Special report to IAM
by Dr. Guy Carmeli, PhD, journalist and researcher
The 60th Naqba anniversary is gaining momentum in the British Isles and the opening shot of the new year is about to be fired in the Scottish capital. A conference devoted to the "Zionist ethnic cleansing" in 1948 will be held with the participation of a few Israeli names.
The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign is proud to present the following panelists:
Dr. Ghada Karmi, "a leading Palestinian activist, academic and writer who was born in Jerusalem and was forced to leave as a child in 1948"; Joel Kovel, "both scholar and an activist who has been engaged in struggles for peace and justice since the Vietnam War era";
Ronit Kadishay, "an Israeli activist with New Profile, a movement for the civil-isation of the Israeli society";
Last, but not least, Moshe Machover, "an Israeli dissident and founding member of Matzpen…''.
Kadishay will talk about ''the struggle for civil-isation of Israel''; Joel Kovel will describe ''the historical Holocaust and the current ethnic cleansing of Palestine'', Ghada Karmi will explain "why Israel is a failed State" (as probably opposed to the PA or other Arab entities in the region") and Machover will enlighten you about "Zionist colonization in a wider regional context".
Machover? The name rings a bell. Is he one of these Israeli 'loony left' that set up a camp in London during the 60's? Yes… You thought that he became obsolete and you are right, but in certain circles he is still alive and kicking. What's more, His son Daniel became also part of the anti-Israeli furniture in Britain and recently made a name to himself by following his father's footsteps. Being a lawyer, he tried, so far in vain, to bring some Israeli military generals to ''justice'' by instigating their arrest in the England. Last year he was inches away from serving an arrest warrant to Doron Almog, former commander of the Southern District, for allegedly ordering the destruction of 56 Palestinian houses in Gaza some years ago.
Machover senior, today a philosophy lecturer at King's College, London, has been preaching the destruction of the Jewish state for decades, but he was always wallowed in his anti-Zionist mud inside the fringes on the British political arena. His hatred for Israel was an anathema even to the radical left in the country. For Machover, the ''dissident',' not only that Israel has no right to exist even next to an independent Palestinian State, Israel has no right to exist even inside Palestine. The Middle-Eastern Jews, as far as he is concerned, should be individual citizens in a federated Arab world, alongside the Palestinians. In other words, putting the clock many years back is Machover's recipe for peace in the region. Israel, as he emphasized in recent article, is not an entity, but a "settler state", a "colonialist project".
Well, you may argue that the man should be marginalized, but in Edinburgh he is taking a central stage at the behest of Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign under the banner "Zionism, Ethnic Cleansing and the Way Forward for Palestine". Started in autumn 2000, in response to the Palestinian "second Intifada", it boasts to have branches in several Scottish cities and universities, as well as individual members across Scotland and abroad. Their main aim is to "accelerate the massive shift already under way in favor of support for the human and national rights of the Palestinian people living under Israeli occupation or languishing in refugee camps around the region". They are committed to building effective solidarity with the "beleaguered people of Palestine" - solidarity which will be visible from inside the "ghettoes Israel is now building across the whole of Palestine".
But don't delude yourself that this PSC is about peace and love in the Holyland. Their declared aims could not be mistaken for anything other than waving farewell to Israel as a Jewish state:
- The withdrawal of the Israeli army from all the Occupied Territories.
- An International Commission of Enquiry into Israeli massacres of Palestinian civilians.
- The end of Zionist ethnic cleansing, and the right of all refugees to return to their homelands.
- The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.
Scratching each other's back
You may deem the gathering in Scotland as a footnote in the campaign to deligetimize Israel. However, the signs are that the forthcoming event is the first in a long series of activities that would culminate in May of this year in a mass rally at Trafalgar Square in London. Professional Israel's bashers, Israeli Jews and non-Israelis Jews would be at the forefront of the campaign to highlight the Palestinian plight during the Naqba.
Joel Kovel, one of the panelists, is described by the conference organizers as a veteran peace campaigner, but he wrote a book, titled "overcoming Zionism" (published by the anti-Israeli London-based Pluto Press) in which Israel has no place under the Middle-Eastern sun. Dr. Oren Bed-Dor, an Israeli lecturer at Southampton University wrote a recent review in which he described the book "breathtaking". Ben-Dor, a known preacher for the disintegration of Israel as a Jewish State, fell in love with Kovel's central thesis, according to which Zionism, is the root of all evil. It is the ''tribal mentality'', argues the author, that makes the Israelis responsible for the ''oppression, dispossession of and discrimination against Palestinians…" Kovel maintains that "anti-Semitism and Zionist nationalism nourish one another and Ben Dor finds it enlightening. And Israel's catalogue of atrocities does not stop here. Kovel accuses the state of "ecological destruction" by erasing the Palestinian desert for the use of the Jewish people.
Ghada Karmi is an outspoken Palestinian academic who prided herself on her close relations with "Israeli dissidents" like Machover, Akiva Orr, Rami Hailbronn and others. She may add another name to her list – Ilan Pappe who this year joined Exeter University where she is teaching at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. Last June she published an article in Ha'aretz in which she wrote that "going by the paranoid reaction to the academic boycott of Israel, it might as well have been a declaration of nuclear war". She also called for Israel to be made a pariah state like South Africa.
One could be surprised to find a New Profile representative on that panel, but not anymore given the campaign of that group against the IDF. The anti-Zionist crowd of today consists of an unholy alliance in which Jews, Israelis and Palestinians are taking a leading role.