Prof. Robert Aumann denied University of Haifa honorary doctorate over politics

Prof. Robert Aumann. Credit: DMY via Wikimedia Commons.

( The University of Haifa’s Executive Committee said it decided not to grant an honorary doctorate to Professor Robert Aumann, winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in economics in 2005, because his political beliefs do not fall in line with the university’s values.

The university was concerned about several Zionist positions espoused by Aumann, including a remark that “the most sensible solution” to the Israeli-Arab conflict is “a Jewish state and an Arab state, where the Jewish state is settled by Jews and the Arab state is settled by Arabs,” as well as a statement that Jerusalem “needs to remain Jewish,” Israel National News reported.

“Judging someone based on his political positions is extreme and extraordinary and should not be done in an academic institution,” Member of Knesset Shimon Ohayon (Likud Beiteinu) said regarding the university’s decision.

Steven Plaut, an economics professor at the University of Haifa, told, “It turns out that Prof. Aumann is not covered by the university’s devotion to pluralism and diversity.”

Plaut cited a “long series” of politicized decisions by the school. 

“The [University of Haifa] law school had earlier prohibited the singing of the national anthem Hatikvah at its graduation ceremonies… The university also continues to allow the anti-Semitic ‘Alef List’ chat list to operate under university auspices and through the university computer… In the past the University of Haifa employed [anti-Zionist historian] Ilan Pappe and granted him tenure,” he said.

The University of Haifa said in a statement, “The process of choosing candidates to receive the honorary doctorate is a several-phased process. Only at its end are the recipients announced and reasons offered. The process is not over yet. Deliberations are internal and not meant for publication.”

Posted on December 15, 2013 .