Treason of the Academics

This article is reprinted from

In the politically correct world of infantile leftism, words like sedition and disloyalty have effectively been erased from the political lexicon. Indeed, those daring to employ such terms are automatically smeared as “McCarthyite” or fascist.

But despite Israel being surrounded by Moslem nations whose primary objective is to eliminate Jewish sovereignty from the region, a growing minority of Israeli academics, funded by Israeli taxpayers and Diaspora Zionist philanthropists, exploit their universities as launching pads to undermine and delegitimize their own country. Some even promote global boycott, divestment and sanctions of the very institutions which provide their salaries. They teach their students that the state in which they live was born in sin, that Israelis behave like Nazis and morally justify the campaigns by our enemies to demonize and delegitimize us.

What magnifies this obscenity is that university administrators feel obliged to maintain the continued tenure of such immoral and anti-social degenerates on the grounds of academic freedom. Can one conceivably visualize any other institution providing salaries to employees actively working towards its destruction?

The issue came to a head at the recent meeting of the Board of Governors of Tel Aviv University when Marc Tanenbaum, a long-standing American donor and supporter, submitted a resolution calling on the University Senate to review conditions governing the status of academics indulging in “inappropriate behavior” such as promoting academic boycotts of Israeli universities, and recommending that academics be prohibited from listing their affiliation or academic titles whilst engaged in domestic or international forums of a political nature.

The president, Professor Joseph Klaffter, intervened. Grasping the microphone from Tannenbaum, he railed against the resolution and proclaimed that under his watch such a resolution would never be carried and demanded that it be withdrawn. When the initiators called for a vote, he refused to submit the resolution and adjourned the meeting – ironically, on the spurious grounds of academic freedom. Tannenbaum resigned and pledged to mount a campaign to highlight the undemocratic manner in which the university authorities were protecting those who were actively undermining the university and the State.

Regrettably, the TAU scenario represents a microcosm of how the loony left have imposed a regime of madness in this country. It is noteworthy that Anat Kam, who exulted in stealing classified IDF military information in the name of freedom of expression and attempted to present herself as a heroic figure, was educated at TAU, in a  philosophy department in which professors called for a global boycott against Israel.

Examples of unacceptable behavior abound: the Chair of the Philosophy Department, Professor Anat Biletzki, is a close supporter of Asmi Bishari ,the Arab MK calling for the dismantling of Israel; Biletzki also gathered signatures for a high school student petition justifying  the right to refuse to serve in the army; Anat Matar, another lecturer at the philosophy department, initiated an (unsuccessful) campaign to deny the right of Col. Pnina Sharvit-Baruch, who headed the international IDF law division during the Gaza war, to lecture at its law school on the grounds that she would “justify the killing of civilians, including hundreds of children”; the Law School convened a conference on the subject of the alleged mistreatment of “political prisoners” at which one of the principal speakers was a former terrorist who had been sentenced to 27 years for throwing a bomb at Jews on a bus; Professor Adi Ophir campaigned to lobby   embassies in Tel Aviv to impose sanctions against Israel to prevent atrocities in Gaza; TAU academics were prominent signatories in a petition backing the US Berkeley  boycott against Israel; two professors, Anat Matar (who earlier participated in a London conference promoting a general and academic boycott of Israel) and Rachel Giora recently signed a petition denouncing The Boston Museum of Art for sponsoring an exhibit of Israeli medical and high tech achievements; etc etc.

Freedom of expression is a treasured feature of democracy but the dividing line must be drawn between academic freedom and breaching the law or indulging in subversive activity. Some liberals like Alan Dershowitz believe that students have “the right not to be propagandized by the classroom by teachers who seek to impose their ideology” and oppose the exploitation of universities by academics as anti-Israeli launching pads, but still insist that lecturers should never be limited even if they promote false narratives which poison the minds of the students and encourage them to hate their own country. Dershowitz believes that the danger of limiting such activity exceeds the damage that can be inflicted and is confident that ultimately truth will prevail.

But that does not justify those who delegitimize and demonize their country being provided tenure of employment. Setting aside the fact that in most societies under siege such behavior would be defined as subversive, I question whether for example such an approach would apply to an academic telling his students that Arabs are racially inferior or that Hitler’s genocidal policies were justified. Or for that matter would academics insisting that the world is flat still be assured tenure in the name of academic freedom? I vouch that such people would soon be out of their jobs and justifiably so.

But in this crazy environment it is only the mad left which claims to be victimized when their unconscionable behavior is exposed. For example, in a petition signed by over 80 TAU faculty members, Alan Dershowitz was denounced for indulging in “incitement” for having described as “hypocritical Stalinists”, academics like Rachel Giora and Anat Matar who support boycotts of Israel. Professor Hannah Wirth-Nesher went so far as to accuse Dershowitz of seeking to impose Teheran standards on Tel Aviv. Hebrew University Professor Shlomo Avineri observed that “the attempt to ‘protect’ those who belong to the left whilst employing McCarthy like methods against those associated with the right is nothing but hypocrisy, which has no place in academia”.

Regrettably the State has failed to act in this area because it has become intimidated by the term academic freedom. Likewise out of fear of being labeled McCarthyites or fascists, the Knesset has also been loath to do anything.

I have no doubt that opinion polls would confirm that the overwhelming majority of Israelis would vehemently agree that there are red lines beyond which academic freedom should not be permitted to justify antisocial or subversive behavior such as calling for the boycott of the state.

Universities are the incubators in which future leaders of society are nurtured. It is surely elementary common sense to ensure that such institutions lead the way for constructive participation in civil life. Academics should not be above the law or permitted to engage in anti-social activities on the grounds of academic freedom.

It is a disgrace that we have reached such a deplorable state of affairs under successive governments. Such activities would never have been tolerated under the social democratic Mapai hegemony and I have no doubt that our founding Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, a genuine Labor Zionist, would have turned the country upside down to bring an end to such outrageous behavior.

  • Ibrahim

    I totally agree with you when you said,"Universities are the incubators in which the future leaders are nurtured." I totally disagree with you to sack and fire the academics who have voiced their views against the state or the government ruled by particular political parties including the state of Israel and those academics are from Tel Aviv University. Differences are found everywhere in politics, economics and academics. Therefore there are the academics of TAY who agree and who disagree with the politicians ruling the state of Israel now and then. Academic freedom should be protected and defended..

    • Geoofrey Britain

      No, you're wrong and for two reasons; first, academic freedom does not allow an academic to engage in sedition. Secondly, those same academics deny academic freedom to those who disagree, as the Marc Tanenbaum incident demonstrated. No anomaly, that is the norm among leftist academics.

      The truth of the matter is that the left is the active enemy of the West and is engaged in seditious behavior that seeks to destroy the West. They are traitors and collaborators, the equivalent of modern day Vichy French.

  • von Starkermann

    When academic freedom turns to sedition, then it certainly must be curtailed.

    • academia

      Interestingly, that's exactly what the Iranian government claimed when they fired a dozen professors last month. Contrary to what the author suggests, most democracies tolerate such views from the academia not because they are correct, but because any limitation of this freedom could easily extended by special interests to other groups and eventually lead to fascism.

      • Geoffrey Britain

        Were they loyal to those democracies that would be true. Their disloyalty now amounts to active sedition. Your reluctance or refusal to face up to the nature of that behavior, changes it not at all.

  • ze-ev ben jehudah

    Some of the jewish capo's,in the death camps,were more sadistical than
    some German nazi's,to prolong their lives!!!,wich at the end puted them
    in the same place as their victims. So why would that kind of behavior
    disappear at the end of the war? No of course not some of the human
    species have no human dignity. Specially those who follow fanatics who
    want to exterminate whole peoples, in the name of a G-d or Allah or whatever.

    • ajnn

      You point to the question, 'does evil exist' or are these negative people merely misguided or themselves wounded.

      I vote for 'evil exists'. Curiously, Iran's native, pre-Islamic religion, Zoroastrianism, would agree. i believe Islam also holds that evil exists. Judaism does not. it merely holds that all individuals have the capacity for wrongful and destructive actions but we do not have to succomb to this 'impulse towards bad action'.

  • Meg

    Wow, Sounds just like what is happening here in America. Patriotism and love of country is thought of as simple minded. Intellect with out truth or wisdom is useless…and dangerous

  • Steve

    Jews, weird people….
    How in a world they survived in last 5000 years? Mistery.

  • ibn khaldun

    The issue is not disagreement over this or that policy. The issue is traitors warring against their own country and allied with their country's enemies.

  • ajnn

    An interesting debate.

    The question has still not been answered: are there limits to 'freedom of speech' and, second, does the speech described by the writer fit a legal definition of 'sedition' and 'treason'.

    Personally, I think this is treason and treason is not, nor should it be, protected. regarding comparosons with Iran's dismissal and presecution of teachers for treason, this shows that (i) Iran thought that the world would not denounce it for using 'treason' as a loophole to punish political dissent.

    Totalitarian regimes have beed prosecuting political dissent as treason for a thousand years. it was done by the Romans, Soviets, Maoists, etc. But their mis-use of 'treason' should not reflect on other nations that use it reasonably. The Soviets also prosecuted dissidents as 'hooligans'. Does that mean we should not punish vandalism? Of course not.

    Iran's action are just another example of a totalitarian regime seeking to 'launder' its oppression with a legal fiction and offer us no guidence here in the United States or Istrale.

    • SFLBIB

      re: "Are there limits to 'freedom of speech'?"

      Here are a couple of quotes that might answer your question:

      "Universities were not founded to promote freedom of speech, but to pursue truth. The pursuit of the truth, of course, is contingent on free speech as a means towards that end. But it is precisely because speech at a university is conditional that it cannot be absolute. For example, speech which unarguably does not facilitate the pursuit of truth, or which is by all rational measures demonstrably false, should not be given a platform at any institution of higher education. That is why circus entertainers are not asked to perform on college campuses, nor are spokesmen from the Flat Earth Society invited to speak. " – Dr. William Donohue, President, Catholic League

      "If academic freedom is to be protected, it is important that ideologues be prevented as much as possible from abusing it in order to spread distortions or outright disinformation intended to achieve some political purpose. … Academic freedom does not mean freedom to misrepresent, to distort or to talk nonsense to students while enjoying security against outside criticism. Faculty members should not feel free to give students any version of the facts that those faculty members are unable or unwilling to defend in a debate with people better qualified than students are to detect errors, and if necessary to expose falsehoods." – Kenneth H.W. Hilborn, “ABUSE OF ACADEMIC FREEDOM: WHAT SHOULD BE DONE?”; symposium on Limits to Academic Freedom

  • Ariel

    I'm not sure that the Government can legislate a law limited the speech of these traitors. Perhaps there are other more creative solutions to deal with this very serious problem. I don't know why universities like TAU would tolerate academics calling for boycotts of their own institutions and Israeli academic institutions in general. A university dealing with such academics should just fire them, and deal with the consequences of that firing later. It is better to deal with such a person while they are out of a job, then still inside the institution. Let the professor pay for an attorney to try to get their job back. Also, Donors should either withdraw funds from TAU or otherwise focus their donations in such a way that it does not support treasonous professors, as much as possible. Bottom line, we need creative solutions to deal with this thing!


    In a recent Front Page article…. on the burgeoning anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism on today's campuses, Ruth Wisse, a sometimes formidable analyst of liberals’ foibles, shows a fundamental incomprehension of the nature of modern Liberalism that is shared by most conservatives and moderate liberals today. She writes: "The claim of universities to be fostering diversity and preventing discrimination against vulnerable minorities is oddly compromised by a surge of anti-Semitism. . . . Anti-Semitism perverts the ideal of a mutually tolerant campus."

    What Miss Wisse fails to understand is that the modern liberal project of treating diversity, tolerance, equality, and anti-discrimination as the defining values of our society assures exactly the kind of anti-Semitism that she deplores. The reason for this paradoxical-sounding result is actually quite simple: ***once liberal tolerance rather than traditional morality becomes our guiding principle, we must ultimately tolerate the presence of evil,*** including (as can be seen in the Left’s rationalizations and support for Palestinian terrorists) the evil of exterminationist anti-Semitism.
    To understand how we got into this fix, we need to think about how Liberalism has been transformed over the last several decades.
    Read the rest here:
    "Liberalism: the Real Cause of Today's Anti-Semitism"
    By Lawrence Auster | January 8, 2003….

  • Dee

    Lefties are suicidal and they want to take everyone else with them. If only the real Jewish people who loved themselves and their country could go hide out awhile away from Israel and watch, to see just what happens to those who preach and practice such lunacy. They would not last very long, I assure you. They would have to become Islamic, leave Israel, or die. I wonder if the lefties would be happy then.

  • Bill

    'Freedom of expression is a treasured feature of democracy' – Treasured by whom? The Athenian democrats terrorized the Aristocracy and milked their wealth in taxes and public funds, stole their land through 'agrarian reforms' and the sophists encouraged and incited. The English aristocracy was progressively squeezed out of power with death duties on their estates and the emasculation of the House of Lords…the last of any worth were wiped out in the Great War.
    Democracy is the WORST form of government possible in war time. Even captains of the calibre of Pericles and Churchill were unable to do more than barely survive. Our only chance is the complete collapse of the international economy, a drastically declining standard of living in the West(let the spoilt, ignorant degenerates suffer and die for a while), the rise of a mass movement in the West, led by an orator with strange eyes…then authoritarian dictatorship, religious/sectarian propaganda, special camps for collaborators and Muslims then war…lovely war!

    "And when all the world is overchargd with inhabitants, then the last remedy of all of Warre; which provideth for every man, by Victory or Death" – Hobbes