23 April 2007

Neve Gordon and political science

I have stumbled on the Al Jazeera article with ambitious title Israel and Azmi Bishara for a simple reason: there is a gag order on everything related to the investigation of this turbulent gentleman, and I hoped to get a glimpse of the goings-on via this outlet. I was quite excited seeing that the article is signed by an Israel scholar, one Neve Gordon, although I had not a slightest notion about the man (but let's leave this subject for while).

The article starts with a spirited defense of MK Bishara:

Dr. Azmi Bishara, Christian palestinian citizen of Israel, and member of the Knesset, is being described as an enemy of the state of Israel. Why? He believes and works so that Israel becomes a democracy that allow non-Jews to have equal rights, says Neve Gordon.
That was a bit strange - to exonerate a man before even trying to state the (real or imaginary) charges. But I was hungry for some info, so I continued to read:
In early April, the rumors about Dr. Azmi Bishara, the most famous Arab Knesset member, began circulating on the Internet: Bishara is afraid to return to Israel; Bishara intends to resign from the Knesset; the Israeli Security Agency has decided to accuse Bishara of treason and espionage. The gag order preventing the publication of any information about Bishara's actions made the rumors all the more intriguing. What did Bishara, in fact, do?
Uhu, says I to myself - in a moment I shall know everything.

I am at the end of the article. Mad as a nest of hornets. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. The only other reference to Bishara's offences was:
But what, one might ask, are Bishara's new offenses?
Immediately answered by the author himself:
It is, after all, highly unlikely that he is a spy on the payroll of a foreign entity.
WTF? - said I to myself - the man has already cleared Bishara of any guilt, without telling us a single word about that file Shin Bet supposedly builds against him? And what does that "after all" mean?

This is, probably, why a man gets a scientific degree in political sciences (whatever this branch of science means, I am not privy to the secrets of this, undoubtedly fascinating, discipline). The ability to sell a lot of words to Al Jazeera without stating a single useful fact should count for something, after all.

Of course, the man has skirted a few hard facts that may be not known to Al Jazeera readers:
  • Even the sinister and all-powerful Shin Bet will have a lot of hurdles to jump over (or through) when trying to put an MK on trial. The MKs (short of Member of Knesset - our august parliamentarians) are so well protected by the law that a policeman would be powerless even if one of them MKs sticks a knife in the policeman's wife's back in broad daylight. Well, almost.
  • It takes a full-hearted cooperation of the MK him(her) self to remove his/her immunity to stand trial. Somehow I cannot see our valiant Mr Bishara assisting the Knesset in doing so.
  • Several attempts to try other people (not necessarily MKs), using the charge of contacts with the enemy, failed miserably, being stricken by the higher courts lately. And Shin Bet or not Shin Bet - in absence of hard evidence of espionage or some other wrongdoing, Azmi Bishara will be let go.
  • No matter what kind of secrecy Shin Bet uses to surround the Bishara investigation, this is a small place. In the end even my dog will know all the offences associated with Mr Bishara - and I don't own a dog...
But really - what is this article about? Aside of, as I have mentioned, a clumsy attempt to persuade all and sundry the Bishara is innocent before any charges are presented? Nah... don't even try, there is nothing - just so much hot air. So I have tried to look at the author. The stub in Wiki doesn't tell you much. Being a Counterpunch correspondent is a doubtful honor at any time, and being a professor of political science, after reading the article in question, seems only to strengthen my growing prejudice of the genre. Being bashed by Alan Dershowitz on one side for being "a self-hating Jew" and by the notorious TheCutter (is she or isn't she the no less notorious Mary Rizzo?) on the other side for being less anti-Israeli than Israel Shamir - all this hardly narrows the search angle.

So I shall let it go for a while. The only thing that bothers me as a result of reading this non-article: how does one get to such a plushy job, being able to say practically nothing about anything and being paid for it, month by month?

What the heck...