Friday, May 14, 2010
Israel's Academic Fascist Left Continues to Strike Back
And so the leftist assault against the freedom of speech of critics of anti-Israel leftist Israelis continues!
1. Far leftist founder of Peace Now, Galia Golan, denounces those who criticize the Israeli academic fifth column. Accuses us of being RICH!! (If only…)
Crippling our democracy
Current attacks on Israel's civil society, academia more dangerous than ever
It is not clear just what is behind the present attack on Israeli civil society and academia. Is it simply a misguided campaign by a small, inconsequential (but rich) minority on the extreme right? Is it the lashing out of a weak government responding to outside pressure and criticism? Or, is it, more likely, the expression of an ideology now in power – that of the right-wing, the Likud and its supporters?
If we look back, we could see signs of it when the Likud came to power the first time. Not only the populist anti-(Ashkenazi) elitism and anti-intellectualism but also the epithets against the peace camp of "fifth column," "knife in the back of the nation," and the like.
This was brought to an abrupt halt by the hand-grenade thrown on the Peace Now demonstration and the killing of Emil Grunsweig. The government sent a representative to the funeral and began to portray the peace movement as a "loyal opposition."
Such caution was forgotten in the Oslo period, and the results were again tragic. But for almost a year now we have seen the approach back again in full strength – indeed far bolder, and far more dangerous than any time in the past.
It could be seen last summer in the police "raid" on New Profile, and later in the attacks on the funding of Breaking the Silence. It could be seen in the plethora of proposed legislation such as the Nakba law, the draconic immigration (called infiltrators) bill, and the proposed law to curb NGO funding.
It can be seen not only in "private" initiatives such as the ads and posters of Im Tirtzu blaming human rights organizations (and those that fund them) for Israel's isolation in the world, but also, still more alarmingly perhaps, in the Knesset education committee's discussion of that organization's report on what was called the anti-Zionism of the academic staff and teachings of Israeli universities.
The Knesset committee called upon the Council for Higher Education to take the report of Im Tirzu and investigate what Committee Chair Zvulun Orlev called "subversive and anti-Zionist." These (and more) are not isolated items. They add up to a policy, a campaign designed to cripple civil society, stifle criticism and eliminate opposition. They endanger the very essence of liberal democracy and of a free society, namely pluralism – of thought, deed, and expression.
By means of the social contract between the people and the state, citizens voluntarily accept limits to their freedoms for the good of the community, but democratic societies are also committed to protecting
the minority from tyranny of the majority. Freedom to criticize, to call the state to account, to protect people's rights are all critical to the preservation of democracy.
For decades we have stood by and watched as government after government denied democratic freedoms to the millions of Palestinians under Israeli occupation – in the name of preserving the democratic and Jewish character of Israel. Now we have a government that appears to be on the road to applying the same approach to Israeli society itself, in the name, it would seem, of some distorted version of Zionism. Not only Herzl may be turning over in his grave at this, but perhaps also Jabotinsky.
Professor Galia Golan, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (emerita); Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya
2. TAU Psychology professor Carlo Strenger serving as Hit Man for TAU
President Joseph Klafter. Accuses TAU Governors of Lying. Toady-like
shilling for Klafter and Shlomo Sand. Attacks Dershowitz.
Insists that since "only" 140 students have been harassed by leftist
faculty members at TAU, there is no real problem:
My colleagues' sensitivity is understandable: the myth that Tel Aviv
University Professors intimidate students on the basis of their right-wing
views keeps being perpetuated, for example by Brenda Katten, public
relation chair for WIZO. This allegation was proven to be entirely
fabricated in an in-depth investigation conducted by the Rector of Tel Aviv
University last December.
Tel Aviv University has an electronic feedback system through which
students anonymously evaluate their teachers' performance (to make sure
that they can speak their minds). It turned out that 140 complaints were
filed by students who felt they were being harassed for their right-wing
views. Most of the complaints were against three professors. Tel Aviv
University has 25,000 students and 1,000 senior faculty, hence every year
there are several hundred thousand feedbacks. That means that less than one
of one thousand evaluations included complaints about this issue. But this
simply doesn't bother those who continue to perpetuate this myth.
3. Uri Bar-Joseph (international relations, University of Haifa) Fabricates
"New History." Discovers that Israel Itself Caused the 1973 Yom Kippur War
because it refused to make peace with Egypt
"In other words, Israel had two options: to progress with a diplomatic
process that guaranteed, already at the start, a peace agreement with Egypt
in exchange for the evacuation of all of Sinai, or to enter a war that the
Arab side would initiate with the goal of motivating Israel to embark on
such a diplomatic process."
Worse than Golda and Dayan
Here is an old story with a timely lesson: In April 1973, about half a year before the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, warnings reached Israel from several reliable Mossad sources, to the effect that Egypt intended to begin a war, in coordination with Syria, on May 19. Prime minister Golda Meir quickly convened her "kitchen cabinet" and in a discussion that took place on April 18, defense minister Moshe Dayan, chief of staff David Elazar and Mossad chief Zvi Zamir concluded that Egypt was headed for war. Although the head of Military Intelligence, Eli Zeira, thought otherwise, Israel's top decision makers accepted the majority assessment.
During the discussion Israel Galili, Golda Meir's adviser and confidant, remarked that war could be avoided, if Israel accepted the Egyptian offer that had been conveyed about a month and a half earlier to U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger, and whose starting point was, as Galili himself described it, that the Egyptians were "ready for peace and for a system of international agreements and guarantees et al, on condition that we withdrew fully to the earlier line."
In other words, Israel had two options: to progress with a diplomatic process that guaranteed, already at the start, a peace agreement with Egypt in exchange for the evacuation of all of Sinai, or to enter a war that the Arab side would initiate with the goal of motivating Israel to embark on such a diplomatic process.
The discussion that developed among Golda, Dayan and Galili did not deal with the question of which of the two options was preferable, but with the question that in historical perspective turned out to be almost absurd: How to prevent a situation in which, after war broke out, Golda and her friends would be accused that given the choice between war and peace, they had chosen war. This was because nobody in the Israeli leadership at the time was willing to pay the price demanded by Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in return for peace − the return of all of Sinai − since it was clear to everyone that in the next war, as the chief of staff put it, "we will land them such a blow, they will need five years to lift their heads again."
What the chief of staff and all the other participants in the meeting failed to take into account was that war, as Carl vonClausewitz wrote, is the "kingdom of uncertainty." That fall, Israel experienced the most difficult, painful and expensive war since 1948, due to the element of surprise.
Recently, we have been hearing from various directions about the possibility that Israel will be involved in a war this summer. It will be a static war, but a very costly one, since the Israeli home front will be a target of the thousands of missiles in the hands of Syria and Hezbollah. Even if Israel exacts a high price from its enemies, there is no question that it will pay with a lot of blood.
Like Golda and Dayan in April 1973, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are facing a choice between a possibility of war and making peace. As far as we know, they are not planning, at this stage, to progress to peace, and in any case, just as in 1973, they are bringing us closer to war.
And here the analogy ends, because today's leaders are behaving far more irresponsibly. This is for two main reasons: First, in 1973, Israel's military advantage largely ensured that there would be no harm to the home front, and that the armies of Egypt and Syria would, in fact, be beaten quickly and at a relatively cheap price. Today, on the other hand, it is clear that the Arabs' ability to cause damage is far greater, and that the price of the war therefore is liable to be hundreds (if not more) citizens killed.
Second, in 1973, Golda and her friends could not imagine giving up all of Sinai, and therefore from their point of view the Egyptian demand was unacceptable to begin with.
Today, on the other hand, both Barak and Netanyahu have already agreed in principle, like the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, former prime minister and current President Shimon Peres and former prime minister Ehud Olmert, to give up the Golan Heights for a peace treaty. Both demonstrated cowardice when they were refrained from implementing this step, mainly for internal reasons.
Since 1967, all of Israel's wars have turned out to be more difficult and less successful than was estimated before they broke out. Most also ended with commissions of inquiry and shortened the political careers of their leaders. There is no reason to assume that the next war will be different. Do Netanyahu and Barak want to endanger their heads and ours in a war to which the alternative is so clear and promising? Possibly. It's a shame that we will pay the price.
The writer is a professor (actually, he is NOT!! He is a senior lecturer) of international relations at the University of Haifa.