Thursday, September 27, 2012

Shut down the disgrace

Sir, – The leftist geographer who single-handedly built the politics department at Ben- Gurion University of the Negev into the worst anti-Israel indoctrination and propaganda center in the country is simply unable to find anything wrong with it (“Prof. David Newman defends BGU’s politics department against Council on Higher Education registration ban,” September 24).

In fact, he denies that the department is a totalitarian extremist advocacy center at all, saying that characterizing it as far-left is “just not based on reality.”

Newman’s dissimulation is of course familiar nonsense. The simple fact of the matter is that every single member of the Ben-Gurion University politics department, including the three new recruits supposedly hired to create diversity there, are radical leftists. The main activity of the department is anti-Israel agitprop, as the international panel appointed by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) also reported.

Departmental conferences there consist entirely of anti- Israel and Marxist indoctrinations, where no dissident nonleftists are invited or permitted to speak. And this takes place under the noses of BGU president Rivka Carmi and other BGU officials, including, of course, Newman! It is not a coincidence that those rallying in “solidarity” with this department and defending it against the CHE include communists, anti-Semites and other anti- Israel bigots.

This is not only the most openly anti-Israel (and sometimes anti-Semitic) academic department in all of Israel, it is also the least pluralistic, least tolerant and least diversified. It is also one with the very lowest academic standards, as the CHE panel found.

No pro-Israel opinion is permitted! A PLO intifada poster used to hang in the department’s lounge. It is really not an academic department at all but an anti-Israel activism center.

Students daring to express pro-Israel opinion tell of being harassed.

Academic standards died years ago in the department built by Newman. The fact the Neve Gordon, Israel’s Norman Finkelstein, was hired and promoted by Newman on the basis of an “academic record” consisting almost entirely of churning out anti- Israel hate propaganda illustrates how academic standards there are dead. Finkelstein was fired by DePaul University for being a pseudoacademic bigot and hate monger, but then again DePaul has some academic integrity.

The BGU department’s worst anti-Zionists continue to use the school’s name while churning out anti-Israel propaganda for Holocaust deniers and jihadist newspapers. And it is not the only problem department at BGU.

Yes, by all means, it is time to shut down this pseudo-academic taxpayer-funded disgrace.


The writer is a professor in the graduate school of management at the University of Haifa

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