Double Standards on Israeli Campus

A grotesque example of intellectual absurdity is the fierce defence (as if it is a virtue!) of Israeli post-Zionist or anti-Zionist academics who urge boycotts on their own Israeli institution.

Neve Gordon from Ben Gurion University is an example of such an attacker on the Israel universitiy to which he receives his salary.  As noted recently by Isi Liebler,  “Just a few weeks ago, Professor Neve Gordon, head of Ben-Gurion University’s department of politics and government, was again challenged for continuously engaging in initiatives calling for a global boycott of Israel including his own University. The Rector of the University, Professor Jimmy Weinblatt, once more rejected efforts to discipline Gordon, insisting that he would retain his position despite the fact that he was using the University as a launching pad to demonize Israel. To do otherwise, he said, would be an infringement on academic freedom.”

But, as Liebler points out in a column in the Jerusalem Post here,    “Dr Yeruham Leavitt, a professor emeritus who has conducted a bio-ethics course over many years, was sacked from the University for having opined at a lecture, that homosexuality could be “contained”, and that children of same-sex couples were being deprived of a “normal” upbringing.   One may of course dispute such an assertion. Yet the remark was not intended to offend. In fact, Dr. Leavitt stated: I have nothing against the gay and lesbian community. Moreover during my years at the university, I always instilled the values of tolerance and liberalism.”   However, Professor Riad Agbaria, head of the clinical pharmacology department, insisted that Leavitt’s employment be terminated. “There is no room for personal opinions that offend some of the students”, he wrote. The university responded with a statement emphasizing that “Ben-Gurion University sanctifies freedom of expression, but the lecturer blatantly crossed the red line.”

Liebler notes  “The firing of Dr. Leavitt exemplifies the absurd and obscene double standards being imposed by Israeli academic institutions. Universities are willing to sack a lecturer for expressing a view not considered politically correct by dominant academic establishment. Yet the same authorities insist on retaining tenure for a senior academic like Gordon, described by Alan Dershowitz as a man “who has gotten into bed with neo-Nazis, Holocaust deniers, and anti-Semites… a despicable example of a self-hating Jew, and a self-hating Israeli.”  Gordon has actually endorsed terrorist attacks, described a convicted Fatah terrorist as a role model for his children and called for a boycott of Ben-Gurion University as well as “apartheid” Israel. Yet the university administrators  repeatedly reiterated that even if Gordon continued to use his position to undermine the state and collaborate with those seeking to boycott his own university, he would not be disciplined because that would represent a breach of academic freedom. Whilst the University did not consider that “red lines” were being crossed by Gordon, Dr Leavitt was sacked for having made a remark about problems facing children growing up in a homosexual household – surely a legitimate viewpoint worthy of consideration.”

Some of the letter responses to the article were equally direct

e.g. “Freedom for me but not for thee” seems to be the mantra of left-wing academics. A major benefactor and governor of Tel Aviv U tried to promote sanctions against those who advocated boycotts of their own university; he was opposed and undermined by TAU’s chancellor. He subsequently broke from and promised no further support for TAU. BGU has already lost supporters. I’ve explicitly elected not to support BGU, Hebrew U or Tel Aviv U for just this kind of nonsense. (I do support Technion and Weizmann; there leftists can’t do as much damage, and the work done is critical for the state.)”

and ..”.I am a graduate of Ben Gurion and I used to give (a lot). No more, and that has been for quite some time now. In recent years, the entire faculty has gone totally anti-Israel. This is not the first time. I have been encouraging all my friends and colleagues here in the US to stop giving too.”

Liebler has clearly pointed out the double standards of the Ben Gurion faculty/administration who have no compunction in terminating the employment of a person who offends one line of thought, but not if if offends another, even when that is urging boycott on the entire institution.  It really is a shame, and a sham.

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One thought on “Double Standards on Israeli Campus

  1. How can someone be called loyal to their employer if they call for it to be destroyed from the outside? Isn’t it just the basic rules of employment? Academic freedom (in the leftist sense of the word) is the new god which is worshipped by the left. Talk about digging a hole in the boat that you’re sitting in. I read somewhere that one of the problems of today’s Western world is that there’s no such thing as treason any more.