Thursday, January 15, 2009
The Battle against the Israeli Flag by University of Haifa Faculty
This is going to sound like another Plaut spoof, but I am afraid the
following story is entirely for real. It involves the outpouring of
anguished calls by faculty members at the University of Haifa NOT to have
the Israeli flag flying on campus! Lest it offend anti-Semitic Arabs.
The story begins with an announcement on January 15, 09 by the heads of the
university and its PR officer that for the remainder of the battle in Gaza,
Israeli flags will be flown on campus as a sign of solidarity with the
embattled residents of Sderot and other towns under attack near the Gaza
Strip. Nothing in the university announcement indicated that the gesture
should be taken in any political sense, such as endorsing the Israeli
defense Forces tactics and specific strategies, but only as a way of
saluting the courage of Israelis in the south. Back in 2006, when Haifa was
itself under attack by 4000 of Ehud Barak's missiles being fired at the city
by the Hezbollah, many people in the Israeli south similarly responded and
many hosted Haifa residents seeking to escape the rockets at the time. (Not
me, I stayed put, like the tree standing by the water in that old union
song.) In addition, the University of Haifa has been lighting up the front
face of its high central Eshkol Tower, 30 stories tall, as an Israeli flag
for the same reason. Given the fact that the University of Haifa has a
reputation for being an arena for the largest number of radical
sometimes-violent often-pro-jihad Arab students in Israel, it made sense to
try to project a pro-Israel public image.
The response to the gesture by leftist faculty members at the University of
Haifa was boisterous and hostile. How dare the university have Israeli flags
waving on campus! It is offensive and insensitive to Arabs!
On the "Segel-Plus" chat list for University of Haifa faculty members, a
number of expressions of outrage were posted. A math lecturer named Kobi
Peterzil, who runs the northern chapter of the anti-Israel anti-Zionist
Taayoush political splinter, wrote this:
'This is a joke, right?
Should we all sing HATIKVA as we enter our classes?
Kobi Peter (Peterzil)
(not a bad suggestion, actually --- SP)
Then Gabriel Salomon, who teaches "peace education" (meaning leftist
indoctrination) in the University's School of Education, responded in Hebrew
From: "Gabriel Salomon" :
'We all know that patriotism is the last refuge of ...
So how do you think the Arab students on campus will react to this, if it is
implemented, and does that matter? Is it really necessary to jab thumbs into
their eyes? This proposal sounds less like a gesture of solidarity than an
attack on an oppressed minority trying to yell that they are here amongst
Micah Leshem, a rabidly anti-Israel professor of psychology, who regularly
denounces Israel and Zionism as racist, insisted that if Israeli flags were
to be flown on campus then so should PLO flags be flown and lit up. He did
not suggest any swastika flags be flown. He added:
'It (the PLO flag lights) can be slightly smaller, as befits a minority, and
because that minority might also be less chauvinist, and more considerate of
other ethnic groups' sensibilities.
'Also, on independence day, I see many cars with US and Israeli flags, so I
think we should reserve 5 stories of the Tower and lighted 51 windows for an
American flag too. After all, without the American F16s and Apaches we would
be fighting the Kassam's with Davidka's.
'Finally we should have some stories dedicated to a lighted or burning Bush,
in recognition of the great support of our Nation (not State) by the Bush,
and it should be easily switched to a Texas Bar-B-Q in 5 days time.
'These are profound and important symbols, and we should give them proper
respect, as Yishayahu Leibowitz urged us to.
Micah <firstname.lastname@example.org> '
That is correct, your eyes did not play a trick on you. Here we have the
spectacle of a professor of psychology at a major Israeli university who
thinks there are 51 stars in an American flag and that the US consists of 51
states! My guess is that he also thinks that the Star of David has 7 points,
given that he would not be caught dead with one in his possession.
In another post, the same Leshem sent out a photo of the lights on the tower
in the shape of the flag, with his added comment "Bullshit Tower".
Prof. Ramzi Suleiman of psychology, an Arab professor, having earlier in the
week posted a number of messages on the list denouncing Israel as a racist
entity conducting genocide, posted a sarcastic comment, suggesting that
university ranks be replaced with army ranks and that there should be set up
an armed honor guard at the campus entrance that is rotated 3 times a day.
Finally, political science lecturer Zach Levey suggested that the flag of
lights be shut down because it is wasting electricity. He did not suggest
that providing people in Gaza with electricity be stopped because it is a
much bigger waste of electricity.
It should be noted that the week before, anti-Israel Arab students held a
noisy demonstration illegally on the Haifa University campus, while waving
PLO flags. One guard refused to allow a group of Jewish students enter
through a campus gate carrying an Israeli flag.
None of the above professors had anything to say about that or found it
insensitive or offensive. None suggested that marches by Palestinians and
their supporters with swastikas and banners calling for annihilation of all
Jews be removed because they are offensive. In the past, a few leftist
faculty members at the university hoisted PLO flags in the middle of the
wave of suicide bombings against Jews. None of the above people objected to
To whom can you complain?
University of Haifa:
President of the University of Haifa
Prof. Aaron Ben-Ze'ev
University of Haifa
Mt Carmel, 31905 Haifa Israel
Rector of the University of Haifa
Prof. Yossi Ben-Artzi
University of Haifa
Mt Carmel, 31905 Haifa Israel
Chairman of the Board of Governors
Mr. Leon Charney
Law Office of Leon H. Charney
New York, NY 10018