Monday, October 10, 2011
Baaa Baaa Tenured Sheep
politicization and the anti-democratic character of Israel's dual
The story begins with a woman named Yifat Alkobi, a married woman
from Kiryat Arba. She was arrested in 2007 for spitting and throwing
stones at a Palestinian she claims was harassing her, the accusations
against Alkobi being based on "testimony" from the radical anti-Israel
NGO Yesh Din. She has been in the news before, accused of spitting on
and cursing a Palestinian neighbor
(http://exmypar.wordpress.com/2007/01/22/yifat-alkobi/ ). She first
got sentenced to a fine and probation and was later acquitted of the
But while being transported to prison she asked a Jewish
policeman conducting her there not to leave her alone with Arab
policemen. The Arab policemen were probably actually Druse or Bedouin
When word of her comment reached the Deputy Attorney General Shai
Nitzan, he ordered that she be charged with "insulting a public
servant," the favorite bludgeon of Nitzan to suppress the freedom of
speech of non-leftists. Shai Nitzan, you recall, is essentially a
Soviet-style official in charge of using the judicial system to
persecute the Israeli Right and suppress freedom of speech. He is
behind the campaign to arrest and indict anyone who recommends that
people read a controversial book that Nitzan considers to be racist.
He persecutes and harasses rabbis. He ordered a faculty member at the
University of Haifa to report to the police, KGB style, about comments
he made in his classroom, comments Nitzan considered bigoted but the
University administration did not.
This is the same Shai Nitzan who has never gotten around to
indicting any of the Israel far leftists who call for murdering
non-leftists and settlers, who endorse terrorism, and who call for
mass lawbreaking and refusal to serve in the military. This is the
same Nitzan who never indicts Arab public figures in Israel for
endorsing terrorism and murder. But when a Jewish woman asks not to
be left alone with Arab policemen, this was a transgression about
which Nitzan leapt into action. Had an Arab woman asked not to be
left alone in the company of Jewish men, Nitzan would never have done
anything at all. Alkobi never said she would object to being left
alone with Arab policeWOMEN.
But the affair did not end there. It turns out that a young
conscientious judge in the Jerusalem magistrate's court named Dov
Pollack spoke out against Nitzan's behavior. When the Alkobi case
came before him, Pollack ordered the police to explain in court how it
arrived at this charge against her. The police opposed the demand to
explain and demanded that Pollack recuse himself from sitting in the
case, claiming he was "biased" and had "expressed political opinions."
In addition, the police claimed that Pollack commented that Nitzan's
behavior was due to the fact that he enjoyed the backing of the
current Chief Justice of the Israeli Supreme Court, Dorit Beinisch.
Allegedly Pollack said that since Beinisch is due to retire in
February he would schedule the trial for March in order for
objectivity to be maintained. He also is alleged to have said that
this was hardly the first case of one-sided biased prosecution by Shai
In response, the Attorney General Moshe Lador, the leftist boss of
Shai Nitzan, decided to file an official complaint against Judge
Pollack with the "Commissioner for Complaints against Judges." The
commissioner actually cannot fire a judge and the complaint is mainly
a nuisance tactic. Pollack fired back his own letter of response,
accusing Lador of improperly attempting to influence court procedures
and decisions. (Alkobi was acquitted of the charges by a different
judge, not Pollack.)
So here we have the spectacle of a biased leftist State
Prosecutor refusing to fire his own biased politicized deputy for his
years of anti-democratic actions and his assaults against freedom of
speech. And this same State Prosecutor is now attempting to suppress
the freedom of speech of a judge and harass that judge for daring to
question the political motives of Shai Nitzan in an obviously absurd
indictment of a woman for doing nothing more than ask not to be left
alone with Arab policemen.
Shai Nitzan should have been indicted for bigotry, not Mrs. Alkobi.
2. People outside of the academic world have a great deal of
difficulty believing how much of academia consists of sheep-like herd
behavior. Having spent much of my professional career at the
University of Haifa, I see the herd behavior all the time.
The latest outbreak of mass sheep-like herd behavior developed at
the University of Haifa in response to the recent vandalization of a
mosque in the town of Tuba Zangria in Israel's north.
First let me say that I am disgusted with any vandalization of
any mosque or any other site regarded by any religion as sacred. I
was revolted by the Florida preacher burning Korans. Civilized people
do not dishonor the objects and buildings regarded by other religions
Israel has seen several acts of vandalization of Moslem sites, in
most cases consisting of writing graffiti. A handful of youths,
mainly teenagers, calling themselves "Price Tag," are widely suspected
of being behind these, although I suspect the Kahanists. The "Price
Tag" people are hooligans who also curse and attack Israeli police and
soldiers and call them Nazis. I am all in favor of prosecuting them
and would have no objection to their undergoing intense spanking. The
vandalization of the Tuba Zangria mosque was probably the work of one
or a few of these. Two youths have been arrested. There have been
some other cases of vandalization this week, including graffiti at
Moslem and Christian cemeteries in Jaffa (not counting the torching of
a Jaffa synagogue by Arabs). I would not be surprised if these were
the work of the same two or three kids. To put this into perspective,
the incidence of mosque vandalization in Israel is small compared with
the US and parts of Europe, and probably only involves a handful of
(The police claim that some of the Jaffa mischief is related to
football/soccer hooliganism. In soccer games in Israel, Jews and
Arabs sometimes yell "Death to Jews" and "Death to Arabs" at each
other from the stands. One of the more popular soccer teams is the
all-Arab "Sons of Sakhnin," and the catcalls are common when it plays.
Soccer hooliganism is hardly an Israeli invention, of course, which
is one reason I have always favored all newspaper reporting about
soccer matches where hooliganism appears being printed in Talmudic
Let us note that there has not been a single Jewish public
figure in Israel from any part of the political spectrum who has
condoned the vandalizations. To the contrary, from Netanyahu on down
the vandalizations were universally condemned in Israel.
The matter became a University of Haifa obsession after the
campus "Jewish-Arab Center," headed by a Jewish professor, issued a
formal statement condemning the vandalization of the mosque. As your
humble curmudgeon pointed out on a campus chat list for professors,
condemning the mosque vandalization was all well and good, but the
statement by the "Jewish-Arab Center" was issued the day AFTER
Joseph's Tomb in Nablus was vandalized there by Palestinian
terrorists, who painted swastikas all over the structure. The
statement by the "Center" condemning what happened in Tuba Zangria
never so much as mentioned the incident at Joseph's Tomb. The Tomb
has been regularly vandalized by Palestinians every few weeks for many
years. Your humble curmudgeon asked if the Jewish-Arab Center was
only outraged by vandalization of Moslem shrines.
Several professors wrote me nasty responses, telling me I should be
ashamed of myself. Several other professors openly justified the
vandalizations of Joseph's Tomb as legitimate acts of resistance. You
can see one example posted at the top of http://isracampus.org.il/.
Professors justifying the swastika painting at Joseph's Tomb claimed
that it was not even a historical Jewish structure, that it was myth
that Joseph was buried there, that it was actually a Moslem shrine.
(The fact that the Moslem structures atop the Temple Mount are based
on historic myth has never been proposed as a reason to remove them.)
Never mind that local Arabs in Nablus all call it Joseph's Tomb in
Arabic. One professor insisted that it was nothing at all like the
mosque vandalization because the mosque vandals were motivated by
hatred, while the swastika painters on Joseph's Tomb were motivated by
a desire for peace and freedom and an end to occupation. Other
professors objected that since Nablus was "outside Israel," the
swastikas at Joseph's Tomb "do not count." I pointed out that there
have been countless acts of vandalization of synagogues and Jewish
cemeteries within Israel's Green Line 1967 borders, and of course
those praying at the Western Wall have often been attacked by Moslems
on the Temple Mount throwing things down at them, so there were plenty
of incidents against Jews that the Jewish Arab Center could condemn.
One professor told me I should be ashamed of making such
statements just before Yom Kippur and its calls for atonement and the
need for all Jews to atone for the vandalization. I responded that
the discussion on the professors chat list about the mosque incident
did indeed remind me of Yom Kippur, because of the part in the Yom
Kippur prayers in which humans are described as sheep in a herd.
This is not the first time the Jewish-Arab Center showed its
biases. This past summer the head of the center issued a special
greeting sent to everyone on campus wishing Moslems a happy Ramadan
and an "easy fast" (obviously not a traditional Moslem greeting but a
Jewish one). The statement was issued a few days before Tisha B'Av.
At the time I asked why no wishes for an easy fast were sent out by
the Center to Jews that week. Later, no doubt due to my jabbing my
finger in their eye, the Center would send Happy Near Year greetings
to Jews on Rosh Hashana, but again no "easy fast" for Yom Kippur.
Perhaps the "Jewish Arab Center" should be renamed the Arab Center.
In response to the statement by the Jewish Arab Center, large
numbers of University of Haifa faculty members issued calls to go the
Tuba Zangria to pay solidarity visits and to show the locals how
horrified they are of the vandalization of the mosque. Some
professors proposed using University funds to repair the mosque.
Dozens of professors issued herd-like endorsements on the professors
chat list of the calls to make pilgrimage to Tuba Zangria.
Lest this appear to be merely the herd response of bleeding
hearts and do-gooders, it should also be pointed out that many of
those joining the herd were the very same people who campaigned
against the singing of Hatikva at University of Haifa graduation
ceremonies. The initiator of the solidarity caravan had suggested
that the PLO "anthem" be sung at those ceremonies. Not a single one
of those joining the herd condemned the swastikas at Joseph's Tomb.
None of the professors proposed visiting the Jaffa synagogue that was
torched this week by Arabs.
Not a single one had ever issued a condemnation of Arab
vandalization or Arab terrorist attacks against Jews. Not a single
one of those joining the herd had denounced the massacre of children
at the Merkaz Harav yeshiva in West Jerusalem in 2008, and in fact a
few of the professors had justified that attack at the time. Those
who were so adamant about how religious sensitivities must be
respected spent Yom Kippur sending out email messages organizing a
caravan of cars to Tuba Zangria the next day, to show their
solidarity. It goes without saying that when their beloved
Palestinians have attacked synagogues, including when those synagogues
happened to have praying Jews inside (Paris and Istanbul come to
mind), not a single member of the academic herd condemned this on the
professors chat lists. So large numbers of University of Haifa
academics are horrified by cases of juvenile Jewish vandals damaging
Moslem (and occasionally Christian) sites, but consider vandalization
of Jewish holy sites and murdering Jews to be legitimate protest and
I think the entire matter can be summed up nicely with this nursery rhyme:
Baaa Baaa Tenured Sheep, have you any wool,
Yassir, Yassir, two bags full,
One for the mosque, sir, and one for the church,
But none for that little shul they burned down the lane.