Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Campus Free Speech Movement arrives in Israel ... at Last!!!


The Free Speech Movement Comes to Israel (at Last!!)




I grow up in the 60s when Mario Savio, head of the Berkeley Free Speech movement, was my hero.  The Mario Savio of Israel today is Ronen Shoval, head of the Im Tirtzu Zionist student organization, and his many comrades.  Im Tirtzu has become the dominant voice on Israeli campuses, even – and indeed notably – on Ben Gurion University, with its scores of rabidly anti-Zionist leftist faculty members.


While Shoval and his team have had enormous successes to date, even I was astounded at the incredible coup they engineered this morning.  Im Tirtzu has issued a set of demands (remind anyone of Berkeley in the 60s?) insisting that Ben Gurion University do something to restrain and balance the anti-Israel bias in its politics department and in other departments, or else Im Tirtzu will call upon donors to the university to withhold funds or put them into escrow until BGU really does something about the anti-Israel indoctrination there.


The Israeli mainstream media is hysterical and having a field day.  Haaretz runs the story as its top banner headline on its front page.  Every other Israeli newspaper today (I have not seen Maariv yet but suspect  it makes a full house with this) runs the story.  Every radio station in Israel carried reports and debates about the Im Tirtzu move and no doubt the evening news shows on TV will also carry reports.  The far Left is hysterical.  BGU's David Newman is all over the place trying ti discredit the report.  He claims that BGU leftists cannot be seen as anti-Zionist because a lot of them (like him) made aliya themselves and that proves they are Zionist.  This is a bit like claiming that because that Moslem who shot up Fort Hood in Texas had joined the US army, he must be a patriot and pro-American.  Yossi Ben Artzi, the leftist Rector of the University of Haifa, is leading the pack of leftist academics denouncing Im Tirtzu (he was a founder of Peace Now).  Ben-Artzi's politics will be clear to you from this:  he has always refused to shut down the anti-Semitic ALEF list (see http://isracampus.org.il/ALEF%20Watch.htm ) but ordered me to his office to tell me that use of sarcasm on a Haifa professors list to mock the anti-Israel political activism of Haifa leftist faculty members is prohibited.  At the bottom of this posting, I attach a typical example of ALEF Neo-Nazism.    


I think the newspaper reports speak for themselves, and attach or excerpt them below, Excerpt from Haaretz story:

The high proportion of "anti-Zionist" faculty in the department compared to the prevalence of such views in the general population "arouses grave suspicions that the main basis for acceptance into and promotion within the department is not professional, but political," the (Im Tirtzu) letter continued.

It also accused Carmi of "apathy that has enabled an academic dictatorship to overpower academic freedom."

"Out of honest concern for the student body's academic freedom and fear for the university's future, we urge you to put an end to the department's severe anti-Zionist tilt and its ban on Zionist students and researchers," the letter continued.





Im Tirtzu threatens boycott of Israeli university over 'anti-Zionist' bias

Rightist group targets political science faculty at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

By Or Kashti

If Ben-Gurion University of the Negev doesn't take steps "to put an end to the anti-Zionist tilt" in its politics and government department, Im Tirtzu will work to persuade donors in Israel and abroad to stop funding the university, the organization threatened in a letter to university president Prof. Rivka Carmi last month.

The group said it would ask donors to put contributions in escrow until "this tilt in the makeup of the department's faculty and the content of its syllabi has been corrected."

It also said it would "advise political science students to stay away from the university."

Finally, it gave Carmi one month to accede to its demands - which will be up tomorrow.

Until now, the university has not responded. But on Monday, the heads of all the country's universities issued a joint response.

"No Israeli university has to prove its staff's love of their homeland to any organization, and certainly not to a political one that is trying to present a tendentious, manipulative document as 'research' to advance its own public relations," the statement said. "As is proper in an enlightened democratic country, Israeli academia is not a political body, and academic faculty are chosen solely according to objective criteria of excellence in research and teaching."

The "document" in question, a report Im Tirtzu published several months ago on post-Zionism in the political science departments of Israeli universities in general, met with a tepid response from the universities. But the unprecedented direct attack on Ben-Gurion made them realize that any of them could be next - hence Monday's strong statement.

Prof. David Newman - the newly appointed dean of Ben-Gurion's Faculty of the Humanities and Social Sciences, who has been a tireless campaigner against efforts to impose an academic boycott on Israel - termed the letter "a clear attempt to threaten the university in an era of diminishing financial resources." Im Tirtzu's accusations against the department, he added, are "very far from the truth."

Though its earlier report's methodology was widely criticized, Im Tirtzu chairman Ronen Shoval and spokesman Erez Tadmor cited it in their July 18 letter to Carmi as the basis for their demands, saying it showed that the department's faculty "works deliberately and energetically to promote fiercely anti-Zionist messages."

They charged that nine of its 11 permanent faculty members were involved in "radical left-wing" political activity, and six had signed a letter supporting refusal to serve in the army; two of its research fellows "are known among the students for their anti-Zionist worldview"; and eight of its 19 adjunct faculty "express radical leftist views." As an example, they cited department chairman Prof. Neve Gordon, who has called for a "social, economic and political boycott of Israel."

They also said the department's course syllabi were heavily tilted toward "anti-national and anti-Zionist content."

The high proportion of "anti-Zionist" faculty in the department compared to the prevalence of such views in the general population "arouses grave suspicions that the main basis for acceptance into and promotion within the department is not professional, but political," the letter continued.

It also accused Carmi of "apathy that has enabled an academic dictatorship to overpower academic freedom."

"Out of honest concern for the student body's academic freedom and fear for the university's future, we urge you to put an end to the department's severe anti-Zionist tilt and its ban on Zionist students and researchers," the letter continued.

In other words, Im Tirtzu itself asked the university to introduce political considerations into the choice of its faculty.

It then asked Carmi to detail the "practical steps" she intends to take to comply with its demands within a month. If she refuses, "we will use all legal means at our disposal to inform present and future students, and especially supporters of the university both in Israel and abroad," the letter concluded.

Tadmor charged on Monday that the department has ceased to be a center of "academic excellence" and instead become "a hotbed of anti-Israel propaganda."

"The public expects university heads to stop rolling their eyes and provide clear answers as to why this department, and other departments at other universities, have become centers of anti-Israel propaganda and incitement and how they intend to deal with the matter," he added.

Asked how Im Tirtzu plans to carry out its threats, he said the issue has been already broached with some Ben-Gurion donors - "not just one or two" - and "this is only the beginning."

But he said the group does not plan to send similar letters to other universities. It chose to begin with Ben-Gurion, he said, because "to the best of our knowledge, the problem is worst there."

Officially, Ben-Gurion has decided not to respond to the letter. But one university source termed the demands "scandalous," a violation of "everything that is sacred to academia. The very act of responding to the letter would give this right-wing organization legitimacy."

Another university official said that most of the department's staff had immigrated from the West, and "there is no more Zionist act than that. The department also teaches air force cadets, who would not come if anyone thought we were preaching anti-Zionism here. It's ridiculous to start proving that we're Zionists."

(the talkbacks on page are worth reading; 



Here is the Haaretz official Editorial about this – denouncing critics of the Left as "Politruks".  This coming from the anti-Zionist far-leftist newspaper whose degree of pluralism resembles that of Pravda back in the days of Brezhnev:  http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/politruks-in-academia-1.308486


Meanwhile, Israel's radical leftists are soiling their nappies over the success of NGO Monitor in persuading the Knesset to advance a bill that would force anti-Israel NGOs (non-government organizations) to reveal the sources of their funding.  See this http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/leftists-denounce-new-bill-on-ngo-funding-as-mccarthyist-1.308460 Naturally Haaretz considers this also "McCarthyist."  The Left is afraid that the Israeli public will learn about the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sources funding such groups operating in Israel.  


Here is the Jerusalem Post's Story:  http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=185016


Im Tirzu threatens BGU donations

Zionist organization demands university change "left-wing" faculty.


In a letter written to Ben-Gurion University head Prof. Rivka Carmi last month, Zionist organization Im Tirzu threatened to take action to stop contributions to the school if Carmi didn't work to end the "anti-Zionist tendencies" in the university's Politics and Government Department.

The letter gave Carmi a thirty day ultimatum, which ended on Tuesday, to make changes to the faculty before Im Tirzu would begin persuading donors to cease contributing financially to the university.

 Im Tirzu requested in the letter that the faculty add more right-wing professors to its staff and change the contents of its syllabi accordingly. The organization also said it would "advise political science students to stay away from the university.

The letter claimed that nine of the department's eleven permanent members were involved in "radical left-wing" political activity. Carmi was accused of "apathy that has enabled an academic dictatorship to overpower academic freedom."

Carmi denied that Ben-Gurion University had any political agenda and said that Im Tirzu's threats were reminiscent of "McCarthyist persecution," in a Tuesday interview with Army Radio.

See also http://www.jpost.com/Home/Article.aspx?id=169090 RELATED:
Fighting anti-Zionism on Israeli campuses 'now more vital than ever'
NIF: Im Tirtzu report consists of 'lies, manipulations'


Here is the Yediot report on the same story:  http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3938088,00.html


The Hebrew Haaretz report is here http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/spages/1184992.html and contains hundreds of talkbacks, almost all of them supporting Im Tirtzu!!



2.  On another matter, this is an interesting item:  http://www.rep-am.com/articles/2010/08/08/commentary/499786.prt



3.  See also Justice for Palestine

by Efraim Karsh  •  Aug 16, 2010 at 1:45 pm




4.  Neo-Nazism on the University of Haifa ALEF list:  Tony Greenstein (tonygreenstein@yahoo.com), British Communist and Anti-Semite, posted this "report" on his trip to Auscwhitz on ALEF on 16 August 2010

To: Alef
Monday August 16, 2010

It was in short an error-strewn explanation acceptable to all who have a vested interest in
Auschwitz as the justification for Israel's oppression today. Poland, being a good friend of Israel, conducts the tours accordingly. Instead of the solemnity of Sachsenhausen there is the tourist fanfare of Auschwitz. In short Auschwitz-Birkenau is a money spinner for the Polish state and in return loads of Israeli Jewish high-school students visit in order to learn one of the foundational lessons of why Israel came into being. Auschwitz, whose bombing the Zionists failed to campaign around at the time (Ben-Gurion opposing idea altogether) and to whom nearly half a million Hungarian Jews were deported in the spring of 1944 after the Zionists had done a deal to save the elite of Hungarian Jewry, is now used to justify further racism and murder, whilst the remaining survivors of the holocaust live in poverty in Israel and America as Zionist organisations have siphoned off the funds.

It goes without saying that to see the heap of prosthetic limbs and the mounds of clothing, to say nothing of the victims, especially the child victims of Auschwitz, is heart-rending. It is unfortunate that Auschwitz, the symbol of fascist barbarity, the deliberate and industrial extermination of millions of people, has been harnessed to justify the cruelties of Zionism. Just as the goal of Nazism was to make Germany Jew-free, so today Zionism's goal is the Judification of the Negev and Galilee.

Perhaps this brought out best when I asked, in both the Auschwitz and the Birkenau bookshops whether there was anything written by Rudolph Vrba, who together with Alfred Wetzler, were the second and third Jewish escapees who had broken out of Auschwitz on April 9th 1944 and reached Slovakia 15 days later. Their Auschwitz Protocols described the camp and its purpose in detail yet in Hungary itself the Zionist leadership sat on it. When eventually they were publicised thanks to Swiss newspapers and then a BBC broadcast, the deportations halted and and estimated 200,000 Hungarian Jews were saved.

Maybe I had expected something more from the visit, possibly the quiet horror which is all that remains of Sachsenhausen, instead Auschwitz has become a tourist destination.

Tony Greenstein

This Hatred is Disseminated via the University of Haifa


Ephraim Nimni claims Ahmadinejad is not an anti-Semite on ALEF on 12 May 2009

Re: Standing up against antisemitism, " (Ephraim Nimni)
Are these the deeds of an Anti-Semite?

Brian Klug is wrong, and this is not to say that Ahmadinejad is right. Ahmadinejad is a religious fundamentalist like the friend he is kissing. I dislike Ahmadinejad's world view as much as I dislike the world view of his mate in the photo. Their views are Manichean, like the views of all fundamentalists: there is one source of absolute truth and one source of absolute evil. I personally find this Manichean dichotomy absurd, and moreover, there is a great dose of conspiratorial third worldism in Ahmadinejad arguments and a manifest inability to understand the West and its sensitivities. All of this undermines his political campaign

But to accuse Ahmadinejad of anti-Semitism is to fall into the inverted mirror image of Ahmadinejad third worldism, a deep Eurocentrism that only knows to judge the world in terms of European categories and remains blissfully ignorant of non European circumstances, logics or categories of thought. In this regard, Brian Klug appears to exhibit the Orientalist thinking so eloquently denounced by Edward Said. Apart from ignoring that the largest Jewish community in the Middle East outside Israel lives voluntarily under Ahmadinejad's sovereignty, Klug appears to ignore that Ahmadinejad's extreme language is addressed to Israel and not to Jews. His Holocaust conference was an act of crass ignorance, not anti-Semitism. He falls neatly into the category that Joseph Massad calls Zionist Muslims, and he is an embarrassment to those who support the Palestinian cause. These "Zionist Muslims" deny the Holocaust because they subscribe to the Zionist logic that the Holocaust is the justification for Israel, so they believe that if they deny the Holocaust they will be denying Israel. This is a statement of crass ignorant Third Worldism (sic) but not of (western) Anti-Semitism. Instead of fighting Zionism, Ahmadinejad and his mates end up justifying a Zionist claim. And Brian Klug, in spite of his early perceptive differentiations between criticisms of Israel and anti-Semitism, joins the ranks of the Orientalists and those who use accusations of anti-Semitism to deflect criticisms of Israel.


This Hatred is Disseminated via the University of Haifa



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