Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ben Gurion University: Conflict, Boycott, Science

Prof. Neve Gordon is living proof of the strength of Israel's democracy. He is stridently anti-Israeli, but also a professor at Ben Gurion University in Ber Sheva, he supports the boycott of his own university, but keeps drawing his salary from it - and the university pays it, and gives him a platform to spread his bile from, and an academic address to draw respectability from.

Yesterday he was in class teaching about human rights, when the sirens went off and everyone dashed down to a shelter for protection from an incoming rocket, fired from Gaza at Israeli civilians. My informant (thanks, AL) tells me Gordon has not yet commented on whose human rights were infringed yesterday. If this article of his is any indication, he's probably capable of saying it wasn't Palestinian violence at all; no, the poor Palestinians have been hoodwinked into misbehaving by devious Israelis who are provoking them so as to justify more repression.

(Mondoweiss is full of speculation these days: will Israel succeed in its evil ploy to brutally attack Gaza once more? They're doing everything in their power to sucker the Palestinians into provoking them. Here's one example, but there are lots of them at the site).

The Beer Sheva story gets better, however. On the same day two Palestinian Grad rockets hit the city, the University of Johannesburg became the first university in the world to boycott an Israeli university. I admit that my first reaction was to ask which of the two institutions would be harmed by the decision, but according to South African sources - indeed, according to a top UJ official - the answer is very clear: The South Africans will be harmed.
Ben-Gurion University however had been working with UJ on finding a method to clean algae that has infested South Africa's drinking water. The severing of ties meant the project was likely to come an end, leaving UJ without access to BGU's extensive water expertise. “There has been quite a lot of scare mongering that if the partnership breaks, South Africa will be confined to bad water quality,” Habib said. “The quality of our water is suffering because we are not spending the type of money on cleaning water that we need to, and not employing skill sets required.“We can deal with acid rain water in the region if we are prepared to spend money.”
Habib said individual professors from UJ would be allowed to keep up existing partnerships with BGU. "That is something for individual academics to determine, but it depends on whether BGU allows this or not.”
UJ's severing of ties with BGU came amidst talk of steep water tariff increases and a warning South Africa could run out of water within the next ten years if nothing was done to supplement water resources. The Environment and Conservation Association has said that by 2015, 80 percent of South Africa's fresh water would be so badly polluted that no purification process in the country would make it fit for consumption.The impending disaster that would be created by acid mine drainage, as well as by sewerage and industrial pollution, had on many occasions been brought to the government's attention, with no positive results, the association said.
The UJ Petition Committee said in a statement the university's senate had found “significant” evidence that BGU had research and other engagements supporting Israel's military, in particular in its occupation of Gaza.
Translation: the South Africans face an epic drinking water catastrophe. The Israelis could help, but since they occupy Gaza, they must be ostracized, no matter what the cost.

 AL, a reader I've been talking to this morning, points out that this decision demonstrates the falsity of the fundamental assumption of economics and other academic models of human behaviour that people rationally prefer their own self interest. To which I'd add that it's not even a matter of self interest, it's the simple ability to recognize facts. If Israel occupies Gaza, who's shooting those missiles and why doesn't Israel arrest them?

(Ah, I forget: Israel wants the rockets so as to justify re-occupying Gaza which it already occupies).


Silke said...

When I hear university and innovation I always think of Intellectual Property.

could it be that the South Africans plan to steal an Israeli invention with impunity? i.e. file for patent protection without having to let the Israeli inventors participate in the windfall?

Am I mean to think like that when their motives seem to be so pure and unmercenary? Yes, but I'd still love to know whether there is an angle, since I assume that Israeli researchers behave like gentlemen with their international colleagues and in a world of BDS-fanatics gentlemanly behaviour is likely to not be reciprocated.

Anonymous said...

It is South Africa's loss Not that of Israel, They want to boycott Israel - not Iran Not Syria !

Boycott also:
"Any S.A. who has Syphilis must not be cured by Salvarsan, discovered
by a Jew, Dr. Ehrlich. He should not even try to find out whether he
has Syphilis, because the Wasserman Test is the discovery of a Jew. If
an suspects he has Gonorrhea, he must not seek diagnosis, because
he will be using the method of a Jew named Neissner.

An S.A. with heart disease must not use Digitalis, discovered by a
Jew, Ludwig Traube. Should he suffer with a toothache, he must not use
Cocaine,a discovery of Jews, Widal and Weil. If an Arab has Diabetes,
he must not use Insulin, the result of research by Minkowsky, a Jew.
If an S.A. has a headache, he must shun Pyramidon and Antypyrin, due
to the Jews Spiro and Ellege. Arabs with convulsions must put up with
them because it was a Jew, Oscar Leibreich, who proposed the use of
Chloral Hydrate. Arabs must do likewise with their psychic ailments
because Freud, father of psychoanalysis, was a Jew. Should a S.A.
child get Diphtheria, he must refrain from the "Schick" reaction which
was invented by the Jew, Bella Schick.
S.A.'s should be ready to die in great numbers and must not permit
treatment of ear and brain damage, work of Nobel Prize winner, Robert
Baram. They should continue to die or remain crippled by Infantile
Paralysis because the discoverer of the anti-polio vaccine is a Jew,
Jonas Salk.
S.A.s must refuse to use Streptomycin and continue to die of
Tuberculosis because a Jew, Zalman Waxman, invented the wonder drug
against this killing disease. Arab doctors must discard all
discoveries and improvements by dermatologist Judas Sehn Benedict, or
the lung specialist, Frawnkel, and of many other world renowned Jewish
scientists and medical experts.

In short, good and loyal S.A.s: Properly and fittingly remain
afflicted with Syphilis,Gonorrhea, Heart Disease, Headaches, Typhus,
Diabetes, Mental Disorders, Polio, Convulsions and Tuberculosis and be
proud to obey the boycott."

Anonymous said...

You want to boycott Israel?

Anonymous said...

How to boycott Israel
If you really want to stop Israel, please follow these simple instructions:
In your office or home, do not use any computers, as Israel developed
The Intel Pentium chip, Windows MP, XP and Vista as well as Microsoft
Office and AOL IM instant messaging. Also remove your firewalls, as
These were developed in Israel.
In your home and car, do not use cellphones that were developed in
Israel by Motorola, as was voice mail and camera phones. Quickly
Destroy your TV remote control, as this also was developed in Israel.
Now for your health: Do not under any circumstances let your
Gastroenterologist use the camera pill you swallow that photographs
Your esophagus, colon, etc. Just let him ram his scope up your
Backside. That will show those Zionists who's in charge. Don't use
Copaxane for MS.
If you have a heart attack, do not let the surgeon put in a stint,
Which was developed in Israel, or use a defibrillator on you. Also
Decline the new Israeli medication for Parkinson's or Ex Ablate 2000
If you have fibroid tumors.
We'll show 'em!

Anonymous said...

The fools:

Anonymous said...

So You Want to Boycott Israel?

Sylvia said...

Silke you're right on the mark. Only it is not the South Africans but the Palestinians who have stolen the expertise and very likely will be the ones to replace the Israelis. I vaguely remember having previously mentioned here about a joint project to share the expertise for research in water purification with the Palestinians with EU financing.

Same thing with High Tech. Palestinians were trained in high tech start-ups by Israelis and now they already have (at least one contract that I heard about) with Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

It boggles the mind to read this. I read it about last night, but I was too tired to understand how Jew hatred has such cosmic powers over seemingly rational people.

Personally, it makes me a stronger Jew.

Regardless of UoJ, how do we become stronger from this episode. Surely the technology can be used elsewhere.


Unknown said...

Let UJ and for that matter South Africa drink oil supplied by their Arab buddies. The world will be better off for it.

Anonymous said...

A rocket just hit I would guess maybe 20 meters or less from my house in Sderot a few minutes ago (I don't have a shelter yet).
This afternoon Grad rockets hit Ashdod the impact was heard in Kiryat Gat. This in addition to Beer Sheva and Ashkelon in the past 24 hours.
Although the area has been regularly hit by rockets from the Gaza strip in the past year, little attention has being paid to those Palestinian crimes, as if it's not worth our time, or as if those people don't count since it is neither Jerusalem nor Shenkin.
Instead we all engage in endless mental masturbation over which radical yoyo said what and how. Of that I plead guilty myself.

Yet, we should look at the lessons from the past. The world was shocked by Cast Lead because it was unaware of its context: eight-years of brutal, daily rocket assaults inflicted on unarmed civilians by the Palestinians of Gaza. And it was unaware because it didn't look sexy enough to the media including the blogging community.

Today, we are repeating that history and engaging ourselves in the same process of banalization of Israeli suffering. These things should be often, throroughly and specifically discussed, not just mentioned in passing at best or else ignored. Context.

Sylvia said...

The last post was by Sylvia

Silke said...


look here - I just had a short look

he was in charge of this only from 1992 to 1998 but if it existed then there is probably still some official regulation going on

Member of four person drafting team responsible for agreement transferring civil authority over intellectual property rights from Israel to the Palestinian Authority.

if and how a Palestinian Palestinian with no citizenship could file for patent protection at all is probably subject to very tricky regulations. One day I'll try to figure that one out. I am sure it will be darn interesting to compare it to the case of Taiwan a country that doesn't exist for WIPO, the one UN-organisation I am willing to give some credit for usefulness, but has bilateral working patent protection agreements with just about the whole world.

Sérgio said...

There are some nasty disease for which the doctors (Jews or gentiles) were unable to find a cure, namely, that insidious mental gonorrheia and syphilitic hypocrisy afflicting modern western academics.

I sincerely hope that those pseudo-profs in S.A. will later beg Israelis for help when they face the uncoming water crisis. And I hope Israel will rebuff them as they deserve.

Mo said...

Put Professor Traitor Neve Gordon in a catapult and send his ass over to Gaza. Let them pay for his "expertise".

I'm tired of reading about the enemy within. And I don't mean the 5th column of Israeli Arabs, I mean liars and dupes like Gordon. It's truly disgusting that he has no shame about drawing off the salary, and...poisoning young minds.

Yeah, democracy, "rights" to free speech...wonderful, in theory, but when you have people who work from within to destroy the country, a line needs to be drawn. I would say this bastard is over that line, and I"d get the nice catapult ready and hurl him on over. Bye, Professor, go play with your friends!

Hey, it is a nice fantasy, anyway.

Silke said...


please tell me that that house in Sderot is only for weekends and you don't have to live with those horrible sirens day in and day out.

and yes the reaction of the "better" classes seems to be overwhelmingly they bring it onto themselves ...

Bougiste is much too nice a term for the callous inconsiderate insensitive tactless ones.

The other day I got an inkling of how they poison the holocaust education of our kids. First they give them the facts then they tell them all religiosity is equally bad and since our 30 years' war is still quite vivid just like the civil war seems to be for the Brits of course the mantra that all believers can only be bad finds a barn door wide opening.

Sylvia said...

No Silke that's where I live year in year out and lived through all those years of terror (and frankly I don't know why anyone would want to spend their week-ends here).

Silke be careful you might be buying into the useless idiots' propaganda: Palestinians DO have Palestinian citizenship and Palestinian passports and institutions just like any other independent state. What they don't have at the moment is military might such as airforce and the ability to invite foreign armies. Which is why Israel wants to define that as well as the border through negociations.

Silke said...


I can't tell you how much I admire you - all I can compare it to is some 3 years or so when an arson was having "fun" every now and then in the 300 person village I lived.
It took at least a decade to train my heart not to stop whenever a siren was tested. No matter how well prepared my stomach kept screeming "not again". And those were all in all not more than half a dozen instances. As to the area if it weren't for the terror what I saw of it it looked nice enough in a familiar and homely way to me, at least promising a lot less noise than bigger cities.

As to patent filing capacities:
I'll be more careful to word it more exactly the next time around and no I don't fall for the lament stuff. Let them set up a patent office, let them run it reliably and trustworthy for decades and thus become acceptable to the International Community and then and only then one may consider - see example for Taiwan - sorry to become boring in the following but it intrigued me how they could manage to steal it AND make it marketable and the result is, they can only do it under the protection of somebody holding another passport or a company registered in another country.

- the world of Intellectual Property is a world apart -

Such an application may be filed by anyone who is a national or resident of a Contracting State.

and they aren't there yet so they would have to find a member of a Contracting State to file the patent and list them maybe as inventor. Now since in the US no legal entity can file a patent but only a natural person who has to be the main inventor (or the patent can be litigated out of existence), they would have to play second fiddle.

- but that is neither here nor there because both lists I checked assured me that there is no entity Palestine or West Bank and that means they don't exist yet in that context. They don't even have gotten an international Two-Letter-Code assigned. They haven't signed the Paris Convention so they can't file patents. I don't doubt that they may want to profit from Intellectual Property but unless Israel or Jordan or Egypt gives them a shelter under which to file for a patent they may have a hard time selling their stuff to any decent company. By which I want to say if they are into it it promises to be a murky business. But stealing intellectual property is at best murky to begin with.

but when checking the list of existing states now for both Palestine and anything beginning with West to no result I saw to my amazement that something has changed as to Taiwan - when I was still working everybody used TW for Taiwan but it was never ever included in the official list. Now it lists as:

TW Taiwan, Province of China

so something has been going on there. The lure of these international treaties is capable of working miracles. Taiwan however had a reliably functioning state patent office before it was kind of smuggled into the list albeit under a quite humiliating title.

and in this list they show up as members of the World Trade Organisation and are further explained as

Also referred to as “Chinese Taipei” or, within the context of the WTO, as “Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen
and Matsu.”
(PCT is Patent Cooperation Treaty i.e. the Treaty under which International Patent Application are filed)

AKUS said...

BGU has a superb water research group, as does the Technion. The loss is to South Africa, not just to this relatively anonymous university that boycotted BGU.

The good university - it has fallen on hard times since the end of apartheid and the departure of much of is White staff - is the University of the Witwatersrand, or Wits (pronounced Vits)- it would be another nail it its coffin if they follow suit.

As for Neve Gordon - he should be sacked, and academic freedom be damned. This arch hypocrite and Finkler draws his salary while calling on people across the world to boycott the institution that pays him.

I strongly suspect that had a rocket injured him, he would have appeared within days on the web explaining why this was actually a good thing.

Which it would have been, though not for the reasons he would have given.

Silke said...

my answer to Sylvia got swallowed

Sérgio said...

I´ve just finished reading the superb book "La nouvelle propagande
antijuif" by Taguieff (2010). In one of the last chapters he points out that whatever the motives of such anti-Israel israelis (narcissism, cynicism, perversity, hypermoral fanaticism or symbolic sefl-flagellation), their behavior is tantamount to treason, as "they violate the relations of trust and loyalty which conditions the very existence of their belonging to a political community (Israel)."

Because these people (Elhana Yakira´s "community of opprobrium") are not just bona-fide harsh critics of their country, which are always necessary in a democracy, but institutional traitors, giving legitimacy to, and allying themselves with, the enemies of a democratic state.

At the very least, if they hate their country so much, they should either move or refuse to be payed by their hated country´sinstitutions (such as universities). Of course, we know those types are not very self-critical nor fond of consistent behavior, typical traits of "neo-progs" (Lande´s anti-smear to "neo-cons").

Sylvia said...

Re - Neve Gordon.
I was shocked to discover that the Israeli radical left - which I was watching on their websites during Cast Lead - were in fact such cowards.
When Grads were fired on Beer Sheva, Neve Gordon, of his own admission left Ben Gurion with his family and ran to his mother up north -where it was safe.
Other people on the Kedma site for example (a radical pro-palestinian Mizrahi left) - whose many members are from Ashdod, couldn't take it either and took their children out of harm's way. These are people who have never been able to utter one single word of compassion for the people of Sderot and said so.
I have been wondering ever since if fear is not a factor in their political position.

Silke said...

since my investigation into Palestinians' possibilities to file a patent seems to have been swallowed for good, let me just repeat the gist of it.

In the world of Intellectual Property neither Palestine, nor the West-Bank nor Gaza has a status which would allow one of its citizens or commercial entities to file a patent. Thus whatever somebody might steal he has to share with somebody from a signatory state. Probably Palestinian Palestinians maybe named inventors in patents filed by an Israeli or an Egyptian or whoever else qualifies but he/she could not become sole applicant for a patent that would be worth the paper written on in an international context.

which I think is a very very good thing, because for a state to establish respectability and reliability in the community of Intellectual Property is a very demanding process which takes time and needs lots of adjustments and reassurances. Of course there are lots and lots of member states which don't meet minimum requirements but that is one field where I can testify that at least during my time the UN-office in charge of International Patent Applications cut the signatories of the relevant treaty no slack. All I had to do was phone Geneva and they would be told, this is what you have signed, by this you will abide and they retracted. (I was only involved in the paralegal stuff of it not in the actual protection of the ensuing product)

Anonymous said...

Does anyone understand what he is trying to here?

"In a statement on Friday, Prof. Ihron Rensburg, vice-chancellor and principal of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) said “I need to make this quite clear. UJ is not part of an academic boycott of Israel. UJ holds the view that given the current situation in the Middle East the formal institutional agreement between UJ and BGU is an insurmountable obstacle to either institution facilitating a wider dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian academics.”

From Jerusalem Post:


Silke said...


he is trying to pull the rabbit out of the hat that he is a law and principle abiding victim of the circumstances and thereby aspires to eating the cake and keeping it.

i.e. he is trying to style himself as an academic principles honouring one and btw should get himself a better lawyer to word that one for him.

In lower classes the trick is known as "but I only ..."

Silke said...

I just found an explanation of what he is after - the thinking goes something like this: if I weaken Israeli universities by withdrawing my support and input I thereby degrade the education Palestinian prisoners are getting and thus minimize the competition my own people face. OK it takes a bit of megalomania and a very knotted mind to come up with that one.
But to fall for the whole BDS BS needs that kind of mind anyway.

What? Palestinians prisoners are completing college degrees in prison? Don't they know they're supposed to boycott Israeli universities?