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Ben-Gurion University
Oren Yiftachel's involvement in the new boycott attempt of South African academics against Ben Gurion University

 

From IAM editor:
I have looked at the publications and lectures of Prof' Oren Yiftachel of Ben Gurion Unversity (BGU) and by bringing some of his citations, let me show you how in his case it isn't but ideological opinion and that his false accusations of Israeli apartheid influenced South African academics to attemp a boycott against Ben Gurion University. 
 
Prof' Oren Yiftachel recently lectured at the Arab funded center at Georgetown University, titled "Forced Nomadism: The Political Geography of Bedouins in Southern Israel/Palestine". It suggests that Israel forces Arab Bedouins into Nomadism (?!)  
 
In one of his articles Yiftachel wrote: "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." http://www.tikkun.org/article.php/may2010yiftachel  
 
Yiftachel was quoted saying: "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. [...] 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." http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2009/978/re82.htm
 

In Yiftachel's article "VOTING FOR APARTHEID: THE 2009 ISRAELI ELECTIONS"

 http://www.geog.bgu.ac.il/members/yiftachel/new_papers_2009/JPS%20Yiftachel%202009.pdf

Yiftachel wrote: "Focusing primarily on Israeli voter attitudes with respect to the Zionist-Palestinian conflict, this paper argues that the results of the 2009 elections highlight the structural entanglement of Israeli politics within a colonialist process of “creeping apartheid” not only in the West Bank but in Israel proper..."

  

In another article Yiftachel wrote: "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". www.merip.org/mer/mer207/yift.htm

 

 
Examples of statements by Yiftachel at his BGU course during the past semester: “Israel is in a colonial situation with the Palestinians”, “on the right, […] you will find elements of deep racism” in Israeli society, and while discussing Yisrael Beiteinu in the last election, Prof' 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. 
 
In an article for Palestinian website, "Israel's ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Bedouin", Yiftachel is interviewed. He does not reject the false accusasions, instead, he elaborates on them.
 
Beyond this, Yiftachel's teaching assistant in BGU, recently organized illegal student demonstrations on campus, calling Israel a war criminal, and Yiftachel's friend and colleague, Dr. Neve Gordon have called for the boycott of Israel on numerous occasions. 
 
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."  http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2002/dec/12/internationaleducationnews.israel
 
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. http://aliabunimah.posterous.com/apr-16-230pm-ali-abunimah-and-oren-yiftachel
 
Please note, Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and as such, fractions in the Arab world are searching for every cooperation they can find to dehumanize and demonize the Jewish state. It is very unfortunate Prof' Yiftachel gives them a helping hand.
 

 Appendix

This coming Wednesday, the 29th of September 2010, the University of Johannesburg's (UJ) Senate will meet at its Soweto campus to decide whether to end its relationship with the Israeli institution, Ben-Gurion University  of the Negev (BGU), on the grounds of BGU’s direct support and collaboration with the Israeli military and occupation. To date, over 200 South African academics from 22 institutions have signed a statement in support of the call to terminate the agreement. Signatories and supporters include Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Professors Kader Asmal, Allan Boesak, Breyten Breytenbach, John Dugard, Antjie Krog and Barney Pityana. 

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_aEGl2EIoP8M/TJzJ4kzqp1I/AAAAAAAAABA/jC2xc5bfXWc/s1600/UJ+Petition+high+res.jpg

SOUTH AFRICAN ACADEMICS SUPPORT THE CALL FOR UJ TO TERMINATE RELATIONSHIP WITH ISRAELI INSTITUTION

As members of the academic community of South Africa, a country with a history of brute racism on the one hand and both academic acquiescence and resistance to it on the other, we write to you with deep concern regarding the relationship between the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU). The relationship agreement, presented as ‘merely the continuation’ of a ‘purely scientific co-operation’ is currently being reviewed owing to concerns raised by UJ students, academics and staff.

For reasons explained below and detailed in the attached Fact Sheet, we wish to add our voices to those calling for the suspension of UJ’s agreement with BGU.

As academics we acknowledge that all of our scholarly work takes place within larger social contexts – particularly in institutions committed to social transformation. South African institutions are under an obligation to revisit relationships forged during the apartheid era with other institutions that turned a blind eye to racial oppression in the name of ‘purely scholarly’ or ‘scientific work’.

The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories has had disastrous effects on access to education for Palestinians. While Palestinians are not able to access universities and schools, Israeli universities produce the research, technology, arguments and leaders for maintaining the occupation. BGU is no exception, by maintaining links to both the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) and the arms industry BGU structurally supports and facilitates the Israeli occupation. An example of BGU’s complicity is its agreement with the IDF to provide full university qualification to airforce pilots within a special BGU programme. Furthermore, BGU is also complicit in the general discrimination at Israeli universities against Palestinians and Palestinian citizens of Israel.

It is clear to us that any connection with an institution so heavily vested in the Israeli occupation would amount to collaboration with an occupation that denigrates the values and principles that form the basis of any vibrant democracy. These are not only the values that underpin our post-apartheid South Africa, but are also values that we believe UJ has come to respect and uphold in the democratic era.

We thus support the decision taken by UJ to reconsider the agreement between itself and BGU. Furthermore, we call for the relationship to be suspended until such a time that, at minimum, the state of Israel adheres to international law and BGU, (as did some South African universities during the struggle against South African apartheid) openly declares itself against the occupation and withdraws all privileges for the soldiers who enforce it.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Attachment: Ben-Gurion University Fact Sheet

Letter from Palestinian Graduate of UJ

Letter by UJ Members of Staff

Letter by UJ Professor

 

http://www.mg.co.za/article/2010-09-24-new-pressure-on-uj-to-sever-israel-ties

New pressure on UJ to sever Israel ties

DAVID MACFARLANE | JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - Sep 24 2010 06:00

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Unisa vice-chancellor Barney Pityana and author Breyten Breytenbach have added their voices to calls for the University of Johannesburg to sever academic ties with Israel's Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

The cooperation between the two universities dates from the 1980s, when the local partner was called Rand Afrikaans University. The agreement now under fire involves scientific interaction and was signed in August last year, renewing a controversial apartheid-era collaboration, its critics say.

On Wednesday next week UJ's senate will hear recommendations on the future of the university's ties with Ben-Gurion.

The Mail & Guardian reported in May that the senate had debated the matter then and had asked a senate subcommittee headed by deputy vice-chancellor Adam Habib to make recommendations within three months.

"We have concluded our deliberations and arrived at recommendations," Habib told the M&G. "It has taken a long time because the matter is highly contested. And I can’t say what our senate will decide."

Tutu, Pityana and Breytenbach are recent signatories to an
online petition launched after the May senate meeting. It calls for "the suspension of UJ’s agreement with Ben-Gurion" and this week had notched up nearly 200 signatories.

Law professor John Dugard, theologian Allan Boesak, ANC stalwart Kader Asmal, struggle veteran and language-rights expert Neville Alexander, poet Antjie Krog, former Freedom of Expression Institute director Jane Duncan and Wits University sociologist Ran Greenstein are among other recent additions to the petition.

Leading the fight to retain ties with Ben-Gurion is the South African Associates of Ben-Gurion University, whose chairperson, Herby Rosenberg, told the M&G he had thought the senate meeting in question would be held late in October and he would "need to make inquiries" before commenting.

His organisation's president, Bertie Lubner, was on a plane and unavailable, he said. The associates arranged that local advocate David Unter-halter and Ben-Gurion professor Ilan Troen argue in the May senate meeting for retaining ties with UJ, the M&G reported at the time.

The petition's signatories come from a range of local universities and identify themselves as "the academic community of South Africa, a country with a history of brute racism on the one hand and both academic acquiescence and resistance to it on the other".

"The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories has had disastrous effects on access to education for Palestinians," the petition reads.

"While Palestinians are not able to access universities and schools, Israeli universities produce the research, technology, arguments and leaders for maintainingthe occupation."

By virtue of its ties with the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) and the arms industry, Ben-Gurion "structurally supports and facilitates the Israeli occupation", the petition says.

One example of its "complicity is its agreement with the IDF to provide full university qualification to army pilots within a special [Ben-Gurion] programme," it says.

The petition calls on UJ's senate to suspend the relationship with Ben-Gurion until, "as a minimum", Israel "adheres to international law and ... as did some South African universities during the struggle against South African apartheid, openly declares itself against the occupation and withdraws all privileges for the soldiers who enforce it".

Source: Mail & Guardian Online

 

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