Home > Christian Zionism, Foreign Funding of Israeli Right, Israeli Neoconservatism > Im Tirzu becomes a right-wing liability (and sparks a neocon-theocon proxy war?)

Im Tirzu becomes a right-wing liability (and sparks a neocon-theocon proxy war?)

Ronen Shoval, Im Tirzu Chairman

Im Tirzu apparently overplayed its hand when it went after Ben Gurion University (BGU). Even the usually timid heads of the Israeli academe felt they had to react: Their institutions were under threat. One by one they gave interviews and published op-eds. As Hebrew University’s Avner de-Shalit writes in this morning’s Haaretz, these students have simply gone too far:

But now the cat is out of the bag. Im Tirtzu is no longer calling for changes in curriculum content; it is waging an ugly political battle over staffing: It wants the lecturers replaced.

The movement’s campaign has thus undergone an enormous shift. At first, it complained of (leftist) political considerations in the appointment of lecturers and said this must not be permitted. Now, it says (rightist) political considerations should govern the appointment of lecturers.

De-Shalit is careful, however, to frame his criticism patriotically and to imply that they have joined the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (!):

Moreover, Im Tirtzu prides itself on its Zionist orientation. This writer is also a Zionist, and proud of it. But Zionism, like any national movement, has different shades and expressions. And Im Tirtzu’s shade appears to be blatantly anti-patriotic. Instead of being proud of the scholarly achievements of Israeli researchers, the movement is threatening to stop donations by Jews abroad.

Maybe this is a Zionist act, according to their understanding of Zionism, but it is certainly not a patriotic one. In practice, Im Tirtzu is joining those who call for a boycott of Israeli universities.

Shaul Mofaz, a populist former IDF Chief of Staff and current rival for the leadership of Kadima, is also patriotically appalled: “Im Tirzu thugs” went after BGU’s funding. From an op-ed in this morning’s Maariv [full text translation at bottom of post; Hebrew original here]:

The members of this organization clearly love the State of Israel. They speak of Zionism with sparkling eyes and are prepared to fight for it. But the main difference between them and the folks of the university is precisely the main difference between Ben-Gurion and others who speak daily about the importance of settling the Negev: they spoke, he acted. So one moment before somebody rushes on a journey to stop the donations from America, he or she will be better off undertaking a Zionist act and going for a journey across the Negev. The journey will end with a tour of the university. Anyone seeing and getting to know this glorious and important institution will realize that no lecturer, as anti-Zionist as he or she may be, can bring it down. The most important and powerful Zionist movement in Israel today includes more than twenty thousand students, and it both researches and creates social involvement. It’s name is Ben-Gurion University.

Hagee

This is too much for Pastor Hagee, a major Im Tirzu funder (and, the Jerusalem Post reports this morning, also a contributor to BGU) and he drops them like a stone:

“Im Tirtzu misrepresented its focus when they told us their mission was strictly Zionist education,” Ari Morgenstern, the spokesman for JHM [John Hagee Ministries], said.

“We had no prior knowledge of Im Tirtzu’s political actions and we never seek to involve ourselves in Israel’s internal political debate.”

Has this sparked a kind of American conservative donor proxy war? Shuki Balas of Latma, Caroline Glick’s Hasbara outfit, which is funded by Frank Gaffney‘s neoconservative Center for Security Policy does not mince words to describe what he thinks of the Christian Zionist leader (emphasis mine):

Following the storm, the central funder of the Im Tirzu movement has stopped the flow of funds [link in original to Hebrew version]. Let’s ignore, for now, the repeated lie that Im Tirzu demanded the dismissal of lecturers at Ben Gurion University, and that they were critical of “left-wing bias” when their letter talked about “right-wing bias”. Natasha Mozgoviya [Haaretz’s DC correspondent] that Preacher John Hagee, the same one who was called “marginal”, “extremist”, “apocalyptic” and many other compliments, will stop his contributions to Im Tirzu. (In my opinion, that’s a good thing and it’s about time.) But this seems proof that Im Tirzu’s agenda, in contrast to what left says in its criticism, is incompatible with the agenda of the infamous Hagee.

Only in Israel, as they say.

—-

Im Tirtzu thugs

Op-ed, Shaul Mofaz, Maariv, August 24 2010

Settling the Negev has always  been one of the guiding principles of the Zionist movement. The man to have exalted this principle more than all others was David Ben-Gurion, the most wise and Zionist leader the state could have sought. Ben-Gurion viewed the settlement of the Negev as a primary social, economic, and national undertaking. Contrary to those who speak eloquently about values and Zionism but in practice do nothing, Ben-Gurion acted according on his belief and joined Kibbutz Sde Boker.

Recently an organization called Im Tirtzu has begun a tough campaign directed against the university named after Ben-Gurion. This organization has even informed the university’s president Prof. Rivka Carmi that in the event that she fails to dismiss faculty members with “left wing agendas” it will approach foreign investors and ensure that they cut off their donations to the university. This organization has been conducting its campaign in the name of Zionism. In the name of Zionism it is threatening to harm one of Zionism’s most beautiful, important and successful enterprises in Israel.

Ben-Gurion University and the adjacent Soroka Hospital are among Israel’s most successful and great institutions. The university is the main reason that youth leave central Israel and move to the Negev. The university conducts extensive and invaluable social activity among Israel’s southern communities. Beer Sheva’s university students are the most socially active, the most familiar with their communities and involved in them.

I am not familiar with these youths of the Im Tirtzu movement. It may be fairly presumed that they are indeed conducting their activity with the profound belief in the justice of their ways and love for the State of Israel. I believe, truly and honestly, that Israeli lecturers who publish articles that call for an academic boycott on Israel are unworthy of academic posts that are financed by the Israeli taxpayer. But from here to attacking Ben-Gurion University and to employ thuggery that may jeopardize the very existence of the university and its students, the distance is great. Very great.

The donations received by the universities are used for research and development. Many students from southern Israel study at the university for whom it is the only possibility to pursue studies in a top ranking institution and still remain in their parents’ home. The donations also help create scholarships for poor students. Anyone with clear vision can see that such a process [attacking the university] spells throwing out the baby together with the bath water, and causing damage to a great many people. These students are the ones who hear the very lecturers against whom Im Tirtzu’s campaign ranted. Some of them are no less Zionist than the members of Im Tirtzu. Most of them served in the army, continue to serve in the reserves and care about Israel. They understand no less than many of us the essence of Zionism, as they live in the Negev on a daily basis. Does anyone believe that these students lack the ability to tell right from wrong? Does anyone believe that some delusional lecturer like Niv Gordon will cause this or that student to stop doing reserve duty? Are Im Tirtzu the only Zionists left out there? The answer is no. Unequivocally no.

The members of this organization clearly love the State of Israel. They speak of Zionism with sparkling eyes and are prepared to fight for it. But the main difference between them and the folks of the university is precisely the main difference between Ben-Gurion and others who speak daily about the importance of settling the Negev: they spoke, he acted. So one moment before somebody rushes on a journey to stop the donations from America, he or she will be better off undertaking a Zionist act and going for a journey across the Negev. The journey will end with a tour of the university. Anyone seeing and getting to know this glorious and important institution will realize that no lecturer, as anti-Zionist as he or she may be, can bring it down. The most important and powerful Zionist movement in Israel today includes more than twenty thousand students, and it both researches and creates social involvement. It’s name is Ben-Gurion University.

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  1. dickerson3870
    August 27, 2010 at 23:23

    RE: “But this seems proof that Im Tirzu’s agenda…is incompatible with the agenda of the infamous Hagee.” – Shuki Balas of Latma
    MY COMMENT: Oh, really? By what standard of proof? Clear and convincing? A preponderance of the evidence? Beyond a shadow of a doubt?
    SEE: “Worldwide Biblical Zionists”, By Rachel Tabachnick, 10/19/09
    (excerpt) Worldwide Biblical Zionists (WBZ) is a project of World Likud and its evangelical arm, World Evangelical Zionists. It was developed to aid Christian Zionists who wish to make aliyah (move to Israel) with the stated goal of providing assistance for housing, employment, legal services, and pre-military training…
    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.talk2action.org/story/2009/10/19/175932/60
    ALSO SEE – http://www.publiceye.org/magazine/v24n4/jews-new-christian-zionism.html

  2. naris
    November 5, 2010 at 09:44

    Dear,
    I called Br. Naris from Indonesia. Want to ask: Are we able to ask for social assistance for children with riots and natural disasters? Because they are housed in an orphanage. Then I have a social worker and a religious handle this. And how its requirements. The information I beg again.

    Greetings and respect
    Br. Naris

  1. August 24, 2010 at 14:57
  2. August 24, 2010 at 15:09
  3. August 25, 2010 at 05:10
  4. August 26, 2010 at 18:17

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