Sunday, January 06, 2013

Oh Dear, the Left is Suddenly upset about Academic Partisanship!

1. A demonstration of the remarkable success of Naftali Bennett and
his party is apparent in the vicious attack ads and dirty tricks being
used by Netanyahu and the Likud against them. The Likud has joined
forces with the radical Left in trying to demonize Bennett and his
team, because they all find Bennett's success so alarming.

Nevertheless, the tactic of the Likud over the past week in trying
to paint Bennett as "anti-women" is the finest illustration of the
lack of integrity and decency in the Likud and the extent to which it
feels threatened by Bennett's growing juggernaut.

Last week the Likud, probably under direct orders by Bibi, placed
attack ads in all the Israeli media accusing Bennett of having "woman
haters" on his party slate. Likud statements accused Bennett of
hostility to women. The accusations were entirely based on the fact
that one member of the Bennett (Jewish Home Party) slate, Rabbi Eli
Ben Dahan who is number four on the list of candidates, had called
for the elimination of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women.
What further proof is required?, scream the Likud hacks.

Well, first of all, eliminating the Knesset Committee on the
status of women would not be such a bad idea. Its main activities in
the past have been in pressing for dumbing down standards, promoting
the implementation of gender quotas, "affirmative action" and nature
double standards, gender preferences, and other silly ideas that harm
women and create the general suspicion that any woman who is
successful must have made it up the slippery pole because of such
discrimination. Ask why many black families in the US refuse to send
their children to a black dentist and you will understand the point.

But that is just MY reason for thinking the committee should be
shut down. So what is Rabbi Ben Dahan's reason and what did he really
say? Well, it turns out, and you would know this only if you read
Makor Rishon, that the actual quote by Rabbi Ben Dahan was to call for
the elimination of the Knesset Committee on Women because he wanted to
merge it together with the Knesset Committee on the Welfare of
Children, claiming that the merged committee would be far more
powerful and effective and influential!

Yes, the guy who the Likud claims is the epitome of male chauvinism
in Bennett's slate simply called for making the efforts of the
Committee on Women MORE effective!! The Likud showed its lack of
integrity and willingness to engage in sleaze and distortion in order
to make a few fleeting political points, and counted on no one ever
checking to see what Ben Dahan had REALLY said! But that is what he
really said!

The other interesting point being that Bennett has three times as
many women in the senior positions on his party slate than the Likud

2. The editorial today in Haaretz, the Palestinian newspaper
published in Hebrew, is a broadside attack on the decision by the
government to allow the Shalem Center to operate its own college. The
college would NOT be funded by the taxpayer. You can read the
editorial here:

Let me explain. The Shalem Center is a Jerusalem-based think tank
run by a team headed by Dr. Yoram Hazony, who is politically close to
Bibi Netanyahu. Hazony has served as a close advisor for Bibi in the
past. In the 1990s Hazony sought to set up a policy think tank
roughly based upon the role models of the Heritage Institute or the
American Enterprise Institute in the US, and initially it was thought
that it would deal mainly with domestic Israeli social and economic
policies. At that point I was loosely associated with it and wrote a
few policy papers for the Center.

For a variety of reasons, within a few years the Center changed
its focus and decided to devote its energies to philosophical and
religious discourse regarding the mission and nature of Israel,
including things like Religion-State relations, but even more so - the
threat and evil of "Post-Zionism." Since my "comparative advantage"
was in the economic policy issues, I had little of value to offer this
refocused Shalem Center and played no further role in it, other than
privately enjoying its publications.

For the past few years, Hazony and his Center have been proposing
to open a "college" that would teach mainly things like philosophy,
Jewish thought, and maybe political science, and it would be from a
decidedly Zionist and liberal (in the good sense of the word)
perspective. A few days ago the government agreed to grant
accreditation to the new College. Among the people involved in its
establishment are world-class intellectuals Martin Kramer and Menachem
Kellner (the latter being an expert on Maimonides and Jewish Thought,
well left of center and a friend of mine).

Haaretz is aghast. Here is a citation from its editorial:

'According to the subtitle of this mission statement, "Shalem College
is a historic opportunity to create visionary leaders for the Jewish
state and people." This makes it clear that academics at the
institution will be subordinate to higher purposes with a distinct
ideological identity. Constant skepticism, a key academic principle
since Medieval times, is not mentioned.

'After last week's announcement Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, who
chairs the Council for Higher Education, called it "another step
toward rehabilitating the humanities." In effect, the accreditation
was a narrow partisan measure concealed in the robes of officialdom.
It would have been better for Sa'ar and the council to find ways to
increase undergraduate enrollment at Israeli universities,
particularly in the humanities, than to encourage private,
donor-supported institutions with a political agenda.'

Subordinating academic activity to partisanship and ideology, you
say? Skepticim is needed in academia? Hmmm…..

First let us note that Israel has plenty of one-sided partisan
ideological "academic institutions" already, and the Haaretz editors
have never objected to any of them. Even if we do not count the
non-accredited "Socio-Economic College" run by the Israeli (Stalinist)
Communist Party, which engages in Marxist indoctrination, the Beit
Berl College, which IS accredited, is only slightly less partisan and
conscripted. We posted a few days ago the story about a mandatory
course at Beit Berl in Anti-Zionism and Demonization of Israel, which
is forced upon students by a fanatical pro-terror communist woman
lecturer there. The Bezalel College has behaved in only a slightly
less extreme manner of partisan self-conscription.

But that does not even scratch the surface. There are scores of
departments in the mainstream Israeli universities in which it is
prohibited to express a pro-Israel or Zionist opinion. Haaretz has
long been the main (in fact the only) journalistic defender of the
abomination at Ben Gurion "University" calling itself the Department
of Politics, a university unit in which Israel bashing and
anti-Zionist indoctrination are its main activities. An international
panel of experts called for shutting down that department altogether,
because of its extremist ideological biases, its total lack of
pluralism, and its abysmally low level of academic quality. None of
that prevented Haaretz from championing the department and demanding
that it be preserved in the name of "academic freedom." Some

All or almost all the departments in Israel of political science,
sociology, law, linguistics, education, and - of course - women's
studies are monolithic uniformly-pure bastions of far-leftist
anti-Israel indoctrination. They are the occupied territories of
the Tenured Far Left. ohilosophy departments are just as bad. The
history department at Tel Aviv University is for all intents and
purposes a branch of the Israeli communist party.

Haaretz has never expressed any discomfort with any of THAT!

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