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University of Haifa

Ilan Pappe--Haifa University professor, revisionist historian, Marxist, andfreely admitted anti-Zionist-- spoke to an audience of 30-40 people at the Unitarian Universalist church in San Francisco on Sunday night October 30.
The event was a fund raiser for the Middle East Children's Alliance, an anti-Israel group headed by "reformed Zionist" Barbara Lubin, who is notable for her dismissal of Hizbollah terrorists as "ordinary schleps like the rest
of us".    Three members of StandWithUs/San Francisco Voice for Israel attended the meeting after passing out flyers from StandWithUs outside the church.  After first being refused admission on the grounds that we were
there to disrupt the meeting (not true), then being refused because we would not each make a $20 "donation" to MECA, we responded that the event flyers clearly stated "nobody turned away for lack of funds".  Fortunately, one of us had some spare change and finally a donation of 25 cents per person (and a promise of good conduct) met the requirement.

Pappe is a smooth, experienced speaker who shares with his audience how depressed he is, how the situation for the Palestinians is worse than ever.
He doesn't fire up an audience so much as wanting to draw them into the same deep dark hole that he believes the Palestinians have been shoved into by Israel "occupation, oppression, and terrorism".  He doesn't get rattled by
challenging questions-- indeed, he's heard them all before, so he has his glib, practiced answers all ready.  The audience was almost entirely "true believers"-- members of MECA, Jewish Voice for Peace, International ANSWER--who explicitly support, as does Pappe, the destruction of the state of Israel and its replacement by yet another Arab state.  Those in attendance also included known local anti-Semitic activists such as Joe Webb and Jeffrey Blankfort (who accompanied Pappe out of the venue after filming his talk). 

Some statements from Pappe give the flavor of his talk, which really just restated all the themes we hear from our homegrown Israel-bashers:
He claims that the Israel-Palestinian conflict is behind the events of 9/11
He claims that the Palestinian viewpoint was ignored by world (not just US) media prior to the outbreak of the terror war in 2000, and that the Palestinian leadership was not given any role in determining the future of
their people even before then.  According to Pappe, after the failure of the Camp David meeting in 2000, "Israel was given a free hand" by the US  to take any action it wanted in the West Bank and Gaza, which is why we have
seen "the worst atrocities committed against the Palestinian people" over this time.  Aside from an off-hand reference to "so-called terrorism", he
never mentioned the hundreds of Israeli civilians killed and maimed by Palestinian terrorists. He did, however, make reference to the "Jenin massacre".  When directly challenged during the question period about this
omission, and the lie about Jenin, he stated that there was no need for him to speak about Palestinian terrorism since we hear about that all the time on all the news media.  He did manage (reluctantly?) to state his opposition
to suicide bombings, however, both as immoral and as unhelpful to the Palestinian cause; it wasn't clear which one of those was the more important aspect.  He didn't respond to the statement that he lied about Jenin.

He stated " Israel sees itself as an integral part of the United States".
He condemned the alliance between Israel (as well as American Jewish supporters of Israel) and Christian Zionists, on the ground that the evangelical world view states that eventually we (the Jews) are to be
converted or killed, and so this is "like inviting people into your living room who say that one day I'm going to kill you".  Apparently, the irony of his claim that Jews should live together in peace with Hamas and Islamic
Jihad was completely lost on both Pappe and the audience.

Pappe is clearly and proudly an anti-Zionist-- he supports the so-called "right" of return, he supports divestment and sanctions against Israel, and he claims that the Zionist idea of Jews living as a majority in their own state is "racist" and can be used to justify any type of acts including

Pappe's central tenet as a historian is that Israel conducted a systematic policy of "ethnic cleansing" during the 1948 war.  He stated that half of the Arab population of Israel was forcibly expelled "but nobody talks about
it".  He paints himself as the lone voice of truth, and that many fellow academics will say privately that they agree with him but are afraid to speak out in public.  He then draws a parallel to those living in the early days of Nazi Germany who were afraid to speak out, claiming that "300 meters away from the university" there is a government security office where "daily, people are being tortured".

Fortunately, this event did not reach any significant number of people who were not already committed to the same cause.  However, there is really no difference in position regarding Israel between Pappe and the anti-Semites
that he was keeping company with.  Perhaps if the churches involved in hosting these events were to be made aware of what he really stands for, and who he stands with, they might reconsider their decision.  The sign at the
church where he spoke in Oakland the previous night stated "Ilan Pappe, Israeli peace activist"; Pappe's version of "peace" is no different than Yasser Arafat's.

Mike Harris
StandWithUs/SF Voice for Israel
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    1.  Very good and important report!
     From Dr. Ze'ev Wolfson, Sent in 04-11-2005
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