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Editorial Article

Tel Aviv University - Michal Givoni (Dept of History) Strives for New Polysyllables that Can help Eliminate Israel

Michal Givoni is a mistress of one-sided anti-Israel propaganda disguised as academic work.

She completed her Ph.D. at the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas at Tel Aviv University in 2008. Her work purportedly deals with transnational humanitarianism, contemporary practices of "witnessing," and "testimony" and "governmentality" (a nonsense polysyllable she likes to use). Givoni was a researcher at the fiercely anti-Israel semi-Marxist Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, where she co-directed (together with Adi Ophir and Sari Hanafi "a research project on the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories." She was one of the editors (again together with Ophir and Hanafi) of a volume on the subject, entitled The Power of Inclusive Exclusion: Anatomy of Israeli Rule in the Palestinian Territories (Zone Books, 2009).

She produced
a paper in which she compared the treatment of the Arabs in Gaza with that of Jews during the Holocaust, citing Breaking the Silence and the Goldstone report. Several of the soldiers who supposedly revealed "war crimes" had not actually witnessed any of the events they described, and in at least one case, had not been in Gaza at all at the time the alleged events were said to have taken place. Even Haaretz, the Pravda of the radical anti-Zionist Left, has seen fit to condemn the "witnessing" by Breaking the Silence. For Givoni, all the proof needed that Israel is evil is for an Arab fascist or a Jewish communist to allege so.

Givoni is among faculty teaching a program at
Bard College in New York, part of a consortium of colleges teaching about "international human rights." We suspect the leading human right they defend is the right of Arabs to murder Jews. Bard has the only officially sponsored and campus funded chapter of human shields for terrorists (better known as the ISM) in the United States that actually trains ISM human shields to go to the West Bank and who were involved with the Flotillas. That chapter will be part of a massive march to "take back Jerusalem" led by the PFLP on March 30th this year. Perhaps Michal Givoni will help the marchers with their propaganda about Israeli "human rights violations."

 

 

Tel Aviv University (Dept of History) and UC Berkeley (Townsend Humanities Lab): Michal Givoni Strives for New Polysyllables that Can help Eliminate Israel

By Lee Kaplan IsraCampus.org.il
24/2/12

Michal Givoni is a mistress of one-sided anti-Israel propaganda disguised as academic work.

She completed her Ph.D. at the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas at Tel Aviv University in 2008. Her work purportedly deals with transnational humanitarianism, contemporary practices of "witnessing," and "testimony" and "governmentality" (a nonsense polysyllable she likes to use). Givoni was a researcher at the fiercely anti-Israel semi-Marxist Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, where she co-directed (together with Adi Ophir and Sari Hanafi "a research project on the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories." She was one of the editors (again together with Ophir and Hanafi) of a volume on the subject, entitled The Power of Inclusive Exclusion: Anatomy of Israeli Rule in the Palestinian Territories (Zone Books, 2009).

She and her colleagues' editing churn out one- sided propaganda against Israel and its control over the "Palestinian territories."  She loves to rely on Arab "witnessing" and "testimony" about alleged abuses of the Arab population by Israel. These should be better termed "bearing false witness" and simply "lying." She speaks of the "Governmentality of emergencies," a pompous way of describing how government intervenes in cases of such "witnessing" and "testimony" that something injurious has happened. Her interest in witnessing is restricted to accusations against Israel by Arabs.

Givoni has a new book on the "contemporary ethics of testimony" with the Van Leer Institute / Hakibutz Hame'uchad Press. Givoni's "research" at The Minerva Humanities Center concerns "ethical practices in the political sphere" and "focuses on a genealogical investigation of the concepts of testimony and of indifference."

She developed her skills at Israel bashing while teaching in the uniformaly anti-Israel department of politics at Ben Gurion University, the home to such objective academics as arch-anti-Semite Neve Gordon. These days she is a visiting fellow at the University of California at Berkeley, where anti-Israel activism long ago replaced frat partying as the main campus recreation activity.

My fellow IsraCampus contributor Seth Frantzman has done an excellent review of Michal Givoni's first edited book. Ms. Givoni is one of those "scholars" who substitute politics and advocacy for hard research. She is particularly fond of mind numbing silliness in rhetoric and nonsense polysyllables. In Star Wars movies, Yoda always reversed what he had to say to sound like a wise inscrutable guru ("Going to visit Luke Skywalker, today, we are"). But Yoda had it over Givoni because at least we could figure out what Yoda was saying. Someone should give Givoni a good language checker as a Nakba Day gift.

Here's an example of her writing. In an abstract she wrote, in which she argues Israel is a violator of human rights because it controls the Arabs in the "Palestinian territories" she wrote:

"This article seeks to analyze contemporary humanitarianism as an advanced-liberal formation of global governance. It tracks the emergence in the 1970s of the French humanitarian organization Médecins sans Frontières and shows that its care for and control of distant victims has been commingled with and dependent upon care for Western selves. The article contends that humanitarianism 'without borders' was the outgrowth of the legitimacy crisis of the medical profession, and that its practice of witnessing has ultimately been a mode of ethical self-cultivation by means of which physicians could fashion themselves as more enlightened personae. It further shows that the recent concern with the detrimental side effects of humanitarian action should be deciphered as the culmination of the practices of the self in which global humanitarianism has been embedded since the 1970s."

Hunh? Ok, so we had to read it three times. And THAT was one of her clearer paragraphs.

It should be noted that "Doctors Without Borders" is not pro-Palestinian enough for her. Ms. Givoni finds fault with them for being self-serving and egotistical ("practices of the self") even though the NGO routinely sides against Israel. Alas, a la Michal, they are in it solely for Western ego gratification. Givoni, who loves to identify with dead Marxist killer Michel Foucault, despises the democratic West. Medecins sans frontieres has a long track record of attacking pro-Israel voices. Including me!

For example,

  • In July 2010, MSF worked "closely with an Israeli team of burn specialists" to treat victims of a fuel tanker crash in the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to a Haaretz report, one of Israeli doctors described negative interactions with the MSF volunteers, who "did not want to be around him or the other team members." In response, MSF denied that "cooperation was difficult due to alleged anti-Israel sentiment from MSF staff," or that it "places politics above the best interests of our patients."
  • MSF accused Israel of "devastating disregard" for civilians during the 2009 Gaza war, alleging that Israel conducted "indiscriminate bombings" during the fighting.
  • In 2007, an MSF employee from Gaza was arrested for allegedly plotting to assassinate Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The NGO responded that "We are very sad for Bashir, but we want to make it very clear that we make a distinction between his professional work and what he does on his personal time. I don't think our organization can be held liable for every aspect of its staff's lives."

Medecins sans Frontiers also frequently recounts other ISM propaganda on their blog.

Givoni likes to use the term "witnessing" but sees no reason why witnessing has to involve truth.

To this end, she relies in some of her work on the Goldstone Report, repudiated even by Goldstone himself. She treats it as fact. She also relies on the discredited extremists from the tiny Israeli treasonous "Breaking the Silence," an ISM group that lied to the Media about Operation Cast Lead. Givoni praises their "witnessing" even though it rarely if ever has any evidence to back things up..

NGO Monitor has said about Breaking the Silence (which is funded by the EU): "Breaking the Silence (BTS) collects testimonies of soldiers who served in the Occupied Territories during the Second Intifadah." It continues: "The NGO was active in promoting "war crimes" charges against Israel after the Gaza fighting in January 2009. These charges were based on anonymous and unverifiable hearsay 'testimonies.'"

Just the way Michal Givoni likes it.

She produced a paper in which she compared the treatment of the Arabs in Gaza with that of Jews during the Holocaust, citing Breaking the Silence and the Goldstone report. Several of the soldiers who supposedly revealed "war crimes" had not actually witnessed any of the events they described, and in at least one case, had not been in Gaza at all at the time the alleged events were said to have taken place. Even Haaretz, the Pravda of the radical anti-Zionist Left, has seen fit to condemn the "witnessing" by Breaking the Silence. For Givoni, all the proof needed that Israel is evil is for an Arab fascist or a Jewish communist to allege so.

Givoni cut her teeth at the anti-Israel Van Leer Institute, where she started as a researcher. A description of an abstract by her about the Biafra tragedy reveals how she started her bash Israel academic "research" titled "Who Cares [What's to be Done?]? Israel Responds to Biafra.":

"The first reports on the Biafran outrages, which appeared in the Israeli press in July 1968, prompted an outcry. From the outset, the Biafrans were viewed as an extension of the Jewish-Israeli self; their distress and armed struggle against the Nigerian forces were seen in analogy to the Jewish holocaust and the Jewish people's fight for independence. The forms of moral-political discourse manifested in the Israeli public debate about the appropriate responses to the Biafra crisis are examined. It is juxtaposed to the sans-frontieres humanitarian discourse that emerged in France during the same crisis. The distant suffering of the Biafrans was understood as falling under the jurisdiction of the Israeli sovereign, hindering the establishment of a civil-society force to deal with similar crises. The structural equivalence between humanitarian sovereignty and the Israeli form of political sovereignty, which is also maintained as a paradoxical authority to protect an endangered population, is stressed."

What? You don't understand what she is saying? Well, it's all pretty simple. Israel back in 1968 (a year after the Six Day War, in which the Arabs sought to wipe out the Jewish state) was concerned about the people in Biafra who were suffering, even despite its own problems. But Ms. Givoni can only find things to complain about Israel so she faults the Jewish state's government for controlling whatever aid it gave the Biafrans because this somehow in her mind hindered the ability of non-governmental groups to render aid in similar crises. A report back then by the American Jewish Congress showed that giving aid to the people of Biafra had international security considerations.

Those darned Israelis, they can't do anything right and they mix politics into everything, with ulterior motives that prevent the proper protection of "an endangered population" (guess who she is really alluding to? The Palestinians!!!!).

Givoni is among faculty teaching a program at Bard College in New York, part of a consortium of colleges teaching about "international human rights." We suspect the leading human right they defend is the right of Arabs to murder Jews. Bard has the only officially sponsored and campus funded chapter of human shields for terrorists (better known as the ISM) in the United States that actually trains ISM human shields to go to the West Bank and who were involved with the Flotillas. That chapter will be part of a massive march to "take back Jerusalem" led by the PFLP on March 30th this year. Perhaps Michal Givoni will help the marchers with their propaganda about Israeli "human rights violations."

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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