Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Abuse of Students by Neve Gordon - Eyewitness Report

Subject: Neve Gordon Conducting anti-Israel Indoctrination in the Classroom at
the University of Michigan - Eyewitness Student Report

Eyewitness Student Report:

*In-Classroom Indoctrination at the University of Michigan *

By Jacob Benshimon
* | 4/23/2008 *

The anti-Israel climate at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor shot off
the charts this past year with the addition of radical anti-Israel Professor
Neve Gordon<>to
the Political Science department. Gordon is a tenured lecturer at
Israel's Ben Gurion University and a visiting professor at the University of
Michigan. He has made a career
turning out venomous anti-Israel articles and now has turned his Ann
Arbor classroom into an anti-Israel indoctrination camp.

This past fall semester, Prof. Gordon taught the popular "Arab-Israeli
Conflict" course. As if the University of Michigan did not have enough
outlandish anti-Israel professors who operate major courses at the
university. Kathryn Babayan, for example, has been the professor for the 100
level "Peoples of the Middle East" course for almost ten years, a mandatory
course for any student majoring in the Near Eastern studies department. Her
anti-Semitic antics were spotlighted last fall with a charge of interfering
in a police arrest while disrupting a Pro-Israel student group's
event.<>Michigan has also been the
soapbox for outspoken anti-Israel Prof. Juan
Cole <> for over twenty
years. Cole's scholarly
status<>is now
much criticized after his 2006 employment rejection from Yale and
Duke University was made public.

Prof. Gordon fits in quite well -- and has the resume to prove it. He is a
radically anti-Israel political scientist, best known for serving as an
the anti-Semitic ex-professor from DePaul University Norman
Gordon is also a regular
the neo-Stalinist anti-Semitic web magazine
*Counterpunch* and contributor to the web
site<>of the deported
Neo-Nazi Ernst Zundel. Last year, acclaimedProf. Alan Dershowitz wrote
about him,<>"It
is my opinion that Neve Gordon has gotten into bed with neo-Nazis,
Holocaust justice deniers, and anti-Semites. He is a despicable example of a
self-hating Jew and a self-hating Israeli."

Gordon led an international campaign of
vilification<>against his own
Israeli army officer, falsely accusing the officer of being
a war criminal. As a result of Gordon's campaign, the officer was unable to
enter Britain for studies lest he be falsely prosecuted. In 2006, to show
solidarity with Arafat against the Israeli army, Gordon illegally snuck into
Arafat's <> Ramallah
compound during an Israeli anti-terror incursion in order to interfere with
the apprehension of terrorists. The editor of the Israeli
*Ma'ariv*, Ben-Dror Yemini,
accused<>Gordon and his
ilk of "spread[ing] their articles dripping with anti-Zionist
poison all over the world, some of which appear on anti-Semitic websites."

Gordon's playground this fall was Arab-Israeli Conflict course with over 200
students. Twice a week, Gordon had the opportunity to fill the fresh minds
of University of Michigan students with skewed history and highly
politicized anti-Israel rhetoric. He consistently embarrassed students who
dared to question or object to his controversial and sometimes offensive

In a lecture on November 14th, Gordon told the class that he wasn't
interested in giving an unbiased academic history of the Arab-Israeli
conflict: "Jeremy asked why I would give a revisionist history. And I give a
revisionist history because I think it's true. What's said in a textbook is
not what it's about."

His "revisionist" syllabus included the controversial book by Sandy Tolan *The
Lemon Tree: An Arab, A Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East*, in which
history is attempted to be told through the story of an Arab man who meets
the woman who he claims took over his home after he was "forced out" by

On November 19th, Gordon was absent from class and screened an appallingly
biased film, on which the class was to take notes. "Peace, Propaganda, and
the Promised Land" is a politically charged anti-Israel propaganda film that
stars such anti-Israel celebrities as Noam Chomsky, Robert Fisk, Hanan
Ashrawi, and Neve Gordon himself.

In a lecture on October 10th, which was supposed to be about the historical
Suez Crisis, Gordon purposefully digressed at length to blame Israel for the
current crisis with Iran. He explained to the class that Israel gained
nuclear weapons as the outcome of a deal with France at the end of the
crisis in 1956. He then stepped away from his podium to drive home his
message, "You cannot understand what is happening with Iran today if you
don't understand what happened with Israel in '56." As this comment was
charged with controversial anti-Israel bias, Gordon was delighted to open
the class to questions.

When a student, who prefaced his statement with the premise that he was
Jewish, challenged Gordon's ridiculous blame of Israel for Iran's actions
today, Gordon disregarded the Jewish student's challenge by smirking and
stating to the class, "Ben is always trying to bring us back to the
present." It was, in fact, Prof. Gordon who clearly brought the class
discussion to that of present times. Gordon then welcomed a question from a
student who claimed Iranian President Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocaust
was "not a big deal." By first demonizing Israel, then not allowing any
student objections to his anti-Israel statements, then welcoming an outright
anti-Semitic comment in his lecture hall, Gordon was in no way teaching an
unbiased historical course, as one would have expected in an institution of
higher learning.

In a lecture on November 5th, Gordon continuously used the term "Jewish
roads" to refer to Israeli roads in the West Bank and formerly in the Gaza
Strip from which Arabs are excluded. An Israeli student in the large class
raised his hand and told Gordon that he was offended by his phraseology and
said Gordon was bordering on anti-Semitism by deeming these roads "Jewish
roads." The student described for the class the complete freedom of movement
of Israeli Arabs (Arabs with Israeli citizenship) on Israeli roads inside
Israel and inside the West Bank. Therefore by calling the roads "Jewish" and
not Israeli Gordon was being anti-Semitic. Visibly irritated, Gordon again
simply disregarded the challenge to his teaching.

The same Israeli student that challenged Gordon received a terse email after
class that same day from Gordon requesting that the student come see him at
his office at an appointment two days later. The student arrived at Gordon's
office and was surprised to see his Graduate Student Instructor (who
directly grades the student) present as well. The student cordially greeted
Gordon in Hebrew but did not receive the same warm greeting in return.

Gordon then proceeded to berate the student for publicly embarrassing and
offending him during class. He belittled the student by telling him that he
(Gordon) had been teaching for longer than the student had been alive and
that he had never been embarrassed and offended like that before. Behind
closed doors, intimidated by his professor, and in the presence of the
person who decides his grade, the student quickly apologized and hoped the
matter was put to rest.

Much to the student's dismay, in the next lecture, Gordon attempted to clear
his name and denounced the student's challenging questions as unfair and
unfounded, while publicly humiliating the student. Gordon's Graduate Student
Instructor further dissected the Israeli student's challenge in the class
discussion sections, and referred to the student by name without his

Along with the history of scare-tactics in order to keep his classroom
opposition quiet and disallowing any challenging of his anti-Israel
positions, Gordon did not adhere to the tenet of an open environment within
the structure of academic freedom. Before speaking in his class, he directed
students to state their name. In a large lecture hall, this creates an
uncomfortable environment for the students to express their own ideas.
Gordon uses the students' names in order to refute their statements or
questions while referring back to each of their arguments. As a result,
students were reluctant to speak up in the class.

Gordon did not attempt to hide his personal anti-Israel convictions in his
teaching of the Arab-Israeli Conflict course. On December 5th, Gordon
discussed options for the future of the conflict. He referred to the
conflict not as the Arab-Israeli Conflict but the Palestinian-Israeli
conflict, disregarding the role of the region's Arab states.

When discussing the current political and strategic situation Gordon
remarked, "Israel is the occupier, it is in Israel's hands to change the
status quo or not." When discussing the outcome of changing the status quo,
Gordon said, "The other consequence is a continuing apartheid regime,
leaving 4 million people without basic political rights." One student
challenged his use of the "apartheid" term in reference to Israel. Gordon
again dismissed the question and refused to consider any opinion other than
his own, bluntly saying "Those are the questions I am not going to answer."

Gordon once again demonstrated his personal political bias with reference to
proclaimed anti-Zionist author Joel Kovel. In response to the debacle over
the printing of Kovel's book *Overcoming Zionism*, a staunchly
pro-Palestinian student group invited Kovel to speak on campus. On the day
of the event, November 26th, Gordon wrote an email urging students to attend
the event. At the event, one could observe the obviously friendly
socializing between Gordon and Kovel, before Kovel began his speech. When
politically pro-Israel distinguished Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes
visited the campus on October 8th, Gordon did not show the same endorsement
for his students to attend.

Gordon continued to show his personal anti-Israel bias outside of the
classroom by speaking at an event for Palestine Awareness Week, sponsored by
the same group that brought Joel Kovel to the University of Michigan. This
semester on February 12, Gordon continued with his vilification of Israel by
telling the Palestinian sympathetic audience that "Israel put the
Palestinians in ghettos, instituted by one people, and by one frontier,
which is thinly instituted which means lawless violence occurs." As he did
in a lecture on December 5th, Gordon again warned that the only solution is
a one-state solution or else Israel would continue to be an apartheid state.

It is irresponsible for the University of Michigan to hire Neve Gordon and
assume he will teach an unbiased factual course on the history of the
Arab-Israeli conflict when he guest speaks and exhibits his anti-Israel
rhetoric at an event for Palestine Awareness Week.

Prof. Neve Gordon's first of two semesters at the University of Michigan
bolstered the anti-Israel climate already present. His incessant demonizing
of Israel using anti-Semitic rhetoric and his suppression of challenges to
his ideas presented a skewed course on the Arab-Israeli Conflict,
unacceptable for an institute of higher learning.

Jacob Benshimon is a University of Michigan senior double majoring in Hebrew
and Jewish Culture Studies -- as well as in Middle Eastern North African


If you would like to let the heads of Ben Gurion University know what you
think of this, and how it will affect your inclination to support the
university, please write to

Ben Gurion University:

Rivka Carmi, President

P.O. Box 653, Beer-Sheva, 84105, Israel,


Fax 972 (8) 647 7659

Prof. Jimmy Weinblatt, Rector

P.O. Box 653, Beer-Sheva, 84105, Israel

Fax 972-8-647-2945

Other officers listed here:

University "Friends of" Offices outside Israel are listed here:

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