Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Tel Aviv University president censors his own governors, suppresses freedom of speech! Leading Governor Resigns in Outrage! Death of academic freedom at Tel Aviv University!
1. Tel Aviv University president censors his own governors, suppresses freedom of speech! Leading Governor Resigns in Outrage! Death of academic freedom at Tel Aviv University!
'TAU restricts freedom of speech'
By ZOE FOX
University board member to quit after failed effort to spur investigation of professors' anti-Israel activity.
A Tel Aviv University board member is set to resign Wednesday following university President Joseph Klaffter's refusal to bring a proposal he drafted to a vote.
Mark Tanenbaum had proposed a resolution to the board of governors, requesting that the university senate investigate the political activity of professors who use the school's name.
Tanenbaum's proposal comes as a response to outspoken TAU professors advocating an academic boycott of Israel and the university.
The proposal cites faculty bylaws "Breach of Discipline" restriction on faculty listing their affiliation with TAU on any document or statement of a political nature when participating in any domestic or international forums of political nature.
Tanenbaum described Klaffter yelling into the microphone that he would not tolerate any infringement on academic freedom within the university immediately after the proposal was read.
Klaffter's decision not to bring the proposal to a vote came at the end of a heated debate between the board members concerned about the university restricting freedom of speech.
"While he was blathering on about the right to free speech, he ironically denied me, a member of the board of governors, a former student, whose late father was one of the founding members of Canadian Friends of Tel Aviv University the right to free speech, and that is absolutely unacceptable," Tanenbaum told The Jerusalem Post.
Tanenbaum on Wednesday will announce his resignation from all of his posts at TAU and his decision to join Bar-Ilan University .
Until Tuesday, Tanenbaum had been a member of the TAU Board of Governors, the board of directors for the American Friends of Tel Aviv University, and the board of international Overseers of the Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University.
He is involved in a number of other philanthropic Israel-oriented organizations, both in Israel and in Miami. He describes himself as an "ardent Zionist who's not embarrassed to use the word Zionist."
Other long-time members of the board of governors told Tanenbaum that they planed to follow his lead and resign from the board as well.
Earlier Tuesday, TAU academics' condemnation of Israel abroad was at the forefront of the John Gandel Symposium on the Middle East.
Harvard University Prof. Alan Dershowitz, former president of TAU Itamar Rabinovich and Principle Deputy Legal Adviser of the Foreign Ministry Daniel Taub addressed the board of governors during their annual meeting.
The symposium, "The Deligitimization of Israel as a Strategic Threat," focused on issues representing Israel abroad.
Dershowitz accused Israeli professors campaigning for an academic boycott of Israel of being "hypocritical Stalinists." He pointed particularly at two TAU professors, Anat Matar and Rachel Giora, who are known for their endorsement of campaigns to academically boycott Israel.
This week, Matar and Giora signed a letter boycotting an exhibit on Israeli medical achievements at the Boston Museum of Science.
"The people who call for a boycott are a bunch of cowards. They should start by boycotting Tel Aviv University themselves and resign. That's the courageous thing to do," Dershowitz told the board of governors.
Dershowitz noted that he offered his own resignation from Harvard when the administration almost used discriminatory hiring policies against a Jewish nominee.
The law professor assured that restricting political activity in the name of TAU was a legitimate action for the university to take. Harvard University has a policy forbidding faculty from speaking outside of their specialty in the name of the university, Dershowitz said.
While Dershowitz contended that restricting political speech was not a violation of academic freedom, TAU Prof. Hannah Wirth-Nesher did not see the same distinction.
"When I immigrated to Israel I came to work at Tel Aviv University, not Teheran University," said Wirth-Nesher, equating such a restriction of speech with one of a tyrannical regime.
The proposal requests that the TAU Senate investigate letters, petitions and articles that promote an international academic boycott of TAU and other Israeli universities that are written and signed by TAU academics who state their university affiliation.
"My contention is that there is a huge difference between academic freedom, which we all cherish, and what's purely outside political activity," Tanenbaum told The Jerusalem Post .
"If they were to say these things [among] their peers, I have no issue with it. My issue is when they leave the university and fly to Europe, fly to Canada, fly to the US and attend political forums and try to get the world to boycott Tel Aviv University, from where they receive their paycheck. That's political activity and it's not academic discourse.
Recently TAU linguistics professor Giora and philosophy professor Matar endorsed a number of organizations boycotting Israeli academic institutions, including their own. One of the organizations, BOYCOTT!, supports the Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign about Israel.
On March 30, the organization praised a British academic in an open letter for her "important decision to boycott state-run and apartheid-complicit Tel Aviv University."
Giora and Matar also signed the US Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel, which advocates "a comprehensive boycott of Israeli institutions at the national and international level."
"I support every form of open criticism against the current policies of the Israeli government, in the occupied territories, whether it is an economic boycott or other forms of resistance," Giora told Ynet in 2006, adding that an academic boycott showed Israelis that the world was "rightly" against them.
Tanenbaum pointed to Giora's and Matar's employee status as one of the most disturbing parts of their claims.
"If you have a business and your employee starts writing letters and signing petitions to boycott your business, you are able to fire that employee with just cause in the US," explained Tanenbaum.
Although he has not looked at the professors' contracts at TAU, he assumes there is some implicit or explicit understanding that they will not attempt to harm the university.
Tanenbaum initially appealed to the university administration to take action against these professors. However, despite the administration's shared frustration, it expressed doubt about restricting their freedom of speech.
Tanenbaum then decided to research the faculty bylaws and discovered several rules that could advance his case.
The Breaches of Discipline section (Article 3) prohibits academic staff from listing their affiliation with TAU on any document or statement of a political nature and when participating in any domestic or international forums of political nature.
"If they were to say Israel is an apartheid state guilty of war crimes within their classroom, I have no issue with it, and neither do the faculty bylaws," said Tanenbaum.
However, he claims that Giora and Matar deliberately use their TAU affiliation in political activity abroad.
In addition, Article 3.6 in the "Regulations for Academic Staff" describes "inappropriate behavior on the part of a member of the academic staff in his relationship with the university's institutions" as a breach of discipline.
"I would definitely consider trying to boycott your own university, which pays your salary, inappropriate behavior," explained Tanenbaum.
Having enlisted Israeli legal experts to ensure that his contentions were reasonable, Tanenbaum said he had received unanimous assurance that they were solidly founded.
2. Tel Aviv University leftwing fascists and fellow travelers denounce Alan Dershowitz for criticizing Israel's academic fifth column:
No Freedom of Speech for Critics of the Far Left, they insist!
TAU professors denounce Dershowitz for speech against left
Academics hit back after U.S. commentator slams university staff for backing boycotts against Israel.
By Or Kashti
Senior faculty members at Tel Aviv University have come out against remarks by Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz on Saturday in which he condemned Israeli university faculty who criticize Israel and have even supported an academic boycott of the country.
Dershowitz made the remarks, in which he also criticized academics who use their academic freedom and their Jewishness to chastise the Israeli government, at a ceremony awarding him an honorary doctorate at the university.
(Read the complete text of Dershowitz's speech here)
In a letter to the university's president, Joseph Klafter, a group of faculty members demanded that Tel Aviv University disassociate itself from Dershowitz's comments and "unequivocally defend the freedom of expression of all the members of the academic community."
They wrote: "The fact that Dershowitz mentioned the names of [university] lecturers and accused them of hurting students and harming the resilience of the State of Israel already borders on incitement."
The letter was initiated in the history department and within hours attracted the support of 80 faculty members.
Dershowitz, one of the most prominent pro-Israel advocates in the United States, spoke at the university on Saturday evening on behalf of this year's recipients of honorary degrees. But he stressed that the views he expressed were his own. Dershowitz said academic freedom not only meant freedom to criticize the establishment but also the right to defend the government, work with it and be a patriot.
He said students also have academic freedom and the right not to accept lecturers' classroom propaganda. Dershowitz's speech was met by enthusiastic applause.
In their protest letter, the faculty said that Dershowitz "has no evidence that anyone on the faculty has forced his views on students."
Tel Aviv University issued its own statement last night. "Prof. Dershowitz enjoyed the right to freedom of speech and to express his views. Klafter emphasizes that the university will continue to unequivocally defend freedom of expression of all the members of the academic community."
Dershowitz mentioned three faculty members - Rachel Giora of the linguistics department, Anat Matar of the philosophy department and Shlomo Sand of the history department.
Outgoing university rector Dan Levitan recently threatened to bring disciplinary charges against Matar after she took part in a conference in London - while classes were in recess at the university - dealing with the general and academic boycott of Israel. But no action has been taken.
Regarding Levitan's threatened action against Matar, the university said in its statement that "by virtue of his position, the university rector is entitled to approve or not approve vacation time for a member of the faculty during the academic year."
Dershowitz issued a separate statement to Haaretz. "Let the public judge whether the petition correctly characterizes my talk and whether it borders on 'incitement' or is itself an example of the kind of free speech many on the hard left would like to stifle," he wrote.
Dershowitz's full speech from the ceremony on Saturday evening can be found online at haaretz.com.
3. . Leftist Jews are the REAL Enemy, not Islamists, proclaims Dershowitz
Dershowitz: Jews initiate legal terror against Israel
Addressing Israel's deteriorating image, prominent American lawyer accuses Jewish and former Israeli left-wing organizations of declaring that IDF's methods are worse than Gestapo's
Prominent Jewish American lawyer Alan Dershowitz on Tuesday accused Jewish left-wing officials and organizations worldwide of slandering Israel's name and causing greater damage than that created by Islamic and pro-Palestinian movements.
Dershowitz, who is known to be an avid supporter of the State Israel, spoke during a Tel Aviv University symposium titled "Delegitimization of Israel as a Strategic Threat".
Addressing Israel's acceptance by the OECD organization, he explained that the roundabout ways the Jewish state had to pass before being allowed to join were another layer in the incitement campaign.
According to Dershowitz, the countries which were against accepting the Jewish state – like Spain and Ireland – have failed economies and keep on criticizing Israel, which he said is responsible for a slew of technological developments and inventions. Instead of winning praise, he said, Israel is subject to delegitimization attempts.
According to Dershowitz, organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas are using a policy which he referred to as "the dead children strategy" in order to strengthen Israel's negative image on the military level.
One of the strongest visual objects in the media is a mother holding a dead baby in her hand, which is similar to the picture of Mary holding baby Jesus, he explained.
The prominent lawyer, known for his harsh criticism against Judge Richard Goldstone, who authored the United Nations report on Operation Cast Lead, also said that Hamas and Hezbollah know that Israel will respond to the firing missiles at Israeli children making their way to school. This is why they place the rocket launchers in the heart of civilian populations, he said, in a bid to cause the death of as many babies as possible while al-Jazeera's cameras are prepared to bring the images to the entire world. This was not noted by Goldstone in his report, Dershowitz said.
'Israel portrayed as Nazi occupier'
Dershowitz accused anarchist Jewish linguist Noam Chomsky of creating a hostile atmosphere among many groups in the United States and in its academic campuses.
They are creating a narrative which always presents Israel as a Nazi occupier, he said, while shutting their eyes to facts contradicting those same claims, like the ties between Jerusalem's Grand Mufti Haj Muhammed Amin al-Husseini and Nazi leader Adolf Hitler during World War II.
According to the prominent lawyer, these acts are "legal terror" aimed at slandering Israel's name.
He went on to explain that Israel's greatest enemies were not radical Muslims, who he said only strengthened its claims, but rather Jews and Israelis worldwide using their descent in order to boost their unrestrainable attacks against Israel.
Injured children in Gaza. Intentional media strategy? (Archive photo: AP)
According to Dershowitz, American politician Norman Finkelstein identifies himself as a Jews only when he attacks Israel, as does former Israeli musician Gilad Atzmon, who lives in Britain and declares that the Israeli army's methods are worse than the Gestapo's.
Dershowitz said that Israel must launch a real war against incitement, in any place possible – in the UN, in the International Court of Justice and in every other place. Israel may lose the vote, he said, but will not miss the opportunity to voice its claims.
He explained that due to the hostile environment towards Israel in the American academia, he is often praised by staff members for speaking in favor of the country. They whisper it to me, he said, and then explain that despite their support for Israel they feel uncomfortable saying it in public.
See also this: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/137496
The TAU Petition against Dershowitz appears in Hebrew at this pro-terror anti-Israel web site : http://www.kibush.co.il/show_file.asp?num=39842
4. Efraim Karsh's Primer to the Middle East Conflict:
1948: Palestine Betrayed
5. Quiz about Jerusalem: http://www.jcpa.org/quiz/jerusalemquiz.html
6. Israel's self-messing: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3887685,00.html
7. The Onion takes on the Noam: http://www.theonion.com/articles/exhausted-noam-chomsky-just-going-to-try-and-enjoy,17404/