The academic year 2007-2008 saw
ongoing anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic incidents in various countries.
Among them is Israel Apartheid Week, which has become an annual ritual
in a number of cities on several continents. So have the calls of the
University and College Union (UCU) in the United Kingdom for
discriminatory measures against Israeli universities and academics. In
several universities, such as on some campuses of the University of
California, anti-Israelism is endemic.
Much of the visible
anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism occurs in the academic world of
Britain, Canada, and the United States. There are problems in many
other countries as well. The situation is obfuscated by limited media
counteractions are also increasing. There is now more exposure of
Islamist racism and anti-Semitism on American campuses. In Canada
protests against anti-Israeli actions are on the rise. There are also
European and British initiatives to enhance academic collaboration with
Israeli universities. External monitoring bodies are more and more
exposing the hate culture and biased actions of some university
The onslaught against
Israel and Jews is not an isolated phenomenon. What happens to Jews has
usually been a pointer to their societal environment and a sensor of
events to come. This is also the case regarding academic
anti-Israelism. Academic freedom has been abused so much that in its
present form it has outlived part of its academic and societal
usefulness for fostering knowledge.
The academic year 2007-2008 saw ongoing anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic
incidents in various countries. Among them is Israel Apartheid Week,
which has become an annual ritual in a number of cities on several
continents. So have the calls of the University and College Union (UCU)
in the United Kingdom for discriminatory measures against Israeli
universities and academics.
In several universities, such as on some campuses of the University of
California, anti-Israelism is endemic. In many others it has seen highs
and lows over the years. The situation is obfuscated by the fact that,
with a few exceptions, the incidents this academic year were not given
much media publicity.
On the other hand, effective counteractions are also increasing. There
is now more exposure of Islamist racism and anti-Semitism on American
campuses. In Canada protests against anti-Israeli actions are on the
rise. There are also European and British initiatives to enhance
academic collaboration with Israeli universities. External monitoring
bodies are more and more exposing the hate culture and biased actions
of some university lecturers.
It is mistaken to assume that hate campaigns can be largely
counteracted or balanced by positive programs on Israel. Because of
their extremism, the hate campaigners' damage to Israeli and Jewish
causes runs deeper than the superficial impression left by the positive
activists. This also reflects the intense motivation of Muslim and
far-Left racists and anti-Semites. Their activities are often supported
de facto by the passivity of university authorities. Although they may
explicitly oppose anti-black or anti-Muslim racism, these authorities
are often far more reluctant to take similar actions against
anti-Semitism and its new mutation anti-Israelism. It is usually easy
to prove that these double standards operate.
A complete overview of the many anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic actions
on campuses worldwide is not possible. The following should thus be
seen as a selection of important trends and events. It focuses mainly
on Britain, Canada, and the United States where many of the problems
are concentrated. Yet academic anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism are
rife in many other countries as well. As these problems are hardly
monitored and little is written about them, the illusion is often
created that they do not exist.
Israel Apartheid Week
Israel Apartheid Week or similar anti-Israeli activities took place in
February 2008 in twenty-five locations in the United States, Canada,
the United Kingdom, South Africa, and the Palestinian Authority. Since 2005 such activities have been increasing, and February 2008 marked Israel Apartheid Week's fourth anniversary.
The programs include calls for boycotts, divestments, and sanctions
against Israel. One goal is to raise "awareness and disseminate
information about Zionism, the Palestinian liberation struggle and its
similarities with the indigenous sovereignty struggle in North America
and the South African anti-Apartheid movement." These activities
should be seen in the wider framework of the anti-Israeli campaign.
The website called "Israeli Apartheid Week" gives no information on who
is behind this project other than mentioning that: "Prominent
Palestinians, Jewish anti-Zionists, and South Africans have been at the
forefront of this struggle."
Originating at the University of Toronto
The origins of Israel Apartheid Week can be traced to the University of
Toronto in 2004, where groups supporting the Palestinian cause tried to
delegitimize Israel. The first annual event there was organized by the
Arab Students Collective (ASC) and took place in early 2005. Over the
years other organizations at this university joined, such as the
Coalition against Israel Apartheid and Solidarity for Palestinian Human
In Canada groups at the Universities of Toronto, Montreal, Ryerson,
Ottawa, and McMaster all took part in Israel Apartheid Week 2008. This
year it received media attention partly because of the reactions to it.
The organizers at the Canadian universities reached out to include
other campus organizations such as the United Black Students and
Indigenous Environmental Network, whose representatives spoke on the
first day of the week and introduced the topic of apartheid.
Events at the University of Toronto this year included speeches by
notorious anti-Israeli figures such as Ward Churchill, a professor who
in 2007 was fired from the University of Colorado for research
misconduct, as well as displays and a march starting at the Israeli
consulate and called "Breaking the Silence." Churchill claimed among
other things that the mass murder of the Jews was not "a fixed policy
objective of the Nazis." This was yet another example of how
anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism go together.
Churchill had also spoken at the event in 2006. Past events in
Canada have included figures such as former Knesset member Azmi
Bishara. More recently Bishara has fled Israel and may be arrested on
suspicion of treason if he ever returns.
This year for the first time, the week at the University of Toronto
ended with a one-day conference for high school students. There were
also outdoor events such as demonstrations at mock Israeli checkpoints. Not only student organizations but also university academic departments sponsor the week.
McGill University and Carleton University organized activities on a
smaller scale. Participants there also picketed Indigo Books and Music,
a retail chain with locations throughout Canada. Its main shareholders
are financial supporters of the Heseg Foundation for Lone [Israeli]
Reactions from the Jewish Community
After years in which the Jewish community reacted only in minor ways, a
change occurred in 2008. The University of Toronto's Israel Apartheid
Week received much more attention this year from Jewish groups on
campus, B'nai Brith, and the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for
Holocaust Studies. The pro-Israeli community at the University of
Ottawa also staged a counterevent, including a lecture by the Israeli
ambassador to Canada on "Israel, the Only Democracy in the Middle
McMaster University, for its part, banned the words "Israel Apartheid"
because they demonstrate intolerance. Controversy then erupted on
campus as to whether the administration meant all use of "Israel
Apartheid" or just the use of the term on printed displays. Students at
Ryerson University and the University of Toronto also staged a
The Jewish community, including leaders of the abovementioned
organizations, made the University of Toronto administration aware of
their views. In April, 125 Jewish and non-Jewish professors took out a
full-page ad in the National Post
calling on the administration to prevent the university from hosting
future Israel Apartheid Weeks. They noted that, while the university
prohibits Islamophobia and discrimination toward other minorities and
specific individuals, it permits freedom of speech for Israel Apartheid
The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies also sent
a letter to David Naylor, president of the University of Toronto,
expressing their disappointment at the school's response to Israel
Apartheid Week by dismissing the issue simply as one of freedom of
Boycott Motions at the University and College Union
On 28 May 2008, Britain's UCU adopted three anti-Israeli motions at its
annual conference. They were passed by approximately a two-thirds
majority. The UCU has 120,000 members, who include most of the British
university teachers and related academic staff.
Although the UCU motions against Israel are usually referred to as
proposed boycotts, their current content now stops somewhat short of
directly calling for such actions. In 2007 the UCU received a legal
opinion that boycotting Israel would be illegal. Its details have not
been made public. One of the 2008 conference motions says that British
academics should consider the moral implications of working with
Israeli universities and discuss "the occupation" with Israeli
colleagues with whom they work.
Before this year's UCU conference, British Jewry's Stop the Boycott
Campaign published a legal opinion it had obtained. This stated among
other things that if the UCU were to adopt and implement one of the
proposed motions it might breach the British Race Relations Act.
At the UCU's invitation a delegation from PFUUPE (the Palestinian
Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees) visited UK
universities and colleges during the past academic year. As Jonathan
Halevi notes, "The discussions between UCU and PFUUPE were concentrated
on promoting fields of cooperation and supporting the Palestinian
academia, ignoring the fact that in all these universities there is a
strong presence from the Palestinian terrorist organizations."
As in previous years, the UCU resolutions prompted some condemnations.
British minister of higher education Bill Rammell stated that he found
boycotting academics deeply disturbing. Paul Goldschmidt, former
director of the European Union, wrote to José Manuel Barroso, president
of the European Commission, that he should condemn the UCU decision.
Labor parliamentarian John Mann, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary
Group against anti-Semitism, stressed the motion's discriminatory
character against British Jews: "Boycotts do nothing to bring about
peace and reconciliation in the Middle East but leave Jewish students,
academics and their associates isolated and victimized on UK university
Israel's ambassador to the UK Ron Prosor published an article in the Daily Telegraph
in which he wrote: "Israel faces an intensified campaign of
delegitimisation, demonisation and double standards. Britain has become
a hotbed for radical anti-Israeli views and a haven for disingenuous
calls for a ‘One state solution,' a euphemistic name for a movement
advocating Israel's destruction."
Minister Rammell responded:
I do not agree that there is
widespread radical anti-Israeli sentiment on our higher education
campuses. I do not believe calls for academic boycotts of Israel have
anything more than small minority support amongst academics.
Universities have a vital role to play in challenging those views that
we may regard as uncomfortable or distasteful and, where such views do
exist, it is the responsibility of staff and students to isolate the
very small minority who promote extremism.
Attorney Anthony Julius, representing various members of the UCU, wrote
a letter to its general secretary Sally Hunt. He pointed out why one of
the motions, number 25, was anti-Semitic, and argued that the UCU's
behavior was "continuous with episodes in anti-Semitism's history."
Julius also mentioned the possibility of "a likely claim against the
UCU for harassment under s. 3A(1) of the Race Relations Act, that is,
the creating of an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating and/or
offensive environment for Jewish members of the union and/or violating
their dignity." He then listed various points on which such a court
case could be based.
Those who propose and support the anti-Israeli motions are well aware
that these are unlikely to influence those British academics who
collaborate with Israeli universities. Their true aims are different.
Many are Trotskyites who seek to attract public attention to various
issues concerning the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Another aim is to
demonize Israel, while presenting themselves as moral people.
Two parties are surprisingly almost absent from the boycott-motions
debate. One is the great majority of UCU members who want their union
to focus on salaries and social conditions instead of political issues.
Yet this majority is so silent that it has allowed the Trotskyite
faction, the UCU Left, to take control.
The other major absentee is the Israeli universities. One would have
expected those who are attacked to be the first to respond. They have,
however, left the battlefield to British Jewry and its activists. Among
the latter are Ronnie Fraser, founder and director of Academic Friends
of Israel, and Engage, an organization that includes both Jewish and
non-Jewish academics and has worked against the boycott since 2005.
Until the end of 2007 the International Advisory Board for Academic
Freedom and its executive director Ofir Frenkel were at the forefront
of the battle against Israel's academic enemies worldwide. This body,
founded by Bar-Ilan University, had evolved into an umbrella
organization of all Israeli universities. However, a lack of funds
forced it to discontinue its activities.
The Israeli government was willing to make partial funding available,
but this was conditional on the universities providing the remainder.
Israel's university presidents however did not discuss the matter in
their meetings. The academic world would like to believe it is at
its best when outsiders leave it alone. The Israeli universities'
failure to deal with attacks against them is yet further proof that
this is a fallacy.
The Oxford Union is a very old student debating society. In late 2007
its leadership proposed discussing the topic "This house believes that
one state is the only solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict." The
debate had to be canceled because as representative of the pro-Israeli
side the union chose Norman Finkelstein, an academic who had been fired
from DePaul University "for his lack of scholarship and his ad hominems
against pro-Israel writers."
The Oxford Union held another event in November 2007 in which
Holocaust-denier David Irving and Nick Griffin, leader of the far-Right
British National Party, debated the subject of free speech. Irving had
been jailed by an Austrian court in 2006 for his pro-Nazi statements.
The debate was accompanied by heavy protests.
New Israeli Academic-Collaboration Agreements
When British prime minister Gordon Brown visited Israel in July 2008
he, together with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, launched a new academic-
exchange program between the UK and Israel called BIRAX (Britain-Israel
Research and Academic Exchange Partnership). The program is to run
initially for five years and will be administered by the British
Julia Smith, deputy director of the British Council said the program
was not related to the boycott. Prof. David Newman of Ben-Gurion
University, who has been active in fighting the boycott during a
sabbatical in the UK, disagreed and said the program "has a great deal
to do with the boycott. Because of the ongoing discussion of boycotts,
the British government decided that the most appropriate response was
to strengthen ties."
In the same month European Commissioner for Education, Culture and
Sport Jan Figel signed a joint declaration with Israeli education
minister Yuli Tamir on the occasion of the inauguration of the first
Tempus office in Israel. The Tempus program promotes the exchange of
students and academic staff between the EU and neighboring
On the other hand, two leading British universities have received gifts
from Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Abdul Aziz Alsaud. Centers for Islamic
studies will be set up at Cambridge and Edinburgh universities with a
$31 million endowment. The prince had earlier made gifts to Harvard and
Georgetown universities. Then-New York mayor Rudy Giuliani refused
a $10 million gift from him after the 9/11 attack because the prince
had suggested that American policies had contributed to the crime.
The financing of chairs in Western universities by Saudi Arabia
and other Arab dictatorships is an issue that will require increasing
scrutiny. Jay P. Greene, head of the Department of Education Reform at
the University of Arkansas, says Gulf Arabs have donated a total of $88
million to fourteen U.S. universities from 1995 to the present. His own
university was the largest recipient. Prof. Anthony Glees, director
of Brunel University's Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies,
says that eight British universities-among them Oxford and
Cambridge-have accepted more than £233.5 million from Saudi and Muslim
donors from 1995 to 2008.
United States: The Ad Hoc Committee to Defend the University
Another initiative that de facto serves the anti-Israeli racists on
campuses is a statement of the Ad Hoc Committee to Defend the
University. This was partly an attack on the pro-Israeli forces and
those fighting anti-Semitism in American academia. In November 2007
professors from the University of California-Santa Cruz, Princeton,
Harvard, and Columbia jointly launched a petition on academic freedom.
By August 2008 this declaration had about 650 signatures including
those of academics representing almost every Ivy League school. The Ad
Hoc Committee released the statement on its website for viewing or
adding one's signature.
The statement itself begins by stressing the essential role of academic
freedom. Without citing any specific examples, the text discusses how
it has recently become necessary to protect this freedom because of
limitations on the type of material taught in classrooms and effects on
the tenure of professors.
The language of the petition directs the blame for these limitations at
pressure or lobby groups. It singles out pro-Israeli activities. It
also states that "a greater percentage of social scientists today feels
that their academic freedom has been threatened than was the case
during the McCarthy era."
According to supporters of the declaration, the Israel lobby has taken
control of the universities through donations, linking anti-Semitism to
being anti-Israeli, and other types of influence. Thus the petition
calls for lecturers to have the freedom to teach what they consider
appropriate in the classroom without fear. The signatories also state
that the right to scrutinize their work belongs primarily to their
Organizations such as Campus Watch have criticized the professors who
support the petition by saying they "are sealing themselves from the
society that supports them...and are ivory tower intellectuals who
regularly render harsh judgments against the practitioners of other
professions-but claim immunity from criticism when it is directed
Campus Watch director Daniel Pipes unmasked the hypocrisy of the Ad Hoc
Committee by pointing out that the anti-Israeli academic Noam Chomsky
has no problem speaking at American universities and added: "When I go
on universities I can barely give a talk."
Investigations at the University of California-Irvine
Anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism are rife in a number of U.S.
universities. A prime example is the University of California-Irvine.
Incidents there in recent years have been described in an essay by
In 2006 the Hillel Foundation of Orange County set up a task force to
investigate anti-Semitism on the UC-Irvine campus. They interviewed
people about incidents that had occurred there. Officials from the
school, however, including the chancellor, refused to be interviewed
claiming it was against school policy. The interviews began in February
2007, but by August of that year Hillel decided the task was too
extensive and discontinued its association with the project.
The investigation was later continued by members of the Jewish
community of Orange County. They published their report in February
2008. This document is of major importance as it examines the
structural problems of anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli hate at one
American university in their totality rather than dealing only with a
number of incidents. It can serve as a model for similar investigations
at other universities, Columbia and UC-Santa Cruz being among the prime
The new group's report states that "acts of anti-Semitism are real and
well documented. Jewish students have been harassed. Hate speech is
unrelenting." Furthermore, "Some faculty members have used their
classroom as a forum for their anti-Israel agenda."
The authors also assert that: "The Muslim Student Union...allies itself
and identifies itself with terrorist groups that are enemies of the
Unites States." About the administration they note:
The Chancellor has failed to
exercise his moral authority as an educator and leader by abrogating
his leadership responsibilities. The boundaries of rational and
reasonable discourse by constituencies that have differing positions on
emotional issues have not been established. There is no indication that
the University is at all concerned about the disconnect between campus
values and the values of the greater society.
The report also mentions that the Jewish community as a whole has not
been proactive. It even includes a suggestion that Jewish students
should not attend school at UC-Irvine.
At the request of the Zionist Organization of America, the United
States Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) also
launched an investigation into anti-Semitic incidents at UC-Irvine.
After some initial inquiries, the office claimed it had not been
informed in time and, based on this technicality, ceased the
investigation. The task force of the Jewish community, however,
concluded that there was evidence that all twenty-six incidents the OCR
was supposed to investigate had indeed taken place, and that there had
been additional ones as well.
An Abundance of Anti-Israeli Events
The 2007-2008 academic year was marked by numerous anti-Israeli events
at UC-Irvine. In February 2008 an Israel Apartheid Week was held. This
included a lecture by Imam Mohammad Al-Asi titled "From Auschwitz to Gaza:
The Politics of Genocide." He said Israel was an apartheid state
and that "Israel is on the way down...your days are numbered. We will
fight you until we are martyred or until we are victorious."
Al-Asi returned to UC-Irvine in May 2008 to take part in a weeklong
event to commemorate the Nakba, that is, the Arabs' catastrophic defeat
in the 1948 war against Israel. Other speakers were Norman Finkelstein
and the imam Amir Abdel Malik Ali, who praised Palestinian mothers who
sent out their children as suicide bombers.
When Daniel Pipes spoke in January 2008 at UC-Irvine on the threat to
Israel's existence, he was interrupted by pro-Palestinian students who
were then removed from the audience. They continued their protest
outside, saying things such as "it's just a matter of time before the
state of Israel will be wiped off the face of the earth...just keep on
doing what we are doing, our weapon, our jihad, our way of struggling.
May Allah give them strength." Pipes, later interviewed by Hannity
and Colmes on Fox News, said the school did not care about this type of
Twenty students and alumni at UC-Irvine who were dissatisfied with the
handling and representation of the events on campus wrote a letter to
UC chancellor Michael V. Drake. It began: "We are deeply concerned
about the anti-Semitism at UCI that has been frequently couched as
false and hateful attacks on Israel. We do not believe that Chancellor
Drake has exercised his responsibility as an educator and university
leader in response to the anti-Semitism." Drake, while condemning
hate speech, never specifically condemned anti-Semitism and
anti-Israelism even though they were rife on campus.
Hillel Invites Drake
Several of these students also wrote a letter to Hillel International
president Wayne Firestone, saying they were upset that Chancellor Drake
had been invited as a guest speaker at the National Summit of Hillel to
lead a session on "Fostering a More Civil Society." Firestone answered
that it is better to work with such people than to dismiss them.
Regarding the invitation to Drake, Morton Klein, president of the
Zionist Organization of America said: "By giving him a podium to give a
speech, that only sends a message to him and to others that we are
reasonably comfortable with the actions he's taken to fight
anti-Semitism and Israel bashing on campus when in fact he has said
virtually nothing to give comfort to Jewish students on campus."
Isi Leibler, former senior vice-president of the World Jewish Congress
criticized Firestone's statement that there was no relationship between
anti-Israeli activity and anti-Semitism: "It is surely disconcerting
for a Hillel president to express views by now repudiated even by such
bodies as the European Union and the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe, not to mention the US government."
Columbia University has had a number of anti-Israeli incidents in
recent years. Once again the fact that it only concerns a limited
number of the staff is no consolation.
At a conference organized in New York by the David S. Wyman Institute
for Holocaust Studies, Prof. Stephen H. Norwood recounted how
then-Columbia president Murray Butler had tried to establish friendly
relations with German universities in the mid-1930s. He said, "Butler
was morally indifferent to Nazi crimes during the critically important
early years of Nazi rule." Some professors who opposed his behavior
Norwood, who received his PhD in history at Columbia and teaches at the University of Oklahoma, told the Jerusalem Post: "Sixty
years after the Holocaust, Columbia has never acknowledged that they
did anything wrong, even when we now know what the failure of
confronting Nazism led to. They don't care enough to look back and say
injustices were done."
In recent years Columbia's Middle East and Asian Language and Cultures
Department has been accused of intimidating pro-Israeli students.
Dozens of cases were exposed in the David Project's 2004 documentary Columbia Unbecoming.
The university then had no choice but to carry out an investigation by
an academic committee that obfuscated more than it clarified.
Columbia stood out negatively once again in September 2007 when it invited Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
to speak at its World Leaders Forum. The idea of inviting him had
already been raised the previous year. At the 2007 lecture, Columbia
president Lee C. Bollinger challenged Ahmadinejad and others did so as well. Yet the event gave legitimacy to Ahmadinejad.
In January 2008 the Iranian news agency Mehr claimed that a number of Columbia professors intended to travel to Iran to apologize to Ahmadinejad for Bollinger's behavior. This was denied by various Columbia sources and nothing more was heard about it.
In April 2008 Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs
held a faculty panel discussion on "60 Years of Nakba: The Catastrophe
of Palestine 1948-2008." A key speaker was Joseph Massad who had been
the prime academic investigated for intimidation of pro-Israeli
students after the showing of Columbia Unbecoming.
Massad had been found at fault in the cases where this conclusion was
almost unavoidable but no disciplinary measures against him were
A writer in FrontPage Magazine summed up
this year's panel: "Using the ‘renaming' strategy to make the
destruction of Israel more palatable to the West was the faculty
panel's primary theme. Portraying the only democratic state in the
Middle East as a brutal, non-democratic ‘Jewish supremacist and racist
state,' as Massad once put it, was the secondary theme."
James R. Russell, a professor of Armenian studies at Harvard wrote:
Is this Columbia University? A
professor of anthropology calls for a million Mogadishus, a professor
of Arabic and Islamic Science tells a girl she isn't a Semite because
her eyes are green, and a professor of Persian hails the destruction of
the World Trade Center as the castrating of a double phallus. The most
recent tenured addition to this rogues' gallery is to be an
anthropologist, the principal thrust of whose magnum opus is the
suggestion that archaeology in Israel is a sort of con game meant to
persuade the unwary that Jews lived there in antiquity.
The latter accusation referred to Nadia Abu El-Haj's book Facts on the Ground.
Russell said it "fits firmly into the postmodern academic genre, in
which facts and evidence are subordinate to, and mediated by, a
‘discourse.'" He concluded that the battle against ideology at Columbia
was probably lost.
To balance the one-sided pro-Arab teaching at Columbia, a new Institute
for Israel and Jewish Studies was established. However, the professor
appointed as its director, Yinon Cohen, had signed a statement in May
2002 supporting Israelis who refused to serve in military operations in
and the West Bank during the Second Intifada. Such a person was
obviously not the right one to provide an Israeli perspective. This
model of hiring people to represent Israel whose views belong to the
margins of Israeli society manifests itself at a number of
universities. Some of these academics are even outspoken Jewish
Although UC-Irvine and Columbia are among the main universities where
the problem of anti-Israelism is structural, many incidents have taken
place on other campuses. Some involved anti-Semitic graffiti,
vandalism, or personal insults, such as at the University of North
Dakota, Rutgers, and UC-Santa Cruz, another university
where structural anti-Israeli bias occurs.
There are also hostile acts by individual academics against which
Israel's supporters should react. One example is David Mumford. This
Harvard mathematician, who received the Wolf Prize in Israel,
decided to give part of the prize money to students of Birzeit
University near Ramallah so that they could travel abroad.
It is worth recalling, though, that in the 2003 elections for the
Birzeit student government council, the campaign featured models of
exploding Israeli buses. In the debate, the Hamas candidate asked the Fatah candidate: "Hamas
activists in this university killed 135 Zionists. How many did Fatah
activists from Birzeit kill?" The people murdered are mostly Israeli
Mumford accepted money from an Israeli body and used it to fund
students of a Palestinian university where major incitement to
murder Israelis takes place. If he will become known more for his
vicious mind than for his academic achievements it will serve as a
lesson to others. It is sadly clear that in such battles Israeli
universities that do not tend to their own direct interests will not be
much of a partner.
Exposing the Abuses
The many ideological abuses on American campuses have led to a number
of counteractions. "In October 2007 more than a hundred campuses hosted
Islamo-Fascism Awareness weeks to make university communities aware of
the Islamist threat and the danger it poses. In April 2008 a second
Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week focused on the network created in America
by the Muslim Brotherhood." Yet another campaign is planned for October
2008 on "Stop the Jihad on Campus."
The highly politicized nature of the Middle East Studies Organization
(MESA) has led a number of scholars to create an alternative
organization, the Association for the Study of the Middle East and
Africa (ASMEA). Its chairman is the well-known scholar Bernard Lewis
and another leading academic, Fouad Ajami, is vice-president of its
academic council. Its members already include five hundred scholars in
forty countries. Its first meeting was held in April 2008.
In Italy over several months in 2007 and the beginning of 2008 a list
appeared on the internet of 162 Italian university teachers of Jewish
origin. When the Rome Jewish community complained to the Interior
Ministry, the internet service provider took the site off the web.
Professor Roberto della Rocca, a historian at the University of Rome
III had already asked the provider in September 2007 to remove this
site because he said it was a threat to him personally. Giuliano Amato,
the interior minister, said that what he had seen on the blog violated
both Italian culture and law. The ministry then launched an
The Less Visible
There are also, however, many factors less visible than incidents that
slowly pervert the teaching atmosphere on campus. These include, for
instance, the selective choice of books for libraries, or the one-sided
assigning of books in lecture classes. These are almost underground
phenomena that are not monitored in any way.
A problem apart is self-hating Israeli academics, some of whom are
outright advocates of Israel's genocidal enemies. Others, less extreme,
defame Israel in various ways while remaining silent about the context
in which Israel operates or without even mentioning the murderous
attitudes that permeate Palestinian society.
An example of Israeli self-hate was cited by former Israeli minister Amnon Rubinstein. A visiting professor at Columbia when Ahmadinejad spoke there, he relates: "Inside the hall sat an Israeli student who applauded Ahmadinejad.
I asked another Israeli who witnessed this behavior to tell me about
her. I asked: ‘How can she applaud someone that wants to exterminate
her?' His matter of fact reply: ‘She's known to be a leftist.'"
In other words "leftists" applaud a
tyrant, a Nazi, a persecutor of minorities, oppressor of women, stoner
of "adulterers," and executioner of homosexuals. If he protests the
oppression of the Palestinians, then he must clearly be a member of the
"left" and should therefore be cheered. Later, I encountered other
Israeli academics at Columbia who added more fuel to the fire of hatred
against Israel-all belonged to what is known as the radical
The abovementioned examples of anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli actions on
campuses in a number of countries are far from comprehensive. At
present no one is tracking such incidents systematically and globally.
There are several reasons why such a body is needed. Israel Apartheid
Week has demonstrated that developments on one campus may spread to
others, both in the same country and internationally. Only an
international monitoring body can keep track of such developments.
Furthermore, individual students and Jewish organizations in various
countries need a backup organization that has expertise in countering
anti-Semitic phenomena on campus. Since academia is usually a world
apart from society at large, off-campus Jewish organizations have great
difficulty understanding how to cope with such developments. In
addition, many incidents such as professors demonizing Israel in class
Although certain aspects of these problems are competently covered in
some countries by various Jewish organizations, there is a lack of an
overall global picture, and of monitoring of many of the hate phenomena
against Israel and the Jews. There is a need for a body to concentrate
the knowledge on the various actions against Jews and Israel and how
people respond to them. Only with this knowledge can effective action
be undertaken-in other words, a more proactive policy is needed.
It would be mistaken to consider the onslaught on Israel and Jews as an
isolated phenomenon. What happens to Jews has usually been a pointer to
structural elements of the societal environment in which it takes place
and is also a sensor of events to come. This is also the case as far as
academia is concerned. Academic freedom has been abused so much that it
has outlived part of its academic and societal usefulness for fostering
knowledge in its present form.
If any further proof was needed, Columbia University's invitation to Ahmadinejad
to lecture there provided it. In view of his incitement to genocide,
the natural place for him to speak should be as a defendant before an
international court. Similarly the many anti-Israeli hate campaigns on
campus prove that the principle of academic freedom in its present form
is partly obsolete.
The defenders of what now passes for academic freedom should largely be
seen as an elitist interest group that tries to protect acquired
privileges. Being powerful in society and having good public relations
enables universities to present the current, ostensible academic
freedom as a moral value, whereas actually it is an expression of
extreme corporatism. The declaration of the Ad Hoc Committee to Defend
the University is a prime example of this aberration.
Outsiders such as Campus Watch and FrontPage Magazine
fulfill important roles in exposing misbehavior on campuses-all the
more so because academic peers and administrations have often failed in
preventing it. One can only hope that external scrutiny of what goes on
in academia will increase further.
One important example of how an investigation can shed light on a
troubled, insufficiently known area was Britain's All-Party
Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism. It paid substantial
attention to anti-Semitism on campuses.
There is a similar need for more comprehensive external investigations
of the academic world, particularly its openness to hate teaching and
bias. This includes elements such as political correctness, the
promotion of ideology, the distortion of knowledge, and the protection
of the hate promoters and falsifiers of knowledge as well as other
malfunctions of campus administrations.
 The author expresses his thanks to Emily Bernstein who was the research assistant at the JCPA for part of this project.
 For a historical overview see: Manfred Gerstenfeld (ed.), Academics against Israel and the Jews (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2007).
 "About IAW," Israel Apartheid Week, 9 March 2008. .
 Israel Apartheid Week, 9 March 2008. .
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 Abe Selig, "Canadian Professors Slam ‘Israel Apartheid Week,'" Jerusalem Post, 2 April 2008.
 "Toronto," Israel Apartheid Week, 9 March 2008. .
 "Schedules," Israel Apartheid Week, 9 March 2008 .
 S. Sheri, "Jewish Groups Work to Counter Israeli Apartheid Week," Canadian Jewish News, 9 March 2008.
 Alexander Nino Gheciu, "Ontario Students Protest Ban," Excalibur, 27 February 2008, 4 March 2008. .
 Selig, "Canadian Professors."
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 Personal communication, Ofir Frenkel.
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 Reuters, "Protesters Disrupt Oxford Debate with Holocaust Denier," Haaretz, 28 November 2007.
 Ehud Zion Waldoks, "PM, Brown Launch New Academic Exchange Program," Jerusalem Post, 20 July 2008.
 Ehud Zion Waldoks, "Israel Boycott a ‘Lose-Lose' Situation," Jerusalem Post, 16 July 2008.
 Aisha Labi, "2 British Universities to Benefit from Saudi Prince's Gifts," Chronicle of Higher Education, 9 May 2008.
 Jamie Glazov, "Why Arabian Gulf Countries Donate to US Universities," FrontPage Magazine, 9 June 2008.
 Anthea Lipsett, "Concerns over Funding of Islamic Studies," Education Guardian, 17 April 2008.
 Joan Scott, Edmund Burke, Jeremy Adelman, Steven Caton, Jonathan
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 Ben Harris, "Anti-Israel Academics Say Their Speech Is Stifled," JTA, 25 October 2007.
 Leila Beckwith, "Anti-Zionism/Anti-Semitism at the University of California-Irvine," in Gerstenfeld, Academics, 115-21.
 Joseph Serna, "Jewish Org. Nixes UCI Probe," Daily Pilot, 7 October 2007.
 Task Force on Anti-Semitism at the University of California Irvine, Report and Addendum (Huntington Beach, CA: Orange County Independent Task Force, 2008), 26.
 Ibid., 27
 Aaron Elias, "Al-Asi on Israel: Yes, He Really Said That," New University, 9 March 2008. .
 Michal Landau, "Fight UC Irvine Campus Anti-Semitism," Jerusalem Post, 3 April 2008.
 The Editors, "The ‘Nakba' at UC-Irvine," FrontPage Magazine, 20 May 2008.
 Brad A. Greenberg, "Report Says UCI Is a Hostile Place for Jewish Students," Jewish Journal, 22 February 2008.
 UC-Irvine Students, Letter to Chancellor Drake, Students Concerned about Anti-Semitism on Campus, UC-Irvine.
 Ben Harris, "Debating How to Respond on Campus," JTA, 18 March 2008.
 Isi Leibler, "Candidly Speaking: Hillel Goes Post-Modern," Jerusalem Post, 31 March 2008.
 Etgar Lefkowitz, "Columbia Skips NYC Event on University's Nazi Ties in '30s," Jerusalem Post, 3 April 2008.
 For a transcript of Columbia Unbecoming, see: www.columbiaunbecoming.com/script.htm.
 Noah Liben, "The Columbia University Report on Its Middle Eastern
Department's Problems: A Paradigm for Obscuring Structural Flaws," in
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 Peter Kiefer, "Report: Columbia Professors to Apologize to Ahmadinejad," New York Sun, 9 January 2008.
 Mary Madigan, "Columbia's Catastrophic ‘Nakba' Conference," FrontPage Magazine, 9 May 2008.
 James R. Russell, "Ideology over Integrity in Academe," The Current, Fall 2007.
 Jared Irmas, "New Columbia Israel Director Denounced ‘Occupation,'" New York Sun, 28 February 2008.
 Asaf Romirowsky, "In Academia, Hiring Token Jews," Washington Times, 4 August 2008
 Ben Harris, "Ignoring Anti-Semitism in N. Dakota?" JTA, 29 April 2008.
 Ben-Zion Jaffe, "Big Jew on Campus: Anti-Semitism Goes to College," Jerusalem Post blog, 16 April 2008. http://cgis.jpost.com/Blogs/jaffe/entry/anti_semitism_goes_to_college.
 J. M. Brown, "UCSC Police Investigating Anti-Semitic Graffiti," Santa Cruz Sentinel, 30 April 2008.
 Ofri Ilani, "U.S. Prof. Gives Israeli Prize Money to Palestinian University," Haaretz.com., 26 May 2008.
 Mohammed Daraghmeh, "Hamas, Fatah Compete over Killing Israelis in Campaign for Student Council Seats," Associated Press, SFGate.com, 10 December 2003. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news%20/archive/2.
 David Horowitz and Reut Cohen, "Islamo-Fascism Week III: ‘Stop the Jihad on Campus,'" FrontPage Magazine, 5 August 2008.
 Richard Byrne, "First Meeting for New Group on Middle East and
African Studies Places Islamic Extremism at Center of Its Agenda," Chronicle of Higher Education, 28 April 2008. See also Cinnamon Stilwell, "Truth about Islam in Academia," FrontPage Magazine, 7 July 2008.
 "Lista dei prof ebrei La Procura apre un'indagine," La Repubblica, 9 February 2008. [Italian]
 Amnon Rubinstein, "Homemade Israel-Bashers," Jerusalem Post, 28 February 2008.
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