Brighton University lecturer calls for abolition of Sussex University’s Israel Studies course.

Tom Hickey, a Brighton University lecturer, speaking at the start of Sussex University’s Palestine Awareness Week on Monday night called for the abolition of Sussex University’s newly established Yossi Harel Chair in Modern Israel Studies until questions relating to its “external sources of funding” and the process that established it are “satisfactorily answered.”

He also attacked already established Israel Studies courses at SOAS, Leeds University, Manchester University and Oxford University.

Hickey is a senior member of University and College Union’s National Executive Committee and a member of BRICUP (British Committee for the Universities of Palestine).

At the event, Academic Integrity or Political Propaganda: The Chair of Modern Israeli Studies, Hickey referred to Israel Studies courses as an:

“Israeli state propaganda initiative that operates under the name of Hasbara which means ‘explanation’ or, to put it more forcefully, ‘public relations’. In other words the Hasbara initiative to try to divert the world’s attention and to alter its perception of Israel as a state indelibly associated with such things as guns and warfare, dead children, demolished houses, drone led assassinations, phosphorus bombs and other similar war crimes and to shift the attention from that to the idea of the Israeli state as a centre of democracy, freedom and plurality etc.”

He complained that the newly established Sussex University Chair was named after Yossi Harel who, he said, “was open to the charge, if not guilty of the charge, of something that would today be called nefarious activities if not, literally, war crimes.”

Harel, who passed away in 2008, signed up for the RAF during World War Two  and in 1947 captained illegal immigrant ship Exodus which took 4,500 Holocaust survivors to British Mandate Palestine. Its passengers defiantly resisted British attempts to turn the ship back.

But Hickey said the use of Harel’s name made the Chair “look less like a dispassionate inquiry into what is going on and more like something divorced from academic scholarship”.

Hickey then questioned why there were no Chairs in Palestine Studies or the Palestinian/Israeli conflict before outlining the “external sources of funding” with which he was concerned.

The Israel Studies courses at SOAS (and here), Manchester University and Leeds University are funded by the Pears Foundation. The Chair at Oxford University is funded by the Stanley and Zea Lewis Family Foundation and the new Chair at Sussex University was established by Lord Weidenfeld.

Meanwhile, a BRICUP briefing document outlines “key hasbara names…driving new finance in academia”. It paints a picture of immorality amongst British, or Britain based, Jewish businessmen.

For example, Trevor Pears is described as a “British billionaire…who has been in much controversy…for his seemingly ruthless treatment of small shopkeepers and individual tenants”, Gerald Ronson as a “convicted felon”, while Leonard Blavatnik “has an outstanding debt to the Royal Bank of Scotland (and thus to the UK government) of £2.5bn, which he was granted in a loan and then never repaid….he is effectively subsidised by the UK government.”

Hickey even raised concerns about who would be allowed to teach an Israel Studies course. He said:

“If I were well known for a certain hostility to Israel and Zionism and were I to apply for the Chair would I, by dint of my political position on Israel, be debarred from it? If I was a Muslim would I be debarred from it? More sharply, if I was a Palestinian would I be debarred from it?”

He said that the lack of guarantees prohibiting such possible discrimination leads to the “legitimate suspicion” that this is a “propaganda exercise on behalf of Israel rather than a genuine academic exercise”.

Hickey suggested that students and staff should question Sussex University about the composition of the panel that appointed the Chair. He continued:

“all of the circumstantial evidence indicates the possibility of impropriety and the failure of the University of Sussex and the Vice-Chancellor to answer questions by staff and students reinforces the concern that suggests that this may be a major problem of academic impropriety…this university if it is to have any scholarly integrity should abolish this Chair until those questions can be satisfactorily answered.”

Hickey has previously claimed that Israel’s behaviour towards Palestinians is “more insidious” than the Nazis treatment of European Jewry. And on the way out of Monday night’s event a 26-year-old Sussex student, who claimed she had lived in the West Bank, screamed “there’s nothing wrong in blowing up Israeli buses”.

I really wish Professor David Tal, who will be teaching the new Chair at Sussex University, and his students a safe academic year ahead.

Here are some clips from Hickey’s talk on Monday night (note early in the first clip Hickey refers to Israel as a political name, not a geographical reference):

With great respect to Sussex Friends of Israel for their amazing work against bigotry.

36 responses to “Brighton University lecturer calls for abolition of Sussex University’s Israel Studies course.

  1. Obvious double standards applied here. Only Israel hasn’t got any right to defend. As “Palestinians” terrorists and their friends ecplain that Israel has to tolerate their attacks and surrender unconditionally, this professor exolauns that they can villify, demonise, delegitimise Israel and that it hasn’t any right to reply, contradict them or reveal the antisemitic lies.
    Two sides of the same racist coin.

  2. Really excellent synopsis of an intensely sordid meeting . As you say Hickey s only line of attack was to take pot shots at the benefactors all of whom happened to be Jewish and according to Hickey manifestly Zionist . He labelled the new Chair of Israel studies as nothing more than Hasbara and questioned the ‘ lack of transparency ‘ by the Chancellor of Sussex in creating the new Chair .
    Hickey made no mention of the course , its content , methodology , balance and objectivity as relating to the Israel / Palestine conflict . He made no mention of professor David Tal , the incumbent Professor and Chair for the new course . Hickey ‘ s concerns were all assumptions based on his own personal deep rooted prejudices concerning the state of Israel which he referred to as a political entity .
    The evening was further sullied by one of the students referring to the bus bombings in Jerusalem during the intifada as a positive action against ‘ Zionist oppression ‘.
    Hickey was playing to a receptive audience who had previously bought into the vicious lies and anti Israel propaganda of the far left particularly on radical campuses such as Sussex .

  3. Yes special mention must go to the amazing pro active Sussex Friends of Israel who are doing great work in Brighton and Hove to counter the bigotry and malign propaganda of the BDS fascists .
    # BDS Fail # BRICUP fail

  4. Simples! How much Saudi, Qatari and UAE money has gone into the Oxford University Business School and the various organs of Exeter University? How much Iraqi and Gulf petro sheikh money has funded mosque building in UK and France and the rest of Europe?

  5. Dear oh dear! What a bunch of rabid racists……..

  6. Sounds like Hickey just needs to get his leg over.

    As for whoever shouted: “There’s nothing wrong in blowing up Israeli buses”, well, at least Hickey can see now what sort of vermin old bores like him attract.

  7. “There’s nothing wrong in blowing up Israeli buses”

    What do you expect from the nothing wrong with:
    – bombing Pan Am 103 crowd
    – releasing the convicted bomber of Pan Am 103 crowd
    – 2005 London transport bombing crowd
    – beheading of Lee Rigby crowd
    – “Asian” rape gang crowd

    • If there is nothing wrong with blowing up buses there is nothing wrong with blowing up the houses of terrorists – or throwing them out. The flippant about Israel should beware of what they wish for: in 1948 it all rebounded on Cousin Ishmael !

  8. Tom Hickey’s attempt to smear prominent British Jews is a blatant example of anti-semitism. Tom Hickey should be prosecuted for inciting racial hatred.

    Thank you Richard for exposing this vile individual.

  9. Gerald Ronson as a “convicted felon”, while Leonard Blavatnik “has an outstanding debt to the Royal Bank of Scotland (and thus to the UK government) of £2.5bn, which he was granted in a loan and then never repaid….he is effectively subsidised by the UK government.”

    All true, tho…

  10. Richard
    Don’t forget the BRICUP information pack which included the following
    Jewish Care also a mouthpiece for Hasbra on the basis that it celebrates Independence Day with the singing of the Hatikva .
    So there we have it . Elderly residents of Jewish Care homes who take pleasure in listening to the playing of the Israeli National anthem are considered Hasbarists .
    This gives some idea of the drip feed poison which oozes from every pore of these reptiles .
    Josh S provided an excellent fisking of the use of the term Hasbara in his HP comment as follows .

    Josh S
    I always respond to the ridiculous use of the word “hasbara”.

    The slur involved in using a non-English word here telling. One uses a the Hebrew word in order to hide the fact that what they’re attempting to do is delegitimize all speech that critisizes them without actually addressing it. They couldn’t get away with saying “argument” must be banned, so they borrow a word that means “explanation” and make the word itself their hated Jew. This speaks of the ultimate insecurity.

    If you have to delegitimize your critics a-priori and avoid answering their views your discourse has the same method as that of a totalitarian.

    I feel the same way about the other anti-Israelis slogans. The obscene lack of specificity to “no justice – no peace” is that it is an attempt to justify and even cheer-lead for terrorism – surely there are legitimate responses to injustice other than whatever the opposite of “peace” is. It implies that it’s appropriate to kill babies if you’re in any way unsatisfied that you’ve been given justice.

  11. zachary esterson

    BU and Hickey have had words before:

    A lecturer has been chastised by Brighton University officials for using university equipment to promote anti-Israel discourse.

    Tom Hickey used the university’s communication system to distribute a student and staff email entitled: “Palestine: the dispossession of a people.”

    A university administrator called him in to discuss the email. Mr Hickey said: “We have mutually agreed with the university that, in the case of political issues that raise strong passions, there is both the need for some sensitivity in the presentation of arguments…but that this cannot be allowed to foreclose proper debate [about] apartheid in
    South Africa in the past or its close equivalent in Israel and the occupied territories today.”

    Mr Hickey, a member of the national executive of the University and Colleges Union, used the email system to promote four meetings “hosted by the UCU, University of Brighton”.

    However, Brighton University has denied support of Mr Hickey’s initiative.

    “The views that [Mr Hickey] has expressed on behalf of the UCU are not the views of the University of Brighton,” a spokesperson said.

    “The university has fundamental disagreements with UCU on this matter.”

    (for some reason my browser can only see the cached version)

    http://webcache.googleusercont

    But Tal represents a challenge to Hickey, it seems.

  12. Brian Goldfarb

    Hickey has extensive form on this issue, of course. Back in 2007, he wrote the essay in support of the boycott of Israel on the British Medical Journal website (the essays and poll appeared on 21 July of that year). The link is
    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/335/7611/124 and the critical quote is the following:
    “In the case of Israel, we are speaking about a society whose dominant self image is one of a bastion of civilisation in a sea of medieval reaction. And we are speaking of a culture, both in Israel and in the long history of the Jewish diaspora, in which education and scholarship are held in high regard. That is why an academic boycott might have a desirable political effect in Israel, an effect that might not be expected elsewhere.”

    As I have noted many times on various sites, Hickey conflates Israelis (who may or may not be Jewish [20% of them are not]) with Jews of the Diaspora. This is, by definition, even if unintentionally so, using an antisemitic trope. This is compounded by immediately suggesting that only Jewish (remember, Hickey did the conflating) parents care about how well their children do.

    Not Christian, nor Moslem, nor Hindu, nor parents living in Africa, or the Middle East outside Israel, let alone Asia, care how their offspring fare in whatever educational institutions are available to them.

    This is racist.

    Despite this being pointed out to him on numerous occasions on the engage website (and he clearly does or did read the engage site, for he posted a comment there at least once, accusing David Hirsh of all sorts of crimes and misdemeanours), he has never revisited this statement, nor sought to explain himself nor to expand on whatever it was he meant by it.

    But then, as someone – sorry, I forget who – noted in a response to one of my numerous repeats of this, he is a Stalinist and they never either apologise or change their minds.

    This also suggests that Tom Hickey has political tunnel vision.

    • So typical: even the best aspects of Jewish culture are used to express racism towards others, while blaming Jews for it.

      • Evidently, Jose, you have no idea what you are talking about. Do come back when you can express a coherent argument.

      • Evidently, “chaim pesach” you have no conscience of the meanings of what you are writing, letvalone understand what others write about it.
        Please come back when… No, forget that: don’t come back at all.

      • Learn to string a sentence together, Jose. When you do, don’t forget to write. Actually, you can’t forget what you’ve never known.

      • The good thing is that you will never be the one who teaches me! You have to learn the facts before you play the grammar policeman.
        But that is obviously too much asking of you.

      • Is your mummy out today, Jose? With a client?

      • Having some déjà-vu, “chaim pesach”?

    • “As I have noted many times on various sites, Hickey conflates Israelis (who may or may not be Jewish [20% of them are not]) with Jews of the Diaspora. This is, by definition, even if unintentionally so, using an antisemitic trope.”

      You sound here like you are ashamed by/uncomfortable with Israel. I’m fairly sure that’s not the case though!

      “This is compounded by immediately suggesting that only Jewish (remember, Hickey did the conflating) parents care about how well their children do.

      “Not Christian, nor Moslem, nor Hindu, nor parents living in Africa, or the Middle East outside Israel, let alone Asia, care how their offspring fare in whatever educational institutions are available to them.”

      He didn’t say that. I’m no fan of him but twisting his words won’t get us anywhere.

      • Slight problem here: Israel describes itself as the Jewish State or the national homeland of the Jewish people, ergo it is Israel that has conflated itself with Jews around the world.

      • Just to prove it is OK to be an antisemite, “chaim pesach”?
        Israel is the Jewish State, because it was built meant to be that way. No other possibility to protect Jews as they are a small minority in every other country they live. So why should that be a reason to propagate antisemitism and extend it to the Jewish State, Israel? Inquiring minds want to know!

  13. It is clear that based on Tom Hickeys comments, Tom Hickey is a Fascist.

  14. New Frank Barat moment .
    https://mobile.twitter.com/BrightonBDS/status/392353003614638080

    Brighton BDS post one of Richards videos of the Tom Hickey talk as their own .
    We need to organise a whip round for the Brighton comrades as evidently they cannot afford a camera between them . What a shower . It would never have happened when Comrade Tony was in charge . Mind you I saw him outside Eco Stream last Saturday . Lenins corpse looked like it had more life in it .
    #Tonyleembalmed
    #BDSfail