BGU under fire
Sir, – Rivka Carmi (“Universities are in the footnotes,” Comment
& Features, May 29) is certainly too intelligent to be accused of naivete,
and likely too decent to be accused of mendacity. So perhaps it is the economic
interests of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev that impel her to obfuscate the
clear and present danger of the many anti- Israel faculty members on her payroll
and in a position to brainwash or browbeat students into anti- Zionist
That only 10 professors are openly abetting the Boycott,
Divestment and Sanction movement is entirely beside the point. These 10 are
merely the tip of an iceberg that has many more adherents who do not yet have
the courage to call outright for BDS against Israel.
Surely, Carmi is
aware that the odds of a non-leftist being hired by BGU’s social sciences
faculty hovers at around zero. As for tenure, that would be out of the question.
In liberal arts the statistics are hardly better.
The sages of the Talmud
may have engaged in boisterous, even rancorous debate, but there was a line one
never crossed – that of outright heresy and apostasy. To site the Talmud as
support for BGU’s “do nothing” approach to the virus of self-hatred is
inappropriate, and to tolerate even one BDS-spewing professor is to tolerate one
Hopefully, the overseas board members and donors now on their
annual pilgrimage to Beersheba will not be fooled by their president’s
Sir, – There are a few truths and some
good ideas in Rivka Carmi’s defense of BGU’s handling of its problematic
professors, but for the most part she chooses to ignore the reality that has
invaded the ivory tower.
It is certainly true that 10 or so professors
out of 5,000 is a very small number. And it’s a good idea for the ethics
committee to ask professors to draw a clear line between their academics and
their politics. But the reality of life on campus tells another story. (Our son
is a student at BGU, and this letter was written in consultation with him and a
number of fellow students.) While it is reasonable to ask a chemistry professor
to keep his politics to himself while lecturing about polar bonding, it begs
reason when you ask the same of a political science professor. And the
problematic professors are concentrated in the political science department led
by Prof. Neve Gordon.
According to several students we spoke with, nine
out of the 11 political science professors routinely present anti-Zionist ideas
in the classroom, and belittle and embarrass students who present the Zionist
narrative. For instance, a student who referred to the “liberation” of Jerusalem
in an exam found his paper corrected with the word “occupation.” This certainly
violates the recommendation of the ethics committee.
These professors are
doing anything but encouraging the “critical thinking and alternative
perspectives” that Carmi rightly aspires to.
Moreover, they are roaming
the world and using the mantle of “Israeli political science professor” to talk
as “experts” about Israel’s past and present sins.
The students did not
cause Gordon to write an op-ed in The Los Angeles Times in August 2009 calling
Israel an apartheid state and calling for support of the BDS movement. Carmi has
the story backwards. The students are reacting to this noxious
behavior.JOAN and ROBERT GOLDSTEIN
Jerusalem Scottish book
Sir, – I read with concern that a Scottish municipality has banned
Israeli authors’ books from its library shelves (“Scottish council bans Israeli
books,” May 29). However, it turns out that the ban will not be retroactive, so
I hope that the writings of the prophets of Israel as published in the Hebrew
Bible will not suffer the fate of banishment.
Also, since the ban applies
to books actually published in Israel, I assume that the town’s library goers
will still have access to those writings by the Author of the Bible’s five books
of Moses, which He published at Mount Sinai as He led the children of Israel to
the promised land.YONATAN SILVER
Sir, – What a dark and
dangerous action to take. Mind you, the Scottish church has tried to ban all
sorts of “things Jewish” for centuries.
Nevertheless, I am shocked at
this move by the Dunbartenshire Council. I wonder if the Bible is included in
the list of banned books? ANTOINETTE HASLETON
Moshav Sde Nitzan ...and Scottish
Sir, – On May 29, in your Business & Finance section, a headline
read: “Status in a bottle, whiskey takes off in China.” The article uses the
spelling “whiskey” throughout, except when it mentions the Scottish Whisky
To quote the editor of the Oxford English Dictionary
regarding “whisky” versus “whiskey”: “This isn’t a case where a small group of
fanatics are insisting on some highly personal interpretation of an issue that
is not adhered to by anyone outside their cult. It’s almost universally the case
that the word is spelled “whisky” in Scotland and Canada, and “whiskey'
So that settles it. Scottish whisky exists, but Scottish
whiskey does not. I can accept discussion regarding Bibi, ’Bama and border
disputes, but, please, leave my wee dram o’ whisky alone! RICHARD RINBERG
Ra’anana Bibi was great
Sir, – I commend Isi Leibler (“Mr.
Minister, you make us proud,” Candidly Speaking, May 26) for his wise counsel:
“...Domestic unity is crucial....”
I find it remarkable how so many
people from both the Left and the Right in this country have had the audacity to
criticize Prime Minister Netanyahu for his actions in Washington. I would love
to know: Would they have been able to do a better job? At a time when Israel is
facing a massive delegitimization campaign, finally someone stood up and
proclaimed the Jewish nation’s right to live in its historic homeland in freedom
Right now we need all the support we can get, and with so
many standing ovations, for once all Jews everywhere had a chance to feel proud.
As friends of mine in the US said, “Bibi spoke unbelievably well – with so many
standing ovations it was awesome.” It is a pity so few senior political
officials here congratulated him likewise, especially, as Leibler points out, in
this “period of crisis.”GINA-DEVRA SHAFFER
JerusalemWho are these
Sir, – It has been very disappointing that The Jerusalem Post has not
had any follow-up stories on “Egypt FM meets with ‘Israeli Initiative’ leaders”
Is it lawful for the “Israeli Initiative” group to be involved
in Israeli foreign affairs? What is the source of funding for this group? Israel
is still suffering from the Oslo process, where a group of non-elected citizens
representing a minority of Israeli voters engaged in foreign affairs. Can’t we
learn from history?
A May 26 letter from Lily
Sherwood referring to the article “French nationals living in Israel to get
their own representative in the National Assembly” (May 23) should have ended as
follows: “It failed, in particular, to mention the non-partisan deputy mayor of
the Paris suburb Neuilly sur Seine, Philippe Karsenty, whose almost
single-handed and unrelenting fight to expose the truth about the Mohamed
al-Dura hoax deserves Israel’s and the Jewish community’s gratitude.”