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The Self-Righteous Among Nations


Dr. Neve Gordon’s latest op-ed in the L.A. Times brought on the usual mind-boggling logical fallacies. Since Gordon wrote a book on the issue and many op-eds, that never received so much attention and public termination threats, for a moment there I thought that maybe – just maybe – this tempest in a teapot would turn into a tornado. My umbrella’s still dry, and again, the Israeli media forgot about the Boycott and returned to threatening Sweden.

Abusing Freedom of the Press to Further the Fascist Zionist Agenda
The Ha’aretz website published two articles on the matter, by Barak Ravid, both pretty much identical, both doing what they can to delegitimize Gordon, both missing the scoop again (a.k.a "Israeli dissent"). Let’s take a look at the titles:

"Education Minister slams Israeli lecturer’s ‘apartheid’ op-ed"

"L.A. Jews mull boycott of Israel university over ‘apartheid’ op-ed"

The Education Minister piece, is to delegitimize Gordon, using an "authoritative" public figure:

"Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar on Sunday denounced an Israeli academic who published an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times in which he called for an boycott of Israel for being an "apartheid" state. Sa’ar deemed the article by Dr. Neve Gordon, a political science lecturer from Ben-Gurion University, is "repugnant and deplorable.""

The rest of the article doesn’t mention Sa’ar again. It includes some quotes from Gordon’s piece and facts about his activism that typically piss off the Israeli public, condemnation from his superior, president of Ben Gurion University, Rivka Carmi, and Israel’s Consul-General in Los Angeles, Yaakov Dayan, expressing his worry that "statements made by Gordon could be potentially damaging to the university". The fact is that Gideon Sa’ar is not even relevant to this story, even if he is Minister of education. What does the Minister of Education have to do with one man’s unaffiliated op-ed? If Gordon happened to be a plumber, would the plumbers’ union condemn him?

The L.A. Jews piece is redundant. It teaches nothing new, and it’s only intent is to put negative emphasis on one man. Though I find it a delightful irony that Gordon’s call for a boycott disgusted Zionist Los Angeles Jews into boycotting Ben Gurion University, I think it was clear enough in the first piece. I’d wager that what Ravid really wanted to do was highlight the "need" for a center for Zionist studies, as this little paragraph is in both articles, but in this one, it’s highlighted as a logical conclusion and a solution to "problematic" people like Gordon:

""I believe that the definitive answer to anti-Zionist lecturers like Gordon is to set up a center for Zionist studies, which unfortunately does not exist in Israeli academia," he [Dayan] continued. "This center would help dispel the lies disseminated by Gordon in the name of your university.""

I’m really starting to doubt Ha’aretz’s "elite" status, when Yediot Acharonot (the most widely read newspaper, known to be of lesser standards of quality), publishes much more reasonable articles. Although all articles on the matter, which choose to emphasize the issue of freedom of speech, would do well with quoting the law, or rather the lack of it:

"…several cardinal human rights are missing from this document, such as the Right for Equality, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Protest, and others. These rights were given to the residents of Israel by general principles which existed before this Basic Law. Although these rights were intentionally left out of the law, some jurists, like Aharon Barak, see these rights are directly derived from the "right to dignity". However, the Supreme Court’s rulings in the matter are inconsistent." [Wikipedia]

Capitalism and Fascism in the Workplace
I don’t know if the university president, Rivka Carmi, personally spoke to Dr. Gordon about her dismay, but she certainly let the whole university staff know (the email [Hebrew] was forwarded to me by a member of the university staff, limited by my translation):

"Hello Academic Staff members,

I wish to share with you a grave matter that’s going around in the past few days that has harsh consequences on our university.

Last Thursday I’ve returned from a voyage to the US. Following over a year of an obvious drop in donations as a result of the world financial crisis, I definitely felt signs of cautious optimism and a will to continue tight connections in order to go back to the debate about the university’s need, in the near future. In all the meetings I had, the university’s achievements were hailed, its academic and social reputation and its important role in developing the Negev [southern region of Israel] and the state.

Under one hour after my landing I’d received an urgent phone call from the US in which I was notified of an article by our university’s staff member, Dr. Neve Gordon, that was published in a prominent spot in the newspaper "Los Angeles Times".

The article calls for the whole world to boycott the state of Israel, that Dr. Gordon describes  as an apartheid state. From then on and throughout the whole weekend I’ve been receiving, and am still receiving, an unprecedented flow of angry emails from friends and advocates of the university and also from those who only heard of it. I had to hear very harsh things on the phone, as well, from Jewish donors and public figures in the country [refers to Israel] and the world.

This isn’t the first time that I and the senior administration members of the university are faced with frontal attacks of similar context. I’ve never shared this matter with you, because I’m of the opinion that confronting this issue is part of my functions. Nonetheless,  the attack this time is unprecedented in its severity, both because of the extremist line that characterizes the article, that is perceived by many readers as an act of treason towards the state of Israel, and because the article was published in a newspaper with very wide circulation, especially in the Jewish community. I have concrete, real reasons to feel that above all, this article could strike a destructive blow at fundraising for the university, and the potential of the damage to the university budget in the hardest period in it’s history, and possibly in the future- huge.      

I see it as a duty to share, with you, my fears of severe damage and it’s acute effects on the university’s financial situation, on its academic and social reputation and on its professional prestige and the loyalty of each and every one of us.

My administration co-members and many of you, my staff co-members, work hard on university fundraising. To my dismay without these donations we have no life and certainly no development and progress. This task is especially hard at a time of the current world financial crisis and the competition between different institutions and especially universities- huge. This type of article brands the university as one that isn’t worthy of the support of the Jewish world. Many of the those who contacted me emphasized that they will never again support a university who employs a staff member that is willing to harm the state like this and will even recommend to all their friends to do so. I’m quoting here the bottom line of each of the many inquiries that I had received and am receiving, at this moment.

Friends, I don’t debate the content of the article, though I’m personally [bold and underlined in the original] deeply disgusted by it. All I want is to share with you the distress that in my opinion the university is in, to inform you of the reason for it and as stated to -hare with you the fears of what may happen to the future and continuation of the growth of the university.

Best wishes [or some formality to that effect],
Rivka Carmi"

You see, in Israel, free speech means an institution has the right to speak out against individuals, who’s opinions it doesn’t like. By mailing this letter to the staff, Carmi isolates Gordon from the rest of the staff, outrightly calling him a traitor and at specific places speaking as "us", creating an "us against him" frame of mind, within the workplace.

Grassroots Silencing
Nothing like the Zionist take on democracy, to make your head feel like it’s shrinking. The Israeli Academia Monitor is a Zionist grassroots operation that aims to silence dissent in Israeli academia and among its workers:

"To expose these extremists, Israel Academia Monitor (www.israel-academia-monitor.com) monitors abuses of academic freedom and politicalization of Israeli campuses by radicals who collaborate with anti-Semites and bashers of Israel from around the world. The purpose of Israel Academia Monitor is to bring to light abuses of academic freedom in Israel, including on-campus indoctrination in political extremism. It is modeled in part on the highly successful "Campus Watch" in the USA."

Just for the hell of it, I recommend checking out the xenophobic Campus Watch. Israeli Academia Monitor has- without a doubt- learned from the master, and is now petitioning to get Ben Gurion University to initiate sanctions against Gordon, based on his political opinions, with their own colorful language (and 2 other languages, just in case):

"The West adheres to and promotes free speech and academic freedom. Indeed, by virtue of this noble value the media have tolerated a plethora of opinions. But in the recent article by Neve Gordon that appeared in the LA Times, he calls for a boycott of Israel because it is an "Apartheid State." Later he modified his opinion to a "gradual" boycott but did not change his position. 



To suggest that Israel is an Apartheid State and that it should be boycotted is no less than an abomination in light of Israel’s social-political reality. Some commentators point to their right to express treasonous ideas. We indicate our right to criticize them. 



We call upon Ben Gurion University to: 



  1. Fully condemn Gordon’s call for the boycott of Israel
  2. Dismiss him as chair of the department of Politics and Government 

  3. Dismiss him from membership in any university committee
  4. Make all his courses non-compulsory 

  5. Deny him any travel and research funding 

We advise students to refrain from enrolling and attending Neve Gordon’s courses. 




This petition is based on the understanding that Gordon is causing severe damage to the State of Israel as well as to Ben-Gurion University which is a state university and is funded by the Israeli tax payers."

As you can see, Dr. Neve Gordon, a brave man and a consistent Israeli dissident is now being persecuted for his political opinions, by multiple elements; The state, his employers, the media and "concerned" Zionists. Ironically enough, people like him, in Germany under the Nazi regime, were later hailed by Yad Vashem as "The Righteous Among Nations":

"Attitudes towards the Jews during the Holocaust mostly ranged from indifference to hostility. The mainstream watched as their former neighbors were rounded up and killed; some collaborated with the perpetrators; many benefited from the expropriation of the Jews property.

In a world of total moral collapse there was a small minority who mustered extraordinary courage to uphold human values. These were the Righteous Among the Nations."

  

Sign the Jewish Voice for Peace petition, supporting Dr. Neve Gordon.

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