Friends and colleagues of former MK Michael Ben-Ari say that he may be the victim of an organized campaign to get him fired from a teaching position he recently took an at Ariel University. The campaign, they said, seems to be an orchestrated one, with articles in the leftist media generating “worried responses” from “citizens,” who are actually well-known activists on the left.
Ben-Ari holds a doctorate in Land of Israel Studies from Bar Ilan University. He specialized in the archaeology and history of the Temple Mount, the topic he will be lecturing on at Ariel.
Ben-Ari's acquaintances pointed to an article in Ha'aretz Wednesday which castigated Ariel University for hiring Ben-Ari to teach a course on Israeli history and tradition. Ben-Ari, the article stated: “...is a 'Kahanist,' a former supporter of right-wing radical Rabbi Meir Kahane, who supports the construction of a Third Temple on the Temple Mount (where the Al Aqsa Mosque today stands). This is the man who is teaching a course about the history and traditions of the Temple Mount.
“Ben-Ari is also well-known for his opposition to African immigrants,” the article continued. “At a rally last May, Ben-Ari sad that 'the Sudanese need to return to Sudan,' because 'they are stealing jobs from Israelis and making life unsafe for women and children.'” In addition, the Ha'aretz article said, Ben-Ari attempted to remove parliamentary protection from MK Hanan Zouabi, after she participated in and defended the infamous 2010 Gaza flotilla, in which IDF soldiers were nearly killed after Hamas-affiliated “activists” set upon them with weapons.
The article was printed in the Ha'aretz print edition and on its new site, and generated dozens of responses from “ordinary citizens,” who Ben-Ari's acquaintances said were actually well-known leftist activists. The responses said that Ben-Ari was “a racist,” “a fascist,” “a neo-Nazi who should be put in jail,” and a number of unprintable pejoratives that Ha'aretz apparently felt were appropriate for their site. In addition, they said, Ariel University has in recent days been inundated with complaints about Ben-Ari's presence on campus.
“There is no doubt that this Ha'aretz article was part of an organized campaign,” said a close associate of Ben-Ari. “We have returned to the early days of the state, when your political view had to be vetted by the proper cultural and political 'authorities' in order to be allowed to advance in academia, with those holding right-wing views of course excluded. Radical leftist lecturers are allowed to say whatever they want at any university, but in this case, Ariel University is supposed to dump Ben-Ari because he is too 'radical.'”
It should be noted that Ha'aretz previously waged a long campaign against granting Ariel a university status, both on its news and editorial pages.