Lee Harpin

Cork anti-Israel conference little more than a freak show

Calls to ban a conference openly questioning Israel's right to exist would only have served to offer more publicity to a collection of speakers whose appearances in Cork proved they had nothing of importance to say

April 09, 2017 17:02

Ahead of last weekend’s anti-Israel conference there were loud calls from some influential figures within the Jewish community that it should be cancelled or prevented from taking place.

Having attended two of the three days in Cork, I would argue it was right that the event went ahead.

In reality, the conference proved to be nothing short of a freak show, but it did allow 40 “academics” from institutions across the UK, America, and Israel to exercise their right to free speech — and in the process expose to whoever was watching just how poisonous their views really are.

Several anti-Zionists and more extreme types from Israel spoke of their desire to dismantle the Jewish state.

I suspect they would be among on the first plane out of Tel Aviv were their utopian one-state solution, and its inevitable violence, ever achieved.

I became concerned about three speakers in particular who all have jobs in British universities.

I imagined them teaching my three children and quaked at the prospect, so obviously did Jew-hate and Israel-phobia permeate every aspect of the world view of these academics.

In the audience on both days I attended was former Labour frontbencher Clare Short.

In Ireland to apparently show her “solidarity” towards the event, she complained when I objected to a suggestion from one open antisemite in the audience that “Zionists deprive their children of affection to ensure they become killers”.

“You really are rude,” said Ms Short, when I asked the organisers why this kind of antisemitism was allowed to go unchallenged. “You mustn’t interrupt,” she added.

Ms Short could later be heard in conversation with two women seated beside her — with one insisting that Israel as a Jewish state must be by definition racist.

Their chatter turned to a one-state no Israel solution. “The Jewish people would need protection, though,” Ms Short observed. But only if they shut up and behaved themselves, one suspects.




April 09, 2017 17:02

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