Monday, September 24, 2007
President of Ben Gurion University Collaborating with Communist Ideologue Jacob Katriel
Ideologue Jacob Katriel
President of Ben Gurion University Collaborating with Communist Ideologue
By Steven Plaut
Prof. Jacob Katriel, professor emeritus from the Technion, who taught
chemistry before retiring, is a hardline communist who spent most of his
life as a central figure in the Israeli Communist Party, a predominantly
Arab anti-Israel party that has never gotten around to renouncing Stalinism.
He runs a small communist cell in Haifa (
http://jacob-katriel.tripod.com/id19.html ). Katriel was one of the people
trying to propose Tali Fahima for an "Alternative Nobel Prize" when she was
jailed for assisting her Palestinian terrorist "boyfriend" plan terror
attacks against Israel. He was also a longtime promoter and defender of
convicted nuclear spy Mordecai Vanunu (see
He is a central figure in promoting international boycotts of Israel (see
http://www.theexperiment.org/?p=586 ). He roams the world (most recently in
India) declaring Israel an "apartheid regime" (
http://www.oznik.com/petitions/010905.html ). Take a look at this photo,
which pretty much sums up who and what Katriel is:
For a sample of Katriel's anti-Israel writings, see
Katriel signs all the usual anti-Israel petitions. Here he is demanding
that Ariel Sharon be put on trial in Belgium as a war criminal:
http://www.sabra-shatila.be/aanklacht/burgerlijkepartij_steun3.htm . Here
he is signed to a statement claiming Israel was planning nazi-like
atrocities against Palestinians the moment US troops entered Iraq:
Now Katriel is little more than a marginal figure in Israeli society, a
dogmatic communist still trying to apply in the Middle East would was
rejected massively by all the peoples in the old Soviet Union and Eastern
Europe less than two decades ago.
What is noteworthy is that Prof. Rivka Carmi, the president of Ben Gurion
University, appears to be collaborating with Katriel in some of his efforts.
The following was posted on September 23, 2007 on the chat list of "ICRR
Israeli Committee for Residency Rights <http://groups.google.com/group/icrr>,"
an anti-Israel communist front organization. It officially describes itself
thus: "The ICRR is an Israeli committee concerned with Palestinian residency
rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories." Evidently all of Israel is
part of the "Occupied Palestinian Territories," in the opinion of ICRR,
because much of its efforts and activities have to do with getting
permission for various Palestinians (including those with foreign passports)
and other Arabs to enter Israel. ICRR is one of countless microscopic
far-Leftist and communist-front Israel-bashing Israeli organizations, most
of which contain pretty much the exact same list of members.
The posting on ICRR by Jacob Katriel concerning Carmi is evidently part of
an ongoing correspondence between her and Katriel regarding Carmi's
endorsing and promoting the political campaign led by Katriel and his cadres
to pressure Israel to relax regulation of "academics" entering the West Bank
and Gaza to teach in Palestinian universities.
Because of the security situation, Israel has been more cautious in granting
transit visas to people entering the West Bank and Gaza through Israel as
"foreign professors." In addition, Israel has been cracking down on
Palestinian students from the West Bank entering Israel and on the
activities of Palestinian institutions, as part of the general set of
security controls and sanctions against the Palestinian Authority for its
ongoing misbehavior and terrorist aggression. (In the opinion of ICRR of
course these are all legitimate acts of Palestinian self-defense!)
Israel does not always grant automatic approval to foreigners seeking to
travel to the West Bank and Gaza through Israel. Some of the foreign
"academics" who want to enter to teach at Palestinian colleges are
themselves Arabs with foreign passports. Others are no doubt from the
familiar anti-Semitic international "solidarity" and "anarchist"
organizations. Some may be suspect for one reason or another. Given the
security situation, each applicant is carefully reviewed and processed by
Israel. If anything, Israel is not selective enough, as seen in the fact
that so many international "anarchists" get through the inspections and
enter the "occupied territories" to make trouble. It should be borne in
mind that Palestinian "universities" are generally little more than centers
of radical indoctrination, and in some cases have been used for terrorist
training and activities. Hence Israel has an interest in who passes through
Israel to work in them.
Katriel and his people have been trying to recruit Israeli university heads
for their campaign to end all Israeli discretionary inspections and
regulation over who gets such visas and who does not. So far, the Katriel
group appears only to have succeeded in recruiting Prof. Rivka Carmi,
president of Ben Gurion University, from among Israeli academic officers. Ben
Gurion University (BGU) is renowned as one of the worst centers of
anti-Israel faculty activism and "Post-Zionism" in Israel, possibly the very
worst. Much of the on-campus political activity at BGU, including
in-classroom indoctrination, appears to enjoy approval and endorsement by
Carmi (see http://www.israpundit.com/2006/?p=4199 ).
In part of his Sept. 23, 07 posting on the ICRR chat list, Katriel published
Carmi's note to him that reads as follows:
Quoting Rivka Carmi
Hamatchil be'mitzva (that is Hebrew for – "He who begins a Mitzvah" –
meaning those who only begin a good deed still get credit for the whole
mitzvah -- SP)*
*....I suggest that you write a letter along these lines to Kaveh (the head
of the Committee of Israeli University Presidents or VERA – SP) c/c other
presidents (or at least bcc me). I shall push this idea forward but I need a
"formal" approach of VERA.
The initiative that the President of Ben Gurion University is asking to join
and support is Katriel's idea of pressuring Israel's government to relax
oversight and regulation of who may pass through Israel on transit visas to
teach at Palestinian universities.
The idea of pressuring the Israeli government to relax its diligence over
who enters Israel in transit for the West Bank and Gaza is what Carmi is
describing as a "mitzvah," a strange term to be using in a letter from her
to a Stalinist academic.
Here is the full text of Katriel's response to Carmi:
----- Original Message -----
To: "Rivka Carmi"
Sent: Sunday, September 23, 2007 6:02 AM
Subject: Re: FW: Letter to Presidents and Rectors, attached (fwd)
Dear Professor Carmi,
Thank you very much for your message, that I have read yesterday evening.
I took the time to consider it carefully, and decided to ask you to adhere
to the original request stated in the Letter to the University Presidents
and Rectors. The 150 signatories of this Letter requested the intervention
of the leaders (Presidents and Rectors) of the Israeli Universities. They
specifically asked you to contact the Minister of the Interior, the Minister
of Education, and CoGAT (The Coordinator of the Government Activities in
Any deviation from this agenda would amount to discarding this Letter, which
I am neither authorized to nor willing to do.
Let me emphasize that the Letter was sent to the Presidents and Rectors
individually, not to VERA. If a united VERA action could be launched it
would certainly have been more effective. However, we at ICRR realize that
some members of VERA do not share our view that Palestinian Universities
deserve to enjoy the basic freedoms that we, Israeli academics, take for
granted, and some may be too cowardly to speak up. Therefore, the Letter
requested each President and each Rector to make their own decision about
how they act. In the cover letter that I added the first time that I sent
that Letter I asked each recipient to forward it to the other Presidents and
Rectors, indicating that I may have failed to identify the correct email
addresses of some. However, a consensus within VERA may be too much to hope
for, and therefore I would appreciate it if you send the Letter (and
whatever part of our correspondence
you find helpful) to the other members of VERA, but do not tie yourself to
Rather, we believe that the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Shitreet) will not
refuse your phone call, in which we ask you to recommend that he accepts a
delegation of ICRR with the aim of issuing a regulation that will guarantee
FULL YEAR visas (with multiple entries) to foreign-passport holding faculty
members (and students) in the Palestinian Universities. It could help if
you call the Minister of Education (Prof. Yuli Tamir) and ask her to talk to
Mr. Shitreet so that he understands that faculty members have a full year
teaching obligation and entry visas for periods of random lengths, that
never exceed three months but could be one or two weeks, are simply not
In our meeting with CoGAT (General Yussef Mishlav) we found out that it had
never occurred to him that a faculty member requesting an entry visa cannot
be satisfied with anything that does not extend for the whole academic year.
Nor can her/his employer and students. In any case, granting visas for
periods longer than three months is beyond the authority of General Mishlav
and will require a decision by Mr. Shitreet or perhaps the government. It is
quite possible that Mr. Shitreet, just like General Mishlav, needs to be
made aware that faculty members need full year visas, which is where Yuli
Tamir can help.
We did apply for a meeting with Mr. Shitreet, but so far he has not
Please consider my request, and after trying to lead a joint action of
several heads of universities, do not give up if the only thing you can do
is act on your own. In the final analysis, it is your conscience that you
will have to face.
Quoting Rivka Carmi
Hamatchil be'mitzva....I suggest that you write a letter along these lines
to Kaveh c/c other presidents (or at least bcc me). I shall push this idea
forward but I need a "formal" approach of VERA.
The statement Katriel is recruiting support for follows:
*To: Presidents and Rectors of the Israeli Universities.*
*Save the foreign passport holding faculty members of Palestinian
*Request for intervention by the Presidents and Rectors of the Israeli
A significant number of faculty members in the Palestinian Universities hold
foreign passports and their continued service depends, as long as the
occupation persists, on permits issued by the Israeli authorities.
We are very concerned by recent reports on newly imposed restrictions that
reflect a policy threatening the possibility of these foreign passport
holding faculty members to continue their essential work at Palestinian
Requests for visa extensions, addressed to Israeli authorities, are being
responded by demands for "work permits", without, however, specifying how
and where to get such permits. Short term visa renewals of 3 months, given
under pressure of foreign embassies and the international media, do not even
guarantee that a faculty member will be able to teach a full semester
without a constant fear of being deported.
You, the heads of Israeli Universities, do not need to be told how essential
the functioning of universities is for the building of a civil society and a
We are therefore requesting you kindly to intervene with the Minister of the
Interior and with the Coordinator of the Government's Activities in the
Territories, urgently and effectively, to secure a fair and transparent
procedure to enable staff holding foreign passports to engage in academic
activities, teaching and research, at Palestinian Universities, without
threats of deportation.
Your immediate and forceful intervention is needed in order to avoid pending
disruption of academic activities in Palestinian Universities, were their
foreign staff forced to leave now.
(The Israel Committee for Residency Rights, and signed by a group of
far-leftist and anti-Zionist Israeli faculty members)
2. Rabbi Impersonator Michael Lerner declares war on the "Israel Lobby":