Dear Professor Rivka Carmi,
In May 2010 Im Tirtzu submitted to the Knesset
Education Committee its findings of severe political bias on a number of
university campuses throughout Israel, particularly Ben-Gurion University of the
Following our appeal, the Knesset Education Committee asked the
Council for Higher Education (CHE) to examine these
Thereafter, the CHE appointed a committee of international
experts which evaluated our findings.
The international committee
determined that the Department of Politics and Government is politically biased,
does not meet the required standards of professionalism and fails to promote
intellectual pluralism. The international committee, therefore, decided that if
the department does not undergo extensive modifications, which include replacing
lecturers, adding classes and amending class syllabi, the university would be
required to shut it down.
With the publication of our study, we implored
you to be attentive to this criticism.
We asked you to increase
intellectual pluralism in the Department of Politics and Government, and we
called you to improve the poor academic level resulting from the department’s
Apparently, such policies are based on ideological affinities,
rather than standards of academic excellence.
In addition, many
university donors also reject the anti-Israel incitement that has become
prevalent at the university. As a result of your incompetence, many donors have
already decided to withdraw their contributions and others are considering doing
We (and now, evidently, world-renowned scholars) demanding that
you turn your attention toward the evident connection between the strong
political bias in the Department of Politics and Government and its poor
academic levels of achievement.
Unfortunately, you prefer to roll your
eyes, ignore criticism, and do everything possible to cover up these charges,
while backing those responsible. Moreover, under your guidance, the university
administration responded with unrestrained attacks against Im Tirtzu, in an
attempt to kill the messenger rather than deal with these substantive
Now, a year-and-a-half after your initial attempts to evade,
cover up and discredit these allegations, the truth has finally
Although you blatantly accused us of McCarthyism and of
silencing adverse opinions, and despite your claim that our grievances are
ideologically biased and methodologically problematic the international study
supported our findings. In fact, compared to the conclusions drawn by the
international committee, ours were temperate.
LAST YEAR, eight out of 11
lecturers in the Department of Politics and Government signed anti-Israel
petitions and engaged in other forms of unabashed anti-Israel
They accused Israel of ethnic cleansing and called for
economic boycotts against the state.
Furthermore, 31 out of 39
participants at the annual meeting of the Department of Politics and Government
are members of, or express ideas and positions representing, the radical Left.
We noted that when a student studies Zionism at Ben-Gurion University, in most
cases he or she is presented, exclusively, with theories of Zionism being a form
All that we demand is pluralism of opinions.
said before, and I will say it again today: we do not seek to prevent the study
of critical attitudes. All we want is to stop the marginalization and silencing
of nationalistic and Zionistic approaches.
Unfortunately, however, the
university, under your guidance, has chosen to completely disregard these
demands and continues to silence the student body, while enabling the professors
in the Department of Politics and Government to continue their uniform, anti-
Professor Neve Gordon recently announced that the
kidnapping of Gilad Schalit was not terrorism, while, at a conference held by
the Department of Politics and Government last week, terrorists sentenced for
the murder of Israeli citizens were termed “political
Professor Carmi, under your guidance Ben- Gurion University
of the Negev has been the subject of a report containing severe criticism,
degrading the reputation of Israeli academia.
Today, you have a unique
opportunity to begin leading the university back to prominence by choosing to
adopt the recommendations of the Council for Higher Education and completely
revamping the structure of the Department of Politics and Government, including
lecturers, courses and syllabi. We implore you to follow this path, in order to
restore the status and reputation of the university.
If, on the other
hand, you refuse to accept the decision of the CHE, you should take
responsibility for these failures and resign immediately. Whichever choice you
make, the Department of Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University will be
assured of forging a new path in the direction of change, toward professionalism
and pluralism, in accordance with the recommendations of the international
The writer is spokesman of Im Tirtzu.