When it Does not Add Up: Anti-Israel Mathematicians at
By Lee Kaplan,
who are only mathematicians, have exact minds, provided all things
are explained to them by means of definitions and axioms; otherwise
they are inaccurate and insufferable, for they are only right when
the principles are quite clear”--
(French Mathematician, Philosopher and Physicist, 1623-1662)
University of Haifa mathematician
Kobi Peterzil was downright annoyed during operation Cast Lead
in Gaza. It seems the University decided to post Israeli flags
around campus and even have lights in the University’s tower
configured in the shape of the Israeli flag, all in support of
victims of Qassam rockets in the South of Israel. Peterzil,
indignant at the effort, stated, “This is a joke, right? Shall we
all sing Hatikvah as we enter our classes?”
That an Israeli university professor would find
patriotism objectionable is not that unusual; nihilism is the name
of the game on university campuses worldwide these days and
Peterzil’s criticism of Haifa U.’s flag policy fits right in.
Everyone knows Hamas calls for the murder of every Jew in Israel and
shoots missiles into Sderot and Ashkelon to achieve this. Those
flags on campus were to show unity with fellow Israelis in the
southern half of the country.
Peterzil’s cynicism about such patriotism and
his support for the Arab-Israeli students who cheer on Hamas at
Haifa University should not surprise us, given the state of mind on
so many campuses today. But is Peterzil also a hypocrite? Would he
be so cynical were he teaching at Islamic University in Gaza or at
Bir Zeit with its Arab and Islamic Nationalism calls for the murder
of Israelis as matters of nationalist pride? Peterzil has never
spoken out against the flying of PLO or Hamas flags on Israeli
campuses by Arab and leftist students.
Oddly enough, mathematicians like Peterzil are
well-represented among the anti-Israel Israeli academics. For
Hebrew University's math professor Ehud DeShalit (no relation to
Gilad Shalit, who is still languishing in captivity) is virulently
against the Jewish state’s exercising self-defense. Some of these
mathematicians even openly root for Israel’s enemies, employing
false lemmas like “Israeli apartheid” and corollaries such as
“Zionism is racism” to prove that everything is Israel's fault.
Perhaps this is due to thinking only in abstracts as mathematicians
are wont to do. But it has a more deleterious effect on Israel than
her citizens and taxpayers can imagine. The radicals use their
academic positions to lend themselves credibility on the world stage
when they bash Israel.
One group of such Israeli mathematics
professors loves to work with its Arab counterparts at Al Quds
University, a cooperation about which Al Quds President Sari
Nussiebeh said, "We hope this effort will prove to be a step in
showing how the universal language of mathematics can be translated
into a shared language of political and moral values." Nussiebeh,
you see, is a Palestinian terrorist, who provided intelligence to
Saddam Hussein’s forces when he was shooting SCUD missiles at
Israel. Nussiebeh spent time in an Israeli prison as a terrorist,
and then was allowed to leave Israel for three years under a plea
agreement. Ehud DeShalit happily works with Nusseibeh and wants more
Palestinians from the "Territories" in Israeli universities.
Kobi Peterzil, as a mathematician, is an expert
in Modnet mathematics, or o-minimal theory model in operations
systems. He deals in abstracts all the time. These abstracts are
divorced, say, from a Jewish mother who worries if her children will
be blown up by a Qassam missile while at school. Peterzil is also
the head of the northern chapter of the radically anti-Israel
organization Ta’ayush, which means “co-existence” in Arabic. The
co-existence it seeks is one in which Israel ceases to exist as a
Jewish state. Co-existence, one would think, is a two-way street,
but apparently not in the abstract minds of some mathematicians.
Ta’ayush is affiliated with the Alternative
Information Center, which works with and supports the communist
inspired Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the
communist wing and second largest faction of the PLO. The AIC was
closed down temporarily by the Shin Bet for its ties with the PFLP
and it recently
memorialized the recent death of PFLP founder George Habash for
his inspiring them.
It was in fact the Alternative Information
Center that helped host two British/Pakistani terrorists who carried
out the "Mike’s Place" suicide bombing attack in Tel Aviv and helped
them enter Israel. The AIC is tied to the pro-terror International
Solidarity Movement and Ta’ayush routinely demonstrates alongside
the ISM in areas such as Hebron. Peterzil wrote an article,
internationally published appearing on ISM websites, detailing his
indignation at the Israeli government for supposedly closing off an
Arab village while allowing a Jewish community three kilometers away
nearby. Peterzil wrote about the Arab village of Dar el Hanoun,
which he alleges was in existence 80 years before the newer Jewish
settlement at Mitzpe Iron. He describes the latter as a form of
“colonization.” You know, Jews colonizing the land of Israel, the
birthplace of the Jews.
The reality is that the Israeli government
designated the area a green belt and offered to pay the Arabs
residing there to move elsewhere. The Israeli government has offered
to move the Arabs at its own expense and compensate them generously,
and most accepted the offer. Peterzil's friends would no doubt be
the first to endorse proposals to create green zones if it involved
moving Jews out of their homes.
Even more disturbing is Kobi Peterzil's signing
of various petitions designed to weaken and prevent the Jewish state
from defending itself. He signed a petition in praise of the
Methodist Church’s decision to boycott Israel. He also signed a
petition and has encouraged young Israelis to refuse to serve in the
IDF, the same Israeli army that protects him and the University
where he teaches alongside his Arab students who call for the end of
the Jewish state.
When Palestinian Arabs want Jews out of Judea
and Samaria in what they hope is to become Palestine, they try and
kill them with bombs and guns. Peterzil and his Ta'ayush friends do
not express similar moral outrage over the eviction of Jews from
Judea and Samaria. And the same could be said for some others of
Peterzil’s mathematics colleagues in Israeli academia.
Another mathematician, this one affiliated with
Bar-Ilan University and possibly also with the Technion, is named
Kobi Snitz. He is a leader of the ultra-violent and anti-Israel
"Anarchists Against the Wall." This is a group of people from
outside and inside Israel who want, well, anarchy. They aid Arabs
who want terrorists to have easy access to Israel’s civilian
population by vandalizing Israel's security fence. Every weekend,
Snitz and friends incite the Arabs in villages in the West Bank to
riot and attack Israeli soldiers and border guards, then cry foul if
the soldiers disperse them.
Still another PhD in mathematics,
Dalit Baum, has never even used her PhD in mathematics in the
academic sphere other than as a ticket for bashing Israel. She
proudly proclaims herself a lesbian Women’s Studies Professor, whose
main academic credentials are that she organizes gays to oppose the
existence of the Jewish state. She celebrates the same Palestinians who
murder gays and lesbians like her.
What makes mathematicians like Peterzil,
DeShalit, Snitz and Baum and other Israel mathematicians ignore the
Jew murderers by Hamas and the endless Arab rhetoric about driving
Israel into the sea? Such fuzzy-headed thinking might indirectly
even be hurting the nation’s children in their mathematics. Few
people know that in 1964 Israeli schoolchildren were first in math
worldwide, but since then,
thanks to some of Israel’s abstract-thinking mathematicians, Israeli
children now place 28th in the world. Professors too
busy creating a Palestinian state have little time to worry that
little Moshe can’t count.
Ehud DeShalit of Hebrew University’s Einstein
Institute of Mathematics claims he doesn’t believe in a single
educational approach to dealing with math, a method he finds
“boring.” DeShalit also seems to be bored when it comes to violent
Arab irredentism against the Jewish state. DeShalit was featured in
article in “Occupation Magazine” put out by the Alternative
Information Center and the International Solidarity Movement.
DeShalit embraces the Arab mantra of Israel’s
guilt no matter what and urges support for anti-Israel goals. He
created a mathematics museum for children, both Palestinian and
Israeli, which allegedly deals in pure math as a means of developing
co-existence. We wonder how many of the Arab children who have
visited it have grown up to murder Jewish children.
Of course, the facts that
Palestinian textbooks teach math in an original manner, for
example, where computations over dunams of land are phrased to
determine how much was "stolen" by Jews, or how many Jews should be
executed in a given circumstance of Palestinian revenge. DeShalit
has no problems collaborating with Sari Nussiebeh. After all, who
cares about someone who helped drop SCUDS on the heads of Israeli
DeShalit has loudly
protested against the IDF restricting the number of Palestinian
students from the territories attending Israeli universities. Never
mind that his own campus has been repeatedly targeted by Palestinian
bombers. The Palestinian universities to which DeShalit would grant
equal treatment and access to Israeli universities also celebrate
terror openly and commonly push for the academic boycott of Israeli
universities on a regular basis.
Another colleague of DeShalit at the Einstein
Math Center at Hebrew University is Mathematician Emmanuel Farjoun.
He has a long track record of backing anti-Israel political
activism. Farjoun signed a petition for the Palestinian Campaign for
the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. In other words, he
supports boycott of his own university.
Farjoun was one of ten Israeli scientists who
signed the original petition calling for the boycott of Israeli
schools. "I think international pressure should be put on Israel to
respect the rights of Palestinians," says Farjoun. He adds that he
scientists should not act individually. "Scientists should
collaborate on an individual level with colleagues all over the
world, regardless of the government under which they live," Farjoun
says, but then in the same breath he urges scientists to boycott
Israeli scientists. Farjoun is so hostile to Israel that he was once
even criticized for it by the late pro-terror Marxist sociologist
from the Hebrew University,
Baruch Kimmerling. Farjoun can be found endorsing the academic
and educational boycott of Israel on
Arab websites abroad like Al Ahram of Egypt .
Farjoun has actually
written in defense of killing Jewish settlers in the West Bank.
Prior to 1948 there were many legally purchased and developing
Jewish communities that the Arabs seized, even murdering the Jewish
occupants after an armistice. But Farjoun endorses the Arab
"narrative" that Jews living in any future state of Palestine should
be killed the same as black slaves in history might do to their
he uses as an example William Styron’s book The Confessions of Nat
Turner. There’s one major problem with this; the book is pure
fiction and it raised objections even among black intellectuals.
Innocent blacks suffered because of the real Turner Revolt just as
innocent Palestinians suffer under the leadership of Hamas and Fatah
and the other terror groups. Comparing Palestinian Arabs to black
slaves of the antebellum US south is not only noxious, but plain
British and French efforts to boycott Israel. Quoting Farjoun:
"Boycotts are the final step," he says, "when the
situation is already very severe, like in South Africa, and here the
situation is completely analogous, and moreover, here the
Palestinians are not even citizens, and have been living for 35
years without basic rights."
One thing obvious about Farjoun’s "thinking" is
that he seems to be strongly influenced by the communist party line.
The Styron novel received considerable attention and promotion by
the late Professor of History and head of the US Communist party
Herbert Aptheker. Farjoun has written about "class struggle,"
something about which he has no academic credentials at all. He’s a
mathematician, not an economist or sociologist.
Israeli far-leftist anti-Israel academics in
the mathematics field may have their own abstract ways of looking at
things, but they are paid by the Israeli taxpayers, and then promote
an anti-Israel agenda that sometimes involves terrorist attacks
against those same taxpayers.
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