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Steven Plaut

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Steven Plaut
Steven Plaut giving a lecture at Central European University in 2011
Steven Plaut giving a lecture at Central European University in 2011
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died (aged 65)
Haifa, Israel
OccupationProfessor, University of Haifa
SubjectEconomics, business

Steven Plaut (1951 – January 17, 2017) was an American-born Israeli economist, academic and writer. He was an associate professor of Business Administration at the University of Haifa as well as 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. In 1981, Plaut immigrated to Israel with his family. He died on January 17, 2017, in Haifa, Israel at the age of 65 after battling cancer for many years.[1][2]

Academic career

Plaut received his undergraduate degree from Temple University in Philadelphia and his MA from Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He received a Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University,[3] specializing in international and urban economics and later in finance. Plaut worked at the Federal Reserve Bank.[3] 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.[4]

Literary career

In his 1985 book titled The Joy of Capitalism, Plaut argues for free market economics and compares the profit motive to the libido. In the book he discusses energy, housing, banking and agricultural policy as well as equality and income distribution.

In his 2002 book The Scout Steven Plaut describes his near-death experience as a kidney cancer patient at an intensive care ward. The historical novel is a series of life stories exchanged between him and another patient in the ward, an Israeli Bedouin scout.

Political views

Steven Plaut was an outspoken critic of the Israeli-Arab peace process and Israel's unilateral withdrawal policy. Since the Oslo Accords, he argued that Arab leaders would continue to seek the destruction of Israel through violence and terrorism.[5] Some of his political writings are criticisms of Nakba Day.[6][7]

Plaut was critical of many Israeli left-wing figures,[8] as well as some Americans such as Michael Lerner and Norman Finkelstein, whom he described as self-hating Jews and apologists for terrorism that are promoting the destruction of Israel.[9] Plaut was opposed to what he saw as left-wing extremism in Israeli universities, and was actively involved in Isracampus, a self-proclaimed watchdog organization that publicizes anti-Israel people and groups.[10][11] In the Canadian Jewish Tribune, he denounced Anarchists Against the Wall, a group protesting the Israeli West Bank barrier which he said was composed of "violent hooligans and anarcho-fascist thugs."[12]

Libel case

Plaut was sued for libel by Neve Gordon, a faculty member at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Department of Politics and Government, claiming that Plaut slandered him in certain articles and alleged e-mails. In May 2006, the Nazareth Magistrate's Court ruled in favor of Gordon, and ordered Plaut to pay Gordon 80,000 shekels in compensation plus 15,000 shekels in legal fees.[14] Both sides appealed to the Nazareth District Court, and in February 2008, the court reversed three out of four of the libel claims but upheld a libel judgment relating to the fourth, a publication in which Plaut called Gordon a "Judenrat Wannabe". It reduced the damages to 10,000 shekels (about $2,700) on the basis that, in the court's view, Plaut was entitled to criticize Gordon.[15][16]

Letter to Turkish Prime Minister

In March 2013, a letter from Plaut was received by the office of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister of Turkey. The letter condemned as illegal Turkey's occupation of Northern Cyprus and attacked the Turkish Prime Minister, accusing him of being behind the Gaza Flotilla "terrorist attack" on Israeli soldiers. Plaut apologized for Israel not killing a larger number of "terrorists" on the flotilla ship. He claimed it was time to give back "occupied Constantinople" to its "true owner", namely, Greece.[17][18]

See also


  1. ^ Gotlieb, Andy (19 January 2017). "Former Philadelphian, University of Haifa Professor Steven Plaut Dies at 65". Jewish Exponent. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  2. ^ Levi Julian, Hana (19 January 2017). "Professor Steven Plaut, z'l". The Jewish Press. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Steven Plaut, PhD". August 6, 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  4. ^ Plaut, Steven. "Steven Plaut, CV attachment". Central European University. Archived from the original on 30 January 2016. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  5. ^ Plaut, Steven (2012-06-22). "The Oslo Final Solution". Conservative Truth. Archived from the original on 2012-02-05. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  6. ^ Plaut, Steven (15 March 2012). "Op-Ed: Happy Nakba Day!". Israel National News. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  7. ^ Plaut, Steven (1 June 2011). "The 'Nakba' Debunked". Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  8. ^ Plaut, Steven. "Personal Blog". Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  9. ^ Plaut, Steven. "Stupid Left, Satanic Left". Jewish Press. Archived from the original on 2005-04-27.
  10. ^ "Main Page". IsraCampus. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  11. ^ Nesher, Talila. "10 percent of Israeli academics labeled 'anti-Zionist' by campus watchdogs". Haaretz. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  12. ^ Plaut, Steven. "Pepe Le Pew makes aliyah and protects the Jews". The Jewish Tribune. Archived from the original on July 27, 2009. Retrieved 22 July 2009.
  13. ^ Plaut, Steven (26 November 2012). "Why Netanyahu Blinked". FrontPage Magazine. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  14. ^ Moskowitz, Ira (9 June 2006). "U.S.-born professor guilty of libeling colleague". Haaretz. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ 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 Archived July 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ "Netanyahu'nun özrü İsrailli profesörü çılgına çevirdi". Zaman (in Turkish). Cihan. 26 March 2013. Archived from the original on 29 March 2013.
  18. ^ Köseoğlu, Ferhan (26 March 2013). "Netanyahu'nun özrü İsrailli profesörü çılgına çevirdi". Milliyet (in Turkish). Cihan. Retrieved 29 March 2013.

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