Today, 01st April 2017 was the second day in the three day anti-Israel conference in Cork. As I arrived in the morning, I was still feeling somewhat bitter over the events of the day before. This the central difference between the usual anti-Israel events and a conference such as this. There is simply no recovery time. Speech after speech, panel after panel, and then day after day. It is as difficult to digest as it is relentless.
In my mind I was still going over the twisted talk by Oren Ben Dor as I had breakfast. And was replaying the outrageous comments by Ghada Karmi as I walked towards the venue for the second day. When you go to anti-Israel meetings you become accustomed to ludicrous comments, but these people are academics. What on earth was Kharmi doing suggesting Palestinians are the real descendants of the Jews?
Three central pillars of Cork
Just as was originally intended at Southampton, Ben-Dor had split up the conference into three areas of discussion. Legitimacy (showing Israel has no legitimacy), Exceptionalism (showing Israel is an Apartheid Settler colonial state) and responsibility (the ‘what to do about it’ section).
The first day had seen the discussion of legitimacy, so today was all about how disgusting a nation these anti-Israel activists think Israel is. Each of the papers were rancid, none more so than the one by Shalhoub-Kevorian, that dealt with children and what were described as ‘death zones’. It was little more than a desperate and despicable attempt by an activist to use children as an academic sympathy toy.
The non-loving Zionist mothers
Then came the questions. Just as was the case yesterday, a vicious antisemitic question went unanswered. This one was truly vile. Be prepared to read this twice:
It suggested Zionist parents *deliberately* starve their children of affection in order to create the internal callousness necessary to do what Israelis apparently do to Palestinians.
As it went unanswered by the panel, there were protests from two members of the audience, who demanded to know why such a question was not rejected outright. Just as with a similar question the day before, this question removed the humanity from Israelis, and by failing to respond, the panel were indirectly legitimising the question.
As the two expressed absolute outrage at the suggestion Zionist mothers deprive their children of love to ‘breed killers’, members of the audience, including I believe, Claire Short, expressed dismay that these people were vocally disrupting the event. ‘Behave yourselves’ was the cry. Not for the first time recently, I sat as a witness as Jews were expected to sit quietly and simply swallow unacceptable antisemitism and were then berated for speaking up against it. Simply horrendous. A whole room full of people, and only two people spoke up, and when they did, there was an attempt to belittle and silence them.
One of the two walked out in disgust as it appeared for a while if the panel answered the question in the affirmative. She had also been visibly insulted by a member of the panel. After a while, it was suggested the question was misunderstood,and the situation calmed down. How there seems to be a trait of misunderstanding such questions is beyond me. We all heard it and it seemed straightforward to us. Still, if you suggest you misunderstood, it becomes an easy ‘get out of jail free’ card.
Another speaker used the term ‘untermenschen’ to describe Israeli attitudes towards Palestinians. A deliberate and vile reference of course to Nazi Germany and their attitude towards Jews. During the Q&A session an anti-Israel activist spoke up suggesting such comparisons do their cause no favours. A moderating comment truly appreciated by the handful of Zionists in the room. He received light applause from maybe 10 of the attendees. This however was not going to go unanswered, and Ghada Karmi once more took to the floor. Not only was such terminology acceptable she said, it was ‘understandable’. She went on to say it was important to describe it as such, and argued it played to an ‘agenda’ if such terminology was restricted. Karmi went on to suggest there is “no other way to describe” Israeli attitudes to Palestinians.
It probably can be said without causing surprise that Karmi’s more extreme and particularly vile comments received loud applause. This is the way such events pull people towards extremist positions. Not everyone in the room is full of hate, but it spreads like a poison, infecting previously unaffected individuals. Rather than moderation receiving the loudest applause, extremism does. And as this conversion takes place, the more moderate voices become ever more scarce in the room.
The agency issue
The last panel session at Cork today saw the conference begin to address the question of ‘advocacy’ and what measures need to be taken to further the Palestinian position. This panel gave light to a truly desperate scenario. And it is here that the problem with this anti-Israel advocacy is laid bare.
Firstly it is built on fiction. As the ‘academic’ activist lawyer stands in front of the delegates and begins to spin the usual propaganda stories about 90%+ of the land in 1948 belonging to Palestinians, or neglects to deal with the complexities of UN resolution 181, or fails to acknowledge Arab violence in early 1948, he reduces the Palestinian argument to a schoolyard joke. This type of propaganda story may capture a few naïve hearts in the Cork County Hall, but it won’t win any legal action. This nonsense would simply fall at the first hurdle. Yet they use these very propaganda issues as the basis for the discussion.
Then there is the deliberate vagueness. This is a disunited bunch who see little eye- to eye beyond an intense dislike of the Jewish state. They do not have a formula, a joint strategy and would disagree on almost every issue of substance they attempted to build a consensus upon. Just like the vagueness of BDS, this is a deliberate part of the anti-Israel alignment and seeks to avoid any subject of disagreement. This works for as long as they are simply united against the Israeli position, but counts for nothing as a constructive strategy.
And finally there is a major problem with agency. Academics at Cork such as John Reynolds, or Jeff Handmaker live comfortable lives in the west. They align themselves with Arab voices, but in general, these Arab voices are the international face of Palestinian activism. Relatively well-off Arabs, who also live in the west. These two groups then align themselves with NGO’s who act out of self-interest, with little or no urgency of finding a best fit solution for the Palestinians who are actually paying a price for the ongoing conflict.
Those Palestinians who actually might be willing to negotiate and settle for a compromise that would allow everyone in the region to move forward have absolutely nobody representing them. Instead single minded extremists persuade those that sympathise with the Palestinians that the only option is the perpetually failing ‘all or nothing’ strategy.
An awful situation
So the conference at Cork doesn’t just provide a playground for twisted voices such as Oren Ben-Dor to play out his own internal issues to a large and appreciative audience, it cements extremism and works against all and any moderate voices that may truly be seeking a better alternative for all the people caught in the conflict. I had several good conversations at Cork, but in general those I spoke to could not understand my opposition to the Cork conference at all. It is true that not everyone present is lost to blind hatred, but it is also true that the forces at work here will only help to push peace further away. Given how much pointless agony has already been caused, that is a truly awful situation.
I am back in the hotel now. I need to prepare myself for the last day.
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30 thoughts on “Cork day two – breeding Zionist monsters and untermenschen”
I really wish I had known about this event as it would have been worth my while to attend even if it was just to confirm the extent to which the hatred blinds any chance I might have hoped there was of getting through to these people and may’be with a bit of luck I would have met you as I would love to have travelled up to East Belfast with you to show you how differently Israel and the Jewish people are looked upon compared with the hatred of the South and the Republican areas of the North and may’be you would understand what lies behind the level of hatred you’ve encountered in Cork!
Shalom, I look forward to reading your final report from Cork although I’m not surprised with what I’ve read thus far.
Hi David thank you for your deep concern for truth, and for the love of my heart Israel. Please remember-truth will not always win, but it is always right. With the Lord a day is a thousand years and a thousand years is a day. It seems an ongoing battle against falsehood which never ends, but He that keeps the Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. Don’t give up. They mean it for evil but good means it for good. You are my brother Joseph! God bless, John
“Not for the first time recently, I sat as a witness as Jews were expected to sit quietly and simply swallow unacceptable antisemitism and were then berated for speaking up against it”
Always the case. It’s why I have been chucked out of Brunel, LSE and SOAS in recent weeks. Always by hopelessly biased Chairs.
You forgot to mention the Albert Hall Jonathan.
And when you are given the heave ho it is always by ” biased chairs” and for ” nothing”
With Jonathan Hoffman in the train
jew-baiting putz. no wonder you highlight Atzmon’s spewings.
The person presenting the video is Gilad Atzmon….
I know that. Is Atzmon a ventriloquist ?
I wrote to the Cork City organisers, Des Cahill Ann Doherty and Paul Moynihan to explain how this event could damage the reputation of Cork as a city with a world profile so positive that it encourages people from all over the world to visit, live, work and invest in that wonderful part of Ireland. They could not even bring themselves to reply to either email so intent were they on running this hatefest of Natzi style propaganda that from the sounds of David’s report brings into the forefront, further ridiculous myths and anti-Semitic tropes. Cork was just duly removed from my bucket list and I hope other people will read this and do likewise, any city that allows such nurturing of hatred and lies to take place does not deserve to have visitors spend their hard earned money there as in my book it no longer has a standing in a moral and just society.
What a load of “tosh” ….the only Nazi behaviour comes from those who cannot abide free speech and free debate….Cork is to be admired for allowing this conference to go ahead for ALL to attend and perhaps hear qualified historians and academics speak on a subject they actually have researched, and whatever their conclusions, are entitled to speak about. The attendees have all paid to come to Cork and are willing to spend their time in listening to well reasoned argument….surely this is good and to be congratulated??
Plus where else can you drink Guinness which is perfect???
Free speech as long as it is against Israel and Jews yeah right !Well reasoned argument with 49 anti-Israel, anti-Jewish anti-Zionist agitators with track records as long as your arm, how is that a balanced debate? Debate requires views from all different aspects of an argument not just a one sided symposium where anyone who disagrees with a comment is shouted down and not allowed to discuss it, you are talking the ‘tosh’ around here buddy.
The Conference was open to all so your comments regarding the balance of speakers is totally wrong, and as I have learned the only real shouting came from those both totally Zionist and those who would not listen to facts being presented. Alan Johnson was going to appear BUT pulled out ….
Whatever you conclude regarding arguments proffered, there was no intent or attempt to quash comments other than those which were rude or offensive in their delivery.
I am not anti Jewish, indeed my former business partner is Jewish and a close friend, I had many Jewish clients and friends…I can hold sensible debate with most of them, agree to disagree when necessary……and do it in good spirit…I am however, having spent time in Israel and the West Bank, concerned to see how the Israelis treat the Palestinians in such despicable ways and when I hear Israelis comment that ” the only good Arab is a dead Arab” I despair…sounds just like the American views on The First Nation, the attitude adopted in Australia, New Zealand and in many other countries. I am English and am ashamed of what we have done as a nation over many centuries…..BUT the academic analysis of the Middle Eastern conflict can only produce a worthwhile result if allowed to take place in an atmosphere of honesty and decency…..the Israeli propaganda machine is I am afraid determined that this should not occur…so yes I say Tosh when an event like Cork is portrayed as unbalanced
Your insistence on it being balanced is sadly misguided, of course you are entitled to your views and opinions however misguided they may be but you can never call such a meeting a conference. For certain having a Jewish friend is no guarantee of anyone being unbiased especially with some of the Jewish apologists that do exist in this mixed up world I also used to live in Israel 42 years ago and worked with and amongst Palestinians in the days before Hamas and worked alongside a Bedouin chief. Of course everyone despairs to see suffering on either side and I also agree it is wrong to hear such statements that you describe however such statements albeit with a differing context take place in every country in the world. The Israeli propaganda machine you talk about, makes me laugh. Israel does not own the worlds press that is yet another trope. Israel is the least promoted country in the civilised world despite being the fifth most advanced technologically speaking, they have not the first idea how to market themselves. In the early 90s when Arabs had 600 TV stations receivable from the UK via satellites on the Clark Curve, Israel had none. Now that is propaganda on a massive scale and nothing but . As an Englishman, secure in your island fortress, surrounded by a giant moat, do you not find it strange that Israel who is surrounded by Muslim countries many of whom are sworn to its destruction, has only one sixth of 1% of the land in the Middle East and yet folks like the 49ers attending that conference think they should not have that and should hand it over to a made up nation of Arabic nomads that never existed until 1964 when Yasser Arafat invented the P.L.O? That is of course assuming you do know that he was born in Egypt and that Saeed Erakat was born in Jordan, Fasial Al Husseini was born in Iraq , need I go on? Does it not seem strange to you that the 49 ers also deny the expulsion of approx 900,000 Jews from the surrounding Arab nations, without compensation for lost businesses, properties and land were not entitled to any financial compensation from the UN? whereas a made up people you appear to be supporting are still getting financial aid from the UN, 5 full generations down the line, sometimes even when they no longer live in the Middle East. It is you Phil who has been blinded by the blatant hatred and propaganda of just such “conferences”. As for your assumption that an academic analysis can only produce a worthwhile result if allowed to take place in an atmosphere of honesty and decency, you are neither showing honesty nor decency when you suggest that such a “conference” will provide a worthwhile result when it does not begin with an equal number of “academics” on either side. It amazes me that pro Palestinian supporters conveniently ignore the fact that the UN was silent while 58 synagogues were destroyed by the Jordanians in Jerusalem in 1948, that the UN was silent while the Jordanians systematically desecrated the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives and the UN was silent while the Jordanians enforced an apartheid-like policy of preventing Jews from visiting the Temple Mount and the Western Wall from 1948 to 1967, and the UN was silent when Jews were expelled from the surrounding Arab lands yet such conferences still accuse Israel of apartheid and ethnic cleansing when the reality was exactly the opposite. Now tell me I am talking tosh.
The conference was not open to all. Nor would it have accepted a balanced number of academics. The anti-Zionist movement works on a no to normalisation platform and if the number of Zionist speakers began to rise, some of the more extremist anti-Zionists would withdraw. Only for as long as it would be heavily weighted against Israel, would it maintain integrity. If you do not understand this basic fact about the current state of play with dialogue, then you are not paying attention at all. Haven’t you heard of the BDS no-platform strategy?
Phil, I too have spent time in Israel, probably far longer than you have, on both sides of the Green Line. Anyone with an open mind and a good grasp of history would understand the cause and effect in play, and notice elements on both sides that needed to be addressed. Your comment about ‘death to Arabs’ indicates you only seem to be paying attention to one side. A dreadful mistake really considering Hamas, Hezbollah and so on are in the arena.That you consider anything that argues with the rabid anti-Israeli platform present at the conference as “propaganda” highlights your mind seems entirely closed to anything other than that which you already believe. A shame that I can do little about. I will ask you just this. If you were to get up and start killing immigrant Syrians trying to enter the UK to make a new life. What would that make you? Now explain to me how Arabs killing refugee Jews escaping the Nazis was any different? Or is that just propaganda too.
Phil – where do you draw the line between free speech and propaganda?
I would suggest you ask an Israeli
In George Orwell’s 1984, “well reasoned argument” (and debate) was also allowed so long as no dissenting voices were ever heard just like at Cork City’s Antisemitic Academy 2017.
But, it would not surprise me to hear someone like yourself claim that these purveyors of Judenhaas do not contravene the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism. That is, if you or they have ever heard of it.
I am American and I am also with Israeli citizenship, having lived in Israel nearly 30 years! I live in Pennsylvania in a serene environment. When I lived in Israel I also lived out of town in a farming community. I worked directly in the building Industry as well as with Agriculture. I worked side by side with Israeli Muslims, West Bank Muslims and Gaza Muslims. During the course of our days we told jokes, argued about politics and discussed family issues. NEVER ONCE DID I SEE ANY ATTITUDE TO SUGGEST WHAT IS BEING THROWN IN THIS CONFERENCE. Life in Israel is tense now with the rise of Jihadi expressions as well as any where there are large Muslim populations. Most of the West Bank and Gaza Muslims I worked with wanted to remain part of Israel. They felt they had a future for their children to become educated. They admired the health system that was available to everyone. They loved shopping in the malls. Most of all, they loved the days when Israelis used to shop in the towns in the West Bank. Since those days are closed off, poverty has overcome them. Once Jordan and now Abbas keeps the reins tight so only through corruption can a person rise up. I attended weddings and freely visited homes long ago. No more can we meet, not because of Israel, but because a new society of despots educate the youth to hate. So when I read this, I see the victory of hate that has spread across the Globe. My Muslim friends would cry out to conference about the lies but if they would utter any defense of Israel, they would be taken away and killed. Imagine, in a conference such as this no one would dare to speak out against Abbas and try to uncover the dirty truth of his despotic reign of terror over a population. Hamas? Much the same; ruthless tyrants who indoctrinate the children to become warriors of God. Shame on the people of this conference…shame on them for carrying forward such lies. They are the
for bearers of war. It is a conference such as this that instigates war. That is the dirty truth here…
Hanita – I have no reason to dispute anything you said. When I go to support Israel at PSC meetings, it’s the Arabs that are willing to talk to me,. shake my hand and have a dialogue. The middle-class left-wing look at me as if I am scum.
The PSC are a minority with a loud voice.
Hanita, the only addition to your comment would be that thousands of Gazan and West Bank patients are still treated in Israeli hospitals every year free of charge as the PA don’t pay for these tertiary referrals.. Also Jews and Arabs intermingle freely in each other towns . I myself work in Arab towns in Israel. The issue is not racial or ethnic, but territorial with secondary security and nationalistic consequences. But of course nuance is well beyond the comprehension of those at this conference.
Seems day 2 was a bit of a slow news day David
I thought you would have been there. Right up your street Stephen. Perhaps you couldn’t tear yourself away from your vigil at Redbridge synagogue where you are gathering your evidence of extremism.
Would have been way too high brow for me. I like to keep it simple.
Anyway I had to get my Owen Jones thing out before I could be accused of hindsight. I was pretty spot on don’t you think ?
Redbridge synagogue is not my style Iprefer the one at Whitechapel. Went to the Jewdas party there with Daniel Kahn. It was fantastic. I guess you like Daniel Khan ?
oops Kahn. And don’t say freudian slip ha ha ha
jew-baiter can’t stay away.
Jewdas hipsters. Not known to 99.99 % of the Jewish community.
Well thats better then the 000000000000000000000000000.000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 111% recurring of English speakers that that have heard of ” the new definition of antisemitism”
I’m guessing Harv will like this one better.
Phew. David, I do not know how you cope with this cascade of daily anti-Semitism.. I await your final report.
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