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Tue Oct 30, 2012, 07:10 AM

A test for education

Council for Higher Education members would do well to remember their mission and remove the threat hanging over Ben Gurion University's Department of Politics and Government, which is under threat of closure.

Haaretz Editorial | Oct.30, 2012 | 4:15 AM


A subcommittee of the Council for Higher Education will convene on Tuesday morning to discuss the future of Ben-Gurion University's political science department. The debate will take place in the shadow of the subcommittee's explicit threat to prohibit students from enrolling in the department next year and thereby to close it, in effect. It would have been better had the threat, which violates the right to academic freedom and, by extension, freedom of expression, never been made, but now the council has a duty to block the measure.

BGU's Department of Politics and Government has been under constant attack for two and a half years, first by the right-wing Im Tirtzu organization and later also by figures in the Council for Higher Education. The common link between these two groups is Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, who is the chairman of the council and has voiced support for Im Tirtzu. Sa'ar and his surrogates do not like the critical spirit that emanates from the university department. Their goal is not only to bring the errant teachers in Be'er Sheva to heel but also to send a threatening message to Israeli academia as a whole, in an act of political cleansing.

About a year ago a panel of international experts issued an evaluation of the department. The report identified problems that the university has already begun to correct, mainly by adding faculty members and changing the curriculum. But these steps did not satisfy the council's quality assessment committee, which recommended barring the enrollment of new students in the department for the next academic year. This recommendation was adopted without the inclusion of the international experts, who actually praised the changes the university had made. Such behavior arouses suspicions that the council marked its target long ago, and that the allegations regarding academic quality are nothing but camouflage for political considerations.

Since the recommendation to bar enrollment was made public individual academics as well as professional associations in Israel and abroad have sounded a constant stream of support for the department and criticism of the council. Israel's standing in the world academic community is in danger.

http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/a-test-for-education-1.473127

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Reply A test for education (Original post)
Violet_Crumble Oct 2012 OP
bemildred Oct 2012 #1
aranthus Oct 2012 #2
LeftishBrit Oct 2012 #3
aranthus Oct 2012 #5
Violet_Crumble Oct 2012 #7
LeftishBrit Oct 2012 #4
oberliner Oct 2012 #6

Response to Violet_Crumble (Original post)

Tue Oct 30, 2012, 08:25 AM

1. They seem to pick up all of our worst habits.

Most especially attacking free debate in the academy while pretending to defend it.

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Response to Violet_Crumble (Original post)

Tue Oct 30, 2012, 01:14 PM

2. Are the people who are supporting Ben Gurion here

the same people who support boycotting Israeli academics? I wonder. I don't support either position.

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Response to aranthus (Reply #2)

Tue Oct 30, 2012, 02:24 PM

3. In this case, not.

I am against both positions, and do consider them to be in the same category. Indeed, I consider Tirtzu supporters who are in favour of this action but are opposed to academic boycotts of Israel to be hypocritical or at least illogical, just as I do people who support the latter but not the former.

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Response to LeftishBrit (Reply #3)

Tue Oct 30, 2012, 02:47 PM

5. Thanks.

Like you I consider the positions related and wrong.

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Response to LeftishBrit (Reply #3)

Wed Oct 31, 2012, 09:36 AM

7. There's a kind of logic to it...

People can and do hold starkly contrasting positions on very similar things because they go by the logic of 'it's okay if I agree with it, but it's not okay if I don't'. It happens a lot, and when it comes to many issues....

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Response to Violet_Crumble (Original post)

Tue Oct 30, 2012, 02:25 PM

4. Disgusting, and just another form of academic boycott. This should be strongly opposed.

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Response to Violet_Crumble (Original post)

Tue Oct 30, 2012, 06:16 PM

6. Attacking Israeli Schools: Where the Left and the Right Unite

South African university to end relationship with Ben Gurion Univeristy

In a major victory for proponents of the academic boycott of Israel, the University of Johannesburg has voted to end its relationship with Ben Gurion University. This decision to boycott Ben Gurion University carries special significance given South Africa’s history of Apartheid and the successful boycott that was launched against the country in the 1980′s. The university’s decision is another confirmation of the efficacy of the global BDS movement....

http://972mag.com/south-african-university-to-divest-from-ben-gurion-univeristy/12447/

Strange bedfellows.

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