Jewish money smells no different fron any other money. If the Saudi Royal house can influence academic research on the Middle East by funding chairs and research centers, so can Jews.
The Jewish community in the western
However Jewish money is far from the only one in this game. Moreover it is ‘bubkes' (small change) compared to the vast sums that the Arabs, particularly Saudi Arabia have lavished on western academia, which has succeeded in nurturing an entire generation of anti-Israel academics who head research centers that spew out vitriolic anti-Israel propaganda masquerading as legitimate academic research.
Against this reality, the initiative to raise a scholarship for a guest lecturer from
It does not take too much work to prove that Yiftachel's publications are inaccurate and surely unbalanced. There is something disingenuous about articles masquerading as academic that present the Zionists as guilty of everything, without saying one word about the Palestinians' long refusal to recognize Israel, their wholesale rejection of any form of compromise, from the various partition plans proposed the British and the UN to Camp David, and their ongoing terrorism. What a shame. It is sad. Criticizing Israel is legitimate. Lying about it is not. Worst of all is political criticism wearing the mask of academic research, which invariably is a mixture of truth and falsehoods, concocted together in order to create the plausible.
In the past Yiftachel himself was victim to the academic boycott of Israel. An article he sent to an important periodical, which he wrote with an Arab academic, was sent back unopened because of the boycott. To his credit, Yiftachel fought the boycott. But anyone who reads his articles, that compare Israel to South Africa, might conclude that the boycott is justified.
And back to the appointment. Is Yiftachel the best choice to effectively counter the ugly anti-Israeli stream that already dominates at Berkley? Common sense dictates not. So what was the point of the exercise? Well, it failed. Which means, Jews are as prone to folly as anyone else, irrespective of whether they live in Israel or the diaspora.