Monday, October 29, 2012

Tel Aviv University Professor Denounces Radical Politicization in Israeli universities:

Professor Ziva Shamir, a high-ranking researcher of literature at Tel
AViv University, recently published a sharply worded essay against
"the political anarchy in academia" She says that university
faculties have become breeding grounds for lecturers with radical
world views, and that they "harass students politically"

She was interviewed at length here:

Here is an excerpt:

She says, "Very few will dare admit openly that several departments in
Israel's largest universities, like many places around the world, are
now on the most radical fringe of the political map, and quite a few
fields of study long ago gave up solid research for fashionable
'discourse.'" In certain departments, says Shamir, it is impossible to
express all opinions freely because the "defenders of free speech"
will set up an immediate outcry and boycott any 'non-standard' speech
without delay. They will condemn the speaker vociferously and
delegitimize him publicly.

"Nobody will even admit that in quite a few departments, many of the
lecturers can no longer be trusted, since they are tainted by extreme
radical thinking. They use the objects of their research and the
subjects they teach as nothing but a platform on which to proclaim
their extreme political axioms," Shamir says.

There are lecturers who commit political harassment. Sometimes it's
hard to tell the difference when it comes to the fine points of what
is allowed and what is not, but it's important to know that political
harassment is like sexual harassment. Lecturers in classes have
authority over their students. Add to that the fact that low-ranking
staff members are dependent on their superiors for years.

"This leads to phenomena that are similar to cloning. A department
head collects people around him who think as he does. Sometimes, the
staff member behaves at first like one of the anusim [the Jews of
Spain who were forced to convert to Catholicism during the time of the
Inquisition, also called Marranos]. Later, they end up 'converting'
because they have no choice. When a language teacher gives the class a
sentence for analysis such as 'IDF soldiers at checkpoints act like
neo-Nazis,' what is there to talk about? Israeli academicians call
abroad for the boycotting of Israel and its educational institutions ­
and then they're astonished when the rug is pulled out from under

To read the full interview, go to

2. From the wonderful Latma people:

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