Site Index

 

Home

 

About IsraCampus

 

Search

 

עברית

 

Русский

 

Israeli Campuses

 

   Ben Gurion U

   Hebrew U

   Tel Aviv U

   U of Haifa

   Other Schools

 

Gallery of Rogues

    A-C

    D-G

    H-K

    L-N

    O-R

    S-V

    W-Z

 

Israeli Academic Extremism

 

Israeli Academic Extremists outside Israel

 

Anti-Israel Petitions Signed by Israeli Academics

 

ALEF Watch

 

IDI Watch

 

IsraCampus Essays

 

How to Complain

 

Contact Us

 

Editorial Article

Tel Aviv University – Gerardo Leibner (Dept of General History) Battles against “Judaizing” and for Communism

He spends much of his time churning out semi-communist articles for the Ultra-Left, chanting mantras about “class struggle,” in Israel and around the world. Over the years Dr. Leibner has signed petitions to free and support terrorist Tali Fahima, to stop Israeli “war crimes” in Gaza; to send an armed international force to fight the Israeli army; to celebrate the traitor/spy Azmi Bishara, accuses Israel of being a terrorist entity, denounces Israel as an apartheid entity and endorses all the calls for world boycotts against Israel. He especially likes to rant against the racism of “Ashkenazim” and to wring his hands over the supposed “mistreatment” of the Sephardim, rather amusing coming from someone with the obviously Ashkenazi name Leibner.

 

 

Tel Aviv University – Gerardo Leibner (Dept of General History) Battles against “Judaizing” and for Communism

by Joel Amitai
23/4/10

At the founding conference of the Jewish-Arab movement Hit’habrut-Tarabut in ‘Arara, an Arab township near Haifa, the radical Israeli activist Reuven Abergil (a one-time founder of the Israeli “Black Panthers” and a far leftist) gave a talk that Dr. Gerardo Leibner described as “moving.” Leibner, a member of the coordinating committee of Hit’habrut-Tarabut, was at the conference and devoted an article to it. He is also a lecturer in the Department of General History at Tel Aviv University, where he specializes in Latin American Marxism and Communism. By “specializes,” we mean he engages in preaching it. His rather thin academic record consists almost entirely of articles in Spanish about communists and similar “radicals.” He spends much of his time churning out semi-communist articles for the Ultra-Left, chanting mantras about “class struggle,” in Israel and around the world.

Over the years Dr. Leibner has signed petitions to free and support terrorist Tali Fahima; to stop Israeli “war crimes” in Gaza; to send an armed international force to fight the Israeli army; to celebrate the traitor/spy Azmi Bishara, accuses Israel of being a terrorist entity, denounces Israel as an apartheid entity and endorses all the calls for world boycotts against Israel. He especially likes to rant against the racism of “Ashkenazim” and to wring his hands over the supposed “mistreatment” of the Sephardim, rather amusing coming from someone with the obviously Ashkenazi name Leibner.

As paraphrased by Leibner, Abergil focused in his “moving” speech on “the need to build a counterforce that will stand against the Zionist movement…. The urgent task is to be freed from the control of the foreign forces of the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization…. It must also be stated that Shimon Peres…is basically an enemy of peace…and one of those who Judaizes the Negev and the Galilee….”

This is indeed “moving”—if you have fundamental loyalty to Israel’s core values, it will move you to rage. In his account of the meeting Leibner adoringly quotes additional anti-Zionist and Marxist drivel from other speakers—“an analysis of the regional situation, which centers on the struggle against imperialism”; “the goal of forming a movement that will be both popular and radical”; “the struggle against the Judaization of Jaffa”; “the existing, racist and alienated political system….” No, it wasn’t a meeting of the Comintern in the 1920s; it happened in Israel two years ago, and Dr. Leibner admiringly recorded the proceedings.

No one aware of Dr. Leibner’s milieu at Tel Aviv University, which includes fellow Communist and anti-Zionist historians like Gadi Algazi, Shlomo Sand, Yoav Peled, Yossi Schwartz, and Yehouda Shenhav, will be surprised. Along with his academic work, Leibner is identified as a “political and social activist”—which in his case involves agitating against core Israeli values and needs and, not infrequently, clashing with the security forces.

In addition to Hit’habrut-Tarabut, Leibner is a member of Ta’ayush, an Arab-Jewish NGO that was founded in the autumn of 2000 just as the terror war was intensifying. Ta’ayush supports the so-called “BDS” (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaign against Israel. It was at a Ta’ayush demonstration in Umm al-Fahm in 2001 that Leibner was arrested along with five others including his colleague Algazi.

A few years later Leibner penned a laudatory article called “They Are A-F-R-A-I-D” about another demonstration in which he took part, this time in Bil’in in the West Bank against the security fence. (Violent demonstrations there and in Nil’in have long been a weekly fixture). The “They” in Leibner’s title refers to the Israeli army and government—or what people with Leibner’s mindset, mired in juvenile rebellion, might call the “establishment.” The event, in Leibner’s telling, was “a rare display of brotherhood and friendship” among “about 1000 demonstrators—700 Palestinians and 300 Israelis”—until the “‘security forces’ [he uses scare quotes around that term] decided to create a confrontation at any price.” At that point “two masked thugs began to throw stones at the uniformed ones….” In other words, Leibner informs us—without a shred of substantiation—that the “masked thugs” were actually provocateurs working for the bad guys, the “security forces,” that is, Israel, while he and his friends could not have been more nobly peaceful. As he explains:

(S)omebody was so alarmed by the joint demonstration and the possibility of the expansion of popular protest against the fence that he decided to create the conditions…in which the new methods of repression could be implemented. Up there, on the level of the military command or the political elite, there is someone who is very afraid…. Somebody wants blood to be spilt….

I used to see such things, and hear such talk—conspiracy-mongering, anti-establishment, smugly self-righteous—as an American college student in the late hippie era. That a taxpayer-funded Israeli academic employs people who indulge in such narcissistic self-aggrandizement, such calumny of basic Israeli institutions, in an agitation against the security fence—and this was in 2005, not long after it began to be built in response to waves of suicide bombings—is incredible!

About a year ago Leibner was at it again, this time in a demonstration in Tel Aviv against the Gaza War. (Clearly, there’s not much Israel can do to defend itself—build a fence to keep bombers out, react militarily to thousands of rockets fired at its civilians—that Dr. Leibner won’t demonstrate against.) This time, in his telling, it was the police who saved him—after he received a sock in the face from a “bourgeois rightist.” But then a woman drew near, and one of the policemen expressed surprise when it turned out she was Leibner’s daughter. Leibner doesn’t hesitate—again, with no actual basis—to ascribe it to ethnic stereotyping on the officer’s part: “’This low-level Sephardi girl - the daughter of an Ashkenazi leftist?’ he no doubt thought to himself.”

Supposed solidarity with the working class—Israeli policemen are hardly high-wage earners—doesn’t stop Dr. Leibner from making this nasty imputation to a policeman who helped him; it’s trumped by his hatred of Israeli “uniformed ones.” Note also that Leibner projects his own tendency toward crude stereotyping: he is the one who speaks of the “bourgeois rightist,” the “low-level Sephardi girl,” the “Ashkenazi left.”

There is no evil that Leibner won’t attribute to Israel and no limit to his hostility towards his own country. In 2005, a few months before the disengagement from Gaza, he wrote that it was all a trick by then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to “expand the zone of military control a little more, to strengthen Israel’s internal nationalist and racist glue, to embark on new settlement ventures after the crushing of the enemy…. That is what Ben-Gurion wanted to achieve between 1948 and 1967.” The wickedness of racist Israel, for Leibner, goes back long before Sharon to the earliest years of state-building and is constitutive and axiomatic. Leibner’s is the basic anti-Zionist creed now wildly popular among Israel-haters and anti-Semites all over the world, but it makes you wonder: why are professors at Tel Aviv University espousing it?

Not surprisingly, on the international plane Leibner is a proud Chavista, an admirer of the notorious anti-Semitic, pro-Iranian Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. Asked by Ynet last year what he thought of the ouster in Honduras of the Chavez-ally Manuel Zelaya, who had illegally tried to change the country’s constitution to get himself reelected as president, Leibner said the cause of “defending democracy” required U.S. president Obama to back Zelaya. A few years earlier Leibner spoke admiringly of Chavez to Ynet as someone who “doesn’t have to grovel” and “dares to confront America head-on.”

Whether it is Israel “Judaizing” the Galilee and the Negev, controlling violent demonstrations, fighting and defending against terrors, or daring to exist at all, Dr. Gerardo Leibner comes down squarely on the side of Israel’s enemies and works to undermine, destabilize, and delegitimize it. The wonder is that Tel Aviv University and Israeli society are giving him a cushy, prestigious job in which he can do this.

Joel Amitai is an independent researcher and filmmaker. Reach him at jamitai40@gmail.com.

 ========================================

Op-Ed articles appearing on IsraCampus.Org.il are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinion of IsraCampus.Org.il