Sunday, April 15, 2012

Ignorance is Bliss

Here's the spin on the website:

"The exchange of ideas and research together with collaborative efforts are central to the development of breakthroughs in every scientific and technological endeavour. Recognising this, the Technion Society of Australia encourages and facilitates academic and scientific exchanges between Australian universities and the Technion... We encourage academics and researchers from Australian universities to explore collaborative initiatives with the Technion. The TSA has established an Academic Committee under the leadership of Professor Michael Wallach which facilitates exchanges and oversees the selection and awarding of academic and research scholarships." (Information for academics,

And here's the hidden agenda:

"Sending Australian academics to Israel helps to combat the delegitimisation of the Jewish State on campuses, the executive director of the Technion Society of Australia (TSA), Ken Lander, said last week. The TSA has just announced its 2012 Theeman Scholars, a program that fosters the exchange of Australian and Technion academics to enhance collaboration... 'Part of the BDS movement around the world is to delegitimise Israel on campus, and these types of scientific exchanges, academic exchanges are the strongest weapon that Israel has to delegitimise BDS', he said." (Academic exchange 'a weapon against BDS', The Australian Jewish News, 13/4/12)

Now according to the AJN, our 2012 Theeman Scholars are:

Professor Neal Ashkanasy of the Queensland Business School. He's a "world-leading researcher on organisational behaviour," and will be off to the dark side for 3 months, "working on several research projects and delivering a number of research seminars."

Could one of them perhaps be Making QBS a BDS-Free Zone: The Organisational Requirements?

Professor of Psychology Michael Smithson of the Australian National University. He's apparently "a leading researcher in the study of ignorance, uncertainty and decision-making," and will be off to the dark side for 3 weeks, "giving seminars and being a lead speaker in an international workshop on the subject of 'decisions under severe uncertainty'".

Michael's first seminar could perhaps be titled Ignorance is Bliss: How I Had Absolutely No Idea What I Was Getting Myself Into When the Smoothie from TSA First Approached Me. Another could be Palestine? Never Heard of It. Or maybe BDS? What's That? Or how about this for the "international workshop": Decisions! Decisions!: Academic Integrity and the Freebie.

But there's more:

"Last year's Theeman Scholars, Professor Farid Christo from the University of South Australia and Professor Graeme Murch from the University of Newcastle, will report on their research at the TSA's Einstein Supper on May 22." (ibid)

Einstein Supper?

Could I suggest that Farid and Graeme kindly refrain from quoting from Einstein's last media statement, in which he said, "We had great hopes for Israel at first. We thought it might be better than other nations, but it is no better."*

Wouldn't want the movers and shakers of the TSA to choke on their chickens now, would we?

[*Excerpt from Einstein's Last Media Statement, published in the 'Dear Reader' column of the New York Post, March 13, 1955 - quoted in Einstein on Israel & Zionism: His Provocative Ideas About the Middle East, Fred Jerome, 2009, p 223.]

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