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Ben-Gurion University
Academic Boycott: Neve Gordon Departs Ben Gurion University


10.04.18
Editorial Note

Radio South which broadcasts from the Beer Sheva area has announced that Professor Neve Gordon will not be returning to Ben Gurion University from his Sabbatical in London. 

To recall, IAM reported that Gordon has remade himself as an expert in International Law at the Queen Mary University of London. This was made possible as Gordon is neo-Marxist, critical scholar where empirical evidence doesn't count. Interestingly, as IAM reported, the chair of International Law, Trade, and Policy is the Saudi born Professor Malik R. Dahlan who completed his LLB at the University of Jordan and his Professoriate qualification the (‘Alemiyyah’) Habilitation Higher Doctorate (LLD) in Law and Public Policy at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. Dahlan has written in favor of the Arab League peace offer to Israel in 2002, "While Israel has thus far refused to accept the Arab Peace Initiative, it has not rejected it outright, and therefore there is still hope for settlement of the problem with help from regional efforts. More importantly, the mere fact that the entire Arab League has found the consensus necessary to make such a bold offer is remarkable, and proves in some small measure that the region has matured and its leaders capable of coming together for the common good." This ambition could have linked Dahlan to Gordon, just as Gordon's book Israel's Occupation was written during a sabbatical at the University of California, Berkeley, where Nezar AlSayyad has "welcomed me and provided me with the necessary resources to write".

Gordon's neo-Marxist, critical spell has led him to some obscure observations, under the subchapter Setting up the Means of Control in the Occupied Territories, Gordon listed Israeli efforts to improve the standard of living of Palestinians after 1967's victory. "In the health field practices were introduced to encourage women to give birth at hospitals (a means of decreasing infant mortality rates and monitoring population growth) and to promote vaccinations (in order to decrease the incidence of contagious and noncontagious diseases). Palestinian teachers were sent to seminars in Jerusalem, where they were instructed in methods of "correct" teaching. A series of vocational schools were established to prepare Palestinians who wished to join the Israeli workforce, and model plots were created to train farmers. Many of these controlling devices aimed to increase the economic productivity of the Palestinian inhabitants and to secure the well-being of the population."  But for Gordon, all these good measures were merely acts of control, "even eating habits were scrutinized, as was the nutritional value of the Palestinian food basket."  

Obscure observations indeed. His latest article to Al-Jazeera "Gaza's Passover massacre" claims that "For decades Zionists have blamed the Palestinians for Israel's ongoing colonial project. 'If only the Palestinians had a Mahatma Gandhi,' many Israeli liberals have exclaimed, 'then the occupation would end.' But if one truly wished to find Palestinian Mahatma Gandhi all one needed to do is look at the images of protesters on Friday night's news broadcasts." Looking at the images of the protests, one could argue whether the protest was peaceful. As a staunch neo-Marxist, critical scholar, Gordon also blames Israel for colonialism: "The accusation that Palestinians have failed to adopt non-violent methods of resistance, and therefore share responsibility for Israel's ongoing subjugation and dispossession, not only completely disavows the vast asymmetry in power relations between the coloniser and colonised, but, just as importantly, fails to consider the political history of anticolonial struggles, not least the Palestinian one itself.  Indeed, it completely ignores the fact that Israel's colonial project has been upheld through attritional, protracted and widespread violence, and, despite what certain Western media outlets might present, the Palestinians have developed a robust and long-standing tradition of non-violent resistance." Only Gordon could construe attacks on Israel as peaceful. 

When Gordon has published his infamous call for boycott on the pages of the Los Angeles Times in August 2009, he contended "Not surprisingly, many Israelis -- even peaceniks -- aren't signing on. A global boycott can't help but contain echoes of anti-Semitism. It also brings up questions of a double standard (why not boycott China for its egregious violations of human rights?) and the seemingly contradictory position of approving a boycott of one's own nation." But Gordon actually failed to answer this contradiction.

Since calling for boycott almost 10 years ago, Gordon has served as Lenin's "useful idiot" to Arab propaganda against Israel from his cushioned position in Ben Gurion University paid by the Israeli taxpayer. Now he is not coming back, but what took him so long to put his money where his mouth is?

 




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Radio South

09.04.18 

First publication: Professor Neve Gordon leaves Ben-Gurion University

Our correspondent Avichai Marciano publishes this morning for the first time that changes have been taking place at the leadership of Ben-Gurion University, including Professor Gordon's departure. Together with him, Professor Haim Yacobi also announced his departure from the academic institution. The two will leave the university for academic positions in London, apparently in an institution supported by BDS.

Professor Gordon is known for several scandalous statements in recent years, including a call for a boycott of Israel and bringing Breaking the Silence members to a class for university students.



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רדיו דרום
09.04.18
פרסום ראשון: הפרופסור ניב גורדון עוזב את אוניברסיטת בן גוריון

כתבנו אביחי מרציאנו מפרסם הבוקר לראשונה כי בצמרת אוניברסיטת בן גוריון מתרחשים בימים האחרונים שינויים, וביניהם עזיבתו של פרופסור גורדון. יחד איתו, הודיע גם פרופסור חיים יעקובי על עזיבתו את המוסד האקדמי. השניים יעזבו את האוניברסיטה לטובת משרות אקדמיות בלונדון, ככל הנראה במוסד שנתמך על ידי ארגון ה-BDS.

הפרופסור גורדון ידוע בשל מספר התבטאויות שערוריתיות בשנים האחרונות, ביניהן קריאה לחרם על ישראל והבאת חברי ארגון 'שוברים שתיקה' לשיעור בפני סטודנטים באוניברסיטה.




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Gaza's Passover massacre
The Passover massacre in Gaza was by no means an exception in the long history of Palestinian resistance.

by Neve Gordon 
1 Apr 2018

For decades Zionists have blamed the Palestinians for Israel's ongoing colonial project. "If only the Palestinians had a Mahatma Gandhi," many Israeli liberals have exclaimed, "then the occupation would end."

But if one truly wished to find Palestinian Mahatma Gandhis all one needed to do is look at the images of protesters on Friday night's news broadcasts. An estimated 30,000 Palestinians joined the nonviolent March of Return, which aimed to set up a few camps several hundred meters from the militarised fence surrounding the Gaza Strip. Their goal was to protest their incarceration in the world's largest open-air prison as well as the massive confiscation of their ancestral land - after all, 70 percent of Gaza's population are 1948 refugees whose families had owned land in what became Israel. 

As Gaza's residents marched towards the militarised fence, I sat with my family, reciting the Haggadah for the Passover holiday, which tells us that "In every generation, it is one's duty to regard oneself as though he or she personally had gone out of Egypt". In other words, while the soldiers shot live bullets at the peaceful demonstrators, these soldiers' parents were being asked to imagine what it means to live in Gaza and what it would take to liberate oneself from such captivity.  And as my family went on to sing, "No more shall they in bondage toil, let my people go," news sites reported that the number of Palestinians killed had reached 17, while several hundred had been wounded.

The accusation that Palestinians have failed to adopt non-violent methods of resistance, and therefore share responsibility for Israel's ongoing subjugation and dispossession, not only completely disavows the vast asymmetry in power relations between the coloniser and colonised, but, just as importantly, fails to consider the political history of anticolonial struggles, not least the Palestinian one itself.  Indeed, it completely ignores the fact that Israel's colonial project has been upheld through attritional, protracted and widespread violence, and, despite what certain Western media outlets might present, the Palestinians have developed a robust and long-standing tradition of non-violent resistance. Moreover, the demand to adopt a non-violent ideology completely elides the history of other liberation struggles: from Algiers to Vietnam and all the way back to South Africa. 

Palestinian non-violence
Friday's nonviolent March of Return and Israel's response to it are by no means an exception in the long history of Palestinian resistance. The march was organised to coincide with the anniversary of Land Day, which itself commemorates that tragic day in 1976 when Israeli security forces responded to a general strike and mass protest organised by Palestinian citizens of Israel whose land had been confiscated. In that peaceful protest, six Palestinians were killed and a hundred more wounded by the Israeli military. 

In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, matters have always been much worse, since all forms of nonviolent Palestinian resistance were banned right after the 1967 War. Political meetings, raising flags or other national symbols, publishing or distributing articles or pictures with political connotations, or even singing or listening to nationalist songs - not to mention organising strikes and demonstrations - were illegal until 1993 (and some are still illegal in Area C). Any attempt to protest in one of these ways was inevitably met with violence.  

One may wish it was otherwise - and I most certainly do - but not a single colonial project has ended without the colonised resorting to violence against their oppressors.

Just three months after the 1967 War, the Palestinians successfully launched a widespread school strike in the West Bank; teachers refused to show up for work, children took to the streets to protest the occupation, and many shopkeepers did not open their stores. In response to these acts of civil disobedience, Israel enforced severe police-style measures, ranging from nightly curfews and other restrictions of movement to cutting off telephone lines, detaining leaders, and increasing the harassment of the population. This, in many ways, became Israel's modus operandi when dealing with Palestinian continued nonviolent resistance.

Indeed, it seems that there is widespread social amnesia regarding Israel's reaction to Gandhi-style tactics. When Palestinians launched commercial strikes in the West Bank, the military government shut down dozens of shops "until further notice." When they tried to emulate Martin Luther King's transportation strike, the security forces completely immobilised the local fleet of buses. Moreover, during the first Intifada, the Palestinians adopted massive civil disobedience strategies, including merchant strikes, boycotting Israeli goods, a tax revolt, and daily protests against the occupying forces. Israel responded by imposing curfews, restricting freedom of movement and mass incarcerations (to name only some of the violent measures). Between 1987 and 1994, for example, the secret services interrogated more than 23,000 Palestinians, one out of every 100 people living in the West Bank and Gaza. We now know that many of them were tortured.

Thus, the tragedy is that Gaza's Passover massacre simply joins this long list of nonviolent resistance that has, historically, been met with violence and repression by Israel. 

'Riots are the language of the unheard'
Let's imagine for a moment what it means to live in an open-air prison, year after year. Let's imagine that we are the prisoners and the warden has the power to decide what food we can eat, when we have electricity, when we can receive specialised medical treatment and whether we can have enough water to drink. Let's also imagine that any time we walk near the fence, we become targets for the guards. What acts of nonviolent resistance are actually open to us? Would you walk peacefully towards the fence? Thousands of Palestinians courageously did, and many paid the ultimate price.

Even though Gaza is, in many respects, unique, indigenous people have, historically, found themselves in similar situations. This was recognised by the United Nations, when it affirmed "the legitimacy of the peoples' struggle for liberation from colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation by all available means, including armed struggle." Gandhi himself thought that in certain instances violence was an adequate strategic choice. "I do believe," he wrote, "that where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence I would advise violence ... Hence also do I advocate training in arms for those who believe in the method of violence. I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honour than that she should in a cowardly manner become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonour." 

One may wish it was otherwise - and I most certainly do - but not a single colonial project has ended without the colonised resorting to violence against their oppressors. Requesting for or even angrily demanding liberation has never done the job. 

Ironically, this is also one of the key messages of the Passover Seder. The story of Exodus recounts how Moses approached Pharaoh several times, asking him to liberate the children of Israel from bondage. Yet, again and again, Pharaoh refused. It was only after horrific violence was deployed against the Egyptians that the Israelites were set free.

This, to be sure, is not something we should ever wish for, but when one looks at Israel's response to the nonviolent Palestinian march, what is clear is that we must urgently find a way to turn the Zionists' question on its head in order to prevent future bloodshed. Rather than asking when the Palestinians will produce a Mahatma Gandhi, we need to ask when Israel will produce a leader that does not support the subjugation of the Palestinians through the employment of lethal violence? When, in other words, will Israel finally rid itself of its Pharaonic ethos and realise that Palestinians have a right to freedom.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial stance.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Neve Gordon
Neve Gordon is a Marie Curie Fellow and Professor of International Law at Queen Mary University of London.


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