Sunday, August 23, 2009
It is Time to Boycott Ben Gurion University to Save it!
Sunday, August 23, 2009
It is Time to Boycott Ben Gurion University to Save it!
Just when it seems that there is no expression of academic treason that
Israel has not seen and that Ben Gurion University has not defended as
"pursuing peace and justice," along comes Neve Gordon, the head of Ben
Gurion University's politics department, and issues a call in the Los
Angeles Times for a world boycott of Israel. He says it is in order to
save Israel. And a growing movement among Jews who do NOT hate themselves
is organizing to boycott Ben Gurion University in response.
You know, to save it from itself!
Here is the Haaretz report:
According to Israel's Haaretz, Aug. 23 2009, a large group of Los Angeles
Jews are launching a campaign to boycott Ben Gurion University for as long
as Gordon works there:
Members of the Los Angeles Jewish community have threatened to withhold
donations to an Israeli university in protest of an op-ed published by a
prominent Israeli academic in the Los Angeles Times on Friday, in which he
called to boycott Israel economically, culturally and politically. In the
wake of the publication of the article, Israel's Consul-General in Los
Angeles, Yaakov (Yaki) Dayan sent a letter to the president of Ben-Gurion
University, Prof. Rivka Carmi, in which he said that such statements may
be detrimental to the university.
"Since the article was published I've been contacted by people who care
for Israel; some of them are benefactors of Ben-Gurion University," Dayan
wrote. "They were unanimous in threatening to withhold their donations to
your institution. My attempt to explain that one bad apple would affect
hundreds of researchers turned out to be futile."
"I believe that the definitive answer to anti-Zionist lecturers like
Gordon is to set up a center for Zionist studies, which unfortunately does
not exist in Israeli academia," he continued. "This center would help
dispel the lies disseminated by Gordon in the name of your university."
Gordon is one of Israel's most openly anti-Smeitic and anti-Israel
academic extremists. He surpasses Ilan Pappe in some ways. Much of his
"academic" career has consisted of turning out anti-Israel hate propaganda
and passing it off as scholarly research. He is so extreme that his
articles are covered by Holocaust Deniers, by the main Iranian newspaper,
and by Neo-Nazi web sites all over the world. Ben Gurion University's
President, Rivka Carmi, has repeatedly supported Gordon and defended his
behavior, endorsing not only his right to say treasonous things but also
has endorsed the contents of what he says. Carmi celebrates Gordon as a
"serious cholar of human rights." Sure he is.
Gordon served as a "human shield" for wanted terrorists and murderers
being hidden by Yassir Arafat. He has spent much of time in recent years
promoting and supporting Neo-Nazi Norman Finkelstein, who was fired by
DePaul University for his own lack of serious academic work. At DePaul
University, anti-Israel hate propaganda does not count as scholarship, but
at Ben Gurion University it does! He is a leftist Neo-Fascist who opposes
freedom of speech for those with whom he disagrees and has attempted to
use the Israeli court system to suppress democracy and freedom of speech
through a SLAPP harassment. He has repeatedly called for Israel to be
elimiated altogether. Gordon's campaign for the anniliation of Israel is
being carried out while Gordon sits in a cushy academic job paid for by
the Israeli taxpayer.
To tell the heads of Ben Gurion University what you think of all this,
write to Rivka Carmi, President
P.O. Box 653, Beer-Sheva, 84105, Israel,
Prof. Jimmy Weinblatt, Rector
P.O. Box 653, Beer-Sheva, 84105, Israel
Other officers listed here: http://cmsprod.bgu.ac.il/Eng/Units/management/
University "Friends of" Offices outside Israel are listed here:
Here is Gordon's "Let's Destroy Israel" piece in full:
Boycott Israel: An Israeli comes to the painful conclusion that it's the
only way to save his country.
By Neve Gordon
August 20, 2009
Israeli newspapers this summer are filled with angry articles about the
push for an international boycott of Israel. Films have been withdrawn
from Israeli film festivals, Leonard Cohen is under fire around the world
for his decision to perform in Tel Aviv, and Oxfam has severed ties with a
celebrity spokesperson, a British actress who also endorses cosmetics
produced in the occupied territories. Clearly, the campaign to use the
kind of tactics that helped put an end to the practice of apartheid in
South Africa is gaining many followers around the world.
Not surprisingly, many Israelis -- even peaceniks -- aren't signing on. A
global boycott can't help but contain echoes of anti-Semitism. It also
brings up questions of a double standard (why not boycott China for its
egregious violations of human rights?) and the seemingly contradictory
position of approving a boycott of one's own nation.
It is indeed not a simple matter for me as an Israeli citizen to call on
foreign governments, regional authorities, international social movements,
faith-based organizations, unions and citizens to suspend cooperation with
Israel. But today, as I watch my two boys playing in the yard, I am
convinced that it is the only way that Israel can be saved from itself.
I say this because Israel has reached a historic crossroads, and times of
crisis call for dramatic measures. I say this as a Jew who has chosen to
raise his children in Israel, who has been a member of the Israeli peace
camp for almost 30 years and who is deeply anxious about the country's
The most accurate way to describe Israel today is as an apartheid state.
For more than 42 years, Israel has controlled the land between the Jordan
Valley and the Mediterranean Sea. Within this region about 6 million Jews
and close to 5 million Palestinians reside. Out of this population, 3.5
million Palestinians and almost half a million Jews live in the areas
Israel occupied in 1967, and yet while these two groups live in the same
area, they are subjected to totally different legal systems. The
Palestinians are stateless and lack many of the most basic human rights.
By sharp contrast, all Jews -- whether they live in the occupied
territories or in Israel -- are citizens of the state of Israel.
The question that keeps me up at night, both as a parent and as a citizen,
is how to ensure that my two children as well as the children of my
Palestinian neighbors do not grow up in an apartheid regime.
There are only two moral ways of achieving this goal.
The first is the one-state solution: offering citizenship to all
Palestinians and thus establishing a bi-national democracy within the
entire area controlled by Israel. Given the demographics, this would
amount to the demise of Israel as a Jewish state; for most Israeli Jews,
it is anathema.
The second means of ending our apartheid is through the two-state
solution, which entails Israel's withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders (with
possible one-for-one land swaps), the division of Jerusalem, and a
recognition of the Palestinian right of return with the stipulation that
only a limited number of the 4.5 million Palestinian refugees would be
allowed to return to Israel, while the rest can return to the new
Geographically, the one-state solution appears much more feasible because
Jews and Palestinians are already totally enmeshed; indeed, "on the
ground," the one-state solution (in an apartheid manifestation) is a
Ideologically, the two-state solution is more realistic because fewer than
1% of Jews and only a minority of Palestinians support binationalism.
For now, despite the concrete difficulties, it makes more sense to alter
the geographic realities than the ideological ones. If at some future date
the two peoples decide to share a state, they can do so, but currently
this is not something they want.
So if the two-state solution is the way to stop the apartheid state, then
how does one achieve this goal?
I am convinced that outside pressure is the only answer. Over the last
three decades, Jewish settlers in the occupied territories have
dramatically increased their numbers. The myth of the united Jerusalem has
led to the creation of an apartheid city where Palestinians aren't
citizens and lack basic services. The Israeli peace camp has gradually
dwindled so that today it is almost nonexistent, and Israeli politics are
moving more and more to the extreme right.
It is therefore clear to me that the only way to counter the apartheid
trend in Israel is through massive international pressure. The words and
condemnations from the Obama administration and the European Union have
yielded no results, not even a settlement freeze, let alone a decision to
withdraw from the occupied territories.
I consequently have decided to support the Boycott, Divestment and
Sanctions movement that was launched by Palestinian activists in July 2005
and has since garnered widespread support around the globe. The objective
is to ensure that Israel respects its obligations under international law
and that Palestinians are granted the right to self-determination.
In Bilbao, Spain, in 2008, a coalition of organizations from all over the
world formulated the 10-point Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign
meant to pressure Israel in a "gradual, sustainable manner that is
sensitive to context and capacity." For example, the effort begins with
sanctions on and divestment from Israeli firms operating in the occupied
territories, followed by actions against those that help sustain and
reinforce the occupation in a visible manner. Along similar lines, artists
who come to Israel in order to draw attention to the occupation are
welcome, while those who just want to perform are not.
Nothing else has worked. Putting massive international pressure on Israel
is the only way to guarantee that the next generation of Israelis and
Palestinians -- my two boys included -- does not grow up in an apartheid