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Editorial Article

Ben Gurion Universityís Disloyalty Pledge

by Anne Horowitz

Back in the 1950s, the United States was in the midst of the Cold War. McCarthyism was operating and some American campuses and other institutions instituted "Loyalty Pledges" as a precondition for employment. These have long since disappeared, although some recent US campus developments lead us to wonder whether their restoration might be a good thing.

Be that as it may, those old "Loyalty Pledges" are nothing compared with recent developments at Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheba. Ben Gurion University has long been the very worst campus in Israel in terms of proliferation by its faculty members of far-leftist anti-Zionism. It is a bastion of "New Historians" (which means anti-Israel pseudo-historians), and even has some anti-Semites on its faculty. Ben Gurion himself is no doubt rolling about in his grave at the disgrace of turning the campus named after him into Israel's bastion of self-hatred.

While it should be remembered that there are also some serious scholars at work at BGU in some departments, anti-Zionism is the prevailing ideology on campus. Large numbers of faculty members there routinely sign anti-Israel petitions, including the now-famous petition of Israeli academic anti-Semites containing the blood libel invented by them in which they claimed that Israel was planning human rights atrocities and even genocide against Palestinians when the Iraq war would begin. The Iraq war is long over, but no apology has come from these pseudo-academic fabricators of the blood libel!

Several faculty members at BGU openly call for Israel to be eliminated and replaced by a Rwanda-style bi-national state run by the PLO with an Arab majority, including Prof. Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin. BGU sociologist Lev Grinberg made headlines last year for claiming that Israel was engaging in "symbolic genocide against Palestinians" when it assassinates arch-terrorists and mass murderers like the Hamas' Sheikh Yassin. This led the past Minister of Education in BGU to boycott BGU's Board of Governors meeting.

BGU geographer Oren Yitachel routinely denounces Israel as an apartheid state. BGU political science lecturer Neve Gordon (who was featured in an earlier article at the following link) routinely denounces Israel as a fascist, apartheid, terrorist state comparable to Nazi Germany. Gordon is so extreme that his anti-Israel articles are carried on the Nazi web site "The Zundelsite," run by Ernst Zundel. Michael Dahan, a lecturer in political science at BGU, claims Israel is conducting genocide. Tamar Gozansky, a Stalinist ex-politician, has taught "education" courses at BGU. BGU political scientist David Newman is on the board of editors of the anti-Israel pro-LSD magazine, Tikkun. Many BGU leftist faculty are involved in spreading anti-Israel smears around the world. Others have endorsed international boycotts of Israel. These are Israel's versions of Ward Churchill, the recently-dismissed Colorado professor who cheers bin Laden and calls all American citizens Nazis.

BGU radical faculty members are also involved in open law breaking. Many are involved in organizing Israeli leftist soldiers to mutiny and engage in insubordination and refuse to obey orders. Gordon was arrested for entering Ramallah illegally to interfere with Israeli anti-terror military operations. Gordon also was photographed embracing Arafat after he illegally entered Arafatís headquarters to show his solidarity with the terrorists and murderers being hidden in the building at the time by Arafat in violation of the Oslo Accord. Gordon has praised American lunatic Norman Finkelstein, widely considered to be a Neo-Nazi and Anti-Semite (Finkelstein is an admirer of David Irving), and Gordon even compared Finkelstein ethically to the Prophets of the Bible.

Now left-wing anti-Zionists and anti-Semites are to be found at other Israeli universities as well. What is unique at Ben Gurion University is the "Disloyalty Pledge" policy and the open support for the extremists by campus officials. At all other Israeli universities, the extremists are considered little more than an embarrassment and an unfortunate price to be paid for academic freedom. But at Ben-Gurion university several departments, including political science, geography, and history, have effectively instituted the "Disloyalty Pledge," by which only people disloyal to Israel and loyal to the PLO may teach in the departments. The political science department is the worst, where every single faculty member in the department is an anti-Zionist or anti-Israel far leftist. Academic standards have been junked in some cases when hiring and promoting the extremists. Some of the radicals retained are little more than parodies of academic scholarship.

A couple of years ago, a new lecturer in political science was hired by BGU from the University of London, a scholar who had studied under the world-famous Efraim Karsh. But soon his colleagues discovered that he was actually pro-Israel and unwilling to take any "Disloyalty Pledge" nor denounce Israel. He was recently dismissed. The official fig leaf of the extremists for his dismissal was that he was "disloyal to the department," by which they meant he was unwilling to join the extremists in their anti-Israel propagandizing; he was not willing to support the PLO publicly nor call for Israel's demise. At the same time, the above mentioned anti-Zionist Neve Gordon, who holds a PhD from Notre Dame University in Indiana (a degree that might not even be recognized as bona fide by many major universities) and whose "academic record" consists largely of anti-Israel diatribes misrepresented as scholarly work, was promoted and granted tenure by the same department. (An example of Gordon's scholarship is an article financed by the Kroc Institute, the same institute that finances anti-Semitic terrorist Tariq Ramadan, in which Gordon "proves" Israel is a terrorist state no better than the Hamas.) The dismissed Zionist scholar is now looking for a new position. A retired military officer who became a historian at BGU was dismissed under similar circumstances.

Ben Gurion University officials have backed the campus extremists implementing the policies of "No Non-Leftist Opinion Allowed," or at least failed to prevent it. The past president of the University, Avishai Braverman, and the current President Rivka Carmi, have done nothing to stop it.

In an age when "diversity" is supposed to be the banner of academic life, Ben Gurion University has promoted the suppression of political diversity in parts of its campus life, while declaring that anti-Israel leftist extremism is the only permissible position. At least three departments operate in which there is essentially only one set of permissible opinions, only one "correct" set of ideas, and that set is radical anti-Zionist extremism.

American Jews have traditionally been important supporters and contributors to Israeli academic institutions, believing these to be enterprises playing a Zionist role in building the Jewish state. But it behooves them to refuse to finance anti-Zionism and academic sedition in Israel. In recent days, a new web site has opened, devoted to bringing to the attention of prospective donors to Israeli universities information about the anti-Israel radicals operating on Israeli campuses, an Israeli parallel to Campus Watch, the important web site run by Dr. Daniel Pipes in the US. It is called Isracampus.org.il.

We American and Canadian Jews have the moral responsibility to using their influence and make donations wisely and selectively. We should make it crystal clear to Israeli university officials that American and Canadian Jews are interested in helping build the Jewish state, not in financing academic radicals and traitors seeking to tear it down!

In the 21st century American Jews should adopt as their guiding principle in helping Israel, "Not a Dime for Academic Anti-Zionism!!"

Anne Horowitz is a librarian and an archivist in Northern New Jersey preparing a book about war crimes and totalitarian atrocities

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Articles appearing on IsraCampus.Org.il are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinion of IsraCampus.Org.il