Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Student ad: Know your anti-Israel professors
Daily planner distributed by Haifa University Student Union includes ad promoting website which warns against 'extreme anti-Israel lecturers on campus.' Complaint already filed by student, while Student Union claims ad is legitimate
Yaheli Moran Zelikovich
Students at Haifa University are outraged over the contents of an ad included in a daily planner distributed by the Student Union at the beginning of the academic year. The ad urges students to become aware of "anti-Israel lecturers" from universities across the country, including the Haifa institute. A complaint was sent to University President Professor Aaron Ben Ze'ev pointing to incitement.
The ad directs students to a website which lists names of lecturers from various universities and their quotes on such topics as the separation fence, legitimacy of Israel's existence, and even an article slamming pop singer Madonna's concert in Israel. The website does not offer the lecturers responses to the quotes.
The ad reads, "Warning! A fifth academic corps! Know your anti-Israel lecturers. Professors and lecturers in Israeli universities and colleges engaged in subversive activity such as: openly endorsing terror attacks against Jews, initiating international boycotts of Israel, using their status to anti-Israel preaching and anti-Zionist brainwash, cooperating with known anti-Semites, slandering Israel as a fascist, colonial State with an apartheid regime."
The ad further accuses the lecturers of promoting violence and law violations, encouraging draft-dodging among IDF soldiers and calling for the annihilation of Israel. "Learn of the abuses of the academic platform and beware of extreme anti-Israel lecturers on campus," the ad concluded.
'Ad amounts to incitement'
Maor Dahan, a law and psychology major, filed a complaint with the university administration. "As a Haifa University student, reading this ad made me feel nauseous. Preparing black lists of academics reminds me of dark times in dark regimes when people were persecuted for their different opinions. The ad's title – a fifth corps - clearly amounts to incitement."
Members of the Haifa Student Union claimed that the ad doesn't constitute incitement but a legitimate expression of opinion.
Chairman Felix Koritney commented, "It's an advertisement bought and published in the planner as by other advertisers. We went over the content and it is fine by us. It informs the students, in the way other websites inform of corruption and ethics violations…Students should know who they take classes with. We love the State of Israel and support it and see no wrong with the ad."
Haifa University issued a statement reading, "In accordance with its policy and the student rights law, the University of Haifa allows freedom of speech on campus, even when it opposes the contents of opinions, so long as no State laws were violated."