January/February 2011, Pages 38-39
Ilan Pappe Addresses PCRF
PCRF Chairman Dr. Musa Nasir (l) and Ilan Pappe. (Staff photo S. Twair)
On Oct. 23, more than 500 friends and supporters of the Palestine Children's Relief Fund (PCRF) Southern California chapter flocked to the Anaheim Hilton Hotel to hear a major address by Ilan Pappe, unquestionably one of the foremost scholars on the origins of Israel and its policies.
Stating that the genetic code of the Zionist mindset hasn't changed in more than a century, the Oxford-educated Israeli historian noted that when impoverished Zionists first arrived in Jaffa, they relied on Palestinians to teach them how to farm.
The newcomers wrote letters home complaining that Palestine was full of people, he noted. "Aliens are roaming our homeland," the Zionists grumbled.
"This mindset that the indigenous population was alien has remained unchanged," Pappe averred. "Colonialist movements never looked kindly on the locals, but this was the first time the original inhabitants were viewed as hostile strangers on their own land."
The lesson the Zionists learned during 1948 was that their expulsion of the indigenous population was tolerated by the international community. Only the U.S.S.R. voiced outspoken objections, Pappe said.
Observing that Americans have never heard honest analyses of Israeli policies, he argued that what's missing is a tough stance toward Israeli actions. "American politicians aren't willing to stand up to Israel and pay the price of telling the ugly truth. I know what it's like to be called a traitor," added Pappe, who in 2007 was forced to leave his job at Haifa University due to pressure from to right-wing Israelis. He now is a professor of history at the University of Exeter and director of the European Center for Palestine Studies.
The Palestinian minority that remained in Israel was persecuted from 1948 to 1966, he said, and more ethnic cleansing was carried out in 1967. Thereafter, the policy was to make life so bitter for the Palestinians that they'd emigrate, thus making it possible for the Zionist state to appear innocent of visibly ejecting the indigenous population.
According to Pappe, these myths no longer are working in Europe, where Israelis rarely are welcome and instead are disdained as much as white South Africans were in the 1980s.
"Keep in mind," he urged, "this is not a conflict between two national movements who will kiss each other ultimately. This is not a situation like India and Pakistan. This is purely a colonialist case. The so-called peace process is a charade allowing the Israelis to colonize more Palestinian land."
He went on to insist that all Israeli policies—past and present—must be acknowledged, explaining, "This isn't about revenge but restituting a normality of life." His solution is tripartite: acknowledgement of crimes of 1947/48, 1967, and the winter of 2008/09; accountability (boycott, divest, sanction); and acceptance of living in equality on the same land.
Muath Abu Rabea, 14, who is receiving treatment at Children's Hospital in L.A., was introduced onstage. On Jan. 4, 2009, during Israel's 22-day assault on Gaza, an Israeli bomb hit his home in the southern Gaza town of Beit Lahhya. Muath suffered extensive brain injuries, the loss of most of his teeth, and had to have his right leg amputated. While undergoing treatment in Southern California, his PCRF host parents are Mohamad and Nuha Hilasey of Corona.
In the past year, PCRF has provided medical treatment to 25 children in hospitals outside the Middle East, arranged 50 medical missions to Palestine and to refugee camps, sent wheelchairs and eyeglasses to children, and sponsored summer camps for disabled youngsters in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon.
Watch an interview with Ilan Pappe:
Ilan Pappe on the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
Israeli historian and author Ilan Pappe speaks about the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948 and currently.