When personal opinion is disguised as academic theory


Ben-Gurion University’s president, Rivka Carmi, responds to one of her professor’s calls for a boycott of Israel in the Op-Ed pages of the L.A. Times:

As president of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, I have always remained open and impartial to the wide diversity of opinions within our academic faculty and their right to free speech, no matter how controversial their views or writings may be.

However, I strongly believe a call for a worldwide boycott of Israel written by a Ben-Gurion University faculty member, Neve Gordon, that appeared in The Times oversteps the boundaries of academic freedom — because it has nothing to do with it.

Academic freedom exists to ensure that there is an unfettered and free discussion of ideas relating to research and teaching and to provide a forum for the debate of complicated ideas that may challenge accepted norms. Gordon, however, used his pulpit as a university faculty member to advocate a personal opinion, which is really demagoguery cloaked in academic theory.

Full story here.

For more on this story, see my related blogpost here.

Recommended from JTA