Monday, April 07, 2014
Chalk one up for the Zio-Gipper!
1. Tel Aviv University once ordered its student union to remove an exhibit protesting human rights abuses in China, because the Chinese embassy griped. It also censored what governors of the University can say at assemblies of the governors. This is the same TAU where a gang of professors organized a petition to prevent a female army colonel from lecturing in the law school because as a military lawyer she had defended Israel.
Freedom of speech on campus? Only, it seems, when terrorists are invited to campus.
As you know, the TAU brass had approved the request by the local chapter of the Arab communist party HADASH to host a convicted terrorist as a speaker on campus. THAT, you see, is protected speech and academic freedom!
But then, even the TAU bolshies were afraid of their own outraged students this time! The TAU students went on the warpath to attack the University's approval of the speaking gig for the terrorist. The TAU brass were frightened by the unanticipated and unwanted patriotism.
So they backed off:
Tel Aviv University cancels lecture by Palestinian terror aide
Convicted terrorist Mohammad Kana'neh will not give Land Day lecture at university conference, due to 'concern for public order'; 'Justice has prevailed', say student groups who protested Kana'neh's participation.
Tel Aviv University announced on Sunday evening their decision to cancel the participation of Mohammad Kana'neh, who was imprisoned after being convicted of contacting a foreign agent, in a Land Day conference on campus scheduled to be held on Monday.
A statement released by the university explained the reason for cancelling Kana'neh's participation: "In light of concern for public order in the Land Day events scheduled to be held tomorrow, and since the request to approve Kana'neh's participation was only received recently, leaving no time for preparations, the University does not approve his participation in the event."
Earlier Sunday, the students wings of Bayit Yehudi, Im Tirtzu, Likud and Yesh Atid announced that they would hold a two-hour strike from 8 am Monday to protest the lecture scheduled as part of the Land Day conference, organized by the Hadash and Al-Awda student groups. Following the decision, the planned strike was cancelled.
Protest at Tel Aviv University against Mohammed Kana'ane's lecture
Nearly 300 students held a protest Sunday morning against the decision to allow Kana'ane to speak at the Land Day conference. Kana'neh had served 30 months in prison after being convicted of contacting a source working for Hezbollah and transferring information to Palestinian terror activists.
Last Thursday, the university's directors voiced a different opinion.
"The university maintains freedom of speech on campus, and it allows public activity initiated by the students in accordance with the rules of conduct of the State of Israel and previous court rulings, as long as the following conditions are kept: Keeping the law of the State of Israel; maintaining university regulations, procedures and property; keeping public order and the proper order of the teaching, research and work on campus. In the case in question, all of these conditions were met and thus the university approved the activity."
Earlier in the day, Gilad Arditi, chairman of Tel Aviv University Students Union, issued a letter to the various representatives of the political parties' student wings, writing that the Union had turned to the university administration as early as Thursday, in demand to record the scheduled lecture as to ensure that no words of incitement are said.
He added that "we held discussions with the Hadash student group and university administration to figure how on the one hand we can hold an activity permitted by the law, and on the other hand, how to prevent a chaos on campus and hurt feelings of students."
"As public representatives, we must remember and understand that we represent all students on campus, and that our actions and statements have meaning. We should not fall into a dissenting, excluding discourse. It's our responsibility to enable discourse and student activity from all sides of the political spectrum, out of a belief that the student body is diverse and holds a variety of different opinions."
The four student groups leading the protest to cancel Kana'neh's participation praised the university's decision.
"Justice has prevailed and terrorism lost. We congratulate the university's decision to withdraw their approval for Kana'neh's participation. We proved that terrorism is not part of an academic discourse and that a university in Israel does not lend a hand to terrorism. The strike tomorrow is cancelled and classes will be held as usual."
Chalk one up for the campus Zio-gipper!
2. Something rather amusing happened over at Haaretz, the Palestinian newspaper published in Hebrew. They ran a very nice pro-Israel Op-Ed by Prof. Eugene Kantorovich, ran it in Hebrew only, one defending Israel and accusing all those who call for sanctions against Israel as discriminating against Jews and Israel. This is newsworthy for two reasons. First, Haaretz almost never allows pro-Israel Op Eds to run in its "newspaper." Second, Prof. Kantorovich recently tore Haaretz a new posterior when he accused the "newspaper" of Holocaust revisionism.
The Hebrew Op Ed today appears here:
The early piece by the professor is this:
Haaretz’s Holocaust Revisionism
Eugene Kontorovich |
A new level of vileness has been reached in the pages of Haaretz. It has already published work extremely critical of the State of Israel–even running columnists that support boycotting the state. But regardless of one’s opinions on the Palestinian issue, the paper has now shown that it exists in a world entirely divorced from any Jewish consensus, and cannot claim the title of loyal opposition. It has crossed all prior bounds of decency and published a criticism of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, calling it a “myth,” and accusing its heroes of being responsible for the ultimate liquidation of the Ghetto. Despite disagreements on diplomatic, territorial, and religious issues, the memory of the Holocaust–its heroes and victims–had been the great unifying porch in post-War Jewish consciousness.
Now the Holocaust is fair game too.
The article’s argument is that maybe if the fighters had not been so uppity, if they had not made a fuss–then the Nazis, who had already murdered 500,000 Jews of Warsaw, might have let the remaining 50,000 live. Maybe! It is not a new argument. Rather, the author amazingly resurrects and endorses the arguments of the Judernat, the Jewish collaboration government of the Ghetto. With every new deportation, they urged restrain with increasing urgency–maybe they will let the rest of us live, and if you fight, all the past deportations would be a sacrifice in vain.
There can be no more terrible case of “blaming the victim” than laying any responsibility for the liquidation of the Ghetto at the feet of the fighters. It is true, the Jewish “communal leadership”–and the rabbis–opposed the uprising. That is what made it brave. The Judenrat had no right to decide if residents of the Ghetto died in gas chambers or fighting for their freedom.
Of course, Haaretz wants to be “edgy,” “iconoclastic,” and debunk cherished myths.
But despite the article’s headline–“The Warsaw Ghetto Myth”– it reveals no myths at all, only a lack of precision where we always knew it existed. It claims that it turns out that not many people participated in the uprising–a well-known fact. Then it
attempts to introduce confusion by saying the precise figures are “murky,” and endorses the low-ball estimates based on the recollections of one person. Playing such counting games is vile. No one knows the number of participants, just as no one knows the number of Holocaust victims. And “revising” such vague numbers downward is now the standard canard of Holocaust deniers.
Again, the small numbers do not “debunk” any myths–they reinforce them. This was a small group of young people who bravely risked capture and death by slow torture, in contradiction with the collaborationist leadership that had thus far been wrong about everything.
Ultimately, the article’s target is not really the Holocaust. The author objects to the glorification of the glorified by the Zionist movement in the early years of the state. Perhaps the fighters should have awaited deportation and seen themselves as “sacrifices for peace,” to use the buzzword of the Second Intifada.
No doubt this is why Haaretz has, somewhat oddly for a newspaper, chosen to revisit the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
The newspaper has long tried to persuade Jews in Israel that they need no longer fight–they can trust someone to save them. John Kerry is coming to Jerusalem next month with just such a pitch. In order to advance their political agenda, the newspaper does not stop at besmirching one of the proudest pages of our history, nor at aligning themselves with the most shameful, the Judenrat.
The sanctified memory of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising is not based on its military significance, its size–or its conformity to the Zionist ethos. Rather, it is the considered, consensus judgment of Jewish history that the fighters were right.