'Israeli academia giving a platform to the far-left'

Watchdog group claims leftist group held anti-IDF seminar at Ben Gurion University; BGU denies claims.

Benny Tocker ,

Students at Ben Gurion University
Students at Ben Gurion University
Dudu Greenspan/Flash 90

The watchdog organization "Reservists at the Front" has claimed that a radical anti-IDF group held a seminar at the Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva, prompting calls for an investigation into the school.

According to Reservists at the Front, the seminar in question, which was hosted by the Student Union, encouraged participants to document security forces at protests and demonstrations.

Reservists at the Front recorded a conversation of an employee of The Association of Civil Rights in Israel explaining how to avoid arrest after provoking IDF soldiers.

Amit Deri, Chairman of Reservists at the Front, told Arutz Sheva that alert students turned to the organization. “Students aware of the course who had suspicions turned to us, and we sent an investigator who looked into the course.”

He said that left-wing groups find a forum receptive to their ideas at universities. “Left-wing organizations such as The Association for Civil Rights and other groups contact students. As in the rest of the world, the place where things happen is in academia, and unfortunately they give [these groups] a platform, too.”

Deri called on the Knesset Education Committee to investigate the situation at Ben Gurion University in general.

Ben Gurion University responded to Deri's claims, saying that the university has no connection with the seminar, and that it was held off campus.

“We turned to the University and they told us that they are not connected to the course, and they apparently understand that the course is inappropriate," said Deri. "I hope that the Education Committee will deliberate also on the wider context relating to statements of all sorts of professors against IDF soldiers, some comparing the State of Israel to apartheid states.”

BGU President Rivka Carmi said the university had never endorsed the seminar, nor was it held on school grounds.

"Ben Gurion University of the Negev has no ties whatsoever to the course in question," said Carmi, adding that BGU is "at the forefront of the struggle against the BDS movement."

Carmi called upon the Knesset Education Committee to cancel a planned hearing on the seminar.