Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Dialogue - Of Sorts


Shalom to Israeli Academia Monitor,

Here are some comments in response to your recent post titled: "Oren Yiftachel's involvement in the new boycott attempt of South African academics against Ben-Gurion University":

1. I appreciate the generous publicity you have given my articles. As you know, they draw on rigorous research published in leading academic journals, and indeed expose a problematic reality where human rights are regularly abused in Israel/Palestine. This research is conducted in the name of the (universal, academic and Jewish) values of truth and justice.

2. 'Truth' however appears somewhat problematic your own post. I regret that you continue to spread misinformation. For example, contrary to what you wrote, I have had nothing to do with the current moves of Johannesburg University to end ties with Ben-Gurion University, of which I am a proud faculty member.

3. Further, your sloppy standards caused you to misquote part of my work. Because you (surprisingly?) relied on al-Ahram instead of going to the widely available original, your post wrongly accredited to me a statement:

"It was expected Israeli behavior and an extension of Zionist policy that believes in the annihilation of the Palestinian people, and erasing their history and existence. It ignores the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, which they are entitled to, and not out of Israeli charity. [...]"

The original article however states the following, in English and Hebrew:

"… we can also see it as the continuation of the Israeli territorial project which has adopted a consistent and cruel goal - the erasure of Palestinian time, that is, the full recent history of this land. This erasure … With this destruction comes the annihilation of political powers, those existing by right, and not as a result of some Israeli 'generosity'."
For verification see:,7340,L-3652051,00.html

I expect that, as before, you retract your inaccurate comments and apologize to your readers about the misinformation.

Mo'adim Lesimcha,

Prof. Oren Yiftachel
Ben-Gurion University


Dear Prof. Yiftachel,

1. First, we should thank you and your colleagues for making IAM a valuable source of information to be used in future research.

2. As long as you do not make us aware of your official request from Al Ahram to correct their report we cannot accept your denial. In addition, we provided two more examples of your work, but you chose to ignore them.

3. Below you will find extracts from extensive research done by The Institute for Zionist Strategies. I have only picked the parts dealing with you, a prominent and influential post-Zionist within the Israeli academic Community. To sum it up, you claim that Israel is not a democracy and is engaging in "creeping apartheid." Such fallacies serve as a basis for people to boycott Israel.

4. I note that this past April you went to the University of Johannesburg to lecture on "creeping apartheid," together with Ali Abunimah, who is a BDS supporter and the co-founder of Don't you understand that speaking in South Africa on alleged Israeli "creeping apartheid" you provide fuel for those who then attempt to boycott your own university? I have searched everywhere to see whether you published something which opposes BDS, and I failed to find anything. Have you written a letter to the proponents of the boycott in Johannesburg urging them not do so? If you can refer me to such a publication, I would be only too happy to publish it.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Mordechai Kedar IAM Chairman.

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