Last night SOAS lecturer Rafeef Ziadah hosted SOAS’ first “Israel Apartheid Week” panel event in front of 300 students and it wasn’t long before the sickening propaganda started flying.
Sahar Francis of Addameer, a prisoner support group, said that Palestinian hunger striker Islam Hamed was threatened with rape by his guards and that Israel’s prison authorities hoped he would die so the courts would implement a “forced feeding bill”.
She continued that Israel has been rumoured to harvest organs from its own car accident victims and from dead Palestinians. However, she said, she couldn’t confirm this (search Israel Advocacy Movement on Facebook to see the video of Francis).
Steven Salaita, an American author, who was once hired and immediately fired by an American university was also on the panel. He claimed last night this was because his course, in which he would humanise indigenous Americans, was too emotional for Americans to cope with.
He spent most of his 20 minutes last night viciously attacking those who support Israel. He asked what a student should do when someone expresses a visceral attachment to Israel. He answered:
“Allow a Zionist’s internal conflict to exist. Exacerbate it!”
He said that “humanising Palestinians undermines the Zionist project” and so Zionists associate Palestinians with Hitler and “have a fear of binationalism which is actual democracy” (this drew huge applause and cheers).
He continued that “Israel directs so much of its violence at children and takes more Palestinian land for water and agriculture”.
He then mused on the symbolism of Palestinians throwing stones. He said there’s a miniscule chance of harm from stones (although tell that to the family of Asher Palmer who was killed along with his one year old son when a Palestinian thrown rock smashed through their car windscreen).
He said Israelis see stone-throwing as “an act of rejection” and that “stones assume primordial importance and an existential anxiety”.
He then compared the indigenous Americans to the Palestinians and spoke about his forthcoming book on the topic. I called out at the end of the Q&A why we shouldn’t be boycotting both himself and America to which he just gave me a vacant smile.
Black Students’ Officer, Malia Bouattia, was also on the panel fresh from her appearance on Channel 4 News when Jon Snow flummoxed her when he asked her which other countries besides Israel she was boycotting.
I asked her again. She replied that when the call comes from Saudi Arabians to boycott Saudi Arabia then she will. She obviously doesn’t know what happens to protesters in Saudi Arabia.
The event was sponsored by War On Want, yet again, and I confronted WOW executive director John Hilary at the end telling him how disgusting it was that WOW uses resources that should help disabled people on anti-Semitic events instead.
The evening became more farcical when six police officers appeared led by a middle-aged woman pointing them towards me saying I have orders against me and am banned from the area for disrupting a funeral!
The police were very, very nice towards me though. They had no idea why they were called or who called them.
It would have been nice to have leaflets to give out; something I have always asked for. As students filed out I told them “Don’t believe the lies, there are two sides to every story”. Many stopped and wanted to know the other side but I and my contemporaries had no leaflets and so some 300 students went home believing Israelis rape prisoners and harvest organs from dead bodies.
“Israeli Apartheid Week” continues for the next two weeks at SOAS where there is an exhibition of photos of Palestinian rock-throwers and dead Palestinians with claims that they have been “executed” by Israel. All this is going virtually unchallenged as is the case throughout the country.