Some interesting Tel Aviv University faculty members

June 7, 2012 at 1:33 pm Leave a comment

Strange loyalty to land

and profession

Recently, the Israel Academia Monitor (IAM) sent the following letter to the governors of Tel Aviv University. The IAM, founded by Dana Barnett, follows the activities of Israeli academics who publically defame their country within Israel and abroad, and/or teach their students ideas that can be labeled as seditious.

To the Governors of Tel Aviv University,

Dear Governor,  

As you well know, Israel has been the subject to a delegimization campaign led by academics, some employed by Tel Aviv University.   Under the guise of academic freedom they turned their positions into a platform for relentless attacks on Israel.

Professor Daniel Bar-Tal is Branco Weiss Professor of Research in Child Development and Education at School of Education. After obtaining tenure, Bar Tal, a high profile peace activist and past co-editor of the radical Journal of Palestine-Israel Studies, switched to the researching the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is the architect the theory that Israelis are too traumatized by the Holocaust or/and Masada to achieve peace with the Palestinians. Conveniently, this “it is all in their head” theory absolves Bar Tal from considering some real threats to Israel’s security and made him the darling of pro-Palestinian activists.

Professor Yehouda Shenhav was hired by the Department of Sociology to teach and research on sociology of organizations.  Upon receiving tenure, Shenhav changed his research focus to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which, as he had acknowledged, fits his political agenda. Shenhav is best known for his book on Arab Jews (his name for Mizrahim) whom he describes, along with the Palestinians, as victims of the “Zionist enterprise.”  More recently, he published a book on right to return of the Palestinians to their pre-1948 places. 

Professor Adi Ophir was hired to teach philosophy at the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas. Ophir, one of the most virulent critic of Israel, produce an endless stream of writings designed to prove that Nazi evil is on the same ontological plane as Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.  Ophir hired his life partner Ariella Azoulay to serve as a “lexo-photographer“ at the Minerva Center of Humanities that he directs. Azoulay is best known for mounting exhibitions in the West aiming to create a visual link between the Nakba and the Holocaust. She also wrote in support of Anat Kam, the soldier who is serving time for stealing and leaking top secret IDF documents. Azoulay calls the IDF documents “public archives” and describes Kam as an “archivist” wrongly imprisoned.

Professor Shlomo Sand was hired as an expert in French culture by the Department of History. After years of very modest academic existence, Sand became an international super-star with the publication of The Invention of the Jewish People. The book was roundly condemned by historians and geneticists who found a common biological base for Jews, but was welcomed by enemies of Israel and anti-Semitic websites.

Dr. Anat Matar teaches in the Department of Philosophy, but published virtually nothing in her field.  Matar spends most of her time writing about the alleged mistreatment of imprisoned Palestinian terrorists whom she calls political prisoners, as her new co-edited book claims. Matar is one of the pioneers of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and supported the British efforts to boycott the Israeli academy.

Professor Yoav Peled, a member of the Communist Party, teaches in the Department of Political Science. Peled is one of the pioneers of the theory that Zionism was a colonial movement which, helped by Western colonial powers, disposed the indigenous Palestinians. Peled has made a career promoting the view that Israel is a colonial state where the capitalist classes prey upon the vulnerable lower classes composed of Palestinians, Israeli Arabs and the Mizrahiml. Peled makes no effort in his courses to offer a balanced view that falls short of the mandate of the Council on Higher Education to turn liberal arts classes into a “marketplace of ideas.”

While academic staff in a western society enjoys freedom of expression, this freedom is not intended for propagation of political agenda on either the right or left.  We urge the Board to ensure that activist faculty should not engage in such egregious violations of these basic freedoms.  

Best wishes for a successful conference,
Israel Academia Monitor, board and staff
www.israel-academia-monitor.com
Blogger’s note: I doubt whether any of this information is news to the people who run Tel Aviv University. Freedom of speech carries obligations – especially in the case of people who teach. Freedom of speech should be accompanied by the intellectual responsibility to follow all the principles of truthfulness, as well as concern that their actions do no damage to their country. Furthermore, it should be noted that Tel Aviv University is not alone in its dubious academic permissiveness. Beersheba and Haifa Universities readily come to mind. Is intellectual integrity no longer a cherished value in academia?

Signed: Ralph (Rafi) Dobrin

It should be noted that Tel Aviv University is not alone

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Entry filed under: dangeous lies and halftruths, Solutions for Palestine, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Sober Voices from Israel (6): MOSHE DANN A letter to the Hebrew University that casts shame

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