Good riddance to bad rubbish

Controversial historian to quit Israel for UK

Ilan Pappe, a senior lecturer in the University of Haifa’s Department of Political Science, says he is moving to the UK because it is “increasingly difficult to live in Israel” with his “unwelcome views and convictions.”

In an interview in The Peninsula, Qatar’s leading English-language daily, during a visit last week to Doha as a guest of the Qatar Foundation, Pappe said: “I was boycotted in my university and there had been attempts to expel me from my job. I am getting threatening calls from people every day. I am not being viewed as a threat to the Israeli society but my people think that I am either insane or my views are irrelevant. Many Israelis also believe that I am working as a mercenary for the Arabs.”

Pappe is to join the History Department at Exeter University, in southwest England. He is active in anti-Israel academic boycott efforts.

Referred to in the Peninsula article as “the only Jewish academic in Israel who is vehemently critical of Zionism,” Pappe said the only solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was the creation of a single state, shared by Jews, Arabs and others. He said that two independent states cannot coexist in “the land of Palestine.”

He also said there was “no immediate solution to the crisis and only international pressure can force Israel to end the occupation and the continuing atrocities against the Palestinians.”
“Over the past six years, the Israeli government has become more oppressive, thanks to the strong support from the Bush administration. They now feel that they can do anything they want,” he said.

The interviewer in Qatar admitted to being “a bit surprised” by Pappe’s support for Hamas.

“A bit surprisingly,” the paper wrote, Pappe said: “I support Hamas in its resistance against the Israeli occupation, though I disagree with their political ideology. I am for separating state from religion.”

Pappe also questioned Israeli democracy: “Any state that perpetrates occupation cannot be called a democratic state,” he said, adding that Israeli democracy was meant “only for Jews” and there is “no space for other communities.”

The interview then looks at what has shaped Pappe’s opinions: “Pappe’s transformation from a ‘typical Jew’ to a strong critic of Zionism started in the 1980s while studying in the UK,” it wrote.

“I reexamined the events of 1948, which changed my perceptions, and I realized how the Israeli state was formed at the expense of the Palestinians. I don’t subscribe to the view that a community which has a claim to a land that goes back thousands of years had the right to occupy it by dispossessing indigenous communities,” Pappe said.

Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: “After taking full advantage of all the freedoms accorded to him in Israel, a country he has so shamelessly attacked, Pappe has decided to set up shop here. Whilst this provides the opportunity for academics here to challenge him on his revisionist agenda, the uncomfortable fact is that in the lecture theaters and seminar rooms at Exeter, many impressionable young minds will be exposed to his partial and biased views.”

Mitch Simmons, campaign director of the Union of Jewish Students, said: “We not angry or frustrated that he’s coming to the UK. What is of concern is that he may use his position to vocalize support for the boycott of Israeli academics.”

April 2, 2007 | 7 Comments »

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7 Comments / 7 Comments

  1. Ah Seaford – that old moral exhibitionism manifesting as moral outrage.

    Now if he’s outraged about the mistreatment of the poor Palistinians, how much more outraged must he be about the poor people of Darfur.

    Right “Dr.” Seaford? When you add both of these levels of moral outrage – Palestine and Darfur (and why stop there?) – I’m quite surprised that your heart and other various body parts have been able, so far, to take the strain.

    And who cares what Pappe subscribes to. My approach to these apologies for human beings is for Israel to claim MORE land. Raise the stakes a little; stop being so charming on the world scene.

  2. I don’t subscribe to the view that a community which has a claim to a land that goes back thousands of years had the right to occupy it by dispossessing indigenous communities,” Pappe said.

    Jews ARE the indigenous people and have live there continuously for those thousands of years.

  3. Btw, Exeter U. has a large and well-funded (thank you Saudi Arabia) Islamic studies department and is a hotbed of anti-Israel sentiment.

    The latest example of this silent boycott began last Friday, May 12, 2006, when Prof. Richard Seaford, an English professor from the University of Exeter, UK, was asked to review a book for the Israeli journal Scripta Classica Israelica. Dr. Daniela Dueck from the Department of Classical Studies at Bar-Ilan University, who serves as the book review editor corresponded with Prof. Seaford, and suggested that he review “The Invention of Coinage and the Monetization of Ancient Greece”, by Prof. D.M. Schaps, of Bar-Ilan University’s Department of Classics. Dueck received the following response to her email:

    Dear Daniela Dueck,

    Alas I am unable to accept your kind invitation, for reasons that you may not like. I have, along with many other British academics, signed the academic boycott of Israel, in the face of the brutal and illegal expansionism, and the slow-motion ethnic cleansing, being practised by your government. There is of course nothing personal in this. I am aware of the honest arguments for and against a boycott, and that even some Israeli academics support the boycott and many do not. Whatever your views, I hope you will understand that my view is based on a widely shared moral outrage. You are welcome to report my position (if you wish) to anyone you may like to.

    With best wishes,
    Richard Seaford

    From the “Arab World Documentation Unit”:

    Donations from the PLO, London Office
    The London Office of the PLO sent a substantial donation of books and periodical runs as well as their own publications. This donation has not yet been fully catalogued but most of the periodical runs included have been catalogued and listed. Some of the Arabic literary texts have been passed on to the Exeter University Library.

    The students union is also twinned with the same in Hebron, natch.

  4. It is not enough to make life uncomfortable for the Ilan Pappes to eventually force them to relocate to a more hospitable environment.

    Efforts must be made to so wholly discredit them and their views that they are no longer seen as an asset to anyone and therefore, no one will have them.

  5. Ilan Pappe didn’t pass the smear test; or maybe there was some more of that “debate-stifling” going on.

    (I hope he’s not expecting anyone to feel sorry for him.)

  6. He can have my old office at the University of London; he and his views will be more than welcome there.

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