How Craven Art Thou, Professor
It is troubling that the term academic has become a term of opprobrium. But after reading the fourth volume of the Journal of Academic Freedom (JAF) published by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), it is abundantly clear why this is the case. What they call academic freedom is merely a tactic to falsify history and harm the State of Israel.
The American Association of University Professors was started in 1900 when "noted economist Edward Ross lost his job at Stanford University because Mrs. Leland Stanford did not like his views on immigrant labor and railroad monopolies." Thus, the AAUP was formed "to ensure academic freedom for faculty members."
Which brings us to the decision about boycotting Israeli universities and Israeli researchers. Although the American Association of University Professors is against this boycott, the authors in the latest issue of the Journal of Academic Freedom, one of AAUP's publications, support the boycott.
Marjorie Heins in "Rethinking Boycotts" explains that "one of the many groups that sponsored the call for [boycott, divestment, and sanctions] was the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)." In fact, at Discover the Networks, one learns
In early January 2012, PCACBI called on its supporters and allies 'to intensify all aspects of BDS, but to especially focus, whenever possible, on academic boycott.' The Campaign pushed faculty and student activists 'to pressure their academic organizations to end collaboration with complicit Israeli academic institutions or organizations'; 'not to organize or participate in conferences in Israel'; and 'to oppose study-abroad programs that place students from the U.S. and Europe at Israeli universities.' Moreover, it exhorted academics not to publish in Israeli academic journals and to withdraw from the editorial boards of international journals based at Israeli universities.
Heins explains that "[t]o many of the people in academia and elsewhere who are incensed at Israeli policies, these delicate questions about the unjust targeting of innocent professors, or of imposing political tests, are minor concerns compared to the moral exigency of the issue." As such, she cites colleague Omar Barghouti who claims a "moral responsibility to uphold human rights."
In the past, Barghouti has used distorted context and stated that "Israeli Arabs are restricted from buying land. But, in fact, 93 percent of the land is state land. No one can buy it, but Israelis -- Jewish and non-Jewish -- can lease the land." Moreover, Barghouti asserts "that Israel 'steals' Palestinian water, when, in actuality, Israel is giving some of its own water to Palestinians -- 40 percent more water than it promised to give in the 1993 Oslo Accords."
An ongoing theme is that Israel is an apartheid state even though Israel "accepts Palestinians as students at Israeli universities." Heins ends her 10-page polemic by maintaining AAUP's rejection of academic boycotts but she is in "favor of broader divestment strategies." Is Heins aware that "during and after the 1948 War, Israel collected books from abandoned Palestinian libraries to save them from destruction. They are available in Israeli libraries for all researchers to use. Israel preserved, not destroyed Palestinian books and the culture they represented." That is true academic freedom.
On the issue of alleged apartheid, it is noteworthy to read South Africa MP Rev. Dr. Kenneth Meshoe, "a person of color who survived the apartheid regime" as he explains why Israel cannot be considered an apartheid state.
...racial equality is enshrined in Israeli law. As the Israeli Declaration of Independence proclaims, Israel will 'ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irregardless of religion, race, or sex.' If one takes a train or bus in Israel, one will witness Muslims sitting next to Jews; Ethiopian Jews of color sitting next to Jews of European and Middle Eastern origin. On university campuses, in work places, and in restaurants, the same scene can be witnessed. No public bathroom in Israel is segregated by race or religion. Furthermore, there are Arabs serving as university professors, doctors, emergency room heads, soldiers, and even as Knesset members. Arabs in Israel have rights and privileges that a black living under the apartheid regime in South Africa [could] only dream of.
On the other hand, apartheid is plain to see as exhibited on this Saudi Arabian sign from Sandra Mackey's 1987 The Saudis: Inside the Desert Kingdom.
But why let facts and logic stand in the way of actual evidence? In fact, this article pointedly asks "[i]sn't it time for the U.N. Human Rights Council to stop persecuting Israel and protest apartheid where it really lives -- in Arab nations?"
But as Richard Cohen has written at the Washington Post, "the need to demonize Israel is so great that the immense moral failings of some of its enemies have to be swept under the carpet." Consequently, as Robbie Sabel writes,
Aware that accusations of actual apartheid in modern Israel lack any credence, the accusation is made that the very fact that Israel is a Jewish state proves that there is an 'apartheid-like' situation. One website writes that 'apartheid began and is rooted in the very establishment of the colonial Jewish State.' The crux of the accusation against Israel lies in the often-repeated charge that its racism 'is symbolized most clearly in Israel's Jewish flag, anthem and state holidays.'
Yet, "the accusers have not a word of criticism against tens of liberal democratic states that have Christian crosses incorporated in their flags, nor against the numerous Muslims states with their half-crescent symbol of Islam as their state symbol."
Joan W. Scott, a Harold F. Linder Professor in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and another JAF contributor, claims that in 2006 she was "not promoting academic boycotts" but was "simply interested in debating the issue in order to better understand and evaluate the strategy of the boycott." But she has now reconsidered that view because of the "brutal apartheid system" and the fact that Israel's "children are regularly taught that Arab lives are worth less than Jewish lives."
Scott apparently does not read the daily invective of hate coming from the Palestinian news media and school books which promotes hatred, suicide bombing, and dehumanization of Israelis and Jews. Perhaps Professor Scott would care to explain the constant depictions of maps that simply have erased Israel from the world, as demonstrated here? How does this woman so interested in human rights justify that
Since the Palestinian Authority was established it has systematically indoctrinated young and old to hate Israelis and Jews. Using media, education, and cultural structures that it controls, the PA has actively promoted religious hatred, demonization, [and] conspiracy libels. These are packaged to present Israelis and Jews as endangering Palestinians, Arabs, and all humanity.
At the Myths and Facts site there is the admission that "more than 20 years ago, it was true that some Israeli textbooks used stereotyped images of Arabs" but now "Israeli textbooks are oriented toward peace and tolerance. The Palestinians are accepted as Palestinians. Islam and Arab culture are referred to with respect. Islamic holy places are discussed along with Jewish ones. Stereotypes are avoided to educate against prejudice." Yet, the same cannot be said of the texts currently disseminated by the Palestinian Authority where Israelis are demonized as monkeys and pigs.
Also writing in the Journal of Academic Freedom, Sami Hermez and Mayssoun Soukarieh maintain that "the ethical claim" against Israel "rests on the fact that Israel continues to occupy Arab land since 1967, to deny Palestinians their right to return to their homes, as legally bound under UN Resolution 194 and to practice a system of... apartheid against Palestinians citizens of Israel."
Once again, selective omission of facts is evident. Paragraph 11 of Resolution 194 [adopted on December 11, 1948] recommended that "refugees be allowed to return to their homeland if they met two important conditions: (1) that they be willing to live in peace with their neighbors" and (2) that "the return take place 'at the earliest practicable date.'" It is noteworthy that "Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen voted against Resolution 194 and Israel is not even mentioned in the resolution."
This constant refrain about occupied land has been refuted time and again because it is "demonstrably false:"
Fact: In 1948, no Palestinian state was invaded or destroyed to make way for the establishment of Israel.
Fact: In 1993 the Oslo peace declaration "provided for Palestinian self-rule in the entire West Bank and the Gaza Strip for a transitional period not to exceed five years [.]"
Fact: By May 1994, Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip... and the Jericho area of the West Bank.
Fact: On January 20, 1996, elections to the Palestinian Council were held and Israeli civil administration and military government were dissolved. Thus, since 1997, "some 99 percent of the Palestinian population of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have not lived under Israeli occupation."
Fact: Concerning Israeli settlements, "international law makes it clear that agrarian settlements for military purposes, settlements of Jews that were occupied by Jews prior to 1948, expanding suburbs of Israeli cities on or near the 'Green Line' and missionary settlements were, indeed 'entirely legal.'" Furthermore, until the West Bank was turned over to the Palestinian Authority, these "settlements were extremely beneficial to the Arabs in the region. By 2003, the West Bank's Gross Domestic Product had shrunk by 90% since the Palestinian Authority's ascent to power."
Thus, as Avinoam Sharon explains in his article entitled "Why is Israel's Presence in the Territories Still Called 'Occupation?' "...the withdrawal of all Israeli military personnel and any Israeli civilian presence in the Gaza Strip, and the subsequent ouster of the Palestinian Authority and the takeover of the area by a Hamas government surely would constitute a clear end of the Israeli occupation of Gaza."
Yet, as Khaled Abu Toameh has reported in "How Hamas Is Trying to Fool Everyone" it is clear that Hamas will never change its charter which states that "the Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine is an Individual Obligation" and "it [Hamas] will only be of help to all associations and organizations which act against the Zionist enemy and those who revolve in its orbit."
Consequently, as Matthew Hausman explains, none of these academics is concerned with the fact that "the Palestinian Arabs have never seriously sought lasting peace with Israel" and have only a "cynical contempt for both concept and process" since the Palestinian Authority has violated the Oslo Accords while "in contrast, Israel has honored her commitments, even when doing so has threatened her security and national integrity."
If, these academics were so troubled by human rights, why nary a word about the Palestinian crimes against Christian Arabs? To add to the obvious double standard, one must ask "Why is This Occupation Different From all other Occupations?" For example, "a new fishing deal, signed between the European Union and Morocco will apply beyond Morocco's internationally recognized borders, taking in the territory of Western Sahara, even though Morocco invaded that area in 1975 and has occupied it ever since." Moreover, Turkey occupies Northern Cyprus. Why don't the same conditions placed on Israel work in different regions of the world? The EU's response is: 'With regards to the allegation of using double standards for Israel and Morocco, our analysis is that the two cases are different and cannot be compared.' No further explanation was given."
Daniel Greenfield deconstructs the Israel settlement myth by explaining that "Israel is not an occupying power and did not seize any land from another state. Indeed much of the land that Israel is accused of occupying is actually land that was seized from it by invading Arab armies during its 1948 War of Independence." Moreover, Palestinians deny the biblical Jewish archaeological connection to Israel by systematically destroying evidence of this connection. In fact, "the repeated attacks on Israel's territorial integrity are not only dishonest; they carry the implicit and explicit threat of ethnic cleansing."
Specifically, "Israel's Rights as a Nation-State in International Diplomacy" are ignored, manipulated, and debased while human rights are exploited in order to demonize Israel. JAF authors David Lloyd of the University of California and Malini Johar Schueller of the University of Florida assert that "Palestinian education, like Palestinian culture and civil society, has been systematically targeted for destruction [.]" Again, all patently false claims. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics has stated that "the total fertility rate in 2011 among Palestinians living in Israel was 3.3 births compared to 3.0 births among Jews." Moreover, as of "2010 the population growth rate for Israel as a whole was at 1.9 percent -- but it is 2.6 percent for Arabs, [and] only 1.7 percent for Jews." Thus, it is "clear that the Arab population is expanding faster than the [Jewish population]."
Lawrence Grossman makes the novel suggestion that "a boycott aimed at Israeli academia should insist on forgoing the use of anything produced by Israeli brainpower -- much of it at the very universities targeted for boycotting. That would include computer laptops, cell phones, crops produced by drip irrigation, geothermal power, and a host of biomedical devices and pharmaceuticals. At the very least, such a boycott should logically include an end to the enjoyment of the most visible fruits of Israeli intellectual life -- the path-breaking accomplishments of its 12 Nobel Prize winners, by far the highest per-capita number of Nobel laureates for any country in the world."
Eileen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org