[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA:
Question: If a founder of Gush Emunim criticized a report for being
prejudiced against the national camp, would the Haaretz article covering the
story mention the connection to Gush Emunim?
Of course. And that would be proper.
So here we have Prof. Galia Golan, a founder of of the radical left Peace
Now, criticizing a report that slammed the Ben-Gurion University of the
Negev's Politics and Government Department for pushing a radical left
And not a word about Prof. Golan's past.
Education body to vote on reporton 'slanted' BGU faculty
Panel member admits criticism in report may also have been political.
By Talila Nesher Haaretz 01:12 29.11.11
The Council for Higher Education is set to vote Tuesday to ratify the
external report it commissioned on the political science faculties at
Israel's universities, including Ben-Gurion University of the Negev's
Politics and Government Department, which came under heavy criticism. The
document lists a series of shortcomings at Ben-Gurion University and even
advises, as a last resort, closing down the department entirely if the
problems are not resolved.
The report also refers to the fact that students at the Ben-Gurion
University department are exposed to the personal political opinions of
their professors, noting: "Lecturers must ensure that their personal
opinions are presented as such, so that the students can judge things from a
critical perspective and be exposed to a wide range of perspectives and
Further to claims by members of the teaching staff at Ben-Gurion's Politics
and Government Department that the committee's work was motivated by
political considerations, committee member Prof. Galia Golan, from the
Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, has told Haaretz that the shortcomings
exposed at the Negev institution may indeed have been politically biased.
"I felt that some of the committee members, with specific political
opinions, were trying to find fault with the place," Golan said. "I don't
know if these were instructions from above, but I felt that things were not
being conducted fairly."
According to Golan, the same supposed shortcomings that were revealed at
Ben-Gurion University weren't even mentioned in the reports on the other
institutions, "because they weren't perceived as problematic."
Golan said that "with regard to Ben-Gurion University, [committee] members
tended to ignore the positive things and underplay their significance.
"My efforts to convince the committee otherwise came to naught," she added.
"The attitude toward the university was unlike the attitude elsewhere."
Golan, who refused to sign the section of the report dealing with the
Ben-Gurion University department, also recently sent a letter to the Council
for Higher Education warning of the document's lack of fairness and urging
that the matter be considered before the conclusions are adopted.
"Distinct political opinions influenced the judgment of some of the
[committee] members," Golan told Haaretz. "The chairman of the committee
actually tried to be as neutral as possible; but in the end, people were
guided by a political approach."
According to Prof. David Newman, the dean of Ben-Gurion's Faculty of
Humanities and Social Sciences and one of the founders of its Politics and
Government Department, "The department has become a target for attack by all
those who wish to suppress any pluralist dialogue and trample every piece of
academic freedom. One brief glance at this activity is enough to grasp the
inherent danger it poses for the existence of Israeli democracy."
A statement from the Council for Higher Education said: "We totally reject
the claim of political considerations ... The evaluation committee is made
up of experienced individuals of academic renown in Israel and abroad. The
assessment of the Political Science Department at Ben-Gurion University was
conducted in the same manner in which the other institutions were assessed.
"The committee, which carried out an independent assessment, was of the
opinion that the Ben-Gurion University department is acutely lacking senior
staff at the core of the field, and that this requires immediate