(Intellectual) Pollution in the Negev

By Dr. Steven E. Plaut

There are many Anti-Zionist "academics" that plague Israel known as the "New Historians". They are the moral equivalent in Israel to Holocaust deniers overseas. They are pseudo-academics and pseudo-scholars who do "research" designed to show that Israel is and always has been an evil oppressive racist colonialist fascist society, that Zionism is the epitome of evil, and that the Arabs have always wanted peace with Israel but the evil Jews prevented this from happening out of their evil cussedness, hatred of peace, and desire to steal Arab lands.

Many of the "New Historians" are tenured reds at the universities (they generally support Israel's Communist Party - Hadash). One of the most extreme of these extremists is one Benny Morris. He has been in the news the past few years because he was unable to find any university in Israel willing to offer him a job and he claimed it was cause of an evil Zionist cabal against him.

That is amusing, given that Israeli universities are crawling with reds and Jewish Anti-Zionists, including most of the other "New Historians", and even have seen a wave of "post-modernists" and deconstructionists get tenure. Morris' real problem is that his academic credentials suck. Being an extremist and Anti-Semite is not enough to prevent one from getting tenure in Israel, as long as one also does serious scholarly work and publishes in academic journals. Morris does not. Of course he HAS published some books, the latest one proving that the Arabs wanted peace in the 1950s but Israel prevented this out of evil ambitions, as revealed in the 1956 Sinai Campaign. It is easy to get any anti-Israel Zionism-bashing tripe published, even at prestigious publishers. History departments in Israel can see through this and know how to assess Morris' "scholarship" for what it is, even History Departments full of Anti-Semites and Anti-Zionists like that at the Hebrew University.

By the way, Efraim Karsh, a leading British scholar and editor of the scholarly journal "Israel Affairs" recently published a broadside attack on these varmints, including Morris, and completely exposed and debunked them. Anyway, Morris had announced he was leaving Israel to go "work" in some less oppressive society. But now, all of a sudden, he has been hired as a professor at Ben-Gurion University in the Negev. And to top all that off, the descendents of David Ben Gurion, after whom the University is named, are having a fit. They demand Morris not be on the staff of the university. Morris has made it his mission in life to besmirch Ben Gurion and paint him as a nasty anti-peace racist and fascist. Were he to slander the dead at Hebrew University or Tel Aviv University, say the Ben-Gurions, we could well accept this, but to do so at Ben Gurion University is just too much. They are being attacked by the Israeli Lemming Left and its captive media.

Now the New Historians, like the Holocaust Deniers, always like to respond to any criticism of their activities by whining about free speech. That is never the real issue of course. Holocaust Deniers are pseudo-scholars and should be dismissed from universities on those grounds, just as should the Anti-Zionist New Historians. Fanaticism and extremism are well represented in Israeli universities and so their "suppression" in the hiring professors has never been an issue. The real issue is that Morris is a quack and scoundrel and incapable of honest scholarship.

Now since the authorities at Ben Gurion University are rationalizing the hire of Morris under the red herring of "free speech", I see no reason why you should not exercise YOUR free speech. Why not write to the President and Rector of the University and explain your opinion of Morris' being hired? The President is Avishay Braverman and his email is (I believe) (if not, look it up thru and the Rector is Nahum Finger (try email - and no tasteless jokes about Rector Fingering). You could also fax them or call their "Friends of" offices in New York. If the email bounces, try to substitute bgumail for bguvm.

Speaking of free speech, Maariv this morning reports that the Likud Osloites are about to suppress free speech of dissidents of the Right in a way the Labor Lemmings and McCarthyists never dared. They are planning to shut down the opposition "settler" radio station Arutz (Channel) 7 for broadcasting without a license. This, rather than just granting Arutz 7 such a license. The station broadcasts as a "pirate" transmitter offshore. The far-Leftist Abbie Nathan was left in peace to broadcast as a "pirate" for 20 years beginning in 1973, undisturbed by governments of the Likud or Labor. Nathan then went bankrupt and scuttled his transmitting ship right smack in the middle of Israel's shipping lanes, and was never prosecuted for that either (nor meeting with Yassir when such meetings were a felony). Now the Likud Osloites are threatening Arutz 7, the finest radio station in Israel, and the only one that is not dogmatically Leftist.

I suggest writing the Minister of Communications Limor Livnat and Minister of Police Avigdor Kahalani and demand that they lay off Arutz 7 and legalize it thru granting it a legal broadcast charter immediately.


Dr. Steven E. Plaut teaches at the graduate School of Business, University of Haifa


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