By Jonathan Hoffman
April 27, 2013
Demonisation of Israel and falsification of history ran riot at LSE’s Middle East Centre’s ‘discussion’ (for which, read vilification and slander) last night. “The Commentator” has already posted Richard Millett’s clip of John Snow giving credence to the “Jewish Lobby” trope.
Snow was the ultra-sympathetic ‘chair’ of a panel comprising the spurious historian Ilan Pappe, former Chatham House Research Director Professor Rosemary Hollis, anti-Israel activist Karma Nabulsi and Peter Kosminsky, the director of the fictional TV series masquerading as fact, "The Promise".
Hollis opened by saying that the EU says that Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria is illegal. Not true of course – a French Court has just ruled otherwise:
Then bizarrely “the US has only recently renewed its commitment to Israel’s security”… nonsense Prof Hollis, the US has always been committed to Israel’s security since the late 1950s.
And later she called Israel’s security operation in Gaza ‘collective punishment’. Yet another so-called ‘academic’ engaged in Middle East Studies who fails to acknowledge (a) Israel’s right to defend itself (b) Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 and (c) the truckloads of supplies that go into Gaza every day to supply essentials (provided they cannot be used by the genocidal terror-supporting Hamas rulers to terrorise the citizens of Southern Israel).
Note that Hollis used to be Research Director of the Royal Institute of International Affairs ('Chatham House') which is institutionally anti-Israel and is a centre for former FCO Arabists:
Then Pappe, the sham historian of whom Benny Morris said:
At best, Ilan Pappe must be one of the world’s sloppiest historians; at worst, one of the most dishonest. In truth, he probably merits a place somewhere between the two.
Pappe twice compared Israelis to Nazis last night. Not explicitly – he said something like “Israelis are obsessed with race and DNA when they look at whether there is a Jewish majority and there has only been one previous regime which showed such obsession” – but everyone knew who he meant ("You begin to look like your own worst enemy"). Comparing Israeli policies to those of the Nazis is antisemitic, see EUMC Definition:
Pappe said he has just returned from Prague - "a post every Israeli diplomat wants because there is no opposition to Israel". After the Holocaust many of those Jews remaining in Czechoslovakia went to live in Israel. Incredibly the vile Pappe harangued his Czech hosts last week about this, asking them why they had not done more to persuade those Jews to stay!
Kosminsky of course lost no time in displaying his anti-Israel 'badge of honour' by proudly telling the audience that after “The Promise” was shown, “nothing prepared me for the level of vitriol that was going to drop on me from the Zionist Lobby”. The Israel Demonisers can't take criticism, can they... He said that when he lived in Israel to make the film ‘it felt like an apartheid state’ (how would an ‘apartheid state’ permit him to hire the actors he wanted and make a TV series vilifying the country which hosted him?). He said he supports a boycott ‘because they really hate the idea’. Hollis also expressed support for a boycott ‘if it came from civil society’.
Snow’s ‘Jewish Lobby’ demarche led to a discussion about the politics surrounding the creation of Israel. Predictably we got the ‘Israel was created because of the post-Holocaust guilt of the Europeans’ falsehood from Pappe, supported by Hollis who ‘agreed 100%’. The truth is that Zionism far predated the Holocaust (the first Zionist Congress was in 1897) and was a response to centuries of antisemitism. Incredibly Hollis said “the Europeans decided that Judaism was above and beyond a religion”. This displays a jaw-dropping ignorance of the history of Zionism quite apart from being an antisemitic statement: “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination” is included in the EUMC Definition. Yet another example of the intellectual corruption of ‘Middle East Studies’ which in truth has become ‘anti-Israel Middle East Studies’.
The first round of Q+A was totally Israel-demonising. Because I shouted ‘shame’ at Pappe’s second Israeli/Nazi comparison, Snow called on me in the second round. My question to Kominsky was as follows:
The ‘Zionist Lobby’ was wrong to vilify you for ‘The Promise’. Because they forgot that Channel 4 is the Channel that distorts the reality of the Middle East - this was the Channel that chose Mahmoud Ahmadimejad to give its ‘alternative’ Christmas message in 2008. They assumed that “The Promise” was a work of fact. But it was a work of fiction. Its theme was that the Jews deserved their own State because of the Holocaust but that they then very quickly began to behave like their tormentors. Israeli Jews were depicted either as living in California-style houses with swimming-pools or as heartless soldiers who mistreat Arabs and protect the most extreme settlers. Other demonising falsehoods were: that all Arab refugees fled in 1948 because of fear of Jews (the truth is that the Mayor of Haifa begged them to stay and that many were told to flee by their leaders, in anticipation that the massing Arab armies would annihilate the Jews and that they could then swiftly return); that the IDF uses children as `human shields'; and that Israel was created purely because of Western guilt about the Holocaust. Does the Panel agree that ‘The Promise’ was a work of fiction?
Then Richard Millett asked how many Israelis would need to die to impose ‘One State’.
Both Millett's and my questions were met with barracking and catcalls from the many anti-Israel members of the audience. ‘Free speech’ of course is alien to them. And John Snow is not much better. He called our questions ‘rhetorical’ and pointedly did not call on the Panel to respond to them. When Richard Millett approached him at the end to ask him about his 'Jewish Lobby' statement, Snow went for Millett's phone.
A disgraceful meeting and a stain on the reputation of LSE – and I speak as an Alumnus. You’d have thought after the Gaddafi Affair they would be more careful….
Postscript: Richard Millett's account here: