Wednesday, March 14, 2007
President of Ben Gurion University Denounces and Insults Donors to her own University!
BGU President Disses Overseas Donors
By: Allyson Rowen Taylor Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Professor Rivka Carmi, the new president of Israel.s Ben-Gurion
University, actually views overseas Jewish donors to BGU as the real
threat to academic freedom at her school.
She says so in the Hebrew quarterly Academia (number 17, winter
2006-7), which is published by the Committee of University Heads, a sort
of lobby group on behalf of the universities.
But let.s back up a little here. Ben-Gurion University is arguably
the worst den of anti-Israel campus radicalism, .New History. (meaning
pseudo-history) and .Post-Zionism. in Israel, though the competition for
that title is keen.
Despite being named after David Ben Gurion, BGU is home to many of
the worst academic extremists in Israel, including Neve Gordon, Lev
Grinberg, Oren Yiftachel, Amnon Raz-Karkutzkin, and a host of others.
At the initiative of BGU.s past president, Dr. Avishai Braverman,
Ben-Gurion University hired .New Historian. Benny Morris back in the days
when no other university in Israel considered Morris a bona fide scholar.
(To his credit, Morris in recent years has been having second thoughts
about his earlier bash-Israel activism, and on some days of the week he is
In some quarters Ben-Gurion University has earned the nickname .Bir
Zeit of the Negev.. (Bir Zeit is a Palestinian university on the West Bank
known for its Hamas sympathies and role in producing terrorists.)
While some of the departments at BGU are excellent and maintain the
highest standards of academic performance, others are definitely not so,
especially in some of the humanities and the softer social sciences. In
several departments at BGU, turning out malicious anti-Israel political
propaganda constitutes scholarship. There, such propagandizing is not only
sufficient condition for a faculty member to be hired and granted tenure,
it can also be a necessary condition.
In some departments at BGU it is simply the case that no
non-leftists or pro-Zionists are permitted to teach. In the political
science department, the single pro-Israel faculty member was fired because
he refused to endorse the dominant Post-Zionist party line. Things are not
much better in the history, psychology, and geography departments.
BGU lecturers have been involved in promoting frivolous prosecutions
of Israeli army officers in Europe as supposed .war criminals.. Several
faculty members at BGU openly call for Israel to be eliminated and
replaced by a Rwanda-style bi-national state run by the PLO with an Arab
majority. BGU geographer Oren Yitachel routinely denounces Israel as an
apartheid state. BGU sociologist Lev Grinberg made headlines a couple of
years back for his claim that Israel was engaging in .symbolic genocide
against Palestinians. when it assassinates arch-terrorists and mass
For many years, the political extremists were not only coddled and
condoned by people running BGU, but were downright celebrated by them. BGU
was headed for many years by Avishai Braverman, under whom anti-Israel
extremism and in-classroom political indoctrination by faculty members
When Braverman left BGU to try to make his way in politics, he was
replaced by Prof. Rivka Carmi, a pediatrician and geneticist. Carmi.s
appointment was celebrated all over the world because she was the first
woman university president in Israel.
While Carmi.s political proclivities are not as well known as
Braverman.s, she too is an unabashed left-winger who proudly declares
herself a .socialist. (page 34, Academia interview). Under certain extreme
circumstances she would endorse international boycotts of Israeli
universities, she says (page 36).
Carmi also makes it a practice, she tells the Academia interviewer,
to run out and shake the hands of leftist students at Ben-Gurion
University when they hold protests against the .conquest. (Carmi.s word).
.Conquest,. kibush in Hebrew, is the nonsense term the Left uses to refer
to Israel.s presence in the West Bank, Golan, or in Jerusalem outside the
Carmi adds that she would decidedly not shake the hands of student
protesters expressing the opposite point of view (page 34). In other
words, she is not in favor of student activism as a general phenomenon .
only when it appeals to her own radical and leftist prejudices. Her lack
of interest in political pluralism is quite clear from her words in the
interview, but not only from them.
While every university in Israel has its anti-Zionist leftist
radicals, there is a distinct and crucial difference between Ben-Gurion
University and all the other schools. Administrators and officials at
other universities often quietly tolerate the extremists, turning a blind
eye to their activities. In some cases campus heads have openly denounced
anti-Israel faculty members.
The current rector of the University of Haifa, a Zionist leftist,
led an unsuccessful campaign to have anti-Zionist extremist Ilan Pappe.s
tenure revoked. The current president of Tel Aviv University, himself a
man of the Left, denounced campus radical professors for trying to prevent
the opening of an Iranian Studies Center there because they feared it
might .serve American interests. and fight Islamist radicalism and
But at Ben-Gurion University, the campus heads have a track record
of openly celebrating and identifying with their anti-Israel faculty
extremists. BGU officials have repeatedly justified the words and actions
of anti-Israel radicals teaching at BGU. Carmi herself has proclaimed one
of the worst extremists at BGU, whose academic career consists of little
more than producing anti-Israel screeds and propaganda, a .distinguished
BGU has paid a price for its coddling of its faculty extremists.
Expressions of outrage against BGU.s anti-Israel extremists are becoming
more frequent among American Jews. Some BGU officers and representatives
are increasingly complaining that the university has gained a reputation
for being a center of anti-Israel radicalism.
Evidently, university officials are feeling the heat from overseas
Jewish donors. In the Academia interview noted above, Carmi attacks the
donors to her own university for supposedly trying to interfere with
.academic freedom. at BGU (pages 37-8) when they express opinions about
what goes on there.
It seems that while leftist faculty members openly calling for
Israel to be annihilated are perfectly entitled to freedom of expression
at BGU, overseas donors are not. Carmi declares such .pressures. from
donors on the university to be unethical (her word). Donors expressing
criticism of how their own funds are being spent are out of line, believes
Carmi. They are people .trying to dictate the agenda of the university..
American and Canadian Jews have the moral responsibility to use
their influence and make donations wisely and selectively. We should make
it crystal clear to Israeli university officials that North American Jews
are interested in helping build the Jewish state, not in financing
academic radicals and traitors seeking to tear it down.
Allyson Rowen Taylor is an activist living in Los Angeles. She was
one of the founding members of Standwithus.com and is the mother of two
young men, one currently a soldier in the Nachal unit of the IDF.