IAM reported before on how, for several decades, Gulf States oil money was invested in Western universities to gain influence. It also enabled Palestinian and pro-Palestinian activists on campus, both faculty and students, to recruit like-minded peers. Furthermore, it enabled to recruit radical Israeli activists, known as "peace activists," to produce scholarships that promote the Palestinian agenda using the neo-Marxist, critical tools; such as Ilan Pappe, Neve Gordon, Ariella Azoulay, to name a few. This blatant interference should have raised the concern of academics, but it did not.
This endeavor also enabled the Israeli Communist Party (Maki) to influence the academy for many years. MAKI often collaborated with Academia for Equality (A4E), a group known as "an organization of left-wing lecturers.” The Maki organ, "Zo Haderekh," regularly discusses academic-related issues written for and by various academic-comrades such as Efraim Davidi and Avishai Ehrlich, among others. Maki has often been behind the demonstrations of students. Last month MAKI promoted on an "extraordinary" online discussion of three "leading A4E activists," who discussed the Coronavirus crisis and the future of higher education in Israel. The three A4E Participants were Prof. Isaac (Yanni) Nevo of Ben-Gurion University, Dr. Hilla Dayan of Amsterdam University College, and Dr. Lin Haluzin-Dovrat of the TAU Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas organized and led the event.
Prof. Nevo first discussed the impact of the Coronavirus on teaching, then stated that the public status of the academy is not limited in the social func'tioning known as research and teaching, as in the production of knowledge and training for the society's service. "These roles enclose the academy in a social and political framework that is interested in them. The deal is worthwhile to all sides, but this does not limit the academy's public status. This status is derived from the academy's additional role. The production of knowledge provides the checks and balances for its independence, to guarantee the autonomy required for such measure, thus marking the boundaries of political power as a way of marking the boundaries of power in a democratic society.”
The second speaker, Dr. Hilla Dayan, who lives in Amsterdam, said that in the Israeli academy, "The most dramatic crisis is the decision-maker crisis. The burning question is - Who decides? Who decides the policy? Budget? Who controls resources? We are all shocked at the homogeneity and blatant lack of representation among decision-makers. Therefore, we must continue to produce and develop new tools and concepts for the struggle that will require reflection on academia as a structure that preserves the social and economic power of dominant groups."
Dayan pursued Ph.D. at the New School for Social Research in New York, the epicenter of the neo-Marxist, critical scholarship. Her unpublished 2008 Ph.D. dissertation "Regimes of separation" was published as a chapter in the book The Power of Inclusive Exclusion: Anatomy of Israeli Rule in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (Zone Books) by Adi Ophir (Editor), Michal Givoni (Editor), Sari Hanafi (Editor), along with Ariel Handel, Orna Ben-Naftali, Aeyal M. Gross, Keren Michaeli, Ariella Azoulay, Neve Gordon, Hilla Dayan, Yehuda Shenhav, Yael Berda, Leila Farsakh, Caroline Abu-Sada, Dani Filc, Gadi Algazi, Eyal Weizman, Ronen Shamir.
Only a few Ph.D. graduates enjoy the opportunity to get published along with such distinguished scholars, those who hold the correct political views. Clearly, the type of work that got Dayan’s academic career sprouting was her reports, such as the one published in 2008 by Kibush Occupation Magazine, titled "Unilever divests from Beigel & Beigel, after study exposes settlement connection" which she co-authored.
Clearly, Dayan's scholarship follows the neo-Marxist, critical trend to fit the Palestinian narrative. Her book chapter compares Israel to South Africa. Subtitled "Israel/Palestine: The Sovereignty of 'Auschwitz Borders,'" where she claimed that "From the outset, the specter of political incorporation of out-group populations haunted prestate Zionist institutions and, later, successive Israeli governments. The Palestinian catastrophe, al-Nakba, during the short seven months in 1948 in which estimated seven hundred thousand Palestinians were forced into exile by Jewish militias following an apparently organized military plan, remained incomplete." For Abba Eban, the memorable foreign minister of the 60s, "the 1948 boundaries were reminiscent of the borders of Auschwitz. Curiously, when the 'Auschwitz borders' were swiftly overturn in 1967, the encroachment over a mass of undesired population did not immediately present itself as an existential concern."
Among the many distortions of history, Dayan completely misunderstood Eban's statement, who wrote: "We have openly said that the map will never again be the same as on June 4, 1967. For us, this is a matter of security and of principles. The June map is for us equivalent to insecurity and danger. I do not exaggerate when I say that it has for us something of a memory of Auschwitz. We shudder when we think of what would have awaited us in the circumstances of June, 1967, if we had been defeated; with Syrians on the mountain and we in the valley, with the Jordanian army in sight of the sea, with the Egyptians who hold our throat in their hands in Gaza. This is a situation which will never be repeated in history."
Already Dayan admitted that "I am a product of an epistemological revolution, which was brought about by an entire generation of scholars dubbed post-Zionist in the 1990s, and of the intellectual milieu of the Democratic Mizrahi Rainbow, which, at that time, unraveled all I knew about myself and my society. One is not born but becomes non-Zionist." She goes against the “neoliberalized academia.” Israel’s university education is the "end point of segregation, exclusion, and denial of education." She proposes "occupation studies" to have an effect of "antiknowledge" which the average Israeli will not consider due to the "Zionist indoctrination.”
In another article, “Israel Against Democracy,” published by The Amsterdam Law Forum, Dayan postulated that Israel is "becoming the only dictatorship in the Middle East" and urged, "Policy makers and international stakeholders" to demand "justice, accountability and an end to a brutal occupation by Israel… punish this government for its anti-democratic excesses. Ensuring that Israel pays a heavy international price for domestic repression is not only a matter of a moral and legal obligation of the international community, but possibly the only way to bring the country to its senses."
As can be seen, Dayan is an activist calling for the boycott of Israel. In a 2015 article by Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions, titled "Hilla Dayan: 'I support the boycott from within,'” she detailed why she supports the boycott. Dayan urged the academic community to devise strategies to deal with "complicity with the occupation, academic profiteering from the occupation, institutionalized racism, incitement against the Palestinian citizens of Israel, inequality and exclusion." And urged to "change the neoliberal academic culture.” She promoted the academic boycott because of "the involvement in the occupation of the Israeli academia in general, and Tel Aviv University in particular" since the academia "heavily services the security establishments.”
The Israeli taxpayers who pay for the high quality of their higher education system should not accept those who call for isolation and punishment of Israel. Therefore, academics who push for BDS should be kept away. Prof. Nevo should not tolerate such interferences, for the sake of independence and autonomy of the academy.
פעילי אקדמיה לשוויון דנים על משבר הקורונה ועתידה של ההשכלה הגבוהה בישראל
דיון מקוון יוצא דופן בנושא עתיד ההשכלה הגבוהה בישראל נערך בשבוע שעבר (4.5) בהשתתפות שלושה פעילים מרכזיים ב"אקדמיה לשוויון" – התארגנות המרצים מן השמאל באוניברסיטאות ובמכללות. בדיון השתתפו פרופ׳ יצחק (יאני) נבו מאוניברסיטת בן גוריון וד״ר הילה דיין מאמסטרדם יוניברסיטי קולג׳. הוא נערך במסגרת סמינר של מכון כהן להיסטוריה ופילוסופיה של המדעים והרעיונות באוניברסיטת תל אביב. את הסמינר ארגנה והנחתה ד״ר לין חלוזין–דברת, והוא עסק בהשפעת המשבר על עובדי האוניברסיטאות, בהשלכות המעבר להוראה המקוונת ובשאלת עתידן של האוניברסיטאות בישראל.
פרופ' נבו דן בהשלכות הציבוריות של מעבר האקדמיה למרחבים דיגיטליים בתחומי ההוראה והמנהל. לדבריו, "נסיגת האוניברסיטה למרחב הדיגיטלי היא זמנית, אך יש מקום לתהייה אם כל אמצעי הננקט 'בשעת חירום' אכן ייעלם עם סיומה מבלי להותיר אחריו עקבות".
לדעתו, מעמדה הציבורי של האקדמיה אינו מתמצה בתפקידיה החברתיים המוכרים במחקר והוראה, בייצור ידע ובהכשרת מומחים לשירות החברה. "תפקידים אלה תוחמים את האקדמיה במסגרת החברתית והפוליטית המעוניינת בהם. העסקה משתלמת לכל הצדדים, אך אין בכך כדי למצות את מעמדה הציבורי של האקדמיה. מעמד זה נגזר מתפקידה הנוסף של האקדמיה. ייצור הידע הוא גם בקרת אי–תלותו והבטחת האוטונומיה הנדרשת לבקרה זו, ובכך גם סימון גבולות הכוח הפוליטי כחלק מסימון גבולות הכוח בחברה דמוקרטית. תכונותיו האינהרנטיות של המוצר האקדמי דורשות מרחב ציבורי בו הידע קודם לכוח, ומרחב זה הוא המרחב האקדמי", אמר. הידע הוא גם כוח, הוסיף פרופ' נבו, "ומכאן המעמד הציבורי והתפקיד הדמוקרטי של האקדמיה, שאינם מתמצים במחקר והוראה בשירות החברה".
הקמפוסים מתרוקנים בעקבות הנגיף
נבו הציג ארבע השלכות של מעבר האקדמיה למרחב הדיגיטלי בעקבות הקורונה על השינוי במעמדה הציבורי ובתפקידה הדמוקרטי. הראשונה: היעלמות האקדמיה כקהילה ציבורית עם התרוקנות הקמפוסים. "הקמפוס הפתוח, בו ייתכנו מפגשים בלתי מתווכים, מוחלף באטומיזציה של יחידים – מרצות וסטודנטים – בחדריהם הפרטיים. הקמפוס הפתוח הוא מקום היווצרות התווך בו נקודות ראות שונות ומנוגדות יכולות להיפגש על בסיס שוויוני ולקיים שיח, לעתים אופוזיציוני. עולה השאלה, האם בהיעדר קמפוס פתוח יכולה להתקיים קהילה אקדמית במובן הציבורי של המונח – קהילה המסוגלת להתאגד לצורך שמירה על האוטונומיה שלה".
המרחב הדיגיטלי, ציין נבו, הוא בלתי דמוקרטי, נתון לשליטת תאגידים מונופוליסטיים וסוכנויות ביון – ואף מרחב של ריגול ומעקב. "מרחב הריגול הדיגיטלי מכונן בעסקה בה אנו, הצרכנים, מקבלים מוצרים ושירותים טכנולוגיים מפתים ורבי עוצמה, שגם מעניקים לנו יכולות לא מבוטלות, ובתמורה מעניקים לתאגידים הטכנולוגיים מידע, הנאסף ללא הרף ונמכר לגורמים מסחריים כפרופילים המאפשרים להם למקד פרסומות, לעצב דעת קהל, לשלוט באינפורמציה ועוד". המידע מועבר גם לסוכנויות ריגול שלטוניות, העוקבות אחר כלל הציבור ויכולות ליצור פרופילים חברתיים–פוליטיים למטרות שליטה בציבור".
הקורונה והמעקב אחר האזרחים
"פרוץ מגפת הקורונה העביר אותנו שלב: מריגול–מעקב פאסיביים אחר כלל האזרחים לריגול–מעקב אקטיביים. ספק אם זה ייעצר שם", הדגיש פרופ' נבו. כניסת האקדמיה למרחב הזה – מעבר להוראה באמצעות "זום" – פירושו "שבין המרצה לבין התלמידה ניצבים לפתע התאגיד הטכנולוגי המתווך את המגע ביניהם, וסוכנות הביון העוקבת אחר המתרחש, ללא זכות להימחק או להישכח. קשה להעלות על הדעת חופש אקדמי בתנאי מעקב אלה".
ההשלכה התעסוקתית של השינוי היא הפיכת העובד האקדמי לגורם מיותר. "די ביצירת מערכת קורסים מקוונת, בשליטה תאגידית–ממשלתית, שיוצעו למוסדות האקדמיה במחירים זולים בהרבה מהחזקת חוקרים ומרצים". ההשלכה הרביעית היא השפעת המרחב הדיגיטלי על עיצוב תודעת הסטודנט. "המרחב הדיגיטלי הוא מרחב המבוסס על היצף. המסך בו שקוע המשתמש משתנה ללא הרף. היצף זה הוא פרי התחרות המסחרית הבלתי פוסקת על תשומת לבו של המשתמש, המהווה היבט מבני של המרחב הדיגיטלי", הדגיש פרופ' נבו. בשיחה הבהירה ד"ר דיין, המתגוררת באמסטרדם, כי דבריה הם חלק מעבודה משותפת עם חברה נוספת באקדמיה לשוויון, אפרת בן שושן גזית, שמטרתה להעלות מודעות ל״דור ראשון״ בהשכלה גבוהה כחלק מתרומת "אקדמיה לשוויון" לשיח הציבורי המתפתח בישראל בנושא קידום המגוון באקדמיה.
ד"ר דיין התייחסה לעתידן של אוכלוסיות ״פריפריאליות״, ״לא מסורתיות״ שאינן רווחות באקדמיה. ההגדרה "דור ראשון" מתארת את "ראשוני הסטודנטים במשפחתם לרכוש השכלה גבוהה, שהן בדרך כלל אוכלוסיות ממעמד סוציו–אקונומי נמוך המגיעות מהשוליים החברתיים, כמו מהגרים או אנשים בעלי זהות אתנית מובחנת". הסטודנטים ב"דור הראשון" מגיעים ברובם אל המוסדות האקדמיים ממערכת חינוך פריפריאלית, נאבקים כלכלית לשרוד באקדמיה ו"נתקלים בחסמים ובקשיים הנובעים מהעדר הביטוס להשכלה גבוהה. הם בדרך כלל מבוגרים יותר מבני מחזורם באוניברסיטה, והם נאלצים לשלב עבודה ופרנסת משפחה עם הלימודים. אחת התופעות הידועות בקרבם היא אחוזי נשירה גבוהים במיוחד".
זאת, לדברי דיין, כי "האקדמיה היא מבנה כוח חברתי, והיחסים ההיררכיים בה הם קרקע פורייה לניצול תעסוקתי, להתעמרות ולפגיעות מיניות – תופעות נפוצות הרבה יותר ממה שאנו נוטים לשער". ד"ר דיין הצביעה על האפליה וההדרה במערכת השכלה הגבוהה בישראל כלפי נשים, ועל ההעדר גורף של מזרחים וערבים, ובעיקר נשים מזרחיות וערביות, מהעמדות הבכירות בסגלי האוניברסיטאות והמכללות השונות.
המצב היה גרוע עוד לפני הקורונה
"היינו במצב גרוע עוד לפני משבר הקורונה: מצב של העדר מגוון, של הפרדה בין אוכלוסיות לפי סוגי השכלה ושל תקרת השכלה לאוכלוסיות פריפריאליות בלי אופק לשינוי, וזאת למרות התרחבות מעגלי ההשכלה הגבוהה והצמיחה הדרמטית של אוכלוסיית הסטודנטים", הדגישה דיין, והוסיפה: "הזינוק במספר הסטודנטים הפריפריאליים נתפס כאינדיקטור של 'הצלחה ושינוי'. אך המחקר הביקורתי מראה שהכניסה עצמה למערכת ההשכלה הגבוהה לא השפיעה באופן משמעותי על מדדי אי–השוויון, ויש עדיין פערי השכלה משמעותיים בין מזרחים ואשכנזים וגם כמובן בין ערבים ויהודים".
המצב חמור עוד יותר כי האקדמיה הישראלית מצטיינת באימוץ הנורמות והפרקטיקות הניאו–ליברליות וקיים לחץ ממסדי עצום להפוך את האקדמיה לטכנוקרטית יותר ול״בעלת אימפקט״ שנמדד במדדים שרירותיים. "הלקסיקון של צדק, שוויון ושלטון החוק נזרק לפח והוחלף בהיגיון ובשפה של כמותנות ונראות גלובלית. זה העצים את ההיגיון המריטוקרטי הדומיננטי ושדרג אותו להיפר–מריטוקרטיה שבשמה נדחית כל טענה על אפליה מבנית או הדרה היסטורית של אוכלוסיות ללא נגישות ללימודים גבוהים". בנוסף, לא מתקיים כלל דיון על נורמות השיפוט לגבי ערכי הקפיטליזם הניאו–ליברלי כמו ״מצוינות״, ״אימפקט״ או ״יעילות״.
כיצד ישפיע משבר הקורונה על האוכלוסיות הפריפריאליות? "מיותר לציין שהתנאים לכניסה לשדה, לפריצת תקרת ההשכלה הגבוהה של אוכלוסיות מודרות מסורתית יהיו מן הסתם גרועים לאין שיעור. עוד לפני המשבר היו חסמים אדירים של פערי השכלה, חסמים גזעניים וחסמים משמעותיים אחרים, ועכשיו יאלצו רבים לוותר על לימודים וחלומות לקריירה אקדמית או לנשור ממסלולים אקדמיים בשל הלחצים הכלכליים", אמרה ד"ר דיין.
דיין האשימה גם את המרצים עצמם בהשלמה עם המציאות שמכתיבות הנורמות הניאו–ליברליות: "אנחנו מתנהגים במערכת להשכלה גבוהה כמו עדר – כפי שמצופה מאיתנו". זאת, חרף העובדה שבאקדמיה פועלים מרצות ומרצים בעלי ידע תיאורטי ביקורתי, ורבים מהם דוגלים בשינוי חברתי ואף נכונים לקדמו. אבל במקום מראה שחורה, אני רוצה להתמקד בהזדמנויות שאולי נפתחו דווקא על רקע המשבר״. יש לנו הזדמנות, כוח ואחריות לאפשר את פריצת תקרת ההשכלה באמצעות שימוש בקריטריון המגוון או 'דור ראשון' כשיקול מרכזי בקידום סטודנטים ובוועדות מינויים. עלינו האחריות ללמד כאילו כולם 'דור ראשון', כלומר לפתח פדגוגיות מכילות לאוכלוסיות מודרות, אחריות להנגיש השכלה גבוהה לציבור רחב יותר, ואחריות לפתוח את התוכניות שלנו ואת הפרסומים שלנו ואת מאגרי הידע", הוסיפה.
פוטנציאל הלמידה המקוונת
ד"ר דיין סבורה שבצד היבטיו השליליים, משבר הקורונה מזמן הזדמנויות חדשות לשינוי באקדמיה. למשל, בשאלת הדמוקרטיזציה של הידע האקדמי וההנגשה שלו לציבור הרחב. "אני חושבת שהמשבר גרם לכך שניתנה תשובה ספונטנית ומואצת לשאלת הלמידה מרחוק. תופעת הלוואי החיובית של השימוש הנרחב באפליקציית זום בהוראה – אופיה החינמי והפתוח. נחשוב איך למנף את השפע הזה כדי לקדם הכלה ונגישות".
לדבריה יש לקדם דרישה לפיה הלימודים המקוונים יהיו פתוחים לכל – גם למי שאינם יכולים להירשם ללימודים מלאים ולמי שאינם אזרחים, לרבות פליטים וחסרי מעמד: "עלינו לדרוש שהאוניברסיטה או המכללה תשכיל לשלב אותם".
בעקבות המשבר ניתן גם לקדם דגם אחר של השכלה גבוהה, "בכיוון ההפוך לגלובליזציה, ואם תהיה האטה במגמה של הפיכת הקמפוסים לחממות של האליטות הבינלאומיות, זו גם התפתחות חיובית. אוכלוסיות 'דור ראשון' ילידיות הן בדרך כלל המפסידות מהגלובליזציה וההיפר–מריטוקרטיזציה של האקדמיה".
בהקשר הישראלי, ציינה, "בראש ובראשונה יש לשאוף לחסל את המערכת המרובדת שיצרה המהפכה הניאו–ליברלית בחינוך ואת ההפרדה הנוקשה בין מערכת מסוג א׳ ומערכת מסוג ב׳ שמשמרת את הנחיתות המבנית של המכללות, ועמן של אוכלוסיות שלמות". ד"ר דיין הוסיפה שבאקדמיה לשוויון דנים כעת ומפתחים רעיונות בנושא. לדבריה, "הועלו הצעות חדשות ורעננות".
בסיכום דבריה הדגישה דיין: "המשבר הכי דרמטי הוא משבר מקבלי ההחלטות. השאלה הבוערת היא – מי מחליט? מי מחליט על מדיניות? על תקציבים? מי שולט במשאבים? הרי כולנו מזועזעים ומזועזעות מההומוגניות ומחוסר הייצוג הבוטה בקרב מקבלי ההחלטות. העדר מגוון באקדמיה תורם תרומה סגולית למשבר מקבלי ההחלטות. לכן, צריך להמשיך לייצר ולפתח כלים ומושגים חדשים למאבק שיחייב רפלקציה על האקדמיה כמבנה שמשמר כוח חברתי וכלכלי של קבוצות דומיננטיות. הרשו לי לסיום לפנטז אפילו על סוג של 'תוכנית מרשל' לקידום מגוון באוניברסיטאות והשוואת תנאי המכללות באופן שבאמת יאפשר את פתיחת השדה ויסייע לפריצה של כוחות חדשים".
הרשימה עומדת להתפרסם בגיליון "זו הדרך" הקרוב
Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions
Hilla Dayan: “I support the boycott from within”
Posted on June 29, 2015 by anthroboycott
[This post originally appeared on Mondoweiss; a Hebrew version was published on Haokets]
On June 8th, 2015 Tel Aviv University academics held a first ever discussion on BDS. The following is an address given by Dr. Hilla Dayan at the conference:
I would like to thank Irit Naaman and Nissim Mizrahi, head of the sociology and anthropology department. It speaks to the quality of the department under your leadership, Nissim, that such a controversial and difficult issue is up for discussion here.
This last week I was feeling a bit chilly. That may sound odd seeing that it’s June in Israel, but it may be that I was suffering from what lawyers diagnose as the “chilling effect”. I could not avoid thoughts such as “why did I say yes? why do I need this headache? I am only a guest researcher here. What if I am asked to give interviews on this topic? What will the audience think? Who will show up?” In short, I couldn’t sleep too well.
This is understandable considering the recent public uproar about BDS, and the political sphere in which this discussion is held. As you know, since 2011 a law has been added to the Israeli books, allowing lawsuits to be brought against anyone calling for a boycott on Israel. If I use this opportunity to call for supporting the academic boycott, I may be exposing myself to harassments, litigation and financial sanctions. The law applies to anyone who publicly takes part in a call for a boycott of academic institutions, including in the Occupied Territories, and not just to the instigators of such boycotts. In April of this year, the Israeli High Court essentially authorized the law with some minor changes. This is one of the most blatantly anti-democratic laws of the past few years. It is aiming at symbolic pre-emption, at criminalizing and stigmatizing all those who support the Palestinians’ nonviolent struggle through boycott, a tactic widely considered a legitimate form of protest all over the world. This law incites against groups like “Boycott from Within” and the Women’s Coalition for Peace and against research projects like “Who Profits from the Occupation,” with a view to obliterating them from the public sphere. In the last couple of weeks I have the feeling that somebody must have regretted the “chilling effect” of the law. It now seems that the boycott is a hot topic on the lips of the Israeli elite, including government ministers, captains of industry, university chancellors visiting the President and even Sheldon Adelson! We hold this debate on the academic boycott in the midst of a marked escalation of the rhetoric of BDS as a strategic threat to Israel’s existence. The point of the media frenzy is to mobilize the state’s official and informal propaganda organs and secure monetary pledges for the war on the global “hasbara” front.
Now let’s look at the academic context of our debate. I came of age academically in the 1990s, during what you may call the golden age of critical scholarship and activism here at Tel Aviv University, and at the Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow. This university is my alma mater, and it was here that my intellectual and spiritual worldview was molded forever. However, it’s clear to me that you, young scholars today, operate in a very different climate. Let’s start from what has not changed since the 1990s. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Israeli universities have still not bothered to implement policies aimed at eliminating inequality in education. In terms of Inequality in education Israel rates close to Mexico, Turkey and Slovakia, at the bottom of the OECD. One might wonder why inequality and the exclusion of vast populations from the university is not seen as a strategic threat serious enough to bring university chancellors to the Presidential Mansion. I see a direct link between the universities’ indifference to issues of social justice in Israel, and their indifference to the goings on in the Occupied Territories, the bombing of schools and educational infrastructure in Gaza, the denial of freedom of movement and serial arrests of Palestinian students and staff and the rubberstamping of the settlement “University” of Ariel. In both the political and social fields the universities are operating under the well known law of physics the law of the conservation of hegemony.
The idea that as academics we are “independent” of state and market is always fallacious. Nevertheless, something did change in the past decade or so. Paradoxically, the neoliberal era has intensified the academia’s dependence on state and market. In addition, let us be frank about this, we witness the consummation of the transformation of Israel’s ruling elite. The new settler elite, which is religiously neoliberal, aspires expressly to mold Israeli society in its own image. Now that Naftali Bennet is Minister of Education and Miri Regev is Minister of Culture, it has the chance to complete from above the educational revolution that it initiated from below. We will soon be encountering the stormtroopers of McCarthyism, the Im Tirtzus and Academia Monitors, not as street level activists but as administrators and department heads. All over the world, the critical disciplines of the humanities and social sciences have been bled dry as the entire logic of the university system is subservient to market rationality and market needs. In the local context, our discipline of sociology is not only “leftist” by definition, and thus subject to termination with extreme prejudice, but also useless since it produces knowledge that is unusable to capital. Scholars critical of neoliberalism are also under Academia Monitor’s watchful eye; they too are seen as “anti-Israeli.” Moshe Klughaft, the “genius” who ran the failed electoral campaign of Habait Hayehudi (the Jewish Home), and who was paid 1.2 million NIS for it (!), is past master of this tactic. I am referring to the tactic of wearing down critical scholars through the endless proliferation of infantile provocations, defamations, lies, libel and plain old harrassment, or in his words: “it doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it sticks”. When I’ve asked academics about this, I’ve been met with roaring silence as if these were nothing but a flock of annoying, harmless insects. The working assumption is that so long as the university does not take steps against you, you are safe. Well, forgive me for being crude, but that’s like someone who has shit stuck to the shoe and is not surprised to see flies all over it.
It’s worth mentioning that when one scholar, Neve Gordon, decided not to remain silent and sued, the court ruled in his favor; nevertheless, I am convinced that the decision not to devote attention or financial resources to this phenomenon is correct both in principle and practically speaking, for individuals. But this dynamic shows us how the neoliberal academia serves ruling elites by isolating us, compelling us to be concerned exclusively with our own survival under conditions of brutal competition, as adjunct faculty who are significantly worse off than our professors’ generation. Last summer, during operation Protective Edge in Gaza, this university did not hesitate to join in the hysterical militaristic mobilization and warned that it would take steps against “expressions of extremism” on Facebook. It’s not a coincidence that the university is indifferent to the defamation of its employees and does nothing to prevent the use of such ignominious tactics, but speaks out against “expressions of extremism” whose context is clear as day: protest against the war.
Even when the object of such attack is an academic center, it is always personal, always undertaken in the form of “blacklists” of researchers. These attacks and surveillance of students and teachers on social networks can have serious consequences. In an age in which graduate students are expected to act as entrepreneurs, in which you must constantly produce academic capital through publications, even before you have your research planned out, when you must become an expert in fundraising and marketing and must devote considerable resources and time to this activity, you had better be pretty careful and think twice before you write a Facebook status that could put you in trouble and end up draining your energy. To wrap up this part of my talk, let me just say that it’s unfair to expect that you, as young researchers trying to survive in the neoliberal academia, will stick out your necks and publicly declare your support for academic boycott, an act equivalent to professional suicide in the current political climate. And who would be served by this harakiri, exactly? So please, no self-sacrifice. What I do suggest, and what I believe in with all my heart, is that our generation, the generation born into the neoliberal revolution in education, has the ability and the means to catalyze a process of rethinking the university. We must challenge the imbrication in the occupation and in the reproduction of social inequality which reflect the twisted priorities of Israeli governments. Together, as an academic community, we need to devise collective strategies that are not only strategies of self defense, but that tackle head on the main issues: complicity with the occupation, academic profiteering from the occupation, institutionalized racism, incitement against the Palestinian citizens of Israel, inequality and exclusion. If we choose to pick our fight and deal exclusively with Israeli academia’s involvement in the occupation, we will rightly be seen as a group struggling only to maintain the current status of the Ashkenazi left in the academia for the foreseeable future. If we don’t fight to change the neoliberal academic culture in which we are all implicated just as we are implicated in the oppression of the Palestinians, if we don’t fight the McCarthyism that has flourished under its auspices, and if we don’t fight the institutionalized racism of the Israeli educational system then we are nothing but the servants of the antidemocratic, antisocial elite that rules the country.
So; the academic boycott. As you have all been waiting so politely, it’s time I presented the goods. I may disappoint some people here by not presenting the case against the involvement in the occupation of the Israeli academia in general, and Tel Aviv University in particular. It’s a strong case that shows that academia heavily services the security establishments, which it endows with special grants and speedy academic titles. Academic research is being used to provide legal and ethical justifications for the occupation, philosophers serve on military tribunals sentencing refusniks, archeologists dig in the service of the extreme right in Jerusalem, and the list is long. I would be glad to share with you these materials.
I would like to suppose that those of you who are ambivalent about the boycott are ambivalent due to legitimate career concerns or due to worries about the methods used by this campaign or about its efficacy in fighting the occupation. Supposing that these are your concerns, I will use the rest of my time to discuss the arguments of those who oppose the boycott as leftists. These arguments are rife with logical fallacies and sanctimony. Many of those who present them believe that pressure on corporations like Orange and the settlement boycott are legitimate, but not the academic boycott. Why, exactly? Why single the academia out for special treatment let everybody else suffer? Why should academics, who enjoy a privileged socioeconomic status, enjoy an immunity while other, much more vulnerable populations are exposed? On the one hand, they reject the politicization of the academia in the name of “academic freedom”, but on the other hand they never hesitate to resort to the “leftism defense”, so to speak, claiming that the Israeli academia is progressive, peaceseeking and critical of the regime; well, which is it? Is the academia political or apolitical? On the one hand, they are for dialogue and an exchange of ideas, but at the same time they adamantly oppose any demand to take a stance on the occupation, so what exchange exactly are we talking about here, and what is its practical import? They claim that the boycott impedes cooperation between Palestinian and Israeli academics. Excuse me, haven’t you gotten a little confused? Is it the boycott that impedes cooperation or the regime of separation and occupation?
Leftist opponents of boycott oppose the occupation and the government but aren’t the least bit ashamed to use the “Netanyahu defense” and present any international criticism as anti-Semitism or as a call for Israel’s destruction. Thankfully, we were spared the Netanyahu defense in the letter sent by the Israeli Anthropological Association to the American Anthropological Association, a letter which attempted to foreclose a debate on Israel last year’s AAA annual meeting by the way, an interesting approach when it comes from the mouths of the champions of “freedom of speech.” Nevertheless, readers were treated to the illuminating insight that the name “Israel” was mentioned in the meeting’s program more often than that of any other Middle Eastern country, an insight followed by one of the letter’s many exclamation marks. How embarrassing, using these rhetorical figures lifted from Netanyahu’s speeches at the UN or Ayelet Shaked’s Knesset tirades: why is Israel singled out? And why anthropologists? Why don’t you boycott ISIS or the Arab countries? The result is that of all those opposing the boycott, it is the leftist anthropologists mostly Ashkenazis of Anglophone extraction who resort to what I call the “villa in the jungle defence.” In its first collective declaration since 1988, the IAA presents a counterfactual reality in which it is the victim of the Palestinians and of American colonialism.
Let me end on an optimistic note and point out that 43 young scholars, myself included, declare our opposition to this attempt to prevent discussion about Israel. I’m here, among other reasons, to encourage you to join us, because more is doubtless to come. Many of us signed on anonymously, for reasons I don’t need to explain to you; nevertheless this is a collective endeavor which signals the arrival of a new generation, one which refuses to go on with the capitulations, the apologetics and the avoidance of responsibility which characterize many older and more privileged academics than ourselves. The claim that international pressure is what brought about the end of apartheid has already become a BDS cliché. Having done fieldwork in the archives of apartheid, I can say that the international boycott was indeed effective, but apartheid was first and foremost destroyed from the inside. The signal for its breathtakingly rapid collapse was the revolt against the educational system in the black townships. Students, including those on white campuses who joined the protest, started a campaign calling for ungovernability. Apartheid came down when the logic of control and the human food chain that it created lost their efficacy in organizing the everyday life of the privileged, the underprivileged and the semiprivileged. Internal resistance and outside pressure together culminated until they have reached the tipping point in the late 1980s. This is the possibility that I would like to point out in our own context. I do not support the boycott out of desperation, the belief that only the “civilized” world will save Israel from itself. I support the boycott from within, out of a love of the people living here, as an act of patriotic love for this place, out of solidarity with the Palestinian struggle, out of fidelity to the idea of the university as handmaiden of society, not the state, and out of a hope that I will never ever lose, a hope for our future, after apartheid Israel.
About Dr. Hilla Dayan
Dr. Hilla Dayan is a lecturer at Amsterdam University College in the Netherlands. She studied at Tel Aviv University, and completed her graduate studies in the United States, obtaining an MA at the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. at the New School for Social Research in New York. She is a veteran activist, and a co-founder of gate48, platform for critical Israelis in the Netherlands.
ISRAEL AGAINST DEMOCRACY
Israel is currently undergoing a quiet anti-democratic revolution spurred by a self-proclaimed ‘second Zionist revolution’. It began with serial admonitions directed against academics, civil society associations and foundations, veteran human rights NGOs, individual anti-occupation activists and the Palestinian citizen minority at large. ‘Scientific findings’ have been presented to Parliamentary committees supposedly exposing the subversive activities of ‘the enemies from within’. There were explicit threats, such as the ultimatum given to the president of Ben Gurion University to dispose of anti-Zionist faculty within 30 days or else University donors would be approached and asked to withdraw their donations. This insidious threat first backfired, provoking protest in the name of academic freedom. But the demand succeeded eventually in severely undermining academic freedom. Ben Gurion University recently adopted new bylaws, which threaten academics with disciplinary measures for opposing government policies by supporting academic boycotts. The irony of course, is that this ‘revolution’ is not waged in the name of the people but on behalf of the state, and against democracy.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has lifted the settlers’ movement to a historical peek of power. Split into small ultra-nationalist parties in fierce competition for visibility, the movement nevertheless occupies a position of hegemony. It today claims to represent not a minority, a rather marginal sub-sector of Israeli society, but ‘the Jewish people’, on whose behalf the current Israeli Parliament, the 18th Knesset, unleashed a tsunami of anti-democratic legislation. Literally hundreds of new proposed bills seek to restrict the freedom of expression and association of individuals and organizations, and severely penalize Israeli citizens for a variety of legitimate and non-violent political activities. In March 2010, the Knesset enacted the Nakba Law, allowing the State to revoke government funding for groups and public institutions commemorating the 1948 Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe). In July, the anti-boycott bill passed into law. This law levies punitive fines without a need for proof of damage on citizens who are alleged to call for academic, cultural or economic boycotts. It could lead to revoking the non-profit status of, and thus effectively ban, organizations such as the Coalition of Women for Peace, whose research into the economy of the occupation (whoprofits.org
) has played a pivotal role in successful international campaigns promoting government and corporate social responsibility. Theatres may censure artists and actors who refuse to perform in theatres illegally built on Palestinian land for fear of losing government funding. The bill’s stated purpose is to protect Israel’s illegal
Hilla Dayan (Ph.D. New School for Social Research, New York) is a lecturer at Amsterdam University College and the International Relations Policy Advisor for the Coalition of Women for Peace (Israel).
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settlements in the Palestinian Occupied Territories. It turns Israeli citizens by default into active supporters of violations of international law. It enables settlers and right-wing organizations to harass political opponents and companies and drag them to court day in day out on false ‘boycott’ charges. A marked escalation of repression, the turning point being the 2008-2009 military offensive in Gaza, translated public admonitions of dissent into fullscale anti-democratic legal revision. This legal revision is dealing a blow, the strongest to date, perhaps the most lethal, to the country’s shaky democratic foundations and liberal image. It is as anti-intellectual, racist, fanatic, and intolerant of dissent as the ‘lords of the land’ ideology of the settlers. With the help of its long civilian arm, the extreme right in power is clearly demonstrating that it is willing and able to go to great length in undermining democracy and wreaking havoc on Israeli civil society and the Palestinian minority in order to sustain the occupation and the settlements at all costs. What distinguishes this new populist movement from the populism we are familiar with in Europe is that it does not raise the spectre of a Zionist revolution in opposition to the status quo, but in an attempt to violently enforce it. The Israeli settlers’ movement and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands nonetheless share not only dubious funding sources and a vulgar vision of the conflict that manipulatively seeks to advance parochial interests by globalizing islamophobia; they also share a desire to dominate the political discourse entirely. Wilders’ extremist Israeli friends seem to be in a better position, since they are currently in power, to enforce by law intolerance of opposition and persecution of ideological enemies.
We can certainly attribute the legal revision enacted by this movement against democracy to the growing visibility and international success of the non-violent resistance to the occupation in Israel/Palestine and internationally. Israeli leaders officially acknowledge, by initiating the boycott prohibition bill, for instance, that the international boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) is actually effective. Indeed, Israel’s international status is plummeting. According to a recent BBC poll surveying 27 countries, Israel is grouped with Iran and North Korea as ‘the world's least popular countries’ and viewed as having a negative influence in the world. Just when it seems that the international community is approaching the point of finally having enough of Israel’s entrenched policies of occupation and settlement, Israel is turning its back both to the forces of democratization in the Middle East, and to the West, trumping international sensibilities as to basic standards of democracy. Israel’s international isolation is clearly a result of misguided actions of a reckless government lashing out at its citizens for allegedly causing the ‘delegitimisation of Israel’ rather than seriously dealing with the new realities taking shape in the region. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu considered boycotting the Mideast Quartet meeting for fear of international pressure. His Foreign Minister, Avigdor Liebermann, blatantly lied about his ‘successful meetings’ in Europe, forcing heads of state to respond by underlining major disagreements. The notion that Israel could protect itself from
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‘delegitimisation’ through domestic repression of dissent is preposterous. Crushing dissent will not turn the tide. International pressure and solidarity with the non-violent resistance to the occupation will continue to soar. Even when it backlashes, even when it sometimes unintentionally puts at risk those activists struggling on the ground to end the occupation, international pressure is both necessary and productive in the short and the long run. Policy makers and international stakeholders confronted persuasively and effectively with the resolve of Palestinian, Israeli and international civil society to demand justice, accountability and an end to a brutal occupation by Israel must act to defend individuals and organizations from government retribution and punish this government for its anti-democratic excesses. Ensuring that Israel pays a heavy international price for domestic repression is not only a matter of a moral and legal obligation of the international community, but possibly the only way to bring the country to its senses. No matter how far-reaching new repressive laws are, dissenters and human rights defenders in Israel will not stop their struggle for democracy and justice at the government’s command. These democratic forces will not be silenced, not even by a state whose desperate actions signal to the world that it is currently indifferent to its prospects of becoming the only dictatorship in the Middle East.
- The Amsterdam Law Forum is supported by the VU University Library -
Beyond mere veneer: neoliberalism and Zionism in Israeli academia
Author’s note: The following is the text of a lecture I gave at a SOAS conference in October. I thank the organizers for inviting me.
I am sure most of us can agree that we are meeting in the shadow of multiple crises, in Europe, in Israel/Palestine, and in academia. I don’t think anyone here is not institutionally complicit with the refugee crisis or the Greek crisis, with the Israeli occupation and violence, and with neoliberal academia. Whether critical of it or not we subscribe to academic institutions that are by and large conservative, undemocratic, self- perpetuating, exclusionary to people of color, indifferent to the stateless, subservient to ruling elites, and servicing corporate-military interests and complexes. This list is far from exhaustive but will serve to situate Israeli academia in the global academic context. The focus of my talk is nevertheless the Israeli academia and the co- hegemonies of Zionism and neoliberal rationality. Clearly the occupation shapes Israeli academia in many ways, which are difficult to put in a snappy, straightforward manner. But my intention is not so much to theorize or pathologize Israeli academia as an exception because of the occupation, but to address the relationship between academia and Israeli society. It is probably clear to most of you that in Israel, neoliberal rationality enfolds in an already frighteningly shrunk liberal space under unprecedented government assault in recent years. The neoliberalization of education in particular, as Yossi Yona and Yossi Dahan once argued, produces subjects that are “better citizens,” that is, more loyal to the state and its market logic than ever before. This goes to show that presenting Israeli academia as mere veneer, falsely advertising Israel as a liberal state, entirely misses the point. Academia is a domain reflecting most clearly the demise of liberalism, and the social impact of academia cannot be simplistically reduced to its usefulness for hasbara. I am going to develop next three main contentions: 1. that academia turns its back to society; 2. that it has significant social and political impact, and 3. that because of 1 and 2 it should not be abandoned as a critical domain for our struggle for democracy. Historically a pre-state Zionist institution, academia was from the outset harnessed to the goals of the national movement by Zionist Ashkenazi elites. This core orientation and the demographic makeup of the Israeli academic elite have not changed substantially for decades that followed the establishment of the state. Uri Ram has written expertly on the genealogy of disciplines in academia, and the impact of globalization on the production of knowledge in Israel. My lay understanding of what began in the 1990s as an accelerated opening up of the educational market and the overall impact of the college boom is very limited. What seems beyond dispute is: 1. the creation of a two-tired system and multiple trajectories for education had channeled a growing demand for higher education into professions useful for capital such as management, accounting and lawyering. 2. Inequality in education grew. Even as the student population swelled and the number of degrees conferred sky-rocketed, inequality in education did not level up. Yes, many more Palestinians obtain university degrees but their presence in Israeli academia is still an anomaly. The number of Palestinian and Mizrahi faculty is still statistically negligible. Gaps between Israeli-Jews along ethnic lines have been consistent over decades. Although subject to controversy, some suggest they deepen, especially the educational gaps between third generation Mizrahim and Ashkenazim. Unemployment rates are significantly high for the educated Palestinian middle-class. Poor populations are channeled into separate, inferior education streams. Bedouins, orthodox Jews and citizens of Ethiopian descent, for instance, are virtually excluded from higher education. The massive underclass of asylum seekers and migrant workers is not supposed to study at all. One can speak of Israel’s university education as the end-point of segregation, exclusion and denial of education. One cannot say that academia merely reflects a racial order. It is also doing the ordering. Paradoxically, rather than democratizing higher education, the commodification and technocratization of education accelerated the drift away from society and further in the direction of power: from Ivory tower to Ivory power. The drift in the direction of power paradoxically triggers a crisis of public relevance – what is the university good for? The more academia is becoming increasingly untenable and obsolete – untenable as vocation and obsolete as a domain where rival contestations over society take place – the more pressing is this question. This crisis is deeply felt, especially in the critical disciplines but not only. In the Israeli context specifically, we have to ask who can afford the increasingly absurd aspiration for an academic career, and at what cost, personal and social. As Michel Feher urges us to consider, in the neoliberal condition our subjective disposition is of portfolio managers: our greatest asset is credit, we must attract investors (grants) and convince everyone to have confidence in our speculated chance to succeed in the academic market. When I say neoliberal it is in that deeper subjective and anti-social sense. Having argued that academia is increasingly obsolete and in the neoliberal epoch also increasingly demanding from academics indifference to society, I now want to describe some of its social effects. Take for example the stiff competition between academic institutions located in Israel’s periphery to attract “strong” students and faculty from the affluent center. Faculty and students from the center are induced to relocate to the Negev, where they can “strengthen” already wealthy and ethnically segregated Jewish neighborhoods and settlements. Academia is not responsible for decades-long neglect of the so-called “periphery” or for massive land dispossession and expulsions amounting to domestic ethnic cleansing of the Bedouins in the Negev. This is a government policy. Yet, in pursuit of self-interest it contributes its fair share to neglect and dispossession. Operating under a similar premise Tel Aviv University divulges subsidies for students to rent housing in Tel Aviv’s poor neighborhoods, particularly those adjacent to its plush “heart.” In administering this populist financial aid scheme, TAU furthers government pressures put on refugees under the permanent threat of expulsion. It also serves the interests of developers to dispossess the original Mizrahi populations through aggressive forms of gentrification. I now want to link this to the rather well known and substantial ties between Israeli academia and the military. Once again, to attribute it to the lack of separation between academia and the state, to a shared Zionist orientation would be to state the obvious. It is also and obviously business relations. Whereas measures to encourage the economically disadvantaged or Israel’s poor, if at all, are left to the discretion of individual departments and colleges, the IDF, a sector of society already well endowed with generous salaries and pensions, is institutionally privileged because it is lucrative for academia to generate special programs and fast tracks to degrees for military personnel. Ben Gurion University, for instance, will probably become financially solvent by providing services to Ir Habahadim, a massive installation of military schools built in its vicinity. Yet, this utilitarian explanation is insufficient. If we want to consider the evolution of the relations between academia and the military in terms of the neoliberal revolution we can approach service to the military rather as generating credit for academia from the new elites of the “start up nation,” the to-be-rulers. Perhaps no other term than “start up nation” captures more succinctly the spirit of Zionism in the age of neoliberalism. It is the valorization as an expression of patriotism of private profiteering from occupation expertise; the occupation is the only venture from which there is no exit. No other figure of speech and no other figure personifies it better than the current minister of education Naftali Bennet, leader of the settler ruling party Habayit Hayehudi, the former IT magnet, who happens to reside in the rich coastal town of Raanana. What the few examples I provided demonstrate is that academia’s social effects cannot be delinked from its more direct contribution to the normalization and permanence of the occupation, with the most obvious example being the acceptance to its midst of the settlement “university” of Ariel. Normally, Israeli academics rarely make public interventions that directly support the occupation. In an exceptional press conference, ethics experts argued recently for legalizing the forced feeding of a Palestinian hunger striker, Muhammad Allan, against the notable objection of the Israeli medical association (“a Philosophical emergency decree”). Of a different magnitude of complicity altogether is the more systematic and longstanding involvement of an entire discipline, Israeli Archeology, in land grab and Jewish settlement, particularly in East Jerusalem and in the West Bank. So much so that the state refused to reveal in court the identity of archeologists active in the OPT and their digging sites, citing the necessity to protect them from international boycott. Academia is, needless to say, indifferent to the bombing of school buildings in Gaza, the denial of freedom of movement that debilitates Palestinian educational institutions, administrative arrests of Palestinian academics, and regular army incursion into campuses. In June this year, in the midst of public uproar and a media frenzy portraying the BDS movement as Israel’s top “strategic threat,” heads of universities stalked the nationalist flames in an emergency visit to Israel’s president to express their concern with the academic boycott without raising the slightest concern with the goings-on in the OPT. It makes perfect sense that academic institutions are concerned with their international standing. But the visit to the president demonstrated not just academia’s consistent hypocritical denial of its complicity with the occupation, but also its pursuit of narrow self-interest and inability to prioritize as a national agenda what is by far more threatening to society and the future of academia itself than any current boycott campaign – the demise of public education which is not market or technologically driven and extreme inequality. We can end the story right here, simply dismissing Israeli academia as a culprit, but as Anat Matar brilliantly reminds us, the entrenched conservatism of academia as a historical institution is not a given. Its subservience to rule of whatever type is a political project and must be regarded as such. In the rest of the time, I would like to shortly address this political project in some more detail and contextualize it. In hindsight it is interesting to pay attention to the period before Zionism neoliberalized. My hunch is that the neoliberal revolution at first triggered a legitimation crisis for Zionism until it managed to recuperate and adapt. During the 1990s de- Zionification emerged as a horizon or a possibility, however circumscribed. The pioneers within the critical disciplines of the humanities and social science in academia instigated an epistemological unraveling. Resistance to Zionism existed of course from the outset of the movement, but it is my impression that because academia is not separated from the state, resistance from within academia generated respectability and cultural weight to dissent, which was initially very significant. I believed as a student at the time that it is bound to lead in one direction to a point of no return. The intellectual and academic milieu of the Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow totally blew my mind. This is what academia meant for me personally when I began the journey up to the moment of unraveling. One is not born but becomes non-Zionist. This leap is huge and too daunting to formulate here. It turned out however that on all fronts – academia, Mizrahi and anti-occupation politics – whatever opening existed in contestation over social significations and social meanings was crushed with the closing of the decade. It was possible to put the Ginny back in the bottle. Israeli academia managed to contain, to control, to redirect and quite possibly strangle to death the epistemological revolution and what I would like to propose without theorizing it any further is that this had everything to do with the reactionary counter-revolution of Neozionism. New generations of critical scholars today operate under much more restrictive conditions politically and epistemologically than those of my generation and certainly of the generation of the pioneers. Under the rule of settler elites that are thoroughly neoliberal and have all the intentions of shaping academia (as other domains) in their own image the long vilified “anti-Zionists” in academia are currently subject to the permanent threat of expulsion with extreme political prejudice. This is generally speaking a silent purge, highly individualized, aided by the managerial depravities of academia and by the backwind of populist anti-intellectual contempt, which tragically is shared by a new generation of Mizrahi activists. The academic left is dismissed as self-serving, socially parasitic, disloyal, and indifferent to society. Sad to say, the accusations tend to be true. The irony is of course that populist attacks on the academic left in the name of neozionist revolutionaries emanate from and are sponsored from above, ensuring thus that the elimination of the old guards of leftism in academia will leave the university in its current form completely intact – complicit with the occupation, socially exclusionary and neoliberal. This is the political project currently underway and that is why those who manage to survive within Israeli academia and are not forced into exile are understandably busy with survival. Yet the state of indignant withdrawal from public space just confirms ultimately our entrenched complicity with neoliberal academia and with social and political injustice. The problem is not that there are no critical voices or critical studies produced in Israel, to be sure there are. The problem is that academia as a domain for a counter-hegemonic struggle was abandoned with grave social consequences. This abandonment, and I have to qualify what I have to say now by underlining my relatively secure position as an insider-outsider, seems to me ultimately short sighted and self-defeating, a pervasive expression of nihilistic despair from Israeli society. There is enough cynicism and disillusion with academia all around, but at this point I believe it is too rash and early to declare it hopeless. We academics began to understand the way we sustain the empty edifices of our neoliberal institutions, and what that means is that we are in a unique position to have the privilege and the power to collapse and rebuild it anew. Ernesto Laclau said that the greatest challenge is not only to defend our own autonomy from hegemony. Laclau’s luminary guidance is that we must advance in the direction of autonomy and hegemony in the struggle for democracy. In the context of Israeli academia we have a strong case to make linking academia’s contribution to social injustices and the occupation. It is in that spirit that we have launched a new initiative, the members-based association Academia for equality that is currently under construction and calls on anyone with links to Israeli academia or in exile from it to join. The idea is to solidify an inclusive and accommodating of antagonisms bloc to tackle all the issues – complicity with the occupation, inequality and exclusion, persecution of critical academics, the neoliberal academic culture. My motivation to pursue this, as a leftie in exile, is to cultivate hope for the society that has made me the academic that I am, to pay back my debt. I still operate as if I am a manager of my academic life/portfolio, but I accept that such an impoverished, lone existence has a larger meaning than simply shaping my personal experience and conduct. Academia, to conclude, should not be abandoned as a domain for our common struggle in the name of society and for the society of the future in a democratic, post-neoliberal Israel/Palestine.
Dr Hilla Dayan is a Lecturer at Amsterdam University College. The title of the conference was Settlers and Citizens: a critical view of Israeli Society.
Occupation Magazine | January 5, 2009
Israeli citizens calling upon international community to stop Israel
Among the signatories some very well-known artists, musicians and writers such as Dror Burstein, Ala Hlehel, Yitzhak Laor, Yehudith Levin, Avi Mograbi, Michal Naaman, Salman Natour, Judd Ne'eman, Aharon Shabtay, and Arik Shapira (Israel Prize Laureate) - and university professors such as Yossef Grodginski, Uri Hadar, Hannan Hever, Orly Lubin, Adi Ophir, Yehuda Shenhav and Eyal Weitzman. The petition was presented by the initiators to the embassies in Israel.
Please find enclosed a petition signed by about 500 Israeli citizens, calling for urgent international intervention in order to stop Israel from continuing the war it has waged against the Palestinian people in Gaza.
It is the signatories' belief that Israel's atrocities will not cease without a massive intervention by the international community. In particular, they ask world leaders to implement the call by Palestinian human rights organizations which urges:
• “The UN Security Council to call an emergency session and adopt concrete measures, including the imposition of sanctions, in order to ensure Israel's fulfillment of its obligations under international humanitarian law.
• The High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfill their obligation under common Article 1 to ensure respect for the provisions of the Conventions, taking appropriate measures to compel Israel to abide by its obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular placing pivotal importance on the respect and protection of civilians from the effects of the hostilities.
• The High Contracting Parties to fulfill their legal obligation under Article 146 of the Fourth Geneva Convention to prosecute those responsible for grave breaches of the Convention.
• EU institutions and member states to make effective use of the European Union Guidelines on promoting compliance with international humanitarian law (2005/C 327/04) to ensure Israel complies with international humanitarian law under paragraph 16 (b), (c) and (d) of these guidelines, including the adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions, as well as cessation of all upgrade dialogue with Israel. “
The petition itself and a list of all Israeli signatories are attached to this letter.
Professor Rachel Giora, Tel Aviv University,
[email]firstname.lastname@example.org[/email], +972 3 6418369
Dr. Kobi Snitz, Haifa
[email]email@example.com[/email], +972 54 2191547
Yael Lerer, Andalus Publishing, Tel Aviv,
[email]firstname.lastname@example.org[/email], +972 54 4901125
Dr. Anat Matar, Tel Aviv University,
[email]email@example.com[/email], +972 72 2511135
In support of the Palestinian human rights community call for international action
A call from within – signed by Israeli citizens
As if the occupation was not enough, the brutal ongoing repression of the Palestinian population, the construction of settlements and the siege of Gaza- now comes the bombardment of the civilian population: men, women, old folks and children. Hundreds of dead, hundreds of injured, overwhelmed hospitals, and the central medicine depot of Gaza bombed. The ship Dignity of the Free Gaza movement which brought emergency medical supplies and a number of physicians was also attacked. Israel has returned to openly committing war crimes, worse than what we have seen in a long time.
Israeli media do not expose their viewers to the horrors and to the voices of severe criticism of these crimes. The story told is uniform. Israeli dissidents are denounced as traitors. Public opinion including that of the Zionist left supports the Israeli policy uncritically and without reservation.
Israel's destructive criminal policy will not cease without a massive intervention by the international community. However, except for some rather weak official condemnation, the international community is reluctant to intervene,. The United States openly supports the Israeli violence and Europe, although voicing some condemnation, is unwilling to seriously consider withdrawing the “gift” it handed Israel by upgrading its relations with the European Union.
In the past the world knew how to fight criminal policies. The boycott on South Africa was effective, but Israel is handled with kid gloves: its trade relations are flourishing, academic and cultural cooperation continue and intensify with diplomatic support.
This international backing must stop. That is the only way to stop the insatiable Israeli violence.
We are calling on the world to stop Israeli violence and not allow the continuation of the brutal occupation. We call on the world to Condemn and not become an accomplice in Israel's crimes.
In light of the above, we call on the world to implement the call by Palestinian human rights organizations which urges:
• “The UN Security Council to call an emergency session and adopt concrete measures, including the imposition of sanctions, in order to ensure Israel's fulfillment of its obligations under international humanitarian law.
• The High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfil their obligation under common Article 1 to ensure respect for the provisions of the Conventions, taking appropriate measures to compel Israel to abide by its obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular placing pivotal importance on the respect and protection of civilians from the effects of the hostilities.
• The High Contracting Parties to fulfil their legal obligation under Article 146 of the Fourth Geneva Convention to prosecute those responsible for grave breaches of the Convention.
• EU institutions and member states to make effective use of the European Union Guidelines on promoting compliance with international humanitarian law (2005/C 327/04) to ensure Israel complies with international humanitarian law under paragraph 16 (b), (c) and (d) of these guidelines, including the adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions, as well as cessation of all upgrade dialogue with Israel."
Signed by 479 Israeli citizens (first list):
Avital Aboody Sami Abu Shehadeh Moshe Adler Haim Adri Gali Agnon Bilha Aharoni Hagit Aharoni Saida Ahmed Danny Aisner Orna Akad Aviv Aldema Ra'anan Alexandrowicz Joseph Algazy Omer Allon Dan Almagor Orly Almi Tali Almi Tamar Almog Udi Aloni Yuli Aloni-Primor Colman Altman Janina Altman Ahmad Amara Eitan Amiel Nitza Aminov Gish Amit Yossi Amitay Naama Arbel Tal Arbel Rana Asali Maisoon Assadi Keren Assaf Zohar Atai Najla Atamnah Rutie Atsmon Michal Aviad Hanna Aviram Jasmin Avissar Amira Bahat Noam Bahat Abeer Baker Saleh Bakri Rim Banna Oshra Bar Yoav Barak Daphna Baram Michal Bareket Hila Bargiel Yoram Bar-Haim Ronnie Barkan Osnat Bar-Or Racheli Bar-or Yossi Bartal Raji Bathish Dalit Baum Shlomit Bauman Esther Ben Chur Hagit Ben Yaacov Tal Ben Zvi Avner Ben-Amos Ronnen Ben-Arie Ur Ben-Ari-Tishler Ofra Ben-Artzi Yotam Ben-David Smadar Ben-Natan Avi Berg Tamar Berger Anat Biletzki Rotem Biran Shany Birenboim Rozeen Bisharat Yafit gamilah Biso Liran Bitton Simone Bitton Yahaacov Bitton Rani Bleier Yempa Boleslavsky Ido Bornstein Irith Bouman Haim Bresheeth Aya Breuer Shlomit Breuer Dror Burstein Shai Carmeli-Pollak Smadar Carmon Zohar Chamberlain-Regev Sami Shalom Chetrit Chassia Chomsky-Porat Arie Chupak Isadora Cohen Kfir Cohen Matan Cohen Raya Cohen Ron Cohen Stan Cohen Yifat Cohen Alex Cohn Scandar Copti Adi Dagan Yael Dagan Yasmeen Daher Silan Dallal Tamari Dallal Leena Dallasheh Eyal Danon Uri Davis Hilla Dayan Relli De Vries Maoz Degani Ruti Divon Yfat Doron Ettie Dotan Keren Dotan Ronit Dovrat Daniel Dukarevich Arnon Dunetz Maya Dunietz Udi Edelman Shai Efrati Neta Efrony Rani Einav Asa Eitan Danae Elon Ruth El-Raz Noam Enbar Amalia Escriva Anat Even Gilad Evron Ovadia Ezra Avner Faingulernt Ghazi-Walid Falah Naama Farjoun Yvonne Fattal Dror Feiler Pnina Feiler Micky Fischer Sara Fischman Nadav Franckovich Ofer Frant Ilil Friedman Maya Galai Dafna Ganani Gefen Ganani Yael Gazit Yoram Gelman Yakov Gilad Amit Gilboa Michal Ginach Rachel Giora Michal Givoni Ednna Glukman Angela Godfrey-Goldstein Bilha Golan Neta Golan Shayi Golan Tsilli Goldenberg Vardit Goldner Tamar Goldschmidt Lymor Goldstein Dina Goor Shelley Goral Joel Gordon Ester Gould Inbal Gozes Erella Grassiani Adar Grayevsky Gill Green David Greenberg Ela Greenberg Dani Grimblat Lev Grinberg Yosef Grodzinsky Hilik Gurfinkel Galia Gur-Zeev Anat Guthmann Amos Gvirtz Maya Gzn-Zvi Yoav Haas Iman Habibi Connie Hackbarth Uri Hadar Mirjam Hadar meerschwam Rayya Haddad Osnat Hadid Dalia Hager Hava Halevi Yasmine Halevi Jeff Halper Yuval Halperin Rula Hamdan-Atamneh Rania Hamed Rola Hamed Doron Hammermann-Schuldiner Ben Handler Tal Haran Elad Harel Nir Harel Shuli Hartman Lihi Hasson Amir Havkin Shira Havkin Amani Hawari Areen Hawari Iris Hefets Ada Heilbronn Ayelet Heller Sara Helman Ben Hendler Aref Herbawi Tamara Herman Avi Hershkovitz Yael Hersonski Galit Hess Hannan Hever Ala Hlehel Gil Hochberg Tikva Honig-Parnass Tikva Honig-Parnass Inbar Horesh Veronique Inbar Rachel Leah Jones Ari Kahana Dafna Kaminer Aya Kaniuk Ruti Kantor Liad Kantorowicz Dalia Karpel Amira Katz Uri Katz Giora Katzin Giora Katzin Dror Kaufman Adam Keller Yehudit Keshet Lana Khaskia Sylvia Klingberg Ofra Koffman Yael Korin Alina Korn Rinat Kotler Meira Kowalsky Noa Kram Miki Kratsman Rotem Kuehnberg Assia Ladizhinskaya Michal Lahav Roni Lahav Idan Landau Yitzhak Laor Ruti Lavi Shaheen Lavie-Rouse Yigal Laviv Tamar Lehahn Ronen Leibman Ronit Lentin Yael Lerer Chava Lerman Noa Lerner Yair Lev Yudith Levin Abigail Levine Eyal Levinson Dana Levy Inbal Lily-Koliner Moran Livnat Omri Livne Amir Locker-Biletzki Yael Locker-Biletzki Yossi Loss Yael Lotan Guy Lougashi Irit Lourie Orly Lubin Aim Deuelle Luski Naomi Lyth Moshe Machover Aryeh Magal Liz Magnes Noa Man Ya'acov Manor Arabiya Mansour Roi Maor Adi Maoz Eilat Maoz Yossi Marchaim Alon Marcus Esti Marpet Ruchama Marton Nur Masalha Anat Matar Dina Matar Doron Matar Haggai Matar Oren Matar Samy Matar Rela Mazali Naama Meishar Rachel Meketon Yitzhak Y. Melamed Remy Mendelzweig Racheli Merhav Yael Meron Juliano Merr-Khamis Esti Micenmacher Maya Michaeli Avraham Milgrom Elisheva Milikowski Erez Miller Katya Miller Limor Mintz-Manor Ariel Mioduser Dror Mishani Eedo Mizrahi Avi Mograbi Liron Mor Magi Mor Susan Mordechay Susanne Moses Haidi Motola Ahuva Mu'alem Ben Tzion Munitz Norma Musih Dorit Naaman Michal Naaman Gil Naamati Haneen Naamnih Naama Nagar Dorothy Naor Regev Nathansohn Shelly Nativ Salman Natour Judd Ne'eman Dana Negev Smadar Nehab Shlomit Lola Nehama Ofer Neiman David Nir Eyal Nir Tali Nir Alex Nissen Tal Nitzan Joshua Nouriel Yasmine Novak Nira Nuriely David Ofek Tal Omer Adi Ophir Anat Or Yael Oren Kahn Norah Orlow Gal Oron Akiva Orr Dorit Ortal Il'il Paz-el Michal Peer MIKO Peled Nurit Peled-Elhanan Leiser Peles Orna Pelleg Tamar Pelleg-Sryck Sigal Perelman Amit Perelson Nadav Pertzelan Erez Pery Tom Pessah Dani Peter Shira Pinhas Yossi Pollak Gil Porat Dror Post Eyal Pundik Yisrael Puterman Ilya Ram Nery Ramati Amit Ramon Avi Raz Ayala Raz Hili Razinsky Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin David Reeb Hadas Refaeli Dimi Reider Noa Reshef Amit Ron Roee Rosen Illit Rosenblum Maya Rosenfeld Danny Rosin Yehoshua Rosin Ilana Rossoff Ilani Rotem Natalie Rothman Areej Sabbagh Ahmad Sa'di Sidki Sadik Walid Sadik Hannah Safran Hiba Salah Sana Salame-Daqa Galit Saporta Sima Sason Sagi Schaefer Tali Schaefer Oded Schechter Agur Schiff Nava Schreiber Idit Schwartz Michal Schwartz Noa Schwartz Eran Segal Keren Segal Irit Segoli Irit Sela Dan Seltzer Shaul Setter Meir Shabat Aharon Shabtai Michal Shabtay Itamar Shachar Erella Shadmi Ilan Shalif Hanna Shammas Ayala Shani Uri Shani Arik Shapira Bat-Sheva Shapira Yonatan Shapira Omer Sharir Yael Shavit Noa Shay Fadi Shbita Adi Shechter Oz Shelach Adi Shelesnyak Mati Shemoelof Ehud Shem-Tov Yehouda Shenhav Nufar Shimony Khen Shish Hagith Shlonsky Tom Shoval Sivan Shtang Tal Shuval Ivy Sichel Ayman Sikseck Shelly Silver Inbal Sinai Eyal Sivan Ora Slonim Kobi Snitz Maja Solomon Gideon Spiro Talila Stan Michal Stoler Ali Suliman Dored Suliman Marcelo Svirsky Yousef Sweid Ula Tabari Yael Tal Lana Tatour Doron Tavory Ruth Tenne Idan Toledano Eran Torbiner Osnat Trabelsi Lily Traubmann Naama Tsal Lea Tsemel Ruth Tsoffar Ivan Vanney Sahar Vardi Roman Vater Ruth Victor Yaeli Vishnizki-Levi Roey Vollman Roy Wagner Michael Warschawski Michal Warshavsky Ruthy Weil Sharon Weill Elian Weizman Eyal Weizman Einat Weizman diamond Elana Wesley Etty Wieseltier Yossi Wolfson Oded Wolkstein Ayelet Yaari Smadar Yaaron Roni Yaddor Galia Yahav Sergio Yahi Niza Yanay Amnon Yaron Tamar Yaron Mahmoud Yazbak Oren Yiftachel Sarit Yitzhak Sharon Zack Uri Zackhem Jamal Zahalka Sawsan Zaher Adva Zakai Edna Zaretsky Beate Zilversmidt Amal Zoabi Haneen Zoubi Himmat Zu'bi Mati Zuckerman
For correspondence click here
Divested & upgraded, awarded & invaded
Here follow the December 9, 2008 press picks from what was published recently by different sources -posted by TOI-staff on Occupation Magazine. (Today, we posted articles; OM is updated each day of the week, by different editors. For earlier articles use the powerfull search fun'ction & view the sections.)
Monday Dec. 15, Umm El Fahm - Jews and Arabs stand together against the Kahane racists
Solidarity visit to Hebron - Saturday, 13.12.08
Activists, physicians, university teachers on board in 4th Gaza blockade-busting voyage
Saed Bannoura - IMEMC - Two Jewish academics from the UK, Emeritus Professor Jonathan Rosenhead and Research Fellow Mike Cushman, both from the Department of Management at the London School of Economics, have joined the latest 'Free Gaza' boat in an attempt to enable Palestinian university students to pursue their studies abroad.
Unilever divests from Beigel & Beigel, after study exposes settlement connection
Merijn de Jong/Hilla Dayan - Unilever is the fourth multinational pulling out of the occupied territories, following Heineken, the Swedish lock maker AssaAbloy and Soda Club.