Wednesday, October 28, 2009

On Israel's Seditious "Fifth Academic Corps"




1. just hit the mother lode.  YNET news, the web site associated with Yediot Ahronot, Israel’s largest newspaper, ran a long news story in both its Hebrew and English web sites about Isracampus’ activities against Israel’s academic Fifth Column.  The Hebrew version attracted 300 “talkbacks,” almost all of them strongly supporting Isracampus.  Here is the English version of the news story:,7340,L-3796509,00.html

Student ad: Know your anti-Israel professors

Daily planner distributed by Haifa University Student Union includes ad promoting website which warns against 'extreme anti-Israel lecturers on campus.' Complaint already filed by student, while Student Union claims ad is legitimate
Yaheli Moran Zelikovich

Students at Haifa University are outraged over the contents of an ad included in a daily planner distributed by the Student Union at the beginning of the academic year. The ad urges students to become aware of "anti-Israel lecturers" from universities across the country, including the Haifa institute. A complaint was sent to University President Professor Aaron Ben Ze'ev pointing to incitement. The ad directs students to a website which lists names of lecturers from various universities and their quotes on such topics as the separation fence, legitimacy of Israel's existence, and even an article slamming pop singer Madonna's concert in Israel. The website does not offer the lecturers responses to the quotes.


The ad reads, "Warning! An academic fifth column! Know your anti-Israel lecturers. Professors and lecturers in Israeli universities and colleges engaged in subversive activity such as: openly endorsing terror attacks against Jews, initiating international boycotts of Israel, using their status to anti-Israel preaching and anti-Zionist brainwash, cooperating with known anti-Semites, slandering Israel as a fascist, colonial State with an apartheid regime."


The ad further accuses the lecturers of promoting violence and law violations, encouraging draft-dodging among IDF soldiers and calling for the annihilation of Israel. "Learn of the abuses of the academic platform and beware of extreme anti-Israel lecturers on campus," the ad concluded.


'Ad amounts to incitement'

Maor Dahan, a law and psychology major, filed a complaint with the university administration. "As a Haifa University student, reading this ad made me feel nauseous. Preparing black lists of academics reminds me of dark times in dark regimes when people were persecuted for their different opinions. The ad's title – a fifth corps - clearly amounts to incitement." Members of the Haifa Student Union claimed that the ad doesn't constitute incitement but a legitimate expression of opinion.


Chairman Felix Koritney commented, "It's an advertisement bought and published in the planner as by other advertisers. We went over the content and it is fine by us. It informs the students, in the way other websites inform of corruption and ethics violations…Students should know who they take classes with. We love the State of Israel and support it and see no wrong with the ad."


Haifa University issued a statement reading, "In accordance with its policy and the student rights law, the University of Haifa allows freedom of speech on campus, even when it opposes the contents of opinions, so long as no State laws were violated."



Just a couple of light funny points at the fringes of the YNET story:


1. Isracampus tried last year to place the exact same ad in Yediot Ahronot but they refused to run it, even for full payment.  Yet now they ran our whole ad for free as part of a news story!


2.  The general incompetence of Yediot was also on display.  The ad refers to Israel’s academic fifth column, yet the English version of the YNET story reads “Fifth Academic Corps”.  I figure most English readers can figure out what is meant and one talkback commented on this, but it is still funny.


The Hebrew version of the story is here:,7340,L-3796254,00.html



2.  Important updates about J Street:,7340,L-3795899,00.html


See daily updates from Z Street about J Street here: 

(from Lori Lowenthal Marcus)



3.  More post-Zionism?




Why are Egypt's Liberals Anti-Semetic?


Cairo  Wall Street Journal




Tel Aviv University – Summary of the Anti-Israel Activity in the Philosophy and Political Science Departments

In all, Tel Aviv University’s department of Philosophy has two major activists who have signed the most radical petitions and supported the most radical anti-Israel activities, including calling on soldiers to have the “courage to refuse,” and requesting international boycotts of their own university. A further three have supported international involvement against Israel and signed more benign petitions. In total only 15 faculty have not signed any of the petitions while 13 have, meaning the department appears to be about equally balanced, however this ignores the fact that several of the faculty who are not activists are retired or visiting lecturers. Removing them brings down the number of faculty not signing petitions to 10. Thus the youngest faculty, particularly the up-and-comers, as well as the chair of the department, are at the forefront of “activism” in the “peace movement,” which means, many times encouraging soldiers to break the law and refuse orders. … The activism of TAU’s philosophy department might be seen to be relatively within the bounds of what an average department might produce, a few radicals and numerous other academics, were it not for another related philosophy department known as The Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas. It is this institute that might be considered TAU’s school of radicalism, where its most extreme voices have gathered and where almost every single faculty member has been active in radical Israel-critical petitions. … In Contrast to the Philosophy Department and the Cohn Institute, the Political Science Department at TAU’s faculty are relatively tempered in their criticism of the state which supports their research. Only three signed the “academic freedom” petition and only one has shown a consistent pro-Palestinian agenda. … The importance of Philosophy and Political Science to the continuing functioning of the state is apparent. The two disciplines help provide needed analysis, critique and ideas for the development of politics and political theory. Many of the ideas central to the Western World and its embrace of citizenship and democracy have originated in these disciplines. However at Tel Aviv University an increasing number of academics no longer embrace these ideas. In their political activism on behalf of the Palestinians they have come to support a radical Islamist regime where citizenship, democracy and an open society are non-existent. … This is an unfortunate and irresponsible conclusion and one that has a continuing worrisome impact on the state of Israel and the training of its up and coming minds.

 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

Philosophy and Political Science form two of the major academic pillars that affirm the existence of the state and its identity. Unlike law or other disciplines, these two departments help to form the heart and soul of the university’s relationship with the institutions, culture and actions of the state within which they are located. This was understood by the earliest philosophers, such as Plato, and by later social theorists, such as Max Weber.

The role of philosophy and political science departments therefore should be analytical and critical of the state. However as Prof. Gad Yair at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has pointed out, “the state without social sciences is ruthless, social sciences without the state are useless.”[1]

Thus the state and the social science and philosophy departments at its universities are in a symbiotic relationship. However, when one attempts to negate the other, either when the state suppresses the University, or when the University opposes the existence of the state and urges its destruction, this relationship, the delicate balance, is strained and destroyed, to the detriment of the students and society as a whole. There is, unfortunately, a strand of belief at Tel Aviv University that promotes staunch opposition not only to the university but to the Israeli state in general. As a result this relationship has become strained, with the contingent risk that the two disciplines at Tel Aviv University are becoming “useless” in their shrill and extremist behavior.

Dr. Anat Matar and Academic Freedom

As a point of departure consider the recent controversy over Dr. Neve Gordon of Ben-Gurion University urging “external pressure on Israel - including sanctions, divestment and an economic, cultural and academic boycott.” He was joined in his call by Dr. Anat Matar of Tel Aviv University’s department of Philosophy. In a letter to Haaretz published on August 27th she argued that “only when the Israeli society's well-heeled strata pay a real price for the continuous occupation, will they finally take genuine steps to put an end to it.“ She claimed that Israeli society was being torn apart by the “occupation” and that Academics had to “pay a price” to end that occupation; “The academic community has an important role to play in this process. Yet, instead of sounding the alarm, it wakes up only when someone dares approach the international community and desperately call for help.”

Matar was helpful enough in her editorial to philosophize about whence academic freedom is derived; “The appeal to academic freedom was born during the Enlightenment, when ruling powers tried to suppress independent minded thinkers. Already then, more than 200 years ago, Imannuel Kant differentiated between academics whose expertise (law, theology, and medicine) served the establishment and those who had neither power nor proximity to power.”

Matar went on to ask, “What is that academic freedom that so interests the academic community in Israel? When, for example, has it shown concern for the state of academic freedom in the occupied territories?” Matar claimed that Israeli university faculty members research “what the regime expects them to” and opposed the appointment of former army officers to university positions. She claimed that few people at the university protest the fact that the defense establishment funds programs at those universities and claimed, “only few lecturers speak up decisively against the occupation, its effect and the increasingly bestial nature of the State of Israel.“ Matar did not explicitly support the boycott of her university, but she insinuated very strongly that she not only supports Gordon’s call, but that academic freedom is a myth in Israel, and therefore calls to boycott her own university would not harm that non-existent academic freedom.

On many levels Matar’s argument falls flat. She claims that it is university faculty who must “pay the price” for the occupation. But rather than paying the price it seems Dr. Matar not only draws her salary happily every month from the state of Israel but has become a minor celebrity in international circles for her opposition to the policies (and existence) of Israel. Far from paying the price, the occupation is her grindstone, a source for most of the attention she receives and a central part of her “narrative.” She claims that “few” raise their hands in protest at the university; however, as this study will show, her own department is massively politicized and involved in activism. Dr. Matar’s dislike of the fact that former soldiers might one day obtain positions at her university is part and parcel of a soft-bigotry that could potentially discriminate against, and certainly makes feel uncomfortable, people like Captain Pnina Radai, an Ethiopian Jew who served eight years in the IDF and completed a B.A and M.A through her army service. The likes of Dr. Matar, who speaks about the “well-heeled strata” of which she is a prominent member, would deny Ethiopian, Sephardic and Druze soldiers who served the state the opportunity to lecture at the university. When the established and well-heeled, like Dr. Matar, oppose the acceptance of soldiers who risked their lives for the state and who obeyed the law by going to the army, they engage in the very hypocrisy that they claim to be opposing: they engage in prejudice, suppression of freedom of thought, and they oppose, by extension, the laws of the very state from whose trough they take their living.

Tel Aviv University: A Case Study

(go to for rest of the story and expose)



Friends of Terror – by Mark D. Tooley




The Left’s World of Fairy Tales – by Dennis Prager



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