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Academic Attack on Israel's Military By: Steven Plaut
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, March 14, 2006


In the campaign in the UK to organize an academic boycott of Israeli universities, led by the British Association of University Teachers (AUT), it turned out that a fanatic anti-Israel faculty member at an Israeli University, Ilan Pappe from the University of Haifa, was the driving force, seeking to create a boycott of his own university. That boycott campaign ultimately fizzled and failed.

But the attempts by radical anti-Israel faculty members in Israel to promote attacks on their own country continue.  Recent campaigns are in some ways more outrageous and far worse than the earlier boycott initiative.  The newest campaigns are directed against individual Israelis in their private capacity and are being promoted by some of the most openly anti-Semitic of Israel's academic extremists.

These campaigns are based upon demonizing and persecuting individual Israeli military officers as "war criminals" in European courts.  As you may recall, a few months ago, an Israeli army officer named Doron Almog was forced to cancel a private visit to the UK because some anti-Israel activists, including some leftist ex-Israelis, had petitioned a British court to issue an arrest against the former head of Israel's Southern Command.  One of those seeking the prosecution in Britain of Almog was a fanatic lawyer named David Machower, representing a Palestinian pro-terror radical group
. Machover was also one of the people in Britain promoting the campaign to boycott Israeli universities.  Machover's client, the "Palestinian Center for Human Rights," is a politicized nongovernmental organization (NGO).  The organization refuses to condemn Palestinian suicide terrorism against Israeli civilians.

Among Almog's most famous "war crimes" was his role in the Entebberescue of hundreds of hostages hijacked by Palestinian terrorists to Uganda in 1976.  He was the first Israeli para-reconnaissance commander to land on the runway at Entebbe, marking it for incoming Israeli airplanes and leading the capture of the airfield's control tower in the stunning rescue operation of 1976.  He also participated in the clandestine airlift of some 6,000 black Jews from Ethiopia to Israel in the Eighties.

Was Almog a murderous monster, as the British anti-Semites painted him?

Hardly!  In a recent interview he was asked about the greatest challenge in his career and he said it was caring for his autistic son. "Taking care of my boy - that's the most immense challenge I've ever faced," said Almog, watching his son, Eran, frolic in a toddler's wading pool. Eran is 20.  He wears diapers, chews only baby food and cannot speak.  Almog is active in groups helping the retarded.  A local Israeli far-left seditious group named Yesh Gvul, specializing in organizing mutiny and insurrection among Israeli soldiers, was also involved in the campaign of demonization against Almog.

The latest victim of a campaign of leftist vilification is an Israeli army officer named Aviv Kochavi. He was scheduled to begin studies in Britain this summer as a private person at the Royal College of Defense Studies.  He has now been forced to cancel his planned trip to the United Kingdom after the Israeli Military Advocate's Office instructed that he refrain from commencing studies, fearing that he would be arrested on trumped-up charges of "war crimes."  Kochavi has been serving as the commander of the Israel Defense Forces division along the Gaza border.

Like the earlier campaign in Britain to organize a boycott of Israeli universities, this personal campaign against Kochavi is the scurrilous initiative of a fanatic anti-Israel leftist faculty member at an Israeli university.  Kochavi is the victim of a venomous vendetta and personal defamatory attack by one Neve Gordon, a radical lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Ben Gurion University.

Gordon has conducted a campaign of slander, defilement, vilification and defamation against Kochavi for years. Beginning in 2002, Gordon published an article
, reprinted in numerous anti-Semitic and communist web sites around the world, declaring Kochavi (back then still a colonel) to be a "war criminal."  The article was published on dozens of web sites and in magazines, and in several languages, including Hebrew, English, Arabic, German and Italian.  It not only personally smeared Kochavi falsely, it could reasonably be interpreted to have been an attempt to motivate acts of violence against Kochavi, perhaps even incitement to murder. At the very least, it was a clear attempt to get Kochavi indicted before an overseas courts, such as the International Court of Justice in the Hague or a court in the UK, on the weight of Gordon's trumped-up charges.

Gordon signs his piece smearing Kochavi while openly listing his affiliation with Ben-Gurion University, in violation of the University's instructions and prohibitions on such behavior.  In his article, Gordon declares that Kochavi (Gordon misspells the name Kohavi) committed atrocities and war crimes against innocent Palestinian civilians, having given direct, personal commands to his troops to do these acts.  Gordon lists the supposed use of Palestinians as human shields by the soldiers as one "crime".

Now, it goes without saying that this is all Gordon's fabrication. There have been no charges at all filed against Kochavi for his behavior in the military or anywhere else.  In the battle in which Gordon thinks Kochavi misbehaved, Kochavi's troops were hunting for bands of vicious terrorists, including suicide bombers, who had killed hundreds of Israelis, a carnage that does not interest Gordon at all in the article. Gordon accuses Kochavi of ordering assorted "human rights violations".  Gordon's claim that Kochavi ordered troops to utilize Palestinian civilians as human shields is not only preposterous, but a downright blood libel, and has been investigated and dismissed as fantasy by the Israeli authorities. 

Gordon was hired by Ben Gurion University back when Avishay Braverman, currently the economic trigger man for the Israeli Labor Party, was running the university.  Under Braverman's leadership, Ben Gurion University was filled with anti-Israel leftist faculty members and "Post-Zionists", evidently as Braverman's intentional policy.  The Department of Political Science at BGU was so uniformly leftist and anti-Israel that it adopted a policy under which no non-leftist would be permitted to teach there.  The single non-leftist in the department was dismissed for incorrect thinking. Some have characterized Ben Gurion University in the Braverman era as the "Bir Zeit (radical Palestinian college) of the Negev".

Gordon is so extremist that he has repeatedly endorsed and praised the writings of Norman Finkelstein, considered by the Anti-Defamation League to be an open Holocaust denier. Gordon compared pro-terror Neo-Nazi Finkelstein ethically to the Prophets in the Bible. Gordon has built an academic career in large part on his Bash-Israel writings, including articles claiming Israel is a terrorist state.  He is a regular columnist for the anti-Semitic web magazine Counterpunch and his publicist writings are so venomously anti-Israel that they have been reprinted on the web site of Canada-deported nazi Ernst Zundel. Gordon was arrested for interfering with Israeli anti-terror military operations and served as a "human shield" to prevent the arrest of wanted terrorists being hidden in Arafat's Ramallah headquarters.

So why is an Israeli military hero being victimized by a fanatic anti-Israel leftist employed at an Israeli taxpayer-financed university? If you would like to ask the new President of Ben Gurion University that question, contact Prof. Rivka Carmi at rcarmi@bgumail.bgu.ac.il; Fax: 972-8-6472803.

 

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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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