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Leftists, Stop Teaching in Israel's West Bank University

Decent Israelis, seekers of peace, must engage in the smallest act of civil resistance and refuse to study or work in Ariel

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, shaking hands with American Jewish casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, at Ariel University in the West Bank, June 28, 2017.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, left, shaking hands with Sheldon Adelson, at Ariel University. Officials made a pilgrimage there to please the master from America on his festive day.Credit: Moti Milrod

What ugliness emanates from the photos of the cornerstone-laying ceremony of the faculty of medicine at the “university” of Ariel. So much vacuous arrogance on the part of the masters of the land, such dishonesty and falsity – an entire world constructed around lies.

Ariel is not situated within Israeli territory. It is located beyond its sovereign borders. The institution operating there is not a real university – it doesn’t meet the required academic standards. In order to establish the college, later to be called a university, a military order by the head of the Israel Defense Forces Central Command was required. That’s how things work in occupied territory.

Now Sheldon Adelson and his new pet, Naftali Bennett, are setting up school of medicine there, prattling about Zionism and settlement. Adelson made his fortune in casinos. He is not a productive person, nor is he a settler or a Zionist. He is a shrewd dealer who made money by exploiting the frailty of others. He sits in America and dictates Israel’s policy through his fortune. Bennett lives in Ra’anana, a safe distance from Ariel.

How embarrassing it was to see Israel’s elected officials making a pilgrimage to this isolated settlement in order to please the master on his festive day. There was MK Anat Berko (Likud), who once explained to the parliament that there is no such thing as a Palestinian people. There was the malleable and weak prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, appearing yet again during a week when he repeatedly gave in to an ultra-Orthodox minority.

In Ariel he tightly grasped the hand of his master and benefactor, pressing it, his face displaying a forced and twisted smile, unsuccessfully trying to hide his fear of the police interrogation to which Adelson and his wife had been summoned. “Thank you, great patriots of the Jewish nation,” he groveled before them, in his speech.

But there is no such thing as a Jewish nation. There are a Jewish people, a Jewish religion, and possibly a Jewish state. Even Netanyahu, who has perfected the art of semantic acrobatics, knows that Adelson is not a patriot of the Jewish state. Perhaps a patriot of Macau or Las Vegas.

What should decent Israelis, seekers of peace and compromise, members of the democratic camp, do in face of this ongoing horror show? If Hebron is the symbol of the ultimate evil of the occupation, Ariel must be the epitome of its ultimate folly. It was deliberately established deep inside Palestinian territory. It is a finger in the eye – something that stretches to the point of geometric and military absurdity any notion of a defense line or future border that could separate two states.

What should all such Israelis do in the face of the ongoing occupation and settlement, the mounting out-of-control annexation, the insane allocation of resources and the yoking of the state to the messianic delusions of Adelson and Bennett? After all, most Israelis intend to go on living here even in the absence of a political turnaround. This is their country and homeland. A revolt against taxes is technically infeasible, making any participant an immediate lawbreaker. And a refusal to send one’s children to fight and die on the altar of the security of the settlements means breaking all the rules and a withdrawal from public consensus.

The smallest act of civil resistance that is required is to stop participating in this march of folly and deceit. Leftist should not study at Ariel and certainly not teach there. Some of my good friends are doing so. They lecture there on architecture and communications, and on other subjects in the social sciences and humanities. Soon, with the realization of Adelson and Bennett’s dream, physicians will also stream in there. It’s difficult to argue with the exigencies of making a living, but the truth must be told. Anyone objecting to the settlement enterprise and the occupation, but who takes part in its expansion and feeds off it, is lying to himself and causing damage to his country.