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Editorial Article

Tel Aviv University – Yossi Schwartz (Dept. of History) Sees Draft-Dodging as "Apartheid" Israel's Only Hope

Imagine that there was an American professor who: was a slanderer of Israel; accused Israel of apartheid worse than South Africa’s; said Israel was so belligerent that it seeks adversaries out of its need for never-ending war; charged that the current worldwide conflict with radical Islam was the outcome of a deliberate policy of Ariel Sharon; claimed that the Jewish people do not exist; encouraged Israelis to dodge the draft and said draft-dodging was Israel’s only hope; and was in the top brass of two radically anti-Israeli NGOs. The pro-Israel organizations would rightly be up in arms about such a person.

Well, all of the above and more is true of an Israeli academic, Yossi Schwartz, a lecturer in history at Tel Aviv University. One might ask why, if Dr. Schwartz sees Israel as so evil, he not only continues living in such a country but even draws a taxpayer-supported salary from one of its most prominent institutions of higher learning. One might also ask why Tel Aviv University sees fit to bestow honors on such a less-than-loyal citizen, having recently made Schwartz director of its Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas.

[The original version of this article, posted on IsraCampus on January 22, 2010, contained a confusion of identities between the subject of the article, Dr. Yossef (Yossi) Schwartz of Tel Aviv University, and Yossi Schwartz, a Marxist lawyer. References to the latter have now been removed from the article and IsraCampus apologizes for the error.]

 

 

Tel Aviv University – Yossi Schwartz (Dept. of History) Sees Draft-Dodging as "Apartheid" Israel's Only Hope

By Joel Amitai
22/1/10

Imagine that there was an American professor who: was a slanderer of Israel; accused Israel of apartheid worse than South Africa’s; said Israel was so belligerent that it seeks adversaries out of its need for never-ending war; charged that the current worldwide conflict with radical Islam was the outcome of a deliberate policy of Ariel Sharon; claimed that the Jewish people do not exist; encouraged Israelis to dodge the draft and said draft-dodging was Israel’s only hope; and was in the top brass of two radically anti-Israeli NGOs. The pro-Israel organizations would rightly be up in arms about such a person.

Well, all of the above and more is true of an Israeli academic, Yossi Schwartz, a lecturer in history at Tel Aviv University. One might ask why, if Dr. Schwartz sees Israel as so evil, he not only continues living in such a country but even draws a taxpayer-supported salary from one of its most prominent institutions of higher learning. One might also ask why Tel Aviv University sees fit to bestow honors on such a less-than-loyal citizen, having recently made Schwartz director of its Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas.

In November Dr. Schwartz gave a talk - in Berlin - on “Zionism, Colonialism and Apartheid.” Here is only some of what he told his audience (translated from German):

…The true problem of Israel, that could be seen in Gaza last summer, [is] that there is no partner for war…. Israel is again and again trying to find someone to fight against….

In 1982 Israel…attacked the PLO in Lebanon…. The Syrians did not want war against Israel. Israel wanted the war. Israel is searching for adversaries, she…found it in Iraq for a while, [in] 1991 Israel almost was involved [in] that war [i.e., when Saddam Hussein’s purely unprovoked Scud missile attacks destroyed Israeli buildings and sent millions of Israelis to sit in sealed rooms with gas masks – with no actual Israeli retaliation]….

After 9/11 Israel…built a link between the war Israel-Palestine and the greater war against terrorism fought by the Americans around the world. That once again was in the interest of Ariel Sharon to connect his personal little war with the larger conflict. He has succeeded. What has been a little conflict, almost on community level…has become a world conflict between Jews and Muslims, which connects as to the anti-Iran front.

Thus Dr. Schwartz to his German audience: Jews as the sinister force behind world war! If it sounds all too familiar, it should.

But that was by no means all. Schwartz also stated:

Israeli apartheid is in some ways worse than the South African…. There does not exist a Jewish people…. the Jews…were not a common group living together…. Connections among Jews around the world were weak. Zionists have taken over the volkish definition changing it to their own ideology…. In history Palestine was except [in] mythical times not the land of the Jews. Using the Bible for legitimation to take over the land and to speak Hebrew is a Christian way of looking at the problem….

The tragedy of Zionist occupation: The Six Day War was too short. A six-month or one-year war would have given the Jews the possibility to expatriate the Palestinians….

I have no hope for change from any group whatsoever in the Israeli society. All political directions are totally inefficient…. The only hope is the group of young Israelis who are refusing military service….

And as he continued in the discussion part of the lecture:

My kids, 18 and 20 years old, I am very proud that they did not join the military. They were the only ones from their class…. Israel would never have had the opportunity of 40 years of occupation without the support of [the] USA and Europe. All the money from Europe has gone to Israel only. Israel is privileged.

If there were any neo-Nazis in the audience, they can only have been pleased with Dr. Schwartz’s remarks. If you can see much difference between what he said and what a neo-Nazi lecturer would have said—Jews as evil warmongers, not a real people and not entitled to a state, milking the American and European dupes for their money—congratulations on your discernment. Not to mention the astoundingly counterfactual claim that "all" European "money" goes to Israel when actually it is the Palestinian Authority on which Europe lavishes vast sums in aid; but why get confused by details when you're a rhapsodic academic Israel-hater.

It will come as no surprise, then, that Dr. Schwartz is a founder and co-chair of the Alternative Information Center. This radical Jerusalem-based outfit, as NGO Monitor notes, “has accused Israel of ethnic cleansing, and has published articles minimizing the actions of convicted murderer Samir Kuntar (freed in the 2008 exchange with Hezbollah) and the bulldozer terror attacks in Jerusalem of July 2008.” Another of AIC’s founders, Michael Warschawski, has stated that “one has to unequivocally reject the very idea (and existence) of a Jewish state, whatever will be its borders.”

The AIC’s policy director Nassar Ibrahim is a former editor of the weekly journal of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which among many other terrorist attacks on Israelis murdered an Israeli cabinet minister in 2001. In January 2009 Ibrahim wrote that Palestinians should choose the “strategy” of “resistance… currently led by Hamas with the participation of the leftist groups (PFLP, DFLP), the Fatah al-Aqsa Brigades, the Islamic Jihad and so on.”

Yes, Dr. Schwartz is right at home in the AIC, which proclaimed during the Gaza war that it “calls on social movements throughout the world to mobilize against these Israeli war crimes and demands that the international community implement sanctions against Israel and indict Tzipi Livni, Ehud Barak and other Israeli political and military leadership for these blatant war crimes, committed as part of Israel’s election process.” And Schwartz is also a founder and co-chair of HaMoked – Center for the Defense of the Individual, another outfit whose “activities,” NGO Monitor observes, “reflect a highly politicized anti-Israel agenda, including indifference to Israeli casualties [while] minimize[ing] the context of terrorism in its distorted and unbalanced reports.”

It’s not that Dr. Schwartz takes views somewhat outside of the Israeli mainstream; that would be his right. It’s that he’s a defamer and a warrior against Israel on the most fundamental level.

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

The original version of this article, posted on IsraCampus on January 22, 2010, contained a confusion of identities between the subject of the article, Dr. Yossef (Yossi) Schwartz of Tel Aviv University, and Yossi Schwartz, a Marxist lawyer. References to the latter have now been removed from the article and IsraCampus apologizes for the error.

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