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Sunday Aug. 29, 2010 11:40 AM (EST+7)
ACCOUNT: Professor relates stifling atmosphere on Israeli campuses

Read more: freedom of expression, freedom of speech, higher education, colleges, universities, education, Im Tirtzu

RAMALLAH, August 29 (JMCC) - University professor Neve Gordon describes the way that attacks on himself and other left-wing professors are stifling the atmosphere on Israeli campuses.

They have chosen the universities as their prime target for two main reasons. First, even though Israeli universities as institutions have never condemned any government policy—not least the restrictions on Palestinian universities' academic freedom—they are home to many vocal critics of Israel's rights-abusive policies. Those voices are considered traitorous and consequently in need of being stifled. Joining such attacks are Americans like Alan M. Dershowitz, who in a recent visit to Tel-Aviv University called for the resignations of professors who supported the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israeli goods and divestment from Israeli companies until the country abides by international human-rights law. He named Rachel Giora and Anat Matar, both tenured professors at Tel Aviv University, as part of that group.

Second, all Israeli universities depend on public funds for about 90 percent of their budget. This has been identified as an Achilles heel. The idea is to exploit the firm alliance those right-wing organizations have with government members and provide the ammunition necessary to make financial support for universities conditional on the dissemination of nationalist thought and the suppression of subversive ideas. Thus, in the eyes of those right-wing Israeli organizations, the universities are merely arms of the government.

Read the article at the Palestine Chronicle...






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