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Editorial Article

Oren Yiftachel: Legacy of Fraud, Incompetence, and Struggle against the Existence of Israel

So How Exactly do you say "Pseudo-Academic Fraud" in Bedouin?

Special Isracampus Report
22/4/2012

Oren Yiftachel is one of the worst anti-Israel "academic" extremists in Israel. After being turned down for an academic position in urban planning at the Technion due to his poor academic credentials, he was made a professor of geography at Ben Gurion University, a university where academic credentials are not always a necessary nor a sufficient condition for a person to serve on its faculty.

There Yiftachel has built an entire career upon churning out Bash-Israel propaganda. He specializes in trying to paint Israel as a racist apartheid entity, or to use his own favorite nonsense word an intolerant "ethnocracy." He justified the firing of Hamas rockets into Israel, even when some landed near his own campus, on grounds that Israel had "jailed" the entire Palestinian population of Gaza. This "jailing" consisted of refusing to allow the Gazan terrorists to import advanced weapons systems. (See this anti-Semitic smear by him, still carried on the BGU official web site: http://www.geog.bgu.ac.il/members/yiftachel/shorts/the%20jailer%20state.pdf and see also http://www.martinsherman.net/557/comprehending-the-incomprehensible-%E2%80%93-part-i/) Yiftachel churns out anti-Israel hate propaganda for some of the most anti-Semitic groups and magazines on the planet. Along with BGU's Neve Gordon and Lev Grinberg, he is part of the core BGU group of tenured extremists who make no secret of their endorsement of Arab mass murder of Jews.

Yiftachel is also basically the Ilan Pappe of the Negev, meaning someone who never hesitates to lie and defraud when it comes to the holy task of annihilating Israel. And he was recently nailed for this by an Israeli judge.

For the past few years, Yiftachel has spent much of his time attempting to demonize Israel for supposedly mistreating its Bedouin citizens. This "mistreatment" consists of Israel's refusal to accept at face value the fictional and imaginary "legal" claims of the Negev Bedouins to huge portions of the entire Negev. The Bedouins and their lobby have simply fabricated "claims" for this extremely expensive and valuable land in land-poor Israel. Yiftachel, who has no training in law or history or economics, has served as their lobbyist in demanding that these fictional claims be accepted by the state, in essence transferring much of the Negev to Bedouins having no legal claim to the land there whatsoever.

Yiftachel also has a long track record of denouncing Israel for allowing Jews to move to the Negev and the Galilee, or what he calls "Judaizing" these territories. The term "judaization" has been used by anti-Semites as a nonsense term to denounce Jews since the Middle Ages.

In recent weeks, Yiftachel testified in a Beer Sheba Court about those Bedouin claims in a suit against the state of Israel brought by the Bedouin lobby. Yiftachel's fraudulent testimony has now become the matter of public record and of a growing number of media reports.

Yiftachel gave false testimony to the court. A second geography professor from Jerusalem, Prof. Ruth Kark, gave non-fictional and factually correct testimony on behalf of the state, challenging the fraudulent claims of Yiftachel and the Bedouin lobby. Kark has published a serious academic book about the Negev Bedouins, along with her PhD student, Seth Frantzman, currently an editor at the Jerusalem Post and someone who often writes for Isracampus.

The court ruled against Yiftachel and his lobby. The judge in question, Sarah Dovrat, went out of her way to denounce Yiftachel for fabrication and fraudulent misrepresentation of the contents of a number of historic documents during his testimony, denouncing him explicitly for testifying about the contents of documents he had never even bothered to read!

The denunciation of Yiftachel and his fraud has now appeared in several news venues. Citations from the judge's verdict in which Yiftachel was denounced were posted on an Israeli chat list by the distinguished Israeli professor of Geography from Tel Aviv University, Gideon Biger.

On April 20, 2012, a particularly good expose of Yiftachel's fraud was carried in Hebrew by the Makor Rishon daily newspaper. It filled a full newspaper page and is too long to be translated in full here. But we will paraphrase in English the more important segments of the story:

It cites Judge Dovrat in describing Oren's testimony before her court as a disgrace and embarrassment. It describes the court case in question as one concerning an illegal encampment of Bedouins on Negev land they do not own, where the illegal buildings (really shanties) erected there have been repeatedly demolished by the government of Israel. The lands on which these were erected are state-owned public lands. The judge is cited as saying, "I felt terribly ill at easy in listening to Yiftachel's testimony when it became apparent that he was citing sources he had never even bothered to read."

Yiftachel was called to testify by the Far-Leftist lawyer representing the Bedouins, Michael Sfard, in order to grant academic credibility to their false claims. The judge adds in her verdict: "Yiftachel twisted and squirmed on the witness stand in a manner that caused me to feel completely uneasy, in fact completely embarrassed." She adds that Yiftachel clearly never bothered to read the documents he was attempting to cite into evidence. Yiftachel was not the only fraud brought by Sfard and his clients to the court. A surveyor who was asked to testify about the lands in question had never surveyed them, merely looking them up on an internet web site. The judge tossed out the entire suit by Sfard and his Bedouin would-be land thieves.

A particularly acrimonious letter was then published by the University of Haifa's geography professor Arnon Soffer, blasting Yiftachel. In that letter, Soffer writes that he has followed Yiftachel's "work" for years and has always found it to be shallow political propaganda and not academic scholarship. He expresses satisfaction that Judge Dovrat essentially confirms officially everything he already knew about Yiftachel. When interviewed for the Makor Rishon piece, Prof. Soffer adds that Yiftachel is basically a traitor to the state of Israel, someone attempting to turn the Negev over to Bedouin squatters. Anyone proposing such an idea, says Soffer, is a rotten villain as well as a traitor.

Soffer is also quoted there as calling Yiftachel a serial liar. For example, Yiftachel likes to pretend that he "ONLY" endorses Bedouin claims to a "mere" 5% of the Negev. It is 5% if one counts all the Arava wastelands going all the way down to Eilat as included in the Negev. But in the fertile Negev land north of Beer Sheba, Yiftachel and his clients are demanding 100% of those lands for the Bedouins, says Soffer.  He also accuses Yiftachel of intentionally lying about the number of "unrecognized" meaning illegal Bedouin squatter villages in the Negev. Soffer claims that in reality 10% of the land in Israel is being illegally held by the two and a half percent of the population who are Negev Bedouins. Soffer's characterization of Yiftachel was also backed by Prof. Gideon Biger from the geography department at Tel Aviv University, also interviewed for the piece in Makor Rishon. Biger says that Yiftachel's political agenda and biases govern everything he does and writes, and Biger accuses him of producing pseudo-scientific pseudo-research.

The newspaper editorializes that the entire court case in which Yiftachel testified was in fact not at all about legal rights to land but rather about the legitimacy of Israel as a state and its right to enforce its own laws. Things Yiftachel opposes.

The Israeli anti-Zionist Left has been denouncing the judge in shrill tones for her decision. The judge has been defended, however, by many of Israel's serious legal academics, including the left-leaning eminent Prof. Ruth Gavison. She insists that if dubious Bedouin claims from the 1920s are to be taken at face value by the courts, then so must all Jewish claims to lands across the Green Line in the "Palestinian" territories. Yiftachel and his buddies of course consider such statements to be fascist racism. The case is expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court.

A second somewhat similar article appears this week on the internet at http://2nd-ops.com/adiby/?p=5658 (in Hebrew). It accuses Yiftachel of forgery and perjury, when he submitted to the court a corrected later affidavit carrying the false date of an earlier affidavit he had submitted.

It should be noted that Yiftachel is not the only anti-Israel "geographer" on the faculty of BGU. Geographer David Newman, currently the Dean of Social Sciences and the Humanities at BGU, shares most of Yiftachel's political biases and passions for anti-Israel propagandizing. Dean Newman can be counted upon to stand by his man and prevent any sanctions against Yiftachel for his misbehavior! BGU president Rivka Carmi can also be counted upon to forget all about Yiftachel whenever she insist there is only one single anti-Israel lunatic in the entire faculty of BGU.

Neve Gordon and Lev Grinberg are probably better known as the global symbols of the absence of serious academic standards at Ben Gurion University. They are notorious realizations of the long track record of BGU in hiring faculty with near empty "academic" records, promoting them and granting them tenure. There are dozens of others at BGU!

But the lesser known Yiftachel is just as much of a full-time pro-terror anti-Israel hate propagandist, hired and promoted in spite of his absence of serious academic credentials - all thanks entirely to his hatred of Israel. Hating Israel is a far weightier factor in getting hired and promoted at Ben Gurion University than is scholarly performance!

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Op-Ed articles appearing on IsraCampus.Org.il are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinion of IsraCampus.Org.il