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University of Haifa
Professors Micah Leshem (U of Haifa) and Israel Bartal (HUJ) responded to the IAM post.

Bartal was happy with the IAM earlier response which expressed support in academic freedom. Leshem was not. Their responses as well as IAM's appear below.


DearProfessor Leshem,
Oureditorial team has debated whether to respond to your email, as you use abusivelanguage which we do not condone. We believe that social discourse needs to be civil and that academicshave toserve as role models in this respect. We can only hope you are better mannered when you teach.So, unless you change your style, this is the last time that you will hear from us.
Your assertion that Ph.D. is a generic degree which qualifies a scholar to teach whatever he or she wants, is not true. Would you say that a scholar who received a degree in English literature, can switch to teaching French literature?
In research universities (as opposed to colleges) academics "are appointed to teach and research in particular fields." This is not our invention; the definition is included both in legal cases (such as Ilan Rachum vs. Hebrew University) and documents issued by the Council for Higher Education and other academic bodies. Departments in research universities create slots for particular subjects and fill them with appropriate candidates.
Of course, interdisciplinary and other creative applications of research are an important part of the process of academic innovation.However, the faculty members that we discussed in our post do not fall into this category. We did research thisissue and we stand behind our opinion.As we stated, theresearch ofthe U of Haifa psychologist Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi on Israel's alleged sales of arms to then apartheid South Africa (and otherrepressive regimes) canin no way be described as interdisciplinary.Some, like Yehouda Shenhav admitted switching from researching sociology of organizations to "Arab Jews," his name for the Mizrahim, after joining the Rainbow Coalition , a peace group created by Mizrahi scholars-activists.
What is wrong with all this? As we noted, departments in research universities decide on certain fields of specialization andhire faculty to research and teach these subjects.If too many of theirfaculty abandon their original field of expertise and move to the Arab-Israeli conflict, it creates an imbalance. As a result, legitimate subjects that are offered in comparable- level in research universities are not covered at all. We do not wish to repeat ourselves, but this state of affairs would not be tolerated in sciences and engineering and should not be tolerated in liberal arts.
We can assure you that we are not "cockomamie hodgepodge pseudo-academics," but credible academics, some with distinguished records. We do not publish individual names out of concern thatourteammembers would be harassed by radical-leftists. As Professor Ziva Shamir noted in heressay, because of such fears, many do not want to speak out. It is a sad commentary on Israeli academy that scholars can be silenced in such a manner, but, as your own prose demonstrates,this is not entirely surprising.
IAM





Subject: RE: Responses to the IAM letter to the Governors of Tel Aviv University
Sender: micah leshemAdd contact
Recipient: IAM e-mailAdd contact,israelb@savion.huji.ac.ilAdd contact,benny@psy.haifa.ac.ilAdd contact
Reply-To: micah.leshem@psy.haifa.ac.ilAdd contact
Date: 13.06.2012 15:46


You are consistently wrong and misleading, and you do so to promote your political agenda, not to help the universities, which is just your nonsense at end of all your posts you encourage donors to stop supporting Israeli Universities!


A scholar is a scholar having proved as much to hir peer's satisfaction she can turn to whatever field he chooses to practice hes scholastic skills. Were you versed in Academia you would know that the requirement for an academic post is a PhD - a generic certification, not a disciplinary license.


You further mislead in claiming that academics are "appointed to teach andresearch in particular fields" - that is often (not always) the case at the beginning of a career, but there is no requirement to persist in that on the contrary, a scholar fixated in hir knowledge at hiring would rapidly be fired. She is required to prove evolvement. Moreover, movement within and between disciplines is part of the freedom required for innovation and creativity, discovery and teaching. Interdisciplinary scholarship is essential as a means to advance knowledge, and new disciplines, subdisciplines, and inter-disciplines are created continuously by scholars as a fundamental academic process. Thus, if you had your totalitarian way there would be no Palestine studies else what is your objection? That Prof. So and So whom you so despise and persecute by your demands to the Heads of the University and their Donors did not do hir undergraduate degree in Palestine Studies or did not write hes first paper on that topic? Is that your ridiculous position?


You further mislead in stating "moved on toresearching aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because it fitstheir political agenda" have you researched that? What is your evidence? Could it be the other way around? And where not, what is wrong with that are they publishing less in that field, are they cited less, has the impact factor of their journals plummeted?


No you have "lost it" because you are disconnected from reality in your single-minded pursuit to name and shame scholars who do not fit your ideology with your cockamamie hodgepodge pseudo-academic mistruths.


Perhaps you would like to show your own Academic CV's so's we can compare them to those you so abhor so that we can see more clearly who the true defenders of Israeli academia are.


Micah





Subject: RE: Responses to the IAM letter to the Governors of Tel Aviv University
Sender: micah leshemAdd contact
Recipient: IAM e-mailAdd contact,israelb@savion.huji.ac.ilAdd contact
Reply-To: micah.leshem@psy.haifa.ac.ilAdd contact
Date: 13.06.2012 16:15

I must add, that typical of dark totalitarian ideologies, you present yourself in terrorist-like balaclavas, KKK-like hoods, spewing forth your venom from behind masks of anonymity.


What a facade of defenders of academic freedom and discourse you present!


Ha! You are jokes.


Micah Leshem





Subject: RE: Responses to the IAM letter to the Governors of Tel Aviv University
Sender: Israel BartalAdd contact
Recipient: 1453ak@gmail.comAdd contact,IAM e-mailAdd contact
Copy: micah leshemAdd contact
Date: 13.06.2012 19:23


, . . .
,
Israel Bartal
Department of Jewish History
Faculty of Humanities Hebrew University





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