Home
Search
עברית
Board & Mission Statement
Why IAM?
About Us
Articles by IAM Associates
Ben-Gurion University
Hebrew University
University of Haifa
Tel Aviv University
Other Institutions
Boycott Calls Against Israel
Israelis in Non-Israeli Universities
Anti-Israel Petitions Supported by Israeli Academics
General Articles
Anti-Israel Conferences
Lawfare
Anti-Israel Academic Resolutions
Lectures Interrupted
Activists Profiles
Readers Forum
On the Brighter Side
How can I complain?
Contact Us / Subscribe
Donate
Articles by IAM Associates
Bringing Zionism back to the Faculties

This article is writen by an IAM associate and was originally published in Makor Rishon in Hebrew

 By Udi Lebel, 04.03.08; 12:31

 Ben-Gurion was wise enough to comprehend the power of the consciousness
design as early as during the 40's, and from the moment the state was established he invested in education, in literature and in the media. Anyone aspiring to halt the post-Zionist trend in the Israeli academy must perform a similar maneuver. One must grab the reins and start leading... 

 


Countless words have been written about the trend of the Israeli academic arena turning into an effective agent of the post-Zionism ideology, ever since the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, when Israeli academics began initiating anti-Israeli boycotts in Britain, having dinner with Arafat at the Muqata, promoting a post-modern discourse which identifies Zionism as guilty of all of the sore evil inflicted upon the society (the
discrimination of the Sephardic Jews, the exclusion of women, abusing the poor and anything you can imagine).
Ever since, we've had plenty of “studies”, conventions, exclamations and expressions in the spirit of Hanan Hever, who claimed in an article under the headline 'A Comment Concerning the Position of the Israeli
Intellectual', which was written in the midst of the terrorism war of 2000, that “the manner in which the Israeli governments negotiate and the dead end that the Camp David Summit negotiations were leading to, left the Palestinians no choice. In the condition created, the Jewish intellectual also had no choice. He could no longer automatically identify with him. Solidarity with the other side is now becoming, more and more, the need of the hour [...] the static condition of things obliges the intellectual from the left into a dramatic decision deriving from his universal position, which now stands in harsh opposition to the particular national position and is situated on the other side of the national war front [...] Israelis which acknowledge the universal justice of the Palestinians and object to the occupation, cannot presently be a part of the war which Israel is conducting against the Palestinian people. They must take a position which pushes them to the other side of the national barricade [...] so, in order to serve his own people, the Jewish-Israeli intellectual is therefore forced to abandon his position within his own people”.  
Ever since, the research nicknamed 'critical' started accelerating, thus becoming the daily occurrence for all the courses of social studies and humanities. Only that this criticism is often the rape of political hallucinations concerning an Israeli reality, alongside an idiotic and often a desperate attempt to locate further justification for the aggression of the powerful and brutal Hebrew country.

Just recently, as advertised in this newspaper, did the public get to be exposed to a remunerated study (an M.A. assignment whose author won the Israeli Sociological Association Award), that teaches us of another side of the 'de-humanization' that Israel is perpetrating to the Palestinians, in this case to Palestinian women. The talented researcher has addressed the attention of the academic arena to the outrageous fact that the IDF soldiers refrain, unlike any other enlightened occupying army (yes, there probably is such a thing), from perceiving the ladies of the Palestinian Authority as sexual objects and raping them. This is the power of critical sociology: unlike other common expressions of racism, which everybody is already familiar with, this assignment has revealed a “latent” side of the Israeli occupation, which is yet to surface onto social awareness. Soon, mothers will no longer cry to their soldiers: “Oh, dear, my son is detaining pregnant women at the checkpoints”, but: “Where are we heading? My son was sent to Nablus, he roams among Palestinian women and doesn't even send a hand under their garments. The Israeli occupation is
preventing him from sleeping with them”. From the people that brought you 'Machsom Watch' (checkpoint watch), please welcome 'Machsom Do'.       Another Dunam, another goat and another college
We can pour many words about the intellectual shallowness, about the long-lasting admiration of totalitarian factors (such as Lenin and Arafat), about the cheap imitation of the European fashions (mainly the French) which have long become a marginal sidekick in the continent, about ignoring facts that disrupt a theory (see the unwillingness to stop teaching Edward Said's fabricated biography), the complaints just go on and on.   
But maybe the time has come to refrain from this. The science of the victims (Victimology), commonplace among these circles (which insist, for some reason, in its framework, to pinpoint Israel as the aggressor victimizing others) focuses on each object being the victim of an
oppressing establishment. Yet exposing someone's ‘victimhood’ is
insufficient in order to improve his status. The second stage is
pressuring him to take his fate in his own hands. The time for a true self-examination may have come, in all that concerns the
rational-national-conservative center abandoning the cultural arena, including the academic arena and designing challenges for the future, in order to change the condition. 
If there is someone to learn from, in all that concerns the designing of consciousness that would be Ben-Gurion. From the moment the state was established he invested in education, in literature and in the media.    

"What we need now is to establish a big book publishing company”, he maintained in the early 50's, “the journalist – for the public of readers, the teacher – for all of the people”, and in this he had clarified to the teachers their political designation. He was concerned with the
establishment of Colleges for education, because why in the world would the teachers of Israel be trained by anyone else but the party?
Obviously, Ben-Gurion couldn't impose contents upon the departments of the Hebrew University and he therefore encouraged the party to establish seminars for the training of teachers; he appointed the Ministers of Education on his behalf as lectors, with each history book mentioning the National Military Organization (Etzel) or the Fighters for the Freedom of Israel (Lechi) organizations getting disqualified and failing to obtain the trademark 'approved by the Ministry of Education and Culture'. The kibbutz Gallery had opened in Tel-Aviv, (rather than in Kibbutz Chulda) and so did the Kibbutzim Seminar and others alike it. The understanding that alongside the “another dunam and another goat” one must also train the public opinion, educators, academics, writers and poets – was
profound.   
It is worthwhile to count how many lecturers and academic researchers came back to Israel with doctorate from respectable institutions around the world, with the support of generous scholarships on behalf of social funds, public movements, non-governmental organizations – most and all of which are experienced using the leftist-liberal discourse, which finance for these happy students a variety of appropriate dissertations, which surprisingly match their post-Zionist world perspective. 
What is better than training a cultural agent in the image of a lecturer or an academic researcher to which an abundance of students shall be exposed to? One must examine what else these funds also support (the research concerning them is underway ) and we may be surprised to discover alongside supporting students, also protest movements operating in the Israeli arena, under their funding. Look what a surprise; these movements do not promote the enforcement of the Zionist idea. One must take a good look at the footnotes of the abundance of academic articles (usually first of second footnote), where the author thanks this or that fund or center under whose support this article has been written – an article, which seemingly uses criticism to analyze the Israeli militarist and aggressive policy. Now, look up the fund on Google. You'll usually end up in Europe. Sometimes in the USA, as well. Look at the credits at the end of each film, feature or documentary, publicly displaying a chauvinistic,
fundamentalist, abusing and oppressing Israel, presented in festivals around the world – the very same names will come up again.   

 To lead, rather than being dragged
The point is clear. It is not enough to express pain, concerning the wretchedness of the academic and the cultural arena, as post-Zionist factors overtake its direction. Not that it’s untrue. In the competitive age that we live in, we must roll our sleeves down. Not only the economy must be perceived as pluralistic, but the culture as well. When people begin to realize that the establishment of an academic and intellectual alternative is possible – then the change shall also occur.
The University Center in Ariel (which is my workplace) is a wonderful and important institute, but from the very start it was unnecessary for this initiative (it's only a shame that this came up forty years late) to take place there, of all places. Not that the place is unworthy of being a University, but if the Kibbutzim Seminar was wise enough to find itself a good location in North Tel-Aviv – there is no reason why a conservative Faculty of Humanities shouldn't be established there as well. After all, in the kibbutz there are people convinced of their righteousness and their efforts in all that concerned the field of culture and thought was to spread their doctrine in the center as well. In the West Bank there are also people sure of their world perspective and the arena that must be designed is away from there. There is, of course, logic in bringing the center to Ariel, but there is also a parallel need to bring Ariel closer to the center. Every wall and tower established by the kibbutzim – was definitely heard of in Tel-Aviv, people have been exposed to the
photographs of the project and were invited to the lectures of the conceptual leaders and this is all fine and dandy. But what have they heard in all that concerns the accomplishments of other groups in the Israeli arena?    
A researcher disinterested in signing, along with his friends, a petition for the release of, dodging the invitation of the head of his department to come with his colleagues to a demonstration against the Separation Wall, embarrassed when asked by his Dean to come with his class students to a conference in which army objectors are being hosted in the Senate building or wondering why his colleagues produce a policy of benefits for the objectors from the left but refuse to equalize this for people doing their reserve duty – will not be promoted in his department, using one excuse or another. His actual arrival at an academic institute is
considered a miracle. Because if, he was merely interested in achieving a 'post-Zionist' doctorate, he would easily find the required funding and the necessary connections to obtain an Israeli academic standard. If he hasn't done so – he must have come from a wealthy home or must have had to examine many bags in many shopping malls on his way to financing his degree. 
We can exclaim all we want and we can also get to work. Funds, encouraging other voices to try an academic career, promoting cinematic doing, research writing – are all that is required now. And above all –
realizing, that although Zionism is being fulfilled in the military arena and in the field of settlement – this cannot happen in a space which de-legitimizes it. And one mustn't fear of criticism and of a struggle and surely not let the desire vested in every person from the right wing – to obtain legitimacy, sympathy, institutional appreciation – lead the way. I can already envision the right coming into power and after a meeting or two of the Minister of Education on its behalf with the heads of the council for higher education – freezing Ariel from becoming a University for another ten years. We should prepare for this. We must lead rather than be dragged. We must dare, rather than apologize.
The University Center in Ariel (which is my workplace) is a wonderful and important institute, but from the very start it was unnecessary for this initiative (it's only a shame that this came up forty years late) to take place there, of all places. Not that the place is unworthy of being a University, but if the Kibbutzim Seminar was wise enough to find itself a good location in North Tel-Aviv – there is no reason why a conservative Faculty of Humanities shouldn't be established there as well. After all, in the kibbutz there are people convinced of their righteousness and their efforts in all that concerned the field of culture and thought was to spread their doctrine in the center as well. In the West Bank there are also people sure of their world perspective and the arena that must be designed is away from there. There is, of course, logic in bringing the center to Ariel, but there is also a parallel need to bring Ariel closer to the center. Every wall and tower established by the kibbutzim – was definitely heard of in Tel-Aviv, people have been exposed to the
photographs of the project and were invited to the lectures of the conceptual leaders and this is all fine and dandy. But what have they heard in all that concerns the accomplishments of other groups in the Israeli arena?    
A researcher disinterested in signing, along with his friends, a petition for the release of, dodging the invitation of the head of his department to come with his colleagues to a demonstration against the Separation Wall, embarrassed when asked by his Dean to come with his class students to a conference in which army objectors are being hosted in the Senate building or wondering why his colleagues produce a policy of benefits for the objectors from the left but refuse to equalize this for people doing their reserve duty – will not be promoted in his department, using one excuse or another. His actual arrival at an academic institute is
considered a miracle. Because if, he was merely interested in achieving a 'post-Zionist' doctorate, he would easily find the required funding and the necessary connections to obtain an Israeli academic standard. If he hasn't done so – he must have come from a wealthy home or must have had to examine many bags in many shopping malls on his way to financing his degree. 
We can exclaim all we want and we can also get to work. Funds, encouraging other voices to try an academic career, promoting cinematic doing, research writing – are all that is required now. And above all –
realizing, that although Zionism is being fulfilled in the military arena and in the field of settlement – this cannot happen in a space which de-legitimizes it. And one mustn't fear of criticism and of a struggle and surely not let the desire vested in every person from the right wing – to obtain legitimacy, sympathy, institutional appreciation – lead the way. I can already envision the right coming into power and after a meeting or two of the Minister of Education on its behalf with the heads of the council for higher education – freezing Ariel from becoming a University for another ten years. We should prepare for this. We must lead rather than be dragged. We must dare, rather than apologize.
   
Ever since the days of 'Without Herut and Maki’, only Maki (the Communist party) had become part of the establishment. And not that Herut wasn't in power. The academic, cultural, literary and research establishment, most as all (at least in the social-behavioral disciplines), functions as the cultural agent of an anti-Israeli fringe ideology. And Herut (literally means Liberty) – remains on the outside and this must be fixed. 'Official' verboseness is not even required. A regimental alternative should declare, here and now, that it intends to perform affirmative action in the academic system. Not to departmentalize anyone from the existing
establishment, heaven forbid, but to expand the limits and to allow the Israeli center to penetrate there, as well. This is urgent. Before somebody here designs a policy influenced by the spirit of those studies, and Golani soldiers will be obliged, under the watchful eye of the WATCH women, to flirt with Palestinian women. Human rights never seemed weirder.


The author is a senior lecturer on political psychology, at the Saphir Academic College and Ariel's University Center.        

 

 

Back to "Articles by IAM Associates"Send Response
Top Page
    Developed by Sitebank & Powered by Blueweb Internet Services
    Visitors: 243586602Send to FriendAdd To FavoritesMake It HomepagePrint version
    blueweb