Ben Gurion University is in stress. The recent reports published by
the “Im Tirtzu” student movement about the Post-Zionist political
control dominating important parts of the university have had their
effect and impact. They have managed to attach labels to the
university’s name in the world with which it is uncomfortable. In the
(leftist) media, in which “Im Tirtzu” was denounced as “censors,” the
university was enjoyed seeing itself defended by journalists. But it
turns out that “Im Tirtzu” managed to get out its message in dialogue
with the wider public, talking to them over the heads of the official
commentators on the TV news shows.

The vast majority of citizens, those who serve and whose children
serve in the Israel Defense Forces, have no affinity for faculty
members calling for worldwide boycotts of Israel, who denounce Israeli
soldiers, and who call on their own students to refuse to serve in the
army. An official statement issued last week by the country’s Council
on Higher Education (the public body that overseas Israeli
universities and colleges) was yet another slap in the face for large
swaths of Israeli academia. The Council proclaimed: “Situations must
be prevented where students or faculty members face rejection,
silencing, penalization or discrimination because of their personal
views or characteristics, including their political opinions.”
(Clearly the Council meant the harassment of non-leftists by leftist
faculty members – SP)

The donors to Ben Gurion University also saw the reports and started
asking questions. Many of these people, who live abroad and send
their generous contributions to the institution of higher learning
that bears the name of David Ben Gurion, had not been aware of the
atmosphere of political extremism that dominates large parts of the

The university learned that it is possible to peddle clichés about
academic freedom from Beer Sheva to as-far-away-as Paris, but
ultimately the facts take charge. When large numbers of faculty
members from the extremist Left sign their names to petitions publicly
denouncing Israeli soldiers, it is hard to keep the facts hidden. And
it is precisely at that point, where all excuses are exhausted, that
the falsehoods begin.

Ben Gurion University, like the other schools, operates a network of
overseas emissaries and representatives all over the world. These
people are responsible for developing connections with donors. And
when the donors start asking questions, these serve as the official
front line troops of the University.

One such representative of Ben Gurion University is Elise Donat (see
and .
Her email is
— SP). She lives in Geneva and the
BGU official web site lists her as its representative to
French-speaking parts of Europe. Following the publication of the
findings of “Im Tirtzu,” members of the Friends of Ben Gurion
University in France demanded from the officials of Ben Gurion
University an explanation. The “Friends” operate a fund that channels
many millions to the university and Donat was sent by the university
to calm the Fund’s donors down. The donors told her that they had
learned that in the BGU Politics Department, 8 out of the 11 members
of the faculty were Post-Zionists or radical leftists. (Actually all
11 are – SP)

Donat did everything she could to reassure them. Including lying.
The letter she sent them is a masterpiece of disinformation, an
Israeli Bluff. “As you well know,” writes Donat in her letter –
translated here from the French, “The Radical Right has a very large
representation in the Israeli government and on the Council of Higher
Education.” (Actually to my knowledge there is not a single
Right-winger on the Council -SP)

The Council on Higher Education, for those who are not familiar with
it, is a professional academic body composed of 16 professors from
academic institutions, two representatives of the general public, and
the chairperson of the national students union. Politicians have no
say at all there and cannot enter the Council. But that did not
prevent Donat from selling her snake oil to the donors about how SHAS
and Israel Beiteinu (Lieberman’s party) themselves, no less than
they!!, had grabbed control of the Council.

Donat then challenges those donors who had complained that in the BGU
Department of Politics there are many anti-Israel faculty members.
That claim is utterly false, Donat writes them. There is only one
radical anti-Israel extremist there, Prof. Neve Gordon. Donat then
decides to take the argument further, well beyond the boundaries of
intentional misrevebeen. In the politics department, she writes,
“There are professors from the radical Right wing like Renee
Poznanski,* David Newman,* and Dani Filc”. Now just in case there are
any out there who do not know who these three are, they are all
far-leftists who signed those petitions proclaiming, “We support and
appreciate our students who are refusing to serve as soldiers in the
conquered territories.”

Actually, the above-mentioned Filc is Chairman of the extremist
Far-Leftist Organization “Physicians for Human Rights” (which used to
be run by Neve Gordon himself and which in the past circulated
anti-Semitic caricatures of Jews- SP). Donat was convinced that she
had managed to convince the donors to BGU that the University is in
fact the bastion of “Im Tirtzu.” She concludes her letter thus: “As
can be seen, in this department (Politics) there reigns pluralism of
opinion and diversity of views.” One line before the end, this
representative of the University adds that Prof. David Newman,* the
same one who signed that petition mentioned above, is not only a
right-winger but someone “notorious for expressing extremist
right-wing opinions.” (!!!!!)

Ben Gurion University sent us the following response: “Donat is on a
private vacation in India until February 24 and so we cannot reach her
to clarify the matter.”