A guest blog post by Jerome Slater, regular Tikkun Magazine contributor and University Research Scholar at SUNY Buffalo:
The general level of Israeli political discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, most of which has always been low, seems to have reached a new nadir since the Israeli attack on Gaza. What follows is but one example, but a telling one.
Anat Lapidot-Firilla is a political scientist teaching at Hebrew University, a highly prestigious position. In Friday’s Haaretz she wrote a column, “What is Behind Turkey’s Antagonism Toward Israel,” in which she purports to explain the recent cooling of Israel’s alliance with Turkey, in particular prime minister Recep Erdogan’s anger at the Israeli attack. She offers a range of “theories,” including Turkish domestic politics, Erdogan’s clashes with the Turkish army, his alleged dreams of becoming a leader of the Muslim world, and even his personal pique.
Everything, that is, but genuine Turkish outrage at Israel’s ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people, which except for a passing reference to “shrill complaints” about the Gazan attack–revealing language in itself–is not considered as one of these many possible explanations. Indeed, Lapidot-Firilla could have simply made a neutral reference to Turkish anger at Israel as an observable fact and as one of the contributing explanations, without even having to acknowledge that the anger might be an understandable and legitimate response to Israeli behavior.
But no. Although written as if it was expert commentary by a leading scholar, this is not scholarship, but propaganda masking as neutral expert commentary. The very essence of scholarship is a commitment to truth, even uncomfortable truths. What Lapidot-Firilla has written is a travesty on an honorable profession.