Dear Professor Nutbeam,
As it is now likely the anti-Israeli hate-fest will not go ahead, I would like to suggest one to have in its place.
Conference proposal –
preamble: After the fall of the Ottoman Empire and against the backdrop of the Sykes–Picot Agreement, the League of Nations handed Britain and France several Mandates. This proposed conference will focus on the Mandates for the ‘States’ of ‘Iraq’ and ‘Syria’. Following the declaration of the mandates, the local Arabs rioted but the Europeans forced down the rebellions causing tens of thousands of deaths. Borders were drawn with colonial pens, puppet kings installed and indigenous minorities brutally suppressed. Thus both modern Syria and Iraq were born.
The 20th century proved brutal for both of these ‘nations’. Following revolution and independence, both nations suffered a bitter history. War, conflict, internal strife and brutal oppression followed, with each developing into dictatorships that would heavily persecute those of a different faith or political belief. Some minorities within the country faced real genocide (as opposed to make believe genocide); even chemical weapons were used against them. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions have died, few in the area have ever voted in free elections.
Following the recent wars, both Iraq and Syria are in disarray as two ‘fake’ nations fractionalise into historic clans. It is mainly in this area, we have seen the rise of ISIS, opposing the colonial regimes, intent on rejecting the Western control and domination of the region. If death count is important to you, then more have died in 2 years in this region, than all of the Palestinian Arabs, Jordanian Arabs, Egyptian Arabs, Syrian Arabs, Lebanese Arabs and Israelis that have died as a result of 67 years of Israeli/Arab conflict.
I would therefore like to hold a conference entitled International Law and the states of Syria and Iraq: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism
My support for believing you should agree to such a conference is simple.
In 2006 the professor who intended to hold the conference on Israel welcomed the victory of Hamas. As the quartet, Arab nations everywhere and Israel shuddered, your ‘man in the know’, applauded. In a piece titled “a new hope”, Oren Ben Dor stated clearly why, the rise of an Islamic fundamentalist terror group, a group renowned for placing bombs on commuter buses, should be welcomed.
Understand his political position in 2006. He sat not with the US and Israel, not with the UK, not with France, not with the moderate Palestinians, not with the Arab world – he sat against all of them. He placed himself side by side with Hamas, aka the Muslim Brotherhood, along with Hezbollah and groups like Al Qaeda. Excusing their terrorism as understandable simply because ‘Israel exists’. He also suggested that there is no point turning to the US, for the US “is a captive of Zionism” (for captive, read ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion‘, you’ll have it explained all clearly there).
All these messages in this twisted piece, the twisted logic that led to the proposal for the anti-Israeli conference, translate smoothly into Iraq. The collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the Mandates, ISIS view the Iraqi leadership as Western implants, ISIS view the history of the region as defined by colonial barbarism, ISIS also see a global Islamic world as the final answer and therefore ISIS too becomes a justifiable and reasonable response.
May I ask exactly what dates are free for us to call in the speakers? We have some real ‘peaches’ lined up. They can justify the terror attacks, blame it all on the West, tell the families of the victims of the beheadings that as Oren Ben Dor states on Hamas, “it is not plausible to call for an organisation such as this to become “non-violent” whilst “at the same time continuing to smother the very moral cause underpinning the voice of this organisation.” Let’s give ISIS what they want and I am sure it will all work out fine.
The only difference between groups such as Hamas and the Islamic state are the ones created in your head by consuming an overdose of propaganda and misinformation. Therefore Let’s delegitimise Iraq and Syria and push the cause of the Islamic State.
When you announce this conference I have planned, what do you think the government’s reaction would be? How strong would the freedom of speech argument be then?