As the previous IAM post indicates, the former Haifa university professor, Ilan Pappe, has been widely associated with denouncing Israel on behalf of a number of totalitarian regimes. They seek legitimacy by referring to Jewish and better even, Israeli academics to promote their anti-Israel agenda while fighting off anti-Semitic accusations. As Pappe admits, "I think the fear of being accused of anti-Semitism is still very strong".
Teheran Times recruited Pappe for this endeavor. The article below spreads it out clearly that Pappe is "A prominent anti-Zionist Israeli historian and intellectual, who is best known for his outspoken criticism of the Israeli government and his opposition to the occupation of Palestinian territories, believes that the Western mainstream media are giving a lopsided and unfair coverage to the war on Gaza, which has many different reasons, including the influence of the Israeli lobby and the fear of these media outlets of being branded anti-Semitist."
As expected Pappe "delivers the goods". In order to delegitimize Israel he makes the comparison between Israel and South Africa, "The only way of stopping Israel is adopting towards it the same attitude adopted against South Africa at the time of Apartheid."
It is worth noticing that Pappe recently got back from a tour in South Africa where he has made similar claims.
Western media’s biased coverage of the war on Gaza irrational, academics says
By Kourosh Ziabari
22 August 2014 15:34
As Israel continues its massive military aggression against the Gaza Strip, which has already cost the lives of more than 2,000 Palestinians, the international condemnation of the atrocities committed by the Tel Aviv regime and its cruel massacre of the unarmed citizens of the besieged Gaza grows steadily.
Just recently, a group of Jewish scholars, most of whom were born in the Occupied Territories and teaching at the Israeli universities, have signed a petition, calling on the government of Benjamin Netanyahu to stop its deadly incursion into the coastal territory.
A prominent anti-Zionist Israeli historian and intellectual, who is best known for his outspoken criticism of the Israeli government and his opposition to the occupation of Palestinian territories, believes that the Western mainstream media are giving a lopsided and unfair coverage to the war on Gaza, which has many different reasons, including the influence of the Israeli lobby and the fear of these media outlets of being branded anti-Semitist.
In an exclusive interview with Tehran Times, Prof. Ilan Pappé said that Zionism has reduced Judaism "into a narrow minded ethno-nationalism that depended on the success of a colonialist project."
Ilan Pappé is a political activist, historian and professor at the College of Social Sciences and International Studies at the University of Exeter, Britain. He is also the director of the university's European Centre for Palestine Studies, and co-director of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies. From 1984 to 2007, he was a senior lecturer in political science at the University of Haifa. A former member of Israel's Hadash Party, he was the party's candidate for the parliament (Knesset) elections in 1996 and 1999. In 2012, he published the book "The Bureaucracy of Evil: The History of the Israeli Occupation" that was released by the Oneworld Publications.
Prof. Pappé responded to our questions on the recent Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip and the historical, legal aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The following is the text of the interview.
Q: It was reported that Israel launched its military incursion into the Gaza Strip after Hamas allegedly kidnapped and killed three young Israeli settlers. So far, more than 2,000 Palestinians have been slaughtered in the month-long conflict. Do you consider this mass killing in such a broad extent, and the obliteration of the civilian infrastructure of the Gaza Strip a logical, proportionate and justifiable response to the kidnapping of three Israeli citizens, while there isn't still reliable evidence showing that the abduction was done by Hamas?
A: No, of course not and the destruction of Gaza is not really a retaliation to the abduction and killing of the three settlers. The incident was a pretext for implementing a policy that was formulated long time ago towards the Gaza Strip; a geopolitical area of Palestine for which Israel has no clear policy. It manages, at least in its own eyes, quite successfully, the rest - 98 percent - of Palestine. It imposes harsh restrictions on the Palestinian minority inside Israel and colonial rule in the West Bank. These policies were also tried in the Gaza Strip but it was a risk to have settlers there and it was too full of refugees for to be seriously considered part of Israel. So it was ‘ghettoized’ with the hope that it would be domiciled in such a way. But Gaza resists and the only way Israel deems possible to react to this, is to use all its military might to crash that rebellion.
Q: Can we interpret the Israeli offensive into the Gaza Strip as an effort to ruin the newly-formed unity government in Palestine? Is Israel trying to delegitimize Hamas in the eyes of the people of Gaza Strip who voted unanimously in the 2006 legislative election to bring it to power, and to pretend that Hamas is not capable of providing security and welfare for them?
A: Indeed, there is also a more immediate reason for the particular timing of this assault. The Fatah-Hamas unity government and the Palestinian Authority decision to replace the ‘peace process’ with an appeal to international organizations endangers, in the eyes of the Israelis, their control over the West Bank. So the wish was for destroying Hamas politically in the West Bank and militarily in the Gaza Strip.
Q: It seems that a growing number of Israeli academicians, intellectuals, journalists and ordinary citizens on the streets are turning frustrated at the policies of Israel and its brutalization of the Palestinian citizens. I just read that a large group of Israeli university professors have signed a petition, calling on Tel Aviv to cease its military operations against the civilian population in Gaza. So, we see an emerging trend in opposition to the Israeli policies. What's your take on that?
A: I would not exaggerate the number of dissenting voices inside Israel. There are of course such voices, but the society at large, 87 percent according to one poll, is not only behind the government’s policy in Gaza, but even demand a more brutal action over there. So I think we cannot rest our hopes for an end to the violence in Palestine on a change from within Israel. Only strong pressure from the outside can produce such a result.
Q: Do you think it's possible to stop Israel from intensifying its assault on the Gaza Strip and violating the international law? Israel has hasn't paid any attention to the UN bodies' condemnations and calls for the cessation of hostilities. So, it sounds like international law doesn't have any mechanism for obligating Israel to abide by its commitments as an occupying power under the international law. What do you make of it?
A: The only way of stopping Israel is adopting towards it the same attitude adopted against South Africa at the time of Apartheid. For this to be effective, one would have hoped to see a change in the American position. This is not likely to take place soon. But also in the case of South Africa, the American position was an obstacle for an effective action against South Africa. The fall of the Soviet Union convinced the Americans that South Africa was not needed any more in the cold war. So something similar has to occur to change American positions. But in the meantime it is important to build the solidarity movement with the Palestinians on the basis of human and civil rights’ agenda.
Q: All of those Israeli politicians, diplomats, intellectuals and academicians who break the wall of silence and level some criticisms against the discriminatory practices and policies of the Israeli government with regards to the Palestinian people are immediately defamed as anti-Semites and self-hating Jews. Have you ever faced such charges? What's your perspective on those who want to officially sanction any criticism of Israel under this pretext and obstruct the way to a meaningful dialog on what's happening in that sensitive region of the world?
A: Yes a lot. Self-hating Jew is a common reference to me. But I have no problem with my Jewish identity. My conflict is with Zionism. I think Zionism reduced Judaism into a narrow minded ethno-nationalism that depended on the success of a colonialist project. This brought more misery to Jews around the world, rather than helping them to defeat anti-Semitism. I think now that the Jews are already a third generation in Palestine, they can be recognized as a separate ethnic group provided they are willing to share the land with the indigenous people and not strive to dispossess them.
Q: The United States government has offered its unconditional and unrestrained support to the Israeli government in its deadly operations in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Washington is the largest financial and military benefactor to Israel. Israel will never be held accountable if this approach continues. Does it mean that Israel, with its criminal record of murdering the Palestinians would always remain immune to accountability before the international community?
A: I think one should not take a deterministic view on this. First of all, the United States was not always pro-Israeli and the American public is not the same as its political elites. In fact, there is a far more significant change in the attitude towards Israel among young American, including many Jews, than in Israel. Secondly, America's ability to impact world politics has seriously diminished. States such as Brazil, India, Russia, South Africa and China (the BRICS countries) have more influence than ever before. If they are recruited to the campaign to change the reality on the ground in Palestine, then there is a good chance for change and peace.
Q: In a September 2006 article, you referred to the Israeli policies in the Gaza Strip as an incremental genocide, and reiterated that its ongoing military assault on the caged people of Gaza represents the continuation of that lethal policy. Do you believe that Israel is carrying out a project of ethnic cleansing and is trying to kill as many Palestinians as possible so as to alter and distort the demographics of the region and realize its plan for establishing the Greater Israel?
A: I think it is a bit more nuanced. The Zionist project from its very beginning was having as much of Palestine as possible with as few Palestinians in it possible. The means for achieving it have changed with time. In 1948, the major effort to achieve it was attempted when half of the country’s indigenous people were expelled. More sophisticated means were used afterwards; military rule, discriminatory legislation and small scale ethnic cleansing operations. In Gaza all these means proved useless and therefore the idea was to ghettoize Gaza and hope that this would separate its people from Palestine. But when they resisted the reaction became genocidal.
Q: It's understandable why the Israeli media are giving a lopsided and biased coverage to the war that Netanyahu and his entourage have inflicted on the empty-handed Palestinians. But why do the Western mainstream media, most of the times proudly boasting of their adherence to the codes of ethics and professionalism, follow the same path and don't talk the truth and present the realities of this unjust carnage that is playing out in the beleaguered Gaza Strip?
A: An excellent question. There is no good reason for this biased Western coverage. I think it differs in explanation for different parts of the West. In the United State, there is a strong pro-Zionist, Jewish and Christian presence in the media which reflect both AIPAC and the Christian Zionist Churches’ point of view on Israel. The more liberal press, especially the New York Times, slowly become more critical on Israel but still has not walked the extra mile, maybe because of timidity. In Europe, I think the fear of being accused of anti-Semitism is still very strong, as well as financial consideration connected to pro-Zionist corporations. So they adopted the paradigm of balance and parity which continues to provide Israel with immunity.
31 July - 07 Aug: Israeli Professor, Historian & Activist Ilan Pappe speaking in S.Africa
11th Floor, Braamfontein Centre
23 Jorissen Street
31 July 2014
|Dear Friends and Comrades,
[31 JUL - 07 AUG]: ISRAELI PROFESSOR, HISTORIAN & ACTIVIST ILAN PAPPE SPEAKING IN S.AFRICA ON GAZA,PALESTINE-ISRAEL & BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL
World renown Israeli academic, historian and activist, Professor Ilan Pappe is in South Africa on a countrywide speaking tour (31 July to 08 August). Professor Pappe (of Jewish descent) is an Israeli academic and historian that is in effective "exile" due to his academic work, support of the Palestinian struggle and in particular for his championing of the academic boycott of Israel. Pappe is currently a Professor of History at Exeter University in the UK. Click here for Ilan Pappe's Wikipedia entry
Pappé is one of Israel's "New Historians" who, since the release of pertinent British and Israeli government documents in the early 1980s, have challenged Israel's version of its creation in 1948, and Israel's denial of the expulsion of over 700 000 Palestinians to create the Modern State of Israel. Pappe has written that the Israeli expulsion of the indigenous Palestinians was not decided on an ad hoc basis, as other Israeli historians have suggested, but constituted an ethnic cleansing of Palestine in order to create the Modern state of Israel.
For his academic and human rights work Pappe has been condemned by Israel's parliament with the Israeli Minister of Education calling for him, at the time, to be dismissed from his Israeli university post. Pappe has received several death threats because of his support of the academic boycott of Israel (part of the larger Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel campaign
). In 2005, Israel’s Haifa University President, Aharon Ben-Ze’ev, called on Dr. Ilan Pappe
, then a staff member, to tender his resignation after Pappe made public his support for the academic boycott of Israeli universities. Pappe subsequently left Israel for Exeter University. Click here or see below for Ilan Pappe's full South African speaking schedule.
FULL SCHEDULE OF ILAN PAPPE'S UPCOMING S.AFRICAN SPEAKING TOUR [31 JULY - 08 AUGUST, STELLENBOSCH, CPT, DBN, PMB, JHB]
Given the ongoing Israeli attacks on the Palestinian Gaza Strip, this is a highly relevant speaking tour for any member of the public or media wanting to learn more about the history of Palestine-Israel, the situation in Gaza, the BDS boycott of Israel and to get a progressive Jewish perspective on the issue. Professor Ilan Pappe is being hosted in South Africa by the Muslim Views Newspaper in association with BDS South Africa with events across the country at various universities and community centres. At the University of Johannesburg Professor Pappe will be a co-panelist with South Africa's Minister of Higher Education and General Secretary of SACP, Dr Blade Nzimande.
FULL SOUTH AFRICAN SPEAKING SCHEDULE FOR ISRAELI ACADEMIC, PROFESSOR ILAN PAPPE
DATE: Thursday, 31 July at 17h30 for 18h00
VENUE: Rm 222, 2nd Floor, Arts Building, Corner Merriman & Ryneveldt Street, Stellenbosch
TOPIC: "Courageous Jewish Voices on Israel/Palestine - Deconstructing Myths and Truths About the Land of Israel, Palestine and Gaza”
HOSTS: Kairos Christian Ecumenical Organization, Stellenbosch PSF
DATE: Friday 01 August, at 13:30
TOPIC: Jumuah Talk on "Whether Israel is an Apartheid State?"
VENUE: Masjidul Quds Mosque, Gatesville, Cape Town
DATE: Friday 01 August, at 18:00 for 18:30
VENUE: Community House, Salt River Road, Salt River, Cape Town
TOPIC: "The Myths of Zionism and Israel"
HOSTS: Cape Town Palestine Solidarity Campaign
DATE: Saturday, 02 August at 20:00
Live Debate on iTV to be broadcast on DSTV Channel 347
DATE: Sunday, 03 August at 15h00
MASS MEETING: Islamia College Hall, 409 Imam Haron Road, Lansdowne, Cape Town
TOPIC: "Brand Israel: How Zionism was Marketed Over the Years"
DATE: Monday, 04 August at 13h00
VENUE: L20, Old Arts Building, University of Western Cape, Cape Town
TOPIC: "The Israeli Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine: The Past and the Present"
HOSTS: University of Western Cape PSA
DATE: Monday, 04 August at 18h00
VENUE: Kramer Lecture Theatre 1, University of Cape Town, Cape Town
TOPIC: "The False Paradigm of Peace: One-State or Two-States Solution For Palestine-Israel"
HOSTS: University of Cape Town PSF
DATE: Tuesday, 05 August at 13h00
VENUE: Room 107, New Arts Bldg, Golf Road, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermartizburg
TOPIC: "Israel and the Arab Spring”
DATE: Tuesday, 05 August at 18h30
VENUE: Howard College Auditorium, University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), Durban
TOPIC: "The Forgotten Palestinians: the Palestinian minority inside Israel
DATE: Wednesday, 06 August at 18:30 for 19h00
VENUE: Protea Auditorium, STH Building, Bunting Road Campus (off Annet Road), University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park, Johannesburg
TOPIC: "Academic freedom in higher education: Apartheid South Africa and current day Israel as case studies, with a particular focus on the academic boycott"
HOSTS: BDS South Africa with the UJ PSF
SPECIAL GUEST: Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education and General Secretary of SACP
DATE: Thursday, 07 August at 13h00
VENUE: Humanities Graduate Centre Seminar Room, East Campus, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg
HOST: Wits University PSC
DATE: Thursday, 07 August at 15h00
TOPIC: “Gaza in Context - The Continued Israel Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”
VENUE: Origin Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg
HOST: Jewish Voices for Just Peace
ILAN PAPPE ON BBC HARDTALK
ARTICLE BY ILAN PAPPE ON GAZA: THE 1000TH VICTIM
A moving article recently published by Professor Ilan Pappe on the ongoing Israeli attacks on the Palestinian Gaza Strip, is titled "To the family of the one thousandth victim of Israel’s genocidal slaughter in Gaza". Click here to read the article.
7 AUGUST 2014
South Africa: Questions for Israeli Historian Ilan Pappé
Ilan Pappé: The full interview
Israeli historian Ilan Pappé has become a pariah in his own country. Pappé is one of Israel’s New Historians – a group of scholars who have started to rethink Israeli history after studying documents declassified by the Israeli government in the 1980s. For Pappé and his peers, these documents shed new light on the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, and the establishment of the state of Israel. RA’EESA PATHER spoke with Pappé, who is in South Africa on a speaking tour.
Many people have argued that a Palestinian land or state never existed. Historically, was there ever a land called Palestine?
Palestine existed as a land for ages. A state is a modern idea and there were no states in the Middle East until the First World War. Up to then, most of the areas, including Palestine, were part of the Ottoman Empire for 400 years. So, definitely Palestine, as a geo-political unit, existed for many centuries.
Zionists say they have a right to return to their homeland and defend themselves. You believe that the Zionist objective is to eradicate Palestinian people through ethnic cleansing. How do you come to that conclusion?
I’m a professional historian, so my assumptions or conclusions are based on my research, and the research shows very clearly that Zionism was a colonialist movement, and like many colonialist movements, of course they claimed that the land they had colonised belonged to them – either because God had sent them there or because they did not regard the indigenous people as people who had any rights.
So, the fact that the Zionists said that a land that was inhabited by another people is theirs is not the problem. The problem is when you say this land is mine and then you expel the people. When you expel the people in order to make a place for yourself, in modern international law, this is an act of ethnic cleansing.
A group of many professional historians have looked into the [Israeli] archives, into the documents and the evidence is very clear. What is not clear is why people are still believing in the fabrication that the land was empty or that the Palestinians had no right. The question is not whether the Jews feel they have a right to the land or not. That’s not the problem. The problem is what you do if you think you have that right. You may have a right to a land, but you have no right to expel people from the land, and that’s the issue.
Many historians have rewritten Israel’s history differently. Why should people believe your version of history?
People can only believe what they can believe. It seems that what really matters is how the audience reacts to what you do, and how convincing you are through your evidence and through the facts, especially people who visit the place themselves. We’ve seen a very interesting shift from a point in time where the Zionist narrative was more accepted as the truth to where we are now today, where people regard the Zionist version as propaganda. I think it has to do with the fact that more people were able to visit, more people were willing to listen to Palestinian oral history, and more people were willing to read my work and the work of people like me, which is based on documentation in Israeli archives. I think it’s not a matter of why they should believe. It’s something that people are believing because it makes sense, especially because of what Israel is doing today – it stands to reason they have done it in the past.
Zionism is historically a secular ideology, but it is linked to the creation of a Jewish state. Isn’t this paradoxical?
It is, it’s one of the many paradoxes of Zionism. It’s a manipulation. You have a secular movement of a colonial settler community who, like many settler communities, were running away from persecution and hardship, and in order to justify the takeover of another land, in order to justify the dispossession of another people, they use religion even if they don’t themselves believe in that religion. It’s more of a manipulation than a contradiction.
Hamas had been identified as a terrorist organisation, and the Charter is often used as a justification to show that Hamas are anti-Semitic terrorists. If Hamas has changed its views, as they say they have, why hasn’t the organisation shunned the Charter?
I think it’s important to remember that the PLO [Palestinian Liberation Organization] had a similar charter. The charter is part of your ammunition as long as the oppression and the occupation continues. All kinds of liberation movements used guerrilla warfare and had very extreme positions, and these changed once reconciliation began. I have very little doubt that if the Israelis would show, which they don’t, a genuine willingness to reconcile, then these more extreme positions would change and there would be a pragmatic stage where previous guerrilla movements would be more involved in running a place rather than fighting a regime.
Hamas is accused of not accepting a ceasefire. How is the world supposed to understand their position?
They have a very reasonable position. They don’t accept a ceasefire that would keep the situation as it is now. The world has asked Hamas to accept a ceasefire when Israel is halfway through the Gaza Strip. The siege, the horrible siege, will continue forever and all these people who Israel has arrested in the West Bank will not be released. Hamas says a ceasefire that includes the release of the people who were arrested, removing the siege, is a precondition for sitting together and thinking further about the solution.
I think the word “ceasefire” is not a positive word by itself. The word is a manipulation that is meant to achieve the same goal that the military operation was meant to do, but through other means.
What about the fact that the longer there is no ceasefire, the more Palestinians are killed?
That’s a good point. What Hamas is saying, and I think there’s some resonance to that, is that people were dying even without the fighting. So they are taking a desperate stance to stop the strangulation, and the incremental deaths that they were going through, the ghetto-isation of the Gaza Strip. That’s why they are taking such a desperate means, and they still believe that, if they stop struggling, even worse things will happen to the Palestinians. So the world has to pressure Israel to stop the fighting, to accept the idea that Gaza cannot be treated like a maximum security prison, and ask the sides to sit together and think about the future rather than allowing Israel to continue the dispossession of the Palestinian people.
The main issue in Gaza is that Israel doesn’t know what to do with the 2 million Palestinians there, and it opted for the worst kind of solution to that problem, which one can only call genocide.
The Arab nations have been silent. What is their role?
Their role was, as you say, being silent, not doing enough, either using the conflict of the Palestinians as a pretext for not solving their own problems, or clandestinely working with Israel to advance their own interests. I think their solidarity with the Palestinians is very clear, and part of what we call the Arab Spring – which is not in a very good stage now, but it’s a long historical process and I don’t think we’ve seen even the beginning of it – will be democractisation of the Arab world, and with democratisation, the really very genuine solidarity Arab people feel for Palestine will be reflected in future leaderships.
There have been signs of protests in Israel. What role do Israelis have in ending what is happening?
They have a moral role to pressure their own government to end this carnage. Unfortunately the number of Israeli Jews who are willing to take such a brave and bold disposition is very, very small, so I don’t think they will have enough influence. We depend much more on international pressure for changing the Israeli position. We cannot wait for the internal dynamics to work because it would take too long.
Realistically, what sort of solution will be agreeable to all parties?
When you say all parties, it’s like saying what would be the right resolution for apartheid South Africa, and you want to include also those that believe in apartheid. It doesn’t work. You could only have a solution for South Africa if you took apartheid out of the equation, and I think the only solution in Israel-Palestine is taking Zionism out of the equation, because it’s a racist ideology. Once you take that away, there’s a very good chance of creating a democratic state for all. But the world has to accept, first of all, the logic of this and even some of the Palestinian leaders have to accept the logic of this, and then we have a chance.
You’ve said that the Zionist movement wants to “bantustan” the Palestinian people. How accurate are the comparisons between apartheid South Africa and Israeli apartheid?
Very much so, in every aspect. Historically it’s the same story of white settler colonialists taking someone’s land, using ethnic cleansing, segregation, and bantustanisation in order to control the indigenous people. Presently, the laws that Israel has passed against anyone who’s not Jewish, and the kind of regime it has opposed on people living in the West Bank, is very similar to the ones since 1948 that were imposed on both the African and the coloured population of South Africa. I think we have now a very rich body of literature that explores the similarities. Israel was very supportive of South Africa – they thought that they treated the problem that they have in the right way.
Israel supported apartheid South Africa, and today, South Africa still has diplomatic ties with Israel. What impact does this have on Palestinian people?
I think many of them would like to have seen a tougher South Africa. I don’t know if to the point of severing diplomatic ties altogether, but, for instance we may have expected the South African government to do what Argentina and Brazil did by returning their ambassadors, which is the highest diplomatic outrage.
What is the endgame for Israel and the endgame for Palestine?
I think the Palestinians want normal life. They are the only people I know who haven’t had any normal existence in the last 100 years, so they really starve for normal life as normal citizens in their own state, in their own home country. This is a very tall objective because it’s going to be very difficult to achieve it. Unfortunately, Zionism wants to have as much of Palestine as possible, with as few Palestinians in it as possible. I don’t think they will succeed. The question is only how many people will die before they fail.