Professors fuel fire of anti-Israel propaganda
Radical Israeli Jewish academicians that
condemn Israel’s right to exist fuel the fire of anti-Israel
rhetoric, said Dr. Yitzchak Mansdorf, former director of the
pro-Israel campus advocacy David Project, at the recent Jerusalem
Conference. He was referring to the anti-Israel propaganda war on
college campuses, saying that the new form of antisemitism
challenges Israel’s legitimacy on a political, ideological and
academic level. ...Ignorance of Jewish history – by non-Jewish and
even by Jewish-Israeli professors – is another reason cited by
Professors fuel fire of anti-Israel
Written by Avraham Zuroff
The Jewish Tribune
Wednesday, 24 February 2010
Jerusalem – Radical Israeli Jewish academicians that condemn
Israel’s right to exist fuel the fire of anti-Israel rhetoric, said
Dr. Yitzchak Mansdorf, former director of the pro-Israel campus
advocacy David Project, at the recent Jerusalem Conference.
He was referring to the anti-Israel propaganda war on college
campuses, saying that the new form of antisemitism challenges
Israel’s legitimacy on a political, ideological and academic level.
“Last week, [Israeli Ambassador to the US] Michael Oren ‘spoke’
at the University of California at Irvine. I say that he ‘spoke’
because he didn’t get in more than a few sentences at a time before
he was heckled,” Mansdorf related.
Oren’s lecture was interrupted more than 10 times with shouts of
“killers” and “how many Palestinians did you kill?” before
university police arrested the hecklers.
Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon was similarly
verbally attacked at Oxford University by a student protestor who
shouted Itbah al-Yahud [Slaughter the Jews]. Protestors outside the
Oxford Union chanted: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be
free.” The protest was organized by the Oxford University Palestine
A “carnival” of anti-Israel protests takes place annually
throughout Canada and around the world during Israel Apartheid Week,
this year beginning March 1. During last year’s events, students at
the University of California at Irvine made a mock checkpoint at a
main campus entrance. The checkpoint was manned by ‘Israeli
soldiers’ who referred to Israel as the “Fourth Reich” and
“Holocaust in the holy land.”
Mansdorf mentioned several reasons for the campus warfare against
Israel’s legitimacy. One obvious reason is antisemitism, as in the
case of an Oxford student’s call for the slaughtering of Jews.
Whitewashing Jewish history
Ignorance of Jewish history – by non-Jewish and even by
Jewish-Israeli professors – is another reason cited by Mansdorf. He
mentioned Al-Quds University’s web site as an example of Arab
whitewashing of the Jewish claim to Jerusalem.
Students studying towards an MA in Jerusalem studies at the
university are taught about the Armenian, Byzantine and Palestinian
connections to Jerusalem. The students aren’t taught about any
Jewish link. Mansdorf points out that Al-Quds’ web site even denies
the existence of King David and Solomon’s Temple. However, students
learn about Israeli history from a Palestinian perspective. Students
touring the former Arab Jerusalem neighbourhoods of Deir Yassin and
Ein Kerem are taught how they were “taken over by the Zionist
occupying forces.” In contrast, they aren’t taught about the Arab
massacre of Jewish doctors and nurses on a convoy from Hadassah
Hospital on Mount Scopus.
Suppose you want to research Jerusalem on the Internet? Feel free
to browse the Jerusalem Library, co-sponsored by Al-Quds and Hebrew
University. But you will find little reference to Judaism’s
connection to Jerusalem. The project is ostensibly a comprehensive
resource on the history of Jerusalem. Yet Jewish connections in the
virtual library are hardly mentioned. Instead, you will learn about
Jerusalem’s Christian and Muslim connection – all from a seemingly
reliable academic source.
But the Al-Quds partnership with Hebrew University ended after
the Al-Quds faculty called for an academic boycott of Israeli
British professors subsequently jumped on the Israel-bashing
Dr. Sue Blackwell of the University of Birmingham is a frequent
promoter of anti-Israel rhetoric, which she calls an “academic
Intifada” against Israel.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) unanimously passed
a resolution in 2006 to disinvest from Israel “until that state
recognizes the Palestinian right to self-determination.” In February
2009, CUPE called for the boycott of academic cooperation with
Israel. B’nai Brith Canada called the boycott “discriminatory and
Erez Tadmor, spokesman and founder of the Im Tirtzu Israel
advocacy program, told the audience that none of his studies in
Political Science at Hebrew University included any courses on the
history of Zionism or the idea of nationalism.
“This is what our future educators, scientists and lawmakers are
learning,” he said. He added that Israeli students are ill-equipped
to understand historical rights to the Jewish homeland or to battle
anti-Israeli propaganda. He says his organization promotes Zionist
values on Israeli campuses to help fill the gap.
Yigal Cohen-Orgad, chancellor, Ariel University Centre, said,
“Our problem starts with us.” He reiterated Tadmor’s statement that
widespread ignorance among world Jewry makes it difficult for one to
draw the proper conclusions regarding the Jewish claim to Israel.
Combatting campus battle
A study published by the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry concluded
that “settlement encroachment” causes illness in Palestinian
children. Mansdorf claims the research was biased. The two
academicians conducting the research based their findings on reports
from Arab students attending the Ramallah-based Birzeit University.
Mansdorf said that academic journals shouldn’t publish biased
“It has nothing to do with politics; it’s poor science,” he
Mansdorf said that the way to combat anti-Israel ideology in
scientific journals is to expose the source or funding of the study.
“Afterwards, you can show that you’re against the lack of
scientific objectivity involved in the study,” he said. “There is a
difference between expressing an opinion and performing scientific
Science and Technology Minister Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz said
that ending dialogue could prevent peace. He added that the British
academic boycotts would primarily harm the British.
“When you boycott, you harm yourself,” he remarked.
“Israel has what to give to the world,” he said. “Anyone who
cooperates with Israel in the academic realm only benefits. We
already are a light unto the nations. Let’s continue being a light
unto the nations.”