Daily Israel Report

Professor Responds with Sarcasm to Left-Wing Boycott

Nobel Prize winner on not getting honorary degree due to right-wing views. Professors’ group: this is bad for Haifa U, not for Aumann.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 12/22/2013, 9:37 AM

Professor Aumann
Professor Aumann
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Professor Yisrael (Robert) Aumann reacted Saturday night to the news that Haifa University’s Executive Committee has decided not to award him an honorary doctorate due to his right-wing political views. Aumann is a Nobel Prize winner in the field of economics.

Speaking to Channel 1’s program Roim Olam, Aumann joked : “I’ve prayed and aspired to getting an honorary doctorate from Haifa University for my whole life.”

“I’m very disappointed,” he added, sarcastically.

Aumann linked the issue to academic boycotts against Israeli schools. “I have to say that we create this issue of boycotts ourselves,” he said.

Former Member of Knesset and professor Aryeh Eldad, head of the Professors for a Strong Israel forum, responded to Haifa University’s decision with a warning that the university is hurting itself, not Aumann.

“The ‘blow’ to Professor Aumann does not actually exist,” Eldad said. “The only party that could be hurt by this is the university. The idiots sitting there are so dumb that they forgot that universities give honorary degrees in order to honor themselves, not in order to honor the recipient.”

“When Tel Aviv University gives a degree like this to Bill Clinton, we can assume that he would have managed to get through the month without the degree. But the university is honored by his honor,” Eldad explained.

It is “excellent” that Haifa University allowed its decision to be made public, Eldad continued. “It reveals the university’s true face, which varies between five shades of anti-Israelism and anti-Zionism, between simply recognizing the Arab right to the land of Israel and establishing legal clinics for terrorists as an exercise for law students,” he said.

Eldad concluded by congratulating Aumann on not getting honors “from this left-wing university in Haifa.”

Minister Naftali Bennett made similar remarks Saturday night on Facebook. "Haifa University’s refusal to grant an honorary degree to Nobel Prize Laureate Prof. Aumann for his right-wing views is like a minor league in Alaska choosing not to grant an honorary degree in basketball to Michael Jordan. We'll get over it,” he wrote.