The anti-Israel Southampton University Conference is not a big deal

Can someone explain how a conference that is mostly attended by Israeli or Jewish academics has become “anti-semitic” threat to Israel? There’s no doubt it is extremely anti-Israel. But did anyone see the names of the people speaking at it? Many of them are Israelis, or former Israelis and more than half the academics at the conference are Jewish, some of them long-time activists.

Here are many of the attendees based on the conference program:

Prof. Oren Ben-Dor (former Israeli from Netanya)
Prof. Gabi Piterberg (grew up in Israel)
Prof. Ilan Pappe (from Haifa, former Israeli)
Prof. Richard Falk (born Jewish, well known UN jurist)
Prof. Yosefa Loshitzky (BA and MA from Israeli universities)
Dr. Ronit Lentin (Born Haifa)
Ms. Lea Tsemel, (Israeli lawyer)
Ms. Yoella Har-Sheffi
Ms. Ofra Yeshua-Lyth (former Maariv writer and Sof Shavua editor)
Dr. Uri Davis, (From Jerusalem, calls himself “Palestinian Hebrew)
Ms. Mia Tamarin
Dr. Marcelo Svirsky (Jewish activist)
Professor Haim Bresheeth
Mr. Eitan Bronstein Aparicio (Founder of Zochrot, lives in Israel)
Professor Joel Kovel, (unaffiliated American researcher)

I mean, you can say it is a very anti-Israel conference, say it denies Israel’s rights, etc…but anti-semitic?

I don’t get the problem here. First of all there are many academics in Israel who support this critique that is the center of the conference and call into question Israel’s nature. It is a perfectly legitimate form of academic discourse to question Israel’s founding principles or Zionism; and it is normal among the social sciences faculty to have these kind of radical conferences.  I mean if there was a conference discussing the exceptionalism of France or the US, China or Iran; Iceland or Norway, why is that a problem?  If the same exact conference was at an Israeli university it would be considered an almost normal event, radical, but normal.  There are many academic papers published all the time in Israeli academic journals or by Israeli academics calling Israel’s founding a “colonial settler state.” That’s the discourse in Israel anyway.
When I was at Hebrew University, many of the faculty discussed these issues, like isn’t a Jewish Democratic State a contradiction? Isn’t the flag and the anthem discriminatory? So if I had to learn that for my MA at Hebrew University and it was open for discussion…why does it matter if a few Israeli academics go to Southampton and discuss it…

3 responses to “The anti-Israel Southampton University Conference is not a big deal

  1. That’s a bit disingenuous. According to your theory ISIS could hold a perfectly normal academic conference by only inviting people such as Mohammed Emwazi and claim it is okay because the people are British – and we’d applaud. What has their nationality got to do with it?

    This is a meeting of activists meeting on a topic outside of their general fields as part of their general activism against Israel. If they wont turn it into a true academic debate by inviting those that disagree, then let them do this in a village hall, not a university.

    I

  2. I’m pretty sure you read the info about this conference and are aware that it’s central focus is what the Hard Left views as Israel’s “legitimacy”, since even though the title does mention “exceptionalism” (which is a weasel word in any case), all of the spiel from the conference organizers relates back to how they feel Israel is NOT legitimate and how they hope to fix that (take a wild guess). One would normally have a problem with a sovereign state being lectured about how it shouldn’t exist, but it’s not that surprising you and your Hard Left buddies aren’t willing to admit that’s the conference’s key point.
    And while you compiled a long list of impressive Azajews, I’ve noted elsewhere that they’re useful idiots for a cause that’s going to exile them from any platforms if they win at best and more likely kill them if given the chance, so, yeah.

  3. Pingback: Southampton furore marks the unravelling of hysterical Israel lobby |·

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