Tuesday, September 27, 2011
The Recommendations of the "Trajtenberg Commission for Social Change" in Israel
Trajtenberg, which is actually how he spells his name in Latin
letters) Commission for Social Change in Israel has submitted its
recommendations. They consist of a potpourri of proposals and
recommendations for alterations in economic and social policy in many
different areas. Many sound like they were adopted from the tent
protesters in meetings in which Trajtenberg sought to prove his
Altogether they consist of about three or four dozen policy proposals.
Many people are asking me what I, as an economist, make of them. I
will not write an in-depth evaluation of the Trachtenberg proposals
Instead, I will content myself with merely noting that out of the 40
or so specific proposals, there are 3 or 4 whose damages would not be
catastrophic if implemented.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
The Bribing of the Bedouin
regarded as Israel's leading Holocaust scholar. Bauer however is also
a radical leftist. He is involved in all the usual leftist causes,
even this one, involving suppression of freedom of speech:
And Professor Bauer, the Holocaust scholar, has a new cause. It is
the promotion of one of the world's worst Holocaust Deniers.
Bauer is naturally a great advocate of Palestinian statehood, and he
is a toady coddler of Abu Mazen, the head of the Palestinian
Authority. As you no doubt recall, Abu Mazen did a "doctorate" in the
Soviet Union, writing his PhD thesis on how the Holocaust never took
place and is all a Zionist hoax. (See
Abu Mazen never retracted the "thesis," and it is taught these days in
Two weeks ago Bauer accompanied a group of Israeli
pseudo-intellectuals to Ramallah to make hajj to Abu Mazen. One of
the team, the far-leftist Bash-Orthodox bigot Sefi Rachlevski, then
published his own report of the pow-wow. The leftists were naturally
there to endorse the PLO and naturally never got around to demanding
that the Palestinian Authority do something to stop terror. As it
turns out, the Holocaust and Holocaust denial actual came up briefly
at the meeting.
One of Bauer's friends, another Hebrew University prof named Eliyahu
Richter, took Bauer to task for his toadying up to the Holocaust
Denier. Bauer responded with an even toadier reply to him. Bauer
says he explained to Abu Mazen and to his henchman Saeb Erekat why Abu
Mazen's dissertation is "unacceptable." Abu Mazen simply ignored the
comment. Bauer then responded to Abu Mazen's non-response by
repeating how devoted Bauer really is to Palestinian statehood. And
if Abu Mazen and his people ever get a state, and if that state then
sets up concentration camps for Jews, perhaps Bauer could take up
violin lessons so he can perform at the unloading docks.
2. For years Israel's radical Left, led in this by the extremist
anti-Zionist cheerleader for terrorism Oren Yiftachel (professor of
geography at Ben Gurion "University"), has been attempting to convert
most of the entire Negev into a Bedouin mini-state. And if the Israeli
far Left has its way, Bedouinstan will yet be a mini-state in which
Jews will be prevented from living. Ben Gurion University could be
The Bedouin of the Negev were migrating transient nomads who passed in
and out of borders over centuries, moving into and out of the Negev
from the Sinai peninsula, from Saudi Arabia and from Jordan. They
traditionally owned no land at all, and land ownership was an alien
notion for them.
Today, in the year 2011, Negev Bedouins are claiming legal title to
the bulk of land in the Negev, and the radical anti-Zionist Israeli
Left is solidly behind them. How did this develop?
Kalman Liebskind, the great columnist in Maariv, devotes much of his
weekend column to this matter. The answer is astonishing.
The story begins in the early 1970s, under various Labor Party
governments. The regime was interested in maintaining amicable
relations with the Negev Bedouin, but also in defining and settling
legal claims for lands. In reality the Bedouin legally owned nothing.
They just moved their camps and tents around the desert. But the
government was willing to strike a deal whereby the Bedouin could be
granted actual legal ownership over some land, while ending illegal
In order to conduct the negotiations, the government allowed any
Bedouin who wished to do so to file a claim that his family, his
ancestors, had lived on a certain parcel of land, and his claim would
be considered, together with conflicting legal evidence, once some
overall arrangement would be negotiated. To file such a "claim" the
Bedouin was required to produce no documentation, simply to fill out a
form with an unsubstantiated assertion. These assertions were about
as believable as would be my own claim to own all of Manhattan because
my ancestors traded beads for it with the locals.
No one took the Bedouin "claims" seriously, but the intention was to
use them as a symbolic starting point for negotiations and eventually
allow the filers of the phony claims to retain a few percentage points
of their "claims." That would provide the Bedouin with adequate lands
and they could settle down into real jobs and real houses if they so
chose. The initial Bedouin "claims" were for 200,000 acres.
Including lands on which kibbutzim, moshavim and other Jewish towns
While no one really considered the Bedouin claims as anything more
than fiction, the state sought a modus vivendi with them in which some
portion of those claims would be accepted as legit. In exchange
Israel thought it could limit the space in which Bedouins would
concentrate and sprawl and also halt the widespread illegal squatting
by Bedouins on other lands they clearly do not own.
As you can imagine, that was a great plan that could only go wrong.
It went super wrong once land values all over Israel shot up into the
The Israeli government offered to accept the 20% of the imaginary
Bedouin claims as legit if the Bedouins would relinquish the rest of
their fictional claims. The Bedouins of course demanded that Israel
grant 100% of the fictional claims. The Israeli government as usual
was worn down by salami tactics and by its devotion to appeasement.
So at the moment there are "talks" between the government and the
Bedouin to grant them 50% of their fictional claims.
Originally the willingness to strike a deal with the Bedouin was in
large part thanks to the perception that they were more or less
patriotic Israelis who often serve in the security forces. But that
perception is decades out of date. Meanwhile the Negev Bedouin have
been turning increasingly anti-Israel. PLO flags wave in the Negev
Bedouin city of Rahat, and the municipality there refuses to employ
any Jews. Some Bedouins have been involved in espionage and
terrorism. The two worst anti-Israel pro-jihad Knesset members today
Meanwhile, Yiftachel and the tenured extremists are running around the
world claiming that Israel is trying to "steal Bedouin lands" and to
deny the Bedouin their "rights." The only solution, insists
Yiftachel, is international sanctions and pressure upon Israel to
grant the Bedouins 100% of their fictional claims.
The willingness of the government to appease and coddle anti-Israel
radical Bedouins is best illustrated in the amazing story of the
bribery of Taleb a-Sana by Yitzhak Rabin, also discussed in
Liebskind's column. From one of the small Arab fascist parties,
a-Sana should have been jailed years ago for anti-Israel activity. He
makes no attempt at disguising his detestation of Israel and Jews.
Now it turns out that back when Yitzhak Rabin was still trying to
shove his "peace accords" with the barbarians through the Knesset, he
needed a-Sana's vote to duck a motion of non-confidence (which would
topple the government and force new elections). Rabin's junta struck
a dirty deal with a-Sana and his family, turning over 38 acres of
prime state-owned land on which a-Sana built a huge mansion and on
which he runs a sort of ranch. A photo of the mansion accompanies the
Liebskind column. The Ewing family of Dallas lived in a tenement by
comparison. In exchange, Rabin got his vote and survived the motion.
If I tried to erect a window pane on a porch I would have the
government inspectors breathing down my throat and threatening me
within 24 hours.
The a-Sana family members were granted an additional 70 plots of land.
A-Sana was also paid "compensation" for giving up a series of
illegally constructed homes erected on public lands by his family and
a freezing of various suits and indictments against a-Sana and his
family for illegal construction. The "deal" was brokered by Benjamin
"Fuad" Ben Eliezer, a minister in the cabinet, at Rabin's request.
The Oslo "Accods" then produced thousands of dead Israelis.
Editor's Notes: Delegitimizing the deligitimizers
By STEVE LINDE
4. I was just told that the Rabbi of the Reform synagogue in Hanover,
New Hampshire has announcd that on Yom Kippur, part of the afternoon
"service" will consist of a performance by a Shostakovitch trio played
in the "shul." Just in case you want to drive on over.
5. Obama's kibitzing in Israeli politics:
Friday, September 16, 2011
Let's Vote for Independence!!
By Steven Plaut
As you know, much of the world is getting ready to recognize a "state"
for "Palestinians" in coming days. The US may veto the vote in the
Security Council to set up "Palestine" in Israeli lands, and then
again maybe it will not veto it. Other countries are going ahead with
plans to vote for "Palestine" in the General Assembly, to grant
"Palestine" embassy space, to grant it formal recognition, and so on.
After years of paying lip service to the righteous need for granting
"Palestinians" a state, Netanyahu and his cowardly crew are scratching
their heads about what to do and how to stop all this. The best Bibi
has come up with is a plan to give a speech in that building on the
East River near 42nd street.
I have a better idea. My suggestion is this.
The "Palestinian" movement is nothing more than a local separatist
movement, composed of Arabs seeking to gain separatist independence.
Arabs already have 22 states. Since almost all countries in the
world have their OWN domestic separatist movements, the only
reasonable response by Israel to votes by other countries in favor of
the "Palestinian" separatist movement should be met by a decision by
Israel to recognize the separatist movements in THOSE countries, to
grant them embassy space and official diplomatic recognition.
Here are some examples:
If France votes for a "Palestinian state," as it is expected to do,
Israel must immediately grant diplomatic status and recognition to the
National Front for the Liberation of Corsica, to the separatist
Savoyard League and the Nissa Rebela, to the separatist Armée
Révolutionnaire Bretonne and Front de Libération de la Bretagne, and
to the French Basque separatists.
If Spain votes for a "Palestinian state," as it is expected to do,
Israel must immediately grant diplomatic status and recognition to the
ETA and other Basques separatists, to the Catalan separatists, as well
as to the separatist movements in Castille, Leon, Andalusia,
Cantabria, Galicia, Aragon, and Asturias.
If Belgium votes for a "Palestinian state," as it is expected to do,
Israel must immediately grant diplomatic status and recognition to
both the Flemish and Walloon separatist movements.
If Holland votes for a "Palestinian state," as it is expected to do,
Israel must immediately grant diplomatic status and recognition to the
Frisian separatist movement.
Turkey of course is leading the campaign for "Palestine," which is why
Israel should recognize the Armenian, Kurdish, Arab, and other ethnic
nationalist movements inside Turkey. And let's hear nothing about
Armenians already having their own state outside the Turkish borders.
The UK will probably vote against it, but just in case it votes in
favor, Israel should then recognize the separatist movements of
Cornwall, Guernsey, Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, the Isle of Wight,
Northumberland, Wessex, Yorkshire, and of course also the independence
of Wales, Scotland and Ulster.
Russia plans to vote for "Palestinian independence." Israel should
respond by recognizing all of the separatist movements within Russia,
a full list of which is much too long to reproduce here. If Italy
votes for "Palestine," there are so many regional independence and
separatist movements inside Italy that could be recognized that space
does not allow their complete listing.
The Sami independence movements in Norway, Sweden and Finland should
be recognized at once. Ditto for the Faroes Islands independence
movement in Denmark. If Switzerland votes in favor, Israel should
recognize the Jura regional separatist movement.
The above list is just for European countries. Most of South America
has ALREADY recognized "Palestine," even before any UN vote. If
Argentina and or Chile votes in favor, Israel needs to recognize the
Mapuche separatists in those countries. If Bolivia votes in favor,
the Santa Cruz separatists there should be recognized. If Brazil
votes in favor, Israel should recognize the separatist movements in
Rio Grande do Sul. Venezuela will certainly vote in favor, which is
why Israel must recognize the independence of Zulia and Maracaibo.
Mexico is certain to vote in favor, which is why the Zapatista
movement in Chiapas needs a nice embassy in Israel.
Moslem states have their own domestic separatist movements and these
are deserving of special support and recognition by Israel. In Iran,
aside from the obvious Kurdish separatists, there are Assyrian,
Baluchi, Azeri, and Arab regional separatist movements, all in need of
an Embassy. (And let's hear no nonsense about how Iranian Arabs have
no right to independence because Arabs already have 22 states! Azeris
already have a state, you say? Since when does THAT matter??) Syria
of course also has Kurdish and Assyrian separatists. Pakistan has
Balochistan, Gilgit Baltistan, and Singh separatist movements.
Indonesia has oodles of separatists.
The number of separatist movements in other parts of the world is so
that Israel would have to build an entire new diplomatic city east of
Ariel just to house all the embassies it needs to establish for the
separatist movements in countries voting for "Palestinian statehood."
2. From the New Republic
Why Won't Obama List Israelis Among the
Victims of Terrorism?
September 8, 2011
I wish it would be historically possible—that is, historically
honest—for Israel to be omitted from the long list of target countries
that have been the victims of terrorism. Alas, it is not. But
President Obama has a habit of making such lists, and he always fails
to include Israel (or anyplace within its borders) as a target of this
distinctive and most vicious form of warfare.
Still, the fact is that, as early as the 1970s, Palestinian
liberationists had begun to perfect the careful tactics of random
battle against Israelis. If not precisely Israelis, then some other
Jews. Why not? It's at least a back-handed admission of the fact of
Jewish peoplehood. If not blowing up a bus in the Negev, then a
shoot-out at the El Al counter at Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Rome. A
family massacre in the Galilee, a mass murder of Olympic athletes in
Munich, two high-toll bombings in Buenos Aires. In a Jerusalem
Yeshiva, on a Tel Aviv thoroughfare. And the liquidation of five
members of a family, yes, a family that lived in a settlement. But its
three-month-old didn't really know that. Knife across the neck anyway.
The omission is surely deliberate. Here's the latest one, linking 9/11
to terror elsewhere, from The New York Times, August 29, 2011:
As we commemorate the citizens of over 90 countries who perished in
the 9/11 attacks, we honor all victims of terrorism, in every nation
around the world. … We honor and celebrate the resilience of
individuals, families, and communities on every continent, whether in
New York or Nairobi, Bali or Belfast, Mumbai or Manila, or Lahore or
And here on July 24, 2008 in Berlin:
We can join in a new and global partnership to dismantle the networks
that have struck in Madrid and Amman; in London and Bali; in
Washington and New York.
All of these locations suffered the attacks of barbarians, and with
these attacks thousands upon thousands of victims. And many more
thousands with the victimhood of being robbed of those they loved and
of those for whom they cared. Nobody has yet estimated the count of
people affected by this epidemic. I do not wonder why. It is not that
such an estimate, close to accurate, cannot be undertaken and honestly
If truth be told, President Obama has a direct interest in keeping
these statistics fudged. For, aside from Belfast, every location he
mentions is a place where Muslim extremists have shed blood—and shed
the blood of innocents, shed the blood of those who do not even know
how to ask why they have been targeted, if indeed they have been
specifically or personally targeted which most of them have not been.
In fact, none of them have been. They are innocents in a crowd. But
not according to their killers. They are guilty by being.
This is not the president's narrative. Apparently and actually, he has
no narrative. But he owes us a narrative, his narrative. After all,
our soldiers are being killed and they are also killing. And innocents
are being killed daily by adversary forces Obama will not name or
characterize or define. Who does he really think we are fighting? The
Bahai, maybe? Opus Dei? The Lubavitchers? If Obama does not think that
we are besieged by several strands of Islam, what explanation has he
for the wave of terrorism that has taken place in recent decades?
P.S. I've made an observation about Obama's omission of Israel in
another list of his once before. In my ex-blog, The Spine, I observed
last January that in the president's litany of countries that aided
Haiti in its terrible need and despair he'd omitted Israel. Given the
depth of Israel's rescue work, it cannot have been an oversight. So
was it Obama himself who flinched when he saw the troublesome
country's name in the text prepared by his staff? Or did his staff not
name Israel in the first place? There's a story to be told about his
speechwriters. And it might just be that they know his prejudices.
P.P.S. Maybe you are too young to recall the ghastly Munich Massacre,
which took place 39 years ago this week. But I remember everything I
saw on ABC television from the very moment that a Cape Cod neighbor
summoned me to see "a pogrom going on in Munich." Already then, when
Palestinian terror was still in the blush of youth, so to speak, there
were respectable people apologizing for it. Peter Jennings sticks in
my memory most of all because his excuse for the terrorists was that
history had treated their people badly, the excuse that every
terrorist sympathizer gives. (After 9/11, Jennings pasted together a
public broadcasting program for teenagers showing how kind Muslims are
Anyway, here is an account of this great day in Palestinian terror,
perhaps its greatest day, all but forgotten. So this is a reminder by
the careful and honest historian Mitchell Bard.
Martin Peretz is editor-in-chief emeritus of The New Republic.
3. Leibler on the "New Israel" Fund
The two faces of the New Israel Fund
by Isi Leibler
September 15, 2011
It is a somber reflection on the naivety of well-intended Jewish
philanthropists that they continue donating vast amounts of money to
Israel's largest NGO, the New Israel Fund (NIF). They do so despite
repeated documented exposures demonstrating that this body is
sponsoring anti-Zionist, pro-Palestinian and post- Zionist
organizations, committed to undermining the Jewish state and promoting
the narrative of the Palestinians as victims and Israelis as
Many of the donors are liberal Jews genuinely committed to Israel who
blindly accept at face value statements from NIF officials who
obfuscate the truth.
Recently, yet another bombshell discrediting this organization was
revealed by Wikileaks. A confidential cable quoted a conversation
between officials at the Tel Aviv US embassy and NIF associate
director Hedva Radanovitz, who until last year controlled the NIF
distribution of grants to 350 NGOs totaling $18 million per annum. She
told embassy personnel that "she believed that in 100 years, Israel
would be majority Arab and that the disappearance of the Jewish state
would not be the tragedy that Israelis fear since it would become more
Radanovitz was in fact, rationalizing why the NIF has and continues to
provide millions of dollars to groups supporting the destruction of
Israel as a Jewish state.
In response to media coverage of these bizarre remarks, NIF CEO Daniel
Sokatch stated that Radanovitz was at the time "not optimistic about
Israeli support for human rights and democracy" and that her views
were not supported by his organization.
He also stressed that she was now no longer employed by the NIF.
However, Sokatch and other NIF leaders failed to explain why many
other senior NIF officers share an ideological view of Israel as a
Jewish state which most Israelis would bitterly oppose.
When communicating to the public, NIF spokesmen stress that whilst
being "a big tent organization" they unquestionably support Israel as
a democratic Jewish state and promote freedom, justice and equality
for all citizens. They purport to be opposed to anti-Israeli "lawfare"
and BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions).
They continuously dismiss critics as being "extreme right wing" and
accuse them of McCarthyism.
SINCE ITS inception in 1979, NIF has dispersed more than $200 million
to more than 800 Israeli organizations.
The majority of the recipients are indeed worthy institutions engaged
in social welfare and developmental projects that all Israelis would
When NIF spokesmen address the public, they speak exclusively of the
bona fide social organizations they fund. They fail to disclose that
they are also providing vast funds to organizations that by no stretch
of the imagination could qualify for inclusion in that category. Even
after their recent adamant assurance to the public and donors that
organizations opposed to the existence of Israel as a Jewish state
would no longer be sponsored, last year they still directed over a
quarter of their funding ($4.3 million) to groups engaged in
delegitimization and other forms of anti-Israeli activity.
Here are a few examples of NIF allotments last year to organizations
for political advocacy that are deeply engaged in anti-Israeli
Nearly $500,000 was provided to Adalah, a group which contributed to
and campaigned for the Goldstone report, urged foreign governments to
"reevaluate their relationship with Israel," described Israel as "a
colonial enterprise promoting apartheid," called for implementing the
Palestinian right of return to Israel, provided affidavits to Spanish
courts in order to charge Israeli officials with war crimes, and
defended Hizbullah spy Amir Makhoul as a "human rights defender." It
would surely be difficult to visualize any Zionist or remotely
pro-Israeli body providing funds to an organization committed to such
Mada al-Carmel, another recipient of NIF funds, engages in
anti-Israeli agitation and openly repudiates the legitimacy of the
NIF continued to fund the Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP), a leader
of the campaign expressly promoting global "boycott, divestment and
sanctions against Israel." CWP also organizes events for Israel
In 2010, NIF tripled the funding for "Breaking the Silence," another
organization which paved the way for the Goldstone report by making
unsubstantiated claims of war crimes by the IDF. During the Goldstone
committee inquiry "Breaking the Silence," in conjunction with B'tselem
and other NIF-funded NGOs, accused Israel of war crimes and provided
"evidence" to the Goldstone Commission to substantiate their biased
and defamatory report.
The sordidness of these virulently anti-Israeli, NIF-funded NGOs is
heightened by the fact that many are primarily funded by foreign
foundations, in particular European governments, promoting campaigns
against Israel and engaged in bolstering far Left Israeli fringe
groups. Tens of millions of euros are allegedly provided to such
groups by overseas governments suggesting that the are not indigenous
to Israeli society. One could not visualize any European state
tolerating such interference in its domestic affairs by foreign
countries or organizations seeking to subvert the democratically
elected government under the cloak of promoting human rights.
INDEED, WITHOUT the perseverance and determined investigative analysis
of Professor Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor, the public would be
totally unaware that such vast sums are provided to anti-Israeli
Steinberg has also been instrumental in promoting Knesset legislation
which now requires NGOs to be transparent and disclose their sources
of foreign funding, based on the model of the US Foreign Agent
Registration ACT (FARA). This requirement will enable Israelis to
appreciate the extent of foreign initiatives designed to fund
anti-government "political activity."
NIF is a public charity and should thus be obliged to introduce
greater transparency and implement accountability with checks and
balances. Although we are told that Radanovitz is no longer employed
by the NIF, we know nothing about her replacement, or whether the
numerous organizations still promoting the dismemberment of Israel as
a Jewish state last year have been excluded from 2011 grants. NIF
should be obliged to publish this information immediately.
Clearly, in these difficult times there is a need for drastic change
in the personnel managing this organization and an end to the secrecy
under which they operate in order to ensure that funds raised for the
welfare of Israel are not diverted to organizations committed to
undermining the Jewish state.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Pedro vs. Little Bo Peep
that appears in Haaretz. And an even more rare day when Haaretz
exhibits something witty.
But the political editorial cartoon that appeared yesterday was
delightful and almost would have been enough reason to buy yesterday's
The cartoon concerned the Labor Party primaries, which were held
yesterday. There are four leftist contenders for the position of
party Commissar, all of them basically claiming to promote the exact
same agenda, all of them claiming to be anti-capitalist "social
democrats." These are Amram Mitzna, the ex-Mayor of Haifa, once
described by me as the most dangerous politician in Israel (see
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/735860/posts ), Isaac "Buji"
Herzog, a New Israel Fund poodle (many Israeli politicians have
infantile nicknames like him – if you still want to go into politics,
I understand that the nickname "Goo goo goo" is still unclaimed),
Shelly Yachimovich and Amir Peretz.
Shelly is the leading girlish cheerleader for socialism in Israel.
She used to be a TV talking head before she decided to sit on her
tuffet. She is not particularly bright, but, unlike the other three,
she is basically clean and honest. She used to be the favorite of the
tent protest crowd, who would follow her home wagging their tails
behind them. But then she managed to antagonize Israel's totalitarian
Left when she suggested that good socialists should NOT treat or
consider Jewish settlers to be the enemy. That led to nonstop attacks
against her in Haaretz.
That leaves Amir Peretz, a subliterate who made his career as a sort
of Israeli Jimmy Hoffa, running the Histadrut Trade Union federation
(or what I call the Histadrut organized crime family) for a while.
Peretz bears a remarkable resemblance to a Mexican gardener I once
employed in California. I would be very surprised to hear that he
has ever read a book. I met him once in the Knesset where I testified
about the proposed (back then) national health insurance law. He did
not understand a word I said and stared with glassy eyes, and it was
NOT because of my accent.
As you can see, this is a great bunch of losers. In the primaries,
Little Shelly and Pedro Peretz came out as the winners, but neither
with enough votes to take the party chiefdom in the first round (and
now will have a second round run-off).
I personally prefer that Peretz win, because he is such a loser that
his leadership of the Labor Party will finish it off altogether. He
is much easier to beat than any of the other three. I suspect though
that Little Bo Peep, er, I mean Shelly, will take it.
Oh, about that cartoon I mentioned. It shows the four main characters
from the Wizard of Oz skipping along. Shelly of course is Dorothy.
The cowardly lion is Peretz. The tin man is Mitzna, and the scarecrow
is Herzog. It was delicious!
2. Noam Chomsky proclaims the Prophet Elijah as the "First Anti-American"
Using Privilege to Challenge the State
By Noam Chomsky
Source: Boston Review
Excerpt: In the Hebrew scriptures there are figures who by
contemporary standards are dissident intellectuals, called "prophets"
in the English translation. They bitterly angered the establishment
with their critical geopolitical analysis, their condemnation of the
crimes of the powerful, their calls for justice and concern for the
poor and suffering. King Ahab, the most evil of the kings, denounced
the Prophet Elijah as a hater of Israel, the first "self-hating Jew"
or "anti-American" in the modern counterparts. The prophets were
treated harshly, unlike the flatterers at the court, who were later
condemned as false prophets. The pattern is understandable. It would
be surprising if it were otherwise.
(I happen to regard the mount on which Balaam was riding to be the
Fall 2011 Middle East Quarterly: Israel's Tenured Extremists
East Quarterly: http://www.meforum.org/meq/
I think you will find it an interesting summary evaluation of what is
wrong at Israeli universities.
For some reason the web site does not allow access to the full article
so I am pasting it below. The final version of the piece may be
slightly edited compared with the following:
Israel's Tenured Extremists:
The Decade since "Socrates"
by Steven Plaut
Israel is under assault from within, and not just from the usual
suspects. Its legitimacy and, in many cases, its very existence are
being attacked by a domestic academic Fifth Column. Hundreds of
professors and lecturers, employed by Israel's state-financed
universities, are building careers as full-time activists working
against the very country in which they live. And the problem is
growing. Fortunately, the Israeli public has become aware of the
problem and is increasingly demanding that something be done about it.
A not-inconsiderable part of the credit for this belongs to the Middle
East Quarterly, probably the first serious journal to discuss the
problem a decade ago, sparking a debate that continues to challenge
the Israeli academy's offensive against the Jewish state.
"Socrates" Blows the Whistle
In fall 2001, the Middle East Quarterly ran a major exposé of
anti-Israel academics based inside Israeli universities. Titled
"Israel's Academic Extremists," it shattered the conspiracy of
silence that had long been observed in the Israeli media and on
Israeli campuses about scholars working against their own country and
in support of its enemies. And it opened a floodgate.
The article was attributed to "Solomon Socrates," described as "the
pen name for a watchdog team of researchers keeping an eye on Israel's
universities." The very fact that the authors felt they needed the
cloak of anonymity to protect themselves from retaliation from their
colleagues within higher education may have been the most dramatic
illustration of the sorry state of academic freedom and pluralism in
Noting that hiring and promotion procedures at Israeli universities
were commonly politicized, with leftist faculty who had poor academic
publication records getting hired and promoted as acts of political
solidarity, the article offered thumbnail characterizations of about
two dozen Israeli academic extremists. Today that list seems tame and
thin, at least when compared with the dimensions of the problem as it
is now understood. A few of the names were of obscure academicians of
little interest, evidently spotlighted as a result of some outlandish
statements and positions. Two of those named, Benny Morris and Ilan
Gur-Ze'ev, would no longer make the list and are generally considered
today to be important defenders of Zionism and critics of
"post-Zionist" historical revisionism of which they were once key
articulators. Morris appears to have jettisoned most of his earlier
Israel-bashing and New History revisionism regarding the period of
Israel's war of independence, though not everyone is persuaded the
rehabilitation is sincere. As a result he has become the favorite
whipping boy for much of the anti-Zionist Left, incensed that he no
longer spends his days denouncing Israel as the ultimate evil in the
world. In February 2010, Morris was even denied the right to speak at
a Cambridge University student event on the grounds that he was too
pro-Israel and thus supposedly anti-Arab. In June 2011 he was
physically attacked by anti-Israel activists while on his way to
lecture in the London School of Economics. Gur-Ze'ev, meanwhile, has
been speaking out forcefully against the anti-Semitism and
totalitarian inclinations of the radical Left, to the chagrin of those
who oppose him.
From Socrates' 2001 list, Baruch Kimmerling, Dan Bar-On, and Israel
Shahak are no longer alive while Ilan Pappé and Gabriel Piterberg have
emigrated and built careers elsewhere as full-time Israel bashers. The
remaining names have, however, been joined by scores, perhaps
hundreds, of home-grown academic bashers of Israel over the past
The Internal War against Israel
Most of Israel's anti-Israel academics hold tenured faculty positions
at the country's tax-funded public universities. They include people
who justify and celebrate Arab terrorism and who help initiate
campaigns of boycott and economic divestment directed against their
own country in time of war. Today many of the leaders of the so-called
BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions [against Israel]) are
Israeli academics. The phenomenon is near pandemic at the four main
Israeli liberal arts universities: Tel Aviv University, the Hebrew
University, the University of Haifa, and Ben-Gurion University. At the
two scientific-engineering institutions, the Technion and the Weizmann
Institute, there are small numbers of faculty involved in such
political activity but they are a minor presence, and this is also
true of the religious university, Bar-Ilan. Israeli colleges are less
generously funded by the government than universities and so are more
dependent on competing for student tuition. This may explain why
extremist faculty is more unusual there than in universities, though
Sapir College in the Negev may be an exception.
On the eve of the 2003 Iraq war, dozens of Israeli academics warned
the world that Israel was planning massive war crimes and genocidal
massacres against the Palestinians the moment the first coalition
troops were to land in Iraq. When the actual fighting took place and
no such crimes were perpetrated by Israel, not a single signer of the
petition issued an apology for the smears against the Jewish state.
In other petitions, Israeli academics routinely denounce Israel for
carrying out war crimes and human rights violations. In some, they
call for suppressing Israeli sovereignty by imposing political
solutions on the country that they favor but which are opposed by the
vast majority of Israelis. Hundreds of Israeli university professors
have been involved in organizing mutiny and insurrection among Israeli
soldiers, and some have been arrested for violently attacking police
and soldiers or for similar forms of law breaking. For example, Tel
Aviv University's Anat Matar, the Hebrew University's Amiel Vardi,
math lecturer Kobi Snitz (who has taught at several institutions),
and others have been arrested for lawbreaking and for participating in
violent, illegal demonstrations. At least one faculty member at Ben
Gurion University has openly called for murder of those who reject his
far-leftist opinions. The Israeli university authorities wink at
such behavior and sometimes even collaborate with and promote it.
Scores of Israeli academics openly advocate the so-called Palestinian
right of return, which would effectively end Israel's existence,
while others openly call for Israel to be annihilated altogether.
Other Israeli academics signed the so-called Olga document demanding
that Israel grant the Palestinians an unrestricted "right of return."
Such people often claim to favor a "one-state solution," in which
Israel's existence as a sovereign nation would end, to be enfolded
within a larger state with an Arab and Muslim government and majority.
A few Israeli academics even campaign on behalf of and promote
Holocaust deniers. Articles by Ben-Gurion University's Neve Gordon
have been published on the web site of Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel
and in Iran's state newspaper. Neve has also endorsed Norman
Finkelstein, often regarded as a Holocaust denier or at least a
Holocaust trivializer while other Israeli academics have praised
Holocaust revisionist David Irving.
During the Cast Lead military operation against Hamas in Gaza (winter
2008-09), the visibility of this group grew. While polls showed
near-unanimous support for the operations among Israeli Jews, a high
proportion of Israeli academics opposed the operation. The Hebrew
University professor of linguistic education, Nurit Elhanan-Peled, has
devoted much of her career to promoting the political agenda of the
very same Palestinian terrorists who murdered her own daughter in a
suicide bombing of a civilian Israeli bus. Many anti-Israel academics
cheered on Hamas as it launched rockets at the civilians in Israel's
south. Others publicly endorsed Hezbollah's "legitimate resistance,"
when northern Israel was showered by Katyusha rockets during the
summer war of 2006. Some are currently among the leaders of marches
that call upon the world to prevent Jews from living in neighborhoods
of East Jerusalem, where, they believe, Jews just do not belong.
The Dershowitz Counterattack
Probably the most dramatic exhibition of the problem came at the
national assembly of the governors of Tel Aviv University (TAU) in the
spring of 2010. The keynote speaker invited to the affair was Harvard
law professor Alan Dershowitz. While left of center, Dershowitz is
passionately pro-Israel and, at the same time, vehemently opposed to
infringements upon academic freedom.
Upon receiving an honorary doctoral degree at Tel Aviv University,
Dershowitz gave a dramatic speech denouncing the home-grown,
anti-Israel cadre of lecturers dominating Israeli universities. He
defended the rights of these academics to exercise freedom of
speech—or, in his words, the "right to be wrong." But he also defended
the rights of others to denounce and criticize them.
In no time, Dershowitz confronted the all-too-common refrain sounded
by these scholars that they are only engaging in legitimate criticism
of Israel. To the contrary, Dershowitz contended, these people were
actually often engaged in delegitimizing Israel itself, calling for
world boycotts against the Jewish state, and at times calling for its
annihilation. They go so far, he stated, as to organize boycott
campaigns by recruiting and leading teams of anti-Israel radicals. ]
Dershowitz then named several Tel Aviv University faculty, including
some who were in Boston that same week attempting to organize a
boycott against the Technion, Israel's main engineering university,
for supposedly being a cog in the Israeli "war machine."
Without naming names, Dershowitz heaped scorn on TAU professor Shlomo
Sand for his recent book, The Invention of the Jewish People, which
claims that there is actually no such thing as a Jewish people.
Dershowitz went on to denounce those who insist that freedom of speech
belongs only to people who agree with them and assailed those at
Israeli universities who harass students who dare to disagree with
forced-fed ideology, comparing this behavior to teachers who sexually
harass students. He insisted that students too are entitled to
academic freedom, which includes the right to disagree with their
While such a peroration would ignite controversy anywhere, it was
downright incendiary at Tel Aviv University (TAU), arguably home to
the greatest concentration of tenured leftists teaching in Israel.
While the audience repeatedly interrupted him with loud applause,
faculty members reportedly squirmed in their seats.
It did not take long for these academics to open fire in retaliation;
within days, a group of TAU professors denounced Dershowitz and
challenged his right to criticize them. Signatures for a petition were
collected and published on a left-wing website. The petition
essentially denied Dershowitz's right to freedom of speech, despite
the pretence of some signatories to the contrary, by deriding his
charges against specific academics as "bordering on incitement that
can pose a clear and present danger to these members of staff."
A quick look at the names on the petition illustrates the nature of
the problem. Among the signatories claiming that Dershowitz's words
criticizing the anti-Israel camp reminded them of "the dark regimes"
in human history were:
Chaim Gans of TAU law school, who organized a petition demanding that
Col. Pnina Baruch-Sharvit, head of the Israel Defense Forces
international law division, be prevented from teaching a course in the
school after her retirement from military service because her
department (allegedly) legitimized strikes in which civilians were
hurt or killed during Operation Cast Lead.
Gadi Algazi, a historian at TAU who, among other activities, led a
march of Israeli Arabs supporting Hezbollah terror.
Uri Hadar, a psychology professor, who recently organized a conference
at TAU to support Hamas and Hezbollah.
Daniel Bar-Tal, an educational psychologist, who produces anti-Jewish
propaganda for the U.N. and believes Zionism is an obstacle to peace.
The Attack against Freedom of Speech
As starkly demonstrated by the anti- Dershowitz petition, Israel's
tenured radicals are not only vehemently anti-Israel but also
staunchly anti-democratic. For them, academic freedom and freedom of
speech means absolute protection of the right to "criticize" Israel
but not to defend it.
McCarthyism has become the favorite rhetorical bludgeon wielded by
Israeli academics to deny their critics the freedom of speech. This
McCarthyism, they charge, endangers freedom of speech and democracy.
So tenured academics should have the sacrosanct right to denounce and
demonize all of Israel and also to smear non-leftist Israelis,
including private citizens such as army officers, in the most lurid
and vulgar ways. But those who respond by criticizing these critics
are endangering democracy. In particular, the radical academics have
denounced the watchdog web sites that monitor and cite what they say,
as well as the Zionist student organization Im Tirtzu ("If you will
it") and Knesset members who have criticized the behavior of the
radicals. In the strange world of Israeli academic radicals, the worst
offense against academic freedom is the verbatim citing of what they
actually say or write.
Some professors, most notoriously David Newman, dean of social
sciences and humanities at Ben-Gurion University, and Daniel Bar-Tal
of the School of Education at Tel Aviv University, have published
calls for the suppression and silencing of critics. The president of
TAU censored Mark Tanenbaum , a governor of his own university's
board, when the latter proposed an investigation into professors who
use the school's name and funds when participating in forums of
political nature —behavior that is incidentally barred by the
university's own bylaws. The Israeli media have also reported a
growing number of demands from academics that the freedom of
expression of their critics, and for that matter—of scholars deviating
from politically correct dogmas—be suppressed.
Thus, for example, when Yeruham Leavitt was teaching a class in
medical ethics at Ben-Gurion University, he questioned the assertion
that children raised by homosexual couples experience no adverse
effects. For this he was not only fired for "unacceptable thinking,"
but the president of Ben-Gurion University, Rivka Carmi, went out of
her way to defend the firing. On the other hand, when a professor of
sociology at the Hebrew University, Eyal Ben-Ari, was accused by
several female students of having raped and sexually molested them,
the university at first circled the wagons around him and only years
later suspended him for two years without pay.
Tel Aviv University faculty members have participated in protests
demanding that the campus Center for Iranian Studies be shut down
because radical faculty members said they feared its work could assist
the United States and Israel in confronting Tehran. The radicals also
opposed allowing an Israel ex-general to speak there. A few years
back some radical faculty protested against the opening of a campus
synagogue, claiming its presence on campus would contribute to
"religious coercion" and suppression of "religious pluralism."
Obviously no student would be coerced into attending religious
ceremony at the synagogue. But the absence of a synagogue before this
one was opened did not strike the radical faculty members as
infringing upon student freedom of expression and religion. In 2008,
the student union at Tel Aviv University wanted to hold an exhibit
protesting human rights abuses in China, but university officials
ordered it shut down lest it offend Chinese diplomats. Meanwhile, TAU
has repeatedly hosted events organized by the Israeli Communist Party,
held in campus facilities.
Academics from all across the country are now calling for a boycott of
Ariel University Center in Samaria because it is located across the
"Green Line." There have been no petitions though to eliminate
politicized programs of ideological indoctrination run by the radical
Left inside many university departments. There have been petitions by
left-wing faculty members to eliminate university programs for Israeli
army officers, intelligence service officers, and police, as well as
petitions to bar army officers from holding academic positions.
Similarly, a group of University of Haifa faculty from its school of
education organized a petition to demand that army officers be barred
from speaking in schools.
All too often, university administrations have colluded with this
mindset. When Neve Gordon of Ben-Gurion University filed a harassment
"strategic lawsuit against public participation" (SLAPP) lawsuit
against this author for criticizing his public, political activities
and writings, he was backed by the highest officials at the
university. These evidently see nothing amiss with such attempts at
suppressing freedom of speech for other academics who happen to
dislike Gordon's extremist opinions.
Hiring for Uniformity in Thought
The Israeli campus has become thoroughly politicized with faculty
hiring and promotion decisions subordinated to political bias. As
noted in the 2001 MEQ article, scholars with mediocre academic records
are often hired and promoted as acts of solidarity with the Left.
There have also been allegations of malicious blocking and sabotaging
of the academic careers of those with political views on the Right.
Israeli academics recruited through this politicized process have
misused their podiums to impose courses consisting of anti-Israel
libel and venom on students.
The manner in which this ideological hegemony is maintained over
campuses is well known within the Israeli academic institutions, even
if the corruption has rarely been aired publicly. Consider a typical
hiring or promotion procedure for an academic whose publication record
consists mainly, or exclusively, of propaganda articles that bash
Israel. Evaluation procedures are typically corrupted and politicized:
An evaluation committee for the candidate is appointed, consisting
entirely of like-minded faculty members who then typically requests
assessments from eight to ten "referees" from Israel and around the
world. But all, or nearly all, of the referee letter-writers will
themselves have identical anti-Israel sympathies and can generally be
counted upon to write glowing letters of support out of a sense of
political solidarity. Ben-Gurion University seems to be the most
accomplished institution in such practices.
Faculty chat lists in which Israeli professors post comments,
especially in the social sciences, are invariably dominated by the
self-defined "progressives." The author was personally summoned by a
rector of the University of Haifa, Yossi Ben Artzi, and threatened
with disciplinary actions for using sarcasm in response to
"bash-Israel" postings placed on the local professors' chat list. The
"Israel Social Science" chat list is routinely censored to limit
postings critical of the Left while ideological postings by
anti-Israel faculty members suffer from no such handicap and dominate
the list. For example, an ideological article by the left-leaning
Hebrew University professor Yitzhak Galnoor attacking the exercise of
academic freedom by critics of leftists in Israeli universities was
posted on the list, while list manager David Levi-Faur refused to
permit any response to it to appear.
Would-be non-leftist faculty can clearly see the political writing on
the wall. They must choose either to toe the political line out of
career self-interest or to muzzle themselves and maintain a low
profile, at least until they reach senior academic ranks and often
after that as well. Thus political uniformity and the campus hegemony
Abuses inside the Classroom
Israeli administrators have long turned a blind eye to anti-Israel
courses which are often mandatory for students. They have ignored
growing reports that students are being harassed and penalized by
faculty members when they dare to disagree with faculty political
opining and indoctrination. When the Im Tirtzu movement issued
reports documenting classroom intimidation and indoctrination of
students, they were denounced by scores of faculty members and by the
rectors at Ben-Gurion University, University of Haifa, and Tel Aviv
University as McCarthyists and fascists.
Administrators have also refused to speak out against anti-Israel
rallies, misrepresented as academic conferences, which take place
almost weekly on Israeli campuses. When Islamist cleric Sheik Ra'ed
Salah spoke at the University of Haifa in June 2009, the university
heads ordered that Jewish students be physically barred from entering
the auditorium in which he spoke. The cleric then called upon Arab
students attending the lecture to become "martyrs." The following year
the University of Haifa barred the sheik from speaking, but Tel Aviv
University responded by hosting him.
Meanwhile the level of in-classroom anti-Israel indoctrination
conducted in Israeli universities has been steadily growing. Crusading
against Israel has become the chief scholarly credential of a growing
number of tenured Israeli academics. Rigid, anti-Israel uniformity
and monolithic far-left consensus are to be found in many academic
departments in Israeli universities, especially in the humanities, the
softer social sciences, law, and education. There are some departments
in which no Zionist or non-leftist is, in effect, permitted to teach.
Perhaps the most notorious example of this was the 2005 firing of the
single non-leftist in the politics department at Ben-Gurion
University, despite his impressive record of academic and scholarly
In many university departments in Israel, academic pluralism means
that anti-Israel opinion is preached and taught by a diverse set of
faculty members—leftist Jews, Arabs, men, and women, all holding the
same opinions—but not pluralism of ideas and ideological outlooks. All
Israeli universities strive to expand the presence of Arab and female
faculty members in the name of diversity, using affirmative action
preferences. Yet none of them see anything wrong with the existence of
entire departments in which there is not a single religiously
observant faculty member or someone with writings from the Right side
of the political spectrum.
The anti-Israel political activities of faculty often border on open
support for treason. Dozens of tenured extremists were active in
celebrating Tali Fahima, an Israeli woman arrested for collaborating
with terrorists and helping plan terror attacks. Many openly
identified with convicted nuclear spy and traitor Mordecai Vanunu, or
with the former Arab Knesset member Azmi Bishara, wanted for espionage
and now in hiding outside Israel.
In a few cases, Israeli faculty members who have defamed army
officers and other public figures as war criminals have caused their
targets to cancel study and travel plans outside Israel for fear of
being prosecuted on the weight of these smears. Some of the most
openly anti-Semitic propaganda on the planet, including much produced
by Neo-Nazis as well as open calls for the annihilation of Israel, is
currently being disseminated via the ALEF List, an anti-Israel chat
list operating under the auspices of the University of Haifa. Many of
the worst anti-Semitic pronouncements disseminated by that list appear
on the "ALEF WATCH" web site, run by Isracampus. These include
endorsements of terrorism, calls for Israel to be exterminated, and
even Holocaust Denial.
This anti-Israel bias and the accompanying suppression of dissident,
pro-Israel opinion has been the focus of several recent studies
receiving wide attention in the media. These include a survey of
syllabi in political science courses, collected by the Im Tirtzu
student organization, and a similar report on sociology departments
prepared by the Institute for Zionist Strategies. Both studies claim
to detect extreme bias and one-sided indoctrination in departmental
courses, including mandatory courses.
Change in the Air?
The biggest change that has occurred since the 2001 Socrates article
is that the Israeli public now is aware of tenured extremism. Public
figures, members of the parliament, journalists, students, alumni,
donors, and other academics are speaking up courageously, criticizing
anti-Israel academics, challenging the hegemony of the far Left over
Israel's four main liberal arts universities. There have been
proposals in Israel's parliament, the Knesset, to require disclosure
of sources of funding for radical, anti-Israel nongovernmental
organizations (NGOs). Israeli radical academics are active in all
such groups. There have also been proposals for a law that would deny
citizenship to those refusing to declare loyalty to Israel or who
engage in extremist anti-Israel activities. A number of Knesset
members and other political leaders in Israel have repeatedly spoken
out against the political activities of radical academics, including
in NGOs, among them Danny Danon, Gideon Sa'ar (the Israeli minister of
education), Alex Miller, and Michael Ben-Ari. Sa'ar held special
Knesset committee hearings on the seditious activities of faculty and
political biases in Israeli universities.
The Knesset has considered bills directed against Israeli academics
who issue calls for anti-Israel boycotts and probing human rights
NGOs involved in anti-Israel propaganda activities. Other public
figures, such as the mayor of the town of Omer in which many faculty
members of Ben-Gurion University reside, have called for sanctions
against universities that refuse to act against tenured radicals.
One sign of how far things have been transformed is the widespread
willingness today to criticize Israel's tenured foes by name in all of
the Israeli mainstream media, with the daily Ma'ariv the most
aggressive. The most consistent and effective critics of the
anti-Israel radicals have been Ben-Dror Yemini and Kalman Liebskind,
both at Ma'ariv. Watchdog web sites have arisen that monitor and
document the anti-Israel activities of Israeli faculty members. The
main such group is IsraCampus, operating as a sort of Israeli cousin
to the Middle East Forum's Campus Watch. Other groups and websites
also follow the anti-Israel political activities of academics,
including NGO Monitor headed by Gerald M. Steinberg of Bar-Ilan
But perhaps the most dramatic change on Israeli campus has been the
emergence over the past few years of a radical, patriotic, Zionist
student movement. Until three or four years ago, it was unusual to see
Israeli university students take to the barricades except over the
price of tuition or cafeteria food. The Arab student unions would
regularly hold small anti-Israel protests and political activities,
but Jewish students were rarely involved in campus political
expression. Thanks to the Im Tirtzu movement, all that has changed.
Largely the initiative of two eloquent and prolific Hebrew University
students, Ronen Shoval and Erez Tadmor, Im Tirtzu is the dominant
student ideological movement today on most Israeli campuses.
The term Im Tirtzu, means, "If you will it," and it is part of a
longer mantra originally coined by Theodore Herzl as part of his
proposal for creation of a Jewish state. The Im Tirtzu student
movement has emerged as the most effective and vocal force drawing
public attention to the abuses stemming from campus politicization.
Im Tirtu leaders have testified in the Knesset, write frequently in
the media, and the movement regularly organizes counter-protests with
Israeli flags and patriotic slogans in response to every anti-Israel
demonstration organized by Arab and Jewish leftist students. Its
members wear T-shirts to class with images of Herzl and Jabotinsky. It
has called for pressure on Israeli universities, especially Ben-Gurion
University, to force campus officials to act against classroom
politicization, and it has threatened to file Supreme Court petitions
to achieve this.
Left-wing academics increasingly complain about Im Tirtzu students
cataloguing information about political bias, gleaned from course
descriptions and syllabi. The group's leaders have highlighted the
fact that students from the center and right of the Israeli spectrum
experience harassment from left-wing faculty. In one infamous
incident, a student at Ben-Gurion University, Rachel Abraham, was
threatened with penalties and a lowered grade by the anti-Zionist
geography professor Oren Yiftachel if she refused to toe his
ideological line. Other harassment of student Zionists is even worse.
In one famous incident, leftist students at Ben-Gurion University were
photographed giving Heil Hitler Nazi salutes to pro-Zionist students
at a campus rally following the Turkish flotilla raid while Hebrew
University students used the Nazi salute during student council
The Israeli taxpaying public is losing patience with radical
anti-Israel academics and demanding accountability from the
universities regarding the use and misuse of taxpayer funds. Indeed,
the awakening of public awareness in Israel (and outside it) over the
past decade has been breathtaking. Internet web searches about the
subject yield thousands of articles on numerous websites, both inside
and outside of Israel, leading many leftist professors increasingly to
complain about being "spied upon." Other radicals are exercising
greater caution and circumspection as a result. Still others complain
about a sharp drop in the willingness on the part of their fellow
travelers in the anti-Israel camp to engage in open incitement against
Israel, or to sign their names to openly anti-Israel and anti-Semitic
petitions. While difficult to prove numerically, far-leftist academics
now seem to perceive and complain more about the reluctance of their
colleagues to go public these days with anti-Israel statements and
Still the battle rages on. Depoliticizing the Israeli campus is yet a
far-off dream. But as anger grows against Israel's tenured extremists,
change is in the air.
Steven Plaut teaches at the Graduate School of Business Administration
at the University of Haifa.
Solomon Socrates, "Israel's Academic Extremists," Middle East
Quarterly, Fall 2001, pp. 5-14.
See, for example, Efraim Karsh, "Benny Morris and the Reign of
Error, Revisited," Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2005, pp. 31-42;
idem, "Revisiting Israel's 'Original Sin,'" Commentary, Sept. 2003,
The Jerusalem Post, Feb. 7, 2010.
Makor Rishon, June 24, 2011.
Ilan Gur-Ze'ev, The Possibility/Impossibility of a New Critical
Language in Education (Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 2010).
Avraham Oz, "Urgent warning: The Israeli government may be
contemplating crimes against humanity," LabourNet.UK, Sept. 24, 2002.
"Anti-Israel Petitions Signed by Israeli Academics," IsraCampus
(Haifa), accessed May 27, 2011.
Israel Academic Monitor (Even Yehuda), Sept. 9, 2005.
"PSP Supports Kobi Snitz, an Israeli Activist Beginning Short Prison
Term for Anti-Occupation Activity," International Campaign of
Solidarity with the Palestinian Prisoners, Sept. 21, 2009.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4080623,00.html June 6, 2011.
Lee Kaplan, "Rivka Carmi, President of Ben Gurion University, hails
anti-Israel activity on her campus," IsraCampus, accessed May 27,
"President of Ben-Gurion University Collaborating with Communist
Ideologue Jacob Katriel," The Jewish Press Blog, Sept. 29, 2007.
"Jewish supporters of Refugee Rights Including the Palestinian Right
of Return," The Middle East Crisis Committee, Woodbridge, Conn., Nov.
"Anti-Israel Petitions Signed by Israeli Academics," IsraCampus,
July 12, 2004.
See, for example, "Join the One-State Initiative," Palestine
Justice Network, Apr. 23, 2011.
See for example, "Where Truth Is Destiny," Zundelsite, Oct. 27, 2000.
The Tehran Times, Apr. 6, 2009.
Neve Gordon, "Cloud-after-Auschwitz," The Nation, Nov. 13, 2000.
"Shraga Elam and David Irving," Paul Bogdanor website, Mar. 13, 2003.
The Jerusalem Post, Dec. 31, 2008.
Seth J. Frantzman, "The Israeli Academy and the Gaza War,
IsraCampus, Mar. 2009.
Gary Katz, "The Case of Nurit Peled-Elhanan," IsraCampus, Jan. 6, 2008.
Shlomo Sharan, "Our Inner Scourge: The Catastrophe of Israel
Academic," The Ariel Center for Policy Research (ACPR, Shaarei Tikva),
Sept. 2007. See also Arnon Soffer, "In the Trap of Academic
Radicalism," University of Haifa,
(Hebrew) , 123 pages.
Ran HaCohen, "A Case for Hizbullah?" Antiwar.com (Palo Alto,
Calif.), Aug. 13, 2003.
"Full Text of Alan Dershowitz's Tel Aviv Speech," Ha'aretz (Tel
Aviv), May, 12, 2010.
New York and London: Verso, 2010.
Shlomo Sharan, "Our Inner Scourge: The Catastrophe of Israel
Academic," The Ariel Center for Policy Research (ACPR, Shaarei Tikva),
For a webcast of the lecture, see "Opening Night, May 7," Tel Aviv
University, May 7, 2010.
"Mikhtav Havrei Segel Beuniversitat Tel Aviv Beinyan Neum Habela
shel Alan D Dershowitz," Kibbush Magazine, May 11, 2010.
Ha'aretz, May 21, 2011.
Ynet News (Tel Aviv), Mar. 31, 2010.
Ben-Dror Yemini, "Incitement at Tel Aviv University or 'Voices from
Gaza'?" Ma'ariv (Tel Aviv), Apr. 15, 2010.
Alon Ben Shaul, "It's the Zionists, Stupid," IsraCampus, accessed
May 27, 2011.
See, for example, David Newman, "Bashing the Academic Left," The
Jerusalem Post, Apr. 14, 2011; "Ben-Gurion University-David Newman,"
IsraCampus, Apr. 24, 2009.
Gerald Steinberg, "Right of Reply: Israel's Academic Left on the
Attack," The Jerusalem Post, May 17, 2010.
The Jerusalem Post, May 12, 2010.
See Benjamin Pogrund, "The Guardians of Israeli Academia," Ha'aretz,
Oct. 23, 2009; Nitza Berkovitch, " McCarthyism in Tel Aviv," YNet
News, Aug 17, 2010.
YNet News, July 4, 2010.
Ha'aretz, Aug. 1, 2008, Aug. 5, 2008, Feb. 24, 2011.
YNet News, Nov. 6, 2006; Israel Academia Monitor, Apr. 23, 2006.
Epoch Times (New York), Mar. 8, 2008.
The Jerusalem Post, Sept. 1, 2011 01/09/2011.
Seth Frantzman, "Ivory Towers of Critique: The Philosophy and
Political Science Departments at Tel Aviv University," IsraCampus,
Oct. 15, 2009. 15/10/2009.
Rivka Carmi, "Universities Are in the Footnotes," The Jerusalem
Post, May, 28, 2011; Ha'aretz, Sept. 15, 2010. A SLAPP is an
anti-democratic lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and
silence critics by forcing them to bear costs involved in a legal
defense. Its use by one academic against another would be regarded as
an anti-democratic harassment tactic in any democratic regime.
Jacob Benshimon, "In-Classroom Indoctrination at the University of
Michigan," FrontPage Magazine, Apr. 29, 2008; Israel Academia Monitor,
accessed June 7, 2011.
Steven Plaut, "The Leftwing McCarthyism of Prof. Itzhak Galnoor,"
IsraCampus, Oct. 13, 2009; Examples of post-Zionist domination of that
list (in Hebrew) : http://www.socialscienceisrael.org/archives/136
Itzhak Galnoor, "Academic Freedom under Political Duress: Israel,"
Social Research, Summer 2009, pp. 541-60.
Rivka Carmi, "Universities Are in the Footnotes," The Jerusalem
Post, May, 28, 2011; Ha'aretz, Sept. 15, 2010.
Examples of indoctrination courses can be seen here:
Jacob Benshimon, "In-Classroom Indoctrination at the University of
Michigan," FrontPage Magazine, Apr. 29, 2008; Israel Academia Monitor,
accessed June 7, 2011.
Ha'aretz, Nov. 9, 2009.
Dan Illouz, "True Academic Freedom in Israel," Arutz Sheva (Beit El
and Petah Tikva), July 23, 2010.
Ha'aretz, Aug. 19, 2010. For negative responses, see The New
Centrist, Feb. 7, 2010; "Israel's Drift toward Fascism—More on Im
Tirtzu," Jews for Justice for Palestinians (London), Sept. 21, 2010;
"When Zionism Is Portrayed at Fascism," Dan Illouz website, Apr. 6,
Canada Free Press, June 19, 2009.
YNet News (Tel Aviv), June 24, 2009; ibid., May 24, 2011.
Benshimon, "In-Classroom Indoctrination at the University of
Michigan," FrontPage Magazine, Apr. 29, 2008.
Ha'aretz, Aug. 19, 2010.
Free Tali Fahima petition, Oct. 4, 2004.
YNet News, June 8, 2010.
Mordechai Vanunu petition, accessed June 8, 2011.
Here is a petition supporting Bishara signed by Israeli
academics: http://oznik.com/petitions/010613.html List of its
signers is here: http://oznik.com/petitions/010613_signers.html
, May 3, 2007
The Yesh Gvul and other anti-Israel groups used the materials
provided to them by Israeli academics. The most notorious is Neve
Gordon's smear of Kohavi. By the way, the anti-Israel groups in the
UK that were behind the attempts at prosecution are also led by
"Israeli academics," including Machover. See
and http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/134138 The
material on Gordon and Kohavi is all by me.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3221339,00.html Feb 27,
2006 and http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3140750,00.html
Sept 11, 2005
ALEF Watch, IsraCampus, accessed June 8, 2011.
Ha'aretz, Aug.17, 2010.
"Post-Zionism in the Academy," Institute for Zionist Strategies,
Jerusalem, accessed June 1, 2011.
Alana Goodman, "Is Israel's Controversial NGO Law Simply a Foreign
Agent Registration Act," Jan. 6, 2011.
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Oct. 12, 2010; YNet News, Feb. 14, 2011.
YNet News, Jan. 5, 2011.
YNet News, Nov. 2, 2010.
The Guardian (London), Jan. 5, 2011; Joseph Dana, "Will It Soon Be
Illegal for Israelis to Support BDS?" +972 website, Feb. 15, 2011.
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Jan. 12, 2011.
NRG website (Ma'ariv), June 2, 2011.
Ben-Dror Yemini, "Academic Brainwashing," Ma'ariv, IsraCampus
trans., Aug. 20, 2010.
Arutz Sheva, Jan. 11, 2011.
Ibid., June 17, 2009.
The Jerusalem Post, Aug. 18, 2010.
Ha'aretz, Aug. 18, 2010.
Martin Sherman, "Channel 10 :Hamakor" on Im Tirtzu's Efforts in
Combating Post/anti-Zionist Perspectives in Israeli Academe," Israel
Academia Monitor, Feb. 9, 2011.
Dan Illouz, "True Aacademic Freedon in Israel," Arutz Sheva, July
23, 2010; RACHEL AVRAHAM, "Studying under Dr. Oren Yiftachel," Israel
Academia Monitor, accessed June 8, 2011.
Haim Misgav, "Freedom to Give Nazi Salute," YNet News, Aug. 19, 2010.
Arutz Sheva, June 9, 2009.
Lincoln Z. Shlensky, "Neve Gordon: Assault on Academic Freedom,"
Jewish Peace News, Sept. 1, 2010; Neve Gordon, "Struggling over the
Right to Struggle—An Assault on Israeli Academic Freedom and Liberal
Values," The Chronicle of Higher Education, Aug. 26, 2010, and
Occupation Magazine, Aug. 30, 2010.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Facing Unpleasant Facts in the Middle East
The world is now well into the Post-Oslo era, in which the delusions
and denials of reality that were the foundations of the "Oslo peace
process" are being acknowledged for what they were. For those
returning to the planet Earth from Fantasyland in the "Oslo" parallel
universe, it behooves them and us all to bear in mind some of the
unpleasant facts of life about the Middle East.
1. The Arab world has never come to terms with Israel's existence
within ANY set of borders whatsoever and is still seeking the
destruction of Israel and its population.
2. ANY Palestinian state, regardless of who rules it, will produce
escalated violence, terror and warfare in the Middle East, and not
stability nor peaceful relations. It will seek warfare with Israel and
not solutions to the economic and social problems of its citizens.
3. The only reason Arafat and the PLO ever wanted control of the West
Bank and Gaza Strip was to use them as bases for attacks on Israel.
This is the only real use to which they will be put by any future
4. There is no alternative that will stop the bloodshed and war in
the Middle East other than the adoption by Israel of an unambiguous
policy of R&D, that is, of Re-Occupation and Denazification of the
West Bank and Gaza Strip. Every other alternative proposal for
stabilization and pacification is delusional.
5. Denazification of the West Bank and Gaza Strip must be based
partly on the programs of Denazification imposed on Germany and Japan
by the Allies after World War II, but in part must be different. Such
Denazification policies will have to stay in place for decades. There
is no other way in which Israel can prevent the daily massacre of its
civilians by the Palestinian terrorists.
6. The bulk of Palestinians have lived outside Israeli "occupation"
for years, and their "liberation" from Israeli "occupation" only
produced Nazification, terrorism, mass murders, and radicalization.
Their pacification requires re-imposing of martial rule by Israel.
7. The instability of the Middle East is not caused by Israeli
occupation of Palestinian lands but by PLO-Hamas occupation of Israeli
8. There was never in history an Arab Palestinian state.
9. The Palestinians have no legitimate claim to the right to set up
their own state. It is doubtful whether they ever did have such a
right, but even if they did - they forfeited it thanks to decades of
terrorism, savagery, mass murders and barbarism. Like the Sudeten
10. Palestinians are Arabs. The Arabs already rule 22 states. There
is no reason why they should be entitled to a 23rd, and creation of
such a 23rd Arab state in the West Bank and Gaza will escalate Middle
East violence and world terrorism.
11. The Palestinians are not and never were a "nation". They are not
even a tribe. They are a branch of Arabs with only minor secondary
cultural differences that distinguish them from Syrians, Lebanese or
12. The Middle East conflict cannot be resolved through endless
exhibitions of niceness and restraint by Israel. Israeli niceness,
restraint, and goodwill gestures are interpreted by the Arab world as
weakness and as signs that the Jews, like Paul McCartney's Band, are
on the run.
13. The Palestinians are not "mistreated" by Israel, but ARE poorly
treated by the PLO and Hamas.
14. The only Arabs in the Middle East with any semblance of civil
rights are those who live under Israeli rule.
15. Israeli Arabs are the best-treated minority in the Middle East
and are treated far better than are Arabs living in Arab states. If
the intifada "uprising" were in fact a product of oppression and
mistreatment of Arabs by a government, then Israel should be the only
country in the Middle East that does NOT have an intifada.
16. Oslo has radicalized and Nazified most Israeli Arabs, who now
identify with and openly support Arab parties and politicians who call
openly for violence against Jews and the destruction of Israel.
17. There exists no set of concessions by Israel that would result in
the Arab states coming to terms with Israel's existence.
18. There are no Arab democracies and no support for democracy among
significant minorities within the Arab world.
19. Israeli assassination of Palestinian terrorists is in fact a
substitute for retaliation in kind against the Palestinians for
bombings of Israeli children and other civilians. The alternative to
such assassinations is bombings of Palestinian civilians.
20. Israeli settlements are the "mine canaries" of the Arab world.
There is no reason why Jewish civilians should not be free to live in
peace within Arab countries truly seeking peace with Israel, just as
Arabs live at peace within Israel and within the United States. The
attitude of the Arab world in general and of the PLO in particular
towards such "settlements" is indicative of their attitudes towards
Israel and Jews in general. If the Palestinians are NOT seeking peace
with the Jews, and they are not, then the real problem is that Israel
has built too few settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
21. Today it is the purpose of Israeli settlements to prevent
replication of Gaza in the West Bank. To do so, Israel needs to build
22. Israel is the only country in the Middle East that does NOT deal
with Islamist terror through wholesale massacres of the people in
whose midst the terrorists operate.
23. There is an inverse relationship between the material comfort of
Arabs living under Israeli rule and political moderation. The better
off they are in a material sense, the more violent and radical they
are. More generally, Arab radicalism and terror are positively
correlated with comfort and education and wealth. Bin Laden and his
people were filthy rich. There have been no undernourished Palestinian
24. Palestinians endorse terrorism and violence against Jews by
25. Israeli Arabs endorse terror and violence against Jews by large
majorities. They also support al-Qaeda.
26. There are no visible Palestinian public figures who oppose
violence, terror and Islamist fascism.
27. There is not and never has been a Palestinian "peace movement".
28. The PLO is itself very much a manifestation of Islamist fascism
and was founded by Islamist fundamentalists.
29. Peace cannot be achieved through pretending that war does not exist.
30. The Israeli Left is responsible for the bloodshed in Israel. The
Israeli Left rescued the PLO from oblivion in the early 1990s, armed
it, and allowed it to become entrenched in the suburbs of Tel Aviv and
Jerusalem. The Israeli Left is as wacky as is the pro-Taliban campus
Left in the United States.
31. The only peaceful terrorist is a dead terrorist.
32. Israel cannot restore the credibility of its military prowess
through "signaling," but rather only through using that prowess and
putting its military might to actual use.
Thursday, September 08, 2011
how free speech in Israel means that yelling "Rabin was a moron" in an
empty movie theater is enough to get you arrested for the crime of
I then added: Someone shouting "Shimon Peres is a moron" in an empty
movie theater would be arrested for insulting a public official.
Correction: They would be arrested for revealing a classified Israeli
that yelling "fire" in a crowded movie theater is not protected
In Israel, by contrast, yelling "Rabin was a moron" in an empty movie
theater is enough to get you arrested for the crime of
For 17 years the Israeli media have been reciting nonstop and
obsessively that Yitzhak Rabin was murdered because of the exercise of
freedom of speech by those who dared to disagree with his "Oslo"
policies and program. Because they did not always express their
objections with all of the calm polite elegance of a literature
professor (and, come to think of it, I have come across some really
foul-mouthed literature professors), therefore impolite unrestrained
diction caused the assassination. Someone shouting "Shimon Peres is a
moron" in an empty movie theater would be arrested for insulting a
But the "theory" about how unrestrained speech produces murder
evidently only applies to critics of the Left. Foul-mouthed leftists
threatening murder of non-leftists are just letting off steam, all in
the spirit of fun, certainly nothing over which the prosecutor need
Take for example the current threats by leftists to murder Tel Aviv
mayor Ron Huldai. Not a single one has been arrested. Not a single
one has been interrogated by the police. Those issuing the threats
are as pure and innocent and protected as Larry Derfner!
The story of the death threats against Huldai by the Leftists can be
read here in full:
The crazed leftists, also known as "tentsters" and "social activists,"
were upset when Hizzoner started cleaning up the mess from the "social
justice" protests and moving out the hundreds of empty tents the
yuppie protesters had erected to make it look like they are homeless.
Here are some excerpts from the news story:
'Huldai said he had received phone calls and letters threatening him
with bodily harm if he did not call off city demolition squads and
leave the tents alone. "I know the faces of the protesters and can
guess which ones are threatening me," Huldai told Army Radio. "They
are always violent. Some of them brought guillotines to the protests,
I suppose to hint at my beheading. But as we know, symbols have
meaning. There were symbols and pictures before the murder of Yitzchak
Rabin, we cannot dismiss these things."
'The media has (sic) been curiously silent on the threats to Huldai,
said one official close to the Judea and Samaria (Yesha) Council. "As
we know, when the memory of incitement against Rabin is mentioned, we
are talking about a serious problem, and Huldai would certainly not
make the comparison on incitement against him and Rabin lightly," the
official said. "As such we would expect Huldai to file a police
complaint against these inciters, some of whom he says he believes he
could identify, just as anyone else from the left would file a police
complaint against someone from the right that was suspected of far
less. Are the leftist tent protesters incapable of 'Rabin-style'
incitement against Huldai?"'
Rabin-style incitement? Well if "incitement" is what killed Rabin,
how come no one is being arrested for "Rabin-style incitement" against
Huldai? Huldai himself deserves a pie in the puss for even giving
credence to the absurd claim that protest posters against Rabin
produced the assassination. In Israel you get ahead by sucking up to
Or could it just be that death threats from leftists are protected
speech and just do not "count" as incitement to murder?
(open web page to see links)
Israel's Derfner Affair
Posted By Steven Plaut On September 8, 2011
One of the most bizarre controversies concerning freedom of the press
and freedom of speech has been afflicting Israel in recent days. The
basic question is whether there exists some sort of right to advocate
the mass murder of Jews.
That sounds as if it is some sort of debate that took place in the
1930s in the darkest regimes. The entire affair began when a
far-leftist columnist for the only English-language newspaper in
Israel, the Jerusalem Post, expressed support for such a right to
conduct mass murder of Jews. The columnist is Larry Derfner. The
Post is probably the most pluralistic and balanced newspaper in
Israel, giving ample room for opining by writers from the Right, the
Left, the Center, by Arabs and non-Israelis, and by just about
Derfner's endorsement of the right to murder Jews was actually
published in a blog not connected with the newspaper, and it was his
response to the mass murder that was conducted by Palestinians and
some Egyptian collaborators in Israel's deep south near Eilat a few
weeks back. The column triggered a boisterous debate inside Israel
and outside it about the limits of journalistic license and freedom of
Derfner's comments can be seen as roughly similar to the infamous
comments by Ward Churchill after the 9-11 attack. Churchill had
justified the attacks and denounced the victims as "Little Eichmanns."
Derfner's celebratory justifications of mass murders of Jewish
civilians were not a prank. His comments appeared on a blog, from
which he has since removed them, and his original posting can be read
in full here. His posting began:
'I think a lot of people who realize that the occupation is wrong also
realize that the Palestinians have the right to resist it to use
violence against Israelis, even to kill Israelis, especially when
Israel is showing zero willingness to end the occupation, which has
been the case since the Netanyahu government took over (among other
times in the past). But people don't want to say this, especially
right after a terror attack like this last one that killed eight
Israelis near Eilat. And there are lots of good reasons for this
reticence, such as: You don't want to further upset your own
countrymen when they are grieving, you don't want to say or write
anything that could be picked up by Israel's enemies and used as
justification for killing more of us. (These are good reasons; fear of
being called a traitor, for instance, is a bad reason.) But I think
it's time to overcome this reticence, even at the cost of enflaming
the already enflamed sensitivities of the Israeli public, because this
unwillingness to say outright that Palestinians have the right to
fight the occupation, especially now, inadvertently helps keep the
He then went on:
'But if, on the other hand, we were to say very forthrightly what many
of us believe and the rest of us suspect that the Palestinians, like
every nation living under hostile rule, have the right to fight back,
that their terrorism, especially in the face of a rejectionist Israeli
government, is justified what effect would that have? A powerful one,
I think, because the truth is powerful. If those who oppose the
occupation acknowledged publicly that it justifies Palestinian
terrorism, then those who support the occupation would have to explain
why it doesn't.'
It goes without saying that Derfner failed to volunteer himself and
his own family as people who should be murdered by Palestinian
terrorism as resistance against Israeli occupation. It is also not
surprising that many an Israeli found Derfner's defense of some sort
of divine right to murder Jews as part of resistance against
"occupation" to be highly reminiscent of similar German claims and of
similar German allegations that their country was under Jewish
"occupation" and control.
Derfner's comments triggered a firestorm of rage. By his own
admission, hundreds of outraged subscribers to the Jerusalem Post
cancelled their subscriptions. Within days the editor of the
Jerusalem Post announced that the paper would no longer employ or
publish Derfner, because of the poor taste in his justification of
mass murder of Jews. Derfner issued a "clarification" and a sort of
apology, but fired he remained. He then took to the pages of the
small socialist newspaper in New York, the Forward, to try to spin his
advocacy of murder into something less offensive.
Very soon Derfner was not only being denounced for his advocacy of
murder, but leftists and anti-Semites within Israel and from all over
the world were defending him, endorsing his comments, and denouncing
the Jerusalem Post for canning him. Countless anti-Israel blogs
denounced the newspaper and its editor for supposedly engaging in
suppressing freedom of speech, calling them "fascists" and
"McCarthyists." Even a New York Times blogger took up the banner for
Derfner, a bit curious since the Times has not published Ward
Churchill nor bin Laden nor others who celebrate the 9-11 attacks on
Firing Derfner of course had nothing to do with freedom of speech. No
one is stopping Derfner from standing on the street corners of Zion
and advocating murder of Jews. Actually, open advocacy of murder is
against the law in Israel and is decidedly NOT regarded as protected
speech, but that law is never applied against Israeli leftists. So
Derfner obviously has nothing to fear in terms of prosecution.
Israel's Attorney General office is dominated by leftists who never
prosecute other leftists for engaging in violence or advocating it,
even when they openly advocate murder. Arabs who openly support
terrorist atrocities and call for mass murder of Jews are never
prosecuted and their statements are regarded as protected speech.
Rabbis and right-wingers who advocate things the prosecutors regard as
"racist" or "incitement" however have been arrested by the score. A
non-leftist who criticizes the illegal and treasonous political
behavior of a leftist extremist is regarded as having engaged in
There are some calls in Israel for the enforcement of the law against Derfner.
Ward Churchill's defamation of the victims of the 9-11 attacks might
be protected speech. But that does not grant Churchill any sort of
entitlement to publish his views in any mainstream newspaper, nor to
advocate them in front of any classroom or other forum. Freedom of
speech is not an automatic entitlement to newspaper space.
2. Jane Fonda's Biggest Regret:
3. Benny Morris, again
Monday, September 05, 2011
The REAL New Israel Fund has Stood Up
politicians. They also sometimes serve to discredit moonbats.
Take this item about the REAL ideological position of the New Israel Fund:
NIF Officer: Demise of Jewish State 'No Tragedy' – Wikileaks
In US cable from 2010, then-senior NIF officer is quoted as saying
Israel will be majority Arab in 100 years but this is not a tragedy.
A senior New Israel Fund officer (NIF) told a U.S. official in 2010
that the disappearance of the Jewish state would not be a tragedy,
according to a document that was leaked by Wikileaks.
The officer is Hedva Radovanitz, who was at the time (February 2010)
NIF Associate Director in Israel, according to the document.
The document relates to the attempts to pass a law that would demand
transparency of political NGOs operating in Israel that are funded by
foreign countries. An American diplomatic officer interviewed
Radovanitz and heard her bemoaning the state of Israel's Left:
New Israel Fund (NIF) Associate Director in Israel Hedva Radovanitz,
who manages grants to 350 NGOs totaling about 18 million dollars per
year, told PolOff [presumably an abbreviation for "political office"
or "political officer" – Ed.] on February 23 that the campaign against
the NGOs was due to the "disappearance of the political left wing" in
Israel and the lack of domestic constituency for the NGOs. She noted
that when she headed ACRI's Tel Aviv office, ACRI had 5,000 members,
while today it has less than 800, and it was only able to muster about
5,000 people to its December human rights march by relying on the
active staff of the 120 NGOs that participated. Radovanitz commented
that the NIF was working behind the scenes through many NGOs to
prevent the NGO legislation from passing in its current form.
The cable then quotes Radovanitz's prediction for Israel's future thus:
She commented that she believed that in 100 years Israel would be
majority Arab and that the disappearance of a Jewish state would not
be the tragedy that Israelis fear since it would become more
Radovanitz also outlines the future plans of the NIF:
She also said the NIF was currently re-evaluating its strategy and was
hoping to create a movement rather than just a lot of NGOs. She said
the NIF had no plans to build a human rights constituency within the
right wing of Israeli society, though she believed politics had
shifted to the right for the foreseeable future.
The NIF has been operating since the 1980s and has been at the focus
of extreme controversy in the last three years. It was accused of
manufacturing unfounded and damning anti-IDF quotes that were used
extensively by the UN's Goldstone Commission to blame Israel for the
Gaza counter-terror campaign that began in late 2008.
Israel's leading pro-Arab NGOs are funded by the NIF. Many of them
testified before the Goldstone Commission.
In response to a report on the statement quoted by Wikileaks, the New
Israel Fund told Maariv that "Mrs. Hedva Radovanitz is no longer
employed at the New Israel Fund and therefore we do not know her
personal opinion on the subject of the Jewish majority on Israel."
"We stress that the statements attributed to the Fund in the news
report do not reflect the formal position of the NIF," the
organization said. "The NIF's position is that an agreed solution of
two states for two nations should be arrived at. This is based upon
its belief in the principle of the Jewish nation's right to self
determination and the principle of commitment to full equality to all
citizens and communities, which are anchored in the Declaration of