Saturday, September 12, 2009
It’s been an interesting summer.
I’ve watched as two completely different groups of people arise from their slumber, take to the streets – and microphones, meeting halls, private conference centers not to mention internet sites – to protest something they find despicable.
Normally these two groups of people probably wouldn’t have much in common. Some of their issues might overlap, but it’s not a natural affiliation – and indeed they aren’t working in tandem. It “just happened” that they both came to life to demonstrate their power at the same time.
That said, I’m not much of a believer in coincidence. Usually there’s some common thread tying one thing to the other. One didn’t cause the other – don’t get me wrong. They’re just happening at the same time – and both are burning brighter by the day.
The first are the “Tea Party" people, the FreedomWorks folks – supported by former Rep. Dick Armey. (See my blog of August 16 http://bagelnosher.blogspot.com/2009/08/hoo-boy-now-its-gonna-get-interesting.html)
Yesterday the truly massive demonstration at the Capitol did my heart good – over 2 million people turned out to demonstrate against almost everything the Community Organizer has done, is doing, and still promises/threatens to do – in spite of the fact that it’s obvious he no longer enjoys the support of the American people, let alone those who vote.
I told you how I hate August – but this year something fun was happening. I spent many evenings lurking and prowling on the Internet, watching the Town Hall Meetings American voters all across the country were having with their elected representatives. The demonstrations were powerful – totally amazing, as so many off-the-street citizens proved to their befuddled elected officials that they knew more about a Congressional bill than the people who were supposed to vote on it. And that they didn’t like it one bit.
I suspect many of us share a favorite YouTube segment – those unforgettable few lines spoken by former Marine David Hedick at Cong. Brian Baird’s Town Hall meeting. (Semper fi, David!) I’m sure you remember it – he began by noting that he was a Marine vet, adding that he had sworn to defend his country “against all enemies, foreign and domestic” – with just a slight emphasis on “domestic”. That brought a round of applause from the crowd.
Then he made his first point: “You stay away from my kids.”
That line had me standing and clapping every time, all by myself, especially as I thought of the clever speech the Community Organizer had planned to give to school children on the first day of school. (Not the speech he gave – the one he intended to give, the one he circulated, before the wave of protests forced him to change his strategy. That first speech was accompanied by teaching materials that asked the schoolchildren to list the things the President had done for them. And to list the things they could do to help “The President” – not help the country. Help the President.)
“You stay away from my kids,” Marine David Hedick said. You bet.
That was followed by Hedick saying that he had heard that Rep. Baird had called the town hall meeting protestors “brownshirts” and “Nazis”. Baird interrupted with “I didn’t say that”, leading to the conclusion that he had indeed said something similar.
“So I will speak to those who did (say that),” Hedick said, and proceeded to offer a profound and delightfully succinct lesson in history. “The Nazis were called the National Socialist Party,” he said. “They took over the country’s finances. They took over the car industry. They took over health care.”
“If Nancy Pelosi wonders where the swastikas are, I suggest she look at the sleeve of her own shirt.”
Whoa! What a speech! The applause went on and on, while Baird, the Congressman up there on the stage, looking down at the “little people” -- the vast unwashed, those who depended on him, the Great Brian Baird, to tell them how to live their lives – stood there with a grim look on his face. Look at the insufferable ignorance a Congressman has to put up with, his look said. ‘I don’t think they pay me enough to do this.’
The YouTube clip shows that Hedick finished his two-minute statement – most of the time was taken up by cheers and applause, then walked off to kiss his wife and child who were standing in the rear of the auditorium. Now there’s a Good American. (Watch it yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rRE5UK6NQU)
Hedrick gave the world a classic demonstration of where the real power in America is vested – with We, the People.
So in the States, people are upset with the Community Organizer’s plan to supplant capitalism and freedom with socialism and bondage. But there’s another group of people in the US – mostly in Southern California – who are equally upset about a very different issue. These are people, wealthy Jews for the most part, who in the past have been big donors to Ben Gurion University of the Negev, a huge institution – one of Israel’s seven Universities – right here in my hometown, Beersheba. They’re also mad as hell, and they aren’t going to take it anymore.
The focus of their anger is the University’s insistence that a pod of Israel haters and “post-Zionists” – better known as the Department of Politics and Government – is allowed to flourish, unimpeded and with University support, within the University structure.
For many, the upheaval began with the head of that department, a serial-anti-Zionist and proven enemy of Israel named Neve Gordon, published an op-ed in the LA Times in which he called Israel an “apartheid country” and called for an international boycott of the very state that not only protects him, but also pays his salary.
Gordon called for “foreign governments, regional authorities, international social movements, faith-based organizations, unions and citizens to suspend cooperation with Israel”.
He did so under the guise of what he – and the University powers that be – calls “academic freedom”. To them, that means that any faculty member of any University can say absolutely anything at all, advocate any scheme, express support for anything or anyone, teach their students anything that comes into their minds – and still remain aloof from criticism, let alone any threat of losing their teaching positions. And their hefty salaries.
None of this is new for Neve Gordon. He’s been an Israel hater for years and years – you might even remember a classic photo of him and arch terrorist Yasser Arafat that appeared on the front pages of many publications, including in the US. It was taken in 2002, back when Arafat’s terrorist suicide bombers were blowing up Israeli cafes, buses and wedding celebrations. It showed Gordon and Arafat, hands joined and raised in solidarity, standing in Arafat’s blockaded compound there in Ramallah. Here’s a small clip.
Needless to say, Neve Gordon violated Israeli law in several ways – treason is still against the law in Israel, although it’s sometimes hard to believe it. And by going into Arafat’s terrorist compound, which was – and is – off limits to Israeli Jews, he violated the law again. Still – in spite of the fact that violating the law is grounds for termination of tenure – Gordon continues to teach and spread his venomous hatred of Israel.
Since then, Gordon went on to become a regular columnist in Algazeera.com, the media apologist for the terrorist Hamas, from which he regularly rants and raves against Israel, saying Israel is opposed to peace and is plotting to steal Arab lands.
Calling Israel an “apartheid” state wasn’t a new element in his bag of tricks – he’s done that all along, just as he regularly calls for the “one state” – Final – solution, where Israel would become a non-Jewish “state for all its peoples”, which is to say, another Arab state.
Through all of this, the University authorities, the President, Rivka Carmi, apparently with the support of her Board of Directors – not to mention the support of the entire rotten Department of Politics and Government – has defended Gordon, praised his scholarship and even promoted him, deflecting all criticism. Their mantra, repeated again and again, is that since Gordon has tenure, he is free to say, and preach, anything he likes. They insist that he -- and all University professors in general – enjoy absolute freedom of speech. The unlimited right to advocate anything they wish.
(I’ve often wondered what would happen if an Israeli University professor were to teach that abortion is murder, or that Arabs were related to apes, that a prerequisite for accepting a salary from the Jewish state was that one had to live an Orthodox lifestyle, or that the Lubavitcher Rebbe was the greatest human to ever walk the earth. My guess is that the alleged absolute “freedom of speech” wouldn’t extend quite that far.)
So just like the Tea Party people marching against the Community Organizer, so the Big Bucks donors to BGU, the university decided to take action.
Neve Gordon – with the administrative approval from BGU – wants to boycott Israel? Fine. The donors – to their endless credit -- have decided to boycott the University. No more donations will be forthcoming.
This will be interesting. Watch this blog for updates on what happens, because BGU – like so many Israeli institutions of all kinds – absolutely needs and depends on cash flowing in from wealthy supporters around the world. Without outside cash infusions, they can’t build, they can’t support their research projects, they can’t expand. Cut out enough donors, and they can't pay salaries to existing employees. Now wouldn't that be interesting?
Who’ll blink first? The University? Or the donors – who simply refuse to support an anti-Israel teaching program at a University named for Israel’s Number One Zionist, David Ben Gurion?
As Drudge says, developing……