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Tel Aviv University
TAU Anat Matar Interview Part Four: Matar refuses to acknowledge that terror attacks against civilians are not acceptable

 

Dr. Anat Matar, Philosophy Department, Tel Aviv University. matar@post.tau.ac.il

Part One

Tel Aviv University

29.08.11


[TAU Philosophy] Anat Matar in an audio interview on Israel's political prisoners. Rebuttal of her comments incorporated

Tel Aviv University senior lecturer Anat Matar on Israel's political prisoners 
On July 21, 2011, CHUO 89.1 FM Ottawa The Train's Denis Rancourt interviewed senior lecturer of philosophy and political activist Anat Matar by phone from Israel. 
We explored "Who Profits" from the Israeli occupation of Palestine, Israel's grotesque system of political prisoners and their judicial treatments, and the origins of the societal pathology of Israel's Zionism.


Part Two

Tel Aviv University

06.09.11


Part Two: TAU Anat Matar in an audio interview on Israel's political prisoners. Rebuttal of her comments incorporated

Either Matar is confused or is trying to confuse the issue. To whom is she referring when she speaks of the political leaders who are also people who just protest, hand out leaflets, organize demonstrations? It is true that many Palestinians engage in legitimate civil protest like handing out leaflets; it is equally true that more than a thousand Israeli citizens have been killed by Palestinian terrorists in the last decade. The Israeli courts did not sentence Barghouti to life because he had handed out leaflets.

 

Part Three

Tel Aviv University

19.09.11

 
TAU Anat Matar Interview Part Three: "The inability of Israelis to recognize Palestinians as freedom fighters"
 
What has bothered Israelis, as Matar knows, is that the Palestinian political movement, as she refers to it, has shown, time and again, that its vision of the region does not include a place for Israel, certainly not as a Jewish state. How, one wonders, can Matar view positively and expect Israelis to accept (as freedom fighters ) a political movement that indiscriminately kills citizens of her country and a substantial segment of whose members denies her own people the right to what she seeks for the Palestinians?


Part Four                                                                                                                                                                                          

 

The interviewer continues with the issue of oppressor and oppressed, and what he refers to as the inexplicable practice of expelling “a people who are not your oppressor, in terms of the historic reality.  That to me is pathological.” The displacement, he asserts, is morally unacceptable.   Matar agrees completely, adding that her theory of a deep societal pathology of entitlement provides a “plausible historical explanation of what happened.”  Indeed, the interviewer says, “it might be hard not to come to that conclusion if what you are reporting is true.” Matar hesitates:  “I’m not a historian. I’m a philosopher.” She does find “something unnatural and very unique in [the] history, by the way. A people coming from all sorts of places in the world and  coming here and establishing a state. . . This is something that the Israeli nation is very proud of.” The interviewer proposes that   it’s not really unique. “Most nations have been created by a similar process of taking someone else’s land.” Matar responds that in other cases there was a kind of a priori nation before the establishment of the state.  “This is what’s unique, I think.”

Matar, a non-historian by her own admission, manages inadvertently to make a historical point which explains why Zionism is not the colonizing theft of another people’s land,  but a unique coming together of Jewish people from all over the world. The ties to the land of this “a priori nation” were pre-existing, which distinguishes it from the way most nations, created by a similar process, were founded.  

As for displacement, this claim, too, does not hold.  The displacement is the product of the war of 1948 and, to a lesser degree, the 1967 war.  As noted, the displacement was not inevitable; it was caused during wars that the Palestinians/Arabs had initiated and then lost. In this sense, like other aggressors in modern history, the Palestinians had to learn that there are consequences to their deeds.

The interviewer returns to Matar’s work on political prisoners in Israel, asking whether she thinks the work is important and will have an impact. Matar thinks it will. She argues that her work provides a human right answer; people in Israel and even in Palestine, and certainly around the world, are not aware of the Palestinian prisoners’ plea.   As before, she argues that these that this population should be considered political prisoners because the crimes they are accused of have been committed within the context of a political conflict.  She also complains of administration detentions and agrees with the interviewer that international pressure should be brought to bear on the UK, Canada and others countries that have similar provisions.  

    After some further exchange on her work, the interview comes to a close with music of Gilad Atzmon played in the background.  Matar adds that Atzmon, her former student, is a very involved political activist in London.  The show closes to the tunes of “Cultures of Resistance, Jenin.”  

  

Matar’s claim that Palestinians detained for acts of terror should be considered political prisoners puts her at odds with international law.  Her refusal to acknowledge that terror attacks against civilians are not acceptable regardless of the original grievance raises questions about her own moral standing.  To accept her argument would create a world in which people can be killed and maimed in pursuance of whatever political cause their tormentors chose to fight.  

 



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