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Ben Gurion University

Special Isracampus Report:
Rivka Carmi, the president of Ben Gurion University, has announced her intention to defy the Council on Higher Education (CHE) in Israel and, in effect, to break the law and convert Ben Gurion University into an outlaw institution.

Special Isracampus Report
10/9/2012

Her campaign to turn her school into Scofflaw University is in response to the recommendations by an Inspections Sub-Committee set up by the CHE Council to follow any reforms or changes that Carmi and BGU take in response to the recommendations by an international panel of experts regarding the University's Department of Politics (political science). The prestigious international panel, commissioned by the CHE, had turned in a devastating report about the low standards, open extremist politicization, and classroom indoctrination that characterize the Department of Politics at the university.

The panel of experts proposed that the politics department be shut down altogether unless major significant changes and reforms are made. The CHE then set up an Inspections Sub-Committee, to follow up and oversee BGU's behavior and decisions in response to the panel's demands. This sub-committee reported a few days ago that little of substance has been changed, and it repeated the demand that the Department of Politics be shut down altogether starting in the 2013-14 school year. (It would allow students already in the department to complete their degrees.) The Department of Politics at BGU consists of far-leftist anti-Israel radicals who use their classrooms for anti-Israel and Marxist indoctrination. The only Zionist and non-leftist in the department was fired a few years ago for incorrect thinking.

Now the News1 web site, a news service in Hebrew, carries a report here (http://www.news1.co.il/Archive/001-D-309321-00.html) entitled "Ben Gurion University Mutinies against the CHE." It reports that Carmi and other officials at Ben Gurion University distributed a letter to all faculty and students in the university this week, announcing their intention to defy the CHE and ignore the demands and the call to shut down the Department of Politics. The letter of defiance, which can be read in its original in Hebrew here: http://www.news1.co.il/ShowCurrentFile.aspx?FileID=11060, is signed by Carmi, the BGU Rector Zvi Hacohen, and Dean of Social Sciences and Humanities David Newman, himself a geographer who is a member of the Department of Politics.

After announcing that a few cosmetic changes have now been made in the department, the letter denounces the report by the Inspections Sub-Committee, calling it unfounded and unprecedented and devoid of facts. It also threatens to take legal measures against the CHE (which provides the bulk of BGU's funding), to make sure that the recommendations are not implemented. In the letter these BGU officials insist that the demands of the Sub-Committee are an assault against academic freedom and are politically motivated and undemocratic. Evidently it is undemocratic for taxpayers to be able to expect accountability and serious standards of academic excellence from a university they pay for! (How amusing that the very same BGU people insist on the right to maintain a one-sided department of anti-Israel indoctrination within Ben Gurion University!!)

The letter adds that BGU is "proud of the faculty members in the Department of Politics," which evidently includes their pride in Neve Gordon denouncing Israel as a fascist apartheid state whose existence should be ended, and who calls for a world boycott of Israel. The letter concludes with the proclamation by its signers that the Department of Politics will continue to operate unimpeded.

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