Sunday, October 07, 2012

The Campaign by the Totalitarian Left AGAINST Academic Freedom in Israel

In recent weeks the very worst assault upon academic freedom in
Israeli history has transpired in the form of a growing campaign of
"solidarity" with the Department of Politics at Ben Gurion University.
This "department" is nothing more than an anti-Israel far-leftist
propaganda and indoctrination center, containing pseudo-academics,
misrepresented and disguised as a university academic department. It
is also a department in which freedom of speech and academic freedom
are brutally suppressed.

The department is the epitome of the ideal of the Far Left
regarding what they think universities should be, namely totalitarian
indoctrination centers in which students are brainwashed into Marxist
and Far-Leftist ideology, in which no non-leftist dissent is
tolerated. Every single member of the department of politics at BGU
is a far leftist and most engage in anti-Israel agitprop such as
calling for world boycotts of Israel. The functioning of such an
indoctrination center at BGU is defended in the name of academic
freedom and freedom of speech by Rivka Carmi, the president of BGU.
She is the very same person who fired Professor Yeruham Leavitt for
daring to express an opinion of disapproval in a classroom regarding
children being raised by homosexual couples. (See
) So you get the idea of what is regarded at Ben Gurion "University"
as academic freedom. Suffice it to say that the single non-leftist
Zionist faculty member who once taught in the department of politics
was fired for incorrect thinking.

The nature of the Department of Politics as a pseudo-academic
taxpayer-funded anti-Israel agitation center is well known by now. An
international panel set up by Israel's Council on Higher Education
investigated things and recommended that the department be shut down
altogether. Since then, the anti-democratic totalitarian Left in
Israel and abroad has been circling the wagons in solidarity with the
department and denouncing the Israel Council on Higher Education as a
fascist oppressive tool of the "Right." In typical Orwellian
inversion, these enemies of academic freedom and freedom of speech
demand that the BGU department of politics be preserved as a
totalitarian anti-democratic indoctrination center, one in which no
pluralism or diversity or dissent from leftist dogma is permitted.
And all this "solidarity" is supposedly in the name of preserving
academic freedom. In reality, what they want defended is the power of
radical pseudo-academics to indoctrinate students in extremist
ideology and to prevent all dissenting non-leftist opinion from being

Anyway, today the Deputy Editor of Maariv, Ben Dror Yemini, who is
himself left of center but is a bona fide Zionist patriot, takes on
the "Solidarity with Ben Gurion University" movement. He does so in
Hebrew here:

Here is my translation of the relevant segments in his column:

Academic Silencing of Dissent?
By Ben Dror Yemini

Here is how valid on-target criticism of the Department of Politics at
Ben Gurion University morphed into yet another campaign to villify
Israel as a monstrosity

The academic world has found itself in the heart of yet another
storm in response to the recommendations to end all registration of
new students in the degree programs of the Department of Politics at
Ben Gurion University. Hundreds have signed petitions demanding that
this "assault against academic freedom" be stopped. As usual, the
outward impression is supposed to be of the forces of enlightenment
battling against the forces of darkness, meaning those seeking to
silence "critics." This impression is worth a closer look!

Reminder: The Israel Council on Higher Education (CHE) appointed
an international panel of experts to examine the department in
question, as part of the examination of all departments of political
science in Israel. The report was submitted a year ago. Regarding
the department at BGU, the panel reported finding extreme weakness in
three critical areas: course content (which is academic politeness to
say the courses are anti-Israel agitprop and indoctrination -- SP);
faculty (a polite way of saying they are all far-leftists and Marxists
-- SP), and research (a polite way to say they engage in anti-Israel
hate propaganda and not in scholarly research – SP).

While failures exist in many departments, the only one for which
the panel issued a call that it be shut down was the politics
department at Ben Gurion University, at least unless major changes and
reforms were to take place in it. The CHE unanimously adopted the
panel's recommendations. It is worth noting that the members of the
CHE are NOT political hacks or apparatchiks and they were NOT
appointed by the Right or even by the Minister of Education. The
panel included two prominent and distinguished political scientists
from Germany….The "reforms" were supposed to be two-fold, first in the
area of recruiting faculty who could teach sub-disciplines not
currently taught in the department (meaning anything other than
Marxist leftism – SP) and introduction of diversity of points of view,
so that not only "critical" (meaning Marxist – SP) ideology was being

The department did hire three new people. (All three were also
far-leftists; what grand diversity!! – SP). No one checked up on
their political opinions or challenged their credentials. The problem
was with regard to the second goal. Two of the three (Yemini is wrong
– actually all three – SP) were hired in direct defiance of the
instructions of the CHE. The panel had criticized the fact that most
of the existing departmental faculty members belong to the "critical"
(meaning Marxist – SP) strand of political science, considered fringe
in academia. These are people who toss out conjectures that cannot be
tested or disproved in a scientific manner. The CHE ordered the
department to diversify away from its monolithic "critical" makeup.
So what did Ben Gurion University do? It hired MORE "critical"
faculty members. One of these is not even a political scientist at
all… Meaning that the department simply defied the CHE.

This is the background to the recommendation by the CHE to shut
down the department! But that recommendation served as the spark for
a new campaign (by the anti-Israel far Left). So instead of carrying
out the CHE instructions, BGU and its department of politics launched
a political campaign. The university hired lawyers and a public
relations firm, one specialized in the political campaigns of the
Left. Ben Gurion University, and please excuse my non-academic
characterization, simply went bananas.

It is true that most devotees of the "critical studies" doctrine
are leftists who are not particularly fond of Zionism. But the need
for pluralism and diversity was bona fide academic, par excellence,
and not a political initiative. That is what the international panel
demanded. SO then along come the screaming rabble leaders of the
"campaign" to "defend" the department at BGU, such as Prof. Zeev
Sternhell (see
) , who have no interest in serious academic diversity of ideas.
They are trying to dictate to the CHE uniformity in thought, while
ignoring the panel's recommendations. …

Those are the facts, but the "campaign" has been launched,
impervious to facts and truth. Academics and journalists from around
the world are sending swarms of angry messages to the CHE. Petitions
inside and outside Israel are being collected. The signers are
unaware of the fact that this is a battle by the CHE AGAINST those who
seek to suppress pluralism and restrict academic freedom (the
department of politics at BGU and its supporters – SP). The CHE is
the agency SEEKING diversity and pluralism! But it is always such fun
to proclaim that Israel is a reactionary backward primitive entity
that censors and silences its leftist academic critics. This is an
unprecedented campaign of intimidation and distortion directed AGAINST
the members of the CHE by these who would coerce them into adopting
the political agenda of the Far Left. This is no academic campaign. …

It is possible that the campaign by Sternhell and his ilk will
succeed. If so, this will be the death of academic freedom in Israel.

2. I suppose by now everyone is familiar with that loud and
obnoxious classic by the Baha Men, "Who let the Dogs Out?" – which you
can see in its original here:

Well, I thought that before the celebrations of Tishrei come to an
end, we need a global Jewish anthem describing those Israeli Leftists,
those who like to call themselves "doves." Soooo, fresh to you from
the Nakbadizer Studios of scenic Haifa Bay, we bring to you:

"Who Let The Doves Out"

Who let the doves out
(tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet)
(tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet)
(tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet)
(tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet)

Who let the doves out (tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet)
Who let the doves out (tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet)

(tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet)

When the party was nice, Labor Party was jumpin' (Hey, Yiddie, Yi, Yo)
And everybody havin' a ball (Hah, ho, Yiddie Yi Yo)
I tell the lefties "start the name callin'" (Yiddie Yi Yo)
Shelly Yachimovich to the call
The dingbat show down

Who let the doves out (tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet)
Who let the doves out (tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet)
Who let the doves out (tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet)
Who let the doves out (tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet)

Say, A lefty is nuttin' if he don't have a bone, All lefty hold ya'
bone, all moonbat hold it
A lefty is nuttin' if he don't have a bone, All lefty hold ya' bone,
all moonbat hold it

Who let the doves out (tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet)
Who let the doves out (tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet)
Who let the doves out (tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet)
Who let the doves out (tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet)

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