Ronit Lentin: Radical anti-Israel Israeli Academic


Editorial Note

Two months ago, Irish courts ordered Prof. Ronit Lentin, a radical Israeli academic living in Ireland, to apologize and compensate Yoseph Haddad, a pro-Israeli Arab activist, after she defamed him on social media. 

Lentin served as a professor of social sciences and the director of the Ethnic Studies program at Trinity College Dublin until her retirement in 2014. 

Haddad explained that “When I announced my visit to Ireland, my identity was denigrated and I was wrongly labelled a “ collaborator” by Ronit Lentin. As an Israeli Arab I am pleased to have now received Ms Lentin’s apology below for her defamatory tweets.”

Lentin wrote on social media that “‘Yoseph’ Haddad is a Palestinian collaborator with the racial colony. Having Hebrew-ised his first name, having volauntarily served in the IOF, he is employed full time as a propaganda officer, disregarding the ongoing colonisation of Palestine by the apartheid state. Shame.”

This is not the first time. Last year, Lentin was ordered by the Irish courts to apologize and compensate an Irish Jewish member of Parliament for defamation. Alan Shatter, who served as Ireland’s Justice Minister from 2011 to 2014, was the target of a barrage of her tweets which included two outrageous and defamatory claims about his character. 

Lentin has been a radical activist for a range of issues for decades. She advocates for open-door immigration to Ireland and opposes all deportations. She is also an activist for Palestinian liberation and the right to turn to “one democratic state in historic Palestine where Palestinians, Jews, and migrants live in full equality.”  

Her books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict reflect the view that the Palestinians cannot do any wrong and the Israelis cannot do any right. Accordingly, the Palestinians are presented as lacking in agency, passive and mindless victims of alleged Israeli brutality. Thinking Palestine and Co-memory and MelancholiaIsraelis Memorializing the Palestinian Nakba are prime examples of this genre of writing. 

The underlying message is even more insidious. Lentin tries very hard to present the Holocaust as a physical and moral equivalence of the Nakba, the Palestinian catastrophe. For instance, Thinking Palestine – based on a workshop of a group of Palestinian, Israeli, British, and Irish scholars “critically committed to supporting the Palestinian quest for self-determination”- offers a theorization of Palestine as a camp, ghetto and prison.” In a piece of psychobabble characteristic of this genre, Lentin claims that “the memory of the trauma of the Holocaust and of Israel’s war dead competes with the memory claims of the dispossessed Palestinians.”

Lentin is also a prolific blogger on her blog named Free Radikal. No doubt that her affiliation with the highly respectable Trinity College helps in her advocacy work. 

Her views were picked up in 2008 by Al Quds al Arabi, an Arabic newspaper published in Britain, which wrote that Lentin spoke at an event held by the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, at the invitation of the Palestinian Society. There Lentin explained that the direction of her book “indicates that Israel is a racist state, and that the large number of Israeli researchers and academics who conduct studies on the Palestinians do so from an orientalist perspective.” She was also quoted as saying that  there are “many years of Nakba denial, land appropriation, political discrimination against the Palestinians within Israel and the denial of rights to Palestinian refugees.”  And that “the State of Israel’s continued positioning itself in a state of emergency, makes it more and more vulnerable to violent attacks (called terrorism) by its Palestinian opponents and others.” 

Lentin is among the numerous academics who use their writings to push for favorite causes. Unfortunately, “advocacy scholarship” has become commonplace in many universities. 

Harvard University recently denied tenure to a scholar whose output was described as “advocacy writings.” The case triggered a huge public debate, with many accusing liberal arts departments of tolerating activist scholars who tarnish the university’s image as a venue for the dispassionate pursuit of truth. 

Although Lentin is retired, her high-octane activism reflects poorly on Trinity College. 


יוסף חדאד – Yoseph Haddad

19 June

זכיתי בתביעה נגד פעילה אנטי ישראלית!

בפברואר האחרון הגעתי לאירלנד לסבב הסברה וגם נאמתי שם בפרלמנט. לפני ההגעה שלי הייתה מחאה גדולה שם וניסיון למנוע זאת. אחת מאלו שניסו לפעול נגדי היא רונית לנטין, ישראלית שחיה באירלנד ומגדירה עצמה כאנטי ציונית.

בשורה של ציוצים היא הכפישה אותי וסילפה את האמת נגדי ולמעשה הציגה אותי ואת כל הערבים שמזדהים עם המדינה ופועלים למענה כמשת”פים.

לאחר שניהלתי מולה הליך משפטי באירלנד היא נאלצה לפרסם מכתב התנצלות וגם להעביר 2,500 יורו לעמותה שלי.

אני מקווה שהיא תשמח לדעת שאת כל הכסף הזה שלה אנחנו מעבירים לטובת ערב מפנק ליחס”ר הבדואי, לוחמים ערבים שמשרתים את מדינת ישראל ומגנים על כל אזרחיה בגאווה.

נמשיך להילחם בגאווה למען האמת!

When I announced my visit to Ireland, my identity was denigrated and I was wrongly labelled a “collaborator” by Ronit Lentin. As an Israeli Arab I am pleased to have now received Ms Lentin’s apology below for her defamatory tweets.

Rhetoric such as hers is deeply damaging to those pursuing peace between Arabs & Jews. Her donation to Together Vouch for Each Other will be put to good use for the Israeli Arab soldiers of the IDF as they defend Israeli Arabs and Jews alike! 💪

יחס”ר 585 יחידת הסיור המדברי

=================================================== academic pays libel damages

Dr Ronit Lentin has apologised and withdrawn tweets containing ‘untruthful assertions’


OCTOBER 24, 2021 13:02

Alan Shatter

A pro-Palestine Israeli academic has been forced to issue an apology and pay damages after libelling a former Irish minister during a debate about Israel.

Alan Shatter, the former Dublin South TD, who is a lawyer and author, was taking part in a discussion on Irish broadcaster RTE about the controversy surrounding writer Sally Rooney’s refusal to print her latest book in Hebrew.

Listening to the show was Dr Ronit Lentin who launched a barrage of tweets against Mr Shatter, including two which made outrageous and libellous claims about his character.

Mr Shatter, who served as Ireland’s Justice Minister from 2011 to 2014, told the JC he often received abuse online for his defence of Israel but mostly from anonymous accounts.  

However he said Dr Lentin’s tweets were so “egregious” he had no option but to launch legal proceedings.

The JC has seen the tweets which were not antisemitic but made damaging claims about Mr Shatter’s character.    

The JC will not repeat the substance of the libel which left Dr Lentin having to make a public apology and pay thousands in damages to the charity which Mr Shatter is chairman of.

Mr Shatter said: “I am sadly well used to being abused on social media and I am well used to being targeted with antisemitic abuse on social media but most people do this from the heroic stance of being anonymous.

“Dr Lentin’s depictions of me were so despicable, so egregious that they need to be addressed.”

In a tweet on Thursday, Dr Ronit Lentin said she had deleted two tweets “containing untruthful assertions” about Mr Shatter.

She added: “I apologise for any hurt caused and damage done to his good name and reputation.”

At Dr Shatter’s request, Dr Lentin paid a sum of 2,000 euros in damages to Magen David Adom, Israel’s National Blood and Medical Emergency Service which works across the religious divide.

This is not the first time Ireland’s former Minister for Justice and the pro-Palestine Israeli academic have clashed.

Mr Shatter, a lawyer who was the last Jewish member of the Irish Government until his resignation in 2014, wrote a letter to the Irish Times to rebut a letter from the retired sociology professor Dr Lentin in which he accused her of “failing to take antisemitism seriously”.

Dr Lentin, a supporter of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Jewish Voice for Just Peace Ireland, argued she did not believe that “elevating antisemitism above other forms of racism, particularly Islamophobia and anti-migrant racism, is helpful in tackling racism”.

She claimed the debate about antisemitism was “masquerading” as anti-racism and that it undermined “the understanding of racism as a colonial technology of power aimed at maintaining a white supremacy”.

In his response, Mr Shatter wrote that her view had “no relevance to my being spat at and also being called a dirty Jew on Dublin’s streets when a TD (the Irish equivalent of an MP), my being targeted with antisemitic abuse on social media which still occurs, the posting to my home when Minister for Justice of ashes, together with images of skeletal concentration camp survivors and Nazi symbols.”

And he slammed Dr Lentin’s “extreme” views which he said represented only an “infinitesimal number of members of the Jewish community”.

The apology follows a report published earlier this month into antisemitism by journalist David Collier which exposed the extent to which antisemitic views had become commonplace in mainstream politics and within academia.

Mr Shatter told the JC Mr Collier had “done an extraordinary job and produced an important piece of research” but it was being “largely ignored” by a media and political class that did not want to confront the antisemitism rife within Irish society.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week promised to speed up the introduction of the Online Safety Bill amid mounting concerns about the levels of abuse on major sites like Twitter.  Among the measures now being called for is identity verification for Twitter accounts so users can be better held to account for what they write.


Co-memory and melancholia

Israelis memorialising the Palestinian Nakba

Author: Ronit Lentin

The 1948 war that led to the creation of the State of Israel also resulted in the destruction of Palestinian society, when some 80 per cent of the Palestinians who lived in the major part of Palestine upon which Israel was established became refugees. Israelis call the 1948 war their ‘War of Independence’ and the Palestinians their ‘Nakba’, or catastrophe. After many years of Nakba denial, land appropriation, political discrimination against the Palestinians within Israel and the denial of rights to Palestinian refugees, in recent years the Nakba is beginning to penetrate Israeli public discourse. This book explores the construction of collective memory in Israeli society, where the memory of the trauma of the Holocaust and of Israel’s war dead competes with the memory claims of the dispossessed Palestinians. Taking an auto-ethnographic approach, it makes a contribution to social memory studies through a critical evaluation of the co-memoration of the Palestinian Nakba by Israeli Jews. Against a background of the Israeli resistance movement, the book’s central argument is that co-memorating the Nakba by Israeli Jews is motivated by an unresolved melancholia about the disappearance of Palestine and the dispossession of the Palestinians, a melancholia which shifts mourning from the lost object to the grieving subject. The book theorises Nakba co-memory as a politics of resistance, counterpoising co-memorative practices by internally displaced Israeli Palestinians with Israeli Jewish discourses of the Palestinian right of return, and questions whether return narratives by Israeli Jews are ultimately about Israeli Jewish self-healing.eISBN: 9781847793225DOI: Publication Date: 19 Jul 2013


رونيت لينتن: استمرار حالة الطوارئ في اسرائيل يعرضها للمزيد من الاعتداءات والحل يكمن في تخليها عن العنصرية ضد الفلسطينيين

4 – أكتوبر – 2008

محاضرة في جامعة ايرلندية تؤكد ان السلام الاسرائيلي مع الفلسطينيين هو في رأس القائمةلندن ـ ‘القدس العربي’ من سمير ناصيف:اكدت رونيت لينتن، المحاضرة في جامعة ترينيتي في دبلن (ايرلندا)، ومحققة كتاب بعنوان: ‘التفكير حول فلسطين’ صدر مؤخرا عن دار ‘زد’ في لندن وجمع آراء مفكرين من سائر انحاء العالم، موئدين لحقوق الفلسطينيين ان ‘استمرار دولة اسرائيل في وضع نفسها في حالة طوارئ، يجعلها اكثر فأكثر عرضة للتعرض للهجمات العنيفة (المسماة ارهابية) من قبل خصومها الفلسطينيين وغيرهم’.وكانت لينتن تتحدث في ‘كلية الدراسات الشرقية والافريقية’ في جامعة لندن، بدعوة من ‘الجمعية الفلسطينية’ في الكلية، وكان من المفترض ان يشارك في الندوة المفكر والاستاذ في جامعة اكستر البريطانية ايلان بابي، الذي اضطر للغياب لاسباب عائلية، علما انه كتب فصلا في الكتاب بعنوان ‘دولة اسرائيل المخابراتية: الدولة القمعية ليست دولة استثنائية’.واوضحت لينتن ان ‘توجه كتابها يشير الى ان اسرائيل دولة عنصرية، وان كثرة الباحثين والاكاديميين الاسرائيليين الذين يقومون بدراسات حول الفلسطينيين يفعلون ذلك من منطلق استشراقي حسب مفهوم المفكر الفلسطيني الراحل ادوارد سعيد ـ وانهم يركزون على كون الاسرائيليين هم الضحايا’.وتساءلت لينتن حول ‘علمية’ المفهوم الذي ‘يعتبر اليهود وكأنهم جنس بشري’ والذي ركز ثيودور هيرتزل، أب الصهيونية، نظرياته حوله، وتبعه في ذلك مفكرون آخرون بينهم عدد من مدعي التوجه الليبرالي اليهودي.وبما ان لينتن هي استاذة في العلوم الاجتماعية، ومديرة برنامج الدراسات الاثنية في كلية ترينيتي في دبلن فانها دحضت وتحدت ‘هذا المفهوم الخاطئ المؤدي الى توجه ايديولوجي عنصري يفرق ما بين البشر’. واتهمت لينتن مستخدمي هذا التوجه العنصري بأنهم يستعملونه ‘كأداة لفرض الايديولوجية القومية في اسرائيل على حساب الفلسطينيين العرب، الذين يعاملون وكأنهم مواطنون من الدرجة الثانية، وبشر لا تنطبق عليهم حقوق الانسان’.وتساءلت لينتن: ‘كيف يحق ليهود العالم العودة الى فلسطين ـ اسرائيل، ويحرم العرب الفلسطينيون من هذا الحق؟ واي ذريعة علمية او ايديولوجية تسمح بذلك؟’.واكدت بان’ الوجه الديمقراطي الذي تعرضه اسرائيل للعالم مخصص ليهود هذا البلد، وليس للسكان العرب الفلسطينيين فيه ايضا، وبالتالي فانه وجه ديمقراطي عنصري’.وسئلت لينتن لماذا يتم قتل او عزل القياديين السياسيين الاسرائيليين الذين يحاولون التوصل الى سلام مع الفلسطينيين، او مع جيرانهم العرب، بطريقة تحفظ الجانبين؟ ولماذا تظل الآراء المطروحة في هذه المجال محصورة في توجهات مثقفين اسرائيليين يساريين لا يملكون القرار السياسي؟ فهل في ذلك توجه لتبييض صفحة وساحة دولة عنصرية عبر مثقفيها، بدلا من اتخاذ الخطوات السياسية الفعالة لالغاء العنصرية كما تم في جنوب افريقيا في العقود الماضية؟ولعل السؤال طرح بشكل وكأنه دفاع عن رئيس الحكومة الاسرائيلي السابق اسحق رابين ورئيس الحكومة المستقيل ايهود اولمرت، فكان الرد عليه من المحاضرة سلبيا، اذ اعتبرت بأن اولمرت استحق اقالته، وان قيادات الاحزاب الاسرائيلية الحاكمة عموما لم ترغب بالقضاء على العنصرية في اسرائيل ولعلها على حق في موقفها.وسألتها البروفسورة ناديا العلي،(الاستاذة في الكلية)، التي ادارت الندوة، عن الدور المخابراتي للباحثين الاسرائيليين في دولة المخابرات الاسرائيلية حسب ما وصفه ايلان بابي؟ فقالت: ‘ان ايلان بابي على حق في ان الديمقراطية في اسرائيل مخصصة لليهود الاسرائيليين فقط ، وليس للسكان العرب، وبالتالي فانه من حق العرب الفلسطينيين المقاومة وان مقاومتهم شرعية’.واضافت: ‘انني شعرت بالتزامي مواقف العرب الفلسطينيين خصوصا بعد استماعي الى اخبار المآسي التي يتعرض اليها الفلسطينيون على الحواجز الاسرائيلية في اماكن سكنهم، وبشكل خاص النساء، حيث ماتت اعداد منهن على هذه الحواجز، وهن في طريقهن للمعالجة الطبية’. واضافت: ‘القضية انسانية قبل اي شيء آخر، ولعل النساء ابرز ضحاياها، ولا يحق لاسرائيل ان تستثني نفسها من شرائع حقوق الانسان في هذا المجال بحجة ان اليهود تعرضوا للتنكيل من قبل النازية’. واستطردت قائلة ‘اذا أردنا استثناء اي مجموعة من بعض ملتزمات حقوق الانسان، فان هذا الامر ينطبق على الفلسطينيين وليس على الاسرائيليين’.وفي ردها على اسئلة حول حل الدولتين او الدولة الواحدة، قالت لينتن: ‘يقولون ان السلام يجب ان يوقع مع العرب (مع الاردنيين او مع المصريين او غيرهم) انا لا اوافق على هذا التوجه، السلام الاسرائيلي يجب ان يتم مع الفلسطينيين مهما كان قالبه دولتين او دولة واحدة’.

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