Israel’s traitorous intellectuals

The phenomenon of Israel-hatred among Jewish Israeli academics and journalists has gone far beyond what can be explained by the distribution of Jewish Israelis across the political spectrum. Here in the US, it seems to me that Jewish attitudes toward Israel are more or less the same as those of the general population, with a few exceptions in either direction like the anti-Zionist Hasidic sects and the pro-Zionists of the Young Israel movement. For most other American Jews, their position depends on their overall political orientation, with the Left tending to be anti-Zionist and the right pro-Zionist. Only a small number hold extreme positions, and even fewer seem to be activists.

This makes me unhappy — I think there should be a natural tendency for Jews to be Zionists — but it is far from the pathological death wish found among Israeli academics and media elite:

Dr. Anat Matar of [the Tel Aviv University] Philosophy Department will be speaking on February 17 at London University’s School for Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) – a campus renowned for anti-Israel activity. [link added by editor]

Matar’s talk is to be titled “Supporting the Boycott on Israel: A View from Within.”

She is taking part in a series of events over the coming weeks organized by the Palestinian societies at five University of London campuses – University College London, SOAS, Imperial College, Kings College and Goldsmiths – as well as at the University of Westminster.

In an article in Haaretz in August, Matar accused her own university of being complicit with the “occupation” and questioned Israel’s stance on Palestinian academic freedom and basic education…

The series of events is titled, “Gaza: Our Guernica,” in reference to the bombing of a Basque town during the Spanish Civil War. The 1937 attack caused widespread destruction and civilian deaths, with 1,650 reportedly killed…

The series of events opened last Thursday with a candlelight vigil at University College London, recently in the headlines after it was discovered that failed Detroit airline bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was a former president of the Islamic Society there.

Two other Israelis are taking part in the series. On Monday, journalist Daphna Baram spoke at SOAS in a talk titled, “Besieged in Self-Righteousness: Israeli public discourse after the last invasion of Gaza.”

Next Wednesday, Israeli academic Avi Shlaim, professor of International Relations at Oxford University, will speak about “Gaza: Past and Present” at Goldsmiths. — Jerusalem Post

This is in addition to Prof. Neve Gordon of Ben Gurion University who recently called for an international boycott of Israel like that of apartheid South Africa, to “save Israel from herself.” In addition, we can’t ignore Ha’aretz pundits Akiva Eldar, Amira Hass, Gideon Levy, etc. And then there are the Jewish workers in Israeli NGOs such as the European-funded B’Tselem and Physicians for Human Rights — Israel whose activities directly support the campaign to delegitimize the state.

Everyone agrees that free speech has limits. During time of war — and Israel has been at war since its founding — the limits are even narrower. And these Jewish Israelis, especially since they speak to foreign audiences, clearly cross the line. Dr. David Hirsh, who is British and no right-winger, said this:

Israeli anti-Zionists boast that their country carries out the most important and horrific genocides in the world… The delusions of grandeur of Israeli anti-Zionists are as puerile as those of the most naive and proud nationalists. But it is dangerous to tell Europeans that the Israelis are a unique evil on the planet, because this lie finds a resonance in the collective memory and it feels plausible to some contemporary Europeans.

Regarding the obscene comparison of Israel’s action to the Nazi bombing of Guernica, Hirsh added some historical dimension:

In April 1937, on a market day, the Nazis attacked Guernica from the air, first with bombs and then with incendiaries. Fighter planes followed the bombers to machine-gun survivors. It was the first time anybody had launched an attack from the air to kill a civilian population. A third of the population was killed or seriously injured in an afternoon.

This, of course, is how the Gaza operation is portrayed by Hamas and its sympathizers, but the reality — an operation in which unprecedented care was taken to reduce civilian casualties and damage — was exactly the opposite. This reality has by now been almost entirely obliterated in  the public mind by a massive disinformation campaign, of which the notorious Goldstone report is emblematic.

Nothing is more effective in this campaign than its support by Israeli Jews. And since the object of it is to pave  the way to the destruction of the state, these Israelis are in effect guilty of treason.

Of course I don’t expect them to get their just deserts, but it is unacceptable that there are no negative consequences for them at all.

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5 Responses to “Israel’s traitorous intellectuals”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    There is something so sick and so sad about this phenomenom. These are people who are defended every day of their lives by the Israeli Defense Forces. They have no problem exercising the protections and rights provided by Israeli Democracy. And yet their viciousness, their spite, their envy, their hatred is so great that they support those who are not only working for the destruction of the state they live in, but openly practice the worst kind of inhumane terror. They are both hypocrites and fools. But worse they are evil.
    ‘Haaretz’ has fostered for years a cadre of these people. Its owner Amos Schocken has thus encouraged and enabled those who would destroy the Jewish state, first by delegitimizing it – to do their evil work.
    No one writes about him or touches his enterprise in any way. Why I don’t know.

  2. jerry1800 says:

    Ilan Pappe, Avraham Burg, Micha Brumlik, Abraham Melzer, Amira Hass, Uri Avneiri…..there are really hundreds of traitors and collaborators with the enemy

  3. Robman says:

    OK, everybody, this sucks, but calm down. There is a way to combat this.

    Here in the U.S., ever since at least the 1960s, we have nurtured a similar cadre of America-bashers in academia to begin with, and who have often gone from there to journalistic circles. When I was at U Michigan Ann Arbor in the early 1980s, such professors/assistant professers/grad students, and so on, were a dime a dozen. This was at the height of the Cold War, and when people like me suggested that the Soviets really were “bad” and that maybe Reagan was right to boost defense spending, take a hard line against them, etc., I was roundly derided as a simpleton, as some kind of fascist stooge.

    My point being: The bad guys with respect to Israel just love to latch upon these anti-Israel Israelis, to point to them and say, “SEE??!! Even THEY hate Israel, and since they are not only Jews, but nay, Israelis, surely this adds credibility to our argument!”

    Well, it is not hard to find similarly obnoxious American bashers by the truckload on American campuses and media organizations. Consider the likes of Ward Churchill, for example. Or how about Vann Jones, a recently resigned Obama Administration “Green Jobs Czar” who thought the U.S. government had a hand in 9-11. Would rabid critics of America really gain much currency by pointing to such individuals and saying, “See? These are AMERICANS who are – gasp! – anti-American! So surely, America must REALLY be evil!” They could try, but I don’t think they’d get that far.

    In every free society, there are going to be malcontents and self-styled iconoclastic “intellectuals” who impress themselves, or think they impress others, by biting the hand that feeds them. They need to be marginalized, and in the case of Israel, they need to be put in the box they belong in. They are just Israel’s ‘Ward Churchills’, and that is it.

  4. Shalom Freedman says:

    This is a reply to the response of Robman. I don’t think that there is much to be calm about. The fact that the U.S. also has many intellectuals who turn against their own country is of no solace to Israel. After all no one is threatening to destroy the United States. The power positions of the U.S. and Israel are slightly different. Israel is far more vulnerable. Another point is that the Leftist domination of the U.S. campus is not something Americans should be very calm about. David Horowitz at Frontpage the major crusader against this explains how intellectual life in America has been poisoned by this phenomenom. And in fact the U.S. Leftist Campus Domination is also a major factor in the delegitimizing of Israel effort at those campuses.
    So I don’t believe calm is in order, but rather making every effort posssible, even in small ways to counter this.

  5. Robman says:


    OK, that was a poor choice of words. I don’t mean being sanguine in the face of this. What I do mean is that, just as we can marginalize leftist anti-Americans here, this can be done in the case of Israel as well. This is not a uniquely Israeli or Jewish phenomenon.

    Israel is more vulnerable overall, just due to her small size and population. But it is amazing how safe one feels there in a day-to-day sense (at least I did), how much better the airport security works, how sturdy and patriotic most Israelis seemed to me compared to the apathy of so many Americans. I wonder who really is more vulnerable…look at who is running the U.S. today! Could Israel elect someone like Obama, for whom being anti-American is perversely elevated to a form of “patriotism”?

    Anyway, I am in full agreement that this needs to be countered here and over there. My only point is that this is eminently doable. I also strongly suspect that this will be a lot easier to do by 2012, as the utter bankruptcy of what Obama and his fellow travelers stand for is exposed for the fraud it really is.

    Stout hearts, all.