Website policy

We provide links to articles we think will be of interest to our supporters. We are sympathetic to much of the content of what we post, but not to everything. The fact that something has been linked to here does not necessarily mean that we endorse the views expressed in it.


BSST is the leading charity focusing on small-scale grass roots cross community, anti poverty and humanitarian projects in Israel/Palestine

JfJfP comments


06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics


23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo


15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014


29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011




The threat to academic freedom in Israel’s universities

haaretz.comTwo academic stories

Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar’s response to the Im Tirtzu threat: “Quite apart from claims about pluralism in Israeli academia, I denounce any move that could damage donations to Israeli universities.” In other words: Don’t threaten the money.

Chaim Gans, 22 August 2010

Story number one: Around six years ago, I received an award from the law faculty at Tel Aviv University for a research paper I wrote. The award, which until then was won annually by another researcher, was funded by an important donor to the department and was named after him. My lecture on the occasion was based on an academic paper comparing the Law of Return to the law denying family unification to Palestinian citizens of Israel. Both are discriminatory laws and can be seen as means to control the demographics of Jews and Arabs in Israel.

My argument was that discrimination in favor of Jewish immigration to Israel – although in a somewhat humbler version than that of the current Law of Return – would be acceptable if there were a Palestinian state engaging in similar discrimination in favor of Palestinians. As for preventing reunification of Palestinian families, I argued that this would be unacceptable even if there were a Palestinian state, because unlike the Law of Return, the family-reunification law directly and unequivocally impinges on Israeli citizens’ basic right to set up a family where they live. For this reason, I argued, this law is even more beyond the pale than the proposal by then-MK Michael Kleiner to subsidize Arabs to emigrate, a proposal the presidium of the 15th Knesset deemed so racist it barred the parliament from even debating it.

The donor then asked the dean, Prof. Ariel Porat, to give the award the next year to someone whose conclusion expressed rightist positions. Porat didn’t hesitate to inform the donor that such considerations would not play a role in choosing laureates for awards given by the department. The laureates, said Porat, would be chosen based on the quality of their arguments, not on the values or politics of the conclusions. The donor canceled the award.

Story number two: Some 15 years ago, Gideon Sa’ar, now education minister, took part in a seminar I taught at the same department on freedom of expression. The most difficult article we studied was a philosophical essay that dealt with the great importance of not limiting content, whether based on its veracity or political values. This would preserve the legitimacy of the democratic political authority. Sa’ar, who had no philosophical training, presented the argument with impressive clarity.

The rest of the story can be told using press reports. A few months ago, Sa’ar spoke at the annual conference of Im Tirtzu, wishing the movement every success. This week, Im Tirtzu threatened the president of Ben-Gurion University that it would sabotage donations if the president did not end anti-Zionist bias in the politics and government department. Sa’ar’s response to the threats: “Quite apart from claims about pluralism in Israeli academia, I denounce any move that could damage donations to Israeli universities.” In other words: Don’t threaten the money. We’ll take care of the political content in teaching and research.

I’m no strategic consultant and I don’t know what Sa’ar needs to do to gain power in Likud and the right wing in general. I also don’t know what the leaders of universities should do to retain their donors. If Sa’ar wants to preserve the legitimacy of political authority in Israel – a legitimacy he once eloquently explained as dependent on avoiding the state’s monitoring of political content – he should act like Porat. He should most certainly act like Porat if he wants Israel to have an academia, and the university heads should take example from Porat all the more.

Print Friendly

Comments are closed.