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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Self-Loathing in Tel-Aviv

Fellow blogger Steven Plaut has an article in FrontPage Magazine.com today about Israel's self-loathing academics. Believe me Americans, Ward Churchill and Noam Chomsky have nothing on the likes of Aviad Kleinberg:
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, endorse the enemies of their country, and collaborate with Bash-Israel organizations around the world, sometimes even with open anti-Semites. Over the past year, the "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. Their effort includes uncovering in-classroom indoctrination, law-breaking, seditious activity, and even violent behavior by Far Leftist faculty members in Israel.

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 blessings and support of the university President, Itamar Rabinovich.

In recent years, TAU has been in the news for turning its campus over to Israel's predominantly-Arab Communist Party to operate a "socioeconomic studies" program. A "legal clinic" is run in the TAU Law School in collaboration with an anti-Semitic organization (the anti-Israel extremist 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 and Marxism on the TAU faculty are Yehouda Shenhav, Yoav Peled, Anat Biletzki, Ran HaCohen, Tanya Reinhart (a Noam Chomsky protégé), and many others. There are entire departments at TAU that are near-uniformities of leftwing extremism, but apparently none more so than the TAU Department of History. And that department's chairperson is a leading "Post-Zionist," meaning an anti-Zionist or anti-Israel radical.

Among the leading voices opposing any Israeli action at all aimed at stopping the massive firing by Palestinian terrorists of Qassam and other rockets at Israeli civilians is Aviad Kleinberg, the chairman of the Department of History at Tel Aviv University. How convenient for him that his campus is not (yet) within range of the Palestinian rockets and missiles.

Kleinberg claims to have some expertise in medieval history, as well as philosophy and religion. (His interest in Jewish "religion" seems to end with his pronouncements that the sage Maimonides necessarily implies that one must vote for the Israeli Labor Party's candidate, or Kleinberg's fatwa that all retaliation against terrorists is "not kosher".) Some of his research has been on pop pseudo-medieval novels, like "The Name of the Rose" and the "Da Vinci Code." He also heads the Tel Aviv University Press, a small in-house publishing house at TAU, and writes a regular leftwing column for Yediot Ahronot, Israel's largest-circulation tabloid.

In a recent Op-Ed, Kleinberg denounced all counterattacks by Israel aimed at stopping the firing of Qassam rockets, insisting that the "War on Qassams (is) not kosher... Even during Pesach (Passover), there are methods that are simply not kosher."

Read the whole thing.


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