Friday, January 01, 2010
A Governor at Ben Gurion University tells Far Leftist Politics Professor at BGU, David Newman, to "Go Perish" for his aiding anti-Semitism
A Governor of Ben Gurion University tells Far Leftist politics professor at BGU, David Newman, to "go perish" for his aiding anti-Semitism
'The British-born philanthropist Michael Gross, a governor of BGU, had been so incensed at Newman's contribution to the Channel Four programme that he had sent him several emails, in one of which, alluding to Newman's "disgusting contribution" to the programme, he had promised to "use whatever influence I have at BGU to have you thrown out… I hope you perish," while in another he had proffered the view that "the sooner you are removed from BGU and the face of the earth, the better."'
An unseemly public brouhaha
This spat between a university funder and an employee of the same university gives both parties much to reflect upon
By Geoffrey Alderman, December 30, 2009
The now very public slanging match involving Michael Gross and David Newman, reported in the JC last month, represents, for me, a multiple sadness.
On November 16, Newman, the British-born professor of political geography at Israel's Ben-Gurion university (BGU), appeared on the notorious Channel Four Dispatches pseudo-documentary that purported to examine the working and impact of "Britain's Israel Lobby."
This exposé was forced, flawed and boring. It told me nothing I did not already know. By his own admission its presenter, Peter Oborne, revealed not a single skeleton in a single cupboard. He was forced to admit that although there were indeed "conspiracy theories" surrounding the influence of pro-Israel lobbies, such theories "have no basis in fact."
Worse still (from Mr Oborne's point of view), his painstaking examination of political donations made by certain British Jews revealed that such gifts were "entirely legal".
Academic freedom does not give an academic licence to say what he or she pleases
But, somewhat craftily, Mr Oborne included in his pseudo-documentary interviews with British Jews — or, rather, selected snippets from interviews with British Jews — among whom was Professor Newman, who was shown commenting on the work of the Britain-Israel Communications and Research Centre"— Bicom.
Newman appeared to declare that groups such as Bicom "tend to close down" debate on Israeli policies vis-à-vis Judea and Samaria. This assertion struck me as silly, and I emailed Newman to tell him so. I pointed out that, as a matter of indisputable fact, such debate has not been closed down and that, in any case, the closing down of such debate has never been part of Bicom's purpose.
I added that, while I respected his right to freedom of academic expression, in my opinion his appearance on the programme had been ill-judged, and had simply served to bolster conspiracy theories about the power of the Jews in the UK. I wondered, however, whether he had bothered to insist on any editorial control over what was broadcast in his name. "If not," I wrote, "you have certainly learned a harsh lesson."
This proved to be an understatement. Unknown to me, the British-born philanthropist Michael Gross, a governor of BGU, had been so incensed at Newman's contribution to the Channel Four programme that he had sent him several emails, in one of which, alluding to Newman's "disgusting contribution" to the programme, he had promised to "use whatever influence I have at BGU to have you thrown out… I hope you perish," while in another he had proffered the view that "the sooner you are removed from BGU and the face of the earth, the better."
At this point, I must declare an interest. It is a matter of public knowledge that I am privileged to hold, at the University of Buckingham, a professorial appointment endowed by Mr Gross. It is from this endowment that part of my salary is paid. But I must add at once that Mr Gross has never sought to influence either my academic work or my extra-mural media activities. On a great number of issues affecting world Jewry, he and I happen to agree. On some others we do not. But we respect each other's views, and independence.
The language used by Mr Gross is not the language I would have used. At the same time, Professor Newman's decision to appear on Peter Oborne's pseudo-documentary — apparently without any editorial control — is not the decision I would have made.
Professor Newman has now volunteered the frank admission (for which he deserves credit) that it was "a major mistake" to have appeared on the programme. So it was. Academic freedom is a precious commodity. But it doesn't give an academic the licence to say what he or she pleases. There is, for example, such a thing as bringing one's university into disrepute, and during an academic career now in its 48th year it has been my sad duty to have had to deal with a number of such cases, involving academics (some very senior) who felt they could, with impunity, bite the hand that fed them.
The small Israeli university system punches well above its weight. It is world-class. It depends — much more so than the British system — on raising private donations, an activity in which Mr Gross excels. Let's hope that passions subside and that the lessons stemming from the recent discord at BGU have been learnt by everyone involved.
Israel not Cause of Gazans' Woe
Tevet 14, 5770, 31 December 09 05:22
by Prof. Joel Brinkley (Stanford)
(Israelnationalnews.com) Many Palestinians in Gaza, no matter their religious affiliation or political bent, are living in squalor and growing ignorance. Thousands are trying to flee.
Gaza has never been a prosperous enclave; the 140-square-mile territory has always been a poor, dependent state. But for Hamas, the radical Islamic terrorist group that seized control of Gaza in 2007, the long-term pursuit of a political impossibility trumps even the slightest concern for the the group's 1.5 million "constituents."
Residents of this territory have been subjects of other states - Turkey, Great Britain, Egypt, Israel - for half a millennium. But all the while, during both prosperous and desperate times, they struggled to ensure their children's education. As a result, Palestinians have been among the best educated people in the world. Literacy rates, even for girls, have hovered around 99 percent. By comparison, in Iran, perhaps the Palestinians' biggest defenders now, and Israel's greatest enemy, UNICEF reports that only 77 percent of the population can read and write. Even Israel's literacy rate is lower: 97.1 percent.
But now, for the first time in the modern era, Gazans as young as 9, 10, 11 are being put to work in ever larger numbers, forgoing school. "Learning achievement has declined along with primary school enrollment," UNICEF reports.
Much of the world blames Israel. During its invasion of Gaza last January, Israeli troops were said to have damaged or destroyed nearly half of the territory's schools along with much of the remaining infrastructure.
The condemnation of Israel continues to this day in the United Nations and elsewhere.
Still, most of the people behind the continuing reproval take little note of Hamas' own campaign of terror in the previous months, lobbing hundreds of missiles toward Israeli population centers. No matter. That's a debate for another day. The point is, a year has passed.
What political concessions has Hamas offered that might have enabled it to make repairs, improve the lot of its people? None. The United Nations reported this fall that one in five Gazans now live in what it called "abject poverty." That is why, it is claimed, many parents are no longer sending their children to school. They need the pennies their children can earn at menial jobs to buy food.
Their chieftains don't seem to care. I have interviewed the leaders of Hamas many times over the years, and all of them offered one consistent refrain, time and time again: We are patient. Our resistance will continue as long as it takes - even centuries - until we reach our goal, full control of Palestine.
Of course, that includes the state of Israel. One of them, Ismail Abu Shenab, now deceased, once told me: "There are plenty of open areas in the United States that could absorb the Jews."
Even Shenaeb, zealot that he was, must have known that nothing like that was going to happen even in his grandchildren's lifetimes - if ever. But he and all his colleagues, then and now, pursued that ludicrous goal in exclusion of all else, and now it is leading to the social destruction of their own people.
Israel and Egypt have locked the gates to Gaza. Israel's closure is more understandable than Egypt's, given that Cairo pretends to be the Palestinian's greatest friend and protector. In any case, it's impossible to know just how many Gazans endorse Hamas' chimerical, single-minded, objective.
The majority of Gazans I have met want to live peaceful lives and provide for their children. Sure, all of them would love to turn the clock back to 1967, before Israel won control of Gaza. That's why most of them still choose to live in decades-old refugee camps, to show that they refuse to accept the current state of affairs.
But now a growing number - half the population, according to recent polls - is trying to get out of Gaza, escape from Hamas control and the deprivation that comes from its rule. In one famous case early this month, a healthy man joined the thousands who are fleeing to Egypt and Israel with bribes and fake medical reports, by pretending to be dying of cancer. He didn't get away with it.
Now, a year after the Israeli invasion of Gaza, it's time to stop blaming Israel for the desperate plight of Gaza's people. Without question, it's Hamas' fault.
(from The Sacramento BEE)
3. For Hebrew readers: Far-Leftist Hebrew University math professor Matanya Ben Artzi Concedes that Israel's Left has been defeated:
(but concedes nothing at all about the Left having been all wrong about just about everything!)