War of words on Q&A

September 18, 2012 Agencies
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Controversial Israeli historian Ilan Pappe and Sydney-based Jewish barrister Irving Wallach traded barbs during ABC1’s Q&A on Monday night.

Ilan Pappe

Irving Wallach

Pappe – who is in Australia to deliver the Edward Said Memorial Lecture in Adelaide and to speak at the Sydney Opera House’s Festival of Dangerous Ideas next weekend on Israel as an Apartheid state – said the pro-Israel narrative “serves as the basis for the continued ethnic cleansing of Palestine”.

“Many more academics than ever before in the Western world are now telling the truth about what happened in Palestine,” he said.

Wallach, a former chair of the Zionist Youth Council in NSW and current board member of the New Israel Fund’s Australia branch, rebutted, saying: “The real tragedy of 1947 and 1948 was that there was no Palestinian state established.”

Had the Palestinian leaders accepted the Partition Plan, “then the opportunity for the war and for what happened afterwards would never have arisen,” he said.

Wallach noted that the then Palestinian leader, Haj Amin Al-Husseini, was “a man who had spent the war years in Berlin being photographed shaking hands with Hitler”.

But Pappe, the author of “The Ethnic Cleaning of Palestine” (2006), replied: “These are not facts. This is Israeli propaganda.

“1948 was a crime against humanity,” he said.

The director of Exeter University’s European Centre for Palestine Studies and co-director of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies asked: “Is this the right punishment for a wrong vote at UN?”

Greg Sheridan, foreign editor of The Australian newspaper chimed in, saying: “I comprehensively reject Ilan’s narrative of Israel. No other nation in the world constantly has its legitimacy questioned in the way Israel does,” he said.

“Israel is a struggling democracy which makes mistakes, including moral mistakes, and deserves to be called on them but no country in the world is subject to this attack at the root of its legitimacy that it should not exist,” he added.

“There is no country in the Middle East which better observes human rights of all its citizens than Israel.”

Pappe said: “Israel wants to remain a racist state and a democratic state – this is an oxymoron.”

In response to a question about why the ABC had scheduled the program on the second night of Rosh Hashanah, Wallach said many colleagues had approached him in synagogue that morning complaining that they could not watch it or participate in the audience.

Host Tony Jones said it was the only night that Pappe was available to come on show. “A lot of people have made this same point but we thought it was an important debate and should go on anyway,” he said.

Comments

12 Responses to “War of words on Q&A”
  1. michael says:

    Robert
    Pappe like all the other Israeli anti Zionist activists has been hosted and promoted by the very effective Palestinian Lobby . The Palestinian lobby groups have an excellent relationship with the ABC and Fairfax { Fairfax which has Palestinian and Islamic lobbyists as Staff writers, Waleed Aly and Maher mughrabi]

    Pappe appeared on on leftist israel basher John Faine’s ABC program.

  2. Liat Nagar says:

    Otto,
    I agree with your summation and analysis of the Pappe/Wallach comments, although at least at one stage Irving Wallach called Ilan Pappe for what he is, i.e. someone seeking notoriety by spouting his own extraordinarily fantastical views that have no bearing on the complex and various historical facts existing, which he in fact dismisses as ‘Israeli propaganda’. How on earth did Pappe end up as he has, what happened along the way? Or is it perhaps simply grandiosity and notoriety he’s seeking? The mind boggles listening to this man, who speaks in such broad, general invective, without recourse to history at all. How does he get to call himself an historian!? Can you call yourself a bricklayer if you can’t lay bricks?

    At a time when much of the world is actively turning against Israel, the damage someone like Pappe does is huge. He, and other Israelis and/or Jews like him, can be used as an excuse for others to vent their spleen even further. It’s a dangerous situation. We need Jewish leaders and spokespeople with grit, steel and unrelenting eloquence to counter this situation.

  3. Paul Winter says:

    Pappé’s views about history are well known and thanks must go to Robert for the quotes he provides.

    Where Wallach vastly weakened his position in the debate was in his failure to state Pappé’s subordination of verifiable historical facts to his ideology and his false equation of narrative to history. Equally importantly, Jones and Sheridan should also have known of Pappé’s contempt for facts. Someone should point out that the “New Historians” wrote with a view of not recording history but to affect it.

    A question which grows out of Robert’s detailed quotes about Pappé is how any institution worth regarding as a university can employ a person who shows such disregard for truth and learning.

  4. michael says:

    Wow we had a anti -Zionist activist who now fronts the Palestinian lobby { how lucky are they] a board member of a left wing Arab supporting Israel Political group and a staunch Israel supporting Journalist.

    I guess al’ Pappe would have made any left wing Jew look like a card carrying Zionist.

    Greg you were great as usual thanks…

    MIchael Burd

  5. Robert says:

    That Pappe can claim the established fact that the Mufti of Jerusalem was in Berlin & allied with Hitler is a lie,in fact illustrates just how delusional or dishonest he really is.
    Obviously the BDS-Israel haters have excellent contacts in the ABC, as is to be expected. Why is Pappe SO important?
    Wonder who funded this charlatans visit?

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      …not to mention that the so called excuse that Qanda could only had a session dedicated to Israel only on a second night of Rosh Hashana is as feeble as the “reason” for having so necessarily this charlatan on the pannel at all.

      But to mention the succint and necessarily logical definition of history given by Wittgenstein who so clearly determined that ” history relates strictly facts as against the worthless expression of OPINION. ”

      In any case the shamefull Qanda episode was , once again, kidnapped by the palestinian lobby which managed to derail the necessary discussion of the pernicious presence in our midst of a well organised anti social segment determined to fundamentally alter the ethical construct of our society.
      The now accepted fallacy that “only a minority” harbours violent inclinations is gaining currency to the detriment of an impending REALITY, one that shall witness, without a doubt, a shift of strategies by those to whom deceit is so essential a part of their theology cum political struggle.

      REMEMBER “STRUGGLE” AND LOOK FOR IT IN THE LEXICAL FUNDAMENTALS OF A CERTAIN POLITICAL EXESSIVELY AGRESSIVE ACTIVISM !!!!!

    • Paul Winter says:

      Apparently Pappé was brought in by the Festival of Dangerous Ideas held in Adelaide.

  6. Robert says:

    Pape a far left ideologue,is not a historian by profession and does not let facts get in the way.
    He is best described by himself (from Camera):-

    “Pappe freely expresses his attitude toward historical investigation and academic objectivity:

    There is no historian in the world who is objective. I am not as interested in what happened as in how people see what’s happened. (“An Interview of Ilan Pappé,” Baudouin Loos, Le Soir [Bruxelles],Nov. 29, 1999)

    I admit that my ideology influences my historical writings…(Ibid)

    Indeed the struggle is about ideology, not about facts. Who knows what facts are? We try to convince as many people as we can that our interpretation of the facts is the correct one, and we do it because of ideological reasons, not because we are truthseekers. (Ibid)

    The debate between us is on one level between historians who believe they are purely objective reconstructers of the past, like [Benny] Morris, and those who claim that they are subjective human beings striving to tell their own version of the past, like myself. (“Benny Morris’s Lies About My Book,” Ilan Pappé, Response to Morris’ critique of Pappé’s book, “A History of Palestine” published in the New Republic, March 22, 2004, History News Network, April 5, 2004)

    [Historical] Narratives… when written by historians involved deeply in the subject matter they write about, such as in the case of Israeli historians who write about the Palestine conflict, is motivated also… by a deep involvement and a wish to make a point. This point is called ideology or politics. (Ibid)

    Yes, I use Palestinian sources for the Intifada: they seem to me to be more reliable, I admit. (Ibid)Pappé freely expresses his attitude toward historical investigation and academic objectivity:

    There is no historian in the world who is objective. I am not as interested in what happened as in how people see what’s happened. (“An Interview of Ilan Pappé,” Baudouin Loos, Le Soir [Bruxelles],Nov. 29, 1999)

    I admit that my ideology influences my historical writings…(Ibid)

    Indeed the struggle is about ideology, not about facts. Who knows what facts are? We try to convince as many people as we can that our interpretation of the facts is the correct one, and we do it because of ideological reasons, not because we are truthseekers. (Ibid)

    The debate between us is on one level between historians who believe they are purely objective reconstructers of the past, like [Benny] Morris, and those who claim that they are subjective human beings striving to tell their own version of the past, like myself. (“Benny Morris’s Lies About My Book,” Ilan Pappé, Response to Morris’ critique of Pappé’s book, “A History of Palestine” published in the New Republic, March 22, 2004, History News Network, April 5, 2004)

    [Historical] Narratives… when written by historians involved deeply in the subject matter they write about, such as in the case of Israeli historians who write about the Palestine conflict, is motivated also… by a deep involvement and a wish to make a point. This point is called ideology or politics. (Ibid)

    Yes, I use Palestinian sources for the Intifada: they seem to me to be more reliable, I admit. (Ibid)

  7. Otto Waldmann says:

    Irving Wallach did not fail NIF but managed to fail the Jewish mainstream community on numerous issues.
    I shall not dwell on the incredibly irresponsible comments made by Wallach regarding Tony Abbott’s character. Starting with a denial of any close contacts with Abbott on the uni. campus, Wallach continued by defaming Abbott’s character strictly on hearsay !! And the bloke is a lawyer !!! This, for starters, is NOT in line with what a Jewish communal representative would do.
    Considering that, to some extent, Wallach was there to oppose the seriously derailed Ilan Pappe, who is well to the lunatic left of NIF, Wallach failed on numerous given opportunities to address serious issues raised during the Qanda.
    On the issue of violent manifestations of islam in civil society, the positive, wellcoming approach taken by Wallach in atempting to elicit the “positives” in islam instead of addressing the tangible, visible and extremly serious violent manifestations in our CBD, and other suburbs on regular occasions, was a typical NIF ideologic stance, one that is seriously defecient and which does not represent exclusively the general Jewish concerns.
    Following the terrible events of last Saturday, the damage control exercise by the muslims has taken over the debate and they seem to have succeeded in eliminating the public criticism of their own actions. Wallach followed the same line by eliciting the “positive” in the islam and ignoring completely what has been of serious concern to society at large and PARTICULARLY Jewish community. The security measures we are forced to take, worth tens of millions and, still, not guaranteed to be of efficience, are tangible proof that the”positive” sides of Islam, as Irving ONLY brought up in discussion, are severely anulled by the violent proclivities of the same muslims.

    Wallach’s argument that, if a palestinian state would have been created in 1948 all successive wars waged against the Jewish State would have been avoided is far too false, simply idiotic to comment on !! This is, again, within the ideologic spectrum of NIF and totally unacceptaed by any rational view.

    Wallach’s failure to address the deceit about jihad prommoted by Jamal Riffi from the audience, is, once again, an omission impossible to accept.
    Wallach’s pugnacious retorts to Pappe seemed to come out of anticipated strategies, but he was not at at all allert to issues of concern to the Jewish, and general, community particularly when raised by other preponents of pro palestinian advocacy or put from the chair.

    This keeps the issue of total absence of Jewish communal ledarship from these kind of debates very alive. The second evening of Rosh Hashana is NOT a chag that would preclude a Jew to go publicly and defend Israel and Judaism !!! Ergo Irving Wallach did attend, albeit offering a serious degree of lack of competence.

    These are my considerate opinions and do not reflect at all any other entity !!!

    • Norman says:

      Irving Wallach’s performance on Q & A was not one that I had expected. After pointing out that Haj Amin Al-Husseini spent the war years in Germany working with Hitler, he allowed Pappe to belittle this fact by claiming that all Husseini had done was make a ‘mistake’, which Wallach let slip by without challenge. Then there was the claim that the Jews dispossessed the Arab population. Irving Wallach did not challenge this either. There is a wealth of documentation and statements made by prominent Palestinian Arabs and Arab leaders that proves that it was not the case.

      For example, the present President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmud Abbas AKSA Abu Mazen Chargesd that the Arab States Are the Cause of the Palestinian Refugee Problem” (Wall Street Journal; June 5, 2003):
      Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) wrote an article in March 1976 in Falastin al-Thawra, the official journal of the PLO in Beirut: “The Arab armies entered Palestine to protect the Palestinians from the Zionists, but instead they abandoned them, forced them to emigrate and to leave their homeland, imposed upon them a political and ideological blockade and threw them into prisons similar to the ghettos in which the Jews used to live in Eastern Europe.”

      In listing the reasons for the Arab failure in 1948, Khaled al-Azm (Syrian Prime Minister) notes that “…the fifth factor was the call
      by the Arab governments to the inhabitants of Palestine to evacuate it (Palestine) and leave for the bordering Arab countries. Since 1948, it is we who have demanded the return of the refugees, while it is
      we who made them leave. We brought disaster upon a million Arab refugees by inviting them and bringing pressure on them to leave. We have accustomed them to begging…we have participated in lowering their morale and social level…Then we exploited them in executing crimes of murder, arson and throwing stones upon men, women and children…all this in the service of political purposes…” — Khaled el-Azm, Syrian prime minister after the 1948 War, in his 1972
      memoirs, published in 1973.

      “The Arab civilians panicked and fled ignominiously. Villages
      were frequently abandoned before they were threatened by the progress
      of war.” — General John Glubb “Pasha,” The London Daily Mail,
      August 12, 1948. He was the British commander of the Jordanian Army in 1948
      “The most potent factor [in the flight of the Arabs] was the
      announcements made over the air by the Arab-Palestinian Higher
      Executive, urging all Haifa Arabs to quit… It was clearly intimated
      that Arabs who remained in Haifa and accepted Jewish protection
      would be regarded as renegades.” — London Economist October 2,
      1948.
      “The Secretary General of the Arab League, Azzam Pasha,
      assured the Arab peoples that the occupation of Palestine and of Tel
      Aviv would be as simple as a military promenade…Brotherly advice
      was given to the Arabs of Palestine to leave their land, homes, and
      property to stay temporarily In neighboring fraternal states, lest the
      guns of invading Arab armies mow them down.” –Al Hoda, a New
      York-based Lebanese daily, June 8, 1951.

      “The Arab Exodus …was not caused by the actual battle, but
      by the exaggerated description spread by the Arab leaders to incite
      them to fight the Jews. …For the flight and fall of the other villages
      it is our leaders who are responsible because of their dissemination of
      rumors exaggerating Jewish crimes and describing them as atrocities
      in order to inflame the Arabs … By spreading rumors of Jewish atrocities,
      killings of women and children etc., they instilled fear and terror
      in the hearts of the Arabs in Palestine, until they fled leaving their
      homes and properties to the enemy.” – The Jordanian daily newspaper
      Al Urdun, April 9, 1953.
      Edward Atiyah, secretary of the Arab League office in London, wrote:
      “The wholesale exodus was due partly to the belief of the
      Arabs, encouraged by the boasting of an unrealistic press and the irresponsible
      utterances of some of the Arab leaders that it could be only
      a matter of some weeks before the Jews were defeated by the armies
      of the Arab states, and the Palestinian Arabs enabled to re-enter and
      re-take possession of their country”. — Edward Atiyah (Secretary of
      the Arab League, London, The Arabs, 1955, p. 183)

      “As early as the first months of 1948, the Arab League issued
      orders exhorting the people to seek a temporary refuge in neighboring
      countries, later to return to their abodes … and obtain their share
      of abandoned Jewish property.” — Bulletin of The Research Group for
      European Migration Problems, 1957.

      This is only a small sample of examples which Irving Wallach could have cited. It only needed a bit of research. The claim by Pappe of the dispossessing by Jews of the Palestinian Arabs is his normal charges at conferences and speeches and it should have been foreseen and appropriate research and the material found.
      Further, Irving Wallach did not challenge the allusion that Israel was similar to South Africa before the 90’s libel. He also let that slip by, only citing some aboriginal people stating that they felt close to the Jews because of their history. I don’t know what that had to do with anything. Except that Ms Moore, who was on the debating team reminded the audience that the white Europeans had dispossessed the aboriginals of the land of Australia.
      Fortunately, Gregg Sheridan did do some research into Ilan Pappe’s writings and he properly explained that many historians, including those who are unfriendly to Israel have widely criticized Ilan Pappe’s methods and view of history. Gregg was very positive about Israel during the debate.

      All in all a good chance of discrediting Pappe’s assertions was lost.

    • JB says:

      It is very sad to hear you have the view point “the damage control exercise by the muslims has taken over the debate and they seem to have succeeded in eliminating the public criticism of their own actions. ”
      People like you and many redneck Australians jump to the conclusion that ALL Muslims in Australia share this view point. Wake up, this is a small part of their community and of course they want to try and show a proper representation of their community. Their absolute condemnation of these actions proves that they don’t share these view points.
      Can you imagine if the Jews in Australia were only potrayed by extremist Jews? Do you think the Jewish community at whole would want to be associated with them?
      Would you like a Muslim Australian jumping to the conclusion that the actions of Haredim represent the wider Jewish community?
      STOP THE HATE YOU FOOL!

  8. Harry Joachim says:

    Wow! A representative of the NIF standing up for Israel and speaking out against left-wing Israel bashers! Will wonders never cease!

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