Monday, November 09, 2009

TAU Professors forbid "rightwing" student opinions

How typically Orwellian.

Proclaim you're all for free long as its the free speech you want to hear. Surprisingly, Haaretz reported this: (perhaps they didn't want to get scooped by the Jerusalem Post?)
Tel Aviv University students are hesitant to express their political views in class, lest lecturers perceived to have left-wing political views penalize them with lower grades, the head of TAU's Department of Curriculum and Instruction wrote in an internal memorandum last month. Prof. Nira Hativa's comment in the faculty memo ignited controversy among professors, with some declaring that her sentiments should not be made public.

Hativa wrote: "There are no small number of students of lecturers with left-wing views who complain bitterly that they are extremely offended by the presentation of materials that oppose their views, but are fearful of expressing contrary viewpoints in class, lest it harm their grades."

Faculty watchdog website, IsraCampus has the following to say about TAU:
There is no doubt that some departments at Tel Aviv University have a disproportionate number of academics with very harsh and strong words to say about and against Israel. TAU's faculty excel in signing petitions. One of the more benign was devoted to "Academic Freedom," where Israel was condemned for its system of "checkpoints, blockades, walls and fences [that] prevent thousands of students and teachers from leading a normal academic life" in the "occupied Palestinian territories."

Three out of the four organizers of the petition were from TAU. Furthermore all three of them were members of the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas. This single "institute" has all of 13 faculty and all but two of them signed this petition. Another more radical petition supporting Israelis who dodge military service garnered 9 of 13 of the members' signature. Diversity of ideology and thought is not something promoted at Tel Aviv University's Cohn Institute.

Broadening the examination of Tel Aviv University to include the Philosophy Department as a whole, whose radical Israel critique is led by Anat Matar and Anat Biletzky, will be part of this study. In addition attention will be placed on the TAU Political Science Department, whose Yoav Peled is an outspoken critic of Israel and signer of anti-Israel petitions. Peled is worth a special examination. He passes himself off as a mere critic of civil society in Israel but has claimed, "The obvious model for the transformation of the Israeli control system into a secular, democratic state is the transition experienced by South Africa." The Second Intifada, in which more than 950 Israeli civilians were killed, was an "armed rebellion." No human rights violations there. He calls Zionism a movement that was "from the 1880s to the birth of the Israeli state in 1948 was a variation of the European colonial movement." Peled also happens to be a leading member in Israel's communist party, HADASH. Peled is also a supporter of the "One-State Solution," in which Israel would cease to exist
Leftists academics dish out everything they want...from bashing the State of Israel, calling for its nullification, and demeaning the IDF soldiers who defend it. They get funding from the State of Israel in the name of free academic thought, yet TAU refuses to let anyone dare formulate and express an opinion to the right of their virulent own.

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tafka pp said...

yet TAU refuses to let anyone dare formulate and express an opinion to the right of their virulent own

Jameel- in the context of the article, your conclusion is out of proportion. Did you read what the head of the Student Union at TAU comments, in the same article? While this is an important talking point, what you claim at the end of your blog is not justified.

Kudos to Haaretz for reporting this: If the Jpost, A7 or any other right-of-TAU wire would have picked it up, it would likely have been ignored as rightist propaganda.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Tafka: I think you misread -- He's not the head of the Student Union at TAU -- he's from Haifa University.

"Hativa's statements were prompted by a story in the Haaretz English Edition on rightist activists monitoring lecturers who are considered to have leftist views, as well as an article in Maariv on what it described as the right-wing views of Daniel Schueftan, deputy director of the National Security Studies Center at the University of Haifa. "

My conclusion is right on the money -- the exception being of course, Prof. Nira Hativa.

If anything, the ultimate proof is statement in Haaretz; Prof. Nira Hativa's comment in the faculty memo ignited controversy among professors, with some declaring that her sentiments should not be made public.

Not. Be. Made. Public.


What did you quote from me?

yet TAU refuses to let anyone dare formulate and express an opinion to the right of their virulent own

Yes, I think that matches reality from the Haaretz article.

Neshama said...

This is but a sample of what is going on in America. It is uncanny that what happens in America happens in Israel and vice versa. Only America is just NOW becoming socialist/marxist/communist influenced and controlled. Whereas, Israel was re-built by the offspring of this very mind-set and people-control.

The back of the hill said...

By the way, the dirt is that at San Francisco State University, in this age of cut-backs, hiring freezes, and lay-offs, two NEW professors have been hired with funds earmarked for the purpose - both, oddly enough, in the realm of 'Palestine studies'.

San Francisco State, you will recall, is where Jewish students have been threatened, harassed, and told that their support for Israel was a liability as far as grades and class credit in certain courses was concerned.

The San Francisco State student organization, General Union of Palestinian Students, has a well-deserved reputation for harbouring Hezbollah and Hamas supporters, and using underhanded methods to impose its meshune view on Bay Area academia. In which, of course, they are supported by Code Pink, International ANSWER, the ISM, and others - all stalwart players in the Bay Area culture wars.

I'm not surprised at Tel Aviv University having members of the other side among the faculty - free speech in a academia means the freedom to undermine freedom. The last bastion of the commissars is an ivory tower.

And, lest anyone now accuse me of being anti intellectual, I should point out that I am a Berkeley man. Mediaeval studies and Germanic languages - I'd say that's pretty darn egghead......

The back of the hill said...

As an example of academia being taken over by Darth Vader and his minions, the following from an e-mail circular:

The Stanford Department of Drama and the Stanford Theatre Activist Mobilization Project (STAMP) are proud to announce a staged reading - the San Francisco Bay Area premiere - of the thought-provoking play, My Name is Rachel Corrie.

The performances feature an impressive line-up of post-show discussion speakers including Rabbi Michael Lerner, Professor Joel Beinin, and Professor Tom Sheehan.

This event is Free & Open to the public. Please email to reserve tickets.

My Name is Rachel Corrie is Co-Sponsored by: American Red Cross, Amnesty International, Coalition for Justice in the Middle East, Emma Goldman Society for Queer Liberation, Jewish Voice for Peace, Muslim Student Awareness Network, Peninsula Peace and Justice Center, Physicians for Human Rights, Stanford Says No to War, Stanford University Students for UNICEF, and Students Confronting Apartheid by Israel.

The American Red Cross? Aren't they supposed to be 'apolitical'?

tafka pp said...

No, you're still off the money. It says that some of the professors didn't want this discussion made public. Dress that up all you like, but that's not TAU policy. And your closing statement infers that it is, and worse.

And- the quote in the article is definitely Shahar Botzer, the chair of TAU student union.

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