| By Lee Kaplan, www.Israel-academia-monitor.com
The ferocity with which certain Israeli academics attack Israel and promote the goals of the terrorist leadership of the PLO can find no better personifications than in the husband and wife team of Professors Jacob and Tamar Katriel. One could call this couple the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg of Israel and the Katriels produced the same result in their children. Both of these Israeli academics are functioning as major mouthpieces for anti-Israel propaganda, not just on college campus in Israel and abroad, but to aid Palestinian irredentists in their worldwide smear campaign anywhere, any time, against the Jewish state. Jacob Katriel is Professor Emeritus in Chemistry at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and his wife, Tamar Katriel is a professor in the Department of Communications at Haifa University. Their children, a son, Haggai Katriel, who was a post-doctoral mathematics instructor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and their daughter, Iri Katriel, an academic researcher now based in Germany, demonstrate that the apple does not fall far from the tree.
Jacob Katriel is in fact a Stalinist communist ideologue who has been a central figure in Israel’s communist party that is mostly dominated by Arab-Israeli members who are irredentists against Israel’s Jews. If it has anything to do with smearing the Jewish state, Katriel will do it while reaping the rewards of his tenured retirement sinecure paid for by the Israeli taxpayer and donors to Israeli universities. His wife and children are equally close allies in damning Israel any way they can.
Among Katriel’s major efforts, supported equally by all members of his family, are attempts to compare Israel with apartheid South Africa in order to promote worldwide divestment making a false comparison with what was a genuinely racist South African regime back in the 1980’s.
To quote Jacob Katriel, commenting on one divestment website:
“In no way can your initiative be interpreted as anti-Israeli, let alone anti-Semitic. As such, it allows people such as myself, who see a just and democratic Israel, which provides justice, equality, prosperity and security to all its citizens, as a desirable objective, in which they have personal stakes, to share your concern."
Oddly enough, Jacob Katriel seems to have no objection to the Palestinian Authority’s constitution that commands Sharia Law as the law of the land in a Palestinian state, nor does he condemn a Palestinian Arab leadership that insists Jews cannot live in a Palestinian state even as Palestinian citizens. Quotes such as that above are designed to negate the true anti-Semitism behind the Arab nationalist movement and Islamic campaign against the Jews in Israel and stands on its head the fact the Arab-Israeli have the highest standard of living and democratic freedoms to address the state of Arabs anywhere in the world. Such statements are clearly disingenuous; The Katriel family already lives in a vibrant pluralistic democracy that is today’s Israel.
“Truth must serve the party” –Vladimir Lenin
If one is to judge someone by the company they keep, Jacob Katriel also has no morals when it comes to the truth. Former PLO terrorist Walid Shoebat has described his fellow terrorist friend, Mazen Qumsiyeh, founder and leader of Al Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, as a member of the PFLP, or communist Christian-wing of the PLO. Qumsiyeh, at Duke University, called the Jews living in Israel “a disease” and said “they must all go” which certainly smacks of promoting ethnic cleansing. Despite this, Jacob Katriel created a petition he circulated among Israeli and other academics and proudly featured on Qumsiyeh’s website just prior to Desert Storm in which he accused Israel of planning to ethnically cleanse the Palestinian population as the war started. Needless to say, Israel’s Arab population has increased steadily from 110,000 to 1.2 million in the last sixty years, a trend almost equally reflected in the disputed territories in the West Bank and Gaza. Katriel’s penning and promotion of his petition reveals a blatant dishonesty characteristic of Israel’s communist party. He even runs his own website for the Party in Haifa.
And that’s not all.
When it comes to writing and or/signing onto anti-Israel petitions or off-the-wall anti-Israel promotions, the Katriels all have an undying enthusiasm. Jacob Katriel has also proposed creating an “Alternative Nobel Peace Prize” for Tali Fahima, an Israeli woman who was caught and convicted for helping her Palestinian Arab boyfriend plan terror attacks. The boyfriend was a member of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade, a known terrorist group. Jacob Katriel distorts this woman’s actions to portray her as a victim when she could have killed many Israelis. While in prison, Fahima, now free, drew a salary from the PLO like her fellow terrorists who were serving time in jail. To suborn terrorism and murder by violence on behalf of Israel’s enemies hardly smacks of an overly enthusiastic peace advocate; it does smack of a communist revolutionary with the attitude that the end justifies the means.
Jacob Katriel also benefits from world travel in his anti-Israel diatribes and visits American and British universities to do so. At the same time, he voices his unqualified support for the UN event held in Durban, South Africa “against racism” which became little more than another Israel- bashing event run by the Arab attendees that got so bad the US was forced to withdraw. The Katriels openly support the propaganda that “Zionism is racism” that even the UN was forced to rescind.
Among other petitions to divest and ostracize Israel in the world community, Jacob Katriel and family signed a petition that states,
“Your support from Durban is consistent with our view that the struggle to liberate Palestine from this regime and to return the Palestinian refugees to their homeland is part of the global struggle to end racism, political and economic oppression, and to terminate the colonialist project in the Middle East. We call on you to continue your loyal solidarity with us, as we strive for freedom and dignity for every person in Palestine.”
So according to the Katriels, Israel is a “colonialist project” despite the fact that many Jews have lived in Israel even prior to 1948, legally purchased their homes, and the country was established by the UN. If one were to take the Katriels seriously, one would have to ask why Jacob Katriel and family as “colonists” still live in Israel at Israeli taxpayer expense instead of moving to Ramallah? The exception is daughter, Irit, who lives in Germany and damns Israel from abroad rounding up fellow communist-inspired Jews to petition against the Jewish state.
In fact, Jacob Katriel could be called “Mr. Anti-Israel Petition” given his constantly writing and/or signing any petition that damns the Israeli state for trying to defend itself and openly supports people who pose a mortal danger to Israel. Besides his praise of Tali Fahima, he also has praise for Mordecai Vannunu who stole and then tried to sell Israel’s nuclear secrets abroad. Vannunu was later kidnapped by the Mossad and returned to Israel where he now lives on probation. Jacob Katriel even objected to the IDF invading Yasser Arafat’s compound after the Passover Massacre in 2001 that ultimately proved Arafat was leading and funding terrorist attacks against Israelis despite the Oslo Peace Accords. Jacob Katriel has even run on his own website saying that Hamas would sign a peace treaty with Israel if only the Israelis would withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza.. One has to ask if the man is delusional since Israel’s withdrawal from all of Gaza has resulted in daily bombardments of Sderot since then. Jacob Katriel has even pushed yet another petition and direct action to have Israeli former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon tried in the Hague for war crimes,” but has not extended his indictment to any of the Palestinian leadership known to have been involved in the murder and praise of killings of Katriel’s fellow Israelis such as Marwan Barghouti, Yasser Arafat, Ahmed Yassin or Machmoud Abbas.
Katriel has even been busy working with the International Solidarity Movement in the West Bank village of Bi’lin where he has assisted in rioting against the Security Fence. The ISM is a PLO- led organization of international communists and anarchists bent on the total destruction of the Jewish state by creating international incidents to question Israel’s sovereignty in controlling its territory. No vilification of Israel by Jacob Katriel is excessive. He even signed on to yet another petition stating that Israel was planning Nazi-like crimes against humanity as US troops were invading Iraq.
Not to be outdone by her now-retired husband, Tamar Katriel, besides signing on to the same petitions that Jacob Katriel writes and or endorses against Israel, has developed her own style when it comes to Israel bashing. As a Professor in the Communications and Education Department at the University of Haifa she appears to promote among her Masters students topics that repeatedly damn the Jewish state as a liar or suggest untruthful manipulation of the media. One could call her a trainer for future Jacob Katriels and other anti-Israel activist Israelis.
A quick perusal of the subject matter of her graduate students under her charge reveals an almost consistent pattern of damning the Jewish state or branding it a rogue entity the same as does her communist-party-leading husband. One thesis she supervised is titled “The red scare: The construction of the image of the Israeli Communist Party in the Hebrew Press” (subsequently hidden) and another even accuses the Israeli press of “mythologizing” the fate of Israeli pilot Ron Arad taken captive after being shot down over Lebanon (Arad, now assumed dead, has been in the news lately as the Arabs play games with his body). Professors who are charged with graduate students’ works have tremendous sway over how those students pursue certain subjects. It would appear that Tamar Katriel is busy helping to forge the next generation of anti-Israel academics to carry on her family tradition.
Tamar Katriel recently loaned her academic reputation at a major bash Israel conference held in Jerusalem itself titled Dialogue Under Occupation. The dialogue of course consisted of attacking Israel as usual led by Arab “professors” and this time it was right in the Israeli capital. Tamar Katriel led a seminar in praise of the Israeli refuseniks, the one tenth of one per cent of the IDF reservists who refuse to serve their country in the military. At the time of the conference they called themselves by a new name de jour , Breaking the Silence, to imply a new organization of new Army slackers, but it was the same Courage to Refuse of Israeli draft dodgers and deserters that Tamar Katriel was praising and introducing to the audience.
Apparently the extra curricular activities of the parents were equally picked up by Katriel fils and fille. Haggai Katriel, a mathematician associated with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and former Chemistry instructor like his father at Technion, once was arrested for being involved in ISM riots in Bi’lin. Haggai Katriel is active in the group Ta’ayush that has been involved in sometimes violent demonstrations against the IDF in cooperation with the ISM. Haggai Katriel was even injured during one such riot, he alleges, as he was hanging posters in support of Hizballah and Hamas during the Second Lebanon War. He is contributor to the Marxists Internet Archive and calls Israel a racist, apartheid state like his Stalinist father does and appears to also be active in Canada and the United States at international anti-Israel events at colleges. Being only 39, perhaps he has the energy to carry out physically what is retirement age parents cannot. Irit Katriel, his sister, is an Israeli academic researcher who lived in Germany where she classified her occupation as “Activist”—but only against Israel and the USA. She is now employed in the Computer Sciences department at Brown University in Rhode Island. She was involved in signing a petition on August 8, 2006 by an “International Jewish Solidarity Network,” another communist-inspired front that is equally anti-US and anti-Israel that called for actions in support of boycott, divestment, and sanctions against the State of Israel. The group’s petition holds “our own governments accountable for their political and economic support for and complicity with the state of Israel” and promotes “actions in support of boycott, divestment, and sanctions against the State of Israel .” It went further calling for “actions against the Zionist monopoly on Jewish identity and voices.” Considering that Jews for the last two millenia have recitred “Next year in Jerusalem” on Jewish holidays, it’s fairly obvious Irit Katriel has replaced her sense of “Jewishness” with the sloganeering of anti-Zionism as advanced by international communism and her father.
Some families develop an identity for themselves that personifies their dedication to country, public service or a specific cause to benedift mankind. In the case of the Katriel family, one can only see a deidcation to support the goals of international communism and the Arabs who openly seek the destruction fo the Jewish state. Such a legacy is more suited to Hitler, Stalin, Nasser or Arafat, as well as the despot leaders of the Arab world, not one for rational people or the Katriel’s fellow Israelis to be proud of.