Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Hebrew University's Ethics under attack

1. I realize that sometimes the actual news sounds like one of those
Plaut spoofs. All the more so when an absurd story comes out close to

But this is for real.

Seems the forces of affirmative action in Israel are aghast. The bleeding
hearts and caring Leftists are up in arms. It seems that the number of
Arabs being accepted to the Hebrew University medical school is down and
the reason for that is that they are failing to pass the ethical awareness
requirement. Moreover, the Arab spokesmen say that the Arab students have
failed to develop ethical awareness because they do not serve in the
Israeli army.

Ok, so back up a bit, pilgrim.

First, yes, Israeli universities do have affirmative action preferences in
favor of Arabs. Since affirmative action is supposed to compensate
victims of historic discrimination, Israeli universities have decided to
make up for 1300 years of brutal discrimination against Jews and in favor
of Arabs in the Middle East by instituting programs that discriminate in
favor of Arabs and against Jews.

Second, the affirmative action axis of evil inside Israel is not very
different from its cousins overseas. It opposes all standards because
standards keep out the preferred minorities. That is why the
affirmo-philes in the US want all science and math requirements to be
junked! Such things prevent blacks and Hispanics from getting into
college and also generate a student body with far too many Asians and
Jews. A few years back, the Israeli affirmo-bats tried to junk the
college board test ("psychometric") altogether in order to boost the
number of Arabs in universities, but after a year or two of mediocre
admittees it was restored, resulting in a drop in the number of Arab
students. To the chagrin of the Left.

Third, entrance into Israeli med schools is extremely competitive because
every Jewish mother wants her kid to become a REAL doctor, not a phony one
like some economists we all know.

As part of the restoration of standards and the insistence that not only
Jewish students must be qualified, the number of Arab students getting
into Hebrew University's med school dropped over the past 3 years. The
entrance procedures were altered somewhat this year. They are mainly
based on the psychometric exam and school grades. But Haaretz today,
citing anti-Israel pro-terror Knesset Member Ahmed Tibi, decided that the
main reason for this is that the new evaluation procedures are "culturally
biased". The new evaluations involve "character evaluation": they test
role playing and responses in interviews, and they include questions about
ethical problems and dilemmas. The evaluation procedures used are state
of the art and were developed by experts and professionals in the testing

The Haaretz piece (Hebrew only) cites Arab students who say it is unfair
to ask them about ethical dilemmas because they did not serve in the
Israeli army and so never spent time pondering ethical problems.


I guess it is so much easier to cheer suicide bombers and chant "Death to
the Jews", as so many Arab students in Israeli universities do. Saves
time. No need to contemplate ethical matters.

Hebrew University people say that is nonsense. The Arabs may be at a
disadvantage because of their younger age. After all, most did not serve
in the army. Of course, no one is stopping them from volunteering to
serve in the army, which would help them develop a sense of ethics and
maturity and so would help them get into med school. And nothing stops
them from working 3 or 4 years to gain maturity and THEN apply to med

Tibi, who gives Israel the Ahmed Tibi heebie jeebies, is personally partly
responsible for the continuing terror and war that make it necessary for
Jewish youths to spend three years in the army gaining maturity and
ethical awareness before applying to college. Yet in the Haaretz piece he
demands that the entrance requirements be changed so that a quota
benefiting Arabs be enforced, and to hell with their qualifications.

2. This week is the 11th anniversary of the murder of Yitzhak Rabin
by Yigal Amir. The historian Moti Shalem has an interesting guest Op-Ed
in Haaretz today about the damages done by lunatic conspiracism related to
the Rabin assassination. While dismissing Chamishism and similar
fabrications as based on lies and deliberate distortion of evidence,
Shalem argues that the conspiracy lunatics actually prevent the public
from addressing the real failures and malpractices in the area of
intelligence services. People hearing demands for investigation into
actual failures or incompetence in the intelligence services dismiss them
as reminiscent of the lunacies of the conspiracy nuts. And THAT is the
real long-term damage of such conspiracism!

3. You may recall that a great of leftist professors at Tel Aviv
University held a protest and denounced their own university for opening a
new center for Iranian studies this past spring. The center was the
initiative of TAU's outgoing president Itamar Rabinovich, hardly a
right-winger and in fact decidedly opposed to free speech for critics of
leftists. But the leftist profs at TAU were upset that the new center
might be used to produce papers and research that would serve the cause of
American and Israeli imperialist aggression against Iran, for example to
justify actions designed to prevent the Iranian Nazis from building a
nuke. The lefties disrupted the opening ceremony and Rabinovich (a bit
uncharacteristically) denounced them.

Well, I would like to invite all the post-Zionist leftist professors in
Israel now to show the courage of their convictions. It is time to
denounce St. Andrews University in Scotland.

Yes, it seems that yesterday, ST. Andrews opened its own Center for
Iranian Studies, and in fact hosted former Iranian president Mohammad
Khatami, who got an honorary PhD. See . Strong criticism has
come from the Scottish Committee of Anglo-Iranian Lawyers and others.
SO where were the caring Israeli professors for a jihad victory? Aren't
they worried that this new center will serve the forces of Anglo-American
imperialism? It might even divert Scottish students from the urgent need
to boycott Israel!

4. Lying about Corrie:

5. That forbidden love:

Leon Wieseltier
The New Republic, October 23, 2006

.I am now in a catastrophic personal situation. Several death
threats have been sent to me.... On the websites condemning me there is a
showing how to get to my house to kill me, they have my photo, the
places where I work, the telephone numbers, and the death warrant....
is no safe place for me, I have to beg two nights here, two nights
there.... I must cancel all scheduled events. The authorities urge me to
keep moving.. In the wake of an outrageous attempt to punish him for the
views that he fearlessly writes and speaks, these desperate words were
written last week by Tony Judt. No, wait, here comes the fact-checker.
Sorry. Wrong martyr for truth. The words were written by Robert
Redeker, a teacher of philosophy in a high school in Toulouse who wrote an
article in Le Figaro in September claiming that there are aggressive and
bigoted elements in the Koran and is living in hiding, under police
protection, as a result. Last week also brought the news of the murd
er of the unimaginably valiant Anna Politkovskaya in Moscow. But here,
where the fish are always jumpin' and the cotton is always high, the
all-devouring controversy has been the cancellation of a talk by Tony
Judt on "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" at the Polish Consulate
in New York as a consequence of a communication from the
Anti-Defamation League. "The phone calls were very elegant but may be
interpreted as
exercising a delicate pressure," the Consul General of Poland in New
York told the Washington Post. Since I am satisfied that this was an
attempt to interfere with the free expression of Judt's thinking, I have
signed a high-minded letter of protest to the ADL. (The ADL's legitimate
inquiry into whether the Polish government was endorsing the
Mearsheimer-Walt view of the world could have been made after Judt's
talk.) Judt
has a perfect right to the expression of his opinion. But that is not
the end of the matter. There remains the substance of his opinion,
and the shabbiness of it.

In a series of hot-headed e-mails sent to a variety of e-mail
chains, one of which included myself and the rest of which were forwarded
me in the spirit of the free exchange of ideas, Judt misreported some
of the facts of the case. Abraham Foxman, whom he insanely calls a
"fascist," did not speak to anybody at the Polish consulate, as Judt
he did, and neither Foxman nor anybody else at the ADL promised to
"smear the charge of Polish collaboration with anti-Israeli anti-Semites
all over the front page of every daily paper in the city." In one e-mail
Judt paranoically maintains that the New York Sun learned of the
incident within ten minutes, in another e-mail within seven minutes. Also,
the newspaper is not owned by Rupert Murdoch.but the fascists are all
alike, aren't they? Here is Judt on October 4: "Maybe you really do have
to have grown up under Communism to recognise the house style of a
demagogic rag like the New York Sun... and yes, it helps to have read K
afka to know what it feels like to go to bed a liberal, secular
historian of Jewish background and wake up the next morning an
Israel-denier." Only somebody who did not grow up under communism and did
not read Kafka could have written that sentence, or someone
romantically involved with himself. Similarly, on October 3: "the public
space for
non-conforming opinion in this country is closing down." And "whatever
your views of the Middle East I hope you find this as serious and
frightening as I do. This is, or used to be, the United States of
Amerika! So let us be clear. The censorship of Tony Judt is not
working. He is one of the least suppressed, repressed, and oppressed
intellectuals who ever lived. If there is life on Mars, it knows what he
The fact that a position is unpopular does not mean that it is unknown.
Dissidents should have thicker skins. (Many years ago, after I wrote
something especially vicious against the Israeli settlers, I rece
ived in the mail a package of feces in aluminum foil. It stunk.)
Anyway, Judt exaggerates his dissidence, the unpopularity of his
anti-war, and anti-Israel views, which are by now banalities. And his
suggestion that he is not an "Israeldenier" is, quite simply, a lie.
"When and where did I ever negate Israel's right to exist?" he indignantly
asks Omer Bartov, just about the only one in this orgy of digital piety
who refused to preen and insisted upon the factual basis of opinion.
October 23, 2003, is when, The New York Review of Books is where. I have
never met anybody of any persuasion who believes that Judt's call for a
one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in "Israel: The
Alternative" was not a call for the abolition of the Jewish state.

I wonder whether the shahid of Washington Square and his champions
have spoken or signed anything against the boycotts of Israeli
academics; but I will leave the double-standards research to others. The
significant point is that what Judt was prevented from delivering at the
Polish consulate was a conspiracy theory about the pernicious role of
the Jews in the world. That is what the idea of "the Lobby" is. It is
Mel Gibson's analysis of the Iraq war. It is not just an analysis of the
impact of AIPAC on particular resolutions and policies: such an
analysis requires a detailed knowledge of American government,
specifically of
Congress, that I suspect Judt does not possess and that his fellow
heroes Mearsheimer and Walt have been shown to lack. It is a larger claim,
a historical claim, a claim about a sinister causality, about the power
of a small group to control the destiny of a large group. And it is a
claim with a sordid history. Is it an anti-Semitic claim, or just
a claim with an anti-Semitic past? I am told that at the recent debate
about "the Lobby" at Cooper Union in New York, the moderator,
Anne-Marie Slaughter, began by stipulating that the question of
was off the table, which was an attempt to inhibit the discussion. Tony
Judt is not an anti-Semite, and bully for him. But here he is, on
October 6, describing Joe Lieberman as "very ostentatiously Jewish." What
hell does that mean? Is Barack Obama very ostentatiously black? A
person's politics is not just a reflection of a person's origins, of
but Judt's writing about Israel and its Jewish supporters is icily
lacking in decency, in hesed, a word that even an unostentatious Jew can
understand. No amount of sympathy for the interests of the Palestinians
requires this amount of antipathy to the interests of the Israelis.
There are more scrupulous, more humane, more complex, and more helpful
things to do with one's freedom.

(Leon Wieseltier is the literary editor of The New Republic.)

7. Weakness causes anti-Semitism:

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