Re: Withdrawal of University of Southampton from the Anti-Israel Conference, 17-19 April 2015
I have not received any reply to you so write further drawing your attention to my correspondence with Ben Dor and the extensive research and writing of David Collier in addition to my own open letter and article unpacking the negative discursive position. The analysis revealed how Israel had been found “guilty as charged” pre-debate and where I informed Ben Dor and the University of Southampton that I would hold them responsible for inciting racial hatred if any materials containing anti-semitic rhetoric or imagery were found to be present at the Conference. Petitions by the Zionist Federation and The Academic Friends of Israel were issued as well as the planned mass protest meticulously organised by Sussex Friends of Israel.
I understand from the statement Ben Dor and his crew issued that you have taken the wise decision to withdraw the Conference. The statement from a Southampton University spokesperson reads:
“The University of Southampton is in discussion with the organisers of the conference ‘International Law and the State of Israel’ about the possibility of withdrawing permission for the event to be held on campus. However, this review process is still ongoing. Any decision will be judged purely on considerations around the health and safety of our staff, students and for the general public.”
Yet still nothing personal in response from either yourself or your very own home-grown boycotter, Oren Ben Dor.
By way of recap, as a reminder of the man with whom you are dealing with on your own premises, I want to ensure you are clear that Ben Dor is the same man who places persons such as myself and those who are above-mentioned, persons who stand up to ensure the fair treatment of Israel, persons who believe in justice and equality for all human beings firmly into the category of “the arrogant and self-righteous Zionist entity”.
Ben Dor proposes that he believes in egalitarianism which, as you aware, broadly speaking, is equality in every sense for all human beings. As such, this is the “intellectual” reason why his stand is that he cannot therefore believe in a Jewish State and must entirely reject zionism. The same reason he has put your University’s reputation on the line in his desire to spread hate. The same reason he has chosen to convince you to host this biased Conference in order to gather momentum for the false worldview that Israel is a rogue, oppressive and entirely illegitimate State. However, I am still left with the question unanswered as to why Ben Dor, in his capacity as Professor of Law and Philosophy, has not chosen to pick on Saudi or any other location in the world which, say, limits human freedoms through gender inequality? Or any of the other states created during war? Or any state controlled by a totalitarian regime? As such the question remains, if not antisemitism, why Israel?
If the legal position is still proving to be an issue and, as such, is censoring your ability to officially publish your statement of withdrawal, may I respectfully remind you that this one sided debate, this antisemitic hate-fest dressed up as academia is not “free speech” as defined under the UK Education Act (No. 2) 1986. Ben Dor, as we know, is making a mockery of that Act which states that educational establishments “shall take such steps as are reasonably practical to ensure that freedom of speech within the law is secured for members, students, and employees.”
Finally, from a legal standpoint, just a reminder that speakers were excluded who believe in Israel’s right to exist such as speakers who understand fully that the democratic state of Israel is not an “apartheid state” as every citizen has the right to vote and discrimination based on race, religion or sexuality is illegal. As such, any speakers who understand that Israel is a democracy and by being positioned by your Kangaroo Court as anything other, would not be able to participate. This is the reason why Ben Dor is responsible not for promoting, but instead for restricting free speech and placing the University of Southampton in blatant contravention of the university’s duty to enable freedom of speech under that Education (No 2) Act 1986, [section 43] due to the call for papers to be presented as exclusively anti-Israel.
I await your official statement of withdrawal and look forward to receiving a copy.
MSc., BSc. (Hons), MBPsS