Thursday, August 27, 2009
Shock and Awe at Ben Gurion University
A DAY OF SHOCK IN BEERSHEBA
By Yocheved Miriam Russo
Today, many of us in Beersheba - home of BGU, Ben Gurion University of
the Negev, named in honor of Zionist supreme, David Ben Gurion - find
ourselves in a state of shock.
BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi says she's
"shocked" by the call to boycott Israel made in a LA Times op-ed written by
Dr. Neve Gordon, the Chairman of her Department of Politics and Government.
As Prof. Carmi told the Jerusalem Post, "We are shocked by Dr. Neve
Gordon's irresponsible statements, which are morally deserving of full
condemnation. We vehemently shake ourselves of the destructive views
[advocated by Gordon], who makes cynical use of freedom of expression in
Israel and Ben-Gurion University."
As for me, I'm shocked that she's
Is Prof. Carmi the only one at BGU who hasn't been watching -
and reading, and listening to - the vicious anti-Israel propaganda that
Neve Gordon has been spewing for years? Was she unaware of his "destructive
views" when just last January she promoted him, made him Chairman of the
Department of Politics and Government?
Is she the only one who doesn't
remember how Gordon barricaded himself with Terrorist Supreme Yasser Arafat
during the siege of Ramallah? How - for years -- he's posted his
"destructive views" on Holocaust denial websites? How he repeatedly called
for Israel to be destroyed through his "one state" solution, in which Jews
would be inundated with Arab "refugees"?
Can the head of the University
possibly have been unaware that her lecturer in Political Science - and now
head of the Department - regularly denounced Israel as a fascist, terrorist
regime, one that "resembles Nazi Germany"?
Has she completely forgotten
last December's war, when Hamas rockets and missiles rained down on much of
southern Israel, some hitting the BGU campus? Did she forget how, in
response, her Department head, Dr. Gordon, didn't denounce the Hamas
terrorists? Instead he denounced Israel for "targeting" the building called
"Gaza University", a structure used as a repository for the rockets
intended to kill Israelis.
Was Prof. Carmi really so aloof from faculty
affairs that she failed to notice that Dr. Gordon was a regular columnist
for the Hamas media apologist, Aljazeera.com, where Gordon regularly ranted
that Israel is opposed to peace and was plotting to steal Arab lands?
it seems. Apparently Prof. Carmi isn't much interested in anything her
Politics and Government Department does. According to Prof. Fred Lazin, who
teaches political science within that department, _before_ Neve Gordon
submitted his treasonous commentary to the LA Times, he told his department
what he was going to say, and _offered to step down as chair_ if they
thought his words would prove too embarrassing. "There was a unanimous
decision not to let him do that," Lazin said.
So the whole BGU Department
of Politics and Government stands behind Neve Gordon's treasonous
commentary - and the President of BGU is completely unaware of it? For
years now, foreign educational institutions have worked to boycott Israeli
academic institutions. But the President of BGU, one of seven Israeli
Universities, has no idea that her Department of Politics and Government
supports the boycott?
So Prof. Carmi wants us to believe, because in her
'shocked' denial, she refers to Dr. Gordon as "one rogue faculty member." I
guess she wasn't aware that the entire Department of Politics and
Government endorsed what Neve Gordon wrote.
Even if she doesn't pay
attention to internal faculty affairs, it would be hard for anyone who
reads a regular newspaper in Israel to have missed the legal skirmish when
Neve Gordon took it upon himself to sue Prof. Steve Plaut, a University of
Haifa professor of economics, for libel. Especially after Gordon lost,
because one of the appellate judges, Judge Abraham Abraham, made an
astonishing ruling all of his own. Even though Plaut had not described
Gordon as a "Jew for Hitler", if he had, Judge Abraham wrote in his
opinion, Plaut would have been within his rights.
How many professors
does Prof. Carmi have, anyway, who get themselves into messes like this?
Professors who sue other professors for libel - which ends up with an
Israeli appellate Judge ruling from the bench that her professor could be
called a "Jew for Hitler"?
Okay, so let's suppose Prof. Carmi was indeed
oblivious of the litigation itself. How could she possibly have missed the
highly colorful newspaper battle that came after, when US legal lion Alan
Dershowitz jumped into the fray with a fiery op-ed in the Jerusalem Post?
"Neve Gordon," Dershowitz wrote, "belongs to the class of the rabidly
anti-Israel far-left professors whose trade mark is the delight they take
in comparing Israel to apartheid South-Africa and Nazi Germany"?
ignorance is shocking, especially when Dershowitz characterized Gordon's
writing as "consisting of anti-Israeli propaganda designed to 'prove' that
the Jewish State is fascist". Really, wouldn't you think a University
President would sit up and take notice at that? Be a little bit concerned
about how one of her Department heads is being portrayed in the
When Dershowitz' took his parting shot - writing
that "Gordon has gotten into bed with neo-Nazis, Holocaust justice deniers
and anti-Semites", terming him "a despicable example of a self-hating Jew
and self-hating Israeli" - wouldn't you think that the head of any normal
University would be a little leery about having such a person teaching
politics and government?
If Neve Gordon had been teaching art or music,
maybe it wouldn't have mattered so much. But to have that kind of
anti-Israeli venom spewing from the head of your Department of Politics and
Government? How could she afford not to pay attention?
It's not as though
Prof. Carmi wasn't in charge during this time. She was appointed President
in December of 2005, almost a full year before the whole Dershowitz
episode, which had most of the world wondering and shaking their heads over
what could possibly be going on at BGU.
If nothing else, you'd think that
at least some of her Board of Directors or her major donors would have
called some of these incidents to her attention. It's too bad they didn't.
If they had, then surely Prof. Carmi couldn't be "shocked" by Gordon's
The truth is, I can't imagine how anyone who's been
reasonably aware of University politics could be shocked or surprised by
Neve Gordon's most recent broadside. For years he's been calling Israel an
'apartheid' state. The only new element he added was a few specifics about
his proposed boycott of Israel.
Maybe it's that Gordon's LA Times
proposal doesn't seem very serious to professional academics. Gordon begins
with his traditional observation, saying that "most accurate way to
describe Israel today is as an apartheid state". He goes on to note that
neither pressure nor condemnation from the EU and the US has had any
positive effect. So he suggests a bit of stronger medicine, a boycott of
Israel, beginning with divestment from companies operating in Judea and
Samaria and later moving on to firms which "help sustain and reinforce the
"Nothing else has worked," Gordon laments. "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 regime."
Gordon weeps crocodile tears over how
difficult this is for him, as an Israeli citizen, "to call on foreign
governments, regional authorities, international social movements,
faith-based organizations, unions and citizens to suspend cooperation with
That part I understand. I, too, find it difficult to make the
suggestion I'm going to make. Unlike Neve Gordon, I live in Beersheba, home
of BGU. One of the biggest employers in our fair city is BGU. Many of my
friends work for or are associated with BGU in some way. Normally, I'd fall
on my own sword before doing anything that would hurt them or their
families in any way.
But -- as Gordon notes - the situation is serious.
If we want to save BGU some tough action is required. Dr. Gordon suggests a
boycott as a way to gain Israel's attention. So why not a boycott of BGU,
to get Prof. Carmi's attention?
As seems apparent, Prof. Carmi has been
unaware of the anti-Israel venom that has, for many years, been spewing out
of her Department of Politics and Government. Not only has she not taken
steps to reprove or reform her wayward Department head, she's done
precisely the opposite, not only promoting him, but endorsing him,
supporting him, defending him, repeatedly terming his vicious hate
propaganda "serious and distinguished research into human rights."
This can't go on. So here's my proposal: In order to save BGU from itself,
I think a boycott is in order. If we want to save Beersheba's much-loved
Gurion University of the Negev, then we must boycott it.
Don't send students to BGU. Don't send money. Send a message. Enough is
2. The Orwellian Lobby for Neve Gordon: The Orwellian Lobby for
Neve Gordon makes Ilan Pappe look like a serious academic and a
patriotic Zionist. He makes Micah Leshem and Yuval Yonay look rational and
It is always amusing watching the Israeli Academic Fifth
Column rushing out to defend the right of anyone to smear Israel and Jews,
and to defend the most mind-bogging falsehoods and blatant fabrications in
the name of "academic freedom." These are invariably the very same people
who oppose freedom of speech for those who disagree with their own
political agendas and, in particular, oppose freedom of expression for
those who think Israel has the right to exist and the right to defend
itself. They no doubt see the Swedish newspaper's "report" of Jews
harvesting body parts of dead Palestinians to be a great manifestation of
freedom of speech and academic freedom. But they are the last people on
earth to defend freedom of speech for anyone expressing an unfashionable,
politically incorrect, or patriotic opinion, while at the same time
cheering on Neo-Fascist attacks on freedom of speech when they are adopted
by far leftists. So out trot the members of the Gordon Lobby to defend Neve
Gordon's call for a worldwide boycott of Israel and its institutions. Out
come these heroic people pretending they do not know that Israel is the
only country in the Middle East that is NOT an apartheid regime, and so
instead they cheer on international efforts designed to end Israel's very
existence as if they are battling "apartheid." In the name of "democracy,"
these people demand that the world impose upon Israel the political agenda
of the few dozen people in the country who endorse Neve Gordon's "one-state
solution," endlessly and repeatedly promoted by Gordon, a "solution" that
does not differ at all from the Rwanda solution, and one rejected by every
Israeli Jew except for those few analogues to Taliban John and Lord Haw-Haw
who, like Gordon, seek to have the Jews, or at least the Zionists, thrown
into the sea. And even more amusing is the pretense by the Academic Fifth
Column that they think Gordon is some sort of champion of democracy. A
champion of democracy who wants the world to suppress Israeli
self-determination and majority rule, and coerce the country into accepting
Gordon's own agenda for annihilating Israel. A champion of democracy who
misuses the courts to try to suppress the freedom of speech of those who
criticize his opinions through SLAPP harassment (for details, see
#0066cc 1px dashed;">IDF anti-terror operations. A champion of democracy
who misuses his academic position to smear army officers and to attempt to
get them indicted overseas in kangaroo courts as "war criminals" (for
details, see http://www.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=10510 
). And no less amusing is the pretense by such people that they are not
aware of the scores of "academics" at Israeli universities who have built
careers upon little more than turning out charlatan anti-Israel hate
propaganda, pseudo-academics hired and promoted by their ideological
comrades inside the system. DePaul University can fire an anti-Semitic
pseudo-academic with no serious scholarly achievements (for details, see
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Printable.aspx?ArtId=28143  ) , as can other
schools in the democratic world, but at Israeli universities similar people
are retained and granted tenure in the name of "academic freedom." Then
there is the sudden outrage on the part of the Academic Fifth Column at the
prospect of donors to Israeli universities exercising THEIR freedom of
speech about such things, and at the growing signs that donors and electied
officials are refusing to pony up cash for sedition and hate propaganda.
And anyone who thinks the Israeli taxpayer and his elected representatives
will sit back endlessly as academic freedom is abused by the Academic Fifth
Column and campuses are turning into little anti-Zionist indoctrination
centers should think again. For more details see
http://frontpagemag.com/Printable.aspx?ArtId=6772  and
http://frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=14811  and
http://www.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=31912  and