This is a Guest Post by Shlomo Yosef
While in the UK students are desperately trying to get into universities, in Israel political groups are trying to get students to stay away.
A month ago Im Tirtzu, the self appointed student keepers of ‘real zionism’, issued a letter to the president of Ben-Gurion University demanding that her university fix their wicked ways and change the makeup of the facility to a political bent more fitting in what Im Tirtzu see as appropriate for an Israeli University. If their demands were not met they would push for a boycott of the University by its prospective students and donors.
After a month of wondering whether to dignify this with a response, every Israeli university head issued a joint letter.
“No Israeli university has to prove its staff’s love of their homeland to any organization, and certainly not to a political one that is trying to present a tendentious, manipulative document as ‘research’ to advance its own public relations,” the statement said. “As is proper in an enlightened democratic country, Israeli academia is not a political body, and academic faculty are chosen solely according to objective criteria of excellence in research and teaching.”
Haaretz has the full story here
Prof. David Newman who is the new chair of the Humanities and Arts department at Ben-Gurion will be known to many HP readers as he was a prominent figure in opposing the academic boycott. Prof. Newman angered the donors of Ben-Gurion before for appearing in Channel 4 dispatches on the Israel Lobby last year. Though his politics are not for everyone he has earned his stripes in the trenches of the UK trade union spats.
Israeli academics seem to be betwixt and between, too Zionist for some and not quite Zionist for others. Whether on the right or the left, those who issue dictates on staff members political views and threaten if they don’t get their way, should be dismissed as the bullies they are.
Hold a mirror up to Im Tirtzu and you will see the BDS movement staring back at you, just drop the ‘anti’ prefix from Zionist in their demands. Israeli universities just can’t catch a break.