NATIV Online        

 Vol. 8 / Oct. 2005 / Tishrei 5766          A JOURNAL OF POLITICS AND THE ARTS      


The Image of Evil:
On the Hideous Slander of Arab Students, Anti-Zionist Jews
and the Scoop-Chasing Media

David Bukay


This article is personal, in the wake of difficult experiences that I underwent in the course of the last semester at the university (University of Haifa), and therefore I apologize for the fact that it is emotional and lacking in scientific detachment; subjective and not objective.

In the framework of the many articles which I have written for NATIV and other publications, I have addressed the activity of the Left in Israel, distinguishing between the Zionist Left with which I have a legitimate political argument, and the anti-Zionist Left (mistakenly called post-Zionist), with which there is and should be no argument, as its goals and objectives are not the peace and security of the State of Israel. My assertion, that there is an extremely broad area within Zionism for political and ideological discussions and negotiations – all legitimate – while those who are outside the Zionist rubric, who for all intents and purposes advocate the liquidation of Israel as a Jewish, Zionist state, is an enemy of my country. According even to the European Union declaration, anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic. I consistently emphasized the threat posed by the anti-Zionist Left to the future of the State of Israel.

Many times, I also wrote about the irresponsibility of the media, the fact that it is obsessed by ratings and publicity; it is voyeuristic and gossipy in its search for scoops and sensations. My primary assertion is that the media is a supreme superpower with an unchallenged, conspicuous influence, which shapes public opinion. Everyone courts it and seeks its favor, and everyone fears it and flatters it. I quoted the author, David Grossman, in his harsh criticism of the media in which any reviewer of a pub is a journalist, and everything is an item and ratings are everything.

The era of great, reliable and responsible journalism, epitomized by the immortal editor of Ma`ariv, Azriel Carlebach, has disappeared. And while there remain serious, responsible and fair writers today, the trend is toward splashy colors and scoops. The front page is no longer a serious news page but rather a “referral page” – provocative headlines in color and with pictures, pointing the reader to the appropriate page. The internal division is usually clear: The page on the right contains verbiage and articles, while the page on the left is devoted to advertisements. That is because we turn the pages from left to right and we see and relate to the page on the left first. That is the reason that the page on the left is utilized more for advertisements – as that is what is important – since the media is a business aiming to profit and that is its primary consideration.

Competition is the central phenomenon motivating the world economic market, and the same is true of politics and other areas as well. However, in the media, this phenomenon is a real catastrophe. The proliferation of media channels, actually their inflation, leads to wild competition for information, and to irresponsible reports, without checking or researching the facts. The inefficacy of the slander and libel laws, the difficulty in proving malice and the length and the cost of the trials, discourage bringing lawsuits against the media for its lack of responsibility in its articles and enable journalists to publish anything without understanding the implications of their actions. The result: everything is legitimate; everything is permissible; the ratings are what matters. Thus, it is specifically the extreme, piquant and sensationalist information which will be published.

The amazing thing is that in the eyes of the media, “Watergate” is the paradigm of its role as watchdogs for the citizens in the face of the subversiveness of government and its leaders, while the investigative reporters, Woodward and Bernstein constitute the model of brilliant journalism, winners of the Pulitzer Prize. The problem is that the members of the media have forgotten, or have chosen not to remember that the conduct during the Watergate incident was a display of astonishingly responsible journalism. The reporters worked on the story for months. The editor of the newspaper drove them crazy with the demand to check and recheck again and again and did not let them publish anything until he was absolutely certain that it was indeed true and etched in stone.

From my perspective, that is the most important thing and it can be summed up in one word: Responsibility. The media’s power is so great, that it is genuinely dealing with human lives. It can build and destroy, kill and revive. It has tremendous influence in the shaping of the political, economic and social agenda; it determines what topics are important and what topics are not, what topic will “live” and be recycled and which topics will be left to “die”. Above all, it pretends that it simply reports and reflects reality. However, I could cite hundreds of studies and dozens of books demonstrating the extent of the media’s influence on all of the areas that we mentioned. Indeed, Marshall McLuhan was right: “the medium is the message”.

Many media photographers will tell you that the pictures that you see do not necessarily reflect reality, and that through computer graphics it is possible to do almost anything and to create a composite picture that will include any desired topic. Every amateur photographer knows what can be done with computer graphics. Isn’t the same true regarding the text? Therefore, there is a need for responsibility in reporting information so that it is not distorted or false and will not cause harm to people. Perhaps I am naïve, but to my mind responsible journalism means one thing: To verify whether it ever happened. If the answer is yes – mobilize all resources to deal with the story, because that is its responsibility and obligation. There is no more important element than the media in monitoring governmental intervention and its dangers; for constructive citizenship and to prevent the mistreatment and exploitation of the citizen. Indeed the media is critical in its significance to the proper functioning of the system in its entirety. However, if the report is untrue, is there not an obligation to refrain from its publication? Why not just toss the event into the wastepaper basket, even if the implication will be an empty page? This is true especially when dealing with people’s lives. Thus, even if it lasts several days, publication must be delayed until the reporter ascertains the absolute truth. Among other reasons, this is because (as it is commonly accepted that) the first report sets the tone and all subsequent reports are irrelevant.

Unfortunately, the media reality in most cases is: First of all: publish and afterwards – don’t check the facts either; another story...another item. However, does anyone ask – what is happening on the other side? What happens to the person, about whom they published the story, despite his not being there? What is he going through? Does no one care about the truth or how its distortion can cause someone to hide in embarrassment and is perhaps even crying over the fact that it was distorted? The amazing phenomenon is that the reporters themselves don’t take their articles and the media in general at all seriously, asserting: So what happened? It is altogether a small article in the newspaper, life goes on and tomorrow we will write about something else. In other words, the media’s lack of responsibility begins, to my mind, with the news people themselves who, perhaps, do not understand that they are dealing with the lives of people, and that actually quite a bit happened due to their article. Our rabbis stated: “Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” Doesn’t that include the written word in the newspaper? The item filmed for television? The story broadcast on the radio? In my opinion, the media, in all of its forms must act fairly and decently. Fairness and decency will lead to responsibility. If that is important to them – there is no doubt that injustice will be avoided and there will be much less aggravation. This will have no economic cost, despite the fact that we know that the media is, first and foremost, an economic enterprise; because the credibility will cause the public to have a less cynical approach and will attract a more loyal readership that identifies with the newspaper.


A Personal Position

I have taught in the Political Science Department (today the School of Political Science) for many years. The topics of my academic activity in the area of the Middle East are broad and variegated; The Israeli-Palestinian-Arab conflict; the inter-Arab configuration; international terrorism; fundamentalist Islam; and the Arab-Islamic political culture. Due to the broad range of my professional subjects, I encourage discussion of current events in my classes. I encourage my students to ask, discuss and argue about matters on the national agenda. My lectures are not static and banal, and they are certainly not chronological. My primary academic message is providing a different perspective, offering a different picture employing a broad system-wide perspective, an extremely critical focus and topical assessment of failures in thought processes and distorted perceptions of reality. For that reason, I must add with all due modesty, that in each of my lectures there are several older auditors, people with life experience who come to enhance their knowledge. I always appreciate their presence and encourage their active participation, because they contribute to and enrich the regular, younger students, with their questions and inquisitiveness.


The Incident in Question

In the framework of a seminar on “The Inter-Arab Configuration and the Palestine Issue”, which I conducted during the first semester of this past academic year, which concluded in the first week of January 2005, a student entered in the middle of the fourth lecture of the semester, and even before he sat down in an empty chair, he defiantly discharged: “How do you know?” Who determined those things?” I spoke with him during a break in the lecture and explained to him the accepted rules of study and conduct in the class. I told him that formally, I could prevent his participation in the course because he missed more than the allowed number of classes according to the university regulations. He promised to behave in accordance with the accepted norms, as I reminded him, “your actions will determine your status in the seminar.” That student missed another class and during those classes that he was present, he came and went as he pleased; muttered in a disruptive manner, made extreme nationalistic declarations and introduced unrest into the class. It was clear that he did not come to learn and not even to listen. He was there to disturb. (In retrospect, when describing the incident to several lecturers, their reaction was immediate and unequivocal: I would have expelled him from the course immediately and not waited until the end of the semester.) When students also began making comments to him, I informed him that he was no longer a student in the course and on December 22, 2004, I decided to file a complaint against him to the university’s disciplinary board for violation of several of the university’s rules of conduct.

The legal and due process conduct of the disciplinary authorities is slow, and when the student heard about the complaint (it turns out that he characterizes himself as the “Chairman of the Council of Arab Students in Israel”), a manic bacchanalia of hyperactive activity began. KolBo, the local newspaper of the Schocken network, owners of the Ha`aretz newspaper, “the paper for thinking people”, circulated, on Friday January 14, 2005, a malicious, vitriolic, unfounded article, false from beginning to end, containing not even one iota of truth (except for the date and the names of the participants). And the reporter made things even worse when he lied, twice, when he wrote in the sub-headline and at the end of the article as if I had said to him: “I do not have time to respond.” I never said any such thing. The headline of the inciting article determined: “Students in the Political Science Department Demand the Firing of Dr. David Bukay: He is a Racist”.

I do not read that newspaper and therefore was unaware that an article had been published or what were its contents. However, on that Friday, beginning in the afternoon, I began to receive a series of phone calls from my students, who expressed their outrage over the article. Several days later, they decided to write a letter to the dean of the school and to express their opinion regarding the conduct of the matter. A group of adult auditors spoke with me on Sunday night and one of them read to me the contents of the article for the first time. I was shocked and asked him to send it to me. The most awful phenomenon was not just the insane libel included therein, but also the fact that one of the lecturers in the school, Dr. Assad Ghanam, joined in the libel with the following quote:

There is a difference between political opinions and professionalism. Academic freedom is based on that. However, to say that a mosque could be destroyed upon the worshippers inside and that it should be destroyed runs counter to every humane, human and academic principle. This is racism for its own sake. Having racists working there does not bring honor to the university.

This statement is shocking and provoking. That is the true racism and the enormous scandal. I can imagine the pandemonium that would have ensued had a Jew said something similar about an Arab lecturer without first investigating the matter. Thus, I decided that there is just one forum appropriate to deal with these matters: A complaint to the Academic Staff Disciplinary Board, followed by a lawsuit filed against him for incitement and slander. He did not ask me; he never spoke to me; he never checked or investigated the matter; and he added his name to the article from the beginning, serving as its central basis. Is this the way he teaches his students? Not to check? As mentioned, the university’s academic authorities are dealing with the matter.

However, if anyone thought that the matter came to an end with that, it soon became clear that this was just the beginning of a long-range, planned journey. A crazy series of articles began, along with subversive activity of incitement to murder, from three points of attack. First was the activity of a group of anti-Zionists at the university. Immediately, with the publication of the article, they began to recycle the KolBo article, each with his own addition, on the Internet. Then they began analyzing articles that I wrote for NATIV ONLINE, especially the article about the “Arab Personality”: Is he a racist and what racist foundations exist within him? Incidentally, in the course of their “rationalistic discussions”, I received a great compliment, of which I admit, I am unworthy: I was mentioned alongside Bernard Lewis, the greatest and most brilliant Middle East scholar of them all. Thus, there was some sweetness among the bitterness. A student in the Philosophy Department, David Merhav, in articles that he wrote, led the entire process. He is responsible for raising the matter on the Internet in Hebrew and English and he strengthened the trend of slander and libel with the claim: “Perhaps Bukay denies what he said in class, but can he deny what he wrote?” I filed a complaint to the university’s Disciplinary Board against him for that activity and his incitement.

The method of the anti-Zionists is fascinating.

  1. The Circles Method: One writes his opinion and broadly “analyzes” it, mentioning the “accused” in a negative and slanderous manner, then two or three others join him with their own comments. The next day, another one joins and asks: One moment, I don’t understand what this is about. Can someone explain this to me? Immediately, someone “volunteers” to explain the situation to him, thereby opening a new circle of participants expressing their opinion on the matter. Thus, ever-widening circles develop, each one raising another aspect, each one expressing his opinion on the matter, and the topic remains “hot”.

  2. Recycling the topic, primarily with the intention of keeping the topic on the public agenda. They know that the information explosion will remove any topic from the agenda, thus the approach is to keep it “hot” by means of its perpetual publication, utilizing various media outlets. They don’t quote the article all the time, but they see to it that it is publicized in a number of media outlets, as if it were new information.

  3. Testing Boundaries. Grasping the matter at hand is not the point, but rather utilizing it to attack the authorities (in this case, the university) and to assess their reaction and their treatment, with a noisy demand to “execute judgment” and to further stretch the areas of legitimate activity on the path to creating boundaries for new discussions.

  4. Silencing anyone who becomes involved in the matter and is not “one of them”, whether by means of attrition (they have plenty of time, for them it is a way of life and an objective), or by means of threats, to refrain from any attempt to touch them or interfere with their actions or to scrutinize their actions, as they are always for “universal justice”, “absolute truth” and “equality and solidarity among nations”.

  5. Group Activity. Ultimately, their relative “power” stems from the fact that they are a group and not individuals, thus they reinforce and strengthen each other. They do not act alone, and thus that is also the way to confront them. This is true both in terms of generating a lot of noise regarding both the entire matter of their activity and in the attack/defense against opponents.

The really amazing phenomenon in the anti-Zionist activity is the fact that it is one-sided and single-valued. Only we are right and if you do not belong to us, it is clear that by definition, you are guilty. However, beyond that, a difficult question arises: They teach at the university, some in senior positions, if so, what and how do they teach their students? The role of the university is to investigate and examine and not to accept anything as a given, to doubt and only after all that, to determine positions and attitudes. Science is dialectic and moves forward in the form of thesis, antithesis and synthesis. Furthermore, in my opinion, in the humanities and social sciences there are no facts, only assessments, theories and positions. If so, how dare they do what they do – without checking, without asking, without clarifying? How do they make such harsh accusations, blood libels that are liable to incite to murder, without investigating and finding whether or not it is the truth? What is that almost inhuman apparatus that causes them to act in so awful a burst of incitement and slander?

This clarifies another phenomenon as well. I would very much like to be present at one of their lectures, if they had a student like the one that I had, who then quoted things that were never said, like the distorted lies that they told about me. I would very much like to see their response apparatus. I can assume, with a high degree of probability what they would do and how they would react. However, I restrained myself – because I love my students and do everything I can for them. I love to teach and love challenges. And above all, I did not want to disrupt the class. On the other hand, I can imagine how they would have reacted and therefore I offer them my warm recommendation to consider what is liable to take place in their classes if this method is successful and students began doing the same to them.

Above all, in contrast to them, I am not even hiding behind the slogan of “academic freedom”. I said nothing even resembling the slanderous statements attributed to me in the media articles, and that can be easily proven. I say (yes, and write) harsh things, in a direct and blatant manner; I do not hide behind vague phrases; and I do not speak in the language of “political correctness”. At the same time, all of my answers are documented and substantiated, including extensive quotes. Do those anti-Zionists who attacked me do the same? I sent some of them personal letters, more or less in the following format:

...and if it turns out that this is a blood libel, crude and baseless slander, will you apologize? Will you deliver your apology through all of the networks in which you slandered me? Am I mistaken in my assumption that you will not have the human decency to do so? Is there any reason for me to question the fact that despite the conclusions, you will not accept them because from your perspective, everything is clear and there is no other side other than your own?

The second point of attack is the extensive and distorted publications on the Internet, in Hebrew and English. It began with an article on the “Nana” website whose headline was: “Lecturer in Haifa University: Shoot All of the Arabs in the Head”, and continued with the same quotes, more or less, from the article in KolBo, continued a week later in a similar article on the Netvision website, which was translated into English several times on various websites, under the same headline, including two “investigative reports” by a known left-wing person, residing in the United States, named Kurt Nimmo, who characterizes Israel, “the outlaw state of Israel”. He is the cooperative friend of David Merhav, the same student who passed on the information and perhaps translated it into English. In addition, he published articles on various Internet sites: For example, <>, in which he analyzes phenomena of visions of colonialism and publicized a special investigative report about: Arabs “Must Be Shot in their Heads”, and recycles the slander again. Dr. Ghanam appears in all of the articles with the same quotes, more or less, and in David Merhav’s article, Dr. Ghanam is mentioned as if he approached me in order to clarify what I said and as if I responded to him. Those are the publications that were found but it certainly could be that there were additional publications.

However, worst of all, was the Arab press in Israel. It began with an article on Friday, January 14, 2005, in the Arab newspaper Panorama, published in Nazareth, concurrent with the KolBo article, an article that was less malicious than the KolBo article. A Christian Arab in Nazareth, with whose father I have had a close friendship for many years, sent me the article. He did not suffice with that and also sent a detailed letter to the head of the School of Political Science and to the rector, in which he expressed his opinion based on his familiarity with me. The climax of the campaign was in an article genuinely inciting to murder in the A-Sinara newspaper, with the headline: “Lecturer in Haifa University: The Prophet Mohammed Was the First Terrorist”. The Dutch filmmaker, Van Gogh, was slaughtered by a Moslem for less than that a few months ago. The article continued with threatening phone calls to my house. A student who “took” the course provided the material for these articles and the editorial staff of the newspaper did the translation. The journalist who translated and published the article told this to me. He also drafted the inflammatory headline.

In other words, there is a very clear division of labor. A Jewish student, whom I do not know, managed and provided all of the material to the Israeli and international media, and all of the material to the Arab sector was provided by a student who “took” my course. In addition, a number of discussions were held on Radio “Shams”, which broadcasts in Nazareth and has, according to the editor, high ratings among the Arabs in Israel, and the Arab student was the activist and initiator.

The third point of attack is simpler. David Merhav, the Jewish student, is behind it. He instigated all members of the network, in Israel and abroad, in every article and letter that he wrote, to send emails to the head of the school, the dean of the department and the president, protesting the racist scandal. The funny thing was that most of the letters were uniform, with the same confusion in gender. However, the number was impressive. Everything was intended to create the impression of quantity equaling quality, which would impel the university authorities to take action under pressure. What was the problem? Goebbels taught us that the greater the lie, the more it turns into truth. The media teaches us that the more an item is publicized, on more channels and in more extreme expressions, it will gain more momentum and more people will believe it. The hackneyed clichés contribute to the cause, like: “There is no smoke without fire”; “if it appeared in the newspaper, there must be some truth to it, even if it is only partial.” The result is clear: It matters not who you are, what matters is what they say about you. A close friend provided the proof. When we met he called out to me: “Tell me something. Are you crazy, saying those things?” My immediate reaction was: “The slanderers were successful if even you believe what was written.” Another proof was provided in an encounter with a lecturer in the Arabic department. Usually, when we meet, we have a brief, cordial and enjoyable conversation, while this time when we met in the library and I said hello, he looked at me with an angry look and said nothing.

Beyond the jabbering of the letters and the nonsense of the third point of attack, they themselves are harmless unless one takes their letters seriously and attributes to them a modicum of reason, a course of action not recommended as the signers are automatic on every topic. That is the method of the anti-Zionist Left. The activity of the anti-Zionists, the first point of attack, beyond the self-righteous rolling of their eyes, is very problematic in the national context and less in the internal context. I must say, their subversive activity is very unpleasant; however anyone who knows them can view the phenomenon with a cynical and even mocking perspective. The media articles, on the other hand, are awful and should engender a charge of incitement to murder, beyond libel and slander. In our agonized country, with the severe problems of personal and national security, and with the police having an agenda beyond conventional police duties – what is the likelihood that it will deal with the matter seriously? At the same time, the matter of a libel suit has definitely not been ruled out and it remains an option, beyond the complaints that I filed to the university authorities against the lecturer, the Arab student and the Jewish student.

Unfortunately, from the perspective of mid-February 2005, the episode has not yet been resolved and it has harsh ramifications: I am unable to prepare the courses for the second semester, which I always refresh and update; and it has been more than a month since I’ve been able to work on the book that I am writing about the religious and exegetic sources of the homicide bomber phenomenon, those which the media calls “suicide bombers”. Most of all, I will say this as gently as possible, it is very hard when the media writes defamatory, slanderous things about you, and you weren’t even there and did none of the actions attributed to you. The manner in which the media shapes phenomena makes them problematic. Imagine this episode without media involvement; all that would remain is hot air.

Now for the important question: Why didn’t I respond and pay any attention to the items publicized? First, I waited for the university’s investigation and reaction, like a good soldier. I must say, I work in an organized system and I feel responsibility towards it. Just as I insist, when being interviewed regarding the areas of my professional concerns, upon mentioning the name of the university where I teach, so too I am committed to its investigation and its conclusions. I consider this the most basic tenet of loyalty to the system and the price that law-abiding citizens must pay. Second, I have a big problem reacting to the event that I experienced. The most egregious character assassination takes place when the media, “in fairness”, provides the “accused” with the right of response. From its perspective, as soon as it receives a reaction to its accusations, it has then completed its investigation and exhausted its responsibility. Thus, the article will appear in its original form with a few lines appended to the end: “So-and-so denies the contents of the article and claims that it is all lies.” And that is the problem in all its severity. Everything must be checked and if that which appears in the article is false, all that needs to happen is that the article should not be published, even if the virtual implication is an empty page in the newspaper, as human lives are at stake. Under these circumstances, I don’t even expect that the opposite should happen: That the defamer be defamed, as that requires checking as well. However the media does not want to take the trouble and investigate, the main thing is to publish – quickly – especially if it is a scoop. And I must admit: The accusation regarding defamation of Arabs and things like “put a bullet in their heads” is a “hot” item with high ratings.

Thus, I seek to challenge the media: Let’s say that I would have reacted extensively to the episode in each of the articles (of all of the publications, I was given only two opportunities to respond: To KolBo and Nana), and let’s say that I would have unequivocally denied it – would the article not have been published? Would the headlines have changed? All that would have happened, and I challenge the media to deny it, is that the articles would have taken up a few more lines, with my statement at the end of the article. I would have thereby granted legitimacy to the article and justified its publication, even if I absolutely denied its contents and even if it is absurd and has no basis.

This is precisely the problem of a law-abiding citizen: They told tales about you and now you have to undergo torture and anguish and are put into the position of apologizing and explaining. These law-abiding citizens are the ones that need to bite their lips and continue. On the other hand those who break the law, manipulate the media with no pangs of conscience, specifically because they know that it will publish, with outrageous irresponsibility and stunning lack of fairness.


The Positive Side of the Story

Now, I would like to discuss the reactions of the students at the different levels of their involvement. I omitted all of the compliments, and they really were numerous and caused even my dark skin to blush. I only left the quotes vital to the event. As I said, already on the day that the first malicious article appeared, I received phone calls from my students, whose organization was amazing. Indeed, to expect students, who at the time were busy with exams and especially, as it is natural that they would be hesitant to involve themselves in the struggles of the “adults” and display active involvement; that is my greatest reward and proof that my investment in them is worthwhile.

I must point out that almost all of the reactions were limited to the article in the local KolBo newspaper. However, it seems to me that that is enough as most of the subsequent publications were just more of the same. First, I’ll deal with the reactions of the students who attended the course: A group of students wrote:

...the quotes cited in the newspaper totally distort reality. Most were never said and the few that actually were said, appeared in a different context. Thus, the article misrepresented their practical meaning... The student sought to arouse provocations during the classes... He called the lecturer a racist several times... He did not come to study but rather to disturb, to trip up the lecturer... The quote “it is preferable that a mosque fall on the heads of its worshippers”, was never said nor was anything similar said... In our opinion, a blood libel was hatched against Dr. Bukay.

A [female] student wrote:

Abu-Youness’ statements as quoted in the article do not at all reflect the statements made by Dr. Bukay... He did not incite to racism and his lectures were very informational and were delivered in the course of a free and open discussion...

Another student wrote:

The style of Dr. Bukay’s lectures constitute intellectual stimulation that encourages thought... The charges leveled in the newspaper suffer from in a variety of areas – lack of understanding of what was said, taking content out of context and attribution of statements that were not sounded in the framework of the lectures... I wish to thereby undermine the fraudulent document that was disseminated in his condemnation and to prevent an injustice... It will be proven that the baseless call has its source in ulterior  motives.

Among the auditors:

  1. “...As to the content of the article: There is not one word of truth... The article is a blood libel against Dr. Bukay.”

  2. “...We participated in all of Dr. Bukay’s lectures and never heard him say that Muhammad was a terrorist and that mosques should be destroyed on their worshippers and we are upset that Dr. Ghanam became involved in dangerous lies and blood libels. Dr. Bukay’s restraint and his refraining from entering into a shouting match with the shouter, Abu-Youness, is praiseworthy.”

  3. It is Dr. Bukay’s obligation as a lecturer and researcher to present reality as it is without beautifying it or softening it and it is unfortunate that some of the listeners, upon looking at the mirror placed before them and at the resulting picture, see fit to break the mirror instead of improving the picture... Dr. Bukay employs a clean style of speech. I never heard him make the statements that appeared in the article. Dr. Bukay never said those things and it is unfortunate that they are attempting to falsely accuse him instead of admitting that he exposed them to the reality of the situation.”

  4. “I hereby attest that the statements made in that article are fundamentally false.”

However, the climax is the words of that student, who took the course, specifically the one that the student mentioned in the articles who sought to publicize as if she challenged me and I silenced her. Pay attention:

All of the quotes cited by Mr. Abu-Youness, without exception, are pure speculation that hatch an offensive blood libel, which in my opinion, was planned against Dr. Bukay... Mr. Abu-Youness collected phrases including the word “Arab”, “Palestinian”, “terrorism” and others, divorced them from their original meaning as provided them by the lecturer, and gathered them into one decisive, baseless indictment – “he is a racist”, an accusation that he hurled at the lecturer time after time, disturbing the course of the lecture and humiliating him before all those in the class and later in the newspaper... He edited Dr. Bukay’s statements in the best tradition of yellow journalism, injected them with a different conceptual meaning and insulted him again and again... Mr. Abu-Youness’ course of action arouses profound resentment – pull out a word, remove it from its context, provide it with a meaning foreign to its original intent and then scream “racist” for as long as you can... However, the statements of Dr. Assad Ghanam are even more upsetting and disturbing... The impression one gets in the article is of a person who gathers statements of which nothing else can be said about them than “a cheap, baseless distortion of the truth”, and he also attacks Dr. Bukay... And he accused him of racism...The integrity and code of ethics of academia should guide doctors, whose entire scholarly activity is aimed at ascertaining the facts, to treat their colleagues that way. My careful reading of the article in the newspaper left the impression that a blood libel was hatched against Dr. Bukay.

Many more letters were written by my students who attended my other courses during the present school year and by students from previous years, who read the articles and called to express willingness to do whatever necessary. There were also letters from students in the various branches of the security establishment, in the past and in the present, in astonishing numbers, expressing willingness to do whatever necessary, even though most of them could not appear by name. But above all, the amazingly powerful organization of the Druse community, especially its members serving in the security forces, who came en masse and declared their willingness to do whatever necessary: Letters, meetings with the university authorities, guarding my house, petitions and demonstrations. My profound gratitude and love are extended to that wonderful community, which is more Zionist than many Jews.



First, the episode began with the distress of a student in the course who had been educated to believe the claim that Jerusalem is “mentioned many times in the Qur`an” and approached the local hero, the “Chairman of the Association of Arab Students in Israel”, to help her “let the lecturer have it”. At the end of the semester the problem ceased to be an individual problem, and became, with the use of other factors, broader, well planned and dedicated to academic liquidation. Ultimately, that student’s “hero” proved his cowardice, and renounced the headlines that had been published and even falsely accused her of being responsible for some of them. When the episode expanded, two others became critical in their significance to the process: One openly, the other clandestinely. The front man, who agreed to become involved at the request of the student, approached the clandestine element and received advice on how to proceed and the two of them were responsible for the division of labor in three languages and throughout the Internet, as described above.

Second, one can learn from the event about the extent of the anti-Zionists’ determination to eliminate anyone not affiliated with them, to create universities “free of foreign influences”. Unfortunately, the problem that they pose is expanding and becoming more profound and its huge damages threaten the existence of the State of Israel. More and more, theirs is the voice heard in Israel’s universities; more and more, that is the voice heard in academic institutions around the world; more and more these phenomena are infiltrating the world’s political systems; more and more, the Palestinian elements, which continue to aspire to destroy Israel as a people and as a state, receive encouragement and support from them, because their path is just, and time is on their side and ultimately Israel will disappear. Jan Maseryk addressed this reality: “A people whose back is broken, will not be saved, even if each of its citizens has a tank in his yard and a fighter jet on his roof.” George Orwell’s words are also recommended: “There are ideas so inane that only intellectuals are capable of believing them.”

Third, throughout the process, the rector of the university was active and took the initiative. As opposed to most members of the academic staff, he understands that decisions must be made; and that there are phenomena that cannot be covered up; and that one cannot avoid everything and attempt to achieve quiet at all costs. Very often, avoidance and lack of decision exacerbate the situation. The rector did not treat the episode as an individual problem but rather as a watershed in the course of the proper running of the university, which can be characterized as an attempt to hijack academic freedom: Distorted use of that which is said in the classroom for the furtherance of political objectives; disruption of the routine course of study; perverse utilization of the media in all its forms in order to defame a university employee.

Fourth, in the wake of the episode, the rector would do well, after publicizing the conclusions of the entire establishment in its various forms, to issue up-to-date guidelines regarding decent relations between members of the academic staff, to prevent slander among the staff and in creating operative means to deal with students who come to disturb rather than to study. Ultimately, the university will emerge stronger: The anti-Zionists will learn that pluralism in general and in academia in particular is a significant component of human progress and it is specifically the uniformity of values towards which they strive that is dangerous. Perhaps the time has come, in the words of the journalist, Mark Stein, that “all of the self-haters in the West will ask themselves why do we hate ourselves so much.”

University of Haifa,
February 2005