Monday, March 07, 2022

An Israeli neuroscientist named Gerry Leisman, who teaches at Haifa University, announced on a listserv:

I am the guest editor of a special issue of the Journal Brain Sciences and we are producing a special issue of the journal entitled, "The Brain Goes to School, details for which can be found at the following link:
We are recruiting both reviews and results of experimental studies that relate to human learning, its difficulties, remediation strategies, models, cognitive science, cognitive neuropsychology all essentially attempting to translate 150 years of cognitive neuroscience into classroom applications.......
One of the members of the listserv, Karen Froud, decided that this announcement was way too Zionist, and threatened the tiny brains of those who are offended by anything related to Israel. 

Dear colleagues -
I urge you to consider this request in light of the Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions Movement for freedom and justice in Palestine. Like many / most academic institutions in Israel, Haifa University is an apartheid institution.
I recognize that many of you work within this institution and hope you are also doing your part for academic freedom.
Warm wishes for a peaceful and just world - which after all is where educational neuroscience as a field points us.
Karen Froud, Ph.D.
Program Director, Neuroscience & Education
Columbia University Teachers College

Apparently, Froud is asking her colleagues to boycott this issue of Brain Sciences because it had the audacity of asking an Israeli expert to edit it. And she claims that this is in the name of "academic freedom."

I was curious to see exactly what made Haifa University an "apartheid institution" according to the BDS movement. Here is their evidence: "Haifa University discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel through exclusionary practices."

Really? Because fully 41% of students at Haifa University are Arab - double the percentage of Arab citizens in Israel as a whole! Haifa University is twice as welcoming of Arab students than they are of Jewish students on a per capita basis!

Haifa University is far more liberal and far more progressive than Karen Froud Ph.D. is. 

Leisman wrote an excellent and detailed response to Froud as well, including these points:

It is quite audacious of you to claim that you support academic freedom by requesting others to shut down academic freedom. Before I begin, may I call your attention to the UN Declaration of Human Rights (1949) Article 19, which you obviously have not read, that states, "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression: this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." (So much for your understanding of Human Rights and Academic Freedom).

What you want is not a boycott but rather political pressure on second parties to pressure third parties to affect policy-change by that third party (i.e. the government the State of Israel). That is not even a secondary boycott but rather just simply bullying. So much for academic discourse on your part on an issue that has nothing to do with the project in Neuroeducation. What makes your opinions valid and those of others not? Some website? Do you base your actions on an order on a website? Your actions are inconsistent with the notion of Academic Freedom, but rather with an opinionated individual ramming his/her political agenda down the throats of academics on a mailing list. 

Froud receives a lot of very bad ratings in RateMyProfessors, as she appears to pre-record her lectures and gives students the link on YouTube. She also apparently publicly humiliates students she doesn't like. 

It is not surprising that self-righteous BDS bullies are also bullies in real life.

(h/t Andrew)

Read all about it here!

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