Sunday, June 07, 2009
Ben Gurion University goes on the warpath AGAINST Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech
AGAINST academic freedom and against freedom of speech. Isracampus'
Yitzhak Klein attended. His report on this "conference" appears here:
It is a fascinating document to read in full. Here is a short excerpt,
but please go to the web address to read the report in full:
"The objective of the conference turned out not to be the celebration of
academic freedom, but an attempt to deny academic freedom to critics of
the conference organizers. political views and political activism.
"The Department of Politics and Government at Ben Gurion, and the
university itself, have good reason to feel threatened by the exercise of
certain forms of academic freedom. The activities of Isracampus and
similar organizations have helped publicize anti-Zionist, anti-Israel
publication, public activism, and classroom indoctrination by Israeli
academics, raising the question whether this represents a legitimate use
of academic freedom or a justifiable use of funding for higher education.
Ben-Gurion University, in particular, has been hard hit by private donors
who curtailed their support when they became aware of anti-Zionist
activity at the institution..
"Reflecting on the Ben Gurion University politics department conference as
a whole, the main messages were two. First, academics. right to be paid to
write and teach what they please, even if destructive, should be regarded
as an automatic entitlement. Post-Zionists are always happy to bring their
views to the public.s attention in newspaper articles and advertisements,
to teach them to their students and to attempt to sway public opinion. The
only people they feel are not entitled to know about their activities are
those who foot the bills. Both private donors and public funders are
supposed to sign their checks behind a veil of ignorance, with no full
picture of how their money is being used. Public political activities and
published writings by extremists should never be cited by anyone, except
those who endorse their extremism. Anybody seeking to enlighten the
general public or university donors should be shut up. In the name free
speech, speech is to be curtailed and information in which the public has
a legitimate interest must be suppressed!"
To keep this email short I am not posting the full piece here but it is
2. The following story is amazing and unique in so many ways that I do
not know how to count them. A leftist Israeli professor teaching in the
United States, long active in "Peace Now" and similar groups, writes a
play that mocks and denounces leftist "Post-Zionist" academics and
self-hating Jewish "intellectuals," a play in which Palestinians are shown
to be blind haters of Jews (even of "progressive" leftist Jews). The play
is to be staged in New York City in its "fringe theater festival." And
to top it off, Haaretz (Hebrew edition only) runs a raving favorable
review of the play and its author!
The academic in question is Doron S. Ben-Atar, who teaches history these
days at Fordham University in New York. He is a very serious academic,
used to be on the faculty at Yale. He is an acclaimed scholar with a
specialization in American history, and in particular writes a lot of
serious things about intellectual property rights, trade secrets, and
Ben-Atar grew up in Israel. His father was a Sephardic immigrant from
Turkey. Ben Atar's mother was a Holocaust survivor, who had been in
Auschwitz. Ben-Atar previously wrote and staged a play about his mother.
He was active in Israeli leftist groups before he went to NY to do his PhD
at Columbia University.
Based on his personal experiences he decided to write a play mocking
self-hating Israeli and Jewish leftists. The play is entitled "Peace
Warriors" and it is scheduled to be staged as part of the NY fringe
theater activities (see this:
http://fringenycdata.com/basic_page.php?ltr=P ). The play is about a
group of whiney Jewish "peace" leftists, some ex-Israelis, one British
self-hating Jewish radical, and some leftist American Jews. The Brit is
the villain in the play, and he calls himself GW, based on his original
name of Godfrey Warshevski, although he tells people it is short for
George Washington. He specializes in seducing all the leftist women in
In the play the whiney leftists spend their days mouthing anti-Israel
slogans and trying to delegitimize Israel. Ben Atar says they are all
based on real leftist academics with whom he has had personal contact.
He describes how was inspired by "dialogues" for peace in which he
participated while at Columbia, where the leftist Jews spilled out their
adoration for the Arabs present and their condemnation of Israel's army
tactics, while the Arabs conducted long debates among themselves as to
whether they should even be speaking with any Jews. He explores in his
play the psychology of self-hating Jewish leftists and Jews who march
around peacocking as proud anti-Zionists. He also mocks Meretz party
activists he knew who were more interested in counting checks than in
When Ben-Atar staged his earlier play there was a role for an Arab. She
was played by an Arab woman from Faradeis, near Haifa, who spoke no
English, and she played a woman from the West Bank in the play. When that
play was staged, a Jewish actress translated what the Arab actress was
saying for the audience, but the Arab actress did not trust the Jewess and
insisted that other Arabs be present to check the translating. Both
actresses were supposed to be "peace activists" in real life but the Arab
despised the Jew.
For Hebrew readers, the Haaretz review of all this can be read in Hebrew
at this web address:
When asked if it is hard to be a Jew living in America, he answered the
interviewer that NO, it is very easy, in fact TOO easy. What is hard, he
says, is being an Israeli!
2. On Ynet (Hebrew only) at
http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3725689,00.html Prof. Dror Zeevi,
who teaches Middle East Studies at Ben Gurion University (where else?)
calls for a Hezbollah victory in the Lebanese "elections" this week. He
claims that being in the Lebanese government will tame Hezbollah and make
it behave responsibly, since it will be unable itself to attack the
Lebanese state apparatus or infrastructure. And just why will a
victorious Hezbollah be unable to attack the Lebanese state and
infrastructure? Because a Ben Gurion University professor thinks so.
4. Israel-hating radical feminists invade Bar-Ilan University: