Steven Plaut

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Steven Plaut
Born 1951
Occupation Professor, University of Haifa
Subjects Israeli/Palestinian criticism

Steven Plaut (born in 1951) is an Associate Professor on the faculty of the Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Haifa and a writer.

His editorials are often published in The Jewish Press, Front Page Magazine and other periodicals. In 2002 he authored the book The Scout. He is also a member of the editorial board of the Middle East Quarterly, a publication of the Middle East Forum think tank.



Steven Plaut was born in Philadelphia into a Jewish family. In the 1930s, his father had been in Hachshara training camp set up in Europe for young Jews who intended to make aliyah, but the British White Paper of 1939 foreclosed his plans. He managed to escape from Nazi Germany to the United States and during World War II served under General Patton.

Steven Plaut grew up in a religiously Conservative Zionist home. In 1981, the Plaut family (including his parents) immigrated to Israel.

Plaut received his undergraduate degree from Temple University in Philadelphia, his MA from Hebrew University of Jerusalem and his Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University, specializing in international and urban economics and later in finance and worked at the Federal Reserve Bank. Before his professorship at the Haifa University, he taught at Oberlin College, the Technion, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, Central European University, Tel Aviv University, University of Nantes, and Athens Laboratory for Business Administration.

In his 2002 book The Scout Steven Plaut describes his near-death experience as a kidney cancer patient at an intensive care ward (he has recovered from the illness). The historical novel is a series of life stories exchanged between him and his neighbor at the ward, an Israeli bedouin scout.

Political views

Steven Plaut has been a persistent and outspoken Israeli critic of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and of Israel's unilateral withdrawal policy. Ever since the Oslo Accords were signed, he has argued that Palestinian and other Arab leaders would continue to seek the destruction of Israel through violence and terrorism. [1] He sees the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada and the campaign of suicide bombing as supporting his views [2].

In addition, Plaut has strongly attacked Israeli and Jewish leftists such as Michael Lerner and Norman Finkelstein. He claims that such figures are self-hating Jews and apologists for terrorism who promote the destruction of Israel [3]; he calls them "Israel's Academic Fifth Column." Plaut is particularly opposed to what he sees as left-wing extremism in Israeli universities, and is actively involved in Israel Academia Monitor, a website monitoring such activity. [4] In a July 2009 article[5] in the Canadian Jewish Tribune, he called for the use of live ammunition on protestors against the Israeli West Bank barrier, whom he described as "violent hooligans and anarcho-fascist thugs", later clarifying that "I do not believe they should be coddled with tear gas and rubber bullets."[6]

Steven Plaut has also become known through the controversy in which Neve Gordon, a faculty member at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Department of Politics and Government, sued Plaut for libel based upon several of Plaut's articles and alleged e-mails written about Gordon. In May 2006, the Israeli magistrate's court in Nazareth ruled in favour of Gordon, and ordered Plaut to pay Gordon 80,000 shekels in compensation plus 15,000 shekels in legal fees.[7] Both sides appealed to the District Court in Nazareth, and in February 2008 the court overturned all but one count relating to a publication in which Plaut had called Gordon a "Judenrat Wannabe". The court accordingly reduced the damages to 10,000 shekels (about US$2,700), with no payment of legal costs required, because "Gordon put himself in the eye of the storm of public discussion."[8][9] There is an ongoing appeal to the Supreme Court of Israel.


  1. ^
  2. ^ The Jewish Press
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Pepe Le Pew makes aliyah and protects the Jews The Jewish Tribune, 22 July 2009
  6. ^ Way too far over the line?The Jewish Tribune, 5 August 2009
  7. ^ U.S.-born professor guilty of libeling colleague Ira Moskovitz, Haaretz 9 June 2006
  8. ^ Kalman, Matthew (March 5, 2008). "Israeli Appeals Court Upholds Libel Judgment Against Academic but Reduces Damages". The Chronicle of Higher Education,. Retrieved 2008-07-01. Only a summary is available without charge at the official website; the full article is copied at, for instance,
  9. ^ ע"א (נצרת) 1184/06 - פרופ' סטיבן פלאוט נ' ד"ר ניב גורדון . תק-מח 2008(1), 11886. (Hebrew) 1184/06 Steven Plaut Vs. Dr. Neve Gordon, Takdin-District 2008(1) Full text of the District Court's decision is available here

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