More on Spying on the Left
Reporting on the Radical Left Is ‘Spying’?
Redacted from a revealing article By Steven Plaut
January 21, 2013
There is a fascinating story underway at the fringes of election-eve Israel. Israel’s radical Left has always been anti democratic, and is showing increasingly fascist tendencies these days. One manifestation of this is that the Left tries at every opportunity to suppress the freedom of speech of non-leftists. It does so in a variety of ways, including legislation, court lawfare, suppression of pluralism in many of the country’s media, and so on.
After Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a radical nationalist religious law student in 1995, the leftist-controlled media led a
McCarthyist campaign in Israel, claiming that the assassination was actually caused by the exercise of freedom of speech of non-leftists. The Left insisted that freedom of expression for “rightists” presents a clear and present danger of violence and murder and so must be criminalized.
Much of the political establishment followed the lead of the leftist media McCarthyists, prosecuting “rightists” who dared to express their opinions. Later Rabbis have been dragged into police headquarters by the bushel and accused of “racism” because they endorsed a book some considered bigoted. In the mind of leftists, recommending to people that they read such a book is a crime, unless it is an anti-Semitic leftist book.
But the most amusing twist to all this is the growing number of complaints coming from the same anti-democratic leftists about how freedom of speech for leftists is supposedly under attack by Israeli conservatives! And they are increasingly pointing to the supposed surveillance and “spying” activities against them being carried out by critics of the far Left.
Several watchdog groups and web sites, led by Isracampus.com, keep tabs on and monitor the radical tenured Left in Israel, the extremists who are on the faculty at Israeli universities. They operate a bit like Campus Watch in the US. The monitoring consists of citing verbatim what the radicals write and say in public. The Israeli Left has long claimed that such monitoring is equivalent to creating “blacklists,” supposedly like the lists of people boycotted in the days of Joseph McCarthy. Of course a more accurate description of these exposure and monitoring efforts would be “citation.” The Left claims that these watchdogs are plotting to silence leftists. But the main way that they silence leftists is by giving broad publicity to what leftists publish and proclaim in their public lectures.
The claims by the Israeli Left about “blacklisting” are a bit amusing, given that many of these very same complainers have long promoted international blacklisting against all of Israel. This has been the “complaint” by the Fascist Left against Isracampus.com and the NGO Monitor group led by Professor Gerald Steinberg, both of which expose the political mischief and anti-Israel activities and publications of the Israeli far Left.
Another group that has been very successful in exposing the far Left has been the Zionist student movement Im Tirtzu, headed by Ronen Shoval. In the past few years Im Tirtzu has become the most important and popular student organization in Israel; it regularly holds counter-protests against the smaller communist party and Arab fascist student groups when they organize anti-Israel pro-terror demonstrations. The Im Tirtzu students have also (gasp!!) recorded what left-wing professors say in their classroom lectures and published these statements. Left-wing professors have accused the students of “spying” because they obtain course outlines and syllabi from propaganda courses operated by tenured leftists in the universities and publish their contents. In other words, the students are engaging in journalism. The far leftists insist this is really spying and McCarthyism.
Israeli universities, like many American universities, are crawling with far-leftist faculty members, and there are many departments in which no non-leftist opinion may be voiced and no pro-Israel or anti-Marxist instructor may teach. Academic standards have been trashed and hiring procedures corrupted in order to fill these departments with wall-to-wall radicals.
The worst institutions engaged in these things are Ben Gurion University and Tel Aviv University, but the other schools are also at fault. A few months back Shoval and his Im Tirtzu students filed a huge libel suit against a small gaggle of leftists for setting up a Facebook group accusing Im Tirtzu of being a “fascist organization” and accusing its leaders of being “fascists.” The suit is for 2.6 million shekels ($660,000) in Jerusalem District court. As part of their court action, Shoval and his people are also keeping tabs on the radical political activism of the lawyer representing the defendants, the ultra-leftist Michael Sfard. He is associated with Israel’s “Association for Civil Rights in Israel,” a far-leftist NGO group that has no interest in defending any civil rights for Jews or in defending freedom of speech. The ACRI has long been headed by the Stalinist writer Sami Michael. Student leader Shoval dared to provide information on Sfard’s activities to two newspapers. I guess that makes Shoval guilty of journalism. …