“'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.”
“Israel’s Nazification needs no dictatorship since plenty of sturdy little Hitlers seem to be securely ensconced in a great many number of hearts.”
“Israel wants to do more than keep the suicide bombers out. . . . It wants to erase the Palestinian nation once and for all.”
“This unarmed uprising was turned into an armed revolt by harsh Israeli retaliation to demonstrations and street protests.”
“There is an entire sector in the Jewish public which I unhesitatingly define as a copy of the German Nazis.”
“The Israeli army has been terrorizing cities and villages in the West Bank. . . there is one simple thing that anybody can do: Boycott Israel!... Israel is not the US. It is a small country with hardly any economy, and with a self-image completely detached from reality. It can be stopped.”
Statements by European leftists in hate marches against Israel? By Berkeley activists for “solidarity” with Palestinian terror? By radical Islamic preachers in mosques in Paris, London, or Dearborn, Michigan? No; every one of those statements was made by an Israeli academic employed by an Israeli university. People entrusted with teaching history, political science, sociology, and the like to young Israelis. People whose seditious writings, declarations, and activities against the state of Israel are underwritten by the Israeli taxpayer and by those who make donations to these institutions out of a desire to help the Jewish state
And, of course, are used by anti-Semites all over the globe as prime ammunition against Jews and Israel.
The scandal of anti-Israeli, anti-Zionist, and sometimes anti-Semitic radicalism among Israeli academics is now highlighted on a new website. Modeled after Campus Watch, Daniel Pipes’s site for monitoring Middle East studies on North American campuses, Israel Academic Monitor was created by a group of academics, journalists, donors, students, and others with the aim of monitoring abuses of academic freedom in Israel’s universities. These abuses include not only writings and statements that deny Israel’s legitimacy, advocate its destruction, or compare it with the Nazi and other worst regimes in history, but also calls for widespread insurrection and mutiny by Israeli soldiers and support for international efforts at boycotting Israel and ostracizing the teachers and students of these universities themselves.
Although most Israeli academics are not radicals, spanning a wide political spectrum within the bounds of loyalty to the state, the radicals are hardly a tiny fringe:
- An open letter by Israeli faculty members “wish[ing] to express our appreciation and support for those of our students and lecturers who refuse to serve as soldiers in the occupied territories” has so far been signed by 287 faculty members. Such “service in the occupied territories,” of course, is the only thing that stops Palestinian suicide bombings and over the past year has drastically reduced their number. That didn’t prevent one Hebrew University professor from excusing all students from exams if they were in jail for refusal to serve, while not excusing students who were on reserve duty!
- American supporters of Israel have fought hard to stop the divestment drive on American campuses. Yet a group of influential Israeli professors openly supports divestment. There is, of course, no push for divesting from countries like Iran, Sudan, or North Korea; of all the countries in the world, only democratic Israel has the “honor”?ªand the professors who try to gain that honor for it.
- A 2002 statement declared: “We, members of Israeli academe, are horrified by the US buildup of aggression toward Iraq and by the Israeli political leadership’s enthusiastic support for it. . . . We are deeply worried by indications that the ‘fog of war’ could be exploited by the Israeli government to commit further crimes against the Palestinian people, up to FULL-FLEDGED ETHNIC CLEANSING. . . . Escalating racist demagoguery concerning the Palestinian citizens of Israel may indicate the scope of the crimes that are possibly being contemplated. . . ." It was signed by sixty Israeli academics. Needless to say, Israel did not take the actions they fantasized!
Important as Campus Watch and other sites monitoring abuses on North American campuses undoubtedly are, Israel’s situation as a lone democracy amid a sea of Arab and Muslim hatred, and a target of growing anti-Semitic movements in Europe and all over the globe, is especially precarious. Having its young minds poisoned is a “luxury” Israel cannot afford. The ideas taught by the radicals?ªthat Israel is a criminal “colonial” entity responsible for the Arab violence against it, that the Arabs are the victims, and that Israel can end the violence by satisfying Arab demands?ªhave already penetrated Israel’s more mainstream Left as represented by the Labor and Yahad parties. It was such ideas that led to the disastrous Oslo accords, which glorified Yasser Arafat as a peacemaker and brought a rain of death and destruction on Israel that continues to this day.
Israel’s academic institutions are, indeed, a crucial resource for the state, but if they become nests for people who identify with Israel’s enemies and promote their causes, they risk harming the Jewish state more than they benefit it and, ultimately, contributing to its destruction. These universities are highly dependent on overseas donors and contributors. The IAM site seeks to bring to these people’s attention some of the atrocious things being done with their money, hoping they will condition their future contributions more carefully.
IAM, for its part, will continue to expose, monitor, and counter Israel’s tenured insurgents.
Robert Kornfeld is a Tel Aviv-based consultant.