Op-Ed: Hoist by One's Own Petard
Prof. Steven PlautSteven Plaut teaches at the University of Haifa and is author of "The Scout" (available from Gefen Publishing House). More of his writings can be seen on the New Plaut Blog, as well as in numerous electronic and print newspapers.
Recently the tenured chattering classes in Israel were hysterical when it turned out that one of their own, the leftist political science professor Dan Avnon, found himself the target of a campaign of boycott against Israel.
Avnon had wanted to spend some time at an Australian University, at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney, possibly churning out leftist propaganda, but the local leftists were boycotting anything and anyone associated with Israel.
The leftist members of Israel's academic world was rather upset. The same people who have spent years promoting divestment and boycotts of Israel never meant for it to apply to the "good" Israelis, the anti-Israel leftist Israelis. The chat forums of those Israeli professors overflowed with cries of anguish. What about free academic inquiry for us good leftists?, they complained. Where is the democracy? The academic freedom? The free scholarship?
Well, we will tell you where the free academic inquiry is. Just ask Moshe Foxman Shaal. He is today a Ph.D. student at Tel Aviv University. But before going there, he did his MA at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's political science department .
While there, he approached a senior faculty member with a proposal to write his Master's thesis about the "national-liberal" philosophical doctrines of Menachem Begin. Yes, liberal. Begin was a stickler for the rule of law, for due process, for liberal values, for freedom of speech, and he even gave lip service to economic liberalism (although he failed miserably to deliver on that when he was in power).
Foxman-Shaal approached the Hebrew University don to be his thesis supervisor. The professor replied that he would only agree to be the supervisor if Foxman-Shaal wrote his thesis about how Menachem Begin was really a fascist; if not, he refused.
And just who was that Hebrew University professor? You guessed it! (Drumroll….) It was none other than Dan Avnon. You know, the symbol of free academic inquiry, objective scholarship, and freedom of speech, who is now the martyr saint of the Israeli left. (Hat tip, Makor Rishon, Dec. 21, 2012)
Foxman-Shaal is an interesting writer - see this (in Hebrew): http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/
Get to know pro-Palestinian Professor Dan Avnon, from the Hebrew University's School of Public Policy and its uniformly left Political Science Department (http://politics.huji.ac.il/
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