Friday, October 31, 2008

The Rot in Ben Gurion University

Ben Gurion University - Neve Gordon (Dept. of Political Science) appointed
to Department Head despite anti-Israel "research"
By Shaul Ben Joseph

He barricaded himself with Arafat during the siege of Ramallah, he has his
articles posted on Holocaust denial websites, he thinks Israel is a pariah
state, he distorted historical facts, he turned the classroom into a
propaganda battlefield, he advocated a one-state solution, and yet, he was
recently appointed as the head of Ben Gurion University's department of
Politics and Government. Will you send your child to study there?

The Negev's Rotten Apple

Consider this madness: One of the most anti-Israeli academics is, from now
on, the head of a large department at one of Israel's largest
universities. Anti-Zionist Neve Gordon, making recent headlines recently
for calling for Israel's elimination in what he dubs the "one-state
solution," is now chairman of the department of political science at Ben
Gurion University. The BGU authorities have not had any objection to the
hijacking of an entire department in the university by a rabid hater of

If you have not heard of him yet, read what has been written about him two
years ago: ".he belongs to the class of rabidly anti-Israel far-left
professors whose trade mark is the delight they take in comparing Israel
to apartheid South-Africa and Nazi Germany". These lines were scribed by
the world-renowned American legalist, Professor Alan Dershowitz, who went
on to say that Gordon is responsible for writing that "consists of
anti-Israeli propaganda designed to 'prove' that the Jewish State is

With Neve Gordon as chairman of political science at Ben Gurion
University, David Ben Gurion himself is turning in his grave. One cannot
help thinking of Alan Dershowitz's conclusion that "Gordon has gotten into
bed with neo-Nazis, Holocaust justice deniers and anti-Semites", or in
short "a despicable example of a self-hating Jew and self-hating

Take, for instance, Gordon's attitude toward the former chairman of the
PLO. Gordon was Arafat's political bedfellow for years. In February 2003,
he and some extreme Left-wing Israeli activists violated the Israeli
Army's order and entered Ramallah for a solidarity meeting with Arafat.
Arafat of course was behind the terrorist wave that engulfed Israel
following the outbreak of the so-called ''Second Intifada''. Neve Gordon
was photographed with Arafat with hands intimately clasped. Arafat at the
time was hiding murderers in his offices, including the assassins of an
Israeli cabinet minister, and refusing to turn them over to Israel in
violation of the Oslo Accords.

When asked afterwards whether he felt comfortable hugging Arafat, who had
been responsible for endless acts of terror, Gordon replied: "I don't know
who's responsible for the terror attacks, that's what the media says (sic)
and it (sic) receives its (sic) information from the defense establishment
and the Shabak.Sharon is the one who wants a second Lebanese war and we
want to stop it.".[2] A picture of the pair was published on most of the
Israeli media outlets in which Arafat could not erase the smile from his
face, while warmly clasping the hands of his guest from Ben Gurion
University. Ben Gurion University's response to this? It was to promote
Gordon and give him tenure!

When Arafat was in a coma, Gordon denounced Israel's representation of him
as a terrorist, a corrupt person and an authoritarian leader, and
predicted that Sharon would continue in his own policy of "expropriation"
of "Palestinian lands." [3]

After Arafat's death Gordon wrote that Israel invented the ''no partner
myth" in order to undercut basic Palestinian demands, which Arafat
represented, like a full withdrawal to 1967 borders, a capital in East
Jerusalem, and recognition of the rights of the Palestinian refugees.
Israel, he added, sought "to destroy Arafat's persona, for he had become
an international symbol of resistance, a symbol of the Palestinian
struggle for self determination". [4]

Gordon's obvious affection for Arafat explains why he vehemently rejects
the undisputed notion that Israel is even a democracy. His argument is
simple: Israel now consists of "a population of over 9 million people and
3.5 million of them cannot vote.5" Never mind that the Arabs of the
"occupied territories" are not Israeli citizens at all, while Israeli
Arabs do vote. Arabs in Libya also do not vote in Israeli elections.

Gordon's views stem from his unqualified support for Arab violence against
Israelis. He has lamented the fact that last July the international media
provided extensive coverage of the bulldozer rampage in which a
Palestinian constructor worker killed three people in Jerusalem. He also
mocked those who branded that murderer a "terrorist," a term Gordon
reserves for Jewish rightists. At the same time, Gordon was disappointed
that, in comparison, only a handful of media outlets took the trouble to
report about the Arab village on Ni'lin which became a scene of violent
protests, following a land controversy.[5]

Gordon uses familiar tactics. He refuses to allow discussion of the larger
context of the Arab-Israeli conflict and avoids questions about it, when
confronting difficult questions in his classroom and in public meetings.
"I am not interested in the Arab-Israeli conflict", he told students at
the University of Michigan last March. [6] He maintains that the conflict
is between mighty occupying Israel and defenseless weak Palestinians, as
if they were no other Arabs forces involved. Gordon always describes
Israel as an "Apartheid regime" like that in South Africa, if not worse.
As part of the recent "Palestinian Awareness Week" in Michigan and in a
public talk titled ''From Colonization to Occupation'', he expressed
support for a ''one state solution,'' in which Israel would cease to
exist, since a ''two state solution'' will perpetuate Israel as an
"apartheid state".[7]

But when it comes to encountering criticism of his anti-Zionists
statements, the lecturer from Beersheba refuses to acknowledge any right
of free speech to his critics. Indeed, he went to lengths to harass one of
his leading critics by filing a malicious SLAPP suit in court, hoping at
the same time to make some money. His contempt for principles of freedom
of expression was demonstrated when he filed the law suit against
Professor Steven Plaut of Haifa University in Nazareth court. Plaut had
accused Gordon (correctly) of being in the habit of endorsing the views of
Dr. Norman Finkelstein, who was fired by DePaul University in Chicago and
was deported by the Israeli authorities after landing at Tel Aviv airport
last summer. Finkelstein is a well-known figure within the radical
anti-Semitic Left, and even flew to Beirut to express support for the
Hezbollah during its recent war of rocket attacks against Israel.
Finkelstein made a career out of claiming that the dishonest and greedy
Jews exploit the Holocaust to make money. Pro-Nazi elements adore his
writings and Gordon seems to worship him, even comparing him to the
biblical prophets.

Gordon, who was also lambasted by Plaut for illegally entering Ramallah in
the height of the Palestinian suicide bombings against Israeli citizens,
reacted in a typical way. He chose a court in Nazareth, where neither he
nor Plaut reside, with the aim of winning sympathy from a
politically-radical Arab judge. Indeed when the case was brought before
Reem Naddaf, an Arab woman judge in the lower court in Nazareth, she ruled
in Gordon's favor. Gordon was not only seeking financial damages against
Plaut for being ''libelous'', but also demanded that Plaut be forced to
compensate him for writing that his academic record largely consisted of
anti-Israeli propaganda. [8] Naddaf awarded Gordon 90,000 shekels in
compensation and costs, but Gordon then lost his case in the appeals
court, which rejected every single demand made by Gordon and agreed to
almost all of Plaut's. A panel of three judges there reserved harsh
criticism of Gordon, dismissing many of his claims as lies and attacking
his anti-Israeli writings, in which he brands Israel as a fascist,
Nazi-like, apartheid state...

Gordon also defended Azmi Bishara, the disgraced former Israeli-Arab MK,
who is wanted by the Israeli authorities for suspected assistance to
Hezbollah and espionage. Gordon does not think that Bishara is a spy, but
rather a "symbolic threat, since he personifies the demand to transform
Israel from a Jewish democracy into a democracy for all its citizens". In
other words the accusations of subversion against Bishara are nothing but
a cover for "Israel's resistance to democratic change". [9] While voicing
support for Bishara, he falsely accused a decorated IDF officer as being a
war criminal, resulting in the barring of his entry into Britain for

Gordon, on his part, denies he is anti-Israeli. But then again so do
Finkelstein and Azmi Bishara. On the contrary, he likes to boast that he
served in the paratroopers and was even critically wounded in defending
the Northern border. He claims to have 42 percent disability as a result
of his injuries in an action that took place in Rosh Hanikra. [10, 11]
Well, Ilan Pappe and every other rabid Israeli academic hater of Israel
also served in the military, so the claim hardly changes the facts about
Gordon's biases and ideological agenda.

Thanks to his promoting Yasser Arafat and Norman Finkelstein, Neve Gordon
himself is widely admired by various anti-Zionists and anti-Semite
preachers around the globe. One of them is Ernst Zundel, a pamphleteer who
has been jailed several times for distributing hate literature on the net.
Three years ago he was deported from Canada to his native Germany to stand
trial for Holocaust denial and he is now in prison. Before that Zundel
posted on his website a glowing review written by Gordon of Finkelstein's
book The Holocaust Industry. In this review Finkelstein earned the honor
of being compared morally to the Jewish prophets. Needless to say that
Gordon never took the trouble to mention his mentor's support of Middle
East terrorist organizations.

At Ben Gurion University, Gordon evidently never misses an opportunity to
use the classroom as a platform for his anti-Israeli propaganda. He
packed up and recycled his venomous anti-Israeli rhetoric when he went to
spend a sabbatical year at the University of Michigan. Twice a week,
during his "The Israeli-Arab conflict" course, he gave his version of the
region's historical events and expressed his own private views as facts,
imposed on his hapless students in the classroom. He even took the
opportunity to denounce Israel in its current conflict with Iran and
justified the Ayatollahs' nuclear policy. According to eye witnesses he
was notorious for insulting students who dared to question his views
there. On one instance he told the class that he was not interested in
giving an unbiased academic history of the conflict. Gordon, according to
one of his students, bolstered the anti-Israel climate already present at
the University of Michigan. He demonstrated his obsession with demonizing
Israel by using anti-Semitic rant and turning the classroom into a
propaganda podium.

Five years ago Gordon told his readers that one day, across the hall from
his office, someone hung a large note which read "Neve Gordon is a rotten
apple". Now, that his colleagues have chosen him to head their department,
with the blessings of BGU's president Rivka Carmi, clearly he is not the
only rotten apple in the BGU box.

1 Jerusalem Post, 8.11.2006

2. Ynet, 3.2.2002

3. Democracy now, 5.11.2004

4.Taayush, Nov 2004

5. Counterpunch, 3.2. 2004

6. Campus Watch, 4.3.2008

7. IsraCampus,

8. Front page magazine, 5.3.08

9. Guardian, 20.4.2007

10. Peacepalestine, 11.11.2006

11. Wikipedia


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