Haim Misgav

Freedom to give Nazi salute

Op-ed: No other state would allow Ben Gurion University-style 'academic freedom'

The Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities is raising the banner of academic freedom in vain. There's nothing academia-like about the publication of articles in anti-Semitic, pro-Nazi, Holocaust-denying websites that call for boycotting Israel in universities abroad or for indicting IDF officers and prime ministers on war crime charges.


The heads of Israeli academia, who on Wednesday openly called for safeguarding the independence of Israel's academic institutions, are preaching to others while being guilty themselves. The hornets' nest that has developed at Ben-Gurion University's politics and government department needs to be dried up, as one deals with a festering wound.


If, for example, a senior lecturer in that department dares travel to Palestinian government headquarters in Ramallah (while blatantly violating the law) a day after one of the most terrible massacres we've ever seen here, in order to support Yasser Arafat and pose next to him in a photo where both hold their arms up, does this constitute academic freedom? Is this about the freedom to explore, or about a despicable act by someone who under false pretenses holds on to a job in a publically funded academic institution?


And if this department includes students who take part in an illegal rally at campus following the Turkish flotilla raid, while being photographed (knowingly) giving the Nazi salute, does this have anything to do with academic freedom? Are Nazi salutes a part of the education offered to politics and government students?


I saw the photographs, both of the lecturer alongside Arafat and of the student giving the Nazi salute; I also saw the photo of a female Master's student who climbed up a campus building in order to post a libelous, outrageous, provocative anti-Israeli banner, and I contend that we must put an end to this "academic freedom."


Those interested in this kind of "academic freedom" should go ahead and become lecturers elsewhere. There are many "academic research institutions" abroad funded by anti-Semitic, pro-Nazi, Holocaust-denying elements that would be happy to establish a politics and government department to be run by "refugees" from the Beersheba university.


Jews didn't conquer foreign land

And what about the threats to drive away donors? Jews should not be contributing to an institution that nurtures such deep hatred for the Jewish State and everything represented by it. The Declaration of Independence accurately characterized the nature of the national home created here for the Jewish people's benefit. This is the home which the man the university was named after, David Ben-Gurion, wanted. By the way, he also ordered the conquest among other sites, of Beersheba and Eilat, as well as many parts of the Galilee and Coastal Plain.


I assume that the politics and government department, which has been cultivating an almost obsessive hatred to anything that gives off a scent of Zionism in the view of its "researcher," also preachers a return of land conquered in 1948 to the Arabs. I don't know how these lecturers explain this view, but I'm certain that even members of the National Academy of Science and Humanities do not view these types of lectures as part of academic freedom.


I would also take this opportunity to reexamine how some of the lecturers there secured their academic degrees. That is, who granted them their degrees, and what type of articles prompted this reward.


I do not believe that any other state in the world would allow this kind of "academic freedom" to run wild through its academic institutions. A sense of nationalism is among the inalienable assets of any country; it serves as the glue that unites its citizens. No nation in the world would give it up. Under its flag, a nation's sons head to the battlefield to defend their homeland.


The Jewish argument has added value: The Jews are not in the Land of Israel randomly. Their national movement, Zionism, did not aspire to conquer a foreign country. The whole world recognized this in 1917. I assume that in any other country, those who reject the values entrenched in the state's constitutive documents would be spewed out.


Dr. Haim Misgav is a law lecturer at the Netanya Academic College


פרסום ראשון: 08.19.10, 17:27
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