by Dror Eydar
When I wrote last week about my support for including the settlements in the list of "national priority areas," I mentioned how Yediot Aharonot columnist Nahum Barnea is one of the loudest inciters against the settlement enterprise. Barnea didn't fail to disappoint in his column over the weekend. Barnea wrote that the European Commission's decision to boycott Israeli activities beyond the Green Line "reveals the price we have to pay for the continued normalization of building in the settlements." Apparently, even Arab and Bedouin communities, or the multitude of kibbutzim, also included in that list, could also become the subject of contempt for taking precedence over Kiryat Gat or Ashkelon. But only settlers were lucky enough to be incited against in the headlines, because what disturbs the Left most is the "normalization of settlements."
Barnea has dedicated a large part of his life fighting against the Jewish state's right to maintain its historic center in the Land of Israel. Calling Barnea "dangerous" would be putting it mildly. It's a phrase that he reserves for people he considers normal enough, albeit with different political beliefs. We should call him dangerous because he signposts the road to incitement for his followers. The Europeans aren't blind to the trend they perceive among the Israeli elite, and a large part of that rarefied clique engages with the Europeans against Israel. The result of such collusion was the European directive.
And what hasn't the Left done to escape Israel's heartland, flee the "apocalyptic sting" that is our continued grasp of Samaria, Judea and of course the Old City of Jerusalem. Political, economic, warlike tsunamis, apartheid, boycotts, lobbying and incitement, the list goes on.
"Settlement instead of neighborhood" isn't enough for Barnea; he babbled on about that for years until the statement itself became a principal concept, like the invented Palestinian narrative. From Barnea's perspective, the settlement enterprise takes precedence "instead of research, instead of high-tech and instead of industry." Israel is on the road to becoming a third-world country if we continue to hold on to our land, our life. We won't get research grants. A scientific tsunami.
Academia has sophisticated mechanisms for acquiring grants for science, even some means that aren't by the book. In any case, scientific grants are wholly unrelated to working research relationships between scientists, which will continue to flourish with or without funding. There are various ways to struggle against such European McCarythyism, turning the EU directive into a dead letter. We knew how to deal with the oil boycott in the 1970s, despite the scare mongering. And even if we don't know exactly what to do now, some values are higher than money. Such financial grants are negligible sums by comparison. Israel can absorb the cost, or just expand its scientific contacts around the globe. Israel has connections in science today in China, Australia, India and in other countries. Europe is sinking from a political and cultural perspective. Israel's long-term intransigence over the right of Jews to their land could end up shifting the position in Europe, which today is grappling with similar territorial issues.
As part and parcel of the Left's foundation, Barnea saw the decision to designate Ariel as Israel's eighth university as total annihilation. Some might have called it a historic decision of the utmost importance on the previous government's behalf, and the beginning of the conservative Israeli public's declaration of academic independence. The European directive provided another opportunity to de-legitimize Ariel.
"The Europeans have for years monitored with concern the leak of industry and academia across the Green Line" (Barnea and his adherents also followed the "leak"). "This year, they were fed up with it. The straw that broke the camel's back was the government's decision to turn the college in Ariel into a university." Ah, so they loved the settlement enterprise until that happened. What was the government's rationale for the decision -- expanding research institutions in Israel? Zionism? Breaking up the leftist monopoly on academia? None of that can be true. A man's dreams reflect his thoughts: "Former Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar was obligated to the Likud settler base. Upgrading Ariel University was the payout." How simple! Ariel University in Barnea's perspective was a prostitute's fee, the price of a dog, a bribe to settlers -- as if Sa'ar himself has no ideology or worldview. Barnea fails to point out that he has a personal vendetta against Sa'ar, who revealed Barnea's charlatan journalism, publishing several of his mistakes and errors. Barnea finishes off with a righteous criticism: "It was an irresponsible decision. Sa'ar created an ill wind for opportunism."
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