Saturday, October 31, 2009

Out with the Occupiers!
Out With The Occupiers!
By: Steven Plaut

Date: Wednesday, October 28 2009

Anti-Zionists say the Jewish claim to Israel is illegitimate because,
before 1948, it had been nearly 1,900 years since Jews exercised
sovereignty there - and it is absurd to argue that any group still has
rights to land they last governed such a long time ago.

But on what basis do they say the Arabs have a legitimate claim to that
same land? On the basis of the claim that the Arabs last exercised
sovereignty over that land 1,000 years ago. So, while 1,900
year-old-claims are inadmissible, thousand-year-old claims are

It must be emphasized here that even the thousand-year Arab claim is not
the same thing as a claim on behalf of "Palestinian Arabs." After all, the
last time Palestinian Arabs held sovereignty over Palestine was ... never.

It is true that Arabs once exercised sovereignty over parts or all of
historic Palestine. There were small Arab kingdoms in the south of
Palestine already in late biblical days; they were important military and
political allies of the Jews, who exercised sovereignty back then in the
Land of Israel.

After the rise of Islam, Palestine was indeed part of a larger Arab
kingdom or caliphate. But that ended in 1071, when Palestine came under
the rule of the Suljuk Turks. And that was the last time Palestine had an
Arab ruler.

In any case, why does the fact that Palestine once belonged to a larger
Arab empire make it "Arab" when it has also been part of larger Roman,
Greek, Persian, Turkish and British empires?

Why do anti-Zionists insist a thousand-year claim by Arabs who
were never ruled by Palestinian Arabs has legitimacy while a 1,900-year
claim by Jews should be rejected outright, even though the United Nations
granted Israel sovereignty in 1947? The anti-Zionists say it is because
the thousand-year Arab claim is more recent than the older Jewish claim.

But that argument can of course be turned around on
anti-Zionists, because if national claims to land become more legitimate
the more recent they are, then surely the most legitimate claim of all is
that of the Jews to Israel, because the modern Jewish state of Israel is a
mere 62 years old!

The other claim by anti-Zionists is that Jews have no rights to the land
of Israel because they moved there from other places. Never mind that
there always was a Jewish minority living in the land of Israel, even when
it was under the sovereignty of Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Crusaders, Turks or
British. Does the fact that Jews moved to the land of Israel from other
places disqualify them from exercising sovereignty there?

The claim would be nonsensical even if we were to ignore that fact that
most Palestinian Arabs also moved to Palestine from neighboring countries,
starting in the late nineteenth century. But more generally, does the fact
that a people moves from one locality to another deprive it of its claims
to legitimate sovereignty in its new abode? Does this necessitate the
conclusion that they need to pack up and leave, as anti-Zionists insist?

If it does, then it goes without saying that the Americans and Canadians
must lead the way by returning to their original owners all lands seized
from the Indians and the Mexicans and going back whence they came.

For that matter, Mexicans of Spanish ancestry also need to leave. The
Anglo-Saxons, meaning the English, will be invited to turn the British
isles over to their original Celtic and Druid owners while they return to
their own ancestral Saxon homeland in northern Germany and Denmark. The
Danes will be asked to move back to their Norwegian and Swedish homelands
to make room for the returning Anglo-Saxons.

But that is just a beginning. The Spanish will be called on to leave the
Iberian Peninsula they wrongfully occupy and return it to the
Celtiberians. Similarly the Portuguese occupiers will leave their lands
and return them to the Lusitanians. The Magyars will go back where they
came from and leave Hungary to its true owners.

The Australians and New Zealanders will have to end their occupations of
lands that do not belong to them. The Thais will leave Thailand. The
Bulgarians will return to their Volga homeland and abandon occupied
Bulgaria. Anyone speaking Spanish will be expected to end the forced
occupation of Latin America.

It goes without saying the French will lose almost all their lands to
their rightful owners. The Turks will go back to Mongolia and leave
Anatolia altogether, returning it to the Greeks. The Germans will go back
to Gotland. The Italians will return the boot to the Etruscans and Greeks.

That leaves the Arabs. First, all of northern Africa, from Mauritania to
Egypt and Sudan, will be immediately abandoned by the illegal Arab
occupiers and returned to its lawful original Berber, Punic, Greek, and
Vandal owners. Occupied Syria and Lebanon must be released at once from
the cruel occupation of the Arab imperialists.

Iraq will be returned to the Assyrians and Chaldeans. Southern Arabia will
be handed back to the Abyssinians. The Arabs may retain control of the
central portion of the Arabian peninsula as their homeland - but not the
oil fields.

The Palestinian Arabs will of course have to return the lands they are
occupying, turning them over to their legal and rightful owners (the

And right after all this, Israel will be most happy to implement the road
map in full.

2. Assimilationism in Zion: Israel's anti-Jewish "Canaanites"

Radicals In The Land Of Canaan: Zionism's Forgotten 'Young Hebrews'
By: Seth J. Frantzman

Date: Wednesday, October 28 2009

The death of polymath Amos Kenan and recent Canaanite archeological finds
at Beit Shemesh remind us once again of the obscure movement known as
Canaanism, founded by a handful of right-wing Hebrew resistance fighters
who decades later would become fountainheads of radical post-Zionism.

The Canaanites were mostly either native-born Sabras or immigrants of the
Third Aliyah between 1919 and 1924. Except for their leader, Yonatan
Ratosh (Halperin), who was born in 1908, this was a group of men born
during and after the First World War, mostly in the early 1920s. They were
thus almost all in their twenties during Israel's war of independence.

Ratosh was an early follower of Jabotinsky and Revisionist Zionism but had
a falling out with the movement's leadership in 1937. He had befriended
Avraham ("Yair") Stern who would go on to found the Lehi in 1940. He was
also an intimate of Eliyahu Bet-Zuri, a Hebrew University student who
assassinated Britain's Lord Moyne in Egypt in 1944 and who in turn was
executed by the British.

After leaving the Irgun, Ratosh went to Paris. It was during this time
that he honed his thinking about Canaanism. He was assisted by his two
brothers, Svi Rin (Gamliel Tzvi, a.k.a. Zeev Khanun) and Uzzi Ornan. Rin
was a commander of the Irgun in Jerusalem. Ornan was arrested by the
British for membership in the Irgun and deported to Eritrea.

Canaanism was to be totally secular. The Canaanist program was for "no
distinction regarding religion, ethnic group or origin, and for the
recognition of the distinctiveness of the nation living within the State
of Israel as opposed to Judaism at large."

(This idea of separating Judaism from the Jewish state is alive and well
and can be found today in the secular left's opposition to the notion that
Israel be recognized as essentially a Jewish state.)

Most Canaanists were born in Europe, but younger members such as Ornan,
Kenan and Matti Peled tended to be Sabras born in cities. Ratosh, who had
edited the Irgun newspaper Ba-Cherev, founded a journal called Alef for
his new movement. Benjamin Tammuz, who tried to recruit a young writer
named Uri Avnery to the movement, was an editor of Haaretz's Yom Yom night
edition and it was he who hired Avnery to write dispatches from the front
during the 1948 war. Ratosh also wrote for Haaretz. Later, Avnery, by then
editing and publishing the leftist Haolam Hazeh, hired Kenan to write for

They were all radicals. Kenan, Tammuz and Peled had been Communists, then
radical right-wingers, and still later left-wing peace activists. In 1952
Kenan and a former Lehi colleague were implicated in the attempted
assassination of transportation minister David-Zvi Pinkas after Pinkas
moved to ban public transportation on Shabbat. Yitzchak Danziger, a
phenomenal sculptor, expressed his Canaanism by constructing a giant
statue of Nimrod for Hebrew University. The statue was uncircumcised.

Archeological discoveries, including that of old inscriptions, helped lay
the foundation for a Canaanite ideology. Avnery recalls the "the new
national flag proposed by Ratosh: a blue and purple flag, the royal colors
mentioned in the Bible, with golden bull's horns, emblematic of the first
letter of the ancient Hebrew alphabet."

One might think a movement that desired nothing more than to resituate
Jews in their original Middle Eastern environment and turn them into a new
Hebrew people would have shown an interest in the Sephardi and Mizrachi
Jewish immigrants who arrived in the 1950s. Most of the Canaanists who had
been in the Irgun and Lehi served alongside Sephardim (who made up about a
quarter of the Irgun's ranks) and who, like the Canaanists, were
concentrated in the cities rather than the countryside cooperatives.

But even a potential connection between Canaanism and Sephardim had to
wait until the late 1950s. It was then that Baghdad-born writer Nissim
Rejwan, an advocate for preserving Sephardic culture, struck up a
relationship with Canaanite founding father Aharon Amir, a prolific writer
and translator (and former member of the Likud and Lehi undergrounds).

As Rejwan recalls, "the Canaanites fiercely opposed the idea of Pan-Jewish
nationalism [and] did not consider Arabs alien in culture or nationality,
and Jews coming from the Arab world were for all intents and purposes
Arab." Through his meetings with Amir, Rejwan came to realize he could not
agree with the Canaanite position that Arabs and Jews both had to be "made
into Hebrews."

In 1957 Amir began publishing Keshet, a cultural quarterly. In the 1960s
he founded a "Hebrew Thought Club" with Dr. Ezra Sohar and Adia Gurevitch
(Edya Horon). Rejwan recalls that "even that tiny band of aging Young
Hebrews was to be dismantled because of equally tiny differences of
opinion. It is, after all, in the nature of all such small and highly
ideologically-oriented groups to be torn by such differences."

Gurevitch died soon after and Sohar ran for Knesset for a tax policy
party. Today Sohar serves on the steering committee of the Ariel Center
for Policy Research. He and Amir both gravitated toward the right in
Israeli politics, with Amir arguing in favor of annexing the West Bank.
While Uri Avnery used the 1967 conquests to immediately advocate, through
a letter to Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, independence for the Palestinians,
Amir advocated annexation and Sohar wrote about the demographic problem.

To what degree is today's radical left in Israel influenced by the ideas
of Canaanism? What connects leftists to Canaanists is the Israeli
newspaper Haaretz, which employed a disproportionate number of Canaanites
and today features a disproportionate number of radical Israel bashers
(Gideon Levy, Amira Hass, Yitzhak Laor, etc.) who lose no opportunity to
write the most extreme things about their country. But they are not
Canaanists. They don't have any interest in a Hebrew nation in Palestine;
for them there is only the Palestinian Arab nation.

On a fundamental level, this evolution of Canaanism was only logical.
Deracinating the Jewish people in order to turn them into a "Hebrew
nation," seen at the time as a noble goal that would lead to the creation
of a new nation-state and a final break with the Diaspora, was in fact a
crime against Jewish peoplehood and Jewish history.

The story of Matti Peled should suffice to demonstrate the problematic
nature of Canaanism. Born in Haifa in 1923, he grew up in Jerusalem and
became a member of the Palmach in 1941. In 1967 he was one of the hawkish
generals who demanded a preemptive strike against Egypt. In the wake of
the war he completed a Ph.D. in the U.S and returned to Israel to help
found the Arabic Language and Literature department at Tel Aviv
University. In 1975 he joined the Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian

On September 4, 1997, Peled's granddaughter Smadar was blown up by a
suicide bomber on Ben Yehuda street in Jerusalem. Peled's daughter, Hebrew
University Professor Nurit Peled-Elhanan, the mother of Smadar, insisted
that "my little girl was murdered because she was an Israeli, by a young
man who was humiliated, oppressed and desperate to the point of suicide
and murder and inhumanity, just because he was a Palestinian."

She compared the terrorist to Israeli soldiers at security checkpoints and
declared, "there is no basic moral difference."

Meanwhile, Peled's son Miko, who lives in San Diego, is a supporter of the
"one state solution" and condemns the "Israeli Apartheid system."

There can be no greater testament to the failure of Canaanism than Miko
Peled's hostility to Israel and Prof. Peled-Elhanan's justification of the
murder of her own daughter.

Seth Frantzman is a columnist for the Jerusalem Post. His front-page essay
"Early Reform and Islamic Exoticism" appeared in the June 5 issue of The
Jewish Press. He can be contacted at

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Public Challenge to Tel Aviv University
Subject: A Public Challenge to Tel Aviv University
(see page for links and illustrations)
Thursday, October 29, 2009
A Public Challenge to Tel Aviv University

The Sociology department at Tel Aviv University has been engaged in subsidized sedition. It has offered a course in one-sided propaganda and leftist indoctrination. And Tel Aviv University students got PAID to sign up and be indoctrinated in the course! Really!

The course, which is evidently not offered this year but was offered as late as 2007-8, was entitled “Bureaucracy, Governmentality, and Human Rights.” It was group-taught, mainly by Tel Aviv University Marxist sociologist and far-leftist anti-Zionist Professor Yehouda Shenhav, together with far-leftist non-academic political activists. The latter were two lawyers, Yael Berda from the extremist “Machsom Watch” political group, specialized in interfering with Israeli military checkpoints in the “territories,” and Michael Sfard, the attorney for the far-Left “Association for Civil Rights in Israel.” The ACRI believes that Jews have no civil rights worth defending but Arabs have the right to use violence to evict Israel from “occupied territories.”

The course was also offered by Shenhav and friends to visiting students from Tufts University (see this). The syllabus of the course shows that it consists only of leftist anti-Israel propaganda. No pro-Israel speakers or writers were included in the course materials. Students in the course were taken around to visit various Israeli far-leftist groups like the extremist “Yesh Din,” and also Palestinian propagandists. The lectures included diatribes against Israeli imperialism and colonialism. Israel is denounced throughout the course as racist and as an apartheid regime. Occupation of Palestinians is denounced as a horrible atrocity, with never a word as to how and why the “occupation” came about and what the costs have been to Israel from attempts at ending the “occupation." Go here to see the entire course outline.

So here we have the spectacle of Tel Aviv University not only offering a one-sided propaganda and indoctrination program in anti-Israel extremism all dressed up as a course in “sociology,” but also making payments to students who agree to be subjected to the indoctrination. Each student was paid about 1450 NIS plus additional expenses.

Well, my friend and comrade Seth Frantzman, a Phd student at the Hebrew University and a writer for, the watchdog group that monitors and exposes Israeli extremist academics, has come up with a brilliant idea. He (and I second his call) would like to challenge the heads of Tel Aviv University. We would like to ask the heads of Tel Aviv University whether in the name of pluralism and balance they would be willing to approve in principle the following course as a new one to be offered to students in the sociology department. We would like to know if the following course content, which largely parallels the course offered by Shenhav and his buddies, is acceptable. And we would like to ask how much money Tel Aviv University is willing to pay the students who sign up for the course.

Here is the course outline as prepared by Seth Frantzman:

Tel Aviv University
Faculty of Social Sciences
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Yearly Course
Two weekly hours

Bureaucracy, Governmentality and Individual Rights – Alternative Course Syllabus
Prof. Benny Alon
TA: Adv. Itamar Ben-Gvir
Guest lecturer: Baruch Marzel

The course will discuss managerial theory and practice, with an emphasis on mind control mechanisms that Palestinians developed to train terrorists in the context of the West Bank. We will examine the historical sources of these mechanisms and attempt to situate them within the Islamist context, particularly as envisioned in Wahhabism and the writings of Said Qutb. We will then demonstrate how the Hebrew freedom fighter is reflected, within the spaces of sovereignty he creates, in the NGO-funding practices of European countries, their agents and executive authorities. In addition, we will demonstrate how the Palestinian Islamist culture creates lawless spaces, where people's lives become exposed to violence or the threat thereof. Simultaneously, we will analyze the political and cultural implications of historical anachronism, relating them to questions of morality and religion, politics and sovereignty, and political theology. We will place special emphasis on the relationship between radical Hamas interpretations of religion and Fatah bureaucracy and their ties with violence, in all forms. Through the course, we will familiarize ourselves with the complexity of maintaining the human rights of the Hebrew, particularly in the unusual yet daily events in which they are most crucial. We will learn to listen to testimonies and stories from the points of view of different actors in the event, and primarily "look over the shoulder" of those working in service of the Yishuv, in order to try and understand the mechanisms and the networks of events operating in reality.

Course structure

The course is a seminar combining theory and practice. In addition to Prof. Alon's lectures, Activist Itamar Ben Gvir and his friends will accompany the course as a guest lecturer. Every two weeks, the students will take part in Yesh Yehudut's project of observing Palestinian militancy, and in Yad L’Achim's project of assistance to Jewish women trapped in the houses of their abusive Arab husbands in the Palestinian territories. Under the direction of these organizations, the students will be involved in documentation, building a Jewish outpost, advocacy and coordination while maintaining a journal documenting their activity. The students will be guided by Itamar Ben-Gvir, both individually and in groups. Students will receive transportation expenses and a yearly scholarship of NIS 1450. At the end of the year, each student will submit an article based upon her activities and experiences, with reference to the course's theoretical content. Some of the articles will be collected in a book edited by Prof. Alon, Baruch Marzel and Adv. Itamar Ben-Gvir, in cooperation with the organizations.

Schedule and outline
October 24 – Lecture 1: Introduction of the course, group guidance
Prof. Alon, Adv. Ben-Gvir, Adv. Marzel
October 31 – Field work
November 7 – Lecture 2: Development of bureaucratic thought, managerial revolution and rationalism
as an ideology
November 14 – Field work
November 24 – Islamism and terrorism – Guest lecturer: Baruch Marzel
November 28 – Field work
December 3 – Lecture 3: Bureaucracy and political catastrophes
December 12 – Field work
December 19 – Lecture 4: Sovereignty, governance and power
December 20 – Field work
January 2: Testimony of suicide bombers and confession. Guest lecturer: Seth Frantzman
January 9 – Field work
January 16 – Field work
February 27 – Lecture 5: Political theology and the state of emergency
March 6 – Lecture 6: Islamism – occupier and occupied: from co-dependency to
"exposed life"
March 13 – Field work
March 20 – Field work
March 27 – Racialization and Wahhabism
April 10 – Field work
April 17 – Lecture 7: The security paradigm
April 24 – Field work
May 8 – Lecture 9: Bureaucracy of Hamas’ Shariah judicial system
May 15 – Field work
May 29 – Lecture 10: Globalization of terrorism, disaster management and humanitarian organizations
June 5 – Concluding meeting





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



Monday, October 26, 2009

Nazis in the Ivory Tower (in the 1930s; and today?)


1.  Nazis in the Ivory Tower  (in the 1930s, and today?)



Nazis in the Ivory Tower – by Steven Plaut

Posted By Steven Plaut On October 26, 2009 @ 12:13 am In FrontPage | 3 Comments

Over the past two decades we have witnessed the emergence of a mass movement of political extremism and support for totalitarianism on Western college campuses. Large numbers of university professors and administrators today advocate politically extremist positions that combine support for totalitarian Islamofascism and its terrorism with deep hatred of Israel and anti-Americanism. The dimensions of the phenomenon vary by campus and also by academic discipline. Middle East Studies is arguably the worst. The pro-totalitarian ideology and the hostility towards Israel and the United States have been documented for years by campus monitoring watchdogs like Campus-Watch [1] in the United States and by Isracampus [2] in Israel, as well as by web magazines, notably FrontPage [3].

Reading the exposes about campus political extremism today is numbingly shocking. No doubt many a reader responds bewilderingly by asking how such behavior and fanaticism could have been invented in the early twenty-first century. Actually, it was not. It was around many decades ago.

Campus radicalism, support for totalitarianism, and general political extremism are not new on Western campuses. Indeed some of the worst political extremism in academic history took the form of enthusiastic support on American campuses for Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. This is a disgraceful chapter in American academic history and one largely unknown. Its story is the topic of a new book [4], “The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower,” by Stephen H. Norwood [5] (Cambridge University Press, 2009). The author is a professor of history at the University of Oklahoma and holds a PhD from Columbia University (of all places; Columbia University is one of the schools whose ties with Nazism [6] he documents carefully). Norwood is an accomplished writer and researcher, but I believe that this volume will turn him into an American household name. It is based on five years of his intensive research efforts. And it is already flaming controversies [7] and debate [8].

None of what follows is my own original research. All of it is taken from Norwood’s seminal study and he deserves all the credit for uncovering these things. The simple lesson from examining the behavior on American universities in the 1930s is that that the appeasement, the support for totalitarian aggression and terror, the academic bigotry, and the anti-Semitism that today fill so many American universities were all predominant forces on many campuses in the 1930s, especially at America’s elite schools, including on much of the Ivy League. The Chomskies, Coles, Beinins and Massads of today could easily be fit into the campus atmosphere of the 1930s.

Norwood sums up the situation at American universities in the 1930s thus:

“The leaders of American colleges and universities remained for the most part uninvolved as others in this country forcefully protested the Nazis’ barbaric treatment of Jews. The Nazis anti-Semitic terror in 1933 precipitated demonstrations and boycotts (of Germany) on an unprecedented scale… But although academicians were the Americans most conversant with European affairs, few engaged in public anti-Nazi protest…. American universities maintained amicable relations with the Third Reich, sending their students to study at Nazified universities while welcoming Nazi exchange students to their own campuses. America’s most distinguished university presidents willfully crossed the Atlantic in ships flying the swastika flag, openly defying the anti-Nazi boycott, to the benefit of the Third Reich’s economy. By warmly receiving Nazi diplomats and propagandists on campus, they helped Nazi Germany present itself to the American public as a civilized nation, unfairly maligned in the press.” (Norwood, page 34)

Norwood’s book is a must-read, but also a sad and uncomfortable read. He details the reactions of America’s professors and universities to the rise of Hitler. The responses on American campuses ranged from complete indifference and refusal to join in campaigns against Nazi Germany to widespread support for German Nazism, including for German atrocities committed against Jews. This was not mere Yankee provincial ignorance of what was happening outside the country.

Starting in 1933 anti-Hitler mass protests were being held throughout the United States. Americans of all creeds joined in. So did labor unions, political parties, and others. Perhaps the most memorable anti-Nazi sign from the marches was that of the Undertakers Union, “We want Hitler!” American streets were filled with anti-Nazi protests every week. At the same time, “College and university presidents and administrators did not convene protest meetings against Nazi anti-Semitism on the campuses, nor did they urge their students and faculty members to attend the nationwide mass rallies held on March 27, 1933.” (Norwood, page 15).

Some leading German Jewish scientists and professors managed to make it to the United States. The most famous was of course Albert Einstein. Some American schools went out of their way to hire these refugees. Harvard and Yale (which has a Hebrew slogan on its official coat of arms) were NOT among those! Yale’s President James Rowland Angell said he was “only superficially concerned with the plight of the German refugees” and reluctant to commit resources to finding them jobs.  Harvard refused to hire refugees even when the Rockefeller Foundation offered to cover half their salaries, not even as curators at the campus Germanic Museum (pages 32-33).  In contrast, the Nazi Professor Friedrich Schoenemann from the University of Berlin went on a speaking tour of American campuses in 1933 to great acclaim, where his talks were titled, “Why I Believe in the Hitler Government.”  He had taught at Harvard during and after World War I.

Some academics condemned those calling for a boycott of Germany in response to the atrocities committed against on Kristallnacht. They insisted it would be “hypocritical” on the part of those protesting the boycott of German Jews by Nazis to call for a boycott of Nazi Germany. This is worth noting because one hears the exact same claim today. Those today calling for boycotts of the anti-Israel academics that lead the “divestment” movement demonizing Israel are similarly denounced; they are accused of supposedly exhibiting “hypocrisy.” In other words, one must not oppose the evil use of boycotts to achieve evil totalitarian aims, especially not through a campaign against them of boycotts to achieve just and democratic aims, lest one be guilty of “inconsistency.”

Harvard University stood out above the rest in its moral failure and in its collaboration with Nazism. Many of the faculty members at Harvard were openly anti-Semitic, including Harvard’s president James Bryant Conant. Later, after the war, Conant served as US Ambassador to Germany and worked feverishly to get Nazi war criminals paroled and hired (pages 243-256). He lobbied for appointments of Nazis to various public posts in Europe and at the United Nations. Harvard’s law school Dean, Roscoe Pound, was openly sympathetic to Hitler, vacationed in Germany and attended anti-Semitic events there (pages 56-7). Harvard history professor William L. Langer strongly defended Hitler’s reoccupation and remilitarization of the Rhineland, which was the first step in launching World War II. More generally he served as a sort of academic apologist for the Nazis (pages 41-2).

Harvard went out of its way to host and celebrate Nazi leaders. The high Nazi official Ernst (Putzi) Hanfstaungl was invited as the Harvard commencement speaker in 1934. The wealthy Hanfstaungel had been one of Hitler’s earliest and most important backers. He was on record insisting “the Jews must be crushed,” and describing Jews as “the vampire sucking German blood.”  Hanfstaungel was invited by a Harvard medical professor to serve as the honored speaker in the Harvard commencement ceremony and class reunion of 1934 and used the occasion for anti-Semitic incitement (page 49). (He also showed up in [9] Harvard at the 50th class reunion after the war in 1959.) He openly advocated the mass arrest or worse of German Jews. The student paper, the Harvard Crimson, defended Hanfstaungel (pages 49-50). Harvard called in the Boston police to arrest Jews and others protesting the visit, and they were charged with “illegally displaying signs” (page 52). When Hanfstaungel returned to Germany from Harvard, he was personally greeted by Hitler (page 55).

Harvard maintained warm intimate relations with many Nazi institutions, in particular the University of Heidelberg, even after it proclaimed proudly that it had expelled all its Jews and began promoting what it called “Aryan Physics” (page 62). Harvard’s warm relations with German universities were used by Nazi propagandists, including Joseph Goebbels, to lull the world into accepting and legitimizing the Nazi regime. In 1937 Harvard’s president was still saluting Nazi universities as playing a legitimate part of the “learned world” (page 70). Harvard President Conant pursued collaborative relations with Nazi universities throughout the 1930s and right up to the outbreak of war.

In 1935 the German consul in Boston was invited by Harvard to lay a wreath with a swastika on it in the campus chapel. Nazi officials were invited to Harvard’s tercentenary celebrations in 1936, held intentionally on the Jewish High Holidays as a slap in the face of Jewish faculty and students (page 39). A mock student debate held in 1936 was presided over by Harvard professors as judges. They acquitted Hitler of most of the mock charges (condemning him only for having a German general killed) and declared that German persecution of Jews was simply irrelevant (pages 40-41).  The Harvard Crimson, the student paper [9], ran numerous pro-Hitler articles. Its editors were among those coming out to celebrate the visit of a German ship with Nazi officials on board. MIT also helped host the ship. The Nazi “Horst Wessel” marching song was played by student bands. Meanwhile, the campaign to boycott German goods was condemned by rally speakers.

Yale was only marginally less friendly to the Nazis than Harvard. “President James Rowland Angell of Yale University refused the request by Rabbi Edgar E. Siskin to speak on March 27, 1933 at a community-wide mass meeting in New Haven called to voice ‘dismay and indignation at the anti-Semitic excesses now being carried out in Germany’” (page 15). Yale and Harvard presidents welcomed a delegation of Italian fascists to both campuses in October of 1934 (page 57). The student newspapers at both schools warmly approved.  Fascist Italy’s diplomats were often welcomed by Harvard.

Other parts of thee New England academic elite expressed similar sentiments. A protest rally against German anti-Semitism was planned for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for March 30, 1933. It drew only a small number of protesters after MIT President Karl Compton intervened to oppose it. Compton also opposed the sending of petitions to the German government signed by MIT faculty and students. Some MIT professors came out vocally in support of Hitler and Nazi Germany, including mechanical engineering professor Wilhelm Spannhake (page 16). His son Ernst was a student at the time at MIT; the son insisted that the Nazis had committed no atrocities at all and he defended the Nazi boycott of German Jews and Jewish businesses.

Professor Thomas Chalmers of the history department at Boston University publicly demanded a “hands off “ policy regarding Hitler and opposed American denunciations of Nazi Germany (page 17).  Public efforts were made to recruit leading university presidents to refuse to travel on German ships flying the swastika flag, and to refuse to attend German “academic” conferences, but most refused. Among those who demonstrably insisted on traveling on Nazi ships was Nicholas Murray Butler, president of the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace, and Harvard’s President Conant. President Robert Maynard Hutchins of the University of Chicago insisted on traveling on the same ships until the summer of 1937 (Pages 17-18). After the war the University of Chicago hired one of the leaders of the Romanian genocidal fascist organization “Iron Guard” as a faculty member.

Norwood’s own alma mater of Columbia University is a major target in his book (pages 75-102). Columbia was an active collaborator with Nazi Germany in many ways. Months after Germany started book burning, Columbia’s President Nicholas Murray Butler went out of his way to welcome Nazi Germany’s ambassador to the US for a lecture circuit at the school, and praised the Nazi emotionally as a gentleman and a representative of “a friendly people” (page 76).  Shortly afterwards, when a man who had escaped from a Nazi concentration camp lectured on campus, Butler refused to attend (pages 77-8). Butler frequently praised Germany and Fascist Italy. He would have approved of Joseph Massad [10] getting tenure this year at Columbia.

Columbia University itself had been officially discriminating against Jewish students since the beginning of the century. A Columbia Dean named Thomas Alexander praised Hitler’s Nazism sycophantically and visited Germany himself (page 83). He especially approved of the Nazi policy of forced sterilizations. More than one Columbia faculty member was fired for taking an anti-Nazi stand. These included a Jewish professor of fine arts, Jerome Klein, who dared to protest the campus visit of the Nazi ambassador. Columbia built and maintained extensive connections with Fascist Italy. Things changed only after 1936 when Edward R. Murrow took over as president.

Many other universities were little better. The “Seven Sisters,” meaning the seven elite women’s colleges in America, were decidedly unwilling to take any anti-Nazi stands (pages 103-132). Professors and students served as apologists for Nazism. So did some of the college presidents. Collaboration with the Nazis continued at some campuses even after Germany invaded Czechoslovakia and Poland. The oppression of women in Nazi Germany made no more impression upon them than the oppression of women in Islamic societies does on today’s campus extremists and feminists.

Freedom of speech was selectively defended on campuses in the 1930s, as it is again today in the 21st century. The President of Queens College prohibited an anti-Nazi speaker from giving a lecture on campus as late as spring 1938 (pages 223-46). Harvard suppressed student efforts to aid Jewish refugees from Germany. For many years Catholic universities in the United States were strongly pro-fascist (pages 196-219).

Phony symmetry, the condemnation of fascism together with condemning Western democracies, is not the innovation of the past decade’s campus campaign to defend Islamic terror. In the 1930s academics and university presidents signed statements that protested German behavior but at the same time gave it legitimacy. For example, in one attempt at “even-handedness,” a petition claimed that Nazi actions were “in large part the result of the lack of fair play to Germany” on the part of Western countries and their “slighting of German rights and needs.”  It added that “minorities are suppressed and discriminated against to some degree in every land.” They knew so well – at the time most Ivy League universities and many other colleges officially and openly discriminated against Jewish applicants. (They still do under affirmative action quotas.)

Does all of the above sound familiar? It does to Norwood, who says he sees frightening similarities [11] between what has been happening in American campuses since the early 1990s and what transpired in the 1930s.


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