Monday, January 21, 2013
More on Spying on the Left
Reporting on the Radical Left Is 'Spying'?
Posted By Steven Plaut On January 21, 2013
There is a fascinating story underway at the fringes of election-eve
Israel. Israel's radical Left has always been anti-democratic, and is
showing increasingly fascist tendencies these days. One manifestation
of this is that the Left tries at every opportunity to suppress the
freedom of speech of non-leftists. It does so in a variety of ways,
including legislation, court lawfare, suppression of pluralism in many
of the country's media, and so on.
After Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a radical nationalist
religious law student in 1995, the leftist-controlled media led a
McCarthyist campaign in Israel, claiming that the assassination was
actually caused by the exercise of freedom of speech of non-leftists.
The Left insisted that freedom of expression for "rightists" presents
a clear and present danger of violence and murder and so must be
criminalized. Much of the political establishment followed the lead of
the leftist media McCarthyists, prosecuting "rightists" who dared to
express their opinions. Later Rabbis have been dragged into police
headquarters by the bushel and accused of "racism" because they
endorsed a book some considered bigoted. In the mind of leftists,
recommending to people that they read such a book is a crime, unless
it is an anti-Semitic leftist book.
But the most amusing twist to all this is the growing number of
complaints coming from the same anti-democratic leftists about how
freedom of speech for leftists is supposedly under attack by Israeli
conservatives! And they are increasingly pointing to the supposed
surveillance and "spying" activities against them being carried out by
critics of the far Left.
Several watchdog groups and web sites, led by Isracampus.com, keep
tabs on and monitor the radical tenured Left in Israel, the extremists
who are on the faculty at Israeli universities. They operate a bit
like Campus Watch in the US. The monitoring consists of citing
verbatim what the radicals write and say in public. The Israeli Left
has long claimed that such monitoring is equivalent to creating
"blacklists," supposedly like the lists of people boycotted in the
days of Joseph McCarthy. Of course a more accurate description of
these exposure and monitoring efforts would be "citation." The Left
claims that these watchdogs are plotting to silence leftists. But the
main way that they silence leftists is by giving broad publicity to
what leftists publish and proclaim in their public lectures.
The claims by the Israeli Left about "blacklisting" are a bit amusing,
given that many of these very same complainers have long promoted
international blacklisting against all of Israel. This has been the
"complaint" by the Fascist Left against Isracampus.com and the NGO
Monitor group led by Professor Gerald Steinberg, both of which expose
the political mischief and anti-Israel activities and publications of
the Israeli far Left.
Another group that has been very successful in exposing the far Left
has been the Zionist student movement Im Tirtzu, headed by Ronen
Shoval. In the past few years Im Tirtzu has become the most important
and popular student organization in Israel; it regularly holds
counter-protests against the smaller communist party and Arab fascist
student groups when they organize anti-Israel pro-terror
demonstrations. The Im Tirtzu students have also (gasp!!) recorded
what left-wing professors say in their classroom lectures and
published these statements. Left-wing professors have accused the
students of "spying" because they obtain course outlines and syllabi
from propaganda courses operated by tenured leftists in the
universities and publish their contents. In other words, the students
are engaging in journalism. The far leftists insist this is really
spying and McCarthyism.
Israeli universities, like many American universities, are crawling
with far-leftist faculty members, and there are many departments in
which no non-leftist opinion may be voiced and no pro-Israel or
anti-Marxist instructor may teach. Academic standards have been
trashed and hiring procedures corrupted in order to fill these
departments with wall-to-wall radicals. The worst institutions engaged
in these things are Ben Gurion University and Tel Aviv University, but
the other schools are also at fault.
A few months back Shoval and his Im Tirtzu students filed a huge libel
suit against a small gaggle of leftists for setting up a Facebook
group accusing Im Tirtzu of being a "fascist organization" and
accusing its leaders of being "fascists." The suit is for 2.6 million
shekels ($660,000) in Jerusalem District court. As part of their court
action, Shoval and his people are also keeping tabs on the radical
political activism of the lawyer representing the defendants, the
ultra-leftist Michael Sfard. He is associated with Israel's
"Association for Civil Rights in Israel," a far-leftist NGO group that
has no interest in defending any civil rights for Jews or in defending
freedom of speech. The ACRI has long been headed by the Stalinist
writer Sami Michael. Student leader Shoval dared to provide
information on Sfard's activities to two newspapers. I guess that
makes Shoval guilty of journalism.
Israel's far-leftist daily Haaretz is roughly analogous to The Nation
in the US. It has been covering the story of the "spying" on Sfard in
detail, which is a bit amusing because one of the defendants in the
libel action is herself a Haaretz writer and editor. Haaretz even
cites the claim by one of the far-leftist defendants that reporting
what leftist NGOs do is a form of terrorism.
In that story, the paper cites the student leader as proudly admitting
collecting a dossier on the political extremism of Sfard.
When asked by Sfard what methods were used to uncover such
anti-Zionism, Shoval said: "We read the publications and listen to the
claims and look at the motives people talk about, and then we reach
conclusions." When asked if Im Tirtzu had ever used material collected
by private investigators, Shoval said: "Definitely." In response to a
question that the organization had used documents obtained from
Sfard's office, Shoval replied, "We see you as someone who is
consistently involved in harming the State of Israel. Your ideological
rejectionism from [your time in the] army has continued until now, in
providing your services to organizations that consistently persecute
IDF soldiers and identify Zionism as racism.
Sfard is claiming that documents about his political activities were
stolen from the ACRI offices and leaked to the press. There is no
evidence that these were taken in any sort of Watergate-like
incursion, and, even if they were, there is no evidence that the Im
Tirtzu students were involved. But the very same radicals who have
always claimed that Daniel Ellsberg's espionage was the highest form
of patriotism and that the Wikileaks people are the world's greatest
heroes are suddenly aghast at the leaks to the press about the
political activities of Israel's far Leftists.
Of the two newspapers who used the leaked materials, the spokesman for
one of them (Israel Hayom) said: "The newspaper acted according to the
principles of the law." The other newspaper, Makor Rishon, said they
had no stolen documents and did not send "reporters or 'plumbers,'
like in the Watergate affair, and of course we have not stolen any
documents. We received the documents and cannot reveal their source,
as is accepted here."
This is just the tip of the oppressive iceberg to suppress the radical
Left, screams Haaretz. In an op-ed by its educational reporter this
week, it points to a long litany of supposedly anti-democratic
initiatives by the Israeli Right. First there was a petition to bar an
Arab woman from running for the parliament just because she had
herself engaged in terrorism and violent attacks against Israeli
soldiers. Never mind that the Supreme Court foolishly overruled the
initiative and let her run. Then there was the case of the "boycott"
of a leftist professor at Tel Aviv University by Benjamin Netanyahu.
She was "boycotted" in the sense that Netanyahu declined to invite her
to attend a state reception with the German Prime Minister which she
wished to attend. Then there was the case of a radical leftist who was
pushed into an archives job from his research position in the
parliament because he insisted on filling all his reports with his
far-leftist opinions. Also a bureaucrat in the Ministry of Education
was canned for churning out textbooks for use in civics classrooms
that were filled with anti-Israel bias and historic revisionism based
on Arab pseudo-history. And to top it all off, the Minister of
Education called for closing down the Department of Politics at Ben
Gurion University simply because the department refuses to allow any
conservative or pro-Israel opinion to be voiced, because its courses
are anti-Israel and Marxist indoctrinations, because its academic
standards are so awful that an international panel of experts demanded
that the department be shut down altogether, and because it harasses
students if they dare to question the extremist indoctrinations by the
So from all the above, you can see that the complaints by the Left
that freedom of speech and pluralism are under a McCarthyist assault
in Israel are completely valid. The only problem is that the assault
against freedom and democracy is coming from the Fascist Left.
2. Israel's Pagan Left:
3. The NY Slimes:
4. The Left's jihad against transparency:
5. Among the Maasai: