Sunday, January 11, 2009

Tel Aviv University's Complicity With Israeli War Machine

One reason U.S. anti-war activists should consider supporting an academic boycott of Israeli universities is that universities like Tel Aviv University are “playing a major role in enhancing Israel’s security capabilities and military edge,” according to the winter 2008/2009 issue of the Tel Aviv University Review journal. As Gil Zohar revealed in his “Lifting The Veil of Secrecy” article that appeared in this same issue of Tel Aviv University Review:

“In the rough and tumble reality of the Middle East, Tel Aviv University [TAU] is at the front line of the critical work to maintain Israel’s military and technological edge.

“While much of that research remains classified, several facts illuminate the role of the university. MAFAT, a Hebrew acronym meaning the R&D Directorate of the Israel Ministry of Defense is currently funding 55 projects at TAU…

“Nine other projects are being funded by DARPA—the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense.

“Seven…Israel National Security Prizes have been awarded in recent years to members of TAU’s Blauntnik School of Computer Science—more than any other institution in the country. For security reasons, the recipients cannot be named.”

The results of some of the secret war research projects on Tel Aviv University’s campus have apparently been reflected in the weapons systems that are being brutally used against Palestinian civilians in Gaza by the Israeli War Machine, in violation of the Nuremberg Trial Accords, the United Nations Charter and international law. But the Tel Aviv University professors involved in these campus war research projects have tried to hide what they’re up to from any curious anti-war students or anti-war faculty members at Tel Aviv University. As the “Lifting The Veil of Secrecy” article also observed:

“Not surprisingly, much of the defense-related research at TAU remains hush-hush, conducted in rooms and laboratories protected by barred windows, multiple locks and office safes. `There are people in this university dealing with very secret projects, and they won’t talk about it,’ matter-of-factly notes Dr. Michael Gozin, an expert in organic chemistry and explosives detection, who himself chooses words carefully to describe his work.”

Bu according to the “Lifting The Veil of Secrecy” article, Tel Aviv University Professor Ady Arie, who heads TAU’s Institute for Electronic Devices, is working with Tel Aviv University Professor Aladar Fleischman in “designing systems to protect aircraft from missiles” in partnership “with El op, part of Elbit, which makes electrical optic defense systems.”

The head of the Applied Physics Group at TAU’s School of Physics and Astronomy, Tel Aviv University Professor Abraham Katz, is “working on a laser-based counter-measure system against shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles (SAMs)…”

Tel Aviv University Professor Ron Bachrach of TAU’s Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences is doing research on “seismic waves and remote sensing technologies” that “may finally stop the flourishing underground trade between Gaza and Egypt.”

A “three-year project initiated by the IDF Intelligence Corps on how to enhance and stabilize video images shot from a long-distance” of about seven miles or more was also recently completed by Tel Aviv University Professor of Engineering Leonid Yaroslavsky.

The head of TAU’s School of Electrical Engineering, Tel Aviv University Professor Anthony Weiss, told the “Lifting The Veil of Secrecy” article writer that “I’m not free to talk about things funded by the Ministry of Defense, naturally;” while “characteristically, MAFAT denied” Tel Aviv University Professor Michael Gozin “permission to speak in all but generalities about his research into the detection of `green explosives’—next generation munitions based on multiple nitrogen atoms in the molecules,” according to the same writer. The director of TAU’s Interdisciplinary Center for Technology Analysis and Forecasting [ICTAF], Tel Aviv University Professor Yair Sharan, also “is not free to discuss his current work with Israeli defense agencies including MAFAT, the counter-terrorism unit in the Prime Minister’s Office [MALAL], the Ministry of Defense and the police,” according to the “Lifting The Veil of Secrecy” article.

Ironically, although these Tel Aviv University professors may be shy about fully disclosing the nature of their secret war research work to anti-war students at Tel Aviv University, at least one professor, Tel Aviv University Professor Oded Maimon, has not been shy about apparently violating the privacy rights of people around the globe who correspond with each other by e-mail. As Gil Zohar revealed in his “Lifting The Veil of Secrecy” article, “with implications for intelligence gathering, Professor Oded Maimon…mines cyberspace in a project funded by the European Union, Israel’s Ministry of Science and General Motors;” and “using sophisticated algorithms,” Tel Aviv University Professor “Maimon reads millions of e-mails and identifies those that are suspicious or important.”

Yet, according to Tel Aviv University President Zvi Galil, “people are” still “just not aware of how important university research is in general, and how much TAU contributes to Israel’s security in particular.”

Coincidentally, Tel Aviv University President Galil is a former Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science Dean. After moving from his Columbia University campus office in Manhattan to his Tel Aviv University president’s office in June 2007, former Columbia University Dean Galil stated:

“I look forward to continuing a dynamic, positive relationship with the American Friends of Tel Aviv University and collaborating with our friends in the United States…TAU and Columbia are separated by an ocean, but that has less meaning than at any prior time in human history.”

A former senior regional director for the militaristic Israeli government’s AIPAC lobbying firm named Sam Witkin was the president of the tax-exempt American Friends of Tel Aviv University until a few years ago; and before Witkin was replaced in 2007 by a former executive at the Zionist movement’s United Jewish Appeal office in New York City named Roni Krinsky, former American Friends of Tel Aviv University President Witkin was paid an annual salary of $248,972.

According to its Form 990 financial disclosure form for 2006, between October 1, 2006 and September 30, 2007 the “non-profit” American Friends of Tel Aviv University group’s total revenues exceeded $22 million, while its total expenditures were only $16 million. In addition, during this same period the “non-profit” American Friends of Tel Aviv University earned over $1.3 million in dividends from the over $21.3 million in corporate stock that it owned; while the amount of State of Israel bonds that the American Friends of Tel Aviv University also owned exceeded $1.2 million.

Perhaps the surplus capital still controlled by the American Friends of Tel Aviv University should be used now to pay some reparations to the Palestinian civilians that the Tel Aviv University-supported Israeli War Machine has been brutally attacking in Gaza during the last three weeks, in violation of the Nuremberg Trial Accords?


Joe said...

I despise people who lie by omission. Bob Feldman is no exception.

"The attacks against civilians by Palestinian armed groups are widespread, systematic and in pursuit of an explicit policy to attack civilians. They therefore constitute crimes against humanity under international law. They may also constitute war crimes"

Bob Feldman 68 said...

Actually, if you check out all the annual reports of human rights violations in Israel/Palestine that Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have issued since the 1980s, you'll find much more extensive condemnation of the Israeli War Machine for committing war crimes than of the Palestinian reistance groups for their actions.

And if you check out some of Noam Chomsky's books on the Middle East and then total up the number of civilians killed by the Israeli War Machine, in violation of international law, since 1967 in Gaza and elsewhere, you'll find it far exceeds the number of civilians killed by the Palestinian resistance groups.

That's one reason most Israeli human rights activists as well as most U.S anti-war activists of all religious backgrounds want to see an immediate end to all U.S. military aid to the Israeli War Machine now. And why most people in the world today despise the Israeli War Machine.

Under international law,incidentally,if a country is under military occupation then groups like the Irish Republican Army and the various Palestinian reistance groups have a legitimate right to resist a military occupation in the same way that the French Resistance fighters (and Warsaw Ghetto uprising participants) resisted the Nazi military machine's occupation of France and other European countries during World War II.

Mid Stutsman said...

It's not about numbers, it's about the explicit purpose of Hamas and those who follow the Koranic teachings, to totally annihilate Israel. Get real with YOUR facts and check out the real struggle going on. Bravo for Tel Aviv...someone has to do something to help keep Israel alive in the face of being outnumbered by Arabs and "despised" by people like you and most of the world.

Bob Feldman 68 said...

Actually, there's more historical evidence that the right-wing Zionist movement leaders of militaristic Israel are the folks who are most willing to "annihilate" their civilian political opponents who don't share their religious backgrounds. As Queens College Professor Yerach Gover, the author of the book "Zionism: The Limits of Moral Discourse in Israeli Hebrew Fiction," wrote in a 2002 article that appeared in the "Socialism & Democracy" journal, titled: "Zionism's Zero Sum Game":

"In Israel itself, Zionism has established an extremist militarist culture with democracy for Jews only. The worst aspect of Zionist militarism is being demonstrated now in the demonizing, brutalizing, and dehumanizing of the entire Palestinian people. By choosing not to distinguish `terrorism' from the national struggle against occupation, this militarism justifies indiscriminate killing, mass destruction of homes, bulldozing a whole agricultural economy, and battling civilian society with a heavily mechanized army.

"Feigning fear of probably the weakest nation in the world, the regional Empire (Israel) denies the Palestinians both an independent state and Palestinian citizenship in a bi-national state. It claims the benefit as a moral right of a pure Greater Jewish Israel. That's what turned the conflict into an unfreseeable madness, and an unpredictable abyss..."

Yet despite the opposition of most U.S. anti-war movement activists to the Israeli War Machine's most recent use of U.S.-provided weapons in Gaza to kill more than 1,300 Palestinians and wound 5,400 Palestinians (more than half of them civilians, two-thirds of whom were children), "everyone on Obama's team supported the Israel carnage in Gaza and endorsed Israel's efforts to destroy the democratically elected Hamas government," according to a recent article by Binghamton University Professor James Petras.