A myth about anti-Semitism is the supposed existence of a global database that contains the names of all the Jews in the world. Originally it was said to be a typewritten list; now the rumors are of a computerized database that also reveals names of people who do not identify themselves as Jews.
Even though the analogy is not exact, this is the association generated by the latest publication by the Ariel Center for Policy Research, a radical right-wing organization. The English-language paper, written in a McCarthyite spirit, does its author very little honor. ACPR Policy Paper No. 171 bears the title "Our Inner Scourge: The Catastrophe of Israel Academics." The catastrophe lies neither in the financial situation of Israeli academia nor in its standards, nor even in the low wages professors receive. It lies in its leftism. A list of people suspected of being leftists or activists appears at the end of the paper.
Like blacklists from other times and regimes, a kind of warning arises from the list, organized according to the universities and academic institutions with which the enemies of the people are affiliated. Among them are leading Israeli intellectuals and Israel Prize laureates.
This publication must not be ignored, both because of the subjects it addresses and the identity of the Ariel Center's members. Most of the center's publications are devoted to strategic studies, and some can enrich the Israeli discourse. The center's board and advisory council include figures such as professors Moshe Arens, Israel Hanukoglu and Raphael Israeli, as well as academics from Europe and the United States.
The author of the latest paper was aided by a group called the "Israel Academia Monitor," which keeps an eye on the leftists scattered in Israel's universities. The operation is conducted in English, and the site's homepage (www.israel-academia-monitor.com) warns donors about where their gifts to Israeli universities are liable to end up.
It would be sad if it were not pathetic to the point of ridiculousness. The Israeli McCarthyites who want to block donations to the dangerous individuals infiltrating academia are the same people who cried out, justly, against the academic boycott of Israel by British academics. At that time they invoked the spirit of academic freedom. Now this enlightened attitude has given way to the irresponsible use of the terms "anti-Semitic" and "anti-Zionist," which accompany the names of senior academics in Israel, and to wretched pseudo-psychological analyses of the pathological motives of your average Jewish left-winger.
Even the Holocaust is invoked. The claim is that the Holocaust so frightened the Jews that they disavow their Jewishness by identifying with the Arab enemy, whose distress and suffering are described within quotation marks.
This is not the only ludicrous aspect of the publication. Even funnier is that Israeli academia had no idea it was like this. Generally, its members are simply indifferent and cut off, concerned only about their own needs. Their tower may not be of ivory, but it is sealed. Yes, it contains people, including renowned scholars who have been active in peace and left-wing movements for years, but they are few and act as individuals.
Contrary to the name of a small left-wing group, "The Campus Is Not Silent," the campus is indeed silent. Israeli academia as a body has never taken a position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or even on issues with which it is directly connected; for example, when Israel closed the universities in the West Bank for a long period, or on the issue of the checkpoints that prevent students and lecturers from reaching their academic institutions. Now comes the Ariel Center, and every non-opinionated member of Israeli academia becomes Che Guevara without trying.
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