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Israeli Left’s Checklist For Academic Freedom


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With so much recent debate in Israel about academic freedom, I thought it would be constructive to describe the current politically correct ideas about academic freedom held and proliferated by the academic left:
 
● There is only one correct point of view, that of the radical left. It is the main function of universities to operate as centers for the proliferation of radical leftist ideology and for indoctrination into progressive thought.
 
            ●* There is no reason for any courses to provide students with any point of view other than the correct one. Students should express correct ideas if they expect to pass the course.
 
● Faculty members who express opinions that leftist colleagues and students might find offensive must be prohibited and suppressed. Ditto for those who dare to criticize organizations like the New Israel fund; that criticism makes some people feel offended and sad.
 
● While faculty members who express opinions leftist students might find offensive should be fired or at least disciplined, there is nothing wrong with radical anti-Israel faculty members using their classrooms to lecture students on why IDF soldiers resemble Nazis, why terrorist attacks against Israel are morally just, why Israel should be destroyed, why Jews are morally inferior.
 
● Academic freedom means anti-Israel radical faculty members have the right to denounce and demonize Israel and call it foul names, but no one has the right to criticize radical anti-Israel faculty members or accuse them of disloyalty.
 
● Criticism of anti-Israel faculty members is McCarthyism and must be suppressed at all costs, at all times. It is also incitement.
 
● There are those who claim real commitment to freedom of speech is exhibited by defending the free-expression rights of those with whom one disagrees. This is nonsense. Politically-correct defenders of academic freedom should not be expected to criticize the anti-democratic suppression of the freedom of speech of people on the right.
 
● Because there is only one correct view, and it is a radical leftist anti-Israel view, those adhering to this view must be hired and promoted even if they have no academic publication records at all or only very thin ones. This is how one shows solidarity in the struggle for peace.
 
● Leftist anti-Israel faculty members are entitled to unlimited freedom of speech, but donors to Israeli universities, elected politicians, students, and non-leftist faculty members are not. They have no cause to interfere in university matters that do not concern them.
 
● Israeli taxpayers are not entitled to any accountability or say in Israeli universities. It is their job to pony up the funds that keep anti-Israel faculty members in their cushy jobs, where the latter can, without interference, advocate attacks against, harm to, and boycotts of those very same taxpaying citizens. Taxpayers who express reluctance to finance academic sedition are anti-democratic, unhygienic troglodytes.
 
● Students who dare disagree with the correct ideas of radical anti-Israel faculty members should have their grades lowered.
 
● Students who go to prison because they refuse to serve in the IDF deserve university backing and support, but those who go to reserves do not – and should be barred from entering classrooms in uniform.
 
● Calling for world boycotts of Israel is academic freedom. Denouncing such callers as traitors is McCarthyism.
 
● Academic diversity means having Ashkenazim, Mizrachim, women and Arabs in the same department all expressing the same leftist anti-Israel ideas. It never means including non-leftists in an academic department to achieve diversity by expressing dissident non-leftist ideas.
 
            ● There is no reason for students to be exposed to any ideas other than those of the radical anti-Israel left, including in course readings and lectures. There is no reason for leftist faculty members to balance their own biases in class by mentioning the views of those who disagree with them.
 
● Faculty chat lists should be censored so that leftists may freely insult non-leftists, but no one should be allowed to answer them in kind.
 
● Whenever a radical leftist is presented with documentation of facts that contradict leftist theology, the leftist must insist that no facts have been presented at all.
 
● No facts contradicting leftist theology are admissible. They must be dismissed as being “right-wing.”
 
● The only permissible set of policies that may be advocated for Israel is that of accommodation to the just demands of the Arabs. If peace has not been achieved, it is because Israel has not been accommodating enough.
 
● Churning out anti-Israel hate propaganda must always be counted as scholastic achievement and research.
 
● Watchdog groups like Isracampus or NGO Monitor should be suppressed for their questioning of leftist orthodoxy.
 

● Critical thinking must never involve criticism of the radical left.

 

 

            Steven Plaut, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press, is a professor at the University of Haifa. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.

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About the Author: Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa. He can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.


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