Donors who have given funds to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Be’er Sheva have announced their intent to stop their donations in response to a decision by University President Professor Rivka Carmi to cancel a prize that was going to be awarded to Breaking the Silence, an organization that disseminates in Israel and abroad dubious testimonies by IDF veterans about “atrocities” they committed against Arabs.
According to Carmi, the organization is “not within the national consensus, and giving it the prize is liable to be interpreted as an appearance of political bias.”
Prof. Carmi is a pediatrician, and apparently knows well how to deal firmly with rotten children.
In a letter publicized by Israel Radio Tuesday morning, one of the donors, a Swiss resident, says Carmi’s decision is shameful and that he prefers to donate his money to democratic institutions.
Another donor reportedly demanded his family’s money back, saying that if Breaking the Silence is considered beyond the pale, so is his family’s donation.
Ben Gurion University responded with a statement saying these are donors who have long since stopped donating to the institution, and that the demand to return the money is not legal and brings shame on the families of said donors.
Prof. Carmi’s decision to cancel the $5,000 Berelson Prize awarded by BGU’s Middle East Studies Department, followed an announcement a month ago by department chairman Prof. Haggai Ram, who said, “We believe that advancing Jewish-Arab relations requires confronting the public with the truth of the occupation – which may not be pleasant to hear, but constitutes a fundamental condition for reconciliation between the two peoples.”
Meanwhile, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has just received $400 million from the estate of Dr. Howard and Lottie Marcus of San Diego, Ca. Lottie Marcus died last December at age 99, Howard in 2014 at age 104. The donation is the largest sum ever received by an Israeli university and may be the largest donation ever made to any Israeli institution.
And just so everybody would go away happy from this episode, the anti-Zionist New Israel Fund decided to award $20,000 to Breaking the Silence to compensate them for the lost award money from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.