Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Ruckus over BGU's Tenured Tanzim Heats Up

The ruckus over the anti-Israel indoctrination center pretending to be
an academic department at Ben Gurion "University" continues.

Yaakov Bergman, a prominent professor at the Hebrew University, has
joined the assault on the Tenured Tanzim who teach "politics" at Ben
Gurion Univerity. He published a response to Neve Gordon and Dani
Filc, the two most extremist Israel-hating faculty members in this
otherwise wall-to-wall anti-Israel far-leftist department. Gordon and
Filc have both served as department chairmen in that department and
both have also chaired the anti-Semitic organization "Physicians for
Human Rights." (Neither of course is a physician.) Gordon and Filc
defend in Haaretz their department serving as a one-sided Bash-Israel
propaganda center. After all, whine Gordon and Filc in their Haaretz
article, people who actually want an "ordinary" political science
department that engages in scholarly work and research can find those
at Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University. In contrast, they
insist, Ben Gurion "University" wanted a different sort of politics
department, one focused on "criticism," by which they mean Bash-Israel
pro-terror extremism plus a lot of Marxism. And ONLY that. There is
not a single non-leftist permitted to teach in that department. And
by the way there is no shortage of Marxists and radical leftists in
the political science departments at Hebrew University and Tel Aviv
University either. Gordon and Filc then cite one Avner De Shalit, who
teaches political science at Hebrew University, of approving of what
they are doing in politics at BGU, but of course neglect to mention
that De Shalit is himself a Marxist and far-leftist who has made a
career out of studying "environmental justice," meaning a Marxist take
on environmentalism (see .

Anyway, Bergman bashed Gordon and Filc (in Hebrew) and posted this
segment from the recent international panel report on the Gordon-Filc

3.5 Research
The committee feels that the research performance of the Department
can be improved considerably. [ A]n examination of faculty
publications raises concerns about the department's research. [ ]
While many books were published by good academic publishers, few books
in the materials presented to the committee were published by leading
university presses and none of the articles mentioned were published
by leading political science journals. [ ] In the original report,
which covered a five-year period, only a couple of articles of all
faculty members combined were published in leading political science
journals. [ ] The committee recommends, therefore, to strengthen the
overall research performance of the Department [ ].

Gordon and Filc then recruited some students from their own department
to write a letter cheering on what goes on in that department. But
guess what. Since the entire politics department at BGU engages in
Bash-Israel extremism, most of the students who sign up for courses in
that department are SEEKING Bash-Israel extremism and Marxist
gibberish. So OF COURSE they are great defenders of the Gordon-Filc

Then, Commentary Magazine adds its voice:

IS Ben-Gurion PoliSci Department Biased?
Jonathan Neumann | @NeumannJ 01.03.2012 -

A recent report by an international committee appointed by Israel's
Council for Higher Education recommended that the Politics and
Government Department at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev be shut
down, should it fail to address the shortcomings outlined. In
particular, the department stands accused of allowing the faculty's
leftist political opinions and fondness for activism to affect the
curriculum and undermine the quality of its academic research, a
viewpoint apparently affirmed by students.
Faculty have responded that the committee is populated by extreme
rightists and set out to hurt the department. However, in an op-ed for
Haaretz entitled, ''Yes, Shut it Down!'' (perhaps unsurprisingly, it
is only available in Hebrew) Ze'ev Maoz, a professor at UC Davis and
the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center and a self-declared "proud man
of the left" (credentials here), revealed he had been tasked with
evaluating the department some nine years ago and came to the same
conclusions, also based solely on academic considerations.
Rather than confront the findings of this report (and, it seems, the
previous one), faculty have gone on the defensive. Meanwhile, Prof.
David Newman, a founder of the department and now a dean of the
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Ben-Gurion, has paid it
little attention, instead engaging in a peripheral, if revealing,
personal conflict with Prof. Efraim Karsh, of King's College, London.
Prof. Karsh noted on the day of the publication of the report,
Newman's Jerusalem Post op-ed, instead of dealing with the committee's
findings, blasted the Knesset for its alleged attack on democracy in
seeking to restrict foreign funding of NGOs, to revise the system of
judicial appointments, etc. The article, though of course it does not
precisely confirm the concerns of the report, certainly does nothing
to mitigate them.
Following the harsh words from Karsh, Newman, in a subsequent
Jerusalem Post piece, inexplicably denounced his adversary for
committing "verbal terrorism" in resorting to Nazi metaphors – a feat
of which only Newman, of the two, is in fact guilty. Perhaps
recognizing the flimsiness of his defense (and compounding it), Newman
further implies that Karsh, having left Israel to teach in England, is
somehow less fit to comment on his native state – an odd espousal from
a man who himself has also spent much of the past few years in
Back at Ben-Gurion, the political biases of the politics department
are well-documented. Indeed, though Prof. Newman should be lauded for
his efforts to combat the proposed academic boycott of Israel in the
UK, they do ring somewhat hollow when the chair of his own department
supports the boycott, a matter to which one would assume Newman would
urgently attend. Instead of ignoring the report, Prof. Newman and the
rest of the faculty should immediately correct the failings in their
departments. And if they fail to step up, the authorities should press
them to step down.

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