest of radical scholars and their liberal supporters in the academy who accused the CHE of a political witch hunt. Carmi went so far as to appeal to the international community of scholars to intervene in the name of academic freedom.
Using Freedom of Information Act material, Bergman was able to prove that the process of accreditation was tainted by ethical lapses and deception on a number of counts. First, against evidence to the contrary, de-Shalit denied receiving the Maoz report when appointed to head the 2003 committee. Second, Barzilai who served on the 2003 committee that did not see the need for a core curriculum, was picked by BGU to evaluate the changes ordered by the RC. In spite of the fact that the Department hired a prominent political activist and leading practitioners of critical theory- a group that was, according to the RC over presented- Barzilai determined that the changes were in compliance with the report. Third, according to rector Zvi Hacohen, Barzilai was instrumental in recommending his graduate student to one of new slots.
Of course, none of these details appear in Carmi's article below. She prefers to use the Im Tirzu bogeyman of McCarthyism to tout the liberal values of her institution.
|To Members of the Board of Governors of Ben Gurion University, May 2013|
|Dear Member of the Board of Governors of Ben Gurion University,
We, concerned citizens of Israel, greatly appreciate your contribution to enhancing Israeli institutions of higher learning. Your work and dedication is what makes our country excel.
· If you are concerned about Israel’s image in the academic world.
· If you believe that Israel’s academics in general and the members of your institution specifically should not be working to delegitimize Israel.
· If you believe that calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israeli academic institutions is unacceptable for salaried members of Israeli academia.
Here are some examples gathered since your last convention in May 2012 (click the links):
Uri Gordon (Politics & Govt) supports boycott call to British universities
Lev Luis Grinberg (Sociology) joins Merav Amir (Politics & Govt) in a bashing Israel event. Amir, whose very modest academic output, has supported BDS
BGU deception of the CHE: 1) Michal Givoni as a case study of "more of the same" in radical scholarship; and 2) There was no persecution of the BGU faculty
Oren Yiftachel (Geography) at CUNY: "Grey Spacing…& Urban Apartheid" and at the National University of Singapore he calls Israel a "creeping apartheid"
Dept Politics & Govt is heavily biased toward anti-Israel radical activism: Out of 14 faculty 9 are known radical activists. Among the 4 fellows 2 are known radical activists. Among the 20 visiting professors 7 are known radical activists. There are 2 post-doctoral students 1 is a known radical activist. There are 13 doctoral students 9 are known radical activists. Out of 11 teaching assistants 4 are known radical activists
Neve Gordon's Solidarity with Palestinian Resistance, claims CHE “evaluation process” witch-hunt, urges forsaking Oslo andGordon's contribution to the "Nazification of Israel"
BGU's Radical Propaganda against the Council of Higher Education
Ishai Menuchin's (Social Work) Torture Palestinians Installation at the Jerusalem Film Festival
|BGU Ishai Menuchin - Secret Prisoners, Missing Prisoners: Professorial Word Games|
|Ishai Menuchin (BGU) is a high profile radical activist. He served as a spokesman for Yesh Gvul; subsequently he became the CEO of The Public Committee against Torture in Israel (PACTI).
Menuchin is among of radical faculty who advocate universal justice, that is the notion that any number of countries should be able to try Israelis for "war crimes." According to NGO Monitor, PACTI submitted briefs on this issue in Spain and other European countries.
Menuchin teaches at BGU a class entitled "Direct Democracy - Roots and the Development of the Democratic Idea."
Lately Menuchin has been busy exploring the issue of "secret prisoners." As always, he is a welcome presence on Arab websites as the article bellow indicates. In response to an IAM inquiry, Menuchin stated that his words were distorted, but added that he knows of some Palestinian prisoners who are not fully accounted for.
|BGU Lev Grinberg, paradox of the radical activist with mediocre publishing record|
|BGU Lev Grinberg projects an image of a political activist in an interview to an Argentinian paper. Grinberg is a Marxist activist who produced some of the most virulent critique of Israeli society. He compares Israel to the dictators in Argentina, his home country, where thousands "disappeared" during the government's campaign against leftist; he accuses the Israeli government of manipulating the trauma of the Holocaust to commit crimes against Palestinians, including the suppression of the Second Intifada. He ignores references to Iran's support of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas, and their role in sabotaging the peace process. He accuses Israel of stealing water from the Palestinians, a notion that was disproved by a number of respectable experts.
Some of Grinberg's classic conspiracy themes can be recognized. One of them, which he shares with other radical academics, is the argument that Netanyahu fabricates enemies in order to torpedo the peace process. As Grinberg puts it, first it was with the PLO, now it is with the jihadists and Iran. Grinberg is much upset that the US backs Israel on these imaginary threats, calling it a "real tragedy."
Instead of detailing any scholarly achievements, Grinberg is described as one of the founders of the movement of conscientious objectors soldiers Yesh Gvul. In the interview below in Argentina where he presented his latest book, Politics and Violence in Israel / Palestine. Democracy versus military rule, Grinberg discusses the results Israeli elections and compares the Israeli social protest of summer 2011 to the spirit of protest of 2001 in Argentina. For Grinberg, "the neoliberal policies hurt the middle and lower classes of Israel," and implementing a Marxist system is the natural cure.
Grinberg is emblematic of other radical scholar at BGU who, supported by the Israeli tax payer, use their position to delegitmize Israel abroad by using unsubstantiated comparisons.
|[BGU] There Was No Persecution - ìà äéúä ëàï øãéôä
|The Department of Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University was at the focus of a heated public debate in recent months. The Quality Assurance Committee of the Israeli Council for Higher Education (CHE) deemed inadequate the corrective actions taken by the university administration in response to the requirements set forth by the international academic audit committee. Inter alia, the audit committee determined that ever since its inception, the department's curriculum has lacked the core studies in political science.
Many blamed the CHE and its chair, Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, of acting contrary to the audit committee's recommendations. They also claimed that branding the academic quality of the department as substandard was a disguise for a political persecution campaign against the faculty of the department, who are known for their loud criticism of the Israeli government policies ("Trial of the CHE," Haaretz editorial, 10/30/12).
But during the appeal of the university administration against the decision of the CHE in October 2012, Professor Thomas Risse, the political scientist from Germany who chaired the audit committee, made it clear that himself and his committee members have supported the decision of the CHE to disallow new students from registering to study at the inadequate department. Risse also listed during the appeal session a series of significant department deficiencies, which still need to be addressed.
|BGU Arie Arnon - Market Economy and Poverty in Israel: A Statistical Sleight of Hand? |
|The saying goes that after the collapse of the Communist bloc, socialism is still alive in Cuba and the American academy. One can add Ben Gurion University to the mix. The disproportionately large number of self-described neo-Marxist, critical scholars among the social science faculty created a socialist Mecca in Beer Sheva.
Professor Arie Arnon (Department of Economics) is a case in point. He has been an unabashedly advocate of a socialist, welfare state for most of his career. A veteran activist in the peace movement, he is a member of the steering committee of the French-based Aix Group: A Joint Palestinian- Israeli Economic Working Group. For Arnon, settling the conflict is not just a way to achieve peace but "to create welfare economies in Palestine, Israel and the region."
Representative of the thinking of the Aix Group founded with the help of the Peres Center for Peace in 2002, Arnon criticized the Israeli government (and much of the international community) for refusing to negotiate with Hamas. In an article calling to lift the "dark clouds" from the peace process, he assured the readers that peace is achievable, urging Israel to offer the "political sector" of the Palestinians a decent arrangement. While Arnon is vague about the identify of the "political sector," he quite clear that the black clouds are created by the "right-wing Israeli government."
Still, Arnon understands that peace may not arrive any time soon. In the meantime, this self-described critical economist, is busy offering a critique of all the wrongs of Israeli economy. Until recently, he was the head of the Van Leer Institute's Economics and Society Program. He is also affiliated with the German-based Institute for New Economic Thinking dedicated to a return to socialist, neo-Keynesian economy.
Arnon is a leader of the school of thought that blames the market reforms in Israel and "capitalist" globalization for the increase in poverty. Using data published by Adva under the Marxist scholar Shlomo Swirski, Arnon and his followers point out that the gaps between the rich and poor have grown since Likud initiated market reforms in the 1990s. Swirski has used the Gini Index to show that disparities between the top and bottom groups in the population are large. Indeed, Arnon has constantly castigated Israel for tolerating such disparities.
Neither Arnon nor Swirski bothered to reveal the origin of the gap. It took the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to show that disparities in wealth are created by two cultural, life-style communities; the Israeli Arabs who have a poverty rate of 50 percent above national average and the ultra-Orthodox Jews whose poverty rate tops at 60 percent.
Such poverty is heart- wrenching, but both communities pose unique challenges to the state. In the Arab demographic, high fertility rate and low rate of women participation in the labor force contributes to the problem. The ultra-Orthodox demographic is even more daunting, as very high fertility rates are coupled with low rate of participation in the labor force for both men and women. The eminent economists and the Governor of Bank of Israel, Stanley Fischer, has long argued that the core poverty issues need to be addressed. As a matter of fact, the new coalition government is expected to tackle the issue of integrating the ultra-Orthodox community into the military and, subsequently, into the labor force.
Much as these issues need to be addressed, Arnon, faithful to his socialist vision, has offered the standard rebuttal of market economy in his lecture in Van Leer.
No one expects him to change his views any time soon as there are side benefits attached. Van Leer tends to compensate financially the roster of its critical scholars, not a bad way to supplement an academic salary. And then there are all these trip paid by the Aix Group to attend the steering committee meetings and write reprots. The latter seems to be a particularly profitable venture; the Aix Group, refers to its reports as 'ready-to-use' economic policies should a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians be concluded." In other words, regardless of the reality on the ground, the meetings and the paid reports go on.
|Israeli education body reverses decision to close Ben Gurion University politics department|
|The Council for Higher Education decided Tuesday against shutting down the Political Science Department at the Ben Gurion University, thereby retracting its previous decision on the matter.
Some two years ago, a professional committee commissioned by the council asserted that the university's department was politically slanted to the Left, failed to expose students to all points of view, possessed too few faculty members and offered low quality research and teaching.
The committee thus recommended that the department be shut down.
According to the CHE, since the report was published, the department failed to broaden its research approaches in a manner that reflects a more pluralistic spectrum, leading the council to order the department to no longer admit new students.
|[BGU] Studying under Dr. Maya Rosenfeld "Palestinian Society in the Diaspora and in the Occupied Territories"|
|In recent weeks IAM has frequently reported on the dispute between the CHE and Ben Gurion University. As well known, the International Evaluation Committee expressed serious reservations about the Department of Politics and Government. Among others, the Committee suggested that a political-oriented faculty may fail to offer a well- balanced education.
Over the years, some students complained about instructors who tried to indoctrinate them rather than implement the Humboldtian model of a classroom as a "marketplace of ideas."
The following is a report written by a student in a course with Dr. Maya Rosenfeld in 2011. Dr. Rosenfled is a well known pro-Palestinian activist, active in Machsom Watch and other organizations.
|BGU David Newman's appreciation for the perils of anti-Semitism in the UCU does not extend to full disclosure|
|Professor David Newman, Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at Ben Gurion University, is trying again to be a man for all seasons, or more likely, a man for all causes. The following article is a case in point.
Newman's involvement with the British University and College Union (UCU) and its history of anti-Semitism is convoluted. As he admits, in the past he tried to downplay the anti-Semitic overtones of the UCU, even though it has passed a number of resolutions to boycott Israel. He now applauds Ronnie Fraser, who sued the UCU in Employment Tribunal, calling him a brave man.
Newman's newly- found appreciation for the perils of anti-Semitism in the organization representing British faculty does not extend to a full disclosure; in 2011, the UCU Congress passed a resolution rejecting the European Union Monitoring Center (EUMC) "Working Definition of anti-Semitism" on the grounds that it undermines legitimate criticism of Israel.
As well known, the EUMC "Working Definition" stipulated that anti-Zionism is a new form of anti-Semitism; the list includes "nazification" of Israel (comparing Israel to Nazi Germany), comparison of Israel to the apartheid regime in South Africa and the use of double standards in judging Israel, among others. The "Working Definition" has been distributed to law enforcement agencies in the EU and was the basis of the 2004 London Declaration by hundreds of parliamentarians to fight anti-Zionism-cum-anti-Semitism. Most importantly, the "Working Definition" states that anti-Zionism should not be protected by academic freedom. The UCU vote against the "Working Definition" influenced Fraser's decision to go to court. In his book on British anti-Semitism, the distinguished jurist Anthony Julius,who represents Fraser, dwells on these issues.
Clearly, Newman cannot tell his readers the full story; He would have to explain why- when heading the Department of Politics and Government at BGU - he hired and promoted Neve Gordon, Lev Grinberg and others who made a career of comparing Israel to Nazi Germany and/or South Africa. Newman has more explaining to do; he has continued to defend Gordon and his colleagues in the current dispute with the CHE and called on the international community of scholars to defend the Department and its academic freedom.
Newman's logical and moral acrobatics are puzzling. How can he claim that "nazification" of Israel and "apartheidization" of Israel should not be tolerated under the guise of academic freedom in Great Britain, but the same "nazification" of Israel and "apartheidization" pioneered by faculty that he hired should be protected by academic freedom in Israel?
|Response to Professor Rivka Carmi, President, Ben Gurion University|
|Professor Rivka Carmi, President of Ben Gurion University, reacted (see below) to the article by Moshe Vigdor, the Director General of the Council of Higher Education, a subject of a previous IAM post.
Carmi repeats the claims that BGU made before- notably that the Department of Politics and Government made the necessary corrections according to the recommendations of the international evaluation committee.
IAM analyzed the changes made by the Department; it concluding that two out of the three alleged new hires served as adjuncts. One, Michal Givoni, is a radical critical scholar who specializes in moral witnessing which rejects empirical based evidence and calls on the "witness" to dwell on the underlying "moral evil" in the situation. Givoni wrote approving of the witness of Breaking the Silence that informed the original Goldstone Report on Gaza.
Carmi's assertion that the Department is among the most "noted' in Israel and that its faculty enjoys a high research profile borders on the incredulous. The international committee concluded that the faculty has a meager academic record and urged to improve its output. In fact, this is the second time that the Department was put on notice.
During a 2001-2 CHE evaluation, a member of the two-member team, Professor Zeev Maoz, recommended closing the Department as it did not include core political science subject . IAM reported on Maoz's recommendations as it appeared in Haaretz in 2011. According to Professor Yaakov Bergman who investigated the issue, the then rector of BGU, Nachum Finger agreed in 2001 with the CHE (see below) that "it is impossible to offer a basic program for those who are interested in studying political science at BGU." However, in 2004, Professors Avner De-Shalit and Gad Barzilai who were asked for a new evaluation, concluded that the Department can offer political science as a major, even though nothing has changed since Finger's admission.
Carmi blames Vigdor and unnamed member of the CHE committee for ignoring the improvements in the Department, but she does not explain that Professor Risse, the chair of the international committee agreed that the changes amounted to "more of the same." Bergman made the same observation, in his response to Carmi (see below); he wrote that Ben Gurion University had an opponent to fix the problems with the Department, but squandering it by defending a Department that was academically compromised. Bergman noted that some of the best universities in the world, including Columbia University, used a warning of forfeiture of academic status to deal with comparable problems.
In an recent exchange with De-Shalit, Maoz described some of the programs offered by the Department as a "sad joke." He pointed out that in order to cope with such a profound lack of professionalism, an outside scholar of stature should be appointed to head the department, adding that one "does not let the cat to watch over a second dish of cream after it devoured the first one." Finally, he suggested that all those who worry about academic freedom should volunteer to move to Beer Sheeba to "fix the wreckage."
Carmi is right about the fact that the academic world is interconnected. She points out that scores of scholars and professional associations sent petitions to the CHE. Indeed, some 40 associations, academic unions, consortiums and universities protested the treatment of the Department. This seems to be the largest mobilization of its kind in annals of the academy.
There is a good reason for this state of affairs. The academy is the hub of a long running project to delegitimize Israel which got a boost after the 2001 Durban conference. A long list of Middle East centers, including in Ivy League and other top-tier universities, journals, presses - often supported by Arab money- are part of this project. This has created a "spill-over" effect whereby many social scientists and their professional organizations are ready to accept the view that Israel is a "McCarthy state" which tramples the academic freedom of those who oppose official policies.
As IAM repeatedly suggested, nothing could be farther from the truth. Academic Freedoms in Comparative Perspectives indicates that the Israeli professoriate enjoys broader academic freedoms than their counterparts in Germany, Great Britain and the United States.
It is troubling that so many scholars and professional associations could ignore the facts of this case.
|BGU deception of the CHE: Michal Givoni as a case study of "more of the same" in radical scholarship|
|In response to the IAM posting concerning the BGU attack on the CHE, Professor Elihu Katz commented that we misrepresent the position of "non-radical faculty which is concerned that the CHE has overstepped the boundaries of the relationship between the Council and the Universities."
We would like to point out that our Executive Summery of Academic Freedom in Israel in Comparative Perspective found that the Israeli academy enjoys far greater freedoms - both institutionally and individually - than comparable cases - Germany, United Kingdom and the public sector in the United States. The Maltz Report stated that such excessive freedom is inimical to the type of reforms which made public universities in other countries highly competitive. Because of fierce opposition by the faculty, only part of the Report was implemented, leaving the Israeli system - notably social sciences - well behind. Recent statistics show that social sciences (with the exception of psychology, economics and public administration) are 30 percent below the global average as calculated by the Institute for Scientific Information; By comparison, computer science is 50 percent above the average.
We have likewise noted that evaluation and accreditation is an integral part of the CHE system - which acts as the equivalence of the regional accrediting agencies in other countries. It would be utterly inconceivable for a president of a university and the faculty to mobilize the international academic community to fight a negative report by its accrediting agency. It is well understood that public universities are accountable to taxpayers and their elected representatives, a notion that seemingly does not exist in Israel.
Professor Katz also commented that the CHE "all but ignored" the efforts of BGU to address the CHE recommendations. This certainly is not true; we have stated that BGU tried to deceive the CHE rather than follow its recommendations. Out of three new hires two were essentially adjunct in the Department of Politics and Government for several years.
BGU mislead the CHE by presenting one - Michal Givoni - as specialist in various fields. In reality, she is a critical scholar in the field known as "criticall international law" and "critical human rights"- extreme forms of post-modernism inspired by the likes of Michel Foucalt, Carl Schmitt and his student Giorgio Agamben. The 2012 London Conference on Critical Thought in which Givoni participated is highly illustrates of this approach. The so-called "post-sovereign" theory holds that immigrants and refugees should be allowed a virtual free passage across borders. An intense focus on transnational freedoms and advanced civil and political rights for refugees is designed to create a "global community."
Givoni specializes in critical (moral) witnessing/testimony - the topic of her doctoral dissertation and a paper at this London Conference. Moral witnessing calls on "witnesses" to go beyond empirical fact and reality to encompass the deeper underlying evil of the situation, including the Israeli occupation of the Palestinians. For instance, humanitarian workers are urged to become activists and moral witnesses. She notes: " I will claim that for individuals and groups who were involved in human rights activism, witnessing provided not just a workable formula for creating publics but also a matrix for crafting their own responsible selves." In other words, witnessing is not about an empirical statement of reality; rather it serves as to elevate the witness to a moral critic of the evils of the situation.
Indeed, Givoni wrote approvingly of the controversial testimony of Breaking the Silence which was used by Judge Goldstone in his report on Cast Lead. "Testimony was not to be confounded with traditional forms of storytelling whose assumption of perfect correspondence between history, memory, and narrative was invalidated in the face of limit experiences of violence and destitution.” In other words, critical theory of testimony is not subject to such benchmarks as empirical accuracy; witnessing serves the higher goal of establishing that evil that was perpetrated by a dominant force against the victims: “A private, even intimate gesture of memory, it was nevertheless construed as the primary form of struggle against the always-imminent realization of murderous political projects.”
In yet another aspect of critical human rights is the critical humanitarian response.
In a November 8, 2012 conference sponsored by the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute at the University of Manchester, Givoni elaborates on the theme of moral witnessing. The title of her paper "Gazing Back: Local Perceptions and Humanitarian Knowledge" is highly illustrative. The "humanitarian knowledge" to which Givoni refers is the type of knowledge that is bound to undermine the "hegemonic" empirically-based narratives of conflict and expose "murderous political projects."
Her teaching is likewise based on radical scholarship, as a perusal of her syllabi (below) indicates - a fact that BGU should have expected given her previous teaching record.
It is not clear why the University approved the decision of the Department to hire Givoni under the guise of following the recommendations of the CHE. It is equally difficult to understand why so many faculty, including Professor Katz, bought into the BGU narrative without checking the facts.
|BGU Oren Yiftachel - CUNY, Nov 8: "‘Grey Spacing & the Contemporary City: Between Liberalism & Urban Apartheid" |
|Oren Yiftachel (BGU) is a critical political geographer, who pioneered the notion that Israel is a "creeping apartheid state." Over the years, Yiftachel, a prolific writer and academic activist, has lectured widely on the issue. On Thursday he will lecture about his new linguistic invention is "urban apartheid," and "ethnocratic cities," a fancy name for urban segregation, caused by the machination of "urban elites" who manage the "unwanted/irremovable" in their cities.
Those who may wander how such critical lexicon has made inroads into the once respectable field of urban planning, should note that one of the hosts of Yiftachel at the City University of New York (CUNY) conference is Critical Social/Personality and Environmental Psychology Program. The field has been inspired by Peter Marcuse - the son of the Herbert Marcuse - who injected his famous father's neo-Marxist, critical theories into urban planning. The younger Marcuse, a retired professor of urban planning at Columbia University, is the author of the Critical School of Urban Planning, a legal and political movement to integrate Afro-American slum dwellers and other "dispossessed minorities" into white urban environments.
Peter Marcuse merits an entry into the IAM chronicle of "radical hypocrisy of the radical left" - he has lived in some of the most privileged (read white) neighborhoods across the United States.
Yiftachel lectured less than a week ago on Indigenous Challenge to Legal Doctrine: Bedouin Rights in Israel/Palestine at the International Human Rights Clinic, part of the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School (see below) with Ahmad Amara. Amara's article Moving Towards Full-Scale Judicial Boycott in the Naqab is also below.
|[BGU Geography] Oren Yiftachel on Israel as "creeping apartheid" and "ethnocracy" in Singapore|
|Oren Yiftachel (Ben Gurion University) traveled to Singapore to offer a solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. He claims to have developed a new plan for a confederation between Israel and the Palestinians. The proposed confederation will consist of a "sovereign Israel and a sovereign Palestine with a joint council to manage joint interests such as land, trade, and currency, with Jerusalem as an open and autonomous shared capital. A more just redistribution of resources through the arrangement would be vital, particularly in terms of land."
Yiftachel explains that confederation is "gradual binationalism;" given the resistance of Jews to the idea of a binational state, confederation will serve as transitional stage for which both Jews and Palestinians can be mobilized. Lately, radical academics such as Yehouda Shenhav, have lined up behind the confederation idea. Some of Yiftachel' s colleagues at BGU actually revived Brit Shalom, the original home of academic binationalists at the Hebrew University.
It is, of course, possible to dismiss such "pie in the sky" schemes as a harmless exercise in academic freedom or, better, an opportunity to visit Singapore, all expenses paid by the National University of Singapore's newly created Middle East Institute (MEI), Yiftachel's host.
However, those who watch anti-Israeli propaganda spreading to Asian universities should be alarmed. The head of the MEI is Michael C. Hudson, formerly from Georgetown University who made a career of bashing Israel. Its international advisory board features Suad Joseph, Sami Zubeida and Roger Owen - implacable academic enemies of all things Israeli. If a picture is worth a thousand words, the opening cover of MEI tells it all: a group of Palestinians in Beirut commemorating Sabra and Shatila. Those who peruse the roster of speakers and events would have never guessed that there is a civil war in Syria or a major Islamist upheaval in the Middle East.
Yiftachel's lecture fits well this new Israel - bashing outpost in Singapore. He emphasizes that Israel - which started as a "colonial enterprise" - is now an "creeping apartheid state" and "ethnocracy." That Yiftachel plays the part of the "useful idiot" to Hudson's Lenin is quite evident.
The more puzzling question is why the National University of Singapore, a respectable academic institution, hired the veteran Arab propagandist Hudson to run MEI. Even if Hudson brought Saudi money into the venture - something that he pioneered while in Georgetown, Singapore is prosperous enough to afford a more balanced Middle East education in its flagship university.
|In an article in Haaretz the director of the CHE appeals: "Stop the attack against the CHE"|
|IAM has periodically reported on the efforts of radical scholars and their supporters to dissuade the Council of Higher Education (CHE) from implementing the 2011 decision to correct problems with the Department of Politics and Government at BGU. Since our last report, the International Studies Association, the Canadian Sociological Association, the Canadian Political Science Association sent petitions along as well as the American Studies Association.
On several occasions IAM indicated that the campaign against the CHE was unprecedented in the annals of higher education; it involved the mobilization of dozens of professional organizations and hundreds of scholars. The appeal to the international community was based on misrepresentation and manipulation of pertinent facts and limited understanding of academic freedom in democracies. IAM's Executive Summary of Academic Freedom in Comparative Perspective clearly indicates that the Israeli academia enjoy a much higher degree of both institutional and individual freedoms. Quality evaluation of departments and programs is routine in the three comparative cases - Germany, Great Britain and the United States - and censure and even closing of departments and programs is not unheard of. It would be inconceivable for the president of a public university to appeal to the international community to undermine the accrediting authorities. It would be even less acceptable for public university to use taxpayers money to mount a legal and public relations challenge of the kind that BGU had engaged in.
The campaign of misleading has continued in Ben Gurion's University appeal to the CHE. Two points stand out in this respect.
The first pertains to the new hires. Two of the new faculty, Michal Givoni and Ayelet Harel-Shalev are not new; they have served in the Department as adjuncts. One of the hires- Michal Givoni- is described as an expert in political theory who specializes in continental European theories. In reality, Givoni received her doctorate in philosophy from Tel Aviv University under Adi Ophir; she has worked in the radical branch of critical theory known as "moral witnessing." As posited by Givoni, witnessing should go beyond factual and objective to encompass the hidden evils of the occupation of Palestinians.
Second, BGU contended that the CHE had overstepped its authority in interfering with the conduct of the Department. A glance of the footnoting of this opinion reveals that it is also based on the writings of Chaim Ganz, a law professor from Tel Aviv University, and his followers. Nowhere is it mentioned that Ganz is a critical law professor whose expansive vision of academic freedoms is not universally accepted in Israel. In fact, Ganz attacked Amnon Rubintsein, a highly respectable authority on civil and academic rights, when the latter urged certain limits on individual freedoms. It should be also noted, that retired Supreme Court Justice Yaacov Maltz in his Report on Higher Education decried the expansive institutional and individual freedoms, calling them harmful to the universities and to Israel's national interest. Many of Maltz's recommendations for reforming the system were not implemented because of fierce opposition of Ganz and like-minded faculty.
Finally, in the public relations campaign against the CHE, BGU faculty and their supporters had falsely stated that the changes carried out in the department satisfied the head of the international committee, Professor Risse. Much to their embarrassment, Risse had participated in the meeting on October 30, which gave the University three weeks to rectify the problems.
|The BGU Dept of Politics & Government receives from the CHE three weeks for fixing the shortcomings|
|The Council of Higher Education recommended closing of the department of Politics and Government of BGU last month due to "lack of balance in teaching;" following its appeal, today the department received a three weeks extension. |
|IAM response to letters from Galia Golan and Nimrod Luz: academic freedom means providing a balanced education|
|The IAM editorial about the faculty of the Department of Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University was a response to Professor David Newman's challenge/statement that there are just very few activist scholars there.
The post generated considerable response, mostly accusing IAM of McCarthy tactics and such. There are also some posts, including from a former student in the Department, who confirmed that there was serious pressure to tow the neo-Marxist, critical scholarship line.
The two letters below, though, raise important issues about the limit of academic freedom. Professor Galia Golan writes that this "ridiculous discussion" needs to stop, as "it is the most natural and praiseworthy thing for intellectuals to also be engaged." She goes on to state that activism is especially important for those who specialize the field of Politics and Government that are "willing to venture beyond the ivory tower out of their sense of justice and devotion to their society." Golan then refers us to an article on the Dryefus affair in Haaretz by Eva Illouz to bolster her argument about the value of intellectual discourse in a free society.
We could not agree more with Professor Golan. We have repeatedly emphasized that a vigorous intellectual debate is the essence of a democracy and a vehicle for progress. Regimes that suppress public debate have languished and shriveled and, ultimately, collapsed.
However, we beg to differ with her comparison between academic staff and intellectuals. Social science faculty are not free-floating intellectuals of the Dreyfus era. For those who teach in public universities, academic freedom is conditioned on a number of correlative duties, including the mandate to provide a balanced education in the classroom (the marketplace of ideas) and the obligation not to misuse taxpayers money by engaging in political activism. In other words, faculty have a well- defined duty to their students and to the taxpayer. The American-educated professor should be acquainted with the position of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) that has repeated admonished professors to balance academic freedoms with responsibilities.
IAM's Academic Freedom in Israel in Comparative Perspective demonstrates that correlatives duties of faculty are an integral part of their freedom. To put it bluntly, those who "venture out of the Ivory Towers," should do in on their dime, not the taxpayer's. As Ziva Shamir, a professor at Tel Aviv University suggested, activist faculty should resign and join a political party rather than turn their campus offices into a party branch.
Whether an academic holds views of the right or left wing, it is equally important to allow different approaches to be heard. Given Professor Golan's long record of left- wing political activism her comment on venturing out of the Ivory Tower to "work for justice" is instructive. To Golan and other leftists who write to us, the only "justice" is of the left-wing variety - presumably based on John Rawls Theory of Justice. We have never received a reference to the critique of Rawls offered by Leo Strauss, the noted conservative philosopher, and his followers who postulated a different theory of justice. That "justice" became synonymous with a left-wing vision of social order speaks volumes about the social science professoriate. Not incidentally, Israeli universities have never generated the equivalent of the "Chicago School" [at the University of Chicago], where leading conservative thinkers such as Strauss and the economist Milton Friedman could flourish.
The email from Dr. Nimrod Luz of BGU drips with sarcasm, but his point is clear. Those who fail to embrace the progressive vision of justice of the radical academic fraternity are "intellectual midgets" not worth hearing from. Indeed, Luz suggests that "it is about time to start blocking these people from actually dictating and influencing moves within Israeli Academia."
|The War against the CHE: Academics Worldwide Protest Possible Closure of Israeli Political-Science Dept.|
|In the past three weeks IAM reported on the world-wide protest against the possible closure of the Department of Politics and Government of BGU. In addition to individual scholars [including Michael Walzer from Princeton] who signed petitions, scores of American and international professional associations in political science, sociology and geography as well as the European Consortium for Political Research and the Canadian association of university professors have voiced their protest. This unprecedented mobilization is aimed to dissuade the CHE from approving the closure at its October 30th meeting.
The fast response from so many groups is a testament to the power of the Israeli radicals, their liberal supporters abroad and to their modus operandi. Virtually all the petitions have uncritically accepted the claim that the CHE's action represents a political witch- hunt against professors who dared to defy the Israeli government. The prestigious Chronicle of Higher Education that carried a number of items on the story have been likewise one-sided. Overall, clarifications from the CHE have been ignored or misrepresented and its officials slandered.
The article below is a case in point. It enhances the bias by failing to reveal the political identity of the organizers of the London School of Economics petition - Jonathan Rosenhead and Richard Boyce. Rosenhead chairs the British Committee for Universities in Palestine (BRICUP) that has led the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel for more than a decade. Rosenhead appeared with Norman Finkelstein and other extreme critics of Israel to advocate for BDS. Boyce has worked tirelessly to sever Israel's research ties with the European Union.
Paradoxically, Israeli academics enjoy far broader freedoms than their peers in the United States, Great Britain and Germany- where the bulk of the petitions originated. As Academic Freedom in Israel in Comparative Perspective reveals, case law makes it illegal for American professors to call for a boycott of the United States. Academics in public (state) universities are subject to numerous regulations and are well aware that boards of regents appointed by governors watch out for taxpayers interests. In Germany, faculty are considered state employees; their political speech and action are restricted. In Great Britain, the so-called "management university" model- a result of the Thatcher reforms in the eighties - limited academic freedom at multiple levels.
Few would disagree that the conversation on academic freedom in Israel cannot be held in isolation. But this is precisely what has occurred in the CHE debate. Radical scholars managed to persuade many in the international academic community that the spirit of McCarthy reigns supreme in Israel. Given that quite a few in this community pioneered the double standards by which Israel is judged and condemned - and noting that Isolating the subject from any comparative context is at its core - this was apparently not a difficult task.
|BGU Politics & Government Department is still heavily biased toward anti-Israel radical activism. Facts and figures|
|In an exchange between David Newman, the Dean of Social Sciences at Ben Gurion University (and the founder of the Department of Politics and Government, see below) and a friend of IAM, Newman denied the fact that the Department has a high rate of activist faculty. As a matter of fact, Newman accused the IAM friend of ignorance and challenged him to produce the facts.
IAM took up Newman's challenge (see table below) and brought together the empirical evidence as taken from the department's website two days ago, which clearly supports the view that the Department has a disproportional high number of politicized activists, a bias that the international evaluation committee which was appointed by the Council of Higher Education (CHE), has noted in 2010. Their political involvement ranges from membership in groups that offer harsh critique of all aspects of Israel's existence, to organizing conferences, petition writing and blogging that has overt "call for action" content.
Here are the facts:
Out of the 14 faculty and affiliated faculty, 9 are known as activists.
Among the 4 fellows, 2 are known activists.
Among the 20 visiting professors, 7 are known as activists.
There are 2 post-doctoral students; 1 is known as activist.
There are 13 doctoral students, out of whom 9 are known as activists.
Out of the 11 teaching assistants, 4 are known as activists.
Arguably, faculty has the right to express their political opinions; but the CHE emphasized, such high percentage of activism detracts from the mission of the Department to provide balanced education and offer core courses. The statistics also show that in spite of the CHE mandate to correct the balance, the Department is still heavily biased toward radical activism. In fact, as IAM reported, some of the new hires have a long record of harsh criticism of Israel.
|Joel Migdal - A New Hire at BGU, the Department of Politics and Government|
|At the core of the intense battle that radical scholars and their supporters wage against the Council of Higher Education, is the question of how diversified the Department of Politics and Government should be. The international committee that evaluated the Department in 2011, found that the faculty is not capable to teach core political science topics, including research methods and is too monolithic to provide a balanced teaching experience for the students, as required in turning the classroom into a marketplace of ideas.
The Department has hired Gal Ariely, a positivist scholar with knowledge of research methods to prove its proper response to the recommendation. The Ben Gurion University authorities have made much of this new appointment when accusing the CHE of political persecution.
Understandably, the Department is much less forthcoming on additional appointments in the categories of fellows and affiliated scholars. IAM reported on two of them- Hadar Kotef and James Ron, radical activist scholars who have made a career of defaming Israel.
Joel Migdal, a new affiliate scholar, is also a case in point, a perennial critic of Israel, Migdal has blamed Israeli leaders for the failure of Camp David II; while whitewashed Yasser Arafat and the mismanaged, corrupt and violent Palestinian Authority. While Benny Morris and other critics of Israel came to see the Palestinians as largely responsible for their own problems, to judge by the following article, Migdal is steadfast in his views.
Migdal is of course entitled to his political views, but the question is in what way does the new hire contribute to the mandate of balanced education and a marketplace of ideas.
|BGU Neve Gordon's Solidarity with Palestinian Resistance, claims CHE “evaluation process” witch-hunt, urges forsaking Oslo|
|Neve Gordon (BGU) is using his Sabbatical leave in the United States to pursue his life work of delegitimizing Israel. In additional to spreading the word that the Council of Higher Education is engaged in a political "witch hunt" against the Department of Politics and Government at BGU, Gordon is involved with the "Solidarity with Palestinian Resistance" a movement sponsored by the Independent Jewish Voices (IJV), among others.
IJV, created by a number of British Jews, is arguably, one of the most radical groups in the anti-Israel movement. The roster of topics at the conference is indicative of its goals; strengthening the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) advocacy and broadening its reach to such field as arm exports and other related fields. Like many of the radical groups, the IJV has practiced radical hypocrisy by focusing on Israel only. Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, one of the participants in the conference led a delegation of Fellowship of Reconciliation to Iran in 2008 which, predictably, harshly criticized American foreign policy. Equally predictably, Gottlieb had nothing to say when, in 2009, the Iranian regime brutally suppressed its own citizens who protested the stolen election.
Gordon's usual venture into BDS territory, took a new turn lately. Clearly frustrated by the failure of a new Intifada to materialize, Gordon is trying a different approach- urging the Palestinians to abrogate the Oslo agreement. According to some Palestinians and their Israeli supporters, leaving the Oslo framework would increase the "cost of doing business" for Israel, as the authorities would be forced to take control of million of Palestinians.
To justify a return to the status quo ante, Gordon blames the 1994 Paris Agreement [guiding economic relation] for the bad economic situation in the territories. As usual, Gordon does not let facts stand in the way of his "narrative." In reality, the Palestinian economy has been hobbled by mismanagement and corruption of monumental proportions. Palestinians have been the recipients of the largest [per capita] capital transfers from the international community in the history of foreign aid.
Gordon's track record of misrepresentation and misinterpretation stands out even by the standards of the radical academic fraternity. It is highly ironic that this champion of academic freedom, has failed to understand that the freedom comes with the correlative duty to pursue facts.
|Editorial Note: The international war against Israel's Council of Higher Education|
|Radical scholars and their supporters urged a broad-based campaign to dissuade the Council of Higher education to accept the proposal of its sub-committee on evaluation to stop enrollment in the Department of Government and Politics at Ben Gurion Universality as of 2013-4 Unless BGU implements the requirements. The CHE is scheduled to meet on October 31, 2012 to decide on the issue.
The weekend edition of Israel Hayom carried out an internal email in Hebrew by David Newman, the Dean of Social Sciences at Ben Gurion University disusing the university's strategy. Newman wrote: “I am in favor of applying international pressure — in proper measure — together with a trickle of letters from a number of associations and people with international reputations — some of which will reach the media — in parallel with all the other kinds of pressure that are being applied today to the Council for Higher Education by lawyers and the activity of the president and the rector. It is not a 100-percent match to the policy that we set until now, but it seems to me that they are under pressure now and we need to keep up the pressure and not let up."
As IAM indicated, the campaign to mobilize foreign associations against the CHE using misleading information has been highly successful. Since the previous IAM posting on this issue, the following groups have sent petitions
|Editorial Note: The Radical Propaganda against the Council of Higher Education|
|Radical faculty and their liberal supporters have labored to construct a "narrative" alleging the Council on Higher Education (CHE) is intent upon closing the Department of Politics and Government of Ben Gurion University (BGU) for political reasons. To this end, they have used many tactics including omissions, misrepresentations, obfuscations and unsupported allegations.
Thus far, they have inappropriately influenced the discourse, as the following article in the Chronicle of Higher Education demonstrates.
· The radicals claim Professor Ian Lustick - whom they describe as an objective, highly reputable scholar - was dismissed from the original evaluation committee. The CHE issued a statement explaining that the decision followed reorganization of the committee, splitting it into two, for Political Science departments and for Public Diplomacy departments; this was never included in the “narrative.” Whatever the real reason, to present Lustick as an “objective” scholar is misleading. Lustick has an extensive history of anti-Israel political activism, including work in the late 1990s for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC- Quakers), an organization that is among the most virulent critics of Israel and has been a pioneer of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) drive. Lustick participated in AFSC sponsored teach-ins and Town Hall meetings, he wrote a glowing evaluation of an anti-Israel book produced by the AFSC, and his own work was included in the reading list of AFSC material. On October 9,2012 Lustick will lecture with Neve Gordon from the BGU Department of Politics and Government, at the University Pennsylvania on the "assault on academic freedom in Israel and its link to ongoing campaigns against human rights organizations, the media, and the supreme court;" this event is sponsored by the radical group Jewish Voices for Peace.
· The radicals repeatedly assert that Professor Galia Golan (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) dissented from the evaluation committee’s decision because it allegedly undermines academic freedom. This is not surprising because Golan pioneered the model of a highly- engaged political activist-cum-academic. As a long -term spokesperson for Peace Now and a leader in the leftist Meretz Party, for many years, Golan did little beyond teaching her classes. Instead of researching in her own field of Soviet studies, she switched to writing semi-polemical material on the Palestinian -Israeli conflict. As the Executive Summary of Academic Freedoms in Israel in Comparative Perspective indicates, such a minimal engagement would not be possible in countries where academic freedom in public universities is balanced by correlative duties such as research. Post-tenure quality reviews ensure faculty do not spend their time engaged in outside pursuits at taxpayers expense.
· The radicals and BGU have repeatedly averred they fulfilled the CHE mandate to hire positivist faculty within the core discipline of political science and have ameliorated the activist tone of the department. This claim is false in as much as Hagar Kotef and James Ron- their two new hires, are radical activist. Kotef is a critical scholar whose doctoral thesis is entitled Tracing the Political Body, an "analysis of the politicization of body in the first wave liberal feminism;" she has subsequently written about the checkpoint regime in the West Bank and is an activist member of groups that oppose the “occupation.” James Ron worked with Human Rights Watch, a group that has been denounced for its extreme anti-Israel bias; Ron has concentrated on alleged torture of Palestinian prisoners.
Radical scholars and their liberal supporters have tarnished the reputation of the CHE and, by extension, the government, by providing this skewed "narrative." Professor David Newman, the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at BGU has concluded that this episode has proven highly damaging to Israel: "What has happened has discredited the Council for Higher Education in the eyes of a large percentage of Israel's scientific community." Newman, the founder of the Department of Politics and Government, is not predisposed to acknowledge that radical scholars, whom he hired and their campaign which he supports are causing the damage. They and Newman share the same goal, to intimidate the CHE from approving the recommendation of the subcommittee. In this sense, they do undermine the academic rights of students to participate in the classroom that lives up to the pedagogical ideal of a marketplace of ideas.
|The War of Radical Scholars Against the Council of Higher Education|
|In December 2011, the Council on Higher Education (CHE) announced an international committee of scholars had identified profound problems within the Department of Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University of the Negev (BGU). Its report explicitly concluded: “If these changes are nevertheless not implemented, the majority of the committee believes that, as a last resort, Ben Gurion University should consider closing the Department of Politics and Government.”
Noting that the department faculty is heavily skewed toward neo-Marxist, critical scholarship, the CHE urged bolstering the positivist approach, having identified the need for “broad exposure to perspectives and alternatives” and having mandated “that the Department makes an effort [to ensure] that the program is perceived as balanced by the community concerned.”BGU-President Rivka Carmi promised to address these issues—including the need to hire faculty dealing with quantitative methods and other core political science disciplines—but, instead, during the past year, two faculty who have unambiguously espoused neo-Marxist, critical scholarship were hired. Also, ignoring the admonition that instructors “see to it that their own opinions are expressed as personal views,” these individuals are avowed activists.
This is why, in September 2012, a CHE-subcommittee concluded the Department had not implemented these recommendations and, thus, that the Department would not be able to enroll new students in the 2013-14 academic year. This prompted Professor Carmi to initiate a firestorm of protest in the Israeli academic community by circulating a letter that falsely claimed BGU’s “improvements met the Review Committee’s recommendations.”
These misrepresentations have been enhanced by radical scholars at BGU and then rubber-stamped by their liberal supporters, producing an aggressive international campaign to discredit the CHE by claiming an unprecedented encroachment on “academic freedom.”During the past fortnight, they have garnered support for their claim of “McCarthyism” from both individual scholars and professional associations.
|Radical Academic Fraternity and their Liberal Supporters Declare War Against the Council of Higher Education|
|Recently, the Council for Higher Education (CHE) advised the Department of Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University that it would not be allowed to enroll new students in the year 2013/4. The CHE reached the decision after a sub- committee concluded that the Department did not fulfill its part in addressing the concerns of the international evaluation committee of 2011. Among others, the Department was asked to hire more faculty in core political science subjects, including research methods. In view of the fact that the majority of the faculty represent the neo-Marxist, critical paradigm, the committee also urged to recruit scholars who represent the mainstream positivist approach. The CHE was concerned that the paucity of positivist scholarship - the dominant stream in social sciences- affects the ability of the Department to turn the classroom into a marketplace of ideas, where all issues can be debated in a balanced and measured manner.
In spite of claims to the contrary by university authorities, the Department's new hires do not reflect the CHE directives. Hagar Kotef and James Ron are a case in point.
Hagar Kotef who completed her doctoral dissertation under Adi Ophir and Anat Biletzki, two of the most radical scholars in Israel. In an article Engendering Checkpoint: Checkpoint Watch and the Repercussion of Intervention, and conference appearances Kotef implies that violence against Israeli checkpoints is justified. Like many critical scholars Kotef mixes academics with politics; she has signed petitions describing Israel as a racist state and collaborated with individuals and groups that support BDS.
James Ron, who worked for Human Rights Watch (HRW), has written extensively on alleged Israeli violations of Palestinian rights, including interrogation of Palestinian prisoners. Critics, including the founder of the HRW, have claimed that throughout the years the organization has become extremely biased against Israel.
Without noting this development, the radical academic fraternity and their liberal supporters has declared a virtual war on the CHE. Examples here, here and here. As a post on the social science network stated, the decision on Malag (the Hebrew acronyms for CHE) has "crossed the red lines." The tone was set by Professor Rivka Carmi, the president of Ben Gurion University, who wrote: "this is ... a struggle of the whole of academia in Israel... this is a "Black Flag over academic independence in Israel." Carmi's letter to the entire academic community in Israel was written in Hebrew and was translated and posted as part of a petiton that calls the CHE decision "an unacceptable assault on academic freedom in our universities."
In waging war on the CHE, radical scholars have used a number of strategies.
First, they describe the CHE's action as a political exercise pushed by right-wing groups. They ignore the fact that the international committee of scholars that evaluated the Department made a decision based on substantive problems. As IAM reported, in a previous round of evaluation, Professor Zeev Maoz, a leftist-leaning scholar, recommended closing the Department on the same grounds.
Second, there is a major effort to discredit the CHE's role in setting the academic agenda. As IAM's Executive Summary of Academic Freedom in Israel in Comparative Perspective demonstrates the CHE is an accrediting body on par with similar agencies in Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. It would be inconceivable in any of these countries to mount such an attack. This can be explained by the fact that, contrary to protestation, Israel has a far more expansive model of academic freedom both at the institutional and individual level.
Third, either out of ignorance or a desire to deceive, most of the arguments against the CHE decision are garnered from private universities in the United States. It is indeed true that private schools, say, Antioch College, recruit mostly scholars who represent the neo-Marxist, critical perspective. But public universities supported by tax payers must follow the mandate to provide a balance education that includes positivist perspectives as well. Ben Gurion University is a public institution and its Department of Politics and Government cannot behave as if is located on the campus of Antioch College.
Fourth, radical scholars plan an intensive camping to mobilize the international community of scholars. In David Newman's email to colleagues abroad he wrote, "I urge you and your colleagues to discuss this matter further, and to consider convening an urgent investigation into this apparent threat to academic freedom in Israel." As Oren Yiftachel explains, Israel is vulnerable in this regard because it is sensitive to its international image.
A number of petitions have been already circulated on line, such as this by Illinois State University lecturer, or that by a lecturer at Lyon University, urging scholars to write directly to members of the CHE. Given the anti-Israel sentiments in academic circles, this is potentially a highly damaging strategy and one that would make it harder on pro-Israel advocates to make their case.
An essential part of academic freedom is to have a balanced debate in a classroom. The CHE wanted to create this balance by urging the department to hire some positivist scholars. By refusing to follow this mandate and by viciously attacking the CHE, the Department and its supporters show totally disregard to the pedagogical ideal of the classroom as a marketplace of ideas.
|BGU Dept of Politics & Government gets warning of closure by CHE if the required changes are not implemented|
|As IAM reported, Ben Gurion University was under order by the Council of Higher Education to make significant improvements in the Department of Politics and Government to prevent its closure. The unprecedented decision was taken last year, following a report of an international committee that found the department offerings in core political science subjects substandard. The CHE urged to hire more mainstream faculty and to provide 'a marketplace of ideas' in syllabi that, so far, have been heavily weighted toward the neo-Marxist, critical paradigm.
A newly appointed subcommittee of the CHE recently found that the changes introduced by the department were not significant enough to show major improvement and decreed that no students should be enrolled for the year 2013/4.
The decision provoked a sharp reaction from Ben Gurion University. President Rivka Carmi sent a defiant letter to the CHE; she rejected the charges and wowed to protect the department and its faculty in the "short and the long run." The rector of the university and the dean of social sciences also signed the letter.
It is noted that radical faculty have cost Ben Gurion University dearly. A major donor suspended his promise to finance the expansion of the library and other donors might have been put off. Certainly, the new development is not helpful in raising funds.
Going beyond donors dollars and cents, the 1958 Higher Education Act tasked the CHE to evaluate academic programs, a process vital to the disbursement of government (tax payers) money to institutions of higher learning.
Accreditation and evaluation procedures are part of the university systems in virtually all Western countries; it would be inconceivable for an university to defy them. It is well understood that academic freedoms in pubic universities come with academic responsibilities to the public and their elected officials.
IAM recommends Eric Barendt's book Academic Freedoms in Comparative Perspective for a detailed discussion of this important topic.
|[BGU Poli & Govt., now at Princeton] Neve Gordon's contribution to the "Nazification of Israel"|
|On 21/08/2012 The Jerusalem Post published the article "Israel and the Jewish Left: Jewish support for the enemies of Israel represents the triumph of leftism over Jewishness" by David Rubinstein, blaming Neve Gordon (BGU) for comparisons between Israel's treatment of Palestinians and the suffering of Jews at the hands of the Nazis. Rubinstein wrote:
Among its many critics, there is a startling number of Jews who calumniate Israel and, in some cases, champion those threatening its existence.
Noam Chomsky heads this list, but he is hardly alone. Norman Finkelstein, Ilan Pappe, Richard Falk, Tony Judt, Howard Zinn, Eric Hobsbawm and many other Jews have joined in this project. Neve Gordon, head of the Department of Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University, claims that "Israel resembles Nazi Germany."
The following day, the JP carried a retraction:
APOLOGIES: In an opinion article by David Rubenstein (“Israel and the Jewish Left,” Comment & Features, August 22), an erroneous quote was attributed to Prof. Neve Gordon from Ben-Gurion University, for which The Jerusalem Post wishes to apologize.
The Jerusalem Post may have been a bit hasty; IAM has analyzed Gordon's writings for years and found that he and other radical scholars engage in something that the European Union Monitoring Center of anti-Semitism and Racism described as "nazification of Israel." In other words, they try to prove that Israel is no better than Nazi Germany.
While some academics such as Moshe Zimmermann (HUJ) use terms like Judeo-Nazis, pioneered by Yeshayahu Leibowitz and Israel Shahak (HUJ), others resort to sophisticated linguistic manipulations designed to create a link between the two situations. As the following article ("Don't Fence Me In" by Neve Gordon, In These Times, Dec 06, 2002) illustrates, Gordon seeks to create such an equivalency in a review of a book about barbed wire. He speaks about the "architectural similarity" between the "camps Israel created to hold the Palestinian and the concentration camps Jews were held during the Holocaust. Gordon wrote:"
“Explicating and trying to understand the continued widespread use of barbed wire could have added an additional dimension to this fascinating book. For example, examining the architectural similarity and differences between the camps Israel has constructed to hold Palestinians and the concentration camps Jews were held in during the Holocaust, urges one to ponder how it is that the reappearance of barbed wire in the Israeli landscape does not engender an outcry among survivors.”
Neve Gordon knows very well that there are no concentration camps for the Palestinians, but he uses this linguistic ploy to add to the "nazification of Israel' theme. Undoubtedly, the editors of In These Times, a radical leftist publication that leads in Israel bashing, welcomed Gordon's contribution.
|[BGU Sociology & Political Science] Uri Ram, Dani Filc and the Gini Index Sleight of Hand|
|Uri Ram and Dani Filc, two neo-Marxist academics from Ben Gurion University seem to be truly disappointed that the mass protest of last year died down. This is understandable; Ram, Filc and their cohorts in social science all over Israel were persuaded that a socialist revolution is just around the corner. Ideologues, whether left or right filter all events through their core beliefs. It is regrettable but not surprising to find ideology masquerading as social science so prevalent at Ben Gurion University.
On the same note, Ram, Filc and their ideological colleagues use the Gini Index to prove the inequalities in Israel. What they fail to disclose it the fact that the Index is skewed because of two large demographics; the ultra-Orthodox Jews and the Israeli Arabs. If they are really concerned with leveling the field, they should discuss this issue.
Finally, Ram who wrote a book about globalization some years ago, should know that Israel is not an island, and that the middle class is much worse in Greece, Spain, and other EU countries. Remarkably, Israel was spared the worse of the global economic crisis that has hammered middle classes everywhere because of the market reforms and the economic policies of the government.
Maybe the protesters of last year know something that the professors do not; things are not great in Israel but they can be worse.
|BGU Oren Yiftachel on a process of ‘creeping urban apartheid’ focusing on the ‘ethnocratic’ cities of Israel/Palestine”|
|Middle Eastern cities have recently experienced unprecedented waves of demonstrations, coupled by the mushrooming of tent cities, and the articulation of mass demands for political, social and economic change. At the same time, a quieter transformation has spawned a process of 'gray spacing', during which informalities have shaped anew urban spaces and regimes. The paper analyzes and conceptualizes these transformations with a focus on Israel/Palestine, in order to ask: do these transformation herald a new democratic age and the dawn of urban citizenship? Or are there the pangs of a 'creeping apartheid' process, during which ethnocratic and neo-liberal forces co-opt, colonize and entrap the growing class of 'unwanted/irremovable? In the spirit of global urbanism, the paper compares events in Israel/Palestine's main cities to urban transformations in other world regions, and theorize the connection between gray spacing, the current revolutionary pulse and the emergence of new urban regimes.|
|BGU Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin of Brit Shalom, made a career of blaming Israel for the failures of peace with the Palestinians|
|Utopian ideas die hard, as the noted social psychologist Leon Festinger and his colleagues realized when studying a small UFO cult in the 1950s. Their groundbreaking book, When Prophecy Fails, explained that failure of an utopian goal to materialize creates cognitive dissonance among followers. Dealing with dissonance runs the gamut of reactions, but the most common one is to blame something or someone.
Festinger's conclusions are a good analogy to the current efforts to revive Brit Shalom, a small group of intellectuals in Mandatory Palestine who, alarmed by what they perceived to be a nationalist bend of Zionism, proposed to create a binational Jewish Palestinian state.
The new group is co-led by Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin (BGU), who made a career of blaming Israel for all the failures to reach peace with the Palestinians. This is as good a qualification as possible for membership in Brit Shalom.
As the organizers themselves admit, there are no Arabs in the new group because they want to stimulate a discussion among Israeli Jews. In the heyday of Brit Shalom there were no Palestinian partners for the deal. From the perspective of the new Brit Shalom, this is an advantage, because failure to achieve a bi-national state can be blamed on Jews only.
Claiming the intellectual mantle of the likes of Martin Buber, Gershom Scholem and Hanna Arendt holds another advantage for the new group. To judge from the meager academic record of Raz-Krakotzkin, its members would need all the help they can get.
|[Princeton U] Neve Gordon "The Political Economy of Governance and Resistance: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict"|
|For more than three decades now Ivy League universities have offered preferential treatment to radical Israeli scholars of very modest academic achievements. In the past, Yehouda Shenahv (TAU) spent a Sabbatical at Princeton University and Hanna Herzog (TAU) spent time at Harvard University. A comparative analysis shows that distinguished scholars who were not ready to bash Israel had to contend with much less prestigious colleges.Neve Gordon's (BGU) fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton is a real low for this distinguished institution that once housed the likes of Albert Einstein. While merit still counts for securing an appointment in the sciences, the social sciences reflects the political tenor of the day, which, when it comes to Middle East, is a desire to delegitimize Israel.
Gordon's somewhat convoluted proposal makes this point crystal clear. First, there is the obligatory reference to Michel Foucault, the "founding father" of the neo-Marxist, critical scholarship. Then there is the a description of reality that does not exist any more as the vast majority of Palestinians have lived under self-rule for years. In fact, a new economic study concluded that they are ready for statehood, except for the fact that generous international economic aides has weakened its economic base.
The most telling part of Gordon's proposal, however, is his reference to the "legislation that has been introduced" to punish human rights NGOs. The legislation did not pass, but this is not something that Gordon would be ready to disclose. Moreover, as an avid promoter of boycott who got muzzled by the anti-boycott legislation, Gordon will be able to explore the subject under the academic shelter of Princeton.
At a time when the Middle East is undergoing monumental changes that have reshaped the political landscape in the area as well the structure of international relations, offering Gordon a fellowship in Israel bashing is a sad reflection of the priorities of the Institute.
|[BGU Social Work] Ishai Menuchin, organizer of Torture Installation at the Opening of the Jerusalem Film Festival|
Thursday 5/7/12 - Torture Installation at the Gala Opening of the Jerusalem Film Festival
The summer protest is in the streets, everyday there are gala festival openings, the summer vacation began and in the Russian Compound people are continuesly being tortured. This Thursday (5/7/12) at 19:00 (an hour before the opening of the film festival) in Jerusalem we will gather at the entrance lobby of the Cinematheque in order to bring to the audience attention that within a short distance from them people are being interrogated under torture.
We will conduct installation "Bound" where several people would be handcuffed, others will "guard" them and will explain to the audience what this is about.
Dr. Ishai Menuchin
|[BGU Politics & Government] An article and a letter concerning Neve Gordon's call for boycott |
|In May, IAM posted an editorial note on a book The Case for Sanctions Against Israel edited by Andrea Lim (Verso, May 2012).
The book includes a chapter by Professor Neve Gordon from BGU; in the introduction, Lim thanked Gordon for his involvement and help with the project from its inception.
The IAM post attracted the attention of Professor Israel David from BGU who brought the book to the attention to the rector, Professor Zvi HaCohen with a view of disciplining Gordon for a breach in the university's code that prohibits faculty members to advocate boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS). At the time, HaCohen claimed that Gordon had assured him that he had no knowledge that the chapter was included in the book.
The following is an English summary of a ynet article published on the affair on June 28, 2012 (appears below).
Professor David blames the rector for accepting Gordon's explanation in spite of the book introduction that clearly indicates the latter's involvement in the project. David suggests the that leadership of Ben Gurion University is engaged in its traditional practices of covering up for the radicals on the campus. This, in spite of a pledge to the Board of Governors that it should vigorously enforce its ethics code.
David also suggests that the a small group of hardcore radicals have caused immense damage to the university in its relations to the Israel Defense Force and the city and the community, not to mention their leading role in delegitmizing Israel abroad. He and his colleagues are promising to fight for the dismissal of Gordon.
In response to David's complaint, the university spokesman stated that the university is investigating the issue of the chapter. Gordon, for his part, told the ynet journalist that he only heard about the publication from the Internet.
Israel Academia Monitor takes the opportunity to include a letter which was sent last week to Prof Rivka Carmi, President of Ben Gurion University.
|David Newman's "The politics of land ownership in the Negev" is full of misrepresentations, half truths and innuendos|
|Professor David Newman, Dean of Social Sciences at Ben Gurion University wrote an article on the struggle of the Negev Bedouins for land, which is full of misrepresentations, half truths and innuendos.
He correctly states that the problem of nomadic populations everywhere is difficult as they are increasingly forced to adopt to a modern and even urban lifestyle. Much as this process is painful, governments from Australia to Great Britain have to weight the rights of nomads to continue their traditional life-style with the needs of accommodate expanding populations.
Newman writes that the current court case pits the state and its expert witness Professor Ruth Kark against the Bedouins and their expert, Professor Oren Yiftachel; he implies that the judge preferred Ruth Kark's testimony because it fit the interest of the state. He does not mention that the judge took the extraordinary step of admonishing Yiftachel for poor preparation and sloppy presentation.
More the point, Newman does not disclose that YIftachel is a self-proclaimed critical geographer who describes himself as a neo-Gramscian. For those who are not familiar with arcane academic vocabulary, critical scholars are part of a broad neo-Marxist, critical paradigm who follow Antonio Gramsci, an Italian communist. Gramsci concluded that a war of ideas -as opposed to a revolution - is a most expedient way of changing the political order. He urged academics to become part of the new "revolutionary vanguard," that is to use their classrooms and research as a tool in the fight against "hegemonic" powers to be. Certainly, Yiftachel has put his research to good use in besmearing Israel. Among others, he "proved" that Israel is a "creeping apartheid state," a notion that is not accepted by mainstream political science. His often- quoted history of the dispossession of the Negev Bedouins is geared to proving the case that Zionism is an colonial ideology that begot Israel, a colonial state.
Newman himself has a lot to answer for turning Ben Gurion University into a premier center where the likes of Yiftachel can flourish. As the head of the Politics and Government Department he was directly responsible for hiring and promoting neo-Marxist scholars like Neve Gordon; the latter still advocates the boycott of the State of Israel. As IAM reported, the Council for Higher Education warned that, without major changes, the department would be closed.
Of course, Newman is not likely to share this information with the readers of Jerusalem Post where he frequently writes on academic affairs. Why should he? It is much easier to denounce the state and its judicial system than to admit that much of the social sciences at Ben Gurion University would make Gramsci proud.
|Incitement U: Confronting hate at Israel’s academy|
|An international academic workshop began Monday, June 4, at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, under the rather mundane title “Social-Legal Perspectives on the Passage to Modernity In and Beyond the Middle East.”
The workshop consisted of a prestigious roundtable of some 40 scholars from diverse academic backgrounds at universities in Nantes, Princeton, Amsterdam and Cambridge, among others.
Along with colleagues Prof. Ruth Kark and Havatzelet Yahel, I was invited to co-present on the topic of “Negev Beduin Land Claims: Between Ottoman Land Laws and Indigenous Rights.” Our discussion examined whether the Beduin constitute an indigenous people in international law and how they came to be defined as indigenous.
After the initial short presentations were finished, questions and a roundtable discussion followed. It was obvious from the tone of the first comments that criticism of the assumptions underlying Beduin land claims to nearly 200,000 acres (some 80,000 hectares) in the Negev was simply not acceptable to most in the audience.
For example, one participant, from the University of Amsterdam, asserted that to doubt the Beduin claim of long presence in the Negev was akin to the Afrikaners’ claim during Apartheid that the African tribes of South Africa were not indigenous. He claimed that such a biased view and methodology did not constitute academic research.
It was in the midst of my reply to some of these comments that BGU Professor Aref Abu-Rabia interjected, “But you are a collaborator, aren’t you?” His outburst didn’t end there; he then said “collaborator” again and mumbled something about the Holocaust.
In an academic setting, one might think that accusing people of being connected to the Nazis or of being “collaborators,” a term also associated with Nazism, would be considered inappropriate. But the conference organizers, Avi Rubin and Iris Agmon, were mum.
|A response to BGU Oren Yiftachel in "Fabricating Palestinian History: Are the Negev Bedouin an Indigenous People?"|
|In the last two decades, there has been widespread application of the term "indigenous" in relation to various groups worldwide. However, the meaning of this term and its uses tend to be inconsistent and variable. The expression derives from the interaction of different cultures—the meeting between the original inhabitants of a specific region (known variously as "first nations," "natives," "indigenes," or "aborigines") and new, foreign "settlers" or "colonizers," who imposed their alien value systems and way of life on the indigenous populations.
In Israel, the indigenousness claim has been raised over the past few years by the country's Bedouin citizens, a formerly nomadic, Arabic-speaking group centered in the southern arid part of the country, the Negev. They argue that Israel denies their basic indigenous rights such as maintaining their traditions and owning their own lands.
Does this claim hold water? What are its implications for Israel as well as for other nations?
|[TAU & BGU] "The Marx Forum" - Tax payers should not be forced to subsidize political activism of professors|
|The fifth annual Marx Forum is a good occasion for Marxist academics such as Efraim Davidi, Lev Grinberg, Uri Ram and Dani Filc, both from BGU and Gadi Algazi (TAU) to touch base with other Marxist activists to "develop the intellectual and political status of Marxism in Israel." Lending a helping hand is the Communist Party and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation represented by Dr. Angelica Timm, its Jerusalem office director.
As IAM reported, these and other Marxist and neo-Marxist faculty have used their classrooms as centers of Marxist indoctrination, with virtually no pretense of offering a balanced curriculum. Their writings are another extension of political activism, as they routinely "find" Israel to be an apartheid, racist and colonial state. By comparison, mainstream political science has never put Israel in these categories.
Like other citizens, faculty can engage in political activism; but to blatantly mix politics and academics is an egregious violation of academic freedoms. Students deserve more than a Marxist rendition of the subject at hand and tax payers should not be forced to subsidize political activism of professors.
|[BGU, Geography] Oren Yiftachel misinforms readers in an interview to the Palestinian 'Electronic Intifada'|
|The state doesn’t have to prove that there were no Bedouins there and that [the land] didn’t belong to the Bedouin. The state can actually sit back in a way and hope that nobody can prove [ownership] and then automatically, by default, it goes to the state,” explained Oren Yiftachel, an Israeli professor of political geography at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba.
“[For] a vulnerable, indigenous society that didn’t have the technological means that we have today, [the process] makes it all but impossible for the Bedouin to ever prove ownership,” Yiftachel told The Electronic Intifada.
“It’s even worse than appropriation. With appropriation, you’re saying, ‘It was yours but we’re taking it.’ But here, they are saying to you: this wasn’t even yours. So it’s not even considered appropriation. [Israel is saying,] ‘It was always ours, even though we didn’t exist.’ It’s a Kafka-esque kind of situation.”
According to Oren Yiftachel, while appealing to the Israeli high court is important in Nuri al-Okbi’s case, he wasn’t optimistic that the court would recognize al-Okbi’s land rights, since this would set an important precedent for other Bedouin claimants.
“It will be easier for [the high court] to hang on to this kind of precedent [of denying Bedouin land claims] even though it’s in total contradiction with the evidence on the ground,” he said.
“Areas that were totally cultivated and settled were declared dead land, abandoned desert [that] doesn’t belong to anybody. This is ridiculous, but they put the Bedouins in the position that they almost cannot ever prove that they are the rightful owners of the land that they’ve been living on for generations.”
|BGU Oren Yiftachel "Ethnocracy, Mapping & Poetics in Palestine/Israel" New York University Steinhardt School|
Sad Ironies of Palestine-Israel: 1.Complete overlap in homeland visions 2. Cruel divide & concur creation of colonialism.
3.Geographic clash of 2 nations suffering A. the worst genocide and B. worst mass transfeer of the C20.
While Israel creates its homeland, as Edward Said said, it creates another diaspora.
Right of return is reserved for those who were never born there and blocked from those who are.
In order to Judaize the land, Israel had to de-Judaize its population eg. laborers from Philipines, Sri Lanka etc.
In the name of Jewish nationalism, Zionism is now undermining the jewish state.
Overall, in Israel-Palestine while the populations are almost equal but Palestinians only control 15% of the land.
Amman, Madaba, Nazareth, Bethlehem are depicted is part of the Jewish homeland in historical maps used by high schools.
The original Irgun logo from the 30s depicts Palestine to include Transjordan.
The Hagana logo shows a sword & olive.
The Zionist left and right are not that different - the whole time they say we want peace but do the opposite.
The logo on the bottom right shows an oak tree and a house is of the most symbolic settlements
Starting 1967, Israel made it official to ban the green line on any official map.
|IAM Responds to David Newman: BGU emerges as a leader in neo-Marxist, critical scholarship that nourishes BDS|
|Professor David Newman, dean of social sciences at Ben Gurion University has been busy denouncing what he calls the "extreme right," -his terms for anyone that does not agree with radical neo-Marxist, critical scholars. In a move typical of left-wing demagogy, he lumps a number of groups in this category, namely Israel Academia Monitor that exposed serious flows in the Department of Politics and Government, contributing to its censure by the Council of Higher Education and NGO Monitor that was founded to fight the rabid anti-Israel rhetoric of some pro-Palestinian NGOs .
Newman has good reason to launch a preemptive offensive against the "nefarious right." As a long time head of the Department of Politics and then dean of social science, he is directly responsible for the hiring and promotion of self-described neo-Marxist, radical scholars such as Neve Gordon who, in spite of Knesset legislation, still promotes BDS. Newman has also approved a MA program for international students whose graduates should have no problem getting a job in anti-Israel NGO's.
Readers of Newman's 2004 essay (co-written with Haim Yacobi) "A Hidden Battlefield: The Representation of the Border and the EU in the Israel/Palestine Conflict" should further question his academic credibly. He quotes research by Dr. Nurit Peled-Elhanan to support the contention that Israeli text-books promote a racist and xenophobic view. Peled-Elhanan is a leading radical political activist who has, among others, testified before the Russell Tribunal ( a group of self-appointed radical leftists) that Israel is an apartheid state. Her research has been roundly denounced by legitimate scholars in Israel and abroad.
Newman is right that BGU is a premier institution in certain fields like a desert research. But, under his stewardship, BGU has emerged as a leader in neo-Marxist, critical scholarship that nourishes the BDS and other activities created to delegitimize Israel in the international arena. A fair observer may question whether both donors and Israeli tax payers should support this endeavor.
|[BGU, Geography] Oren Yiftachel "The importance of making an appeal in the El–Okbi Family land ownership case"|
|Oren Yiftachel (BGU) is a long- time activist for the Negev Bedouins; he was one of the architects of the effort to enroll the them in the UN Register for indigenous people. The anti-Israel bias of the Register is quite evident, as the same tribal groups in the region, including Syria are not recognized as such.
Yiftachel has also served as an expert for the el-Okbi family in its litigation with the state. He and the el-Okbi tribe have worked with Professor John Sheehan, Director of the Australian- based Asia-Pacific Center for Complex Real Estate Property Rights. Sheehan holds very expansive views of the rights of indigenous people and is best known for his controversial project to include the City of Sidney in the restitution model that would place ownership in the hands of the Aboriginals.
Sheehan claims that there are parallels between the Aboriginals and the Bedouins, specifically referring to the so-called Mabo case. In 1992 the Australian Supreme Court ruled that natives have a preexisting law- system that included land possession, thus rejecting the "terra nullius" doctrine whereby Australia was considered an empty land before the arrival of the settlers.
Without referring to the Mabo case, Israeli courts have pointed out that the legal situation of the Bedouins in the Ottoman Empire and the British Mandate was very different, as it provided a mechanism for registering their property. Furthermore, Ruth Kark, a geographer from the Hebrew University, researched the movements of the nomadic Bedouins and concluded that some of their settlements were of relatively recent vintages. Unlike the Aboriginals who arrived in Australia forty thousand years ago, at least some of the nomadic Bedouins quite possibly roamed a wider swath of the region that included the Negev.
Following a recent court ruling that rejected the el-Okbi claim, Yiftachel has engaged in a flurry of writing, but contingently ignored some important facts. As IAM reported, the presiding judge took the unprecedented step of rebuking Yiftachel for his sloppy preparation, failure to master facts and evasive testimony. Instead, he writes "that the judge chose to render a harsh, confrontational ruling," and stuck to the earlier precedents.
Whether the Bedouins should be included in the same legal category as the Aboriginals, as Sheehan and Yiftachel seem to think, is in the hands of the Supreme Court. It can only be hoped that the materials and arguments presented to the Supreme Court will not include the type of rhetorical hype that Yiftachel is best known for. For someone who made a career of comparing Israel to the apartheid -era South Africa, a "finding" that is welcome by the network of neo-Marxist, critical journals that embraced him and other critical scholars, the court's preference for strict facts must be upsetting.
|To the Board of Governors of Ben-Gurion University|
|In 2011, the Council for Higher Education censured the Department of Politics and Government for poor academic standards and excessive politicization of the faculty. The situation in the department is reflective of the fact that many of its members including Neve Gordon and Dani Filc are self-described neo-Marxist, critical faculty (also known as post Zionists), who, as a rule, mix scholarship and politics. For instance, in spite of Knesset legislation, Gordon still promotes boycott of Israel, notably in a co-edited book that justifies BDS.
Though the Department of Politics and Government has the highest concentration of radical faculty, due to co-option, the phenomenon is wide-spread throughout the social sciences. Out of thirteen in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, six are critical faculty. Uri Ram is considered the “father” of the neo-Marxist, critical scholarship paradigm and the architect of the theory that the Jewish nation was invented by Zionist intellectual entrepreneurs and historians. He is joined by Lev Luis Grinberg, a Marxist who produced some of the most virulent critique of Israeli society and Nitza Berkovich who has worked with Gordon and Ram to paint Israel as an egregious violator of human rights. Oren Yiftachel from the Department of Geography and Environmental Development is best known for equating Israel with the apartheid regime in South Africa; his work has been used to justify the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). Yiftachel was also involved in the successful effort to enroll the Negev Bedouins in the United Nations register of indigenous peoples, (the same tribal groups in other countries in this region are not recognized as such).
|[BGU, Sociology] Lev Grinberg, a founder of Yesh Gvul, lights a torch against the occupation, for soldiers refusing duties|
|Dr. Lev (Luis) Grinberg, a Marxist sociologist from Ben Gurion University has been profiled by IAM before. Over the year, Grinberg used the legitimacy and security of his academic appointment, to paint Israel in the worst possible light. While mixing academics and politics in part of the neo-Marxist, critical scholarship paradigm, Grinberg's "scientific" contributions stand out for their vitriol and malice.
The following is a case in point. He compares Israel to the dictators in Argentina, his home country, where thousands "disappeared" during the government's campaign against leftist; he accuses the Israeli government of manipulating the trauma of the Holocaust to commit crimes against Palestinians, including the suppression of the Second Intifada. Conveniently, none of his writing, include references to Palestinians Iran, the patron of Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas, and their role in sabotaging the peace process. He accuses Israel of stealing water from the Palestinians, a notion that was disproved by a number of respectable experts.
Even by the lax standards of academic freedom at Ben Gurion University, Grinberg's writings are a social science travesty. Israeli tax payers deserve better than to support a high profile anti-Israeli propagandist with a meager academic record.
|[BGU, Jewish History] Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin turns a blind eye to reality in "Exile and bi-nationalism"|
|Professor Amnon Raz Krakotzkin (BGU, Dept of Jewish History) has developed a sense of nostalgia for Brit Shalom, a small group of scholars and intellectuals who advocated for creating a bi-national state in Palestine before WWII. As a matter of fact, some of the figures involved in the bi-national movement such as Martin Buber, Gershom Scholem and Yehuda Magnes as well as Hannah Arendt who developed a serious case of misgivings about a Jewish national state, have been embraced by the current generation of bi-nationalists.
Raz-Krakotzkin and his bi-nationalist role models share the same disregard for the political mind-set of the partners for the proposed union, the Palestinians, most notably the Islamists. Conveniently, in his lecture he mentioned his friend Juliano Mer Khamis but he did not mention that Mer Khamis, another model for bi-national co-existence, was murdered by Islamists who adamantly oppose sharing of Palestine with Jews.
There is one more thing that Brit Shalom bi-nationalists and their current followers share: ensconced in academic Ivory Towers they have the luxury to spin utopias that can be only sustained by turning a blind eye to reality.
|BGU Thabet Abu Ras: The Prawer Plan, a government scheme to displace Arab villagers of the occupied Negev|
|Gaza, (Alresalah.ps) – ““Prafr Map”, a scheme approved by the Israeli government a few months ago, aims to displace between 45 and 65 thousand Arab villagers of the occupied Negev.” confirmed the Director of Justice Office for Arab Minority Rights in the Negev Thabet Abu Ras.
“As the plan is put into action, the Arabs shall be barred to live in large areas of the Negev, almost located in between the occupied city of Beersheba and the Gaza Strip.” he followed.
|Amnon Raz Krakotzkin|
|BGU Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin in a one minute video segment translated from Hebrew:
To come and identify with the ongoing struggle against suppression, against oppression, against expropriations and for equality and for justice. Land Day was just one day of the horrible Israeli oppression, but oppression itself is not of one day, it is a prolonged suppression.
Amnon Raz Krakotzkin, Professor of Jewish Studies at Ben Gurion University, is one of the most prominent advocates of binationalism as a solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict. March 30 is an annual day of commemoration for Palestinians of the events of that date in 1976. In response to the Israeli government's announcement of a plan to expropriate thousands of dunams of land for -security and settlement purposes- a general strike and marches were organized in Arab towns from the Galilee to the Negev.
Deir Hanna, Israel
2012 March 30
|One minute video of BGU Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin inciting Arabs against Israel on Land Day March 30, 2012|
|BGU Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin in a one minute video segment translated from Hebrew:
To come and identify with the ongoing struggle against suppression, against oppression, against expropriations and for equality and for justice. Land Day was just one day of the horrible Israeli oppression, but oppression itself is not of one day, it is a prolonged suppression.
Amnon Raz Krakotzkin, Professor of Jewish Studies at Ben Gurion University, is one of the most prominent advocates of binationalism as a solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict. March 30 is an annual day of commemoration for Palestinians of the events of that date in 1976. In response to the Israeli government's announcement of a plan to expropriate thousands of dunams of land for -security and settlement purposes- a general strike and marches were organized in Arab towns from the Galilee to the Negev.
Deir Hanna, Israel
2012 March 30
|BGU Lev Grinberg, last part "Is there a chance to democratize Israel without ending the occupation?" U California, Berkeley
|Lecture by Lev Greenberg ........ Part III
Grinberg, a political economist and sociologist from Ben Gurion University is known for his extremely harsh condemnations of Israel; he rejects the notion that Israel is a democracy in any sense and accuses Israeli leaders of conducting "state terrorism" and "symbolic genocide" against the Palestinians.
Part III of his lecture is even less coherent that the previous segments; in fact, at times, it resembles a "stream of consciousness" tirade. Some of Grinberg's classic conspiracy themes can be recognized. One of them, which he shares with other radical academics, is the argument that Netanyahu fabricates enemies in order to torpedo the peace process. As Grinberg puts it, first it was the PLO, now it is the jihadists and Iran. Grinberg is really upset that the United States backs Israel on these threats, calling it a "real tragedy."
His other conspiracy theory pertains to domestic affairs. He states that the Dor B, the younger generation, is worse off that the generation of their parents because the government and the labor union conspired to settle their disputes at the cost of Dor B. Since he claims to be a political economics, he would be well advised to look at a comparable phenomenon in the West, whereby the younger generation has fared less well than their parents, primarily because of the globalization of the economy.
Grinberg's "stream of consciousness" presentation reaches a climax in the concluding passage where he seems to talk either about Egypt or Israel. In whatever version, he mixes facts with wishful thinking, interspersed with rhetoric delivered in poor English.
Still, the issue here is not what Grinberg thinks about the future of the Arab spring of the Israeli protest movement. The reall question is why Grinberg can afford to indulge in this type of ideological mussing masquerading as academic research. The answer, as was already stated, resides in the lax academic standards at Ben-Gurion University; they provided Grinberg and other radical activists with academic legitimacy, and equally to the point, with a secure income. The Council on Higher Education denounced such appointments in the Department of Politics and Government. They should have also looked at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.
|BGU Lev Grinberg, part 2 "Is there a chance to democratize Israel without ending the occupation?" U California, Berkeley|
|Lecture by Lev Grinberg Part II
Grinberg, a political economist and sociologist from Ben Gurion University is known for extremely harsh condemnations of Israel; not only that he denies that Israel is a democracy but also accused Israeli leaders of inflicting "symbolic genocide" on the Palestinians and engaging in "state terrorism."
In part two of his lecture, Grinberg expands on why Israel can not be called a democracy. For those who may have problems with the rather convoluted style of the lecture, his book Politics and Violence in Israel/Palestine is marginally more lucid. (see IAM review). In any event, Grinberg's main point is that democracy can only occur in countries with defined borders, because a settled border gives a country a political space. At the same time, he seems to contradict himself when he speaks about the United States as being a "worse case" than Israel.
Grinberg's theory becomes even more outlandish when he discusses how the "cartels" in Israel closed the political space. He explains that the cartels are formed by two tribal identities, of the left and of the right; he then tries to compare the Israeli cartel/tribes to the American ones. At this point, his discourse becomes virtually incomprehensible.
It would be easy to assume that Grinberg's poor command of English is behind this muddled piece of reasoning. But his grasp of democratic theory as evidenced in his book is also substandard. As already noted, this is not just a refection on Grinberg but also on the lax standards at the faculty of social sciences at Ben Gurion University. Like some of his peers, his talent does not exceeds beyond Israel bashing.
|[BGU, Geography] Oren Yiftachel squirming in the witness seat at the Al-Arakib court case March 15, 2012|
|Professor Oren Yiftachel (BGU), a self-proclaimed critical geographer, is best known for asserting that Israel is a "creeping apartheid state." He is also involved with a group of activists promoting the rights of Bedouins of the Negev Desert to land they could not prove ownership of. As IAM reported, Yiftachel was among activists who persuaded UN officials to include the Negev Bedouin tribes on the register of indigenous people. Critics suggest that the decision was political as the same tribes in adjacent countries failed to qualify for the register.
Unlike traditional (or positivist) geography, critical geography (also known as radical geography) is part of the neo-Marxist, critical studies paradigm in the social sciences. Wikepidia describes critical geography as a reaction to the empirical spirit and quantitative methodology of positivist geography: "It sought to counter quantitative methods with normative methods drawn from Marxist theory... quantitative methods were not useful, it argued, unless alternatives or solutions were given to problems." Liberated from the need to support his conclusions with facts, Yiftachel made a career of accusing Israel of apartheid-like policies and such.
However, Yiftachel's disregard of empirical reality did not serve him well in District Court last week where he testified on behalf of two Bedouin families claiming ownership of land. Professor Ruth Kark, a geographer from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and an expert on the history of land ownership in Israel/Palestine and the Negev, testified on behalf of the state. Sarah Dovrat, the presiding judge, took the unusual step of chastising Yiftachel for his sloppy preparation, evasion of truth and other underhanded tactics. At one point she described Yiftachel as "squirming" in the witness seat (see the transcript below). There was another awkward moment when the expert on aerial photography who testified for the plaintiffs, implied that he was influenced by Yiftachel. The judge complimented Kark for her meticulous research and thorough presentation.
Yiftachel would undoubtedly reject the court decision as a "Zionist" ploy to deprive the Bedouins of their land. As a matter of fact, he already announced that “Whatever the court decision, I am committed to the truth,” this is in line with the neo-Marxist paradigm where objectivity and facts do not matter and truth is in the eye of the beholder. But he and his radical peers would be well advised to note that there is an empirical reality outside the college campus and the publishing network of critical theory which Yiftachel helped to develop. Occasionally, this reality provides a "reality check" to even the most intrepid critical theorists
|BGU Lev Grinberg "Is there a chance to democratize Israel without ending the occupation?" U California, Berkeley|
|Lev Luis Grinberg, a political economist and sociologist from Ben Gurion University is known for his extremely harsh condemnations of Israel; he rejects the notion that Israel is a democracy in any sense and accuses Israeli leaders of conducting "state terrorism" and "symbolic genocide" against the Palestinians. Grinberg's overheated rhetoric was condemned by academic and lay critics, but it did not curb his appetite for highly provocative rhetoric.
The following lecture is a case in point.
Grinberg, like his BGU colleague Neve Gordon, is highly excited by the Arab Spring because, in his opinion, Israelis were inspired by their Arab neighbors to demand democracy in their own country. Although he does not compare Netanyahu to the dictator Mubarak, Grinberg feels that the protest in Tel Aviv in the summer of 2011 was about democracy; he notes that the tent encampment on Rothchild Boulevard was called Tahrir Corner, a reference to Tahrir Square in Cairo.
Grinberg, who is a Marxist, is happy to report that the demonstrations brought forward a new kind of an Israeli, motivated by "solidarity" and not "individualism of the market." He asserts that the demands of the demonstrators will roll back the last 15 years of Netanyahu's market reforms. Indeed, he declares: the "welfare state is coming."
That Grinberg should yearn for the return of the welfare state is not unexpected since he has made a career out of mixing Marxist ideology with academics. Still, as a political economist he should be aware that socialism has been on the retreat in Europe and beyond. Grinberg's disconnect from reality is astounding, but maybe not surprising given the lax academic standards in social sciences at BGU that created a true neo-Marxist Ivory Tower in the Negev.
|[BGU] Reading Neve Gordon's "Preparing Israel for war" one may conclude he is not the most sophisticated thinker|
|Professor Neve Gordon (BGU) has been the subject of many IAM reports; the most recent detailed his ventures into political commentary on the Arab Spring where he sang the praises of the "robust democracy" in the region.
In the article for Al Jazeera, also posted on the Iranian website CASMII, Gordon's usual mix of demagoguery and conspiracy theory is on full display. As before, Gordon cannot bring himself to acknowledge that Gaza under the rule of Hamas became a threat to Israel's security along the southern border and/or that the government may have a legitimate right in protecting its citizens. Indeed, the Iron Dome, a system for intercepting short range missiles, was developed, following multiple rocket attacks from Gaza. There is nothing new here, as Gordon is one of the radical academics who claim that Israelis cannot do any right and the Palestinians cannot do any wrong.
What is new is the low to which Gordon stooped to make his case that Israel wanted to invade Gaza. Among his sources , he lists a Facebook and Tweeter entry by Judy Nir Moses Shalom, the wife of the Depute Prime Minister Silvan Shalom. All those who consider Sarah Netanyahu to be the real power behind the throne, can now add Judy Nir Moses Shalom to the movers and shakers of the Netanyahu cabinet, according to Gordon.
This may not be entirely good news though as Gordon describes her "as not the most sophisticated thinker." Reading the convoluted article, one may conclude that Gordon is not the most sophisticated thinker here.
|BGU Neve Gordon's "Villa in The Jungle": To reinforce the Zionist trope that Israel is an island of civilization in the Middle East|
|Neve Gordon (BGU) has been one of the harshest critics of Israeli democracy; in fact he accused Israel of being a racist, apartheid state that tramples on the civil rights of Jews and Arabs alike. Understandably, Gordon was very unhappy with Ehud Barak's reference to Israel as a "villa in the jungle," a shorthand for stating that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. He was even more upset with observers who insisted that Islam and democracy do not go together.
When the Arab Spring toppled a number of autocratic regimes in the region Gordon rushed to prove Barak wrong. His article on the subject demonstrates that he has real excitement about the emerging democracies. He also upbraids the Israeli media for being skeptical about the developments.
However, it is Gordon who may need to curb his enthusiasm.
|BGU Ahmad Sa’di lecture in Qatar "We are all very familiar with the Israeli population transfer policies of 1948”|
|With regard to demography, Prof. Saadi noted, “The tactic of containing the Palestinian [population] … through the education of Arab women and the introduction of family planning notions to the Palestinians … represented a leap of thinking and elaboration relative to previous [policies].”
Another aspect of displacement during the last half of the twentieth century included the settlement of Bedouins in cities and the transfer of Israelis to villages, resulting in the destruction of Bedouin livestock and agriculture and subsequent shift to wage labor in metropolitan areas. “Palestinians as a collective were to be incorporated into the periphery of the Israeli economy through various means.”
|[BGU, Politics & Govt] Dani Filc of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, a radical political group disguised as a medical organization|
|In October 2011 BGU Dr. Dani Filc, head of Politics and Government Department at BGU participated (see below) in an event organized by the Medical School for International Health (MSIH), a collaboration of Columbia University's Health Sciences Division and the Faculty of Health Sciences at Ben-Gurion University.
Filc represented Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) and lectured about "PHR-I and its mission to end health inequality in Israel." Filc's topic is not only misleading but also hypocritical.
The PHR-I page in Wikipedia explains that "PHR-I views Israel as an occupier over Palestinian territory as a basis of human rights violations, and therefore, "oppose the occupation and endeavor to put an end to it." Wikipedia further notes: "Much of PHR-I's work is based on appeals and testimonies from persons whose rights may have been violated. Such claims may come from the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev, or from migrant workers, refugees and asylum seekers living in Israel".
The Israel Medical Association which looked into these and other allegations, severed its ties with the with PHR-I. The president of the World Medical Association, Dr. Yoram Blachar, said that PHR-I "is a radical political group disguised as a medical organization".
This should not come as a surprise as Filc has a long history of proving misleading information in order to support his thesis that Israel is a gross violator of human rights at par with South Africa.
|[BGU] As Haggai Ram fails the grade as a scholar of international relations, he moves on to hashish/marijuana|
|Professor Haggai Ram (BGU) participated in a demonstration organized by Combatant for Peace and the Israeli Disarmament Movement against alleged Israeli plans to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. Identifying himself as a professor of Middle East studies, Ram expressed his concern that Israel would rush into an act whose consequences it could anticipate. As a citizen, Ram has the right to contribute to the debate about the best way to contain Tehran’s drive to its military- nuclear project.
As an academic though, Ram fails the grade. In a March 1996 interview in Haaretz, “The Demon is Not So Terrible,” Ram blamed the government, the media and academics for disseminating “distorted images” of Iran, a tactic aimed at domestic consumption. Finding that the regime in Tehran uses foreign policy to mobilize its population, Ram urged a comparative study of Zionism and Khomenism. He also lamented that the Center for Iranian Studies inaugurated in 2006 at Tel Aviv University would “adopt a security agenda that endorses the military and government policy.”
In a 2009 book Iranophobia. The Logic of an Israeli Obsession, Ram furnished two reasons for this alleged pathology. He charged that, as a result of the Holocaust trauma, Israelis exaggerate threats, turning Iran into an alien “folk devil.” Equally important in his view, is Israel’s anxieties stemming from the country's domestic crisis of modernity since the 1970s: “Iran served as a backward Islamic and, threatening Oriental “outsider within” who threatened the Western cosmopolitan character of Israeli society.” To prove his point, Ram dismissed the possibility that Tehran develop nuclear weapons in order to hurt Israel; he noted that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threat to “wipe Israel off the map” was mistranslated. He went so far as to accuse Israel of “framing” Iran in the Karin- A affair in early 2002 (a reference to a ship loaded with Iranian weapons destined for the Palestinian Intifada captured by the Israeli navy). Ram asserted that the affair should be viewed in the context of efforts by Israel and Jewish neo-conservatives in Washington “to break up the emerging ties” between the United States and Iran.
|BGU Ahmad Sa'di in Georgetown U Qatar, Feb 21: Israel's methods of political control & surveillance on Palestinian citizens|
|The Center for International and Regional Studies, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar
Event Monthly Dialogue: Ahmad Sa'di
When Tuesday, February 21, 2012 from 6:00pm to 7:30pm
Details Dr. Ahmad Sa'di speaks about “Population Management and Political Control: Israel's Policies Towards the Palestinians in the First Two Decades, 1948-1968”
Ahmad Sa'di joined the Ben-Gurion University of Negev's Department of Politics and Government in 1999. He received a Ph.D. degeee in sociology from the University of Manchester in 1991 , followed by two years of service for a Palestinian NGO. Professor Sa'di has published over 38 articles, in English, Arabic, Hebrew, German and Japanese, and most recently co edited a book of Palestinian memoirs entitled Nakba: Palestine, 1948 and the Claims of Memory. His areas of interest include political sociology, the sociology of developing nations, social movements and political mobilization, and the discourse and methods of political control and surveillance used by Israel to control Palestinian citizens.
|BGU David Newman speaks from both sides of his mouth "THE EXCLUSIVE BLACKLIST"|
|The "blacklist" group created by Neve Gordon and a few radical activists that purports to show that radical right-wing groups have labeled some thousand politicians and academics as "radical Israel bashers" continues to serve Professor David Newman, the dean of social sciences at Ben Gurion University. Indeed, the "blacklist" has diverted attention from the recommendation of the Council for Higher Education to close the Department of Politics and Government at BGU if changes are not iplemented. As IAM reported, Newman, both as the former head of the department and dean presided over what the CHE described as a politically biased and substandard academic entity.
But Newman's effort to milk the "blacklist" also reflects his habits of exaggeration and specious comparisons bordering on demagoguery.
The current article is no exception. Newman insists on branding IAM as a "right wing group" harboring a black list; in fact IAM does not take political positions and is limited to an open discourse of academic matters and reviews of relevant literature by radical Israeli academics. Rather than responding in a substantive way, Newman finds it easier to hoist the banner of "academic freedoms and McCarthyism.
|BGU Oren Yiftachel, February in NY: On-going dispossession of Bedouins in the Negev and the West Bank|
|This doctrine stands behind on-going dispossession of Bedouins in the Negev and the West Bank, which has caused decades of deprivation, poverty and pervasive criminalization, as well as modernizing urbanization for about half the Bedouins.
The paper presents a systematic challenge to the various pillars of the 'empty Negev' doctrine. It shows how Israel has 'emptied' the land 'backwards' by dispossessing Bedouins due to their ancestors' putative inaction vis the previous Ottoman and British regimes. The state refuses to recognize the autonomous legal system under which Bedouin managed their land prior to the Israeli regime. The discussion of the paper contributes both to theories of the legal geographies of settler societies, and to the on-going battle over democracy and human rights in Israel/Palestine.
|[Arava& BGU] Anarchist Uri Gordon promotes "most important international anarchist congress"|
|Subject: International @ congress, St Imier, August 8-12, 2012
Date: 14/01/2012 21:53
This is set to be the most important international anarchist congress for the last couple of decades. If anyone is thinking of going please email me off-list.
ANARKISME 2012 ST IMIER
To organizations, groups, collectives and interested individuals
From the 8th to 12th of August 2012, an international anarchist meeting will be held in St-Imier (Western Switzerland) for the 140th anniversary of the anti-authoritarian First International, which was organized in St. Imier in 1872.
|[BGU, Geography] Oren Yiftachel and his companions lost the high court bill against 'Nakba Law'|
|The petition was filed in May 2011 by the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) on behalf of alumni of the Arab Orthodox School in Haifa. The petitioners argued that the law is anti-democratic and severely harms the basic rights of Arab Israelis, including the right to freedom of speech, political and artistic expression, equality, education, academic freedom and freedom of occupation
Also named on the petition are Ben- Gurion University professor Oren Yiftachel, whose academic research challenges Israel’s definition as a Jewish and democratic state, and parents of pupils at the Galil Jewish-Arab school in Misgav, which commemorates Nakba Day alongside Independence Day.
At the end of the judgement, Beinisch said she agreed with Naor that the petition raised “complex questions of public importance.”
“I emphasize that these questions may, in certain circumstances, get to the roots of the problems dividing Israeli society,” Beinisch added. “However I accept my honorable friend’s position that this petition is not ripe for judicial discussion. The constitutionality of the [Nakba] law depends to a large extent on how its content is interpreted in practice, and that will be clear only when it is implemented.”
|[BGU, Sociology] Lev Grinberg: "Israel is a non-democracy" Review of 'Politics and Violence in Israel/Palestine'|
|Lev Luis Grinberg, Politics and Violence in Israel/Palestine, London: Rutledge, 2010.
Lev Grinberg, a professor of sociology at Ben Gurion University, a veteran Marxist scholar and political activist, brings his moral sensibilities to bear on the issue of democracy in Israel. Stating that there is a close correlation between theory, research and the personal politics of the researcher, Grinberg informs the reader: “my interpretation of political dynamics is influenced by my own moral preferences and intentionally designed to facilitate a critique of politics.” Based on his moral position that “supports dialogue and recognition, while rejecting violence and unilateral imposition,” Grinberg proceeds to develop a strikingly idiosyncratic theory of democracy. Bypassing most mainstream literature, including the key contribution of Samuel Huntington on democratic transition, Grinberg asserts that democracy is only possible in countries that have defined borders. While striving to present this finding as a universal postulate, it is quite clear that the theory is tailor-built to the case of Israel, which Grinberg considers to be a “non-democracy. ” As Grinberg explains, Israel’s continuous territorial expansionism has enabled violence and the military that administer it to dominate the political agenda. In the absence of recognized borders, the “formal democratic regime fails to contain social and political conflicts by means of representations, negotiations, and compromise… politics is replaced by violence.”
Not surprisingly, this peculiar normative approach gets Grinberg into trouble with reality.
|An early warning by Prof. Zeev Maoz to the Council of Higher Education "Shut down BGU Dept. of Politics & Government"
|Professor Zeev Maoz's op-ed in Haaretz in support of the CHE decision comes as a real surprise, not least because he identifies himself as a leftist. Even more astounding is the revelation that in 2002 he evaluated the department on behalf of CHE and recommended shutting it down. According to a document forwarded by Maoz to IAM, this conclusion was based on two factors: there was a paucity of core political science courses, and lack of qualified instructors to teach them. In most instances, the faculty's specialization bore no relation to the subjects they offered. Remarkably, the CHE report reached the same conclusions.
Maoz claims that the CHE and BGU did not implement his recommendation and, far from engaging in a witch-hunt, CHE and BGU exempted the department from the rigorous standards applied across the board. Whatever the reasons for this laxity, the consequences are quite clear now.
|"Betraying Ben-Gurion": It is ironic that BGU has become hotbed of anti-Israel propaganda at the expense of scholarly endeavor
|It is ironic that Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), Israel's only university bearing the name of the Jewish state's founding father, and established in the ancient desert he dreamt of reviving, has become a hotbed of anti-Israel propaganda at the expense of proper scholarly endeavor.
So much so that an international committee of scholars, appointed by Israel's Council for Higher Education to evaluate political science and international relations programs in Israeli universities, recently recommended that BGU "consider closing the Department of Politics and Government" unless it abandoned its "strong emphasis on political activism," improved its research performance, and redressed the endemic weakness "in its core discipline of political science." In other words, they asked that the Department return to accurate scholarship rather than indoctrinate the students with libel
|[BGU] A Neo-Marxist Take on Conflict: "The Politics of Conflict", the Dept of Poli & Govt International MA Program|
|The Department of Government & Politics at BGU has been recently reprimanded by the Council for Higher Education for shoddy academic standards and excessive political activism. The Department's International MA program on conflict, described as "a unique program which examines the different ways in which global and local processes have formed numerous sites of conflict both within the Israeli society and its relations with its neighbors," is illustrative in this sense.
Many of the courses in the program are heavy on neo-Marxist, critical analysis and replete with bibliography drawn from books published by radical non- academic presses and journals who mix scholarship with leftist ideology and pro-Palestinian advocacy. For instance the course "War, Security and Governance," defines conflict as more than the use of "brute force" to include such things as "pervasive controls" by government and "capital." International corporations are described as greedy villains in the service of "capital" and the Israeli government is seen a major violator of human rights. The syllabi show virtually no attempt to offer a non-Marxist perspective on conflict and global economy.
The program's field trips to "sites of conflict" offer a dim view of Israel's alleged mistreatment of Israeli Arabs, Bedouins and foreign laborers. This should come as no surprise; the Department has a large number of neo-Marxist, critical scholars and political activists who see no division between classroom instruction and extra-mural political engagement, This is particularly unfortunate since the MA program caters to foreign students who can put their newly minted degree to good use in the burgeoning movement aimed at delegitmizing Israel.
| [BGU] Oren Yiftachel, an intellectual architect of the theory of Israel-as-an apartheid state, at the Assoc. of American Geographers|
|Professor Oren Yiftachel, a radical academic from the MAPMES Program at Ben Gurion University and one of the intellectual architects of the theory of Israel-as-an apartheid state, has written extensively on the Bedouins in the Negev. Unofruntately, in order to score political points, Yiftachel misrepresents key facts and simplifies the real dilemma facing the state in its dealings with an indigenous nomadic population. As already reported Haim Sandberg, an authority on land usage in Israel, proved that significant parts of the Negev desert was considered to be mewat under the Ottoman Empire. The designation included land that was not used for agriculture or pasture and was remote from human settlments. British mandatory authorities initiated a process of transferring property deeds to the Bedouin population, but restricted the circumstances under which claims could be made to mewat land, a decision that the Israeli government has followed.|
|BGU Student complains: Neve Gordon's teaching assistant and her friends threatened me|
|On December 2, 2011, Shmueli wrote on her facebook account her opinion about the BGU Government and Politics department, that she doesn’t believe that they are behaving professionally about promoting students in the department, for they are “promoting based on political views and not academic excellence.” Shmueli, like a series of other pro-Israel students, is concerned about a trend within Ben-Gurion University, where only students who support the views of radical academics get to become teaching assistants.
After Shmueli wrote this on her facebook, Michal Rotem, a teaching assistant of Neve Gordon, copied Shmueli’s status to her facebook account and stated “From the conclusion of the status, I am not left wing but a traitor.” Michal’s sister Ofirwrote that “Ortal Shmueli needs to cool down; otherwise I will deal with her.” In one of the comments Michal Engel, also a student in BGU’s Government and Politics Department wrote regarding Ortal Shmueli, “she is a stupid bitch. When I see her, I could beat her.”
|David Newman on JPost "An academic lynching" and the MESA letter to BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi|
|David Newman, the Dean of Faculty of Humanities and Social Science, acting on the premise that the best defense is offense, attacked the CHE in his Jerusalem Post column (below), calling the report an "academic lynching." He accuses the Minister of Education Gideon Saar, the IAM and other "right-wing groups" of being part of the "lynch mob."
Prior to becoming Dean, Newman was the long-term chair of the Department of Politics and Government; in both of these capacities he has been responsible for hiring and promoting radical academics, But he vehemently denies that ideological factors play a role in staffing decisions either in the Department of Politics of the Department of Sociology. If this is the case, how can he explain the high percentage of neo-Marxist, post-Zionist scholars in both departments who pioneered the idea that Israel is an apartheid state?
Newman lists the many other functions that the Department of Politics performs including its European and African studies programs. In reality, the European program has only one tenured faculty; the lone professor in the African program seems to specialize in "colonialism in Africa, "undoubtedly a good match for a department where many view Israel is a colonial state.
Newman's arrogance in attempting to provide a misleading picture of the reality in BGU, is only matched by his ignorance about Middle East Studies Association (MESA). He notes that the "prestigious" association sent a letter to BGU president Rivka Carmi (see below).
|The Berlin Wall, the Separation Barrier and BGU David Newman's Art of the Specious Comparison
|David Newman, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and the Social Sciences at Ben Gurion University, has ventured into comparative politics in his article on the East Berlin Wall and the Separation Barrier. He apparently learned something from the many radical academics in the BGU Department of Politics and Government, whom he had helped to recruit and promote. Although Newman does not assert that Israel is equivalent to the apartheid regime in South Africa as they do, he has mastered well the art of the specious comparison.
To his credit, Newman notes that the Berlin Wall was built by the communist regime to prevent East Germans from fleeing from the "workers paradise." He also admits that for some twenty years after 1967, Palestinians and Israelis moved freely in both directions.
But in order to make his comparison stick, he omits the part of history that forced the Israeli government to erect the separation barrier. He should know that the Oslo peace treaty of 1993 and the Paris Agreement of 1994 were based upon an economic union between Israel and the Palestinian Authority featuring open borders. But in early 1994 the top leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran decided that Oslo peace is an ideological threat to the regime; It instructed al- Quds Brigades, the international organ of the Revolutionary Guard, to mobilize units of Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas to carry out suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. The corrupt and dysfunctional Palestinian Authority (PA) under Yasser Arafat either could not or would not challenge the Jihadists.
|CHE BGU Dept report released: Lack of political science courses, poor research performance & political activism. BGU replies|
|The full report of the CHE on the Department of Politics and Government at BGU was released today and confirms previous IAM postings based on the leaked copy. The report lists the lack of political science courses in the core offerings of the Department, poor research performance of the department and the political activism of many of its members as major problems.
BGU university response to the report is disingenuous: it claims that the Department, created in 1998, was planned to differ from traditional political science departments by offering a multidisciplinary perspective. This is certainly a laudable goal and well-suited for providing students with an integrated view of the political reality. Multidisciplinary programs exist in many universities and are generally appreciated by both faculty and students alike.
Unfortunately, the Department failed to execute this policy; as the roster of tenured and tenured- track faculty indicates, a majority of them specialize in various aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict with an emphasis on what is seen as the subjugation and mistreatment of the Palestinian and Arab- Israeli population, colonialism, etc. This peculiar reading of a multidiciplianry approach stems from the political activism of neo-Marxist faculty. Indeed, the Department's hiring and promotion record bears the classic signs of ideologically-based co-optation rather than concern for a well balanced multidisciplinary curriculum
|[BGU, Politics & Government] Dahlia Scheindlin obtained a draft of the CHE committee report|
|Scheindlin is a passionate defender of the Department's policy of offering class-room education combined with radical left-wing political activism- a practice that the CHE report finds objectionable. She writes that similar objections have not been raised with regard to American universities, naming Columbia, Harvard, Berkeley, Oberlin and Antioch. Her argument in this regard is specious at best and ignorant at worst.
Political Science departments at Columbia, Harvard and Berkeley are not comparable in any sense to BGU, as they don't have a large focus on activist policy and, more to the point, have a distinguished academic record. Scheindlin is probably more right to draw parallels to Oberlin College, a radical- activist campus best known for its programs on behalf of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) and its ultra-liberal sex policies on campus. Antioch College has attracted negative national attention by inviting Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was sentenced to death for killing a policeman and his transgendered supporter, Leslie Feinberg, to serve as commencement speakers. Both Oberlin and Antioch are private colleges whose educational philosophy is not part of federal scrutiny. However, with no federal funding Antioch was forced to suspend operations after its student body shrank to some 300. Following a restructuring to provide a more conventional academic education, Antioch is now trying to resume operations.
Scheindlin's argument that the Politics and Government Department has the right to emulate the combination of activism and education of Antioch College is highly troubling. Ben Gurion is a public university supported by Israeli tax payers who should not be expected to foot the bill for radical educational experiments.
|BGU Dahlia Scheindlin blames CHE committee for a "lengthy, politically-motivated assault on the Department"|
|The CHE's commissioned report on the Department of Government and Politics at Ben Gurion University has triggered strong reactions. As posted yesterday, the international committee expressed major concerns with the Department, including a lack of balance, and recommended that, as a last resort, it should close.
Attacks on the CHE have come in many forms, with most critics lamenting the alleged infringement on academic freedom of the faculty. The response of Dahlia Scheindlin, a peace activist, public opinion expert and an international consultant who also lectures at BGU is illustrative in this respect. Scheindlin who once implied that the IDF provided "staged pictures" of the Gaza flotilla to avoid taking the blame for killing the the Turkish activists, puts the CHE action within the content of a "lengthy, politically-motivated assault on the Department." She states that the "onus is on the authors of the report to prove that this is anything but a transparent politically motivated witch hunt."
She then proceeds to describe her own balanced approach in the classroom: "I do tell my students on the first day that the course is geared toward conflict resolution, not conflict perpetuation. I tell them that if they do not agree with this overall goal, they are welcome to remain in my class, but will probably find themselves uncomfortable with the basic concept."
|[BGU] Recommendations of international committee expressed concerns, including poor academic record of faculty|
|Media reports of recommendations of an international committee commissioned by the Council of Higher Education (CHE) concerning the Department of Government and Politics at Ben Gurion University created something of fire storm.
Headed by Professor Thomas Risse from Berlin Free University, the committee expressed a number of concerns, including poor academic record of the faculty, the paucity of offerings in the Department's core discipline, the politicization of the classroom, among others. The committee recommended that as a last resort, the Department should be closed.
The chair of the Department argued that the CHE wants to punish the Department for their political activity and others intimated that the report was the work of "extremist elements" and an infringement on academic freedoms.
None of these arguments stand up to scrutiny. IAM has periodically reported on substandard hiring and promotion standards of the faculty, in many cases based on publications in marginal journals and presses that cater to a hard-core neo-Marxist, anarchist and critical scholarship community.
Preliminary findings from a forthcoming IAM Syllabi Project indicate that many of the instructors do not offer a balanced reading list; they heavily favor neo-Marxist, critical scholarship, but virtually exclude literature based on the liberal positivist paradigm. This bias negates the goal of creating a measured learning situation in the classroom.
As another forthcoming IAM project "Academic Freedoms in Israel in Comparative Perspective" makes clear, the concept of academic freedoms extends to students as well as faculty. With no rigid scientific standards, liberal arts are required to turn the classroom into a "marketplace of ideas," where students can learn to reason by comparing different paradigmatic perspectives. At best, the syllabi of many of the courses offered in the Department of Government and Politics fall short of the ideal of the "marketplace of ideas." At worse, they look like recycled Marxist propaganda from the former Soviet Union.
|[BGU] Lev Grinberg at Berkeley U, California: Is There a Chance to Democratize Israel/Palestine?|
|Taking the Show on the Road
Professor Lev Grinberg, one of the cadre of radical academics in BGU, is serving as a visiting professor at Berkeley University, California. Berkeley, the Mecca of anti-Israeli advocacy has a long history of inviting radical left-wing Israeli scholars and/or publishing materials which seek to delegitmize Israel in the international arena.
Lev Grinberg is a good match for this agenda; he has long argued that Israel is not a democracy because it is driven by a ferocious military ethos that occupies Palestinian territory and, in the process, commits war acts. Indeed, Grinberg led efforts to mobilize the international community against targeted killings of terrorists, advocating the arrest of then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who was supported such tactics.
It would be interesting to see whether Grinberg makes the same demands against President Barak Obama, whose administration killed some of the top terrorists in the world. If the past is of any indication, he is probably not. Grinberg and his peers are the architects of a double standard approach. Israel gets condemned for acting in self-defense, a right that is enshrined in international law.
|Anarchist Uri Gordon joined BGU Govt & Politics: Undemocratic & corrupt Palestinian state better than military occupation|
|Dr. Uri Gordon, an anarchist theorist and activist, has joined the Department of Government and Politics at BGU where he is offering a course on "Ecology and Ideology. " His book, Anarchy Alive! released by Pluto Press, a radical London-based publisher, has been described as a primer for anarchist action rather than a theoretical treaties. This should not be surprising as anarchists do not believe in separation between the academic arena and the political activism; on the contrary, they view the university as an extension of their political endeavor.
As a member of the international anarchist community, Gordon's activism is widespread; by his own admission, he participated in numerous anarchist events including the anti-globalization movement that has staged protests against "capitalism." In Israel, Gordon is part of the 'Anarchists Against the Wall', which regularly protests against the "Apartheid Wall," their name for the separation fence.
While any state structure is anathema to Gordon and his fellow anarchists, they make an exception for a Palestinian state for which they strongly advocate. In the interview below, Gordon provides a convoluted answer as to why anarchists support a Palestinian entity all the more so because the Palestinian Authority and Gaza under Hamas are poster children for the kind of state excesses that anarchists use to explain their anti-statist position.
|TAU Rachel Giora & other radical academics urge Ben-Gurion U to reconsider "punishment" of refusenik professor|
|Rachel Giora's group: It is hard not to suspect that the motivation for this punishment is connected to Professor Landau's political views and has absolutely nothing to do with his research activity, which might have been truly harmed if he had agreed to serve in the army reserves; this decision gives away an impression of persecution.
BGU: Landau was not punished by the university," university spokesman Amir Rozenblit said. "No sanctions were imposed upon him for his political beliefs or due to any stance on the part of the university regarding his decision not to serve in the reserves. Employees are paid a salary for work. Since Dr. Landau was in detention, he was not at the disposal of his employer and is therefore not entitled to a salary for that period."
|BGU Conference "Threat: Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israel" Nov 16, with Neve Gordon, Haggai Ram & authors|
|The BGU conference on the treatment of Palestinian prisoners in Israel is in the tradition of one-sided and biased public events that Professor Neve Gordon and his colleagues are known for organizing.
To begin with, they decided NOT to invite scholars that could have balanced the conference and give it academic credentials, same as the previous non-academic conference organized by Neve Gordon and Dani Filc. The question is, why host a non-academic conference at BGU?
The authors of the book are known to have radical views on the issue. For instance, in a radio interview on the book, Matar proclaimed that detainees, including those who were held on charge of terrorism, should be reclassified as political prisoners.
|[BGU, Linguistics] Professor Idan Landau, a conscientious objector who loudly protests losing some cash|
|Professor Idan Landau (philosophy and linguistics at BGU), a conscientious objector was jailed for a week for refusing reserve duty, and docked 50 percent of his pay for the week for failing to do his research. In a letter to BGU president Professor Rivka Carmi, Landau complains about the decision, pointing out that he made up for the classes and did actually more research in jail that he would have accomplished under normal circumstances. He suggests that the step was politically motivated and that the university undermined his academic freedom.
Landau's argument is specious. He should know that, like any other larger organization, a university cannot engage in the type of ad hominem calculations involved in his complaint; had a physics professor requiring a laboratory been jailed for refusing to serve, according to Landau's own argument, the university would have been justified in docking his salary. And what about a professor who could perform some research in a laboratory and some in jail. What percentage of his pay should be docked? Recognizing that such particulars are impossible to manage, the National Insurance Institute has a standard policy; it reimburses employees for workers who do reserve duties but refuses to pay for those who spent time in jail, something that BGU cited in its decision.
|[BGU Sociology] Esmail Nashif "Entrenching the Boycott in the Principles of the Resistance"|
|Esmail Nashif (BGU) uses a Marxist analysis to expand on the use of boycott. He states that as currently practiced, the boycott aims at "weakening the Zionist regime in Palestine" based on the "contradictions of this regime." But, in his view, the boycott is only limited as it calls for Israel's compliance with international law and its withdrawal from the West Bank.
Nashif proposes to put the boycott into a broader historical perspective of 1948; this would mobilize the entire Palestinian community, including the Diaspora and broaden the goal to demand the return of the refugees to Israel proper. Moreover, the new vision would put the boycott in "the Arab-Islamic historical context as a primary frame of reference and not in the context of the authority of Western purity, as is currently the case." In other words, the boycott would shape the new Palestinian consciousness and make it a more effective tool to fight the "Zionist colonial oppressor."
|Oren Yiftachel "The Palestinians in Israel": Ghettoized citizenship, a stratified system of “creeping apartheid” |
|Oren Yiftachel (BGU) is one of the intellectual architects of a paradigm that classifies Zionism as a colonial project and compares Israel to the apartheid state of South Africa. His new article is one more example of an effort to present historical facts and statistics to support this paradigm. |
|Is the Colonial Paridigm Applicable to Israel? Professor Sandberg responds to Oren Yiftachel, Alexnader Kedar and Geremy Forman|
|In his book and subsequent article, Haim Sandberg a law professor at College of Management Rishon Le-Zion and HUJ responds to the three critical scholars Oren Yiftachel, Alexander Kedar and Geremy Forman whose writings on the subject of expropriation of Arab land during and after the 1948 war have virtually dominated the field. Neo-Marxist critical scholars contend that the colonial model best describes the Zionist dealings with the Palestinian Arabs, a methodological decision that carries a highly negative normative implication for the Jews and the State of Israel. Using a narrative developed by historians of colonialism, Yiftachel, Kedar and Forman have provided a picture of colonial expropriation, expulsion and marginalization of a native population (Palestinian Arabs) by Western intruders (Jews). The colonial model makes no distinction between property forfeited by the Palestinian refugees on 1948 and the expropriation carried out by the State of Israel in the regular “course of business.” It does not distinct as well between expropriations and a mere declaration of a land to be a state land. Blurring that distinction has created the impression that the state has expropriated vast tracts of land from its Arab citizens, well beyond the boundaries of democratic fairness. |
|[TAU, BGU] on Michal Givoni in "From Manufacturing History to Manufacturing Testimony"|
|When New Historian, the vanguard of post-Zionism in the 1980s, produced work that misrepresented the reality of the 1948 war, critics accused them of manufacturing history. Thirty years later such charges sound positively quaint as a new generation of post-Zionists has developed more imaginative ways to delegitimize Israel. By altering the commonly understood meaning of witnessing and testimony bearing, the neo-Marxist critical theory has provided one such tool. Traditionally, the act of witnessing to atrocities and other man-made calamities was understood to have at least a semi-legal meaning; the witness was expected to have first-hand experience with the event and provide truthful testimony. Critical theory of witnessing makes no such demands of the witness. To the contrary, the act of witnessing is said to be “moral act” whereby the witness is encouraged to testify to the underlying evil of the regime; the witness is not required to have personal experience with the event or provide an empirically based testimony of what had transpired.
Though critical theory of witnessing is confined to a small group of neo-Marxist scholars, its effectiveness in delegitimizing Israel cannot be overstated. Helped by radical academics, Breaking the Silence had compiled a “moral witness” account of largely imaginable IDF atrocities in Operation Cast Lead that found its way into the original Goldstone Report. More worrisome, by using such “creative accounting,” radical academics have implied that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is on the same ontological plane as the evil of the Holocaust.
|Social Protest Hijacked by Radical Academics? BGU Yossi Yonah: “Wholesale destruction” of Israel’s social policy in the past two decades|
|Professor Yossi Yonah, the co-chair of the Alternative Experts Committee unveiled an interim report which laments the “wholesale destruction” of Israel’s social policy in the past two decades. Such a conclusion was all but expected because the social protest movement has took a turn to the left when a group of academic volunteers persuaded the young protest leaders that the government- appointed Trajtenberg committee should not be trusted. Among those who have pushed for the Alternative committee are some radical Israeli academics.
|[BGU, Politics and Government] Ahmad SAADI: shame on you British democracy! You have become a puppet in the hands of the Government of Israel|
|Sheikh Salah is in Britain for a speaking tour. By preventing Sheikh Salah from giving a first-hand account of the discrimination faced by 20% of Israeli citizens the British home office is infringing on the right of British citizens
to freedom of information.
Most of the land now reserved for Israel's Jewish population was confiscated from its Arab owners after 1948. This confiscation is ongoing. Sheikhh Raed isengaged in the non-violent struggle of Palestinian families that are being forced into homelessness in communities such as Sheikhh Jarrah and Silwan in
occupied East Jerusalem and the Bedouin village El-Arakib in the Negev.
Name: Ahmad SAADI on Jul 15, 2011
Comments: We all condemn the arrest and banning of Sheikhh Raed Salah by the UK Border Agency . shame on you, British democracy! However, You have become a puppet in the hands of the Government of Israel
|[BGU Geography] Oren Yiftachel lectures on Israel's "Creeping Apartheid" in Berlin, September 15, 2011 |
Urban Citizenship Revisited
Rights, Recognition and Distribution in Berlin and Tel Aviv
September 15th & 16th 2011
The Urban and Regional Sociology Program at Humboldt-University Berlin is excited to announce the International Symposium: Urban Citizenship Revisited. Rights, Recognition and Distribution in Berlin and Tel Aviv.
Thursday, September 15th
PART I: WELCOME & KEYNOTE
9:30 – 10:00h Welcome Speech & Opening Remarks
Talja Blokland (Humboldt-University Berlin)
10:00 – 12:00h Keynote Lecture
Chair: Ina Kerner (Humboldt-University Berlin)
Oren Yiftachel (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev):
Urban Citizenship in the 21st Century: Between Privatizing Democracy and Creeping Apartheid
|Ishai Menuchin, a pro-refusnik who teaches in the department for social work at Ben Gurion University|
|During the first Lebanon War he refused to report to reserve service because he identified it as an “anti-democratic choice” war, and ultimately served 35 days in prison because of this. In the years since Ishai has been within the realms of public education, commitment to democracy, and organizing activities against Israeli presence in territories (which he believes is occupation and oppression of Palestinian society). He also organizes demonstrations in front of prisons where refusniks are being held, and helps them financially and to gain international support. From 1981 – 2007 Ishai served as the spokesperson for the Yeshvul Movement, which is anti-occupation and pro-refusnik. |
|[BGU, Education] Ismael Abu Saad: "Defining the ‘Other' as the Enemy: the Indigenous Palestinian Bedouin in Israel"|
|According to Ismael Abu Saad, the founder of the Bedouin Studies Center at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, after Israeli military rule was imposed on the entire Palestinian population that remained in the territory now known as Israel, the Bedouins of the Negev were deprived of the ability to travel with their herds and cultivate their lands.
In addition, 12 of the 19 remaining tribes were forcibly displaced from their lands and confined to a restricted area in the northeastern Negev, which they could only leave with a special permit. Known as the Siyag, this area covered only ten percent of the land the Bedouins controlled prior to 1948, and was known for its low fertility.
"These restrictions represented a form of forced sedentarization, which virtually ended their traditional way of life," Abu Saad wrote in a paper titled, "Defining the ‘Other' as the Enemy: the Indigenous Palestinian Bedouin in Israel". As most of the Bedouins of the Negev were forced into the Siyag and were therefore not occupying their original lands, they lost ownership claims to land that they had used for generations.
After Israel had expropriated 93 percent of the lands in the Negev for Jewish settlement, the state's next priority was the forced urbanization of the Bedouins. "We should transform the Bedouins into an urban proletariat–in industry, services, construction and agriculture. 88 percent of the Israeli populations are not farmers, let the Bedouins be like them," stated Israeli military leader Moshe Dayan in 1963.
"Indeed, this will be a radical move which means that the Bedouin would not live on his land with his herds, but would become an urban person who comes home in the afternoon and puts his slippers on. His children would be accustomed to a father who wears trousers, does not carry a Shabaria [traditional Bedouin knife] and does not search for vermin in public. This would be a revolution, but it may be fixed within two generations. Without coercion but with government direction, this phenomenon of the Bedouins will disappear," Dayan said.
Ethnic cleansing continues slowly
|Ben Gurion University: “Disciplinary Hearing for a Lecturer Calling for Academic Boycott”|
|“Lecturers who will call for an academic boycott will have a disciplinary hearing,” so said yesterday (Sunday) the President of Ben Gurion University, Professor Rivka Carmi. “I think that there is academic freedom, but there is also academic responsibility. If you call for a boycott you cause damage to your colleagues. In essence this means they will not publish articles. If grants are not made, research will not be allowed”. Carmi based her opinion on two articles in the university’s ethical code that was recently approved, which concern the comments of staff members.
Professor Carmi was called to the university’s Student Union in order to explain the conduct of the academic institution, in light of a series of extreme comments and in a number of cases even harm to students. During the meeting, she was forced to deal with criticism made by Student Union members of lecturers who they contend deviated from the accepted rules in an academic institution: “There was an instance in which a lecturer identified students who expressed themselves not to his liking and he treated them as people from the extreme right,” said Yaron, one of the Student Union members. He added that students feel threatened “as this annuls the possibility to express symmetrical opinions, as long as the lecturer can identify students and act against them.”
|[BGU, Politics & Gov] Neve Gordon to speak at the UN, Brussels, the Division for Palestinian Rights, June 28-29|
|BRUSSELS, 23 June (Division for Palestinian Rights) — The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will convene the United Nations International Meeting in Support of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process, on 28 and 29 June 2011 in Brussels, Belgium. The theme of the Meeting is “The role of Europe in advancing Palestinian statehood and achieving peace between Israelis and Palestinians”. The venue of the Meeting will be the Résidence Palace - International Press Center.
The Meeting will aim at contributing to international efforts at achieving peace between Israelis and Palestinians by looking at the role of Europe in advancing a two-State solution. It will take stock of 20 years of European efforts to promote Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking; examine current efforts at resuming direct negotiations for a permanent settlement; and look at alternatives to the negotiating process, including achieving a two-State solution through multilateral mechanisms. The Meeting will also consider current European political initiatives, including the parameters for a negotiated settlement, endorsed by the European Union in April 2011, as well as the role of parliamentarians and civil society in promoting peace.
Plenary I, entitled “Peace or process — Taking stock of 20 years of European efforts
Neve Gordon, Professor, Department of Politics and Government, Ben-Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel
|BGU Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin: Bi-nationalism, a reality already established by the Zionist regime, obviously asymmetrical & colonial|
|I believe that the task now facing us as Jews who support Palestinian national claims is to generate a discourse towards equality in which we raise the question of the Jews’ rights and request recognition of the right to self-determination. In order to
make the recognition of the Palestinian right of return meaningful, we must direct our attention to reexamining the question of the Jews. These steps can form the basis for a process of de-colonization, which in the context of Israel/Palestine not
only entails withdrawal, but also a process of significant change of Israeli consciousness.
|BGU Thabet Abu Ras|
|[BGU, Politics and Govt] Yishai Menuchin's group “launched a legal warfare campaign against Israel in 2009"|
|MK Israel Hasson (Kadima) asked over the weekend that Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz (Habayit Hayehudi) put an end to National Service volunteers working in human rights organizations.
The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel “launched a legal warfare campaign against Israel in 2009,” and therefore, should not be a place for National and Civilian Service, Hasson said.
Ishai Menuchin, the Public Committee Against Torture’s director-general, called Hasson’s letter “anti-democratic.”
|BGU Chemistry lecturer Eyal Nir: Break rightists' necks, calling Jerusalem Day marchers 'gangs of bandits'|
|A lecturer at Ben Gurion University has issued a Facebook call for violence against right-wing activists who marched through the capital with flags on Jerusalem Day, urging people to "break their necks".
"I call on the world to come and help break these scoundrels' necks," Eyal Nir, a doctor of Chemistry known as a left-wing activist, wrote on the social networking site. He described the rightists as "gangs of bandits swarming in our country".
|BGU president responds to those ‘monitoring’ groups that claim Israeli universities are home to ‘anti-Zionists'|
|Among the nearly 5,000 full-time senior academics currently working in this country – and who are responsible for one of the highest rates of scientific publication in the world – less than 10 (10 people, not 10%) openly support the BDS movement. And let me stress: all the university presidents and senior administrators actively denounce any such support, in Israel and around the world. |
|BGU Ahmad Saadi, TAU Amal Jamal: "Nakba Day" demonstrations intensify in recent years|
|Ahmed Saadi of Ben-Gurion University in the Negev said there is a trend that more and more people are marking "Nakba Day" compared to the past. He considers it particularly interesting that young people, who were not born during the years around the establishment of the Israeli statehood, were involved.
"My generation is the generation who lived under the military government. At that time people were not allowed to leave their village for any reason without a permit from the government," Saadi told Xinhua.
Asked about the motivation behind the younger generation's involving in commemorating Nakba Day, Saadi noted two reasons: " the moral injustice of 1948 when people were expelled" and the Israeli government's current policies.
Amal Jamal of Tel Aviv University, who said that the mass demonstrations across the Middle East over the last couple of months have a huge impact on Israeli Arabs and Palestinians.
"It has a very strong influence. First of all, it influenced the way that demonstrations are convened and that the public is mobilized," Jamal told Xinhua.
People are hoping that the changes taking place in the Arab world, especially in Egypt, can empower the Palestinians and lead to a change in the balance of power between Israel and the Palestinians, Jamal argued.
|BGU Neve Gordon's one state fantasy: Israel's unwillingness to compromise on key issues might lead to the bi-national solution|
|Many Palestinians have come to realise that even though they are currently under occupation, Israel's rejectionist stance will unwittingly lead to the bi-national solution. And while Netanyahu is still miles behind the current juncture, it is high time for a Jewish Israeli and Jewish American Awakening, one that will force their respective leaders to support a viable democratic future for the Jews and Palestinians living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. One that will bring an end to the violent conflict.|
|BGU, HUJ academics involved in a scandalous anti-Israel report "Dispossession and Exploitation: Israel's Policy" |
|Mr Gordon said that Israel's expansion of settlements in the area and its increasing use of its agricultural resources was aimed at encouraging Palestinians to leave.
B'Tselem said: "Israel has instituted a regime that massively exploits the resources of the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea, far more than elsewhere in the West Bank, demonstrating its intention: to de facto annex the area."
According to B'Tselem, Israel violates international law by taking over most of the water sources in the area and allocating them to Jewish settlements. The group said that international law prohibits the exploitation of natural resources in occupied territory.
B'Tselem academic members
Co-chairs: Oren Yiftachel, Professor of political geography and urban planning, Ben-Gurion University
Orna Ben-Naftaly, Head of the Law and Culture Division and the International Law Division, the Law School, the College of Management Academic Studies
Vered Madar: Ph.D. Candidate, Jewish and comparative Folklore, Hebrew University
Motty Perry, Professor of Economics, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Yuval Shany, Professor, Hersch Lauterpacht Chair in Public International Law, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
|BGU Neve Gordon: "Israelis should learn from the pro-democracy movements across the Arab world"|
|Even though there has been a Palestinian Authority since the mid-1990s, there is no doubt that sovereignty still lies in Israeli hands.
One accordingly notices that in this so-called free and democratic country, there are in fact two books of laws, one liberal for its own citizenry and the other for Palestinians under its occupation. Hence, Israel looks an awful lot like apartheid or colonialism.
|BGU lecturer Idan Landau was sentenced to 7 days in military prison for refusing to perform reserves duty|
|Idan Landau, 44, a university lecturer and political blogger, was sentenced on Sunday, 8 May, to 7 days in military prison for refusing to perform reserves duty in the Israeli military. He is held in Military Prison no. 6 in the north of Israel. This is (to the best of my knowledge) the third time Idan Landau is sent to prison for his refusal to serve in an occupying force. He has also served prison terms in 2001 and 2003. Idan Landau is due to be released this Friday, May 13th, and possibly even a day earlier. |
|[BGU] Oren Yiftachel: The state's goal is to limit the Bedouins and to Judaise the rest, the land, the resources, the power|
|According to Oren Yiftachel, a professor of geography and environmental development at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva, this wave of destruction signals the Israeli government’s larger plan to concentrate Bedouin citizens on as little land as possible in the Negev, and build Jewish communities there instead.
"The goal of the state is still, within the possibilities that it has, to limit the Bedouins to confined areas and to Judaise the rest. Judaising the land, Judaising the resources, Judaising the power, and seeing any shadow of (a) claim to equality as a threat to this construction of a Jewish state," Yiftachel said.
|Friday Special: Academic freedom is not academic license|
|ISRAEL IS at war. Muslim states, both Arab and non- Arab, have made it crystal clear that they wish to destroy the Jewish state. Even as I flew out to Israel from London, dozens of rockets were slamming into Israel from Gaza – to say nothing of the Jerusalem bus station bombing. In this deplorable situation I would have thought it the duty of every Israeli academic – no matter his/her party-political outlook – to think very seriously about whether anything they say or do is likely to give comfort to the many enemies of Israel.
I must also point out that the BDS movement is itself at odds with the very concept of academic freedom, since it seeks to make the espousal of a particular set of political principles the price for entry into that academic dialogue which is at the very heart of what we mean by a university.
“Agree with my views” – it says – “or I will boycott you and freeze you out of the academy.”
In this sense I believe that the movement is essentially totalitarian, and indeed fascist in nature. It has no place – none at all – in a true university environment.
Argue by all means. But boycott and betray at your peril.
|[BGU, Geography] Oren Yiftachel and Human rights groups ask High Court to prevent enforcement of ‘Nakba Law'|
|The petition was submitted by Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Right in Israel as well as the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the alumni association of the Orthodox High School in Haifa, parents of children who attend the Galil Jewish- Arab school in Misgav and geography professor Oren Yiftachel of Ben-Gurion University.
Yiftachel claimed the law violated his academic freedom to teach students about Israel as a model of ethnocracy, which he describes as a political regime that facilitates expansion and control by a dominant ethnicity in contested lands, and which may be construed as a denial of Israel’s democratic nature.
|Academic Freedom Under Attack? Neve Gordon interviewed. Not a word about his destructive call to boycott Israel!|
|In this charged environment, Professor Neve Gordon agreed to be interviewed for +972. Professor Gordon was Chair of the Department of Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University for much of this controversial period. He is the author of Israel’s Occupation and an outspoken critic of Israel’s government policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians. He is very close to the issues, having been the target of no small controversies himself in the past.
BEN GURION UNIVERSITY HAS BEEN IN THE EYE OF THE STORM. WHAT HAS BEEN THE SITUATION AT BEN GURION UNIVERSITY OVER THE LAST YEAR?
There’s an assault on Israeli academia in general. It involves an alliance between forces such as IsraCampus and Israel Academic Monitor on the one hand, who try to convince donors to stop giving money to universities that harbor leftists, and Im Tirzu, which tries to mobilize government Ministers and Members of Knesset to pressure the top university executives to discipline recalcitrant academics. There’s an alliance between elements in civil society, a handful of donors, and the government to stifle academic freedom and criticism of Israeli policy. The phenomenon is not only in the academic sphere…it also includes, for example, the attacks on the human rights organizations in Israel.
|Clarification concerning the IAM report on BGU: $8 Million donation suspended|
|Please note that Prof. Carmi is not nor I think has ever been a member of the Vaadat Minuyim Elyonah of BGU. This is the committee that grants promotions and is the academic committee which recommends tenure.
Therefore, she had nothing to do with his promotion. Any statement otherwise is totally inaccurate. Decisions of this committee are made by vote. Each member votes completely independently. For example, I have seen several situations in which the Rector voted one way, but was overruled by the overall committee vote.
Membership in this committee is decided in voting by all the BGU professors and associate professors, not by the Rector nor by the President.
|[BGU, Geography] The El-Okbi trial isn't over, yet Prof. Oren Yiftachel tells Australian Television: The Israeli legal system is distorted|
|Prof. Oren Yiftachel on Australian Television
In the Negev itself, the state has won 190 out of 190 cases. This is a 100 percent record which shows that in the legal system - surely something is distorted here.
So Bedouin are essentially trespassing, they are invaders on their own land under Israeli law.
Absolutely and that even worse, they are trespassers on lands that they have been trespassing for generations without knowing that they are trespassers. According to Israeli law, because they said since 1858 you have been trespassers, you have been trespassing. You didn’t know about it. The Ottomans didn’t tell you. The British didn’t tell you. But now we’re telling you. You’re trespassers and you have to move out.
YIFTACHEL PART THREE:
And Israel actually stripped off the autonomy that the Bedouins had for generations and generations and generations.
They created terra nullius in reverse. They’ve created terra nullius, that is, empty land, the concept that the land was empty, but neither the Ottomans nor the British ever claimed that the land was empty.
|Report by Israel Academia Monitor on Ben Gurion University: 8 Million Dollars donation suspended |
|The escalating level of anti-Israel activities by radical left-wing members of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science at Ben Gurion University has put its President, Professor Rivka Carmi, on the spot. Carmi, who in the past had denied such activities, is now in a desperate fight to shore up failing support among donors. Last week she traveled to the United States to address the concern of one donor who suspended his pledge of 8 Million Dollars for a vitally needed new library, unless the radical faculty is removed.|
|[Ben Gurion University, Politics and Government] Neve Gordon - The Great Dictator
|BGU human rights conference:
Right before the next panel, Gordon approached me and mentioned that I could not publish any thing without the permission of the conference organizers, since this event took place on BGU property and this conference was organized especially for students. Evidently, he meant only left wing extremist students, because I just happen to be an MA student at Ben-Gurion University in the Middle Eastern Studies department. As a BGU student, I should have just as much right as every other student to attend a conference taking place at my university and to write what I think about what I heard without being disturbed.
|"BGU Conference for Left-Wingers Only". Danny Filc: This is not an academic framework which requires balance|
|A one-sided conference in Ben-Gurion University---is this because of the organizations or because of right-wing people? The Department of Government and Politics at Ben-Gurion University again encouraged a storm, this time in the background is a conference on the issue of human rights, expecting to take place this coming week. The conference invited representatives of the organizations B’tselem, The Public Committee against Torture in Israel, Adalah, Breaking the Silence, Physicians for Human Rights, Hagada Hasmalit, Shatil, and Amnesty International. Representatives of right-wing organizations were not invited. |
|BGU is hitting the headlines today with Neve Gordon's upsetting remarks. Also see how BGU's is recruiting radical activists! |
|Maariv published in Hebrew an article today about a complaint that was issued by students who took the first year compulsory class of Prof. Neve Gordon at the Politics and Government department, where he said that the abduction of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was not an act of Terrorism.
He said that the abduction of Gilad Shalit isn't an act of terror because according to his definition, Shalit is a soldier and attacking an army post is not an act of terrorism, as it is one military group against another.
Gordon explained that keeping Shalit while not allowing visits of the Red Cross is illegal. "If I was abducted in a Kibbutz near Gaza, this is a terrorist act but it is not terrorism if the abducted person is wearing uniform".
BGU students were very upset about Gordon’s comments and complained, so the University officials said they will check this incident.
In recent times, Ben-Gurion University has hired a new group of radical left wing academics in the Government and Politics department. This group includes visiting lecturer Dahlia Scheindlin, Dr. Yulia Zemlinskaya, Dr. Gili Baruch, and Dr. Michal Givoni. Each of these academics has solid anti-Israel activist records.
|BGU Sharon Pardo: Israel’s occupation...the images of the suffering and humiliation inflicted by Israel on the Palestinian people, part of European domestic politics|
|Israel’s occupation, together with the daily media images of the suffering and humiliation inflicted by Israel on the Palestinian people, is increasingly part of domestic politics in many European countries. European public opinion seems increasingly determined that the Middle East conflict be removed as an on-going source of international and domestic tension. Israeli policies are thus seen as to manage and contain the conflict, while deferring its resolution and preventing the emergence of an independent Palestinian state. In short, Israel’s policies are seen as inimical to European interests, and so must be challenged.|
|Tonight at 21.00 Channel 10 TV "HaMakor" shows clip of Ben Gurion University's radical lecturers and students|
|Tonight at 21.00 Channel 10 TV program "HaMakor" is going to show a clip of Ben Gurion University's radical lecturers and students in an illegal demonstration in support of the Flotilla boat activists.
For those who can not watch the program, you may view the two clips below
|[BGU, Politics] Neve Gordon signed petition calling to rehire anti-Israel adjunct professor at Brooklyn College|
|Monday’s decision involves Kristopher Petersen-Overton, a doctoral student at CUNY’s Graduate Center, who was hired by Brooklyn College’s political science department last month to lead a one-semester graduate seminar on Middle East politics...In rehiring Mr. Petersen-Overton, Brooklyn College and CUNY have sent a message to suicide bombers and their supporters that a publicly funded institution of higher learning condones suicide bombing as an acceptable method of ‘resistance,’” Hikind said in a statement released Tuesday.
...Petersen-Overton’s victory followed a growing campaign to support his reinstatement. Students, faculty members and prominent intellectuals, including Noam Chomsky, Katha Pollitt and Israeli Professor Neve Gordon, sent letters to the college and signed a petition to back him.
|Ben-Gurion University changes ethics code over political dramas àåðéáøñéèú áï-âåøéåï ìîøöéí: àì úáéëå áøàéåðåú|
|After series of embarrassing political statements by staff members, university decides to amend code of ethics, prohibit lecturers from mentioning its name during political public speeches. Staff members also banned from voicing political opinions during classes|
|[BGU, Politics & Government] Prof' Neve Gordon's political activities on the expense of BGU's academic integrity|
|Dr. Neve Gordon of the Politics and Government Department at Ben Gurion University announced that the department is looking for candidates for PhD studies (see the appendix in Hebrew below). The programme should start in October 2011 and is part of a research project entitled "Human Rights, Spatial Negotiations and Power Relations" which is funded by the GIF, The German Israeli Foundation. A quick translation from Hebrew: The research deals with the theoretical and empirical ways regarding the connection between Human rights, political thought and spatial planning in Israel. It will be part of a comparative research which is conducted together with researchers-partners in Germany. The supervisors are Prof' Neve Gordon and Dr. Haim Yacobi. Following Prof' Gordon's name and address, it says: For more info click here and the link leads to Israel's Occupation website, a website owned by Prof' Gordon, where the readers can learn about the ethnic cleansing in the Israeli Negev, as it reads on the occupation news bulletin, and claims that "the IDF uses propaganda like an authoritarian regime". It also includes a statement regarding Prof' Gordon's book: The Times Higher Education recommends the book Israel's Occupation, "What is most interesting in Gordon's analysis is the way in which the renovation of occupation practices are identified as an immanent outcome of the 'excesses and contradictions' within the system itself." |
|[BGU, Politics & Govt] Dahlia Scheindlin: The symbol of Palestinian struggle against occupation "How to make a martyr, from al-Durrah to Abu Rahmah"|
|The IDF seems blinded by the surreal belief that if it can prove Abu Rahmah died by forces other than its own – this will somehow exonerate Israel and salvage its global reputation after 43 years of indefensible occupation.
No matter how she died, Jawaher Abu Rahmah is now becoming a symbol, just like Mohammed al-Durrah. If he was the symbol of helpless children crushed by the jaws of the conflict, she will symbolize something else: the woman Israel killed and tried to pretend it didn’t, because it doesn’t know any other way to deal with civil resistance – or with the occupation and the conflict itself.
|[BGU, Politics & Govt] Dr. Amit Gish: "The great book robbery" The Israeli army’s "looting" of books belonging to Palestinians|
|The Israeli army’s "looting" of books belonging to Palestinian intellectuals is the subject of a documentary being made by Dutch-Israeli film maker Benny Brunner. He claims as many as 30,000 Arabic books and manuscripts, some of them rare and valuable, ended up in Israel’s National Library after the 1948 war.
Brunner’s interest in the story was sparked by an article written by young Israeli academic Gish Amit who stumbled across books while researching his Ph.D. According to Mr Amit, the library "collected" the books from the private collections of Palestinians who fled or were expelled from their homes in 1948.
|What went wrong in the Faculties of Humanities & Social Sciences?|
|Academic researchers are people who attack their own hypotheses; they pose questions such as: “When I think about A thusly and about B thusly, am I not wrong?” They go into the laboratory or out for field research to collect data and then diagnose, classify and analyze them, in order to clarify what their findings say. In contrast, some “researchers” have entrenched themselves in institutes of higher learning but do not engage in corroborating their own ideas so much as in negating the findings of others.
|[BGU, Politics] Neve Gordon tries to drive a wedge between Christian Zionists and Jews "Channel funds Israeli ethnic cleansing"|
|Neve Gordon looks at how an evangelical Christian TV channel with a viewership of nearly half a billion people, including 20 million in the USA and 14 million in Britain, is funding a project to ethnically cleanse Israel’s Bedouin citizens from their ancestral land.|
|IAM report on The Department of Government and Politics at Ben Gurion University biases against Israel|
|A recent study found that out of eleven professors in the Government and Politics Department at Ben-Gurion University (BGU), eight professors or 72 percent of the professors support Hadash and other left wing extremist parties. More worrisome, there is no serious debate to analyze and address this professional failing. Those that displayed great professional incompetence are still being promoted. The results of this reality in the Government and Politics Department at BGU is reflected by the fact that Prof. Fred Lazin, senior lecturer at Ben-Gurion University, admitted that he and his colleagues in the Department of Government and Politics supported keeping Dr. Neve Gordon as head of the department by a unanimous vote, despite the fact that he called for a boycott of Israel in the LA Times and offered to step down before the publication of his article if his colleagues felt that his comments would be too embarrassing for the university. |
|STANDING IN THE FACE OF INTIMIDATION
|This past semester, I took a course at Ben-Gurion University entitled “Selected Topics in the Geography of the Middle East,” which was taught jointly by Dr. Nir Cohen and Dr. Oren Yiftachel. The course was part of the MAPMES program, which is a masters program taught in English that is designed to teach international students about the situation in the Middle East. To my dismay, in this particular course, international students, instead of being educated about the complicated reality in the Middle East, were instead being taught to be hostile towards Israel.
Examples of the types of objectionable statements uttered in the course by Dr. Yiftachel include, “Israel is in a colonial situation with the Palestinians,” “the whole Israeli state is what you call an ethnocracy,” Israeli “hegemony” has “wiped out the substantive Mizrahi culture” because the Mizrahi Jews today don’t see themselves as Arabs, Immanuel “is a colony outside the boundaries of Israel,” “on the right, […] you will find elements of deep racism” in Israeli society, and while discussing Yisrael Beiteinu’s role in the last election, Dr. Yiftachel stated, “if apartheid can legitimately run for election on the ticket of denying citizenship, […] that means the boundary is very shaky in terms of including all the citizens,” etc. As a result of similar statements to these uttered, I decided to get involved with Israel Academia Monitor and to write expose’s about the propagandistic nature of the teaching that I was receiving in this particular course.
|STUDYING UNDER DR. OREN YIFTACHEL IN BGU DURING THE SPRING 2010 SEMESTER|
|During the spring 2010 semester, I took a problematic course as part of the MAPMES program. The MAPMES program is a masters program for Middle Eastern studies which is taught in English at Ben-Gurion University. Almost all of the students in the program don’t have Israeli citizenship and the few that have Israeli citizenship spent a considerable portion of their lives living outside of Israel. The class was entitled “Selected Topics in the Geography of the Middle East,” which was jointly taught by Dr. Oren Yiftachel and Dr. Nir Cohen. I was deeply disturbed by the anti-Israel sentiment expressed in the class and after suffering through hearing a constant barrage of anti-Israel propaganda, I decided that I wanted to expose Dr. Yiftachel and Dr. Cohen for what they were, anti-Israel activists attempting to impose their ideology on international students from Canada, Germany, and the United States. I only chose to go to Israel Academia Monitor with my experience after I sat through four awful lectures where only one opinion was viewed as legitimate by the professors and all alternative opinions were marginalized.|
|[BGU, Political Philosophy] Yossi Yonah, [Sapir] Yeela Raanan, [Haifa U] Abeer Baker, speaking against Israel in Holland|
"We believe that the only way to end this destructive situation is by non-violent resistance: resisting the occupation, resisting the separation and resisting all the violent acts by Israeli governments in the name of security. We do not, in any way, condone Palestinian violence."
|Israel Academia Monitor debates BGU Prof' Oren Yiftachel |
|Shalom to Israeli Academia Monitor,
Here are some comments in response to your recent post titled: "Oren Yiftachel's involvement in the new boycott attempt of South African academics against Ben-Gurion University":
I appreciate the generous publicity you have given my articles. As you know, they draw on rigorous research published in leading academic journals, and indeed expose a problematic reality where human rights are regularly abused in Israel/Palestine. This research is conducted in the name of the (universal, academic and Jewish) values of truth and justice.
'Truth' however appears somewhat problematic your own post. I regret that you continue to spread misinformation. For example, contrary to what you wrote, I have had nothing to do with the current moves of Johannesburg University to end ties with Ben-Gurion University, of which I am a proud faculty member.
|RamallahOnLine: BGU Neve Gordon condemns Bar Ilan U for not wanting to hire anti-Israel activist Ariella Azoulay|
|One important fact that does not appear on Azoulay’s written CV is her political activism and public visibility. She was, for instance, the curator of a photography exhibition “Act of State – 1967-2007,” which included hundreds of pictures that for the first time visually exposed four decades of occupation. The show was held in a gallery at the heart of Tel-Aviv. To be sure, a significant part of her work offers a critique of Israeli rights abusive policy and of Zionism. |
|U Johannesburg keeps ties with BGU but urges Palestinian collaboration within 6 months. At risk BGU anti-pollution project|
|The South African university's faculty senate met Wednesday to vote on the proposal, which had been endorsed by anti-apartheid icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu, but instead accepted a compromise without a vote. They asked Ben-Gurion University to work with Palestinian universities on research projects, and to start the collaborations within six months if it wants to maintain ties with the University of Johannesburg.|
|At BGU, Sami Shalom Chetrit “Revisiting Bialik”: Ashkenazi Zionism, a settler colonizing movement responsible for dispossessing the Palestinians|
|On June 1, 2010, Dr. Sami Shalom Chetrit presented his published paper entitled “Revisiting Bialik: a radical Mizrahi reading of the Jewish national poet” at Ben-Gurion University’s 15th Annual Workshop of the Department of Middle Eastern Studies. In the lecture, Chetrit argued that Bialik was an orientalist and racist, and that his poetry was settler colonialist poetry. These themes from the lecture are reinforced in Dr. Chetrit’s paper, where he described “Ashkenazi Zionism” as a “settler colonizing” movement that is responsible for the “dispossession of the Palestinians from their land and livelihood” and is a “politically neocolonial, economically capitalist, and culturally Eurocentric-Orientalist and anti-Arab” movement. |
|Oren Yiftachel's involvement in the new boycott attempt of South African academics against Ben Gurion University|
|The Guardian, UK wrote in 2002 about the first attempt to boycott Israeli academe. Oren Yiftachel's article was rejected for coming from Israel: "Mr Yiftachel said that, after months of negotiation, the article is to be published but only after he agreed to make substantial revisions, including making a comparison between his homeland and apartheid South Africa."
The Israeli academe, cultural and financial institutions are facing boycott threats, and now BGU is on the verge of being boycotted by South African academics (See article in appendix below), due to Yiftachel's false accusations of "Israeli Apartheid". Yiftachel lectured on this earlier this year at the U of Johannesburg.
|Letter from UC Berkeley: Misinformation about Prof. Yiftachel's talk "Gray-Spacing and 'Creeping-Apartheid"|
|Please find below a letter from from University of California, Berkeley, concerning Oren Yiftachel's lecture "Gray-Spacing and 'Creeping-Apartheid': The New Urban Regime?".
Israel Academia Monitor apologizes for the technical inaccuracy and is happy to hear Oren Yiftachel's lecture ended on time for Yom Kippur. That day was, never-the-less, Yom Kippur Eve and the title of his lecture defamatory, accusing Israel of a creeping Apartheid.
|Most Israel boycotters are cerebral lightweights. BGU Neve Gordon offered to debate boycott, replied: not interested|
|In my experience, most Israel-boycotters are cerebral lightweights: rather than recognise and confront the underlying issues (such as the status accorded to Jews in Islam and the widespread denial of the right of Jews to self-determination) they take refuge in theatrically dramatic but frankly meaningless and usually self-defeating gestures.
There is no better place in which to observe this than in Israel itself, where a motley collection of intellectuals has hitched itself to one variant or the other of the boycott movement. Prominent among these is Dr Neve Gordon, a professor at Ben-Gurion university, Beersheba, who, in a notorious article in the Los Angeles Times last year damned Israel as "an apartheid state" and, "as an Israeli citizen," called on "foreign governments, regional authorities, international social movements, faith-based organisations, unions and citizens to suspend co-operation with Israel… [as]… the only way that Israel can be saved from itself."
A month ago, I wrote to Dr Gordon, offering to journey to his university and debate with him the issues of boycott and academic freedom. To my great sorrow, he declined this proposal, claiming that he was "not interested".
|On Yom Kippur, BGU Oren Yiftachel in UC Berkeley: Gray-Spacing and 'Creeping-Apartheid': The New Urban Regime?
|Lecture: Gray-Spacing and 'Creeping-Apartheid': The New Urban Regime?
Oren Yiftachel, Department of Geography and Planning, Ben Gurion University Friday, September 17, 4pm 112 Wurster
|[Ben Gurion University, MAPMES] Anti-Israel misconducts of Noah Slor, social coordinator|
|Noah Slor, who is known for her connections with Dr. Neve Gordon and Dr. Oren Yiftachel, and who waved a provocative poster over a building at Ben-Gurion University at an anti-Israel demonstration after the Flotilla incident, served last year as the social coordinator for the MAPMES program. The MAPMES program is a masters program taught in English at Ben-Gurion University for international students that seek to study the Middle East here in the Holy Land. This past year, the program was dominated by students from the US, Canada, and Germany.
As social coordinator for the MAPMES program, Noah Slor had the responsibility to expose international students to Israel. She was supposed to show them natural beauty in Israel, share Israeli culture and history with them, and in general, enrich their experience in Israel. Instead, Slor focused almost exclusively on taking them to student parties and Arab areas in Jerusalem and to the West Bank.
|BGU Oren Yiftachel, at the Saudi linked, Center for contemporary Arab studies, Georgetown U: Forced Nomadism of Bedouins in Israel/Palestine|
|Editor's note: Georgetown university's Arab centers have been deeply connected to Saudi Arabia. Further information on this issue can be found here: "Model Middle East Indoctrination" by Stephen Schwartz, "Saudi Gives $20 Million to Georgetown" Washington Post and "Why Arabian Gulf Countries Donate to US Universities" by Jay P. Greene.
Oren Yiftachel - Forced Nomadism: The Political Geography of Bedouins in Southern Israel/Palestine. Sep 20 2010 12pm
Prof. Oren Yiftachel teaches political geography, urban planning and public policy at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Yiftachel is one of the main critical geographers and social scientists working in Israel. Yiftachel studied in Australian and Israeli universities, and previously taught in at a range of institutions, including: Curtin University, Australia; the Technion, Israel; the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, and UC Berkeley, in the US; University of Cape Town, South Africa and the University of Venice, Italy. He was a research fellow at RMIT, Melbourne; the US Institute of Peace, Washington DC; and the Van Leer Institute, Jerusalem.
Yiftachel has worked on critical theories of space and power; minorities and public policy; 'ethnocratic' societies and land regimes
|Neve Gordon "Analysis McCarthy In Israel": Attacks are part of a broader assault on Israeli higher edu and its professors|
|Although the recent scuffle seems to be about academic freedom, the assault on the Israeli academe is actually part of a much wider offensive against liberal values. Numerous forces in Israel are mobilizing in order to press forward an extreme-right political agenda.
They have chosen the universities as their prime target for two main reasons. First, even though Israeli universities as institutions have never condemned any government policy—not least the restrictions on Palestinian universities' academic freedom—they are home to many vocal critics of Israel's rights-abusive policies. Those voices are considered traitorous and consequently in need of being stifled. Joining such attacks are Americans like Alan M. Dershowitz, who in a recent visit to Tel-Aviv University called for the resignations of professors who supported the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israeli goods and divestment from Israeli companies until the country abides by international human-rights law. He named Rachel Giora and Anat Matar, both tenured professors at Tel Aviv University, as part of that group.
Second, all Israeli universities depend on public funds for about 90 percent of their budget. This has been identified as an Achilles heel. The idea is to exploit the firm alliance those right-wing organizations have with government members and provide the ammunition necessary to make financial support for universities conditional on the dissemination of nationalist thought and the suppression of "subversive ideas."
|[BGU Chemistry] Eyal Nir arrested with 2 students Mohammad Mahajna & Mohammad Masarna, on interference to police|
|Reported by Palestine Monitor:
2 Palestinians and 1 Israeli have been arrested during a protest which took place on Monday afternoon against the repeated demolitions of the village of Al Arakib in the Nakab-Negev. During the night Israeli authorities demolished the village of Al-Arakib for the third time in two weeks.
Lawyers and activists are currently negotiating the release of 3 men who were arrested for protesting against the states demolitions of a Palestinian village in the North of the Nakab (Negev). Mohammad Mahajna from Um Il Fahim and Mohammad Masarna are both students at Ben Gurion University; Eyal Nir is a teacher at the university located in Beer Sheba.
|Gabriel Piterberg and the settler colonialism fallacy at Ben Gurion U 15th Annual Workshop of Middle Eastern Studies|
|But despite the fact that the arguments in favor of Israel being a settler colonial society are very weak since the Jews lacked an imperial metropole, did not enjoy imperial strategic direction or support, and a series of other key elements that are crucial for a situation to be labeled to be settler colonialism, this did not stop Piterberg from using the settler colonialism argument in relations to Israel during his interview with the Voices of the Middle East and North Africa on June 9, 2010. In this interview, Piterberg referred to Israel as “an unresolved settler case in the sense that in the other cases the settlers either succeeded in eliminating the natives or were overcome by the natives and eventually left.” ...But as if Piterberg’s arguments in favor of a connection between Israel and settler colonialism were not problematic enough, he claimed that the Israeli reaction to the Flotilla was based on “absurdities and lies:” that “atrocities were hidden behind a smokescreen that Goebbels would have been proud of.” ... Nevertheless, the most problematic aspect of the interview was the fact that Piterberg has decided to list a series of false reasons in order to call upon people to support BDS. According to Piterberg, because Israel “has been getting away with murder for too long” and “has paid no price” for her actions, it creates a hindrance to a change in Israeli policy. He claimed that Israel is holding “a million and a half people at ransom for no real reason,” that Israel is controlling US policy through its Israel Lobby, that Helen Thomas and other critical reporters have been silenced for “not towing the Zionist line,” that the US was ok with Rachel Corrie’s “murder” because Israel did it, and Israel is utilizing the “persecution complex” in order to manipulate people into supporting Israel. |
|Some thoughts on Neve Gordon's "And the state, is she loyal?" today in Haaretz in Hebrew|
|"No Loyalty no citizenship":
"When I heard those shouts I understood I will never be able to accept the distorted perception of loyalty today among the Jewish public in Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman are asking that we support a policy concentrating on suppression and humiliation. But I, from my perspective, am not willing to be loyal to suppression of Israel's poor and to humiliation of people who can not bring a slice of bread home. I refuse to give my blessing to imprisonment of one million and a half residents of Gaza and to the land grab in the Negev, the West Bank and Galilee and surely I will not be loyal to mouth shutting and discrimination against Arabs, and the expulsion of Palestinians from Eastern Jerusalem...The worse signs of Proto-Fascism is the fact it is happening on all fronts. Beginning with the attacks of NGO Monitor and "Im Tirtzu" against human rights organizations, through the unrestrained response of the police over the protests in Sheih Jarrah and finally in the McCarthyist atmosphere in the Knesset Education Committee...Similar logic to the one Mussolini used"
|Oren Yiftachel in the service of Bedouins against the state of Israel|
|An article by Oren Yiftachel in Haaretz in Hebrew and the translation in English, where it is added that Yiftachel represents Bedouins in Israeli court in another case and the decision over ownership of land is pending. The question raised here is this ethical for him to bring his case forward in the press?
Yiftachel thinks Israel should always give up her rights to land to every Arab claim even without the need for ownership documents, otherwise it is considered discrimination:
"So as history would have it, even if the dry letter of the law does not concur, it is the State of Israel which is invading the Bedouin land, and not the other way around.
But let us put history and legal arguments aside for the moment, and ask -- is there no other way?.."
He concludes that
"...this may not happen under Israel's continuing shift to the right, and the re-enforcement of its “ethnocratic” principles of greater Jewish control, often violent, on both sides of the Green Line. If ethnocracy prevails over democracy, dangerous ethnic discrimination will continue to mould life in the Negev.
For some reason Yiftachel refuses to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish State.
|[BGU, Education] Prof' Haim Gordon (father of Neve Gordon): "Few Jews in Israel are willing to confront the evil we are responsible for"|
|"Today, in the midst of the forceful and often brutal Israeli oppression of the Palestinian uprising, I believe that genuine dialogue between Jews and Palestinians can be established only on the basis of a willingness to confront evil and to struggle against it. I also believe that is the reason why dialogue is so scarce, because few Jews in Israel are willing to confront the evil that we are directly responsible for."|
|[BGU] Ahmad Sadi, Nizar Hassan [Sapir College]: Abbas adopts a central tenet of Zionism, a grave betrayal of the rights of the Palestinians|
|[BGU, Politics] Ahmad Sadi,
Nizar Hassan [Sapir College]
[TAU, PhD candidate] Omar Barghouti
Yasmeen Daher, lecturer at Birzeit University residing in Jaffa
During a 9 June meeting with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, you reportedly said: "I would never deny [the] Jewish right to the land of Israel," a statement that you have yet to retract. We regard this announcement, which adopts a central tenet of Zionism, as a grave betrayal of the collective rights of the Palestinian people. It is tantamount to a surrender of the right of Palestinian citizens of Israel to live in equality in their own homeland, in which they have steadfastly remained despite the apartheid regime imposed on them for decades. It also concedes the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.
|Neve Gordon: Israel "Ethnically Cleansing" Bedouin Arabs. Also, [Sapir College] Yeela Raanan, Awad Abu-Freih|
|Writing in The Guardian's Comment is Free, notorious anti-Zionist academic Neve Gordon, not even bothering to address the wider context of the demolition, even went as far as to state that he
suddenly understood how far the state is ready to go to accomplish its objective of Judaising the Negev region; what I witnessed was, after all, an act of ethnic cleansing...
Al-Arakib spokesman and local resident Dr. Awad Abu-Farikh said following the razing: "Today we got a close glimpse of the government's true face. We were stunned to witness the violent force being used. The black-clad special unit forces are the true face of Lieberman's democracy. This operation is the first step in the uprooting of many villages. We shall return to our villages, build our homes and not leave this place."
Alternative Information Center is co-chaired by Prof' Yossef Schwartz of Tel Aviv University:
According to Dr. Abu Freih, "it is crucial that we unite and struggle together, in order to survive and so we can remain in our village." Dr. Abu Freih stated that the villagers are currently "in need of everything, from money to rebuild and visits by activists to local and international media attention."
Of late someone is pushing for a violent resolution of the many years of conflict between the Bedouins in the Negev and the state. Voices are heard of a new tsunami rolling toward us, it is already a major offensive, against the Bedouins wherever they may be.
|Neve Gordon: BDS campaign wants Israel to abide by international law|
|There is a considerable amount of misunderstanding about Boycott Divestment and Sanctions. BDS is not a principle but a strategy; it is not against Israel but against Israeli policy; when the policy changes BDS will end.
BDS is not about a particular solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the demand that Israel abide by international law and UN resolutions.
It is, accordingly, something that you can support if you are for a two-state solution or a one-state solution. You can even support it as a Zionist.
It arises from the realisation, following years of experience, that the occupation will not end unless Israelis understand that it has a price.
In a sense, the need for a boycott is a sign of weakness following the polarisation and marginalisation of the left in Israel. We are witnessing the development of a proto-fascist mindset. I am, for example, extremely anxious about the extent that the space for public debate in Israel is shrinking.
|Ben-Gurion University of the Negev response
Clarification of the issues concerning Dr. Yerucham Leavitt|
|In recent days, the internet and press have been awash with reports that Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has "fired" Dr. Yerucham Leavitt. The reports have erroneously linked what happened with Dr. Leavitt to the University's response to Dr. Neve Gordon last year when he expressed his support of an international boycott of Israel. |
|[BGU, Politics] Anti-Israel talk by Neve Gordon on Israeli Apartheid and the bi-national state titled "Israel-Palestine: Prospects for Peace". Sabeel, Seattle|
|Recently posted on Youtube: February 19, 2010 at the conference "The United States, Israel and Palestine: What Does Justice Require of US?" at St. Mark's Cathedral in Seattle, WA.|
|[BGU] Haggai Ram calls for war: “For Israelis, anti-Iran is a consensus. You don’t have to be a neoconservative to wish for the destruction of Iran”|
|“Iran is perhaps the most central issue [in Israel], yet there is really no critical debate about this,” says Ram, and for those Israelis who do challenge the idea that Iran is an “existential threat” to Israel, “they are immediately rendered into these bizarre self-defeating, self-hating Jews, and seen as a fifth column.”
According to Ram, “For Israelis, anti-Iran is a consensus. You don’t have to be a neoconservative to wish for the destruction of Iran.”
|[BGU] Dani Filc speaks of Israel as Fascist: "The Fascism. Will Not Prevail?" 9.6|
|The Fascism. Will Not Prevail?
The last week events force's us to stop and think. Is the Fascism already here?
Maybe from the great depths that we have reached already we can start a new way?
Does the exist political organizations can stop the erosion?
Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality invites you to hear and to be heard.
Dr. Dani Filk, the department of Politics and Government
|[Ben Gurion University professor of Chemistry] Eyal Nir arrested by the army for insulting a soldier with a racial slur during anti-Israel protest|
|I was in Nebi Saleh, where the army arrested Ben Gurion University professor of Chemistry Eyal Nir (pictures below), and shot tear gas at protesters.
Eyal Nir was the only person who came from the villagers’ protest to speak with the army. After several minutes of shouting passionately at the army to leave the village, Nir was taken into an army jeep for insulting a soldier with a racial slur
|PACBI: U of Johannesburg considers cutting ties with Ben-Gurion U in protest against alleged association with Palestinian human rights abuses|
|The university's current partnership with Ben Gurion dates from August when the two signed an academic cooperation and staff exchange agreement, relating to water purification and micro-algal biotechnology research.
This re-established a relationship forged between the former Rand Afrikaans University (RAU) and Ben Gurion in the apartheid 1980s. RAU merged with Technikon Witwatersrand in 2005 to form the University of Johannesburg.
In October, 52 academic staff members signed a petition opposing the current partnership. It states in part: "The Palestinian people are currently victims of an Israeli occupation, which violates their human rights as well as international law. Their plight has been repeatedly compared with that of black South Africans under apartheid."
Professor Steven Friedman presented the pro-boycott argument in the senate on behalf of the petitioners. "We are not asking UJ to join a boycott campaign against Israel," said Friedman, who is the director of the joint UJ-Rhodes University Centre for the Study of Democracy.
"But we are asking them not to sign agreements with institutions which collaborate with governments that commit human rights violations," he told the Mail & Guardian.
|BGU Oren Yiftachel: The Green Line is colonial line of racist control of Israel, except for a ghettoized Palestinian "autonomy" in the colonized territories|
|it underplays the colonial nature of the Israeli "ethnocratic" regime stretching between Jordan and the Sea (see my 2006 book Ethnocracy for a discussion of this topic). While Grinberg does note the need to decolonize Palestinian territories, he rarely refers to Palestinian politics as working under violent colonial settings. Consequently, Israel is portrayed as merely blurring its borders. This account conceals the critical fact that borders remain closed for Palestinians while wide open for Jews. Hence, the Green Line is not a border but a colonial line of racist control, with Israel ruling on both sides with the exception of small pockets of ghettoized Palestinian "autonomy" in the colonized territories.
Second, Grinberg focuses on the need to end the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza as a prerequisite for peace but generally overlooks the injuring legacy of the 1948 Nakba in the ongoing conflict between the two nations. Hence, if Israel clearly defines its borders and decolonizes the territories, it will still have to deal with the polarization between Jewish and Palestinian citizens, and the rights and demands of millions of external refugees, especially the right of return.
|[BGU, Chemistry] Dr. Eyal Nir is charged in court with directing Palestinians to throw stones and molotov cocktails on the post of the Israeli military|
|Yesterday, Eyal Nir, a long time activist was arrested in the Mate Binyamin police station. He is charged (among other things) with pointing Palestinians throwing stones and Molotov cocktails in Nilin on the position of the Israeli military. The demonstration took place in November, and the testimonies on this by Israeli soldiers were taken at February and March. According to the police the commander in Nilin was surfing the internet when he came upon a video from that demonstration. He contacted the security forces (I assume the Shabak) with the video, the security forces gave him Eyal’s personal information. This commander also found another picture that supposably shows Eyal trying to cut the security fence in Bilin|
|IAM's 2nd in the series on BGU's Oren Yiftachel class for oversees students, which is entitled "Selected Topics in the Geography of the Middle East"|
|"Mizrachim needed to de-Arabize when they came to Israel."
"Israeli society is ultra-racist, veterans make life of new immigrants difficult. If grandparents suffered, we will make you suffer. Need to be a victim to be a true Israeli."
"Ashkenazis have a superiority complex."
"We were taught in early decades that Mizrachim fit Zionism. Where do we fit? We weren't allowed to tell our story."
"Arabs are discriminated against and are excluded. Not a single community has been built for Arabs since 1948. There are increased gaps between Arabs and Jews from 1948 onwards."
Nir Cohen refers to the Arabs as "the natives" in the slideshow, which thus denies the fact that the Jews were the original owners of the land.
Nir Cohen asserted that the budget for minority cultural education is only three percent of the budget. He did not respond to my request for a comparative analysis to see if Israel was any worse than other democracies.
Claims that Zionism has an ambivalent attitude towards the Diaspora and that we need to return to the Diaspora. He obviously forgot about Jewish suffering in the Diaspora.
Nir Cohen claimed that Zionism viewed diasporatic Jews as "human dust, shivering, weak, disconnected from land," without providing evidence to back this up.
He claimed that 800,000 and 900,000 Palestinians fled Israel in 1948 but there are now between 3.4 and 4.5 million Palestinian refugees. Nir Cohen admitted after class that he used Palestinian sources for his numbers and not objective historians like Benny Morris.
He claimed that Arabs settle illegally because Israel gave them no choice and that their illegal settlement is ok because it is not like Jewish settlements are legal. Dr. Cohen provided no proof that Jewish settlements were illegal. He claimed that the rapid population growth of Israeli Arabs, combined with the lack of building Arab towns legally, has forced Israeli Arabs to create illegal villages, without showing evidence that Israeli Arabs were denied the right to build legally.
|IAM's first in the series on BGU Oren Yiftachel class for overseas students in English entitled "Selected Topics in the Geography of the Middle East"|
|Oren Yiftachel is co-teaching a class with Nir Cohen for overseas students, which is entitled in English as "The Selected Topics in the Geography of the Middle East."
I missed the first class. Keep in mind that this course can be especially damaging for Israel because it is being taught to international students living in Israel, some of them whom are not Jewish. So far, I got the following objectionable quotes from a reading they assigned entitled "Towards Ethnographies of the Future" by James Clifford, published in Cultural Anthropology Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 302-338. This article basically compared anti-Zionist Jewish communities in the Diaspora to the Black community in Great Britain, although it also mentioned other Diaspora communities here and there.
Here are the most objectionable quotes from the article:
1) "It is certainly debatable whether the cosmopolitan Jewish societies of the 11th to 13th century Mediterranean [...] was oriented as a community, or collection of communities, primarily through attachments to a lost homeland."
The problem with this quote is that the author is implying that while other diasporas maintained feelings for a lost homeland, the Jewish Diaspora did not. In other words, he questioned whether Jews prior to Zionism living in the Diaspora had feelings for Israel.
|[BGU, Geography] April 16, 2010 Oren Yiftachel to speak on "creeping apartheid" at the University of Johannesburg: "Ethnocracy, land and identity in Israel/Palestine"|
|The Afro-Middle East Centre and the Centre for the Study of Democracy Invite you to a seminar which will discuss new perspectives on Palestine and will feature two important voices: Ali Abunimah on One country - the path to peace in the Middle East Oren Yiftachel on Ethnocracy, land and identity in Israel/Palestine Date: 16 April, 2010 Time: 2:30
According to Yiftachel, the primary manifestation of ethnocracy in Israel/Palestine has been a concerted strategy by the state of "Judaization." Yiftachel's book argues that ethnic relations—both between Jews and Palestinians, and among ethno-classes within each nation—have been shaped by the diverse aspects of the Judaization project and by resistance to that dynamic. Special place is devoted to the analysis of ethnically mixed cities and to the impact of Jewish immigration and settlement on collective identities.
Tracing the dynamics of territorial and ethnic conflicts between Jews and Palestinians, Yiftachel examines the consequences of settlement, land, development, and planning policies. He assesses Israel's recent partial liberalization and the emergence of what he deems a "creeping apartheid" whereby increasingly impregnable ethnic, geographic, and economic barriers develop between groups vying for recognition, power, and resources. The book ends with an exploration of future scenarios, including the introduction of new agendas, such as binationalism and multiculturalism.
|An interview with BGU Neve Gordon on the one state camp "Is the Two-State Solution Dead?" And Dr. Gordon's boycott call on Teheran Times "Moment of truth: Time to boycott Israel’s entire range of injustice"|
| Dr. Neve Gordon: Israel is a democracy for Jews and an apartheid regime for Palestinians - different to South Africa, but functioning in a similar way
|[Ben-Gurion U] Ahmad Sa'di and others call for boycott of a faculty member from Ariel University and the boycott of Israeli academic institutions|
|by hosting a representative of such “university,” your organization not only shows disregard for international law, but also effectively lends legitimacy to the brutal military occupation of a people’s homeland. By recognizing this “university,” the ISIS is endorsing the illegal and immoral occupation of Palestine. Such recognition would also show ISIS disregards the call of the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions complicit in the occupation and other violations of international laws.
As concerned academics, we urge you to reconsider a decision which disregards international law and lends legitimacy to a prolonged and brutal military occupation of the Palestinian
List of the Israeli endorsers:
Oren BEN-DOR (School of Law, Highfield, UK)
Haim BRESHEETH (University of East London, UK)
Yael KORIN (UCLA, USA)
Adi KUNTSMAN (University of Manchester, UK)
Yosefa LOSHITZKY (University of East London, UK)
Gabriel PITERBERG (UCLA, USA)
Ahmad SADI (Ben-Gurion University, Israel)
Simona SHARONI (SUNY Plattsburgh, USA)
| [BGU, Politics] Neve Gordon debates "On boycotts, divestiture and sanctions": More than 115 BDS programs in Europe are aimed at Israel|
|Gordon is a senior lecturer on politics and government at Ben Gurion University and is a supporter of the boycott, divestment, and sanction method, referred to in shorthand as BDS.
Gordon, 45, who has been active in peace initiatives in Israel since adolescence, believes that the Israeli government is an apartheid regime, where two peoples live in the same space under different legal systems.
He sees BDS as a strategy for bringing a two-state solution to fruition.
“The average Israeli is not affected by the current system, so nothing will change until they feel economic hardship in their daily lives,” he told the audience.
Gordon says the root of the problem is political demographics and an obsessive preoccupation with security.
“There is no Zionist left anymore, Labor is gone,” he said. “The right has taken over.”
Gordon, who latched on to that statement as saying that Barzilai was supporting a de facto form of BDS, only at a higher level.
Gordon said currently more than 115 BDS programs in Europe are aimed at Israel, but that it is still early in the game. The BDS strategy against South Africa took two decades to force change — the current programs targeted at Israel have only been at it for four years.
Gordon came to Seattle as a part of a conference hosted by St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle titled “The United States, Israel and Palestine: What Does Justice Require of Us?”
|[BGU Politics] Neve Gordon lectures in Hebrew "The Israeli Occupation-Structural Analysis" at Ben Gurion Institute, Sde Boker on March 9, at 10:30|
|"äëéáåù äéùøàìé – ðéúåç îáðé"
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áîñâøú ñîéðø îëåï áï-âåøéåï.
äàéøåò éú÷ééí áúàøéê 09/03/2010 îùòä 10:30 òã ùòä 12:30
|[Ben Gurion University, Politics] Neve Gordon speaks on Chicago Public Radio on boycotting Israel "to end the extreme oppressive occupation"|
|Neve Gordon is a long time activist in the Israeli peace movement. He’s an academic and author of Israel’s occupation. Last year Gordon published an editorial in the Los Angles Times that explained his decision to support the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement. The Palestinians led, BDS movement began in 2005. Its goal calls for international action “until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people's inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with international law.” Neve Gordon explains his decision last year to support the strategy.|
|IAM Friday special: Ben Gurion University responses to allegations made on Al-Jezeera and Ynet titled "Israel distroyed Palestinian books"|
|As I have said before, there is no thesis or story under the Al-Jeezera title. There is a student doing his PhD on the topic of the National Library and University, 1945-1955, which looks at the way the early State dealt with collection of books, including those from the Holocaust, those of Jewish immigrants from Arab countries and those of the Palestinians after the War of Independence. (this is a loose translation.)
The paper in question (to which, apparently the Al Jeezera was referring to) examines how the members of the Hebrew University and the Library staff devoted themselves to collecting Palestinian books in order to save them. Given that the thesis is a serious academic work still in progress, which is as far removed from the statements published in Al Jeezera as one can think of, we have no further comment.
|[Ben Gurion U, Politics] "Israel's Occupation through the Lens of the Education System" with Neve Gordon, Monday, Feb 22, 2010 Chicago, IL|
|Over the past four decades Israel's occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem has changed dramatically. Using the Palestinian education system as a case study, Neve Gordon argues that these changes were triggered by a series ofcontradictions and excesses emanating from the structure of Israel's occupation, and not from the policy choices of military or political leaders. He shows how during the occupation's first two decades Israel attempted to mold the dispositions of the Palestinian students and teachers so as to normalize the occupation. The education system, in other words, became a prime site of management and control (and resistance). Next, he briefly focuses on the Palestinian universities in order to show how Israel's forms of control produced excesses and contradictions that precipitated social unrest and political crisis, leading Israel to change its policies and forms of management in the territories. Finally, he discusses Israel's current approach towards the Palestinian education system. Focusing, once again on the universities, he illustrates how Israel is no longer interested in influencing the aspirations, views and attitudes of the students and teachers, which suggests that the population is no longer conceived as an object that needs to be managed. This does not mean that Israel is no longer interested in continuing the colonization project, but rather that Israel no longer considers the management of the population as a necessary component of the colonizing mission.|
|Ben-Gurion University constructs collective identity for Naqab Bedouins & Palestinians: "Rethinking the Paradigms: Negev Bedouin Research 2000+"|
|Prof. Ilan Pappe, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter
Safa Abu Rabia, Ben Gurion University
Prof. Ismael Abu-Saad, Department of Education, Ben-Gurion University
Dr. Sarab Abu Rabia Qweider, Ben Gurion University
Prof. Oren Yiftachel, Regional Council of Unrecognized Bedouin Villages and Ben Gurion University
Yuval Karplus, Department of Geography, Ben Gurion University
· What are the conventional paradigms of history scholarship in the Naqab or Palestine?
· What is the politics of writing history, and specifically denied histories, in the context of the Naqab Bedouin and Palestinians?
· What is the role of memory for constructing collective identity for Naqab Bedouins and Palestinians more generally?
· · Is there a changing relationship between research and advocacy in the Naqab or Palestine?
· Are there ‘old’ and ‘new’ research perspectives and advocacy agendas in Naqab Bedouin and Palestine studies?
· · Is there a coherent audience for Nagab Bedouin and Palestine studies?
· · How can and should the academic and legal discourse on Bedouin landownership be constructed to strengthen their legal struggles? What insights can be gained from studies on Palestinian landownership in Israel and the Occupied Territories?
· · What are the conventional paradigms of scholarship on women, gender and sexuality in the Naqab or Palestine?
· What is the politics of researching women’s position and struggles among the Naqab Bedouin and Palestinians?
· What are differences and similarities between women’s resistance strategies in the Naqab, in Israel and in the Occupied Territories? Is the new comparative research resituating the Bedouin in Israeli-Palestinian space?
What directions might / should new Negev Bedouin Studies and Palestine Studies more generally take?
What role is there for Negev Bedouin Studies and for Palestine Studies more generally?
|Feb 21 [Ben Gurion U] Ahmad Sa’di, Ilan Pappe in “After Gaza Continuing the Struggle on Campus” conference, SOAS PalSoc & Nakba60, London|
|The recent Israeli massacres in Gaza show the need for a sustained and unified movement for Palestine.
Whilst the past three weeks have seen unprecedented action in support of Palestinians, our campaign needs to focus on providing long-tem solidarity, even when the cameras of the world’s media are focused elsewhere. This is most relevant on the student level where a strong student movement for Palestine holds the promise of bringing energy and vibrancy to the wider movement.
Over the past year, Palestine student groups in UK universities have cooperated to run successful nationwide campaigns, bringing the Palestinian cause to the forefront of campus politics. Many twinning links with Palestinian universities have been forged, making the plight of Palestinian students more real and relevant to UK students.
These campaigns and others and have flourished. Sharing of knowledge and expertise between Palestine student groups has been central to expanding our capabilities.
Day Two Sunday 22nd Feb
10:45am-12:45pm: Social and Economic History of Palestinian Resistance (organised by SOAS PalSoc and Nakba60)
Ahmad Sa’di (Ben Gurion University)
Roundtable discussion: The Meaning of Gaza: History Reconsidered in Times of Catastrophe
(organised by SOAS PalSoc and Nakba60)
Karma Nabulsi, Saleh Abdel-Jawad, Gilbert Achcar, Norman Finkelstein, Ilan Pappe
|[BGU] Anti-Israel activist & Israel-defamer Assaf Oron is a candidate for academic position at BGU|
|Prof. Israel David, a professor in the department of Industrial Engineering and Management at Ben Gurion University filed a suit against the head of that department Prof. Gadi Rabinowitz. The suit sought damages in the sum of 100,000 NIS, David claimed that the Rabinowitz made libelous statements about him in response to his objection about giving tenure to Dr. Assaf Oron. As noted, Prof. David asserted that Oron defames Israel regularly and compares the IDF's actions to Nazi war crimes.|
|[BGU, Politics] Neve Gordon's Course on "Occupation" at BGU & US tour Feb 18, 19, 22 in Sabeel etc., on "just peace" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict|
|What are the formal and informal structural barriers to Jewish-Arab equality in Israel? How do segregation, racism, and
biased allocation of state resources affect access to opportunity and advancement for Israel’s majority and minority communities?
What are the prospects for coexistence within Israel, and what
projects currently exist to pave the way for a positive future? As an active participant in the development of a bilingual Arab-Jewish school in Beersheva, Israel, Neve Gordon’s personal experience offers a hopeful, if sobering, view of what lies ahead as Israel—inevitably—grapples with the aspirations of its Palestinian minority for full equality in a democratic society Neve Gordon is widely respected for his brilliant and original dissection of the evolving nature of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian population in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza
Strip. Gordon is the chair of the Department of Politics and Government, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, and author of Israel’s Occupation (University of California Press, 2008). He has been a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Michigan, Ann
Arbor; and the Watson Institute at Brown University. During the first intifada, he was the director of Physicians for Human Rights–Israel. Gordon is the co-editor of Torture: Human Rights, Medical
Ethics and the Case of Israel, the editor of From the Margins of Globalization: Critical Perspectives on Human Rights.
|"Israel Destroyed Palestinian Books" - According to a doctoral thesis to be submitted next month by a Ben-Gurion University researcher|
|Israel plundered and destroyed tens of thousands of Palestinian books in the years after the State's establishment, according to a doctoral thesis to be submitted next month by a Ben-Gurion University researcher.
In an interview with the researcher published on al-Jazeera's website Thursday, he claimed that Israel destroyed the Palestinian books in the framework of its plan to "Judaize the country" and cut off its Arab residents from their nation and culture.
According to the doctoral dissertation, Israeli authorities collected tens of thousands of Arab books in Jerusalem, Jaffa, Haifa, Safed, and other towns that were home to Arabs. Israeli officials proceeded to hand out about half the books, while destroying the second half, characterizing them as a "security threat," the researcher said.
|[BGU, Politics] Audio & notes of talk by Dani Filc at Harvard: Israel's use of health care as a potent tool for occupation and control over Palestinians|
|he allowed himself an excessive criticism of
Israeli government and Israeli people without praising them
for bringing a “German-like” health coverage to the
third world's Africans and Arabs including Beduins who
continue to benefit tremendously from the presence of
Israel. Such a negative stance guaranteed his book
|[BGU, Politics] Ahmad Sa’di in: 1) "Palestine and the left" with Israeli academics SOAS 27 Feb. 2) Ahmad Sa’di fabricates racist encounters by BGU|
|We, Israeli, Palestinian and British academics, are writing to express our deep concern at the treatment of Dr Ahmad Sa’di, a Senior Lecturer at Ben-Gurion University’s Department of Politics and Government, who was subjected to racist treatment on 3 January 2010 when he arrived at Ben-Gurion University train station, as he does every teaching week. He was humiliatingly searched, yelled at and embarrassed by the security staff at Mexico Gate, which we find offensive and unacceptable.We believe that Dr Sa’di’s reaction on the date was exemplary; he did not block the entrance nor did he insult the security staff.
Following the incident Dr Sa’di complained to the university authorities on 3 January 2010 and again on 10 January 2010. Dr Sa’di strongly believes that his treatment at Mexico Gate on 3 January was only the last in a whole series of racist encounters and harassment he has faced in the past ten years of his employment at Ben-Gurion University.
|[BGU, Politics] Dani Filc speaks in the U.S: Israel's use of health care as a potent tool for occupation and control over Palestinians. Jan 24-25, 2010|
|Filc explores how Israel’s adoption of a neoliberal model has pushed the system in a direction that gives priority to the strongest and richest individuals and groups over the needs of society as a whole, and to profit and competition over care. Filc pays special attention to the repercussions of policies that define citizenship in a way that has serious consequences for the health of groups of Palestinians who are Israeli citizens — particularly the Bedouins in the unrecognized villages — and to the ways in which this structure of citizenship affects the health of migrant workers.
“The health care situation is even more dire in the Occupied Territories, where the Occupation, especially in the last two decades, has negatively affected access to medical care and the health of Palestinians. Filc concludes his book with a discussion of how human rights, public health, and economic imperatives can be combined to produce a truly equal health care system that provides high-quality services to all Israelis.”
| [Ben Gurion U, Politics] Latest items on Neve Gordon: Muslim Brotherhood, Sabeel, Xinhua, Gordon’s Jinn, The Psychology of Collaborators|
|"Why," I have often been asked, "haven't the Palestinians established a peace movement like the Israeli Peace Now?"
The question itself is problematic, being based on many erroneous assumptions, such as the notion that there is symmetry between the two sides and that Peace Now has been a politically effective movement. Most important, though, is the false supposition that Palestinians have indeed failed to create a pro-peace popular movement....
Gordon believes that Gaza is already plunged deep into a period of ongoing violence. Whilst it may not take the form of gunfire, rocket attacks or similar, the very fact that Israel surrounds Gaza and prevents freedom of movement out of the strip is in itself an act of violence.
|[BGU] Al-Ahram: Oren Yiftachel described Israel's atrocities during the war. "Israeli behaviour...that believes in annihilation of the Palestinian people|
|Oren Yiftahel, political science professor at Ben Gurion University in the Negev, described Israel's atrocities during the war. "It was expected Israeli behaviour and an extension of Zionist policy that believes in the annihilation of the Palestinian people, and erasing their history and existence. It ignores the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, which they are entitled to, and not out of Israeli charity."
Yiftahel argued in an article in Haaretz newspaper that, "Israel's invasion of Gaza was not purely a military operation to end missile attacks, or an attempt to restore Israel's deterrence capability or even an effort to impose order on others and oust the elected Hamas government. The war was a continuation of a long-standing strategy to deny, erase and eliminate any historic reference to the Palestinians and their existence."
He further accused all Israelis of participating in the hostile plot against the Palestinians, noting that Israeli politicians, artists, the media, university researchers and intellectuals supported this war with enthusiasm. Yiftahel asserted that Israel's war on Gaza, and Hamas specifically, came in reaction to Hamas's rise to power that undermined the possibility of reaching a two-state solution. "This solution is ideal for Israel because it would mean Israel could continue its settlement project indefinitely," he stated.
|[BGU, History of ME] Haggai Ram's book "Iranophobia: The logic of an Israeli obsession": The Jewish state (ab)used the “Iranian threat” to cover up apartheid regime in the Palestinian Territories|
|In my recent book, Iranophobia (2009), I have demonstrated how the Jewish state has time and again (ab)used the specter of the “Iranian threat” in order to cover up, and divert attention away from, both domestic oversights and the continuing apartheid regime in the Palestinian territories. Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s incumbent Foreign Minister, is a case in point. When asked in the wake of the devastation that the Israeli military had sown in Gaza last year, “What you think is the first most strategic threat to Israel,” Lieberman responded: “Iran, Iran, Iran… As long as there’s no solution to the Iranian problem we will deal with neither the settlements nor the settlers… Only after we will have taken care of … Iran it will become possible to talk about… the problem in Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights.”
These fanciful expressions concerning the existential threat posed to Israel by Iran are misleading for two reasons: First, because when compared to the extraordinary misery and depredation which the Iranian government has exacted on its own people, the actual threat which it poses to the Jewish state pales into insignificance; and second, because such expressions have thus far enabled the Jewish state to exacerbate, rather than help to alleviate, the Palestinian problem. It is this yet-to-be resolved problem — and not Iran — that presents the Jewish state with the most serious challenge to its survival.
|[Ben Gurion University, Politics] Neve Gordon, the lecturer that called to boycott Israel, is justifying the draft 'refuseniks'. In Seattle Sabeel, February|
|In the opinion of Dr. Neve Gordon from Ben-Gurion University, three draft 'refuseniks' who are active in South Africa against draft to IDF, are "fighting for the morality of the state. They are the true heroes of Israel".|
|Re-edited version of our earlier posting "Ben Gurion University lecturer Hosted Convicted Palestinian Terrorist in his Home", about Neve Gordon in "Sheltering Extremism"|
|Around the same time as the boycott call, Gordon turned his own home into a refuge for convicted Fatah organizer Mohammed Abu Humus, a resident of the Issawiya neighborhood of East Jerusalem. As a local Fatah organizer, Abu Hums had previous convictions for several security related offenses including arson and assault. Despite the latest conviction for directing demonstrators to throw rocks, Gordon described Abu Humus as a “political prisoner” and “a Fatah leader.”
A Jerusalem district judge earlier this year convicted Abu Humus and handed down a nine-month sentence, converted to house arrest. Gordon organized a group of far-left academics to testify on behalf of Abu Humus, and Gordon offered the court to host Abu Humus in Gordon’s own home in Beersheva for the duration of the house arrest. It is evidently the only case on record of a Palestinian terrorist being released to house arrest in the home of a Jewish Israeli citizen.
Abu Humus and Gordon have collaborated in the past in an organization called Ta’ayush, which Gordon himself is on record as describing as a seditious group, but according to its website its activities appear to have petered out in 2007.
Abu Humus provided an interesting complement to Gordon’s position. Interviewed at his office in the Alternative Information Center, a pro-Palestinian lobby group in Jerusalem, Abu Humus stated that archeological excavations in the Old City prove that despite Jews worshipping at the remaining wall of the ancient Jewish temple, the Jews had no claim to Jerusalem. After years of archeological digging, he insisted no evidence of the Jewish temple exists.
“Have they found anything of the Jews? They didn’t find anything,” Abu Humus said.
|[BGU] Dr. Neve Gordon's new anti-Israel MA Program at Ben-Gurion University’s Department of Politics and Government: "The Politics of Conflict"|
Yuval Elizur, Israel Banks on a Fence, Foreign Affairs March/April 2003.Yehezkel Lein and Alon Cohen Lifshitz, Under the Guise of Security (can be downloaded from www.btselem.org)
The Separation Barrier
Khaled Hroub “Hamas After Shaykh Yasin and Rantisi,” Journal of Palestine Studies, XXXIII no. 4, summer 2004 (download from Jstor)
Gal Luft, The Palestinian H-Bomb: Terror's Winning Strategy, Foreign Affairs July/August 2002.
Neve Gordon and Dani Filc, “Hamas and the Destruction of Risk Society,” Constellations Volume 12, No 4, 2005.
Shaul Mishal, “The Pragmatic Dimension of the Palestinian Hamas: A Network Perspective,” Armed Forces & Society, Vol. 9, No. 4. Summer 2003: 569-589
International Crisis Group, After Gaza, Middle East Report N°68 – 2 August 2007
The Rise of Hamas
From September 11 to the 2009 Campaign in Gaza
|[Ben Gurion U, Politics and Government] Haim Yacobi: "The establishment of Israel as a home for the Jewish people is a problematic definition"|
|Despite the historical circumstances and the logic that stand behind the establishment of Israel as a home for the Jewish people, what is clear is that it is a problematic definition, with some inherent contradictions with global/transnational trends of migration, as well as in relation to questions of human rights. |
| [Ben-Gurion U, Chair Dept. of Politics] Neve Gordon “From Individual Prosperity to Communal Stagnation: The Economy as a Form of Social Control”|
|On 24 October 2009, Prof. Neve Gordon, presented the lecture “From Individual Prosperity to Communal Stagnation: The Economy as a Form of Social Control” at the two day seminar “United in Struggle against Israeli Colonialism, Occupation, and Racism: Economic Perspectives and Advocacy Strategies,” which took place in Bethlehem, 24-25 October. The seminar was jointly sponsored by The Alternative Information Center (AIC) and the Occupied Palestine and Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI). Professor Gordon is chair of the Department of Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University in Israel.|
|[Ben Gurion University, Geography] Oren Yiftachel's "Voting for Apartheid: The 2009 Israeli Elections"|
|Given the ongoing suffering of the Palestinians, a serious external effort is needed to reshape the future of Israel/Palestine. This includes the mobilization of the international arena, both among governments and civil societies, to take stronger measures against Israel’s unlawful colonial control over the Palestinians.
In this regard, another and perhaps more fundamental change is needed within the democratic camp. The rise of Hamas represents a new/old anticolonial vision, but its call for the imposition Islamic rule over Israel/Palestine,
possibly by violent means, may simply represent a reverse type of colonialism.
This agenda has also caused immense suffering among the Palestinians, as it has legitimized in the eyes of many Israelis their violent control of the territories.
Other groups and interests have begun to develop different alternatives, based on nonviolent struggle for democracy in Israel/Palestine. Such efforts should now constitute the most urgent matter for those working for the genuine
welfare and security of all residents between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, in order to seriously challenge the “creeping apartheid” process made explicit during the 2009 Israeli elections.
| [Ben Gurion U, Politics] The anarchist Neve Gordon promotes civil disobedience like [Technion, Math] Kobi Snitz's heroism against Israeli occupation|
|Thirty-eight-year-old Snitz was arrested with other activists in the small Palestinian village of Kharbatha back in 2004 while trying to prevent the demolition of the home of a prominent member of the local people’s committee. The demolition, so it seems, was carried out both to intimidate and punish the local leader who had, just a couple of weeks earlier, began organizing weekly demonstrations against the annexation wall. Both the demonstrations and the attempt to stop the demolition were acts of civil disobedience.
In a letter sent to friends the night before his incarceration, Snitz writes: “I and the others who were arrested with me are guilty of nothing except not doing more to oppose the state’s truly criminal policies.” Snitz also explains that paying the fine is an acknowledgment of guilt which he finds demeaning. Finally, he concludes his epistle by insisting that his punishment is trivial when compared to the punishment meted out to Palestinian teenagers who have resisted the occupation. These 12-, 14-, 15- and 16-year olds, he claims, are often detained for 20 days before the legal process even begins.
Snitz is not exaggerating.
|Arabic Aljazeera published Neve Gordon's Call for boycott of Israel|
|Israeli writer Neve Gordon called the world to move to boycott Israel, and said that Tel Aviv was practiced racism against the Palestinians, and there was no way to resolve the two countries to put pressure only on the tremendous global all means against the country.
Gordon, a professor of political science at Ben Gurion University in Beersheba, the author (The Israeli occupation) said , in an article published in the Los Angeles U.S. that it had to such an invitation because it has become convinced that they only way they could save from the evils of Israel itself.
| [Ben Gurion U, Hebrew Literature] Tova Rosen and other academics called for “civil disobedience” to thwart pending Knesset legislation|
|For a large group of Left-leaning Israeli academics affiliated with most of the country’s universities and a number of its colleges, the call for civil disobedience has been triggered by the submission of three proposed bills in the Knesset. One would deny citizenship to those who refuse to declare fealty to Israel as a Jewish, democratic and Zionist state and do not serve in the IDF or perform national service. The other two would recognize as punishable offenses the commemoration of Independence Day as a day of mourning or Nakba, and, similarly, the rejection of Israel as a democratic Jewish state if such denial can lead to hostile acts against the state or its official bodies.|
|[Ben Gurion University, Politics] Neve Gordon continues calling for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel in audio interview|
|Guests: Neve Gordon is a long-time Israeli peace activist, Senior Lecturer in Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University, and the author, most recently, of Israel’s Occupation.
Hosts: Esther Kaplan and Marilyn Kleinberg Neimark
In a recent op-ed in the LA Times, Neve Gordon explained why he has come to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. We talk with Neve about his decision and about the fire-storm of protest his op-ed has evoked.
|Rivka Carmi, Ben-Gurion University's president responds to one of her professor's call for a boycott of Israel|
|I strongly believe a call for a worldwide boycott of Israel written by a Ben-Gurion University faculty member, Neve Gordon, that appeared in The Times oversteps the boundaries of academic freedom -- because it has nothing to do with it.
Academic freedom exists to ensure that there is an unfettered and free discussion of ideas relating to research and teaching and to provide a forum for the debate of complicated ideas that may challenge accepted norms. Gordon, however, used his pulpit as a university faculty member to advocate a personal opinion, which is really demagoguery cloaked in academic theory.
Gordon argues that Israel is an "apartheid" state and that "a boycott would save Israel from itself." But the empirical facts show that it would destroy the very fabric of the society that he claims to want to protect. Instead of investing in activities that promote coexistence, this "call for a boycott" is already being used to isolate Israel.
This is particularly pernicious for our university, a proudly Zionist institution that embodies the dream of Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, to bring development and prosperity to all the residents of the Negev region. This work -- which includes community outreach and scientific innovation in Israel and around the world carried out by nearly 25,000 students, faculty and staff -- is being threatened by the egregious remarks of one person, under the guise of academic freedom.
|Studying with Prof. Neve Gordon at the University of Michigan|
|In a lecture on November 14th, 2007 Gordon told the class that he wasn’t interested in giving an unbiased academic history of the Arab-Israeli conflict: “Jeremy asked why I would give a revisionist history. And I give a revisionist history because I think it’s true. What’s said in a textbook is not what it’s about.” His “revisionist” syllabus included the controversial book by Sandy Tolan The Lemon Tree: An Arab, A Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East, in which history is attempted to be told through the story of an Arab man who meets the woman who he claims took over his home after he was forced out by Israel. On November 19th Gordon was absent from class and instead had an appallingly biased film shown, on which the class was to take notes. “Peace, Propaganda, and the Promised Land” is a politically charged anti-Israel propaganda film that stars such anti-Israel celebrities as Noam Chomsky, Robert Fisk, Hanan Ashrawi, and Neve Gordon himself.
In a lecture on October 10th, 2007 which was supposed to be about the historical Suez Crisis, Gordon purposefully digressed at length to blame Israel for the current crisis with Iran. He explained to the class that Israel gained nuclear weapons as the20outcome of a deal with France at the end of the crisis in 1956. He then stepped away from his podium to drive home his message, "You can not understand what is happening with Iran today if you don't understand what happened with Israel in '56." As this comment was charged with controversial anti-Israel bias, Gordon was delighted to open the class to questions. When a student, who prefaced his statement with the premise that he was Jewish, challenged Gordon’s ridiculous blame of Israel for Iran’s actions today, Gordon disregarded the Jewish student’s challenge by smirking and stating to the class, “Ben is always trying to bring us back to the present.” It was in fact Prof. Gordon who clearly brought the class discussion to that of present times. Gordon then welcomed a question from a student who claimed Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s denial of the Holocaust was “not a big deal.” By first demonizing Israel, then not allowing any student objections to his anti-Israel statements, then welcoming an out rightly anti-Semitic comment in his lecture hall, Gordon was in no way teaching an unbiased historical course, as one would have expected in an institution of higher learning.
|Israel Academia Monitor Petition to Condemn Neve Gordon's Attack on Israel òöåîä îèòí îåðéèåø äà÷ãîéä äéùøàìéú ìâéðåé îú÷ôúå ùì ðéá âåøãåï ðâã îãéðú éùøàì|
|We call upon Ben Gurion University to:
1. Fully condemn Gordon's call for the boycott of Israel
2. Dismiss him as chair of the department of Politics and Government
3. Dismiss him from membership in any university committee
4. Make all his courses non-compulsory
5. Deny him any travel and research funding
We advise students to refrain from enrolling and attending Neve Gordon’s courses.
|L.A. Jews mull boycott of Israel university over 'apartheid' op-ed / BGU lecturer slammed for boycott call |
|Members of the Los Angeles Jewish community have threatened to withhold donations to an Israeli university in protest of an op-ed published by a prominent Israeli academic in the Los Angeles Times on Friday, in which he called to boycott Israel economically, culturally and politically.
Dr. Neve Gordon of Ben-Gurion University in Be'er Sheva, a veteran peace activist, branded Israel as an apartheid state and said that a boycott was "the only way to save it from itself."
Gordon, a political scientist, said that "apartheid state" is the most
accurate way to describe Israel today...
Reactions to the piece, both from LA Times readers and BGU staff, have been swift, with BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi calling Gordon's views "destructive" and an "abuse [of] the freedom of speech prevailing in Israel and at BGU.
"We are shocked and outraged by [Gordon's] remarks, which are both irresponsible and morally reprehensible," Carmi wrote, in a statement sent to reporters over the weekend.
"This kind of Israel-bashing detracts from the wonderful work that is being done at BGU and at all Israeli universities," Carmi added. "Academics who entertain such resentment toward their country are welcome to consider another professional and personal home."
|Neve Gordon calls for Boycott Israel|
|Nothing else has worked. Putting massive international pressure on Israel is the only way to guarantee that the next generation of Israelis and Palestinians -- my two boys included -- does not grow up in an apartheid regime. |
|[BGU, History] Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin: Israel is bad! "The Lack of a Vision: Utopia and Peace in Israeli Discourse"|
|...it was not the realization of Palestinian self-determination that was celebrated by Israelis, but the return to a homogeneous Jewish society. The idea of peace was to get rid of the Occupation in order to get rid of the Palestinians, in order to recover the Israeli self-image as innocent and progressive, an image that had been seriously damaged by thirty years of occupation, particularly after the first intifada. The "peace process" was not associated with a desire for reconciliation, a vision of equality and partnership between Jews and Arabs, nor a desire for a common future.
On the contrary, the leading concept of the peace process was not the co-existence of two states, but separation. In other words, the idea of a Palestinian state in Israeli discourse was not perceived as a means of fulfilling Palestinian rights, not a vision of co-existence based on the recognition of the responsibility for Palestinian suffering and hope for a peaceful common future for both people. Thus the Israeli vision of peace did not include the intention to undermine the division between Jews and Arabs, but rather to emphasize it. The rationale for the agreements, as the initiator (Yitzhak Rabin) of the Oslo Accords presented it, was to prevent the creation of a binational state, and in fact, to deny any vision and any perspective that includes both Israeli-Jews and Palestinians living together in peaceful coexistence....Not only were the Israeli Arabs not included, but the idea was to ignore them, as exemplified by Barak's slogan "we are here--they are there," identical to the slogan of the Moledet party's ideology of transfer. The vision of peace and the vision of transfer were not so different--and in spite of the essential moral difference, they shared a common vision of a homogeneous Jewish society. The difference was in the positioning of the border, not the vision. Both expressed the desire for a Jewish state without Arabs.
|[Ben Gurion University, Politics and Government] Israeli activist Neve Gordon to talk on Middle East peace at Cape Cod Community College, 12 Aug.|
|During the first intifada in the late 1980s and early '90s, Gordon worked as the director of Physicians for Human Rights — Israel.
He is the co-editor of "Torture: Human Rights, Medical Ethics and the Case of Israel"; the editor of "From the Margins of Globalization: Critical Perspectives on Human Rights"; and, most recently, the author of "Israel's Occupation."
|Assaf Oron and Ehud Krinis help the Palestinians battle against Israel in "Dozens of West Bank roadblocks removed?"|
|It is good news that Palestinians now can get from (some) major cities to (some) others in 1-2 hours instead of 1 day - infinity, but this appears to be a temporary "carrot and stick" game designed to fool the Americans, and perhaps pave the way to a full-fledged Palestinian protectorate in the West Bank.
|[Ben Gurion U, Department of Jewish Thought] Ehud Krinis|
|All those needs should be considered as essential, against the background of the settlers aggression, the passive-active reaction of the Israeli occupation forces (which aim to make the life of the local Palestinian residents unbearable), and a Palestinian Authority which just ignore this area altogether.
|Anti-Zionist leftist professors speak in a conference on academic integrity in Israel|
|On May 18, Ben-Gurion University held a day-long conference on academic freedom and responsibility. Of the many speakers, only one seemed a non-leftist. [What does that indicate about the state of academic freedom there?]
The near-consensus was that professors have a right to promote their views and hire instructors not for their qualifications but for their ideology, while critics do not have a right to monitor this and question whether such behavior and the results fulfill the University’s function. If instruction is based on opinions and not scholarship, what is its value, why should it be left unmonitored or allowed, and why grant professors tenure and not rotate their jobs among office clerks?
The conference view was that leftist professors may seek, without standards of scholarship, to indoctrinate students against Jewish sovereignty, without private and public underwriters of universities being informed of it. Thus the conference did not take up academic freedom, it advocated academic irresponsibility.
|[Ben Gurion U] Police arrested an anti-Israel teaching assistant for trespassing and humiliating the security guard after distributing leaflets|
|The arrest resulted in a student protest later that night that took place alongside a ceremony attended by the school's board of governors and VIPs being awarded honorary doctorates.
Noah Slor, 27, a master's student in Middle Eastern studies and a teaching assistant, was handing out fliers along with four Arab student activists on Sunday afternoon. After being asked to stand at least a meter away from the school's gate and taking up the issue with a university security guard, she was arrested by police for trespassing and humiliating a public official - the security guard - and questioned at the Beersheba police station for three hours.
|Ben Burion U incites Bedouins in a Panel on "THE ARABS OF THE SOUTH: TOWARDS NEW CONSCIOUSNESS?”|
Pnina Motzafi-Haller, Michael Fiege – Hagar's Editors
“Between memory and resistance, an identity shaped by space: The case of the Naqab Arab Bedouins”
“The Hebrew online media's treatment of Arab citizens in the Negev”
Yizhak (Yanni) Nevo
“The Politics of Unrecognition and its Implications”
| [BGU, Geography] Watch Oren Yiftachel speaks against Israel in the symposium "Palestine & the Palestinians Today".|
|Dr. Oren Yiftachel: “Bedouins in Southern Israel/Palestine: Apartheid in the Making?”|
|[Ben Gurion U, Geography] Oren Yiftachel examined the Israeli authorities’ campaign to expropriate the lands of the ethnically Palestinian Bedouins in: "ISRAEL-PALESTINE: One-State Supporters Make a Comeback"|
|[Ex-Tel Aviv U] Palestinian-Israeli professor Nadim Rouhanna, now teaching at Tufts University in Massachusetts, is a leader in the new thinking. "The challenge is how to achieve the liberation of both societies from being oppressed and being oppressors," he told a recent conference in Washington, DC. "Palestinians have to… reassure the Israeli Jews that their culture and vitality will remain. We need to go further than seeing them only as ‘Jews-by- religion’ in a future Palestinian society."
Like many advocates of the one-state outcome, Rouhanna referred enthusiastically to the exuberant multiculturalism and full political equality that have been embraced by post-apartheid South Africa.
Progressive Jewish Israelis like Ben Gurion University geographer Oren Yiftachel are also part of the new movement. Yiftachel’s most recent work has examined at the Israeli authorities’ decades-long campaign to expropriate the lands of the ethnically Palestinian Bedouin who live in southern Israel - and are citizens of Israel. "The expropriation continues - there and inside the West Bank, and in East Jerusalem," Yiftachel said, explaining that he did not see the existence of "the Green Line" that supposedly separates Israel from the occupied territory as an analytically or politically relevant concept.
|[Ben Gurion U] Oren Yiftachel's course, 2008-9: ISRAEL/PALESTINE: THE POLITICS OF LAND AND IDENTITY (Colonialism, ethnic cleansing, apartheid)|
|The course offers a systematic analysis of the changing ethnic identities and politics in Israel/Palestine. It explores with the students -- through lectures, readings and debates -- the mobilization of Jewish and Palestinian ethno-nationalism, as well as the making of 'ethno-classes' within each nation. Within this context, the course focuses on immigration, development, colonization and globalization as key processes shaping power relations, collective identities and ethnic politics in the contested homeland.
Settler societies, colonialism and post-colonialism
Post-Nakbah Palestinian society(ies)
Colonialism and ethnic cleansing
Israel/Palestine and apartheid
|[Ben Gurion University, Political Science] Neve Gordon: 4 goals of the Israeli attack on Gaza. Published in Arabic. |
|The most prominent absentee from the list of goals is to prevent
Palestinian rocket attacks on southern Israel.
In contrast to the other four objectives, which I have not discussed the Israeli officials, the goal is made by the Israeli government a pretext for this operation. But they deceived the Israeli public, because the missiles had been parked for almost the past six months has not breached, "Hamas," but as a reaction to Israeli attacks, assassinations and the blockade and other acts of repression in Gaza and the West Bank.
|Ben Gurion University's one sided and Palestinian orientated conference: "THE NEGEV BEDOUINS: DEVELOPMENT OR DISCRIMINATION?"|
|The fact-finding mission team is composed of the following members:The members of the international team include:• Anthony Coon, emeritus professor of urban planning at Strathclyde University, Glasgow (Scotland);• Steve Kahanovitz, lawyer with the Legal Resources Center in Cape Town, South Africa;• Miloon Kothari, former UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing (2001-08) and, currently, coordinator of HIC-HLRN South Asia Regional Programme in Mumbai, India;• Rudolfo Stavenhagen, former UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people (2001–08) and Mexican sociologist and professor at Colégio de México (Mexico City).The members of the local team include:• Khalil al-'Amur, resident of al-Sirra unrecognized village and a teacher of mathematics;• Salman Abu Sitta, founder and President of Palestine Land Society (London) and researcher on Palestine land and people;• Jihad al-Sana', lecturer at the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheba) and resident of Laqiyya, one of the seven government-planned townships in al-Naqab;• Oren Yiftachel, professor of urban planning, geography and political science at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheba;• Suhad Bishara, lawyer with Adalah: The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. |
|Ahmad Sa'di from Ben Gurion University participates an anti-Israel conference in SOAS|
|Action Palestine conference at SOAS this weekend-support the student occcupations Speakers include: Illan Pappe, Gilbert Achcar, Karma Nabulsi, Saleh Abdel-Jawad, Norman Finkelstein, and many speakers from Ben Gurion and our twinned uni Birzeit
The recent Israeli massacres in Gaza show the need for a sustained and unified movement for Palestine.
Whilst the past three weeks have seen unprecedented action in support of Palestinians, our campaign needs to focus on providing long-tem solidarity, even when the cameras of the world’s media are focused elsewhere. This is most relevant on the student level where a strong student movement for Palestine holds the promise of bringing energy and vibrancy to the wider movement. Over the past year, Palestine student groups in UK universities have cooperated to run successful nationwide campaigns, bringing the Palestinian cause to the forefront of campus politics. Many twinning links with Palestinian universities have been forged, making the plight of Palestinian students more real and relevant to UK students.
|Head of Political Science Neve Gordon teaches his Ben Gurion University class Liberman is more dangerous to Israel than Hamas|
|We cannot understand this as an island, as something totally new, but rather something that has been building up. We see that the younger generation is supporting these neo-fascist tendencies. And we cannot blame the schools for it, but we have to blame the whole atmosphere in Israel, which is indeed a racist atmosphere, an anti-Arab atmosphere, anti-Palestinian Arab atmosphere. And Lieberman, what he has learned to do well is to feed on the hatred and the fear of the Arabs, to use a xenophobic method. And this is extremely dangerous. And to tell you the truth, I fear for Israel. I fear for the citizenry in Israel. And I think we are in a watershed moment in Israeli politics.|
| [Ben Gurion University, History] About Dr. Amnon Raz-Karkotzkin in: "Jews who support Arab parties: We seek true equality"|
|Dr. Amnon Raz-Karkotzkin, a history professor at Ben Gurion University, plans to vote for Balad on February 10. "The ongoing incitement against Balad stems from a fear of equality, which is why Azmi Bishara is being persecuted," he stated.
"Find someone who seriously thinks that he spied for Hizbullah. Anyone looking for a spy wouldn't have used Azmi Bishara," he added.
Raz-Karkotzkin said that the party hopes to see more Jews voting for Arab parties in the upcoming elections. Balad held a campaign rally in Hebrew last week, and plans to hold another one on Wednesday.
"The Jewish public's support for Balad is support for challenge," said Raz-Karkotzkin. "Balad doesn't give me an identity and I don't vote in the elections in order to secure self-identity. Balad's platform talks about full civil equality – and in my opinion, as a historian that deals with the history of the Jewish people - this is the right track to take.
"I feel compelled to identify with Balad's demand for a state of all its citizens," he said.
|[Ben Gurion University, Social Research] Farewell Party in Gaza? / By Lev Grinberg to Palestine Think Tank|
|It’s possible that Barack Obama understands the trick Israel is trying to pull, and therefore opts to be silent for as long as he has no executive powers. I hope that this is the case, and that upon beginning his office, Obama would behave as a true friend to Israel and save it from itself. He must stop Israeli aggression. Israel’s problem is an excess of military power stemming from the trauma of the Holocaust. Israel is behaving like the neighborhood bully expecting someone to stop him, because it does have the power to destroy everything around it, while destroying itself in the process. Anyone who sincerely wishes to help Israel must release it from its position as the central forward striker in the war on Islam, in which the Bush era of war on terror has framed it. Let us all hope that the war in Gaza is a farewell ceremony marking the end of President Bush’s destructive era. It is indeed high time for the promised "change". Obama, yes YOU can.|
|[Ben Gurion U, Political Science] Neve Gordon to smear Israel in Palestine Awareness Week. Feb. 12, Michigan|
|Event topics include Introducing Palestine, Exploring the Structure of Israel's Occupation, The Cultural Resistance of Palestinian Film, Aspects of Apartheid: South Africa and Israel, and Visions of Peace.
Speakers include Thomas Abowd (WSU professor), Neve Gordon (visiting associate professor), Rima Hassouneh (UM professor), Tirtza Even (UM School of Art), Hani Bawardi (UM-Dearborn professor), and Ali Abunimah (prominent Palestinian academic).
Tuesday, Feb 12th, 8pm, 100 Hutchins Hall
From Colonization to Separation, Exploring the Structure of Israel's
Occupation - Neve Gordon
|[Head of Ben Gurion U, Political Science Dept.] Fmr. Clinton Special Counsel Lanny Davis vs. Israeli Professor Neve Gordon: A Debate on the Israeli Assault on Gaza|
|I agree with the idea of a basic right to self-defense. And the right to self-defense is a right to self-defense from violence. We have to understand that the occupation itself is violence. It’s an act of violence. Putting people in a prison, in a prison of one million and a half million people and keeping them there for years on end without basic foodstuff, without allowing them to enter and exit when they will, is an act of violence. Without electricity, without clean water, it’s all an act of violence. And these people are resisting. I am against the way they’re resisting, but we have to look at their violence versus our violence.|
|Israeli Professor Under Hamas Rocket Fire, Neve Gordon Condemns Israeli Invasion of Gaza|
|The problem is that most Israelis say what Meagan said before. They say, “Israel left the Gaza Strip three years ago, and Hamas is still shooting rockets at us.” They forget the details. The details is that Israel maintains sovereignty. The details is that the Palestinians live in a cage. The details is that they don’t get basic foodstuff, that they don’t get electricity, that they don’t get water, and so forth. And when you forget those kinds of details, and all you say is, “Here, we left them. Why are they still shooting at us?” and that’s what the media here has been pumping them with, then you think this war is rational. If you look at what’s been going on in the Gaza Strip in the past three years and you see what Israel has been doing to the Palestinians, you would think that the Palestinian resistance is rational. And that’s what’s missing in the mainstream media here. And so, although there are voices of resistance in Israel and although there was a quite big protest on—actually, two big protests on Saturday, one in Sakhnin and one in Tel Aviv, it is still a really small minority.|
|Neve Gordon's "Israel's New War Ethic"|
|There is something extremely cynical about how Israel explains its use of humanitarian assistance, and yet such unadulterated explanations actually help uncover an important facet of postmodern warfare. Not unlike raising animals for slaughter on a farm, the Israeli government maintains that it
is providing Palestinians with assistance so that it can have a free hand in attacking them. And just as Israel provides basic foodstuff to Palestinians while it continues shooting them, it informs Palestinians--by phone, no less--that they must evacuate their homes before F-16 fighter jets begin bombing them.
|Oren Yiftachel: Gaza's Lost Time|
|The conclusion is obvious: beyond the ceasefire that is needed immediately, the real end to violence will pass only through returning history , back into our political discourse, that is, through an open and profound investigation of the history that generated Jewish-Palestinians relations in this land. As well Israel needs to confront its own negation of history and Palestinian rights.
During such an investigation, which, of course, will be dependent on the termination of Israeli colonial rule, the question of the refugees and with it the question of the entire Gaza Strip will rise again, along with questions regarding the traumatic Jewish history and the prospects of ensuring a Jewish future in an Arab Middle East.
In other words, recognition of Palestinian time is the only way to also acknowledge Jewish time. Only when history replaces territory as the central topic of discourse, that is, when the history of the country included that of all of its residents and exiles, the foundations will set for mutual recognition between two nations with equal rights in a common homeland. Then the rockets will stop, and there may even be a time of reconciliation.
|[BGU, Geography] Oren Yiftachel: "The Jailer State"|
|This type of political geography tends to result in a chain of absurdities. Here is one: the invasion and destruction of Gaza is carried out by an ousted Israeli Government, and is actively supported by a defeated US Administration. The two governments which lost power are violently attacking in their dying days the democratically elected Government of Palestine. This leads to the next absurdity: instead of condemning and placing sanctions on Israel, which has put Gaza under siege for the last two years, the world has imposed sanctions over the Hamas Government. In this way the occupied are punished twice: once by the brutal occupation, and a second time attempting to resist.|
|[Ben Gurion University, Political Science] Opinion: Where's the Academic Outrage Over the Bombing of a University in Gaza?
By Neve Gordon and Jeff Halper
|Not one of the nearly 450 presidents of American colleges and universities who prominently denounced an effort by British academics to boycott Israeli universities in September 2007 have raised their voice in opposition to Israel’s bombardment of the Islamic University of Gaza earlier this week. Lee C. Bollinger, president of Columbia University, who organized the petition, has been silent, as have his co-signatories from Princeton, Northwestern, and Cornell Universities, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Most others who signed similar petitions, like the 11,000 professors from nearly 1,000 universities around the world, have also refrained from expressing their outrage at Israel’s attack on the leading university in Gaza. The artfully named Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, which organized the latter appeal, has said nothing about the assault.|
|[Ben Gurion University, Linguistic Dept.] Dr. Idan Lando: "Time for Refusal"|
Maybe you didn’t get yet “Tzav 8” (The emergency military call to arms in Israel, taken from its form number designation; DB); maybe it’s on its way. Maybe they contacted you already from the unit, and you are now packing. And maybe you are in the congregation areas, warming the tank engine. Wherever you are, you are convinced, probably, that you are doing the right thing at the right time. You agree with the saying “It cannot go on like that”, and you think that after this war, and the heavy losses that the Palestinian will incur, it will really stop.
|Israeli Professor Neve Gordon Condemns Israeli Invasion of Gaza on Democracy Now 1/5/09|
|Earlier this morning three Qassam rockets exploded in open areas in the western Negev in Israel. We go to the region to speak with Neve Gordon, chair of the Department of Politics and Government, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, and the author of Israels Occupation.|
|[BGU, Politics] Neve Gordon / "The dire cost of domestic rivalries": The Israeli government doesn't care about its citizens and is worse than Hamas|
|What is clearly missing from this list of Israeli objectives is the attempt to halt the firing of Qassam rockets into Israel's southern towns. Unlike the objectives I mentioned, which are not discussed by government officials, this one is presented by the government as the operation's primary objective. Yet, the government is actively misleading the public,
since Israel could have put an end to the rockets a long time ago. Indeed, there was relative quiet during the six-months truce with Hamas, a quiet that was broken most often as a reaction to Israeli violence: that is, following the extra-judicial execution of a militant or the imposition of a total blockade which prevented basic goods, like food stuff and medicine,
from entering the Gaza Strip. Rather than continuing the truce, the Israeli government has once again chosen to adopt strategies of violence that are tragically akin to the ones deployed by Hamas; only, the Israeli ones are much more lethal.
If the Israeli government really cared about its citizens and the country's long term ability to sustain itself in the Middle East, it would abandon the use of violence and talk with its enemies.
|[BGU, Education] Yossi Yonah: A two-State solution, Palestinian State established on the territories occupied by Israel and Jerusalem as its capital, and a just solution to the refugee problem|
|YOSSI YONAH, Associate Professor at the Department of Education of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Tel Aviv, asserted that, in the wake of the demise of forces of civil society supporting the cause of peace for both Israelis and Palestinians, efforts must be directed to mobilize global civil society in support of a peaceful solution to the conflict. The main principles accepted to some extent by Israeli and Palestinian forces supporting the cause of peace were relatively clear and included a two-State solution, with the Palestinian State established on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967 and Jerusalem as its capital, and a just solution to the refugee problem. The task today for civil society activists was to push the peace process forward, creating an atmosphere in which those reasonable principles might be endorsed by both sides and finally result in a viable peace agreement. “The peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority have reached, today, a point in which no one takes them seriously. Both sides believe that the other side is not negotiating with each other in good faith,” said Mr. Yonah. That was the result of the failure of the Camp David Summit in 2000, followed by a second intifada, which had worsened the sense of hopelessness, escalated violence on both sides, and set the scenario for the electoral victory of Prime Minister Sharon and the demise of the forces of civil society in Israel that had supported peace negotiations. While most Israelis believed that any peace negotiations must bring about the establishment of an independent Palestinian State, though were often unwilling to pay the price for it, they also believed that there were no true Palestinian counterparts with whom to negotiate, and that belief had been reinforced by the electoral victory of Hamas in 2006, Mr. Yonah explained. That had had an equivalent repercussion among Palestinians, he said, particularly in light of the harsh measures of the Israeli army and the continuation of settlements in the West Bank. Given those circumstances, he said, “Both civil societies ought to be transcended. We need to engage international civil society and international political leaders in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. [...] Special efforts need to be directed to Diaspora communities, both Israeli and Palestinian, [...] in support of reasonable solutions.”|
|[Jewish Thought, Ben Gurion U] Ehud Krinis and [Dept of Statistics, U of Washington] Assaf Oron battle against Israeli army|
|a team from the Israeli-Palestinian NGO Ta'ayush managed, after great difficulties, to reach the Jinba area. They report that the military has carried out in the last few days a massive earth-removal initiative, designed to effectively wipe out the network of dirt roads connecting the southern part of Massafer Yatta (the part closest to Israel) with the northern part and the rest of the West Bank.
This is the worst deterioration in the situation of the cave dweller community, since the mass expulsions of 1999. They fly in the face of the 2000 Israeli High Court verdict reaffirming the cave dwellers' right to continue their way of life. The most plausible conclusion that this is a transparent attempt to ethnically cleanse this region of its Palestinians, in order to facilitate the annexation of the Jewish settlements to its north to Israel.
|As'ad AbuKhalil* reviews Neve Gordon's "Israel's Occupation" and Neve Gordon replys|
|I emphasize that one cannot solve the occupation without taking into account the "ethnic cleansing" that took place in 1948, but I explain that 1948 has been discussed at length and that I want to concentrate on how the occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has ticked. That is the objective of this book |
|Settler Violence Leads to Arrest of Activists / By Neve Gordon
|At dawn the activists arrived. Around thirty Ta’ayush (Arab-Jewish Partnership) and international volunteers came to the Palestinian groves adjacent to the Jewish settlement in Tel-Rumeida, Hebron, to help the landowners pick their olives. Previous attempts by the Palestinian farmers -- who live behind fences and are subjected to daily violence -- to reach their olive trees had been blocked by the residents of Tel Rumeida, a stronghold of the most militant and extremist Jewish settlers. Even the Israeli police are afraid of these settlers while the military routinely bows down to their commands.
|Neve Gordon - Book review: Israel's occupation, inside out |
|colonization "attempts to manage the lives of the colonized inhabitants while exploiting the captured territory's resources," separation interests itself solely "in the resources" without "in any way ... assum[ing] responsibility for the people." |
|[BGU, Politics] Dr. Haim Yacobi / "Separate and unequal" posted on a Palestinian website|
|Writing in the Tel Aviv daily Ha'aretz, the author below reminds us of the apartheid reality lurking behind the term “mixed cities” in reference to cities inside what today is Israel , where Jews and Palestinian citizens of Israel live in the same cities. “it's a misleading idiom, as it hides from the Israeli public the extent of segregation and poverty”. But even this is rare; usually Jews and Palestinian citizens live in different areas separated along ethno-national lines. The recent clashes in Acre should be viewed, the author tells us, from the light of deliberate Israeli policy to squeeze this population –what remains of Palestinians spared ethnic cleansing of 1948-- economically and socially, to satisfy an ever demographic Zionist goal of Jewish majority uber alles. But this is quite in line with Israel's ideology of Zionism. And Israeli allies in the US get upset when, for example, the Encyclopedia of Race and Racism includes a chapter on Zionism. Note that these are the minority Palestinians who were 'lucky' to get Israeli citizenship. The majority suffer much, much more in the West Bank, Gaza, E. Jerusalem, and in exile everywhere. –Sami]|
|[Ben Gurion U, Political Science] ZNet interview: Israel’s Occupation, A New Book By Neve Gordon, about Israel's particular form of colonization|
|The book has two distinct sources. First and foremost, it is a product of many years of activism in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. My understanding of the forms of control deployed in the Gaza Strip and West Bank began during the first Intifada, initially as a member of the Gaza Team for Human Rights and later as the director of Physicians for Human Rights, Israel. During the second Intifada, I became an active member of Ta'ayush (Arab-Jewish Partnership) and spent much time in the Occupied Territories resisting, together with Palestinians, Israel's abusive policies. This kind of first-hand experience is invaluable and cannot be replaced by books and reports. The book is also the outcome of discussions and research carried out by a group of Israeli and Palestinian students and scholars that I was fortunate to join a few years ago. The aim of this group was to try and theorize Israel's particular form of colonization. |
|[BGU, Department of Jewish Thought] Ehud Krinis and his friends help a suspect of terrorism
|We did what we could do. Our hands too are tied. From here on only the intervention of a lawyer, preferably Israeli, can be of any use.
And so we did.
Very late, very tired, I got into bed, but the pain does not cease.
Amid, they say, threw stones and tried to burn the pillbox (the
|[BGU, Geography] About Israel's "Colonialism" in Oren Yiftachel and Batya Roded "ETHNOCRACY AND RELIGIOUS RADICALISM" |
|Hebron is the only West Bank Arab city (outside Jerusalem) in which Jews settled. The first group of religious Jews invaded an empty building shortly after Israel's conquest of the West Bank, in 1968. This began four decades of an urban colonial project, which received state protection. To date, it managed to attract some 7,500 Jewish settlers to the city and the abutting Kiryat Arba town (Swiesa, 2003; OCHA, ( 2005, which enjoys full Israeli citizenship. While the city's 140,000 Palestinian residents were placed under military rule, with no political rights to affect Israeli policies governing their own city.
With expanding colonization in parts of the Old City of Hebron, and a construction of large scale housing in Kiryat Arba, ethnic relations polarized. A violent nadir was reached when in 1994 a Jewish settler massacred 29 Muslim worshippers inside the sacred Abraham's Tomb (B'Tselem, 2007).
| Professor Dan Bar-On died on Thursday in Tel Aviv following an illness |
|Dan Bar-On is professor of psychology in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Ben-Gurion University and has twice been chair of the department. Over the years Bar-On has made statements in his writings, and signed petitions, that cannot even
by a generous interpretation be considered loyal to Israel.
|[BGU Political Science] Neve Gordon speaks of [Hebrew U, Classics] Dr. Amiel Vardi's best education for his daughter: Prison
|Eighteen-year-old Sahar Vardi is currently in an Israeli military prison. She is being punished for the crime of refusing to be conscripted into the Israeli military.
A few weeks before her imprisonment she wrote Israel’s Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, explaining her decision to become a conscientious objector. “I have been to the occupied Palestinian territories many times, and even though I realize that the soldier at the checkpoint is not responsible for Israel’s oppressive policies, that soldier is still responsible for his conduct…” She summed up her letter to Barak with the following words: “The bloody cycle in which I live--made up of assassinations, terrorist attacks, bombings, and shootings--has resulted in an increasing number of victims on both sides. It is a vicious circle that is sustained by the choice of both sides to engage in violence. I refuse to take part in this choice.”
While Vardi is the first woman to be imprisoned this year, she is part of a broader movement of Shministim, high-school seniors who refuse to be conscripted due to the military’s oppression of the Palestinians. Two other conscientious objectors, Udi Nir and Avichai Vaknin, were imprisoned earlier this month and a few others are likely to follow suit.
|About Neve Gordon's [BGU] delegitizimation of Israel in CAMERA's report on the National Catholic Reporter|
|Neve Gordon, the writer in question, is a professor at Ben Gurion University has used the pages of NCR to falsely portray Israel as attempting to starve its neighbors. In a Feb. 8, 2008 NCR piece titled “The iron wall in Gaza,” Gordon wrote “The experiment in famine began on Jan. 18. Israel hermetically closed all of Gaza’s borders, preventing even food, medicine and fuel from entering the Strip.”
On this score, Gordon accepts as fact, Hamas’s complaints about a lack of food and fuel in the Gaza Strip, even as other Palestinian leaders blamed Hamas for manufacturing the crisis. Khaled Abu Toameh, reporting in the Jerusalem Post on Jan. 21, 2008, quoted a Palestinian Authority official who insisted that the bakeries were sufficiently stocked with fuel and flour
|[Ben Gurion U, Jewish Thought] Ehud Krinis helps "righteous" Palestinians in their struggle against "colonist" Israelis|
|The first colonist to arrive on the scene this time was Dalia's shepherd, who took his shirt off and used it to mask his face as has become the habit in colonist attacks lately. This colonist alerted Michael, the security guard, who arrived with another ten colonists, including two who participated in the previous assault. Among them was the one had driven the Subaru and was now threatening the Palestinians: "We'll do to you what we did to Tamam". Another bearded colonist explained to the landowners of the Nwaj'ah family that all of this land belongs to the Jews, and the only way for the family to repossess it is to become Jews themselves.
The other colonists resorted to the familiar language of stoning the shepherds and their flocks.
|Neve Gordon helps Palestinian fight against Israel, in: "A West Bank Town's Fight to Survive"|
|The story of Ni'lin is, in other words, the story of a colonized people resisting colonization. This is not the way the mainstream media has been accustomed to portraying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and judging from the Google news results, most editors are not ready to change their approach. The historic campaign in Ni'lin--as well as many other nonviolent, mass civil disobedience campaigns against the occupation in places like Bi'lin and A'ram--is still unfit to print.
When the military realized that violence on the ground cannot stop the residents' emancipatory drive, it began arresting both Palestinian and Israeli protesters in the hope that hefty legal costs would do the job. To support the legal expenses incurred at Ni'lin, click here (link to donation page Anarchists Against the Wall).
|[Geography] Dr. Oren Yiftachel, member of the Board of Directors of IFCCS which promotes Palestinian Right of Return|
|Board of Directors
Dusan I. Bjelic
Support of the Right of Return is the moral and political basis for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Recognition of the Right of Return is, therefore, the basis for this conference. The goal of this conference is promoting public debate around questions concerning the return of Palestinian refugees, to open a wide array of ideas and proposals about different possibilities of return. Central questions this conference raises are how can the return occur in practice, and what shapes of shared life will be possible to develop with the return of Palestinian
|Watch anti-Israel propaganda film with Dr. Neve Gordon "Peace, Propoganda and the Promised Land"|
|Through the voices of scholars, media critics, peace activists, religious figures, and Middle East experts, Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land carefully analyzes and explains how–through the use of language, framing and context–the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza remains hidden in the news media, and Israeli colonization of the occupied terrorities appears to be a defensive move rather than an offensive one.
The documentary also explores the ways that U.S. journalists, for reasons ranging from intimidation to a lack of thorough investigation, have become complicit in carrying out Israel’s PR campaign. At its core, the documentary raises questions about the ethics and role of journalism, and the relationship between media and politics.
|[Department of Politics and Government] The Sixtieth Anniversary of the Nakba: A Posting by Ahmad H. Sa’di
|Across the world, people are marking the sixtieth anniversary of the Palestinian’s “nakba” (catastrophe). The Palestine/ Israel conflict has occupied center stage in international affairs at least since the Balfour Declaration in 1917. Its macabre manifestations confront us on TV screens and newspapers’ pages daily. The efforts invested to solve it peacefully have so far failed. And despite apparently huge diplomatic efforts (genuine, self-serving, or cynical) doomed approaches continue, paradoxically, to prevail. These approaches most commonly—and with various degrees of sophistication—construct a political landscape that is dominated by elites who are described as either for or against peace. Leaders are classified in loaded and dichotomous terms: as moderate or radical; westernized or traditional; secular or fundamentalist. Very little, if anything at all, is said about those who construct these categories and their interests in doing so, let alone their role in perpetuating the conflict. Nothing is said about the morality of those who categorize. Most importantly, very little is said about ordinary Palestinians who have continued to endure the consequences of the catastrophe for more than six decades.|
|Website promoting Neve Gordon's new pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel propaganda book "Israel's Occupation"
|While an analysis based on the de facto situation provides, in many respects, a more accurate depiction of reality, my decision to treat the territories that Israel occupied in 1967 as a separate unit, even though such an interrogation helps mask certain historical and spatial truths, was determined by the book’s primary objective. I am interested in trying to understand how Israel’s military occupation ticks. The goal is to uncover the daily practices through which the Palestinian inhabitants within the OT have been managed, and to explain why Israel’s mechanisms of control were altered over the years. In this way, I not only wish to unravel some of the major processes leading to the terminal shifts in Israel’s occupation, but also to underscore the structural causes leading to the escalation of violence as well the dangerous implications of Israel’s insistence on continuing to control Palestinian land. Readers who are uninterested in my theoretical argument can skip the introduction and go directly to the first chapter, where I begin the historical portrayal by outlining the infrastructure of control. |
|[Ben Gurion U Department of Sociology and Anthropology] Anti-Israel prof. Uri Ram awarded a Prize by the Association for Israel Studies|
|Sociologist Uri Ram wants an "academic alternative" to Israeli 'Apartheid':
The state of Israel is witnessing the rise of an apartheid regime the likes of which has not been seen since the fall of apartheid in South Africa --- Uri Ram .
|[Ben Gurion U, Department of Jewish Thought] Ehud Krinis helps a Palestinian village against the Israeli Army and Settlers
| during the present Israeli Occupation regime, Yatta landowners sold to Israelis some plots on the top of the same hills. This area was used to build Carmel settlement in 1981. Thus, the Hadhalin of Umm Al Kheir found themselves living adjacent to the Carmel colonists.
While Carmel flourishes and grows, and has had a new neighborhood added to it recently, the Bedouin villagers of Umm al-Kheir are victims of Israel's consistent policy of preventing nearly any non-Israeli construction throughout Area C in the West Bank. All the structures in this locality, except the ones built during the Jordanian rule, have been either demolished already or are threatened with demolition orders. The village is not supplied with running water nor electricity, and its abject poverty is terribly and flagrantly visible (especially in view of the standard of living enjoyed by their neighbors in the settlement 20 meters away). Furthermore, settlers of Carmel often harass the residents of Umm al Kheir.
|[Ben Gurion U, Geography] Oren Yiftachel lectures about Israel's colonialism this week in Belfast
|Professor Oren Yiftachel, from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel on Planning and ‘Gray Space’: policy, colonialism and urban change.|
|Oren Yiftachel and Batya Roded / ABRAHAM'S URBAN FOOTSTEPS: POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY AND RELIGIOUS READICALISM IN ISRAEL/PALESTINE|
|we must analytically differentiate between the various
depths of colonization which have resulted from the gradual, incomplete and contested imposition of Jewish rule. Where as in Hebron, the Jewish presence is based on a heavily militarized occupation and settlement vis-a-vis rebellious rightless
Palestinians; in Jerusalem, the edge of the systematic and powerful colonial project is somewhat blunted by the partial civil status of the Palestinians; while in the Beer
Sheva region, Judaization has been accompanied with the endowment to the local Bedouin population of citizenship and some legal, political and urban development
rights. While the Judaization logic proceeds in all three cities and results in conspicuous inequalities
|Meretz USA member and editor: Neve Gordon writes from a gratuitously anti-Zionist perspective
|Gordon’s articles are difficult reading for Zionists, even a progressive Zionist such as myself. It’s not that he’s wrong in most of his facts regarding inequities in the Jewish State and injustices in the Palestinian territories, but he writes from a gratuitously anti-Zionist perspective. |
|[Ben Gurion U] Uri Ram reviews Ilan Pappe's book Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
|The book ends up with the "Green House" . the faculty club building of Tel Aviv University, which is the reconstructed house of Shaykh Muwannis, the only remaining house from a village with this name that is buried under the university. Pappe rebuffs Israeli academia for disregarding and concealing the ethnic cleansing of 1948 and its continuous consequences, poking fun at the economists for failing to assess the extent of
Palestinian properties lost in the 1948 destruction; of the geographers for failing to chart the amount of refugee land Israel confiscated; the philosophers for failing to contemplate the moral implications of the Nakba that Israel perpetrated; and the historians for failing to supply the fullest picture of the war and the ethnic cleansing. He omits the sociologists whom he could have blamed for failing to provide an account of the 40 years occupation of the Palestinian territories from 1967. On the background of the campaigns to boycott Israeli academia, Pappe counterbalances here the argument against the boycott that upholds Israeli academia as a (the last?) bulwark against the occupation. In sum, Ilan Pappe provides here a most important and daring book that challenges head-on Israeli historiography and collective memory and even more importantly Israeli conscience.
|Neve Gordon to speak about his new book "Israel's Occupation" on Feb. 27, at Western Michigan University
|A visiting professor from Israel will speak about the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict during a Wednesday, Feb. 27, talk at Western Michigan University. The free public lecture by Dr. Neve Gordon of Ben-Gurion University will be at 7:30 p.m. at the Fetzer Center.
The author of a new book, "Israel's Occupation," about to be published by the University of California Press, Gordon will address the prospects for peace and explore the impact of a number of recent developments and their impact on the daily lives of Israelis and Palestinians. Those events include Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Hamas' landslide victory in 2006 elections, ongoing missile fire on Israeli towns and a siege imposed on Gaza.
|[Ben Gurion U] Notes from Neve Gordon’s lecture: "From Colonization to Occupation: Ex ploring the Structure of Israel’s Occupation"
|“Israel created Jewish roads.” He meant that only Jews could travel without “enduring hardships that Arabs and Palestinians have to take.” Israel did this to “control the land and separate the Palestinians from their land and families.” All the policies that Israel made were to “weaken the Palestinians and to make it easier for Israel to take over their land.” He finally mentions that “the one states solution is the best. If it goes to the two-state solution, Israel continues to be an apartheid state.” The final statement he makes in his lecture is that “the only way to get peace is to quote Karl Marx in that both sides must find the best solution: not fantasy.” And one last bit Neve Gordon says: “International law says that they are occupied territories that Israel has captured.” |
|Neve Gordon at Columbia U "Colonialization and Separation"|
|[Ben Gurion University] Neve Gordon's talk in 'Palestine Awareness Week', University of Michigan
|From Colonization to Separation, Exploring the Structure of Israel's Occupation - Neve Gordon|
|[Ben Gurion University] Neve Gordon takes part in a group's call for Israel to give citizenship rights to all Palestinian people
|On 11th-15th February 2008, Neve Gordon is co-staring at the Palestine Awarness Week of a University of Michigan group, its guiding principles are: "The end of confiscation of all Palestinian lands and the return and/or compensation of all previously confiscated lands to their original owners.
An end to the Israeli system of occupation and discrimination against the Palestinians, via granting citizenship rights to all peoples under Israeli civil or military control. Furthermore, reforming Israeli policies to ensure equal benefits, treatment, and rights for all citizens, regardless of race or religion...."
|Experimenting with Famine' / Neve Gordon |
|The experiment in Gaza is, in other words, not really about the bombardment of Israeli citizens or even about Israel’s ongoing efforts to undermine Hamas. It is simply a new draconian strategy aimed at denying the Palestinians their most basic right to self-determination. It is about showing them who is in control, about breaking their backs, so that they lower their expectations and bow down to Israeli demands. The Palestinians understood this and courageously destroyed their prison wall while crying out into the wilderness for international support. Instead of the expected outrage, the only response they received was a weak echo of their own cry for help.
|Oren Yiftachel (BGU, Geography) incites Bedouins against the Israeli state in 'Bedouin in Limbo'|
|"These people are being denied their basic rights and ignored by the planning system." This master plan is wrong environmentally, socially and politically, contends Oren Yiftachel, professor of Political Geography, Planning and Public Policy at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), who has contracted with the Council of Unrecognized Villages to produce another alternative plan for the Council of Unrecognized Villages. "The real issue here is a planning crime, because the state's discrimination has caused great suffering."
|Ben Gurion University repudiates anti-Israel activism of Dr. Neve Gordon|
|'During the past few years, Dr. Neve Gordon, a tenured lecturer in the Department of Politics and Government, has been criticized on a number of occasions for expressing views that some believe are against the interests of State of Israel|
|An "academic conference" in London gives an Israeli quisling a chance to shine: Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin (Jewish History Lecturer) of Ben Gurion University
|'The panel has its academic Jewish quislings to lend support to its real purposes. One of those academics is Israeli history professor Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin of Ben Gurion University. Raz-Krakotzkin objects to Jews (but not Palestinian Arabs) seeking a national homeland for both religious and secular reasons, and has used the Arab term "Nakba" ("catastrophe" in Arabic, meaning the founding of Israel). ...
In discussing secular Israeli Jews, perhaps the majority of he not only declares the Torah as replete with Jewish "myths" about the land of Israel belonging to the Jews, a fairy tale among the religious (who, and in contradiction by him, if they were true to the faith would not want a Jewish state), but expands his interpretation to debunk secular Jews who also feel a connection to a Jewish national homeland as a result of world genocide and persecution as also being founded on the same myth. '
|Gender Studies' Henriette Dahan Kalev detects a 'Fear of Arabness in Zionism' in her Post-Zionist Perspective - no Arab Hatred of Jews though
|Dahan Kalev: 'In this talk I discuss the fear of Arabness of the Ashkenazim, the way in which it has affected Mizrahim as well as Israeli-Palestinians. I explore this topic from a post Zionist perspective and examine the difficulties to trace the roots of the fear of Arabness.
I argued than, that although Mizrahim and Ashkenazin are Jews, they differ profoundly from each other. Fear of Arabness is the sediment lying in their daily encounters amongst themselves and with the Israeli-Palestinian. I conclude by explaining how this approach opens new context with new options for the understanding of the Israeli Palestinian conflict.'
|BGU's Sociologist Uri Ram is told off - It’s not about Israel, stupid |
|David Hirsh runs the pro-Israel Engage Online web site in the UK and is a leftwing Zionist:
'Uri Ram’s mistake is to assume that the boycott campaign is really about Israel. But it’s not about Israel, stupid, nor is it about Palestine; it’s about Britain. Nationalism can be an insidious temptation and it can narrow our perspective; it has narrowed Ram’s perspective. He is not considering the effect or the symbolism of a campaign to exclude a significant proportion of the world’s Jewish scholars from European universities; he is not thinking about how the argument to exclude is made in British public life. Ram seems only concerned with fighting an Israeli battle against the Israeli government'
|BGU Psychology Professor Bar-On Equates Naqba with Holocaust|
|Ben-Gurion University is host to many of the worst anti-Israel extremists, tenured traitors, "New Historians", and "Post-Zionists" in Israel academia. Some openly call for Israel to be annihilated. Unlike other universities where such people are repudiated by the institution officers and officials, at Ben Gurion University they are celebrated and endorsed by the university officers as fine scholars and sensitive peace lovers. This has earned Ben Gurion University its frequent nickname, the "Bir Zeit of the Negev." BGU is so obsessed with hiring and promoting anti-Israel extremism that it sometimes trashes academic standards of scholarship altogether.
While Ben Gurion University is also home to many serious ...Among the many extremists at BGU is Professor Dan Bar-On, a "Post-Zionist" professor of psychology who used to be Dean of Social Sciences at BGU. Writing in the pro-Palestinian Middle East Times of April 27, 2007 with an Arab co-author, Bar-On mimicks so many of the vogue radical haters of Israel in drawing moral-historical comparisons between the Nazi Holocaust of Jews in World War II and the "Naqba" (catastrophe in Arabic), the fashionable nonsense term that is often used by such people when describing the "sufferings" of Arabs when Israel was first created.
|Political Science Lecturer Neve Gordon claims the poor "Anarchists" are Victims of Israeli State Terror|
|Even though the anarchists are frequently beaten and arrested, they do not desist. To date, about 10 Palestinians have been killed in demonstrations against the separation barrier and thousands have been wounded, a number that would no doubt have been much greater had it not been for the fearless dedication of the anarchists.
These unsung heroes are currently regarded in Israel as a fifth column. And when the Israeli police began to realise that beating and detaining them would not stop their stubborn resistance, a different strategy was adopted. Scores of legal indictments were issued by the state prosecutor.
|Sociologist Uri Ram promotes 'Post-Zionism' and denounces Israel as an Apartheid Regime|
|Post–Zionism is a counter–hegemonic political culture that emerged in Israel during the 1990s. It exposed the inherent tension between the Jewish domination over the state and the latter’s democratic pretensions. While since the beginning of the current decade post-Zionism was declared to have exhausted itself with no tangible achievements, it turns out that in 2007 a second wave of post-Zionism is unfolding, albeit with noticeable changes from the first wave, yet with an even more invigorated impetus.|
|Sociology Lecturer Uri Ram: Boycott Good, Israel BAD|
|Do the universities somehow serve the occupation and in so doing take part in violating international law, and whether they are part of an overall state apparatus headed by the Defense Ministry and army, and followed by the Yesha Council and "hilltop youths" in the West Bank, who are all dedicated to the maintenance of the occupation, or whether Israel is home to academic freedom and institutional distinction that allows for a critical discussion of the occupation and oppression. |
|Demolishing Review of BGU Geographer OREN YIFTACHEL's New Anti-Israel Book|
|Finding fault with Israel has become the vogue among so-called radicals or liberals in Western society, especially since the downfall of South Africa’s Apartheid regime over a decade ago. Of course, Israel-bashing has been part and parcel of Arab rhetoric and actions since the establishment of the state in 1948 as the Zionist effort to create a Jewish homeland had been for most of the seven decades that preceded it. ... In recent years, they have been joined by Israeli intellectuals and academics who, for different reasons, are unhappy with what the state stands for, the policies that it chooses to pursue and the way in which it is governed. All these have become facts of life and Israel is increasingly regarded as the cause of much of the region’s ills and a major danger to world stability.|
|Political Science Professor David Newman celebrated by the ex-PLO spokesman Mahmoud Labadias as a Post-Zionist in 'Post-Zionism a chance for peace' |
| Newman criticized Livnat and Leibler and all their camp that they are deeply rooted in the mentality of siege. By clinging to the image of the besieged Jew, threatened and isolated they believe that this is the only way to preserve the Jewish personality. He also says that Livnat and Leibler commit the same mistake perpetrated by those who call themselves teachers. “They equate nationalist education with Jewish education, as if the lack of Jewish Education and Jewish Science depends on their intention to make peace and the recognition of others’ rights”. Newman concludes by saying that, “it is also not a great honor that 80% of Jewish Children in this country know nothing about the 20% of the non-Jewish minority, and know nothing about their feasts or the foundation of their culture and there fore, they cannot treat them in a tolerant and comprehensible way.” Indeed, Newman was referring to the discriminated Arab minority inside Israel.|
|BGU Political Science Lecturer Ahmad H. Sa'di: on the 'Crimes committed by Zionist gangs'|
|Through 356 pages book, edited by Ahmad H. Sa'di and Lila Abu-Lughod, provides facts on the crimes committed by Zionest gangs aginst Palestinian civilians and the establishing of Israel on the rubble of at least 450 Palestinian villages in 1948.
|Gender Studies' Henriette Dahan Kalev promotes 'Post-Zionism' and denounces Zionist males
|Zionist ideology as formulated by the founding fathers and aspires produces an effective critique of the status quo. It looks into the relation of an image-dominated Israeli Jewish Male to political practice, and the end of a Zionist tradition that now appears more heterogeneous than previously thought even while it appears insufficiently tolerant of multiplicity. At the very least, postzionism highlights the multiplication of voices, questions, and conflicts that has shattered what once seemed to be (although it never really was) the placid unanimity of the grand narrative and of Zionism that gloried in it.|
|BGU political science lecturer NEVE GORDON and TAU's YIGAL BRONNER denounce the Israeli legal system|
|Apparently, Judge Solburg has no patience for naivete and ensured that political reality would win the day. He did not allow the autopsy results or, in his own words, "the objective dimension" of the case to alter his verdict and thus sent a very clear message to Arab citizens of Israel that evidence is not the most important criteria for determining guilt. It will, accordingly, be no surprise if the next victim's family refuses to consent to an autopsy.
The verdict also sends a clear message to the police: "don't worry." Israeli policemen can rest assured that everything will be done to cover up violence against Arabs. If internal affairs won't do the job, then a judge, who will acquit the policeman, can be found, even when the officer is guilty of shooting a man in cold blood.
Moreover, the verdict reinforces the idea among the Jewish public that not all blood is the same. Not that this should really surprise anyone.
|Psychologist Dan Bar-On claims it is all Israel's fault, equates Holocaust with the "Naqba" |
|Israeli Jews have generally refused to take even partial
responsibility for the Nakba (the Catastrophe) that befell the Palestinian Arabs in 1948
|Neve Gordon, Political Science, wants to see Israel De-Zionized, defends spy Azmi Bishara|
|"...Bishara, it seems, is a threat not because of any particular action or statement but because he has become a symbol of a new kind of opposition within Israel..."
|Sociologist Uri Ram wants an "academic alternative" to Israeli 'Apartheid'|
|The state of Israel is witnessing the rise of an apartheid regime the likes of which has not been seen since the fall of apartheid in South Africa . More than 3.5 million Palestinians have been living for the past four decades under an oppressive occupation, in the best case living a life behind fences, wires, and concrete. The torture and murder of Palestinians has become regular news, and the shameful exploitation under the protection of the law of foreign workers and trafficked women has become a new tradition. The new liberal social order and the new colonialist political order in Israel are living side by side as part of the new world order which has been crystallizing since September 11, 2001|
| Linguistics Lecturer Idan Landau says Israel is as Guilty of Terror as the Terrorists|
|This is not a war, but rather, a unilateral invasion into a Palestinian town, and even in wars there are explicit bans on unnecessary harm to the civilian population. The IDF has not heard about it; the Palestinian population, including its assets and needs, are like thin air for the invading forces...The tank shells produced by Israel Military Industries do not serve loftier goals than those served by pipe bombs in Nablus. Both are used, maliciously and arbitrarily, against innocent civilians. The difference is merely in power: The immense damage caused to West Bank towns by Israel's military technology cannot be compared to the limited damage caused by Palestinian terrorism in Israel's cities.
|Kobi Snitz (BGU Mathematics Department) was arrested in Bil'in on Friday|
|"our comrade kobi snitz was arrested at the demo in Bilin Yesterday and was charged with assult, he was held for the night and will be brought in front of a judge tonight at 19:00 in Migrhash Harroisim in Jerusalm. although it's not possible to go into the court people are welcome to come and support kobi tonight".
|BGU President Disses Overseas Donors|
|Professor Rivka Carmi, the new president of Israel's Ben-Gurion University, actually views overseas Jewish donors to BGU as the real threat to academic freedom at her school.
She says so in the Hebrew quarterly Academia (number 17, winter 2006-7), which is published by the Committee of University Heads, a sort of lobby group on behalf of the universities.
But let's back up a little here. Ben-Gurion University is arguably the worst den of anti-Israel campus radicalism, "New History" (meaning pseudo-history) and "Post-Zionism" in Israel, though the competition for that title is keen.
Despite being named after David Ben Gurion, BGU is home to many of the worst academic extremists in Israel, including Neve Gordon, Lev Grinberg, Oren Yiftachel, Amnon Raz-Karkutzkin, and a host of others.
|Math Department's Kobi Snitz wounded while battling Zionist soldiers in Bil'in|
|Eleven people were injured today, after the army attacked the
demonstration with a volley of teargas, concussion grenades and rubber coated steel bullets. An Israeli anarchist, Kobi Snitz, was repeatedly hit in the head with metal concussion grenades, used as brass knuckles. The scene took place as Snitz tried, together with others, to prevent a provocative arrest of a Palestinian demonstrator. He was later evacuated to Tel Hashomer hospital and had three of his wounds stitched
|Cartoon inspired by a professor from Ben Gurion University|
|A professor of the Israeli Ben Gurion University said:
During the second world war many Zionists were high ranking Nazi officers
|Geographer Oren Yiftachel to speak in Ramallah Illegally at "End the Occupation" Conference|
|International Conference: Ending the Occupation and Siege: The Need for New Coalitions.
Internationals, Palestinians and Israelis Working in Solidarity for a Complete End of Occupation And Just Peace.
Ramallah, January 5-7, 2007.
First day presentations: Naomi Chazan, Salim Tamari, Oren Yiftachel, Akiva Eldar, and Eyad El-Sarraj.
Organized by FFIPP-I and Combatants for Peace
|Neve Gordon is collecting financial support for Ta'ayush in order to help Palestinian anti-Israel actions - does the Income Tax Office Know?|
|We need your financial support. As the brutal attacks on Gaza continue, the less visible but nonetheless violent assaults on the West Bank also persist. For over five years now Ta’ayush activists together with activists from other organizations, both local and international, have been struggling against the ongoing attempts to expel the Palestinian cave dwellers from the South Hebron region. In their attempt to force the Palestinians to leave their land, settlers have poisoned water wells and sheep herds, uprooted olive tress, and routinely beaten local Palestinians and activists. In the past year, another silent expulsion has been taking place just south of Bethlehem, where 20,000 Palestinians are rapidly being closed off in an enclave that will ultimately be annexed to Israel (see map below). These Palestinians are cut off from medical services, education, and work. In the past months, Ta’ayush’s money has dwindled and it has become difficult for the movement to pay for basic costs like transportation (to and from Jerusalem) as well as other activity-related expenses. We are therefore asking you to send donations and support our activities in the region.
We would like to raise $12,000 in this current fund drive. Checks made out to Ta’ayush (in shekels, dollars, and euros) can be sent to Neve Gordon, Mishol Motza # 7 apt 56, Beer-Sheva, Israel. nevegordon@gmail. com
| In-Classroom Political Indoctrination at Ben Gurion University|
|At Ben Gurion University, the Department of Politics and Government offers a course entitled "Critical Aspects of the Occupation," taught by Neve Gordon|
|Dr. Kobi Snitz and the "Anarchists Against the Wall" are not welcomed in Bil'in Village|
|The group of demonstrators headed by Dr. Kobi Snitz that has been going to Bil'in evey Friday during the last year, was attacked by Palestinians during the last couple of demonstrations . It is said that the villagers of Bil'in were not happy lately of Israelis showing solidarity. Therefore the group of activists named "Anarchist against the Wall" decided not to go to further demonstrations.
Bil'in is located 12 kilometres west of Ramallah district, adjacent to the Israeli West Bank barrier and the Israeli city of Modi'in.
Bil'in has become internationally known due to its proximity to the Israeli West Bank barrier, and its continuing protests against the barrier's construction on its land. The barrier separates the village from around 60 percent of its farming land. A new neighborhood of the Modi'in Illit settlement is being constructed on part of this land, however the developers claim that they legally purchased the land from the villagers.
Since January 2005, the village has been orchestrating weekly protests against the barrier's construction.
|Neve Gordon in a pro-Palestinian documentary demands the prosecuting of Israeli leaders|
|The film, "Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land: U.S. Media and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict," makes a relentless case against what it sees as bigoted, brutal Israeli soldiers who demand papers and permits from Palestinians who are merely trying to live ordinary lives. The film casts Ariel Sharon, Israel's prime minister, as the decisive destabilizer who has thrown the region seriously, murderously out of balance. Mr. Sharon, the filmmakers assert, has crossed military and symbolic boundaries in a way that seemed destined and perhaps intended to ignite hostility. The film also finds fault with American broadcast networks for, it says, minimizing protests against such actions and, in effect, condoning increased violence. |
|"Exile, History and the Nationalization of Jewish Memory" - Quotes from a recent lecture by Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin|
|Dr. Raz-Krakotzkin contradits himself. On the one hand he says: "Zionism did not wage its struggle against “Europe”, but against the Palestinians, thus alienating them from “history"". On the other hand, he speaks of Brith Shalom ("Covenant of peace"), the important Zionist movement, which was active in the mid 1920's, and was calling for agreements with the Palestinian Arabs.
In other words, it wasn't the Zionists waging a war against the Palestinian Arabs, but Palestinian Arabs waging wars against the Zionists. Moreover, it was the Palestinian Arabs who brought catastrophy upon themselves through bad decisions, its not the Jews to be blamed.
|BGU's Idan Landau (linguistics) thinks the problem is that Israel opposes peace|
|Israel's never had a peace partner because it refuses to be a peace partner|
|A communist conference titled "Contemporary Capitalism: USA, Europe and the Middle East in the Beginning of the 21st Century" - January 9-10, 2006|
|Participating anti-Israel Israelis such as Uri Ram, David Newman, Dani Filc, Dov Khenin, Neve Gordon, Shlomo Swirski, Yoav Peled, Oren Yiftachel, etc.|
|BGU Political Scientist NEVE GORDON and his TAU sidekick YIGAL BRONNER accuse Israel of committing Murder in Jerusalem|
|"Most prominent among these is the deep-seated racism that encourages violence. This racism is inextricably linked to Israel's repetition compulsion, which transforms the victim into the aggressor. A Palestinian is killed and immediately he is described as violent; the police beat a Palestinian and he, not they, is portrayed as brutal; Israel occupies and represses the Palestinian people, but they are to blame. Thus, it is no surprise that after Samir Dari was shot in the back from just a few yards away the police instantly claimed that he was trying to run them over. It is almost as if lying has become an involuntary reflex for the authorities.
But in order for the culture of deceit to be effective it needs the assistance of the culture of dissimulation and suppression. ....
The cultures of deceit and suppression fan the flames of violence. The clear message -- that Jews are eternal victims, and therefore they cannot be found guilty regardless of the brutal means they employ -- renders Palestinian life cheap and encourages a trigger-happy attitude. We have accordingly reached a stage where we can predict that the Israeli security forces will continue killing Palestinians. .."
|Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin wants Israel to be Demolished, Replaced by "Bi-National State"
|This lecture is from Dr. Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin, titled Against
Models and Solutions: Towards a Bi-National Thinking which took place in Bethlehem, on 2-3 December 2005.
|Koby Snitz (math) fundraises in DC for anti-Israel 'anarchists' jihad against the wall|
|"...One of the anarchists, Dr. Kobi Snitz, will be in DC
on September 19 to speak about the struggle
against the wall and to raise money for legal costs. ..."
in his invitation he says: "As you might know, a "separation fence" is being built by Israel on Palestinian land. The
reason given for the construction of the Wall is
protection against Palestinian terror attacks
(though the Israeli government recently admitted in
court that "national" considerations are also involved). However, the international court of justice ruled last summer that all Israeli construction on Palestinian land is illegal. Outside of Israel and the US it is understood that
under the guise of "security" Israel has been
carrying out a long-term project of Palestinian dispossession with American support.
What is less well known is that a new resistance
movement has risen to oppose the Wall. It is a
popular non-violent movement of Palestinians,
Israelis and internationals.
The Israeli government considers any Palestinian
resistance, violent or not, as a crime and tries
to violently repress it. So far, nine Palestinians
have been killed in the struggle against the Wall
and thousands more were injured. ..."
|NEVE GORDON endorses Neo-Nazi Norman Finkelstein, in: "Seeing through the 'new anti-Semitism' "|
|In a letter to Georgetown University the Anti-Defamation League wrote: "We are shocked and troubled that on November 18, 2002, Georgetown
University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies Department, Justice and Peace
Center, and the Young Arab Leadership Association (YALA) sponsored a lecture by a
known Holocaust denier and anti-Israel propagandist, Norman Finkelstein
Here Neve Gordon writes: "Norman Finkelstein critiques Israel's human rights record and Alan Dershowitz's defense of it. ...Dr. Finkelstein’s second move exposes how the rhetoric of the new anti-Semitism is used as a political tool to ward off and delegitimize all criticism of Israel. He writes: “...The consequences of the calculated hysteria of a new anti-Semitism haven’t been just to immunize Israel from legitimate criticism. Its overarching purpose, like that of the ‘war against terrorism,’ has been to deflect criticism of an unprecedented assault on international law.”
Dr. Finkelstein convincingly maintains that a connection has been drawn between Israel’s illegal actions in the Occupied Territories and the new anti-Semitism. This link has a dual character. On the one hand, the literature discussing the new anti-Semitism is used to fend off all criticism of Israel; on the other hand, many believe Israel’s violation of the occupied Palestinians’ basic rights has generated anti-Semitism
Finkelstein cites claim after claim made in The Case for Israel and examines their accuracy by comparing them with human rights reports published both by organizations that have a global mandate like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch as well as local groups like B’tselem, Physicians for Human Rights and Al Haq. Mr. Dershowitz maintains, for instance, that “there is no evidence that Israeli soldiers deliberately killed even a single civilian.” Dr. Finkelstein replies that according to Human Rights Watch, there were many civilian deaths that amounted to “unlawful and willful killings.”..."
|Kobi Snitz struggles against evil (that is, evil Israel) |
|Even ten Israelis at a demonstration can make a real difference. We know from the army’s own declarations that their open fire regulations change as soon as they think there are Israelis around. For example, they are not to use live fire when there are Israelis around, and they are not to fire rubber bullets in a direction where they think there are Israelis.|
|Geography Professor Oren Yiftachel wants to end Israeli "Colonialism" - does he mean existence?|
|The root of the problem - the Jewish colonialism in the territories. These initiatives leave the Palestinians as a kind of silent backdrop or incidental stage setting. There is not only a moral problem here of ignoring the inhabitants of this land for many generations, but also an analytical failure to understand the development of the political geography
Such an attitude allows most Jews to believe to this day the illusion that they have a "Jewish democracy," despite the apartheid reality that is created by Jewish rule before their very eyes.
|Ehud Krinis says Israel is "destroying' Palestinian "Infrastructure"|
|A Report by BGU's Ehud Krinis, an Israeli 'anti-occupation' activist participating in a group which supports Palestinian aims. |
|BGU Political Science lecturer Neve Gordon justifies Palestinian Refusal to Recognize or Negotiate with Israel|
|No Palestinian leader can accept such a solution. But since negotiations, at least regarding these crucial issues, are not on Sharon's agenda, the Palestinian position is, in a sense, besides the point.
The outcome of such a move will no doubt be devastating, since unlike Israel's withdrawal from Gaza which has been endorsed by all of the Palestinian political factions, including Hamas, Sharon's West Bank plan will be unanimously rejected. Resistance will most likely mount and the bloody cycle of violence will resume, this time with even greater vengeance.
|BGU's Neve Gordon and Oren Yiftachel War against Israel from Berkeley|
|Neve Gordon has been under increasingly under attack in recent days in the Israeli media for his anti-Israel activities. As a columnist for Alexander Cockburn’s anti-Semitic Counterpunch magazine, Gordon routinely declares Israel to be a fascist, racist, apartheid terrorist country. Gordon was paid by Notre Dame's far-left Kroc Institute, which has attempted to hire Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss Arab anti-Semite with ties to al-Qaeda, in order to produce a “research report” claiming to prove that Israel is a terrorist state. Gordon is so anti-Israel that his columns have been published on the neo-Nazi Zundelsite website operated by Ernst Zundel, the Nazi whom Canada recently deported to Germany, and on Islamic fundamentalist pro-terror web sites. Gordon ran an international campaign of defamation and vilification against his own army commander, a private citizen and not a public figure, accusing him on communist and other anti-Semitic web sites of being a “war criminal.” He might have been trying to get this officer indicted before the World Court in the Hague or some other den of kangaroos. Gordon was arrested for illegally trying to interfere with the Israeli army’s anti-terror activities by serving as a human shield for Arafat and the wanted terrorists being hidden in PLO offices.
|David Newman and Benjamin Pogrund claim the Jewish communities strangle "liberal voices," meaning - we suppose - anti-Zionists and anti-Semites|
|It is ironic that it is precisely these voices of liberalism that are under attack by the voices of rightwing patriotism in Israel and elsewhere, in an attempt to delegitimise all pro-peace and anti-occupation voices, even to the extent of seeking to have some of them dismissed. But, to their credit, the Israeli academic establishment has refused to take this option. Instead, it defends freedom of expression as a basic right for all Israeli and Palestinian academics.
...This knee-jerk, somewhat hysterical, reaction goes down well with the Israeli Jewish public, large sections of whom remain convinced that they stand alone against a hostile world that wishes for nothing more than the extinction of the Jewish state.
|BGU Geography Professor Oren Yiftachel denounces Israel as an Apartheid "Ethnocracy"
|The colonial Judaization process is the central 'spine' of a regime I have labeled Jewish 'ethnocracy'. This regime, which stretches over the entire land of Israel/Palestine, is established for, and by, a dominant ethnic group. ....
A central argument of the paper is that both Palestinian-Arabs and Mizrahi Jews (who arrived in Israel as Arab-Jews) became victims of the Jewish settlement project. But one should not assume symmetry between the two groups: the harm caused to the Arabs has been much deeper, while the Mizrahim themselves participated in Judaizing the country. Yet, much of the marginalizations of Palestinian-Arabs and Mizrahi Jews derive from the very same Judaization (and de-Arabization) project, which positioned these communities in geographic, cultural and economic peripheries.
|BGU's Benny Morris and his Reign of Error, Revisited
|The Birth Revisited is a misnomer. Rather than offer a reassessment of Morris's previous writings on the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem, The Birth Revisited is but a longer replica of its dishonest and shoddy predecessor. To downplay his failure to consult the most important archives in the preparation of The Birth, Morris argued that "the new materials … tend to confirm and reinforce the major lines of description and analysis, and the conclusions, in The Birth." And so, The Birth Revisited continues the stubborn refusal of Morris to base his arguments and conclusions on archival evidence and the historical record. Far from confirming and reinforcing his arguments, archival documents demonstrate that "the Palestinian refugee problem" was the creation of Palestinian and other Arab leaders, not of the Zionists.|
|Neve Gordon claims Israel Government Suppressing Academic Freedom (this, from the guy who files nuisance SLAPP suits when someone criticizes his writings!!)|
|Neve Gordon also points out: "Israeli universities have been under an unprecedented assault by the Sharon government... An academic boycott will only strengthen [the Israeli right], and in this way assist the destruction of academic freedom in Israel"....
"To fight the anti-intellectual atmosphere within Israel, local academics need as much support as they can get from their colleagues abroad. A boycott will only weaken the elements within Israeli society that are struggling against the assault on the universities..." Far from helping the Palestinians, a boycott will hinder the democratic dialogue and accommodation on which prospects for a free and independent Palestinian state alongside Israel depend.
|BGU Sociologist Uri Ram leads his readers through the Post-Zionist, Post-Modern, Marxist Looking Glass|
|Looking at Israel society from post-ideological, post-modernist, post-colonial and post-Marxist perspectives.|
|BGU's Lev Grinberg and his Campaign to Have Israel Demonized as a Genocidal State|
|Lev Grinberg, Director of the Hubert Humphrey Center for Public Affairs at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, published an article entitled, “Symbolic Genocide”, in the Belgian daily newspaper, La Libre Belgique of March 29, 2004. There he accused Israel of perpetrating “symbolic genocide” against the Palestinian people.
Why? Because Israel had targeted some terrorist leaders.
|BGU Sociologist Lev Grinberg Uncovers some Genocide ... that perpetrated by the Jews|
|'It is the responsibility of the world, and primarily of Europe, to stop the government of Israel. The world has the means to do so, and it’s time to show some will as well. A few months of economic embargo would suffice to convince the majority of Israelis of the wisdom of international intervention. Silence under the present circumstances means acquiescence. '
|BGU faculty "deconstruct" Israel to show how "hegemonious" and oppressive it is! Adriana Kemp, David Newman, Uri Ram and Oren Yiftachel|
|This book challenges some of the traditional analytical paradigms
prevalent in Israeli social science for the past fifty years. Although the State continues to define itself in terms of a homogeneous political and cultural entity, as the voices and narratives of marginalized (especially Palestinian, Eastern-Jewish and women) groups come to the fore, agencies of state socialization are no longer able to impose an unchallenged state identity or hegemony. The deconstruction of a state-sponsored social identity, whose aim is social cohesion, is here investigated by critical scholars who develop an alternative understanding of this highly dynamic society.
|BEN GURION University - OLDER ARCHIVED MATERIALS|
|Neve Gordon defames General Kochavi
|Now, it goes without saying that this is all Gordon's fabrication. There have been no charges at all filed against Kochavi for his behavior in the battle that Gordon describes, in Israel or anywhere else. Kochavi's troops were hunting for bands of vicious terrorists, including suicide bombers, who had killed hundreds of Israelis, a carnage that does not interest Gordon at all in the article. Gordon accuses Kochavi of ordering assorted human rights violations that even the worst anti-Israel propaganda outfits did not claim took place in this battle. Gordon's claim that Kochavi ordered troops to utilize Palestinian civilians as human shields is not only preposterous, but a downright blood libel.
|NEVE GORDON thinks Israel Academia Monitor should be prevented from criticizing Israel's anti-Israel Critics|
|This assault, however, is not only aimed at academic freedom but at democracy itself. For the danger confronting contemporary democracy is not some new wave of overt authoritarianism, as it was in the early and mid-twentieth century. It is not even terrorism. Rather, the danger comes from those for whom the freedoms that accompany democracy represent a threat, an obstacle to their uninhibited pursuit of dominance and wealth. |
|Traitors R Us? The Negev's radical oasis = BGU|
|Dr. Neve Gordon of BGU's political science department, for example, has written: "Israel's gravest danger today is not the PA or even Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, but the one it faces from within: fascism." And in a column on the far-Left Counterpunch Web site, he accused General Aviv Kohavi, currently IDF commander in the Gaza Strip, of "blatant violations of human rights" and of being a "war criminal."
Not surprisingly, Gordon's articles have been posted on anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi sites.
Jeff Halper of BGU's anthropology department, who has written: "'Fortress Israel,' as we call it, is by necessity based on a culture of strength, violence and crudity. In the final analysis, it will be the bulldozer that razes the structure that once was Israel." Lev Greenberg, director of BGU's Humphrey Institute for Social Research, who has written:
"There is a difference between Israeli and Palestinian acts of aggression – the difference is that Israeli aggression is the responsibility of Ariel Sharon, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, Shimon Peres, and Shaul Mofaz, while individual terrorist acts are done by individuals in despair, usually against Arafat's will";
Oren Yiftachel of the Department of Geography and Environmental Development writes: "The actual existence of an Israeli state... can be viewed as an illusion... Israel has created a colonial setting, held through violent control";Oren Yiftachel of the Department of Geography and Environmental Development writes: "The actual existence of an Israeli state... can be viewed as an illusion... Israel has created a colonial setting, held through violent control";
|BGU Political Science Neve Gordon - Forget terrorism and Iranian nukes, the real threat to the world is Israel's 'Democratic Occupation'|
|Considering that the Bush administration is unwilling to pressure Israel to dismantle all of its settlements and to respect its recognized international borders—the necessary conditions for true negotiations between the two parties—it seems that the Sharm El-Sheikh summit was convened because the administration wants to replicate the “democratic occupation” model in the Israeli-Palestinian context.
| Neve Gordon does not think that Critics of Israel Haters should have the Right to Criticize |
|This assault, however, is not only aimed at academic freedom but at democracy itself, for the danger confronting contemporary democracy is not some new wave of overt authoritarianism, as it was in the early and mid-twentieth century. It is not even terrorism. Rather, the danger comes from those for whom the freedoms that accompany democracy represent a threat, an obstacle to their uninhibited pursuit of dominance and wealth.|
|BGU Sociologist Lev Grinberg (better known for his treatise on "Symbolic Genocide") bewails Israel's Racist Evil Essence|
|The racist view that ignores the existence of occupied peoples or represents them as inferior, wild and dangerous emerged in Europe of past centuries to justify the white man's takeover of land and natural resources he did not own in Africa, America and Asia. That's how they sought to legitimize their acts of plunder, looting, repression and killing. In Europe, that racist approach was applied to "the Semitic" nations "invading" Europe, starting with the Jews. We were the victims of that racism, and history - or divine intervention - has now given us a difficult test.
|Academic Witch-Hunt in Israel by BGU political science's NEVE GORDON (he means when non-leftists are permitted to express their ideas)|
|This assault, however, is not only aimed at academic freedom but at democracy itself. For the danger confronting contemporary democracy is not some new wave of overt authoritarianism, as it was in the early and mid-twentieth century. It is not even terrorism. Rather, the danger comes from those for whom the freedoms that accompany democracy represent a threat, an obstacle to their uninhibited pursuit of dominance and wealth. Like its forerunner Campus Watch, Israel Academia Monitor is indicative of the much broader attempt to silence all those who confront the powers that be.|
|MICHAEL DAHAN accuses Israel of conducting "Genocide" against Arabs|
|A few weeks ago, Israeli professor and political sociologist at Ben Gurion University, Lev Grinberg, wrote an article that created an furore in Israel. Entitled "Symbolic Genocide,"  it provided an unsettling argument: "Unable to recover from the Holocaust trauma and the insecurity it caused, the Jewish people, the ultimate victim of genocide, is currently inflicting a symbolic genocide upon the Palestinian people…What is symbolic genocide? Every people has its symbols, national leaders and political institutions, a home land, past and future generations, and hopes. All these symbolically represent a people. Israel is systematically damaging, destroying and eradicating all of these, with unbelievable bureaucratic jargon."
Indeed, "genocide" seems too accommodating a word to describe such examples of the arrogance of power.
|Classroom Political Indoctrination|
|The lecture began smoothly, with Neve Gordon giving a theoretical explanation of human rights (including the fundamental human right of free speech). It soon, however, turned very political. He presented a slideshow about the "Separation Wall" and the injustices it causes to the
Palestinians. He made many mentions of land being "confiscated" by the Israelis and the "humiliation" caused to the Palestinians due to lack of movement throughout the territories. On his power-point presentation, he mentioned that parts of the fence were electrified. However, I then corrected him that they were just electric monitors. He conceded on this point.
|The OTHER Gordon! HAIM GORDON celebrates Palestinian Terrorism|
|This book presents the personal narratives of six Palestinians whose stories are central to describing the greater Palestinian plight in the Gaza Strip, the Intifada, the beginning of the 1993 peace process, and beyond.|
|Martin Kamer uncovers BGU Geographer OREN YIFTACHEL's political biases and Saudi ties|
|Yiftachel was the kind of Israeli that an Edward Said-boosting, Saudi-connected Middle East center could not only tolerate, but embrace.
|BGU sociologist LEV GRINBERG in Tikkun says Israel is Conducting "State Terrorism." The Palestinians are not.|
| "There is a difference between Israeli and Palestinian acts of
agression - the difference is that Israeli aggression is the direct responsibility of Ariel Sharon, Benjamin Ben Eliezer, Shimon Peres, and Shaul Mofaz, while individual terrorist acts are done by individuals in despair, usually against Arafat's will."
|Political Science Professor DAVID NEWMAN in anti-Israel pro-LSD Tikkun Magazine: The Threat to Academic Freedom in Israel-Palestine comes from non-leftists who exercise it!|
|In reality, the call for an academic boycott has had a limited effect. Israeli academics continue to participate in international research and conferences and they still publish in peer journals. But there is another, perhaps greater, threat to the integrity and quality of academic research and freedom of expression that has emerged in recent years—it is a growing McCarthyism, both in Israel and North America, that opposes any expression of critical social or political thought. This is aimed at silencing the Israeli liberal Left in their critique of Israeli government policy vis-à-vis the Occupied Territories and the fate of the Palestinians. It is a campaign that has gained in strength in the post-9/11 era (in the United States) and the post-Camp-David era (in Israel) as the right wing has grown in self-confidence at the expense of a confused and disoriented Left.
|DAVID NEWMAN denounces Israeli Patriotism|
|Israelis argue that the responsibility for the deaths of Palestinian children is that of their parents who allow them to be used as cannon fodder and, sometimes even encourage them to throw stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli soldiers.
"Perhaps it is not too far-fetched to compare their behavior with that of the right-wing settler mothers who irresponsibly place their own children on the front line, in the settlements and buses where the chances of a terrorist attack are so high. An excess zeal of patriotism cannot be allowed to take place at the expense of the well-being of our children."
|HAIM GORDON (BGU, education, emeritus) claims Rabbis are savage enemies of peace|
|The scientist Haim Gordon was harsh in his criticism of the behavior and statements of rabbis. At a conference that was held in Beersheva in June 1997 he put it this way: "The uniqueness of this idolatry is that it is determined by nationalistic, political opinions and comes from Jews who call themselves religious." This idolatry spread like a 'cancerous ulcer' and became the norm. None of the leading rabbis or politicians spoke out against this idolatry. "The rabbis are not 'spiritual leaders'. They are swindlers… hundreds of rabbis in Israel are idolaters because they do not ask their followers to live a life of justice in accordance with the Commandments - instead these rabbis encourage their followers to disregard the Commandments and to worship the Land of Israel." This kind of Judaism has become a "fanatic and insane religion, that is completely devoid of the spirituality of the Bible." Many Israelis had 'sinned' against their neighbors, which would have to lead to reparation measures. Stefanie Christmann wrote in the Freitag of 6 June 1997 that the religious forces not only block the return of the territory "but also fight and undermine the secular constitutional state in order to establish in its stead a fundamentalist Jewish state."
|BGU's Jewish History Lecturer AMNON RAZ-KRAKOTZKIN explains how ZIonism is the embodiment of Evil
|"I Feel Responsible for the Victims of Zionism"
"Binationalism is the only solution - for now...
I try to show the way the Zionist historical consciousness is based on suppression and the erasure of history: the history of the land, and particularly the Nakba, the transfer of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in 1948."
|AMNON RAZ-KRAKOTZKIN (BGU, Judaic Studies) calls for implementation of a Rwanda Solution to the problem of Israel's existence|
|"The binational framework is the only one that allows the separation of Jewish existence from the demographic issue. In demography, the Jews are losing. It exposes all the internal contradictions of Zionism. The binational approach is aimed at solving this problem, and there really are
Arabs who accuse me of supporting binationalism in order to preserve the Jewish people."
|BGU Sociologist LEV GRINBERG on Israeli "War Crimes" and Aggression. Israel is the REAL Terrorist, not the suicide bombers!!|
|Sharon's responsibility for Israeli war crimes is being completely ignored.
Suicide bombs killing innocent citizens must be condemned unequivocally; they are immoral acts, and their perpetrators should be sent to jail. But they cannot be compared to state terrorism carried out by the Israeli government.
|NEVE GORDON / Ariel Sharon's Subjugation Strategy|
|"The strategy is clear: confer on the Palestinians the costly role of managing civil life, but eliminate their political freedoms while controlling them from afar. South Africans called them Bantustans."|
|LEV GRINBERG / Israel's State Terrorism |
|"Israel's State terrorism is defined by US officials as "self defense", while individual suicide bombers are called terrorists."|
|BGU sociologist LEV GRINBERG celebrates mutiny and insurrection among Israeli leftist soldiers|
|Refuseniks: "The new voice of conscience finds echoes in the Jewish and humanistic tradition on which most Israelis were brought up, and this is the dormant voice now awakening. This new-old voice may be powerful enough to tear down the protective wall of blind militarism that demands national unity, and create an atmosphere for negotiations and coexistence. It is the voice of new hope."
|Middle East Quarterly cites URI RAM as declaring the entire "Zionist enterprise" to be immoral colonialism|
|Sociologist Uri Ram questioned the moral validity of the Zionist enterprise, finding it a form of colonialism, and concluded that the Jews have no more of a claim to Palestine than do the British to India.|
|About NEVE GORDON in: The Left is pathological|
|Neve Gordon is a prime example of this paradox. Gordon, one of the rabidly post-Zionist revisionist historians who teaches political science at Ben-Gurion University. Most of the articles Gordon has published are devoted to denouncing Israel as a fascist terrorist state.
Gordon would probably claim that he is fighting for the rights of oppressed Palestinians, but tellingly he devotes most of his energy to recycling calumnies that subvert Israel's legitimacy. Gordon does not seem
to care for the Palestinians except as instruments of his rage.
He goes beyond the radical-chic support for the PLO given by most Israeli
academic leftists. On a visit to Ramallah he embraced Arafat and
implicitly protected with his body the terrorists hiding in the compound
|NEVE GORDON (political science): Deconstructing Terrorism and Assigning the Label to Israel|
|Scrutiny of Israels actions in Lebanon indicates that it has often used methods of terror.... Israel, one should note, has practiced terrorism in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as well." |
|NEVE GORDON wants to stop the Fence! (And let the terrorists in?)|
|Neve Gordon in: The Guardian
Israel's goal, it appears, is to expropriate the land "uninhabited". It is highly unlikely, however, that the villagers will actually be forced out of their homes. A more intricate strategy will be employed.
|NEVE GORDON / Whose Promised Land?:
In South Africa, They Call It Apartheid|
|Without recognizing the significance of these territorial conflicts, one cannot understand the irruption of the second Palestinian intifada (popular uprising) in September 2000; indeed, one cannot understand the ongoing cycle of violence that has plagued the Middle East.
|NEVE GORDON / Letter to a War Criminal (his army commander)|
|To Colonel Aviv Kohavi, brigade commander of the Israeli paratroopers..... Aviv, what happened to the sensible and judicious officer?How did you become a war criminal?
|NEVE GORDON / Israel Must Face The Threat (of Survivalism?) From Within
|From: The Baltimore Sun, 2002
In Israel: " the opposition is systematically silenced and security forces given free rein."
|NEVE GORDON - about that Fascist State of Israel|
|Palestine Center:" For Israel, September 11 was a Hanukkah Miracle"....." no one has discussed the effect Israel's fascisization has had on the political scene. Indeed, Israel's gravest danger today is not the PA or even Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, but the one it faces from within: fascism".
The fascisization of politics takes many forms
|NEVE GORDON / "Fascism" in Israel (no, he does not mean from the anti-democratic Left!)|
|Israel's gravest danger today is the one it faces from within: fascism. The fascisization of politics takes many forms,|
| NEVE GORDON has a fan who writes about The Nazification of Israel
|Professor Neve Gordon of the Ben Gurion University wrote on March 6:
As to the situation here, it is getting unbearable by the day. We tried to dismantle a roadblock the other day near Hebrew U and were beaten by the police. Three women had their hands broken, one had her head opened. I was beaten while in custody with my hands handcuffed behind my back.
Sharon bombed Gaza this morning."
Israel's Nazification needs no dictatorship since plenty of sturdy little Hitlers seem to be securely ensconced in a great many number of hearts."
|NEVE GORDON / Ariel Sharon's Subjugation Strategy
|Bultimore Sun: "The strategy is clear: confer on the Palestinians the costly role of managing civil life, but eliminate their political freedoms while controlling them from afar. South Africans called them Bantustans." |
|NEVE GORDON says Israel does "outsourcing of human rights abuses." It is nice that he learned a new word.
|From a political perspective, outsourcing is beneficial because, even if abuses are exposed they are frequently presented to the public as having been carried out by someone else--i.e., the subcontractor. In this manner, subcontracting the violations helps a country deflect the shaming technique, considered by many the most effective tool employed by human rights organizations.|
|OREN YIFTACHEL / From Fragile ‘Peace’ to Creeping Apartheid|
|What followed was quick deterioration. Ariel Sharon, then leader of the rightist opposition, lit the fire, with a provocative, well-publicized, visit to the sacred Muslim mosques in occupied East Jerusalem. A deprived and frustrated Palestinian population, encouraged by opposition (especially Islamic) organizations, began to mobilize.|
|OREN YIFTACHEL / The Shrinking Space of Citizenship
Ethnocratic Politics in Israel
|The failed Oslo process, the violent intifada andmost acutelyIsrael's renewed aggression and brutality toward the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, have cast a dark shadow over the joint future of the state's Palestinian and Jewish citizens....The actual existence of an Israeli state (and hence citizenship) can be viewed as an illusion. Israel has
ruptured, by its own actions, the geography of statehood, and
maintained a caste-like system of ethnic-religious-class stratification. Without an inclusive geography and universal citizenship, Israel has created a colonial setting, held through violent control....Occupation and settlement, which necessitate ever intensifying oppression of Palestinians
with or without Israeli citizenship, have clear potential to make
Israel gradually cave from within.
|OREN YIFTACHEL (geography) - Memo to Barak: Bash Orthodox Jews!|
|Orthodox Jewish groups gain legitimacy, power, and resources precisely through their explicitly Jewish agendas, and through their activity to further judaize the state, geographically and religiously. However, their political agenda is often undemocratic, as they aspire to expand religious law and limit the freedom of Israeli citizens in the conduct of their religious, personal, and leisure activities.|
|US students warned to beware of anti-Israel academics speaking there like BGU Geographer OREN YIFTACHEL, in: Beware of the soft, velvet fist against Israel on the college campus|
|Yiftachel and Hammami are far greater threat to the image of Israel in this country then their more rowdy compatriots, because they understand the art of propaganda. They scrupulously avoid the code words that tend to turn off all but the most committed Israel-haters...[Yet] they proceed to lay
out the 'facts', for those who are unfamiliar with the facts, in a such way that any reasonable person would conclude that Israel is a monstrous obstacle to peace in the Middle East."
|OREN YIFTACHEL (BGU, geography) helping US students hate Israel|
|Without a Palestinian state, Israel will become an increasingly racist regime and continue the downward spiral into the economic, social and moral morass. Or in other words, without an independent Palestine, there
will be no Israel within a generation or two.
|About OREN YIFTACHEL in :British academic boycott of Israel gathers pace |
|"The Guardian": Mr Yiftachel said that, after months of negotiation, the article is to be published but only after he agreed to make substantial revisions, including making a comparison between his homeland and apartheid South Africa. |
|OREN YIFTACHEL / Sharon's victory boosts apartheid
|Even if Sharon moves to evacuate small settlements, as may well happen, his “peace plan” will translate into an undeclared apartheid. |
|OREN YIFTACHEL / Between Apartheid and Peace|
|The establishment of a binational (as distinct from a "secular") democratic state (where Israel ceases to exist as a Jewish state IAM) this option appears more attractive than ever."
| About NAOMI SHIR in: Israeli Professors Join U.S. Call For Ban On Investments
| Palestine Chronicle: Professor of linguistics at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Nomi Shir, says she signed up to the Harvard-MIT initiative, in the hope it will have a similar impact to boycotts against South Africa under apartheid. Even though Shir views the petition as a "symbolic act," which she does not
believe will ever be implemented, she says she would not sign if she "didn't think [divestment] should happen."
|OREN YIFTACHEL / Democracy or Ethnocracy: Territory and Settler Politics
in Israel/Palestine |
|The Judaization program was premised on a hegemonic myth cultivated since the rise of Zionism that the land (ha'aretz) belongs solely to the Jewish people. An exclusive form of territorial ethnonationalism developed in order to quickly "indigenize" immigrant Jews and to conceal, trivialize
or marginalize the existence of a Palestinian people on the land prior to the arrival of Zionist Jews.
I argue that the Israeli polity is governed not by a democratic regime, but rather by an "ethnocracy," which denotes a non-democratic rule for and by a dominant ethnic group, within the state and beyond its borders
|LEV GRINBERG / Imagined Democracy Imagined Peace - Reframing Israeli Politics...........PART 1 |
| Democracy in Israel is not only imagined, but the crucial point is that it cannot be concretized due to structural and institutional factors.
A non critical theory of democracy, misconceptualized in a procedural (a-political) form, may be one of the strongest tools in legitimizing the denial of rights of the marginalized and invisible
|LEV GRINBERG / Imagined Democracy Imagined Peace - Reframing Israeli Politics ....................................PART 2|
|Barak is unable to produce viable formulas of coexistence between the parties. In addition, the Labor party was almost totally neutralized. Instead of internal reform and organization the ruling Party was completely marginalized. Barak is unable to negotiate, articulate and lead Israeli politics, and the negotiations with the Palestinian counterparts also seem to be one-sided orders imposed by the powerful Israeli side.
|Genocide By Public Policy By SAM BAHOUR and MICHAEL DAHAN, Arabic Media Internet Network |
|"Nevertheless, deliberate and systematic destruction, as the definition of genocide illustrates, does not necessarily mean physical killing of people, albeit Israel is having no problem, and is facing no international outcry, in doing just that. Destruction, Israeli- occupation style, is equally focused on demolishing Palestinian homes under the false pretext
/ Israel's State Terrorism|
|"Israel's State terrorism is defined by US officials as "self-defense", while individual suicide bombers are called terrorists. "
"I want to ask: Who will arrest Sharon, the person directly responsible for the orders to kill Palestinians? When is he going to be defined a terrorist too? "
|LEV GRINBERG on those Arrogant Jews|
|"International intervention to stop Sharon is urgently needed for the sake of the Palestinians and the Israelis as well."
|LEV GRINBERG (sociology): Israel is a Criminal State|
|Israel constantly commits illegal acts in order to maintain the
occupation, while the local population and the majority of
international public opinion perceive acts of resistance to the occupation as legitimate.
|Geographer OREN YIFTACHEL and political science lecturer NEVE GORDON find a threat to peace - Israel |
|The State of Israel has reached an important crossroad. For some months now the nationalist camp, aided by the media, has been trickling into the public discourse the idea of expulsion - branded in Israel as "transfer" |
|LEV GRINBERG (sociology): Bad Israel! Bad, bad America!|
|"Let them bleed" was the Bush administration's motto early on in its reign, until it became politically incorrect on 9/11.|