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Israel Remembers the Holocaust By: Steven Plaut
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, April 28, 2006

As the sirens went off on Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Commemoration Day in Israel, the entire country stood in silence and remembrance.  Well, almost the whole country.

These are also the days in which the government of Iran both denies there ever was a Holocaust, while building nuclear weapons in order to perpetrate a second one.

And just before Holocaust Remembrance Day began this year, a group of leftist and "Post-Zionist” radical professors at Tel Aviv University decided that the time was apt to show their own solidarity with Iran and defend it from American "imperialist ambitions".


Just a few hours before Holocaust Remembrance Day commenced, Tel Aviv University (TAU) held the official initiation ceremony for its Center for Iranian Studies, a new research institute on campus. In response, a group of extremist professors and Arab and Jewish student radicals held a demonstration and sent an official letter of protest against opening the Center to campus authorities, as reported in Israeli dailies Haaretz and Yediot Ahronot. 


In their letter these extremists expressed fear that the new Center will be "misused" to paint Iran as a radical anti-Semitic and pro-terrorism state and grant legitimacy to Western demonization of Iran.  Second, they expressed concern that the operations of the Center could be exploited by American imperialism in justifying American aggression against Iran.


The radicals were particularly upset because a speaker at the opening ceremony was the Iran-born Shaul Mofaz, who had been Commander in Chief of the IDF and then Minister of Defense of Israel.  As such, Mofaz is guilty in the eyes of the protesters of illegitimately fighting against Islamofascist terrorism, rather than appeasing it and capitulating to the demands of the terrorists.  "We cannot remain indifferent, let alone on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day, to statements coming from Tehran by one of the most extreme leaders since Hitler, who denies the Holocaust and calls to destroy Israel. We must take it seriously," Mofaz said at the ceremony.


The protesting faculty members expressed fears that the new Iran Center would have a "defensive-military" character (as opposed to an appeasing one).  The protesters noisily sat in the hall in which the ceremony took place, holding signs with the names of Palestinians allegedly killed in Israeli shelling when Israel fired back at Qassam missile launchers and otherwise took retaliatory action against Palestinian terrorists.  No names of Israeli victims of Arab terrorism were on the signs. 


Numerous faculty and student protesters were then evicted from the hall by security guards for disrupting the ceremony and trying to prevent Mofaz from speaking.  The Tel Aviv University "First Amendment" was certainly on display for all to see.  One extremist TAU professor, Dr. Anat Matar (an activist who supports and organizes mutiny and insurrection among Israeli soldiers and who has been arrested in the past for violent protests against Israel's security wall)  was behaving in such a disruptive manner that she was forcibly prevented by security guards from entering the hall at all.


The protesters screamed at Mofaz that he was a "war criminal" because he had commanded the army during operations against terrorism. They carried signs threatening Mofaz with prosecution at the "World Court" in the Hague.


A letter signed by numerous anti-Israel extremist faculty members at TAU opposed the opening of the Center altogether and demanded that Shaul Mofaz be prevented from addressing the opening ceremony.  As in other countries, leftist extremist faculty members at TAU are opposed to freedom of speech for those with whom they disagree.


The TAU faculty members who signed that letter included: the above-mentioned faculty hooligan Anat Matar; communist professor Yehouda Shenhav, who is currently a contender for a new job at Columbia University and inventor of the "theory" that Asian Jews are in fact Arabs of the Jewish faith; Prof. Adi Ophir, a founder of "Peace Now" who wrote on the anti-Semitic web site Counterpunch that Israel is conducting genocide; Prof. Gadi Algazi, a founder of the seditious Taayush organization and fanatic anti-Zionist; Prof. Israel Gershoni, a leftist extremist from Middle East Studies who has promoted boycotts of Israel;  Dr. Amalia Ziv, who teaches"lesbian Marxist theory" in "Women's Studies" at TAU and leads a "queer anti-occupation" group of Israel-Bashing homosexuals;  Eva Jablonka, an old-left communist who has been active in calling for boycotts of Israel; and some others.


The Center for Iranian Studies was funded with contributions by Jews who had escaped Iran for the West and succeeded there.  After the ceremony, Mofaz commented on the radical protesters who disrupted it and suggested that they could better spend their time be visiting the families of Jews murdered by terrorists.   According to the news reports in Israel, the leftist faculty protesters were of the opinion that defending democracy requires the suppression of Shaul Mofaz' freedom of speech.


Outraged by the behavior of these Tel Aviv University faculty members?  Why not let TAU's President, Professor Itamar Rabinovich, know what you think.  He can be reached through email at itamarr@tauex.tau.ac.il, or fax 972-3-6422379.  Make sure the far-leftist foul-mouthed spokesman for TAU, Danny Shapiro, gets a copy, at dans@post.tau.ac.il.


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Steven Plaut is a professor at the Graduate School of the Business Administration at the University of Haifa and is a columnist for the Jewish Press. A collection of his commentaries on the current events in Israel can be found on his "blog" at www.stevenplaut.blogspot.com.

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