Americans are familiar with campus characters such as Ward Churchill and Noam Chomsky who misuse their positions in academia to disseminate anti-American hate and propaganda from the university podium, often in the guise of scholarship. But in many ways Israeli universities are considerably worse.
Israeli universities are crawling with extremist faculty members, many of whom hate their own country while endorsing their country’s enemies. Over the past year, Israel Academia Monitor, a watchdog group that monitors anti-Israel extremists and “Post-Zionists” in Israeli universities, has begun to expose the activities, behavior, and statements of these people.
While it would be hard to point the finger at the very worst campus in Israel when it comes to anti-Israel faculty activism, Tel Aviv University (TAU) is surely a serious contender. And unlike the other campuses, the anti-Zionist radicalism at TAU seems to operate with the blessingsand support of the university president, Itamar Rabinovich.
In recent years TAU has been in the news for turning its campus overto Israel’s predominantly-Arab Communist Party to operate a “socioeconomic studies” program. A “legal clinic” is run at the TAU Law School in collaboration with the leftist group Physicians for Human Rights. A propaganda course entitled “The Psychology of the Occupation” is now being taught by an anti-Zionist professor in the TAU Department of Psychology.
Among the leading lights of anti-Zionism on the TAU faculty are Yehouda Shenhav, Yoav Peled, Anat Biletzki, Ran HaCohen, and Tanya Reinhart (a Noam Chomsky prot?g?). There are entire departments at TAU that are hotbeds of left-wing extremism, apparently none more so than the TAU Department of History, chaired by Aviad Kleinberg.
Kleinberg is opposed to any action aimed at stopping the massive firing by Palestinian terrorists of Kassam and other rockets at Israeli civilians. How convenient for him that his campus is not (yet) within range of the Palestinian missiles.
Kleinberg claims to have some expertise in medieval history, as well as philosophy and religion. He heads the Tel Aviv University Press, a small in-house publishing house at TAU, and writes a regular column for Yediot Aharonot, Israel’s largest-circulation tabloid.
In a recent Op-Ed,Kleinberg denounced all counterattacks by Israel aimed at stopping the firing of Kassam rockets, which are routinely fired into areas inside Israel’s 1967 border lines. Kleinberg’s central thesis is that Israel is behaving like a terrorist state when it defends its civilians from these rockets. The way he sees it, Israel shoots at terrorists because it is a bloodthirsty country trying to terrorize poor innocent Palestinians for no reason.
Kleinberg has long denouncedIsrael for retaliatory and preemptive anti-terror strikes that risk harming Palestinian civilians. But since the terrorists firing the rockets at Jews alwayshide themselves among Palestinian citizens, Kleinberg’s position is equivalent to demanding that Israel refrain altogether from defending its citizens from Palestinian rocket and mortar terrorism.
Instead, Kleinberg demands that Israel restrict its responses to terrorism to displays of pacifism and a turning of the other cheek, at least until a danger arises that is “considered an existential necessity.” After pooh-poohing the falling of rockets on Jewish homes, Kleinberg concludes: “Arab lives are very cheap in the State of Israel.”
This of course is the familiar message of Israel’s leftist academics: Palestinian atrocities are acts of “self-defense” and “protests against occupation,” even when they involve shooting rockets into Jewish homes. Israel’s actions to stop the rockets are human rights abuses that must be denounced and obstructed at all costs.
Kleinberg has been turning out anti-Israel propaganda from his Tel Aviv University office for many years. Not only did he consider Ariel Sharon a warmonger devoted to preventing peace, he also regarded Ehud Barak in the same way. Here isKleinberg’s bottom-line assessment of his own country’s defense strategy: “So Israel has to make sure the Palestinians give up their dreams, that they reach total despair.”
In general, Kleinberg dismisses Israel as a racistsociety “marching to apartheid.” A few years back Israeli universities temporarily abolished college board exams but then reintroduced them, as administrators realized that without them standards were simply being “dumbed down.” Kleinberg attacked the universities for their “anti-Arab racism” in restoring the exams. Never mind that those very same Israeli universities have implemented affirmative action preferences across the board in favor of Arabs.
Though he has trouble rustling up any sense of indignation at the firing of Kassam missiles into Jewish homes, Kleinberg gets positively livid at religious Jews. He is even more of a zealot of hate whenit comes to Jewish settlers, of whom he’s written, “in the name of zealotry they robbed, lied, and cheated, spilt blood, and all this so that their feeling of complete devotion to God remains undamaged.”
A few years back, Kleinberg signed a statement that declared: “In this part of the world there are two borders that are now recognized internationally and regionally: the international border [sic] between us and the Arab states and the border of June 1967 between Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinians accept this border. Not only that, they have shown a readiness to demilitarize the Palestinian state in relation to heavy weapons, to recognize the annexation of the ring of Israeli suburbs built in Jerusalem, and other changes in the 1967 border, on the basis of a mutual agreement and lands swap.”
Now that Hamas has seized power in the West Bank and Gaza and is rapidly building an Islamofascist terror army, we wait for Kleinberg and his extremist friends at Tel Aviv University to repudiate that statement and issue an apology. We are not, however, holding our breath.