Born in June 1965, Dr. Neve Gordon is chairman of the Department of Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University (BGU) of the Negev. During the first Palestinian Intifada (1987-1991), Gordon served as director of Physicians for Human Rights – Israel. In 1999 he earned a Ph.D. from Notre Dame University. Before joining the BGU faculty, he worked variously as a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and the Watson Institute at Brown University.
Though he is an Israeli citizen, Gordon invariably sides with Israel’s enemies in the ongoing Mideast conflict. During the siege of Ramallah in 2002, for instance, he barricaded himself with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. He commonly refers to Israel as a fascist, terrorist, “apartheid” state that “resembles Nazi Germany.” He has posted numerous writings on Holocaust-denial websites. And he has repeatedly advocated a “one state” solution, in which Israel, by way of the so-called Palestinian “right of return,” would be inundated with Arab “refugees” whose inevitable numerical and political supremacy would spell the de facto end of Israel.
Recognizing that Israelis are highly unlikely to ever agree to such an arrangement, Gordon concedes that “the two-state solution is more realistic.” As Gordon explains it, that option “entails Israel’s withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders,… the division of Jerusalem, and a recognition of the Palestinian right of return with the stipulation that only a limited number of the 4.5 million Palestinian refugees would be allowed to return to Israel.”
Gordon was formerly a regular columnist for AlJazeera.com, where he regularly accused Israel of seeking to sabotage the peace process and steal Arab lands. In December 2008, when Hamas rockets and missiles were raining down on much of southern Israel — some of them hitting the BGU campus — Gordon did not denounce Hamas. Instead he condemned the Israeli military for “targeting” Gaza University, which Hamas was using as a repository for its rockets and other weaponry.
In January 2009, when Israel was engaged in its Operation Cast Lead campaign to diminish the strength of Hamas and put an end to the latter’s rocket bombardment of Israeli towns, Gordon dismissed claims that the Israeli military was taking pains to avoid inflicting civilian casualties:
“The fact that the Israeli military could have razed the entire Gaza Strip, but instead destroyed only 15% of the buildings does not make its actions moral. The fact that the Israeli military could have killed thousands of Palestinian children during this campaign, and, due to restraint, killed ‘only’ 300, does not make Operation Cast Lead ethical.
“Ultimately, the moral claims the Israeli government uses to support its actions during this war are empty. They actually reveal Israel’s unwillingness to confront the original source of the current violence, which is not Hamas, but rather the occupation of the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem.”
Absent from Gordon’s condemnation of the Israeli “occupation” was any mention of the manner in which it originated.
“In 1967, Egypt, Syria and Jordan attacked Israel for a second time and were again defeated. It was in repelling these aggressors that Israel came to control the West Bank and the Gaza strip, as well as the oil-rich Sinai desert. Israel had every right to annex these territories captured from the aggressors — a time-honored ritual among nations, and in fact the precise way that Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan had come into existence themselves. But Israel did not do so. On the other hand, neither did it withdraw its armies or relinquish its control.”
On August 26, 2009, the Los Angeles Times published an opinion piece by Gordon titled “Boycott Israel,” which depicted Israel as “an apartheid state” wherein “[t]he Palestinians are stateless and lack many of the most basic human rights.” “[T]he only way to counter the apartheid trend in Israel,” wrote Gordon, “is through massive international pressure” in the form of a boycott beginning with divestment from companies operating in Judea and Samaria, and later moving on to firms that “help sustain and reinforce the occupation.”
Before submitting the foregoing article to the LA Times, Gordon gave his department at BGU advance knowledge of what he intended to say in the piece, and he offered to step down as department chair if his colleagues thought his words would prove too embarrassing to them. Yet those colleagues decided unanimously not to let him step down; rather, they stood firmly behind him.
Gordon is the author of the 2008 book, Israel’s Occupation.