20 thoughts on “U.S. Academics Defend Gordon – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Let’s not forget other occasions when academic freedom has been trashed in Israel, such as the fire-storm of bitterness aimed at Teddy Katz and his research on the massacre of Tantura. On the basis of 14 errors discovered in a thesis that ran to some 500 pages he was stripped of his degree and his academic mentor (Ilan Pappe) forced from the country.

    Katz may be wrong over the 200-300 massacred villagers (though having taken so much testimony from both victims and perpetrators, it’s difficult to see how). But if Israel has nothing to hide (or indeed any respect for victims) they’d dig up the car-park where the bodies (at least 75, even by official accounts) are thought to be. It’s shameful that this wasn’t done as soon as evidence of a massacre became public.

    Now we have another fire-storm over organ theft. Kawther Salam, the brave Palestinian journalist forced into exile in Vienna in 2002 after 20 years thinks she knows where many of the empty bodies (of the mid-90s) were buried. She seems to think the bodies were padded out again with cotton wool. Lets see if there is academic (or other) integrity in Israel that wants the graves opened up and this particular “blood libel” either disproved or substantially discredited.

    1. I’m very uncomfortable opening this blog to any serious discussion of the issue of organ harvesting. As far as I’m concerned this is an entirely speculative, unproven accusation and hence unfair and unacceptable as a topic of serious discussion.

  2. Gordon noted the irony of his asserting academic freedom to support an effort that would functionally eliminate the academic freedom of Israeli academics.

    There was an academic boycott of Israeli institutions when I was a child. I don’t remember the dates, but the Arab world had “succeeded” in getting a number of European states to refuse to permit Israeli academics from presenting at conferences for example.

    Its ironic that a prior failed “strategy” revived (its success was a failure, meaning it did more harm than good), and is thought of as new.

    1. Richard, why are you so against exploring the organ harvesting story? It is screaming for an investigation, why not investigate it? Read Kawther Salam’s account, you may reconsider. Israel is definitely capable of such barbarism, look at Gaza for heaven’s sake! These accusations are not baseless!

        1. Emman – as Richard has said and <a href="http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10730.shtml&quot; Matthew Cassel of the Electronic Intifada has written, this story is not really well enough sourced. Various western observers (can’t believe those lying Palestinians, after all, can we?) have documented violations such as willful killing of civilians and children, torture, extrajudicial executions, communal punishment of a civilian population, blackmailing patients in need of medical care to turn them into informers, wanton and deliberate destruction of civilian infrastructure, punitive home demolitions and illegal use of restricted weapons (such as white phosphorus and cluster bombs) against civilian targets. These violations have been carefully documented over many years by human rights organizations.

          However credible this new story is, the lack of hard evidence acts to undermine documented abuses, and allows the Richard Wittys of the world to paint all observers and reporters as liars.

      1. First, this is off topic. I strongly urge commenters to keep comments on-topic. Second, this is nothing more than a Gothic horror story. I will not believe it has a shred of truth until someone comes up with strong incontrovertible evidence. NO ONE has done so. For every claim that has been made by believers of this story I’ve read specific & credible refutations. I will not do my cause a disservice by believing horror stories no matter how sincere may be the motivation of those who circulate them.

        As William Smart has written, the actual truthful horrors of Occupation give us quite enough material to work with. We don’t need the equivalent of the conspiracy theories that Israel warned all Jews to evacuate the Twin Towers on 9/11.

    2. There was an academic boycott of Israeli institutions when I was a child.

      I have no idea what you’re talking about & I go back prob. as far as your childhood at least. I’ve never heard of such a thing. There was an Arab commercial boycott of Israel, but I’ve never heard of an academic boycott in the past.

    3. the Arab world had “succeeded” in getting a number of European states to refuse to permit Israeli academics from presenting at conferences for example.

      Right! It was all the doing of those pesky Arabs! Isn’t it always?

  3. No, the Richard Wittys of the world (polite fascists) will maintain a self-delusional level of skepticism when it comes to stories critical of Israel. When it’s in reverse, they accept it at face value.

    Just check out his comments @Mondoweiss. Any news, Phil covers, Witty whitewashes and then lectures people (in his typical condescending, sanctimonious manner) about the virtue of “mutual” blah blah blah.

    This story isn’t THAT far-fetched considering the use of horrific weapons like the fletch(sp) by Israel in the Gaza massacre. Oh and the various times Israel leveled Lebanon and purposefully targeted the civilian infrastructure and civilians in general.

    Then there is the recent case of the organ selling racket exposed w/ several Rabbis and politicians involved and guilty.

    So on a superficial level I see no reason to dismiss this story off the bat. I don’t know how it can be substantiated though.

    I can only say A) I wouldn’t be surprised, given Israel’s institutional sadism/hatred/etc. of Palestinians and ‘the other’ in general BUT B) I don’t see how this story can be substantiated with hard facts that are directly related to the argument. We can only point to OTHER occurrences of a similar nature and cast reasonable but ultimately shallow doubt over Israel’s innocence.

  4. Watch everyone Silverstein is scared to death to debate me. He will never allow my posts on, but anyone who writes hatred of Israel is always allowed on.
    I can rebuke every thing he says.
    But he will never allow my posts cause he’s another version of an Arab dictator who allows no opposition.

    1. The reason you’ve lost yr comment privileges have to do with your assumption of multiple identities (a violation of my comment rules), attempting to publish 7 comments in a single hour (another violation), thinking this blog is a debating society in which you get the right to persuade us that Arabs are vermin (another violation).

      There are numerous commenters here who disagree w. my views. They seem to be able to comment here and honor the rules. If you’d bother to read the comment rules you’d be posting here too.

    2. LOL! No doubt at all you can rebuke everything he says, and everything he is and everything he stands for, but I’m prepared to bet that you can’t refute any of it.

  5. I don’t see how one opposes a BDS movement against an academic system which supports apartheid can rightly be considered a liberal. On the other hand, I don’t see anything polite about contesting such a movement by branding it as an infringement on academic freedom or claiming it has been tried before and did more harm that good, as both are flagrantly dishonest arguments.

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