Sunday, December 11, 2005

  • Sunday, December 11, 2005
  • Elder of Ziyon
Usually, Nobel Prizes for economics aren't controversial. But if one of the winners has the chutzpah to actually think that Jews have the right to live beyond the 1967 borders, well, he becomes a "warmonger" and his theories become "controversial."

Prof. Israel Aumann received the Nobel Prize for economics in Stockholm Saturday evening. Several hundred academics, charging that his theory supports Yesha communities, want the prize revoked.

Prof. Aumann, of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, received the honor jointly, shortly after the end of the Sabbath, with American Prof. Thomas Schelling, for their work on understanding conflict through game theory. Aumann brought his entire extended family to the ceremony, where Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf presented the prize.

The Israeli scholar, the eighth Israeli to win a Nobel prize, moved to Israel from Germany in 1956 and is chairman of Hebrew University's Center for Rationality. Prof. Aumann said that war is not irrational and must be studied 'like cancer' in order to defeat it.

Almost 1,000 intellectuals and academics submitted to the Royal Swedish Academy of Science a petition to protest the 'monstrous' act of awarding Prof. Aumann. They charged that he is using game theory to 'justify the Israeli occupation and the oppression of the Palestinians.' They also want the award to be taken back from Prof. Schelling, whom they blamed for inspiring American military strategy that includes bombing civilians.

The British newspaper The Guardian stated that Prof. Aumann, in an interview with an American website, said that Israel made a mistake in expelling Jewish residents from the Gaza and northern Samaria regions.

'From a game theory point of view it was a very bad move. But if I didn't study game theory, I would also say the same thing,' according to the professor.

"It was a bad move because it sends a signal to the other side that if you apply enough pressure, then we will respond in a way that you are applying pressure. It's a bad move theoretically. It sends the wrong signal," he said. In another interview, he said the Arab-Israeli conflict has been "been going on for at least 80 years and as far as I can see it is going to go on for at least another 80 years. I don't see any end to this one, I'm sorry to say."

Notice that the "academics and intellectuals" aren't protesting that his science or math is wrong - but that they believe (undoubtedly most of them are not familiar with game theory) that these theories are being used to justify wars they don't like.

In other words, math and science and true intellectual pursuits are far less important to these self-appointed guardians of knowledge than doing what they feel is politically correct. These so-called "intellectuals" are against true research and acquiring knowledge, which is beyond ironic.

It is ironic that "academics" are so clueless as to how they are damaging their own reputations as thinkers and seekers of knowledge. It is funny how hysterical these supposedly dispassionate observers become when they disagree with someone's politics. It is sad that many Israeli professors seem to have joined in this farce.
The awarding of Nobel Peace prizes is often controversial, but it is rare for the scientific laureates to generate significant opposition. However, a petition to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences signed by about 1 000 intellectuals and academics from Israel, Europe and America describes the awarding of this year's prize to the two professors as "monstrous".

The critics accuse Aumann -- a member of the hawkish think tank Professors for a Strong Israel, which believes the Jewish state should retain the occupied territories -- of using his mathematical theories to promote his political views.

"Aumann uses his analysis to justify the Israeli occupation and the oppression of the Palestinians," the petition says.

It describes Schelling's theories as directly inspiring the United States military strategy in Vietnam, including the indiscriminate bombing of civilians.

"This strategy resulted in two million civilian deaths and was a complete failure in realising its objectives," the petition says. "Neither of these individuals has contributed anything that improves the human condition; rather, they have contributed to the misery of millions."

The petition is signed by Israeli peace campaigners, economists, academics, Holocaust survivors and left-wing politicians. Signatories from about 50 other countries, including the US and several Arab states, have also supported it. Those from Britain include academics at several universities, members of groups such as Jews against Zionism, and activists in the Respect party.

Shraga Elam, an Israeli writer among those behind the petition, concedes that his objection is to Aumann's political views and not to the quality of the analysis on game theory.

"Every person, including a Nobel Prize laureate, is entitled to his political views," he said. "But ... it is not enough to say that politics does not enter in to it.

"Can a racist or a Holocaust denier receive the Nobel Prize even if he is very talented in his scientific field? Political views are relevant."

There you have it - a self-proclaimed "intellectual" who likes to compare Jews who believe that Gaza shouldn't be Judenrein with neo-Nazis.

What an intelligent, academic argument!

And the sad thing is, these so-called intellectuals have no reason to fear that they will not get tenure or prestigious positions at other universities because of their profoundly censorious views. The left-leaning academic world is an entire culture built on self-congratulatory closemindedness that is the exact opposite of what true knowledge seekers should be.


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