Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ben Gurion University Leftists Demonize Israel, brainwash Foreign Geography Scholars



1.  More Oslo Success:   Story of life and death,7340,L-3924144,00.html

Op-ed: What did Palestinian man do while Jewish doctors were treating his daughter?
Hagai Segal

What a coincidence: One of the terrorists who roughly a month ago murdered police officer Shuki Sofer was designated as a "humanitarian case" just two months ago.


Here is the story: The terrorist's six-year-old daughter required surgery to remove a tumor in her eye and was hospitalized in Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, at the expense of an Israeli non-profit organization. During his Shin Bet interrogation, the terrorist said he stayed by her bed at the hospital.


Now, imagine that the security establishment would have refused to allow the girl an entry permit to Jerusalem. Merciful human rights organizations and physicians without borders would immediately feed the media with yet another story of the indifference shown by the occupier's government: A story about a sick Palestinian girl, concerned parents, and a military roadblock.


Preoccupied with murder

According to the rhetoric common around here in such cases, someone would have remarked that later we nonetheless wonder why the Palestinians hate us.


Well, the occupation authorities showed mercy to the family in question, without the intervention of the High Court of Justice or human rights group B'Tselem, and the girl was treated at the Jerusalem hospital.


Yet despite this, her father the terrorist did not manage to get rid of his hatred. According to the timeline constructed during the probe, he continued to plan the murder that he later carried out while his daughter was hospitalized.



Indeed, this is what the terrorist was preoccupied with while Jewish medical teams treated his daughter as if she was their own daughter.


Yet later the Palestinians will nonetheless wonder why we have roadblocks.



2.  Special Isracampus Report


  Ben Gurion University Leftists Conduct Indoctrination Session for Foreign Scholars – Teaching them how Evil Israel Is


A Review of the Bash-Israel Pre-Conference organized by Far-Leftist Academics prior to the Prestigious International Geographical Union's regional conference held in Tel Aviv

As happens so often, the ideological opinion offered by Israeli scholars, under the banner of free speech and pluralism, at these conferences was primarily monolithic, anti-Israel, and leftist. If scholars were somehow still able to leave these conferences with a neutral or positive view about Israel, it was in spite of the best efforts of Israel's academics who organized the pre-conferences, not because of them.

... For Newman, only one voice should be heard in a democratic society, the voice of critique and anti-state hatred. The only 'beacon of light' in Israel are the organizations and individuals who compare the country to a fascist state and the only "value" of democracy is the voice of extremism. On the other side democracy is having a "black day" when other organizations use free speech to critique those who critique.



Freedom of Speech's Dictatorship: Political Geography, the international community and the conquest of the Israeli academy

Samuel Forman
July 2010

Between July 6 and 12th Ben-Gurion University of the Negev was host to a prestigious gathering of political geographers at a pre-conference to the International Geographical Union's regional conference, held in Tel Aviv (July 13-16). The regional conference was hosted in cooperation with British scholars. It was entitled 'Borders, Territory and Conflict in a Globalizing World.' Another pre-conference on gender was held at Ein Karim in Jerusalem during the same dates.

Israel's academics claim that they are under threat and that their free speech is stifled. They argue that those who denounce Israel are freedom's true champions. The two recent pre-conferences hosted by Israeli academics for international academics visiting Israel were designed to demonize Israel and send the guests home as haters of Israel.

As happens so often, the ideological opinion offered by Israeli scholars, under the banner of free speech and pluralism, at these conferences was primarily monolithic, anti-Israel, and leftist. If scholars were somehow still able to leave these conferences with a neutral or positive view about Israel, it was in spite of the best efforts of Israel's academics who organized the pre-conferences, not because of them.

Politicizing Geography and Gender

The Ein Karim pre-conference was held at a monastery and was focused on 'Bridging Gendered Diversity in a Globalizing World.' Its call for papers stated: "Considering the great variety of Israeli landscapes and population we center our attention on issues of diversity and multiculturalism. These terms refrain from identifying social and cultural differences as merely demographic analytical categories. Rather they tend to criticize the universal principles typical of modernity, and uncover the processes of differential inclusion of national, social and cultural groups. Gender is a well known excuse for structuring hierarchical categorizations. Because often gender is fractured at the intersection with other aspects of identity, it is critically used to challenge the modern notion of universal participation."

Diversity did they say? The gender pre-conference was part of a commission on gender and geography, and like its cousin in Beersheba, was part of the International Geographical Union (IGU) and was planned by an organizing committee. That committee was composed of far-leftist Tovi Fenster of Tel-Aviv University, Orna Blumen of Haifa University and Chen Misgav of Tel Aviv University. Chen's thesis advisor is none other than the same Tovi Fenster.[1] Blumen and Fenster both claim to be Israeli pioneers in the realm of gender and geography, according to the Israeli Geographical Society (IGS). In an article entitled, 'The Academic Conference and the status of women,' Blumen writes: "All five IGS sessions on gender emerged as a consequence of the second tactic; they were initiated by Orna Blumen and Tovi Fenster and chaired by them."[2]

Orna Blumen is not an Israeli activist academic but the other two members of the organizing committee, the one being a patron of the other, certainly are. Tovi Fenster is a long time far-leftist academic-activist. She was a signatory of the 'Academic Freedom Petition,' circulated in the last years. It stated: "We see ourselves as having a duty to fight for the academic freedom of our Palestinian colleagues." The petition was highlighted on the website of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign against Israel,, alongside the petition was the image of a bleeding Jaffa orange (right).

Fenster was one of the founders of the Israeli radical NGO Bimkom, which works almost exclusively for 'planning rights' of Palestinians. Along with colleagues like Oren Yiftachel, about whom more will be written below, and Dr. Erez Tzfadia, Fenster has been a leading agitator in Bimkom. She was co-author with Yiftachel of 'Frontiers, Planning and Indigenous Peoples' in the journal Progress in Planning (Introduction to a Special Issue) in 1997.[3] She is the editor of Gender and Planning Rights, published by Routledge. Fenster was also on the board of directors of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel from 1994-1999.[4] Along with Haim (Chaim) Jacoby she edited Remembering, Forgetting and City Builders. In a 2003 paper by Leone Sandercock she is listed as the source, along with Yiftachel, for the claim: "Ethnocratic states today, such as Israel, where a dominant ethnicity imposes its power through the management of space (see Fenster 1999a, 1999b; Yiftachel 1992, 1996, 2000)."[5] In a 1999 article, 'Mapping the Boundaries of Social Change' she examines the problem a feminist supposedly confronts when dealing with cultural sensitivities related to communities such as the Bedouin.[6]

Fenster was able to transmit her activism to her student, Misgav, whose thesis is titled, 'Activism for justice in space: body, identity and memory in the urban environment.' Together they were able to dominate the IGU's pre-conference on gender hosted in Israel. They crafted the pre-conference suited to their ideological goals. It is one more example of how a dictatorship of opinion gets cloaked by the rhetoric of activism and academic freedom.

Political Geography at Ben Gurion University: A One Sided coin

David Newman, newly appointed dean of the faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is a signer of the petition that declares: "our appreciation and support for those of our students and lecturers who refuse to serve as soldiers in the occupied territories." Newman played an integral role in organizing the pre-conference for political geography at his university. London-born leftist Newman is also editor of the academic journal Geopolitics.

On the eve of the pre-conference, Newman published an article in the Jerusalem Post, in which he asked, 'What is Happening to our Freedom of Speech? (July 12, 2010)' In it he claimed, "The academic community here is showing signs of growing intolerance and attempts to deny the free and open debate." He noted that forty scholars of geopolitics from around the world were on their way to Israel "to take part in a weeklong seminar, accompanied by professional field trips, to discuss and analyze the changing nature of borders, territory and conflict in a globalizing world." Newman claimed, "The decision by the IGU to hold its meeting here is itself indicative of the fact that most academic institutions make a necessary distinction between political critique and scientific scholarship." Newman then claimed that he and his colleagues were being threatened with hate mail and campaigns by watchdog groups and by student organizations like Im Tirzu. Their activities are designed to criticize and expose the political extremism of some Israeli academics. But according to Newman, these groups are "severely damaging the country's image as a free and open society in the eyes of many European lawmakers."

How ironic that a dean at a major university who claims to care about freedom of speech also attacks and condemns student groups and watchdogs like Isracampus and NGO-Monitor. The latter engage in exactly that type of free speech in which he supposedly believes. What Newman's article and other opinion columns suggest is that only one type of speech should be supported in the "open society," the opinions he supports. For instance in a December 1, 2009 article entitled 'Who's Monitoring the Monitor', In the article he compared Israel to Syria and Algeria and praised extreme leftist 'human rights organizations "Organizations such as B'Tselem, Adalah, Bimkom and Ir Amim, to name but a few of those attacked in the NGO Monitor report, are a credit to Israel and its values of democracy and are one of the few beacons of light that Israel is able to show to an increasingly skeptical international community." He claimed that NGO Monitor's activities have become so blatantly political," and, "It is a black day for Israeli democracy and will only bring even greater international disrepute and criticism to the country which packages itself as the 'only' democracy in the Middle East." For Newman, only one voice should be heard in a democratic society, the voice of critique and anti-state hatred. The only 'beacon of light' in Israel are the organizations and individuals who compare the country to a fascist state and the only "value" of democracy is the voice of extremism. On the other side democracy is having a "black day" when other organizations use free speech to critique those who critique.

Newman's thesis in his July 12, 2010 op-ed is this: "It is this sort of action on the part of our 'friends' which causes our universities much greater damage than all of the failed attempts to implement mass boycotts and undertake collective action, most of which can be measured in terms of hot air rather than any form of significant implementation." His column sums up his ideas thus: "It is important for our guests, regardless of whatever criticisms that some of them may have concerning Israeli and Palestinian national politics, to see the vibrancy, openness and diversity of opinion on the campus and in the street. And for this to continue to be the case, we must stand up against all those who would wish to impose their own narrow, unquestioning, world view on the rest of us, and who would pretend that they are more loyal citizens of the state than those with whom they disagree. It is a challenge for democracy and we cannot remain silent."

Towards this end Newman, whose salary is paid by the state of Israel, set out to organize that pre-conference for the international attendees. It was relatively free of overly political anti-Israel papers presented by the foreign attendees, but not by the Israelis. Newman had claimed the foreign guests would include "many participants who are critical of Israel's policies and will, no doubt, make these positions known to their Israeli colleagues during the course of their stay." But the real "criticism" of Israel there, which was actually naked political propaganda, came from Ben-Gurion University academics. These included Oren Yiftachel who presented Territorial (Mis)management of Ethnic Conflict: 'Creeping Apartheid' and "Gray Space' in Israel/Palestine. Ariel Handel of Tel Aviv University presented 'Movement, Continuity and Spatial Control: The Case of the Palestinian Territories.' Erez Tzfadia of Sapir College presented 'Suspending the Law: Ethno-Nationalism, Colonialism and Informal Outposts in the West Bank.' Nary a single pro-Israel opinion was aired.

Yiftachel's paper in particular described Israel as having aspects of "Apartheid." It was a re-hashing of similar papers he already published elsewhere. Those include a paper in the journal Planning Theory in February in 2009, in which he argued, "The vast expansion of gray spaces in contemporary cities reflects the emergence of new types of colonial relations, which are managed by urban regimes facilitating a process of `creeping apartheid'."[7] Then in the journal City in 2009, in a paper titled 'Critical Theory and gray spaces.' He opined: "In the Israeli context, the ethnocratic state has forced the indigenous Bedouins into impoverished and criminalized gray space."[8]

If the pre-conference had not succeeded in convincing the international foreign attendees that Israel is a racist ethnocratic apartheid state, then the "field trips" organized for them by Newman and his pals cemented that view. The first field trip was led by none other than Oren Yiftachel and billed itself as an excursion in 'Territory, Conflict and Ethnicity in the Negev Region.' The trip was sponsored by the Department of Geography and Environmental Development at BGU. Participants were given a one-sided anti-Israel view of Israel, not by a licensed tour guide but by an Israeli "academic" who holds the opinion that Israel is a ethnocratic settler state. It is not clear whether Yiftachel informed his audience that he himself resides in Omer, one of the most affluent communities of the Negev, in which no Bedouin is allowed to live. Omer has been cited numerous times in fact as a community that has been particularly hard on its Bedouin neighbors, "driving them away" and pressuring to have them evicted.[9] Yiftachel's personal participation in the ethnocracy and apartheid, living in an all-Jewish town, was not brought up.[10]

If the hypocritical Yiftachel led field trip was not enough to show the international scholars only the negative side of Israel, then the second field trip completed the task. That second one took them from Beersheba to the West Bank to examine 'Borders, settlements and conflict in Israel and the West Bank.' It was led by David Newman himself. When the bus of academics attempted to re-enter Israel at a crossing south of Jerusalem, the female border guards dared to asked where the bus had been. She was informed that it had been in the Palestinian areas. When she made the bus wait a bit, she was, according to witnesses, harangued and yelled at by Newman, who accused her of holding up a bus of "international scholars."


The Demonization of Israel provided to International Scholars by Anti-Israel Israeli Academics

Newman has an interesting way of claiming that Israel's most important quality is its "vibrancy, openness and diversity of opinion." He also claims that the international scholars who come to Israel should be exposed to this "vibrancy, openness and diversity of opinion on the campus and in the street." Diversity of opinion of course is something absent from Newman's own Department of Politics at Ben Gurion University, iwhere leftist academics dominate and where political activism is accepted and encouraged, pretending it is scholarship.

Newman and his colleague Yiftachel crafted an international conference in such a way that the participants did not view any diversity, openness or vibrancy. What they got was masses of anti-Israel propaganda from far-leftists and post-Zionists. Aside from the inside of conference rooms, all the foreign guests saw was, in the words of one attendee, "Palestinian Bedouin" and "Palestinians in the West Bank." They did not, according to this author's sources, meet with any Jewish communities in Israel, who also happen to be diverse. Did they meet with Orthodox Jews? Did they meet with poverty-stricken Ethiopians and Russians who make up a large segment of Beersheba's population? How about families of Sderot who survived the Hamas rocket attacks? Did they meet with Jews of Middle Eastern descent, refugees from Arab countries, such as Yemenites, Moroccans and Iraqis? Did they meet with Israeli farmers in the Negev who are harassed and robbed by the local Bedouin? Did they talk to actual Jewish settlers in the West Bank or were they merely shown them from a bus and from a Palestinian perspective?

The pre-conference at BGU, funded and sponsored in part by the Israeli government, offered international attendees one single opinion, a banal anti-Israel viewpoint and a closed mind. The field trips for the international attendees were designed to show them the radical anti-Israel political perspective. The Israeli academics presented papers at the pre-conference intended to make all the foreign guests believe that Israel is an "ethnocratic" and racist "apartheid" state.

Geography at Ben-Gurion university is but one example of a department and discipline that has been hijacked by those holding a single radical viewpoint. Free speech is no longer prized there and faculty members are promoted and celebrated based upon their adherence to a very narrow range of opinions. University funding and bodies like the Israel Academy of Sciences (which funded much of Yiftachel's initial work on 'ethnocracy') reinforce all this. Academics who have a radical anti-Israel view are able to ladle out to international scholars their detestation of Israel with institutional funding.

International IGU conferences in other countries, even the pre-conferences of the sort discussed here, usually provide visiting scholars with field trips that are neutral, showing the host country's beauty and rich history. Only in Israel are these used to conduct naked propaganda against the host country. It is a tragic commentary on the distortion of the notions of free speech and an open society. It is the death of pluralism and the handing over of democracy to radical anti-Israeli extremists. And it is funded, even more tragically, by the State of Israel itself.




[3] 'Frontiers, Planning and Indigenous Peoples' (Introduction to a Special Issue) in Progress In Planning in (1997),  47: 251-258ֶ



[6] Fenster, T. 1999a. On particularism and universalism in modernist planning: Mapping the boundaries of social change. Plurimondi 2:147-68; Fenster, T., ed. 1999b. Gender, Planning, and Human Rights. London: Routledge.



[9] 'Upscale Negev suburb hopes to drive away Bedouin by planting trees',

[10] Yiftachel does claim on his website that he was born in an elite Kibbutz (which itself discriminated against Israel's Jewish and Arab ethnic-minorities), in the north where "social justice was not a mere theory."

3.  British judge so anti-Semitic - maybe he can get an appointment in Israel?
Is that really John Cleese with a wig on?

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