Full-spectrum Israel studies

August 7, 2014

Charles Keidan’s article distorts the nature of the growth of Israel studies and the role that my organisation has played in that expansion (“Partial gifts”, Opinion, 24 July).

In the past eight years, the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise has brought more than 100 visiting Israeli scholars to nearly 70 universities. The reason we have been successful is because we do not engage in advocacy or expect our professors to do so.

Israelis apply to the programme and, after a screening process by fellow scholars that evaluates their English skills, academic reputation, research area, personal interests and dynamism, we present the universities that we have chosen to work with a list of candidates. Each university chooses a professor who meets its qualifications and needs.

One of our goals has been to normalise the discussion of Israel so it is taught the way Russian or French studies are taught. Israel has been taught almost exclusively through the prism of conflict, which is misleading and ignores other aspects of Israeli politics, history and culture.

The scholars represent a range of research approaches and political views, from right to left on the spectrum. Candidates have included non-Jews and Israeli Arabs. Keidan complains about a lack of non-Zionist scholars, but there is no shortage of these professors. He could have found some at the meetings of the Association for Israel Studies and the Middle East Studies Association. They are also leading advocates of boycotts against Israeli universities.

Mitchell Bard
Executive director
American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Chair (W3) of Architectural Construction and Design

Technische Universitat Dresden (tu Dresden)

Chair (W3) of Structural Design in Architecture

Technische Universitat Dresden (tu Dresden)

Chair (W2) of Architectural Conservation and Design

Technische Universitat Dresden (tu Dresden)
See all jobs

Most Commented

Doctoral study can seem like a 24-7 endeavour, but don't ignore these other opportunities, advise Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman

Laurel and Hardy sawing a plank of wood

Working with other academics can be tricky so follow some key rules, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

Matthew Brazier illustration (9 February 2017)

How do you defeat Nazis and liars? Focus on the people in earshot, says eminent Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt

Improvement, performance, rankings, success

Phil Baty sets out why the World University Rankings are here to stay – and why that's a good thing

Warwick vice-chancellor Stuart Croft on why his university reluctantly joined the ‘flawed’ teaching excellence framework