Website attacks 'anti-Zionists'

December 17, 2004

An Israeli website appears to be targeting left-wing academics and universities that it deems to be anti-Israel or "anti-Zionist".

The site, Israel Academia Monitor, is similar to Daniel Pipes's American Campus Watch, which monitors Middle Eastern studies in North American universities.

According to a statement on the IAM website, it represents a "group of donors, concerned academics, students, researchers and others" who wish to "bring to light statements and articles written by and about the academic extremists and university anti-Zionists" and highlight "abuses of academic freedom in Israel".

Dana Barnett, manager of the IAM website and a student of Middle Eastern studies at an undisclosed university, claims that "we are fighting not to be a political body". The site contains a "large collection of articles, publications, and petitions (regarding) Israeli academics who have published materials against Israel", she said.

IAM focuses on academics and universities, including Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the University of Haifa. Articles discuss Teddy Katz, whose thesis claimed that Arabs in the village of Tantura were massacred in 1948, and Ilan Pappe, a lecturer at Haifa who has given support to an international boycott of Israeli universities.

Ms Barnett said: "We sense that something is not quite right. If an academic says that Israel does not have the right to exist, why is he/she living in Israel? I believe that people such as Ilan Pappe are being invited (to conferences), don't pay for their trips and food and are well received."

Despite its pro-Israel stance, IAM also publishes comments from those opposing its views, such as: "So much for the 'only democracy in the Middle East,' as Israel is often described."

Details: http:///israel-academia-monitor.com

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