Friday, October 23, 2009

Haaretz runs Hysterical Attack on Isracampus



  Haaretz is the Palestinian newspaper published in Israel in Hebrew.  It features such “journalists” as Gideon Levy and Amira Hass, who openly advocate Israel’s annihilation.  It unsurprisingly endorsed the smears of Israel by the “Goldstone Commission,” and it always follows the rule that not only should Israel be assumed guilty until proved innocent, but should always be assumed guilty even AFTER being proved innocent.


Haaretz is a one-sided propagandistic medium whose idea of pluralism is like that of Pravda in the days of Brezhnev.  It allows one or two non-leftist opinion pieces for every 100 leftist pieces, and it gives space to the worst anti-Zionists and anti-Semites to promote their views.  It censors even the letters to the editor, and it is very difficult to get a pro-Israel letter published there.


Haaretz today ran in its English web site a hysterical column attacking the monitoring groups and web sites, including, for daring to expose the political activities of Israel’s Tenured Left.  As you know, these include open advocacy by tenured academics in Israel of terrorism against Jews, of boycotts against Israel, and of Israel’s annihilation. 


The Haaretz column is a hysterical attack on those who cite verbatim what anti-Israel leftist academics write and say.  That constitutes “McCarthyism,” according to the writer, Benjamin Pogrund.  The writer is not an academic but is a leftist journalist from South Africa living in Israel, known mainly for once having ties with Nelson Mandela and for his writings against apartheid when he lived in South Africa.  Today he is a leftist Zionist of sorts, and has made some speaking tours overseas with Palestinians to tout the Left’s agenda.  Ironically he has been attacked by anti-Semitic Leftists who do not like the fact that he fails to call for a second Holocaust of Jews and for Israel’s annihilation.


Anyway, in his hysterical attack on the monitor groups, Pogrund cites Ben Gurion University’s David Newman, an anti-democratic geographer in the politic science department with close links to anti-Israel extremist Neve Gordon.  Pogrund naturally tosses about the term “McCarthyism” as a descriptor of those who expose leftist sedition, citing Newman as some sort of authority on freedom of speech.  For the record, Newman assisted Neve Gordon in his anti-democratic SLAPP suit harassment against me, designed to suppress MY freedom of speech and my right to criticize the opinions of Israel-hating extremists in Israel.  Newman and even provided Gordon with a false affidavit for use in the court (which the court ignored). 


Pogrund dishonestly tries to paint the monitor web sites as focused on attacking mainstream leftists like Amos Oz and Mordecai Kremnitzer.  While a few comments by these are indeed cited on the sites, the main focus of the monitors is clearly on people like Neve Gordon and Ilan Pappe, those openly working for Israel’s annihilation.  To prevent people from visiting the sites and seeing for themselves, Pogrund and Haaretz naturally refuse to include the web addresses in the article.


The fact that Haaretz saw fit to run such a piece states volumes, I think, about how frightened the Left is by and the other monitoring groups.  The monitors MUST be doing something right to have the moonbats so frightened! 


Here is the full item (you will notice how they do not allow any “talkbacks” on the page!):


The 'guardians' of Israeli academia

By Benjamin Pogrund


Israeli academics are being watched. Vigilantes check what they say or write - and, if they are judged "anti-Israel," incite donors to the universities and colleges where they teach to act against them. Students are encouraged to spy on their teachers and to report what they say.

Academics on the left are the targets. They are vilified as "Israel's academic fifth column" and "our inner scourge." They are called "traitors" and are accused of "treasonous betrayal" and of wanting "to suck up to and be accepted by the enemy."

One vigilante group is Israel Academia Monitor (IAM) started five years ago by the American-born (sic) Dana Barnett. Another is IsraCampus, which does not reveal who its organizers are although many of its articles are written by Seth J. Frantzman, also from the United States.




Prof. David Newman, of the department of politics and government at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), who has been a target for attack, warns: "The academic McCarthyism of the right endangers Israeli democracy and society. It threatens the very basis of freedom of speech."

Newman, who has spent the past three years working informally on behalf of Israel's universities against the academic boycott attempts in Europe, sees these so-called watchdog groups as causing as much harm to Israel's academic community and reputation as the Israel boycotters themselves.

Both IAM and IsraCampus say they are modeled after Campus Watch in the United States, which is controversial for its monitoring of Middle East studies at American universities and of academics who are critical of Israel.

Barnett sends out near-daily e-mails fingering and quoting named academics, and decides when protest and dissent are "anti-Israel." Every e-mail ends by asking the recipient: "Are you a donor to Israeli universities? Learn about what is happening on Israeli campuses." She urges donors to know "what is being done with your gifts and generosity" and to "speak about anti-Israel Israeli academics when you are in touch with university officials." She does not say who funds her work. She has acknowledged in a newspaper interview that "most of them are from abroad," and claims they are "Zionists with a love of Israel."

The vigilantes totally attack any boycotts from abroad of Israel. But they want to use boycotts against the Israeli academics they condemn. They do not seem aware of the obvious contradiction in their stance.

Inevitably, Dr. Neve Gordon, the BGU political science lecturer who has been in the headlines for urging a boycott of Israel, is a particular target for them: IAM has for weeks now been soliciting signatures for a petition urging that he be dismissed as chair of the politics and government department and from any university committee, that all his courses be made electives rather than required, and that he be denied travel and research funding.

The response from international academic networks has not been long in coming. Respected academics throughout the world are said to have written letters to BGU President Rivka Carmi and to the Israel Academy of Sciences, protesting this attempt to infringe on the freedom of speech.

The vigilantes have also gone after Israeli academics who expressed support for Gordon.

Their net of condemnation is cast wide, and includes: Iaroslav Youssim, of the School of Social Work of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who was listed after circulating an invitation to a weekly "Stand Up for Jerusalem" march against Israel's occupation policies in the city. Dr. Kobi Snitz, professor of mathematics (he is no such thing - SP) at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, is listed for having served 20 days' in jail for trying to prevent soldiers from demolishing a house in a Palestinian village as well as other activities, such as "support[ing] Palestinian struggle against Israel." Also Dr. David Shulman, of the Hebrew University department of comparative religions, was named after writing about a court case in which colleagues were acquitted on charges of disorderly behavior during a protest. Former foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, a former head of Tel Aviv University's history department, is listed for his review, in Foreign Affairs magazine, of Benny Morris' history of the 1948 war.

IAM got itself into a knot, however, over the call by Tova Rosen, of BGU's Hebrew literature department, and many others for civil disobedience against three antidemocratic Knesset bills. IAM acknowledged that civil disobedience was a "time-honored expression of protest in democracies." But in classic McCarthyite style it added a dark warning that the "Communist Party" was involved in this particular case - even though it said it did not know what role, if any, the party played.

IsraCampus has what it calls a "Rogues Gallery," with scores of names. Who are these dangerous people? They include many of Israel's most distinguished intellectuals: Amoz Oz ("and his ilk") features, as does historian and Haaretz journalist Tom Segev ("anti-Israel Israeli"), plus educator and feminist Dr. Alice Shalvi and Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer, of the Hebrew University's Faculty of Law.

No doubt the vigilantes view themselves as super-patriots serving Israel's interests. The opposite is true. They are dangerous cranks. The crude censorship (sic) they use to shut up academics runs counter to the most cherished beliefs about freedom of speech in Western democracies. (Note - he considers direct citation to be "censorship" - SP.) They undermine Israel's status as a democracy.

Benjamin Pogrund is a South African-born journalist who learned about academic freedom as a student, fighting against the imposition of apartheid on universities.






Now, lest you get the impression that Haaretz and its conscripted writer are really on to something, below find a few important and interesting items from


1.  Ivory Towers of Critique: The Philosophy and Political Science

Departments at Tel Aviv University

By Seth Frantzman


Philosophy and Political Science: Interpreters of Ideas and the State


2.  The Israeli Academy and the Gaza War

Seth J. Frantzman

Jerusalem, Israel March, 2009


3.  Grossly Biased: Prof. Gross (law school, Tel Aviv University) vs. the State of Israel

by Joel Amitai


4.  Kiryat Ono College of Law - Amir Paz-Fuchs uses "law" to bludgeon Israel

By Lee Kaplan,


5.   Hebrew University - The Leftwing McCarthyism of Prof. Itzhak Galnoor (Dept of Political Science)

by Prof. Steven Plaut,
University of Haifa


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