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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Your Tax Shekels At Work

While recovering at home, I decided to pay some bills. Like David Bogner's attraction to the blue tractor beam called 'television' I, too, suffer from an insatiable lure called the 'internet.' I cruise a bit (sometimes more than a bit) while mentally preparing for electronic debt-confrontation and elimination.

I am well-acquainted with the internet site called Campus Watch in the United States. As a liberal University of California student living in Davis, California, I quickly found out that most conservatives were more tolerant than most self-described liberals, and that the farther "left" a student or professor was, the more self-righteous, unliberal, censorious and smug that person was. I haven't noticed in the last 30 years that this has changed; if anything, the Left now embodies even more extreme smug self-righteousness and intolerance for any viewpoint but its own. I thought at its inception that Campus Watch was a good idea: good teachers can stand public scrutiny and the public has a right to know what's being peddled at the university our taxes are paying for.

In today's web-surfing, I found the Israeli Campus Watch at Israel-Academia-Monitor.com, which is not only informative, but hilarious. Of particular hilarity was the outrage of Tel Aviv University head Itamar Rabinovich, who waxed apoplectic at the revelation that TAU's psychology department offered an anti-Israel brainwashing course called "The Psychology of the Occupation" taught by another tenured Israel-hater, Uri Hadar. This class, of course, failed to address the effects of daily blowing-up-buses-and-pizza-parlors-full-of-mothers-and-children on the Israeli psyche.

Apparently when the Israel Academia Monitor writer revealed this in the mainstream media, Rabinovitch, who like most Leftists considers himself an icon of free speech and promotor of the marketplace of ideas, ranted and demanded that his superiors silence him!

The rebuttal from the Left is absurdly specious: it's okay to demonize Israel, inject our own Far Left political ideologies into course-work (and believe me, students are graded by their enthusiams for adhering to their professors' world-view--there is nothing objective about grading in the university system) because, in our own Left-wing opinions, the academic field was too right-wing and needed to be corrected. That's a paraphrase but check it out:

"The McCarthyists here are Israeli professors like myself who are critical of Israel’s rights-abusive policies while being inspired by a deep concern for Israel’s population and the occupied Palestinians. Apparently, our offense against free speech is that we do not allow zealous nationalists to voice their views – an absurd allegation considering that for some years now the balance of power within Israel has been tilted firmly towards the right." Neve Gordon, History News Network (http://hnn.us/articles/9418.html)

My emphasis was added above, because I failed to find any "deep concern for Israel's population" in any of the rants listed at IMM or on the internet by any of the suspect professors. I found instead a tremendous desire to fit into the salon-liberal elite of Europe, a deep and abiding loathing of anything Jewish or Zionist, and contempt for anyone who feels differently or dares to question the sacrosanct agenda of these professors.

And yes, Professor Gordon, your offense is exactly that: that you do not allow zealous nationalists to voice their views. THAT is a clear violation of free speech. In a university or society which promotes free speech, or even in a department of political science which claims to be a watchdog for such a fundamental right, you MUST allow the opposition to speak. You, and your university, fail to pass the "marketplace" test -- can a person who disagrees with you publicly say so, and take a contrary position, in the marketplace, without penalty?

The answer, apparently, is No - not in Israel's academia.

THIS is not liberalism. The Left has gone fascist. It may attempt to wrap itself in the cloak of liberalism but don't be fooled.

This is an online definition of the word "liberal:"

–adjective 1. favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.
2. (often initial capital letter) noting or pertaining to a political party advocating measures of progressive political reform.
3. of, pertaining to, based on, or advocating liberalism.
4. favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, esp. as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties.
5. favoring or permitting freedom of action, esp. with respect to matters of personal belief or expression: a liberal policy toward dissident artists and writers.
6. of or pertaining to representational forms of government rather than aristocracies and monarchies.
7. free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant: a liberal attitude toward foreigners.
8. open-minded or tolerant, esp. free of or not bound by traditional or conventional ideas, values, etc.
9. characterized by generosity and willingness to give in large amounts: a liberal donor.
10. given freely or abundantly; generous: a liberal donation.
11. not strict or rigorous; free; not literal: a liberal interpretation of a rule.
12. of, pertaining to, or based on the liberal arts.
13. of, pertaining to, or befitting a freeman.
–noun 14. a person of liberal principles or views, esp. in politics or religion

--Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.0.1)

By this definition, I am a liberal. Neve Gordon is not. I still embrace much of the traditional liberal agenda. Neve Gordon supports the censoring of those who don't share his agenda.

Fascism is often defined as system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.

While Israel's government is anything but fascist, I cannot say the same about it's universities and their suppression of any dissenting views. Is there a word for a system of education marked by centralization of authority under oligarchy of academics who allow no dissent, threaten the socioeconomic status of any dissenter, suppress any opposition through censorship, public ridicule and economic threat (lack of tenure, refusal to hire, refusal to recommend to a position), and adhere to a policy of belligent internationalism and anti-Israel polemics?

Comes close to fascism, doesn't it? Why are we paying for this, fellow-taxpayers?


Blogger westbankmama said...

What is worse about this situation, is that many in the religious community(which tend to be right wing) do not go near the universities for this very reason. (Bar Ilan University is the exception). So what happens is is that the professors and students don't even hear another viewpoint to begin with. This leads to even more arrogance - they then believe that the only ones who are supposedly right wing are the "unwashed/uneducated masses".

Wednesday, October 25, 2006 at 5:03:00 PM GMT+2  
Blogger aliyah06 said...

I don't have a fix for this--wish I did. Alumnae contributions, which are a big part of private university funding and some of public university funding, get cut by alumnae when the university takes too extreme a position--but even then it has to be waaaayyy out of the mainstream.

This divide seems to be everywhere in the west: one famous NY Times writer quizzed his colleagues, who expressed amazement, surprise, anger and disgust at Kerry's defeat. The writer asked his colleagues: how many of you know someone who is gay? Most raised their hands. Then he asked: how many of you know a fundamentalist Christian? NO one raised their hand. The writer then told them that this is the problem--the Left only talks to Leftists. Not only is the Left NOT in touch with the mainstream of society, it mistakes itself for mainstream society and believes everyone must believe as they do. Many NYT writers and others of that bent wrote and spoke scathingly of the ignorant, unwashed 'yahoos' that voted for Bush--ignoring the fact that the majority of counties across the country voted for Bush and only the ultra-liberal pockets like SF, LA, NY, Boston etc voted for Kerry. Those commentators expressed their disdain for the common people and their belief right after the election that only 'stupid' people voted Republican. Those comments caused quite a few intelligent, moderate people to look askance at the writers who through these words only proved the Conservatives correct: there really is a class of elitists who believe that something as important as running the US shouldn't be left to just anyone--it should be done by the Elite, not by just any citizen...welcome to 1984 where some voters are more equal than others....

The right gets a more complete view because even right-of-center advocates read the newspapers and listen to CNN, which is all left-wing.

Politics in the US is quite divisive and courteous discourse about politics is a thing of the past. "Red state" voters are disdained by 'blue state' folks and in reality, no one is governing the country--everyone is trying to either stay in power or knock the other side out.

9/11 brought about unity of a sort--but it has evaporated.

The religious divide in Israel can be fixed but the fix is worse than the problem: everyone goes to the same school system and everyone goes in the army or national service, NO exceptions. All towns and cities are mixed--no religious towns/secular towns--neighborhoods can define themselves that way, but the towns must be mixed. It would end the alienation and stereotyping, but do you really want to live next door to a guy who mows his lawn on Shabbat and whose daughter wears little more than her underwear to school? Do you want your kids in co-ed high school?

The only thing that seems to be holding us together at times are the Islamists in all their ramifications (Hamas, Hezbollah, Fatah, Ahmanidjad, et al)...Israelis seem to understand Benjamin Franklin's adage instinctively: "we all hang together or we'll all hang separately."

Wednesday, October 25, 2006 at 7:02:00 PM GMT+2  
Blogger Kapara said...

So... did you do the bills?

Thursday, October 26, 2006 at 8:19:00 AM GMT+2  
Blogger aliyah06 said...

[grin] Half of them--then the bank's website went down and I quit--hope to finish today.

Thursday, October 26, 2006 at 3:03:00 PM GMT+2  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

brought your own soap box with you, to your new home. have all the answers...... what was the qustion again?

Friday, October 27, 2006 at 2:01:00 AM GMT+2  
Blogger aliyah06 said...

...and your name is? Only folks who have no moral basis for comment take pot-shots behind 'anonymous.' If your opinion was worth anything, and if you had the courage of your convictions, you'd sign your name. Since you haven't, everyone reading here is free to disregard your pointless cheap shot.

Friday, October 27, 2006 at 12:10:00 PM GMT+2  

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