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January 03, 2013

Right Wing Israeli Think Tank To Be Allowed To Grant College Degrees

Shalem Center 2Israel's tightly controlled academic market will have anew member as the neo-conservative Shalem Center is allowed to open a four year college and grant B.A.s – even though the commissions in charge of such things rejected Shalem's applications for reasons including not having enough faculty with Ph.D.s and having few women faculty slated to teach. But Shalem and Israel's craven Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are very close (Shalem's founder was once Netanyahu's aide), and the playing field was tilted in Shalem's favor.

Shalem Center 2

I'm not in favor of tight governmental controls over academic institutions to begin with, so normally my instincts would be to cheer Shalem on.

But having been a neocon and having personally dealt with a few major neocons (Eliot Abrams revoltingly comes to mind), I know how dangerous it can be to allow something like the Heritage Foundation to grant college degrees.

I'm not in favor of the left wing equivalent of the Heritage Foundation granting degrees, either.

The point of a liberal arts education is to be exposed to a broad spectrum of ideas, to sort out those you like and those you don't, and to learn how – and if – the ideas you've chosen can be defended in a fair academic 'fight.'

What I've just described is the antithesis of what the Shalem Center is and what it really does.

Instead, Shalem is really a quasi-detached propaganda arm of the Likud Party.

And now it will grant degrees because, well, this is Israel after all and Netanyahu and his gang are what they are – a law onto themselves.

25 years ago, Netanyahu was a relief to those of us who tried to defend Israel on college campuses and in communities across America. He spoke English fluently and with an American accent. He understood TV and 30 second sound bites (they're 15 seconds now). He did what no one besides Golda Meyer and Abba Eban had been able to do – no one since Herut/Likud rose to power and suddenly pushed out so many like them.

But Netanyahu, as good as he was, never really transcended propaganda. To him and to those who surround him, academia is a tool to be used to further propaganda goals. That is what Shalem is. And that is why it should not have been allowed to have a college.

Ha'aretz: Shalem Center Gets To Grant Degrees Despite Initial Criticism.

Comments

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If their education is shallow, and their degrees are no good, they will fail both in the marketplace of ideas and in the academic marketplace. Meanwhile, let them compete and caveat emptor.

Slander! They have no shortage of PhD's on staff. The College is run by the renowned Maimonides scholar Menachem Kelner. Their faculty includes leading scholars like Suzzanne Stone who is currently a University Professor at YU. It is no more a branch of Likud than Hebrew University is a branch of Meretz. perhaps less so
Yes they are conservative, but they are really committed to promoting liberal education in a country that desperately needs it.

Shame on you.

Slander! They have no shortage of PhD's on staff. The College is run by the renowned Maimonides scholar Menachem Kelner. Their faculty includes leading scholars like Suzzanne Stone who is currently a University Professor at YU. It is no more a branch of Likud than Hebrew University is a branch of Meretz. perhaps less so
Yes they are conservative, but they are really committed to promoting liberal education in a country that desperately needs it.

Shame on you.

Posted by: moshe | January 03, 2013 at 06:56 AM

Ah, the illiterate right wing trollery descends to vent its vapid anger.

Process, little man (if that is even possible with with you): Shalem originally had a few PH.D.s, lots of people teaching out of their fields, and dew women faculty. They were forced to change that in order to get approved.

Perhaps if you were a tad less focused on your ass, you would have noticed those things in what I wrote and in what Ha'aretz wrote.

Craven is what YOU are, loser. Netanyahu, while not perfect, is the gutsiest PM the state of Israel has had to date.

Having few women faculty members dos not imply inferior education. It is simply a statement of political correctness.

I am neutral on the Shalem Center, and their venture as an academic, and degree granting institution.

However, their founder Yoram Hazony I do like quite a bit based on his book "The Jewish State" (Basic Books & New Republic, 2000)

http://lareviewofbooks.org/author.php?id=1043

I recall this book got good reviews even within the left wing intelligentsia (which on the whole gave it a rather left handed compliment that it was the *only* work of true scholarship within the right-wing-camp. Probably that is true, unfortunately. No idea if that situation has changed in the past decade.

Anyway, Yoram Hazony is excellent and definitely worth reading.

Another little comment: PhD distribution is a reasonable part of the accreditation, but gender distribution should not be part of a fixed rule. There should be fixed rules against discrimination, but no fixed rule setting distributions of gender.

If these are true PhD's, will they be able to rationally discuss views such as that the ages of mankind there have always been storytellers (prophets, priests, mullahs, etc.) who have created myths and magical fantasies in trying to explain the mysteries that surrounded them. Basically mankind is a storytelling animal - people have created stories to answer every possible question that has ever occurred to mankind whether there is or is not any evidence.

The main problem with religion is they were written by men who said God told them to write their words down. The only trouble with that is people are corrupt! They are great storytellers, some may be true but others are either embellishments or out right lies! Why would you believe what men write down and tell you - "this is the word of God" - maybe it is and maybe it isn't. Only through your faith can you believe them - there is no proof in any of them. If you have faith in their writings - that they truly are the word of God - then you can believe though faith in that religion.

Will they be able to discuss this with me in a cordial civilized manner without spitting at me or calling me heretic goyim? Self-hating Jew?


If their education is shallow, and their degrees are no good, they will fail both in the marketplace of ideas and in the academic marketplace. Meanwhile, let them compete and caveat emptor.

Posted by: Yochanan Lavie | January 03, 2013 at 06:41 AM

The problem is that it doesn't end up working that way. In our culture, the unholy alliance of evangelicals and the radical right wing has essentially usurped the "marketplace of ideas" - and they're intellectually bankrupt. One result is that we have states in which creationism is taught as science in public schools, and even in blue states (such as Massachusetts, where I live), teachers are afraid to do more than mention it in passing for fear of inciting whatever fundie parents may be lurking.

Israel just sinks lower and lower. I can't see any way of saving it.

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