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Ben Gurion University

Ben Gurion University President Rivka Carmi Complains that her university is under unprecedented attack thanks to the "treasonous article" published by Neve Gordon in the Los Angeles Times

The letter was sent en masse to the entire faculty of BGU in August 2009
See original letter here [in Hebrew]

Isracampus Translation of the Letter:
18/3/2011

From: Rivka Carmi, President, Ben Gurion University, The President's Office
Aug. 23, 2009

To all faculty members of Ben Gurion University, Shalom!

It is my desire to share with you my thoughts about a very serious matter that has been developing in recent days, one carrying the most severe consequences for the University.

This past Thursday I returned from a trip to the US. Following a year of dramatic decreases in the levels of contributions and donations to BGU because of the global financial crisis, this time I definitely sensed some optimistic glimmerings of signs of recovery, willingness to pursue cooperation, and to discuss the needs of the University and its plans. In all of my discussions, the academic and social (sic) reputation of the University, as well as its role in the development of the Negev and of all of Israel, was saluted and appreciated.

But less than an hour after my landing in Israel I received a panicky phone call from the US, in which I was informed that a faculty member at BGU, Dr. Neve Gordon [since promoted under Rivka's guiding hand and with her blessings to Associate Professor --- Isracampus] had just published an article in the Los Angeles Times. This article calls upon the entire world to boycott the state of Israel, which Gordon there terms an apartheid regime. From that point and onwards, I received and continue to receive an unprecedented storm of angry messages and outraged letters from donors and supporters of the University, as well as from others who merely heard about the article. I also was forced to take enraged phone calls from donors and Jewish public figures in Israel and abroad.

This was not the first time that I and other officials at BGU have been subjected to similar frontal assaults. I never shared information about these attacks with you, the faculty, because I believe that dealing with them is part of my job. Nevertheless, this time the attack is unprecedented in its severity and scope. This is due to the extremist message comprising the article in question, regarded by many readers as outright treason against the state of Israel, and also because it appeared in a newspaper of such wide circulation, especially among the Jewish community. I have real and concrete reasons to suspect that this article will produce massive destructive damages to the ability of the University to raise funds, and it will cause enormous harm to the fiscal condition of the University, facing its worst budgetary crisis in history.

I feel the necessity of sharing with you my fears of these enormous damages and their impact upon the economic condition of the University, on its academic and social (sic) reputation, on its professional levels, and on the loyalty of all of us.

The university officials and many of you members of the faculty work hard at raising funding for the University. Unfortunately, without these donations we simply do not have life (sic), and certainly not development and progress. This work is particularly difficult during a period of global financial strife and of intensified competition for funding from other public bodies, especially other universities. An article such as this brands our University as an institution undeserving of global Jewish support. Many of those contacting me stated that they would never again support any Israeli university employing people who harm Israel in this way, and indeed that they would encourage their friends and associates to likewise withhold donations. I am citing the bottom line from so many letters and messages that I am receiving these days.

Colleagues, I am not addressing here the actual contents of that article by Gordon, in spite of the fact that I personally find it deeply repulsive. All I wish to do is convey to you the hardship that the University now finds itself facing, to let you know what the cause of that hardship is, and as I said to convey to you my fears of what the future brings regarding the prospects of the University.

Cordially,
Prof. Rivka Carmi