General Antisemitism

Jews demonised at Centre for Palestine Studies as Ilan Pappe comes to SOAS

Cross posted by London-based blogger Richard Millett

Jews came under fire last night at the Centre for Palestine Studies, based at SOAS and under the chairmanship of Gilbert Achcar. It was irrelevant if you are a Jew in Israel, Scotland, Wales or England. Ilan Pappe, the CPS guest speaker, doesn’t discriminate.

Pappe, a lecturer at Exeter University, started by saying he wished “to answer the riddle of the growing gap between the image Israeli Jews have of themselves and the external image the world has of them”. In North Korea the gap between the view North Koreans have of themselves and that of them by outside world would not be much different, but in Israel there is “genuine difference”.

He said the Zionist movement in Israel should be credited for its marketing skills, particularly the way it marketed both Palestine as a land without a people for a people without a land and also Israel as a European country. This helped “absolve them from what they did to the native population”.

Israel, he said, therefore appeared to be a democracy while actually being an “ethnic racist state”. Israel had succeeded in “marketing an oppressive reality as a democratic one”.

Israel had marketed Zionism, he said, to include such enlightenment concepts as liberalism, capitalism and social democracy. And Zionism was far more successful than other ideas because it was “born after the failures of Nazism and fascism”.

Such branding and marketing, according to Pappe, had been done via academia and fiction.

Israeli academics, he said, undertook a “willing role to commodify the Zionist project on the basis of so-called scientific research”. And books and films like EXODUS showed Zionist figures looking like “Aryan Israelis”, while the Palestinians looked “like either Osama Bin Laden or ET”.

But, Pappe said, at one stage certain Israelis had an “epiphany”. Using the same methodology of books, articles and films they challenged these “truisms of Zionism by re-examining the Zionist project from the beginning”.

They showed Israel was a “settler colonial society, an aggressive society and a discriminatory society”. However, they got “cold feet” when challenged and apologised before disappearing without trace, some being forced to leave Israel.

However, this same methodology has now been adopted by people outside Israel which, according to Pappe, worries Israel. Israel can “stifle criticism and crush those who don’t toe the line from within” but cannot do the same to those outside Israel.

In response to this, Pappe said, the Israeli elite has re-adopted the Zionist dogma in a “neo-Zionist” form, which is far harsher and less flexible than the original. Such “neo-Zionism” being symbolised by the likes of Netanyahu, Bennett and Lieberman.

Pappe said he was worried how Israel would react to a new, even non-violent, Palestinian Intifada as “the Israel of 2014 is worse than the Israel of 1987 and 2ooo. It is a more ruthless Israel”.

“Neo-Zionism”, Pappe explained, attempts to combine liberal and theocratic ideas of how to live as Jews in the twentieth century and is a “lethal combination if you are the enemy”. Pappe said this is “not easy to sell as a liberal democracy”.

“Israeli society is neo-Zionist. Most (Jewish Israelis) want an ethnic racist state. There are no liberal Zionists anymore,” he said. He cited Peter Beinart, J Street and Ari Shavit as the last possible bastions of liberal Zionism.

Pappe said that in 2005 the Israeli government created Brand Israel Group(BIG), to target the Jewish community in America, despite already having America “in its pocket”. Israel, he said, is doubtful of their support in the future.

Pappe said his publisher, Verso, would neither allow him to show the fairly explicit posters in his new book that were used by Israel to “appeal to the Jewish homosexual community in New York City” nor those aimed at Jewish heterosexuals. The idea being, Pappe said, if you like this sexy woman you might like Israel’s occupation.

By 2010, however, this campaign was seen by Israel to have failed and so, Pappe said, Israel’s new policy was to distract the opposition. Instead of trying to win an argument about “apartheid and ethnic cleansing” activists were urged to say, for example, “But Israel invented chewing gum!”.

Pappe said Israel had also been successful in convincing Jews in other countries that Israel is their story as well. He said he was once confronted by Jews in Edinburgh and that he had told them in no uncertain terms that Israel was not their story.

Then at the end of last night’s event when I criticised his lecture he asked me in Hebrew if I speak Hebrew, presumably to imply that Israel is not my story either. Ironically, your typical SOAS audience member has absolutely no connection with the Palestinians and cannot speak Arabic.

The final irony is that the marketing and branding Pappe accuses Israel of doing is just what he does! For example, during his talk he urged his audience to use “settler colonialism”, “Israeli apartheid”, “regime change” and “ethnic cleansing” when discussing Israel.

(I have been banned by SOAS, under threat of legal action, from filming or taking photos at these events without permission. All my requests for permission have since been declined. Others are permitted to film and take photos.)

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30 replies »

  1. Wow! Practically everything Pappe said is total and utter tosh, but one line in particular jumped out at me…

    “Israel can “stifle criticism and crush those who don’t toe the line from within” ”

    He has clearly never read the Israeli press (Ha’Aretz, anyone), watched Israeli TV, walked an Israeli street or sat in an Israeli cafe and listened to people of all stripes forcefully expressing a huge variety of opinions on any topic under the sun – especially criticism of the government and its policies.

    If Israel is really trying to “stifle criticism and crush those who don’t toe the line” it is as much of a failure at that as it is at ethnic cleansing (rapidly rising numbers of Palestinians and Christians in Israel) and apartheid (no segregated facilities or occupations in Israel at all)!

    What a tosser.

    • “He has clearly never read the Israeli press”

      He has and this makes it all the worse!

    • Pappe’s conferences always attract loads of people, including high ranking diplomats and journalists, so the man must have something interesting to say.

      • “Pappe’s conferences always attract loads of people..”
        You know this how exactly?
        Do you personally attend all of them, or is it just hearsay on your part?

        “.including high ranking diplomats and journalists.”
        When and how did you analyse the attendance at ‘Pappe’s conferences’?

        “ the man must have something interesting to say”
        Being ‘interesting’ does not mean that what he has to say is factually or historically correct.

  2. Pappe reduces the discussion to the level whereby one is only left with having to trade insults with him.
    His polemic approach to anything is loadedwith prejudice and vitriol. He even implies that today’s Zionists (neo-Zionism taken from neocons?) are worse than the older Zionists, but is he also saying therefore that earlier Zionists were not bad and may even be good compared to day. His analysis and generalisations amount to total distortion of facts intent on promoting the destruction of Israel, of which he wants to show that he has played a major role.
    Pappe is a man who has made a career out of his narcissism.He should get himself a proper job.and meet real people.

    • No, Joshua. His “neo-Zionism” is clearly taken from, and meant to produce mental association with, “neo-Nazism”.

    • “He should get himself a proper job.and meet real people.”
      100% agree that someone with genuine skills and knowledge of, well, anything could and should do that. Unfortunately, by these simple standards, Mr. Pappe isn’t qualified to be anything other than a hack Palsabrist.

  3. Just another anti-Semite on the dole putting forth the type of “arguments” once consigned to little pamphlets by the KKK, American Nazi Party and other dregs of history now using the prestige of a British University, an institution of higher learning. How times have changed.

    “He said the Zionist movement in Israel should be credited for its marketing skills”
    On the contrary, it is he and the whole sick movement he speaks for that should be congratulated for passing themselves off as liberal. Imagine, slandering, demonizing and dehumanizing a Jewish collective while maintaing that you’re not anti-Semitic.

  4. He said the Zionist movement in Israel should be credited for its marketing skills, particularly the way it marketed both Palestine as a land without a people for a people without a land and also Israel as a European country.

    Well that’s complete fiction for a start.

    It always cracks me up to see Israel critics citing Pappe – as if he has a shred of credibility.

        • “Nobody takes your side seriously” and what planet do you live on, oh the self appreciation society for zionists only , that we find here one, the klu klux klan of Israel gang

          • I see you KKKome from the planet that suggest the KKK luvs Joos.

            Is that Uranus?

            Poor, sweet, pitiful, and pathetic little Jan. KKKan’t seem to thinKKK beyond dipshit.

          • ‘Jan’ or ‘jan’ if anyone has asked you “what planet do you live on” then they are wrong. In your case it should be “Which planet do you infest?”

            “..the self appreciation society for Zionists..”
            I’d rather belong to a self appreciation society for Zionists than the self abuse society that you and your ilk belong to.

            “..the klu klux klan..”
            Do you mean the Ku Klux Klan?

      • “..all of one mind..”

        I can understand how you would find that puzzling.
        After all Jan or jan, Noam or noam, you find it hard to stick to one name. So it must amaze you that a group of different people with different backgrounds and different political viewpoints can have a similar viewpoint.

        Get well soon Jan or jan, Noam or noam, upper case or lower case you are always a nut case.

          • Not sure your favored pets are really in a position to be complaining about anyone else’s lack of opinion diversity or corruption, considering their sorry track record in both areas. But you seem quite stupid, so I don’t think you have much to worry (or think) about.

      • Interesting that Jan should choose the term “hip hip” to cheer Pappe. That term may have originated (though it is disputed) from the rallying cry of those carrying out pogroms in Germany in the early 19th century (the Hep-Hep riots) or possibly even from the time of the Crusades. Hep is an acronym for the Latin for Jerusalem is fallen.

        Of course, that is exactly what Pappe and his supporters like Jan wish to see. Jerusalem fallen (again). Well, us Jews ain’t rolling over and letting you do that, so go and find some other people to despise for a change.

  5. As long as Pappe is allowed to call himself scientist and to lecture at universities, science is given a bad name, you might be induced to think.
    But the reign of the esoteric postismus at the universities indicates the end of science as we know it. Let`s call it fairy/esoteric tales in elaborated codes, which is a perfect environment for the rogue/demon tale of Israel.

  6. No photography at a UK university, that in itself is note worthy and worrying.

    I saw a long interview on RT tv a few days ago with Pappe. He looked like an old man, always repeating himself and the Muslim interviewer lapping it up. It made me cringe. I think it is important to note that Pappe is a communist and his motivation is accordingly.
    The Left keeps on talking about how racist Israel is towards non Jews. I have met so many couples straight and gay where one partner is gentile and they live in Israel. These couples if they are older will always have kids who are happy too. Israel gives out residency visas solely based on relationships, no marriage needed. That is very rare across the world. Haifa, Tel Aviv and J-town are very cosmopolitan cities where people from all over the world come together. The idea that Israel is a racist place is absurd. If anything it is a melting pot with all sorts of mixed relationships and languages.

  7. Here is the PhD synopsis of Katherine Natanel. She is an asscociate member of the Centre for Palestine Studies.

    “This PhD thesis aims to unpick the relationship between gender and political stasis which frames and in part makes possible the continuing occupation of the Palestinian Territories and annexed East Jerusalem. Based on one year of ethnographic research in Tel Aviv and West Jerusalem, this research project centralises the experiences, behaviours and perceptions of Jewish Israelis as everyday lives exist embedded within wider political realities. Here ‘gender’ constitutes a political and analytical category, one capable of revealing the function of power across and within multiple levels; as such, rather than focusing solely on categories of ‘women’ or ‘men,’ this thesis considers gender as a structural relation bound with politics and the perpetuation of domination. Moving through degrees of division and entanglement, modes of avoidance and activism, and instantiations of normalcy and rupture, this research foregrounds the gendered subjectivities and sociality central to the production and maintenance of power in Israel-Palestine.”

    I rest my case your Honor.

    • Thanks for the chuckle. That synopsis is a fine example of the fact that higher education only expands the mind if you have a mind to begin with.

  8. As ever Richard, you are a brave man for going into Isra-hate vipers’ nests like SOAS. Were you not jostled and pickpocketed at a previous event at Middlesex University? Exeter University is also crawling with Isra-haters, but please do not waste the train fare from London.

  9. Looking at the what is happening in Syria and Lebanon, and Egypt’s new found fondness of xenophobia I am surprised Israel even registers.

  10. It’s interesting – one man is a university professor, the others are just gimps on a website for Arab hating teenagers who don’t read………..

    Mmmm, I know who’s scholarly research I trust.