I have just spent two days inside SOAS, at the Centre for Palestine Studies as a delegate at the 10th Annual Conference of the SOAS Palestine Society titled ‘Settler and Citizens: A Critical View of Israel’.
In the 1920’s and 1930’s Zionist groups across the globe met in order to further the Zionist cause. The basic messages were simple; encourage, build, promote, purchase, financially assist & educate. Due to the endeavours of the Zionists inside and outside British Palestine, the fabric of the Jewish state was in place long before 1948 and as early as 1936 the ruling British were describing the Jewish nation in Israel as already resembling “a state within a state”.
It is now 2015, every single week, in campuses around Europe and the US, organisations such as the SOAS Palestine Society push for large events to be held regarding ‘Palestine’. Not one of those I have attended did anything other than focus on demonizing Israel. They do not promote investment into Palestinian areas, they do not promote education, they do not seek ways of reconciliation or promote peace, they do not search for ways to reduce the suffering of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon or Jordan, they do not in fact seek ways of improving the lives of Palestinians at all.
What they do, what they all do, is two-fold; they seek to demonize Israel and blame it for every disaster, every mistake, every wrong turn, the Palestinians have ever made and they seek to perpetuate the conflict by proposing impossible solutions that deter the Palestinians from compromise and will inevitably lead to more violence.
In his talk on 18/10/2015 at the latest SOAS conference, Ilan Pappe stated:
“The only thing that is working for us of course is the international movement, the BDS that doesn’t wait for Palestinian unity or the Israeli left to get its act together.”
It is important to understand the implication. Pappe suggested in his speech that many of the Palestinians themselves, the Israeli left and the Israeli Arabs have ‘bought into’ the two-state solution. In Pappe’s own paradigm, this is not an acceptable position and by further claiming that the actual people involved are being rendered impotent through their own narrow vision, external strategic influence becomes necessary. Or in more direct language, ‘forget what the Palestinians think, we know best’.
It is the broken record of those that claim to support the Palestinians. In 1947 telling the Palestinians to reject Partition, in 1948 telling the Palestinians the Arabs would win the war, in 1949 telling the refugees not to resettle, between 1949 and 1964 telling the Palestinians not to declare their state, in 1964 telling the Palestinians that the PLO was their true representative and so on. Always from the outside and always rejecting compromise. It could be argued that the Palestinians have no viable internal leadership today because they were never allowed to develop one naturally.
The conference itself is a well-oiled machine. There is a message that needs to be given out and that is reinforced throughout the conference. It is a constant drum roll of BDS. Areas of weakness within the BDS argument are heavily addressed rather than ignored. This is part of a war machine, that intends to enable activists to push the propaganda. Each of the messages are dealt with in turn and you soon realise this is the main purpose of the event, carefully selected speakers each covering a single area of topic.
- Israel academia is complicit, therefore must be boycotted
- Israel’s liberal society is an illusion and therefore pressure must come from outside
- Israel cannot be negotiated with
- Israeli Arabs are not equal
- Israel sells arms to the world and therefore is diplomatically protected by warmongering regimes
- Israel is a right wing society that any good socialist would oppose
- Israel kills people to make money
- Israel is racist
- Israel is guilty of war crimes, ethnic cleansing and genocide
- The two state solution is a colonial settler paradigm
Therefore only BDS, only the one state solution can provide an answer to the problem.
Every single one of the speakers is an activist and the distortion and propaganda simply never stop coming. Some of the speakers are mind numbing in their outrageous duplicity, but most are simply engaging in a blatant and disgraceful abuse of academia, where deliberately biased research is being used to spread distortion and fuel hatred. At one point, even Noam Sheizaf, an activist who writes for the extreme left wing online 972 magazine, felt the need to criticise a speaker for having sensationalised a topic and taken it out of context; even for Noam this had gone too far, it was simply that bad.
This message is not opposed. Within the university it evolves from within an Islamic funded or Islamic focused department and therefore remains internally unchallenged. Once the ‘academic’ papers are produced, the messages are relayed to the faithful at conferences such as the one at SOAS, at Exeter or as was intended at Southampton. It is happening now all over Europe and in the US.
And therefore, what is happening on campus, is one part of a very violent circle.
From the conference, this message is then carried by the foot-soldiers. Tens of thousands taking the message into the schools, into the student unions and onto the high streets. Walking an extremist, twisted vision that is distinctly anti-west, directly into the mainstream.
Within mainstream society, it is not challenged because people are afraid of facing accusations of cultural bias or even racism. The inclusive nature of our society promotes the vision that everyone has a voice and everyone must be heard. Children, students, work colleagues, armed with a hatred of Israel, of the West, of capitalism and of Jews, come with pictures of burnt children, tales of evil Israel, stories of the never ending suffering of the refugees and ask simply for their friends to help the cause of justice.
Everyone becomes bombarded with the images, and with no accepted alternative, no opposing message, and with only conflicting reports in the general media, the narrative is carried from the extremist, to the naïve.
That is the second part of the circle.
This video is well worth watching. Courtesy of the ever present and always resourceful, Sussex Friends of Israel, it is an interview with a young British adult, who is standing in front of a sign that supports an area run by a proscribed terrorist organisation. If you have not seen it, I strongly suggest that you watch before continuing.
These girls would not be outside the Israeli embassy unless someone close to them had poisoned them. Someone in their class, someone in their street, someone posting on their FB page. With the message infecting young, impressionable minds and taking hold of left wing movements across the globe, these naïve, well-meaning stooges take to the streets in protest against Israel. It is an absolute failure of western society that these children do not know the difference between the only free nation in the Middle East and those that chop off the heads of the non-believers. There is no other way of looking at this, these girls would grow up as normal western youngsters if born in Tel Aviv or as part of a radical extremist terrorist cult if born in Gaza; if they knew the whole truth, what would they really choose to support?
That is the third part of the circle.
The extremists then carry the message of their resounding success back to the Palestinians. Do not compromise, do not negotiate. They are told that BDS will succeed where Egyptian and Syrian armies have failed. And so to close the circle, we enter Israel. The situation on the ground stagnates, moderate opinion is stifled and extremists formulate the strategic response. The Israeli Prime Minister can offer peace negotiations without pre-conditions and there is simply silence in response. The ‘academics’ and the terror groups speak the same language; no to negotation, no to compromise, no recognition of Israel.
Silence, or the ‘status quo’ become the enemy. Periods of calm remove the story from the TV screens, this in turn slows the funding, reduces the donations and lowers the energy behind the anti-Israel demonstrations in the West. Therefore, there needs to be trouble. Extremist groups seek confrontation, their terrorist members find ways of turning nothing into a spark into a riot, and with deliberate incitement, another round of attacks against innocent Israelis begins. Israel has to respond and so the wider general population of the West Bank becomes drawn back into the conflict.
That closes the circle. The fuel that these terror attacks provide, generates the required response in the west. And the adacemics pat each other on the back and begin to plan yet another academic conference on Palestine.
This is the terrorist industry and SOAS is one of the major factories of that industry in the UK (SOAS alone have had 4 pro-Palestinian events in the last 10 days). But SOAS is not alone, these factories exist throughout the west and the governments here and abroad both know they exist and seem incapable of stopping the cycle. It is about time they started trying because once again innocent Jews are dying on the streets because of the inactivity or lack of concern of the western policy makers.
17 thoughts on “From the university to an attack on the streets of Israel, the true cycle of violence.”
QUOTE: ”these factories exist throughout the west and the governments here and abroad both know they exist and seem incapable of stopping the cycle”. Well, in my home country Luxembourg, those ‘factories’ have ONG status and get financial backing from the Ministry of Cooperation! So don’t expect our government to act against them…at least unless the leftists lose the next elections.
The best analysis I read.
Do you have a facebook adress ?
Spot on as always, David. I am so happy I no longer teach Arabic, Islamic Studies or Persian in a university. I wouldn’t last a second now if I wore my Israeli flag on my lapel or just said something mild about Israel not being the genocidal state they claim. Sanity will not return to academia in my lifetime. And it needs to be said that so much of this (especially the post-colonial stuff) goes back directly to an academic, Edward Said, who wrote about things he had no professional knowledge of (his field was English literature). What he achieved single-handedly back then has now been replicated and multiplied by brainwashed academics round the globe. It is more than just defending Israel against attack. We also have to cdefend the West of the Enlightment from the return of irrationality, ignorance, and outright stupidity even within the groves of academe, not to say in thje political and religious realms.
Thank you Denis. I would imagine for someone like you, who knew the academic landscape intimately, it must be difficult digesting what has happened in our universities. For someone like me, who never really knew academic circles prior to this ideological invasion it is somewhat different. However, given my background and field of interest, my natural inclination would be to engage in higher academic research, but I feel that the doors would not open for me because I am quite clearly a Zionist. Interesting how you describe Edward Said and I need to look into this more thoroughly, I have read some of his work, but have never approached reading him as someone who acted as a forerunner of what was to come. I feel as you do, that there is a need to defend against the ‘return of ignorance’ and believe personally we have some dark days ahead.
Coincidentally, Mitch Bard has also been writing about academia in the Jerusalem Post.
I agree with your observations and analysis, and certainly the rampant growth of these group-think “factories” is a horrific development (for both Jews and, as you suggest, for any Palestinians interested in a decent future). But at the same time, Israel’s actual policies in the West bank must be at least some part of the circle and I am surprised you dont mention them at all ? It seems to me that while Israel is quite democratic within the green line, her policies over the line really are indefensible and must make decent people much more open to the rest of the anti-Israel line than they might otherwise be. Curious as to your perspective on this ?
Gideon thanks for your comment. It is not an easy question to answer, but I will try to explain why I did not mention Israeli policies. I might even agree with your comment regarding some of Israel’s actions and I would certainly argue that Israel should be doing far more within the green line (whereas you suggest Israel is quite democratic there already – ‘quite’ for me personally isn’t enough). However, the world vision or paradigm of the circle simply has no room for Israel at all, which is why I left it out. For these people, Israeli actions are irrelevant. Now you could argue (as I think you do) that the ‘decent people’ in the middle might not be so open to demonstrations if Israel wasn’t visibly taking actions against the Palestinians, but in response I would say this
1. That within the paradigm, there can be no viable peace process. Which in turn means there will always be friction and therefore sporadic outbreaks of violence.
2. That the paradigm itself demands violence to survive, therefore it will make it happen. Israel, regardless of how it reacts, must react to defend itself somehow. Any reaction will be potrayed negatively.
3. whatever action Israel takes will be twisted to serve the purpose of the paradigm.
4. As an example. the claim that Apartheid exists in Israel (within the green line) is patently false, yet still remains the number one accusation at any demonstration against Israel.Reality within this paradigm has no bearing because Israel’s very existence is seen as a crime against humanity.
5. I think you may be underestimating the extent to which the ideology has infiltrated Europe and the US. If it cannot be confronted for fear of accusations of racism or cultural bias, what is true, what Israel does, becomes irrelevant because if you cannot reach the ‘decent people’ with your version of events, what you are doing or not doing does not matter. They only hear one side.
If we were talking about a paradigm of two states, where both Israel and the Palestinians are walking towards a two state solution. Then I agree that Israeli actions are paramount, but in the one described at the university conference, Israeli actions have no bearing. This is why I left them out.
It is good to see academics like David and Denis, speaking the truth unfortunately modern students don’t seem to bother with checking the facts and doing their own research.
Whilst students don’t worry me politicians have caused me to seriously question democracy and I have given up voting as the pols either are stupid, liars or both. And this is true for many subjects not just the middle east. So we are screwed, with no obvious solution. Depressing.
It worries me about students, not just because their ability to apply academic principals to what they are being fed has been damaged and the effect all this has on Jewish students, many of whom now choose to hide their Jewish identity or have to face anti-Israel and antisemitic bile from their fellow students and lecturers – but because they are the politicians, academics, industry leaders and colleagues of the future!
Precisely. For those that do not understand the implications of what is happening. Today the policies and attitudes are shaped by those who were Kibbutz volunteers, enamoured by Entebbe and read Leon Uris. The next generation will see policies and attitudes shaped by those who have been infected with BDS, are told to see Israel as a colonial settler state and have had no experience of Israel as anything other than a regional superpower that has hold over refugees because of some religious historical narrative.
This event clearly violated SOAS’s PREVENT duty. It should be reported to the Home Secretary via your MP.
I am addressing it along with some recordings I took at the event.
Another great piece, Dave. One of your strengths is the ability to make compelling analogies between current events and the recent past that the public quickly forgets about. In the previous piece, it was the constancy of the knife vs. the variable of whatever the latest “Israeli provocation” happens to be. In this piece, it’s the description of today’s BDS phenomena as another of the same futile cycles that have been played against Israel before.
I don’t know if erudite columns like this about the matzav will sway people like the girls in the video or stem the tide of one-sided sloganeering that seems to dominate the discussion more and more these days, but it’s always nice to see good writing on the subject regardless. Cheers to your blog.
THANK YOU David for such an awesome insightful posting. I am speechless. It’s one thing to internalize these fears I already have about what is happening to delegitimate Israel, but it’s another to see it in print, making it more ‘real’ somehow. The most chilling for me was viewing that young student. She reminded me of the Nazi youth volunteers that Hitler brainwashed into adult SS. This woman could probably not point out Haifa to you on a map, let alone know who Mohammed Abbas is. But nonetheless she was motivated enough to take to the streets on a weekend and campaign. Not against the genuine despotic states that carry out FGM and executions on gays. No. She chose one state, and one state only. Hitler succeeded. And SOAS and Pappe are carrying his torch.
Thank you for the really great post. Few remarks.
1 I am from an opposite end of the “Academia” – exact sciences, physics. As I can see none of what is described here penetrates my end. We are receiving record number of EU, US grants, our students are recognised among the best in the world and are in high demand, we are flooded by increasing numbers of Indians, Chinese, Russians, Ukrainians eager to get our education, investors are crowding our start up projects, we are expanding from high tech to bio med to water tech to finance to … you name it. This “start up” mentality is contagious, spreading to TV productions, fashion, Israeli movies, , etc, etc
2. As you pointed out – the “external” leadership similar to the present SOAS, BDS, SJP,… led in the past to one Palestinian failure after another. And Israel grew from feeble collection of immigrants to regional industrial power. More than that – what I see now is not even the most remote match to the past, to the 1948 invasion of 5 Arab armies, the 1967 blockade by Egypt et al, the 1973 similtaneous attack on us of 1000’s of tanks, 100’s of war planes, Soviet support, etc, etc. Compare to the today – pensioner Ilan Pappe , Barghouti, others. Terribly unpleasant to hear but are they able to cause a real harm? In a sense perhaps this is the way to convince Palestinians – they will eventually see all that demonisation failing and seeing no other choice but making peace with Israel? Wishful thinking? Perhaps. But if you compare how peace was achieved in other similar conflicts – it was after the total desperation to win when the parties agreed. On both sides! Israel seem to be ready!
George Orwell was very perceptive when he wrote something to the effect that only an academic could be stupid enough to believe some of the things they are told. The number of “academics” who signed the petition published in “The Guardian” are proof of this.
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