IAM has occasionally profiled Ilan Pappe, a former professor at Haifa University, currently the director of the European Center for Palestine Studies at Exeter University in England.
Pappe has built a career out of making outrageous claims against Israel. From his relatively modest input into the New History wave, he expanded into more extreme versions of Israel's alleged treatment of Palestinians. In the early 2000s, Pappe published a book making claims about "ethnic cleansing;" more recently he has argued that Israel has engaged in "genocide."
Like the Hebrew University lecturer Nurit Peled-Elhanan, Pappe has appeared before various people's tribunals, including the Russell Tribunals on Palestine (RToP) a self appointed groups of radical activists who "investigate" war crimes by Israel. The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission (KLWC) was established by Mahatir Mohammed, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia whose criticism of Israel has been underpinned by anti-Semitic tones.
While faculty have the right to free speech, there is something tawdry in an activity that is so blatantly antithetical to the spirit of academic inquiry. The academic legitimacy that scholars enjoy has enhanced their status and credibility; indeed, an argument can be made that Israeli scholars, especially those based in Israel, are a huge asset in the increasingly effective effort of delegitimizing Israel.
It is significant that the European Center for Palestine Studies (ECPS) in the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at Exeter was especially created for Pappe. Under the leadership of Professor Emeritus Tim Niblock, the Arab and Islamic Studies became a hub of anti-Israel activities. According to British reports, Exeter University is one of the largest recipients of Arab money in higher education. Even without determining the source of funding, it is clear that the ECPS has ambitious goals.
According to its mission statement, the ECPS
" aims to func'tion as a hub for intellectual engagement with the Palestine question, facilitating scholarly research, helping to refine public discussion, and offering programmes for postgraduate study. "It further proclaims that the ECPS was "established in 2009 as the first university-linked Palestine studies centre in the Western world. It remains the only such centre in Europe, and seeks to cooperate with partners worldwide to encourage a new generation of scholars to examine academically issues that have been treated so far only politically and publicly." The doctoral program at the Center has "founded an international network of doctoral researchers in Palestine Studies.
The promises of examining "academically issues that have been treated so far only politically and publicly" should fool no one. The Center will produce academic material that reflects Pappe's view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.