Left-wing MK says Im Tirtzu really wants "thought police"

MKs on both sides leap in response to threats by Im Tirtzu.

By REBECCA ANNA STOIL
August 18, 2010 03:40
2 minute read.
Left-wing MK says Im Tirtzu really wants "thought police"

Nitzan Horowitz. (photo credit: Knesset)

 
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Although the Knesset building was officially closed Tuesday, MKs on both sides of the political spectrum leapt in response to threats by the Im Tirtzu organization to organize a donors’ boycott of Ben-Gurion University.

While right-wing MKs supported the student organization’s stance, MKs on the Left called on higher powers to intervene, and criticized those who failed to do so.

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MK Daniel Ben-Simon (Labor) expressed his “shock regarding the McCarthyist attack against Ben-Gurion University as was published today.”

Ben-Simon wrote a letter to Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar in which he said that the issue “demands your personal involvement, very personal. In a normal situation, the president of Israel would have to place himself at the head of the battle.

But it did not happen. The prime minister also did not act, not to mention my party chairman, [regarding] whom it is dubious whether he understands the severity of the issue.”

Ben-Simon begged Sa’ar to “make [your] voice heard and create a defensive shield around the most valuable resource that we have left both here and overseas. Rein in this dangerous organization before it turns into a monster.”

MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz), meanwhile, wrote a letter to the Council of University Presidents, calling on them to stand strong against the campaign carried out by “extremist and anti-democratic bodies.”

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“Until now, the organization has attacked Israelis who supported international activities against Israel, and now it itself is acting similarly and has joined in the international boycott of Israeli universities,” Horowitz wrote. “This is an attempt to establish in Israel a thought police that defines what is allowed and what is not within both the public and academic dialogue, on the basis of the world-view of a group of extremists who undermine the basis of Israel’s existence as a Jewish and democratic state. The free public in Israel stands behind you, and we will do everything that is demanded to ensure academic freedom without threats and intimidation.”


But MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), who until recently was a student herself at Bar-Ilan University, defended the organization’s actions.

“The current situation in Israel is absurd, as academia has become anti-Israel, advancing in the name of academic freedom the international boycott of Israel. It cannot be that Israeli universities continue to promote lecturers who lead clearly anti-Zionist agendas to senior academic positions,” she said.

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