Attacking the attackers…writes Emily Gian

February 15, 2013 by Emily Gian
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Last week we talked about the television series “The Promise” and its attempt to delegitimise Israel.

Emily Gian

Emily Gian

And on the subject of those who seek to delegitimise Israel and the right of the Jewish people to self-determination, I was interested to read the views last week of Professor Stuart Rees, Chair (and former Director) of the Sydney Peace Foundation in a piece entitled “BDS campaign questions academics’ courage”.

Rees, an unabashed supporter of the BDS movement whose founder Omar Barghouti (a student at Tel Aviv University) makes no secret of his movement’s ultimate aim to destroy Israel in any way it can, attacks the Australian Newspaper for demonising supporters of BDS. He suggests that “instead of the attack technique, the journalists could have analysed the BDS campaign and the extent of its support across Europe, North America and Africa”.

Rees should know all about “attack techniques” of the sort described in his opinion article because such techniques were employed a decade ago on the so-called “Jewish Lobby” when criticism was raised of the Sydney Peace Foundation’s decision to award the so-called “Sydney Peace Prize” to Palestinian activist Hanan Ashrawi. Back then, Ashrawi’s critics who criticised her record of implicit support for Hamas and explicit support for attacking Israeli civilians in the territories, were condemned as attacking and vilifying a supposedly worthy recipient. The campaign of attack successfully deflected the public’s attention from Ashrawi’s own well-documented words which raised doubts about her worthiness for such an award, and focussed discussion elsewhere.

At that time, nearly a decade ago, I had only recently commenced work in Israel advocacy and one of my assignments was to research articles and other material written by Ashrawi. In doing so, I came across some disturbing quotes that led me to question her suitability for what I thought at the time was a worthy prize which was supposed to celebrate the cause of peace and harmony in the world. Ashrawi once stated that she did not “consider Hamas and Jihad terrorist organisations”, though we were all aware of their campaigns of suicide bombing and heartless attacks on civilian targets. Both are listed as such on the Australian Government’s listing of terrorist organisations.

I wondered, like many others, why the organisers of the Sydney Peace Prize had not considered recognising a co-recipient from Israel. After all, the concept of peace and harmony was all about partnership and resolving differences rather than promoting division between people. The name Amos Oz came to mind as a possible candidate.

Now that I am more familiar with Rees’ views (he even gives succour to Leunig for his disgusting anti-Semitic cartoon handiwork), it is clear why someone like Oz was never considered. He is an Israeli and is therefore disqualified from being honoured with Rees’ precious “peace prize”.

Then again, Rees’ own words have given away the game. The Sydney Peace Prize is and always was a sham.


2 Responses to “Attacking the attackers…writes Emily Gian”
  1. Liat Nagar says:

    Well, Ben, on the strength of that the Palestinians have no right to ‘self-determination’, as there has never been a nation called Palestine, only a territory renamed Palestina, from its original Judea, by the Romans all those years ago when occupied by them, and since then, of course, by various other occupiers and administrators … also, there were no ‘Palestinians’ as a people until after 1967.

  2. Ben Eleijah says:

    The article begins with a toxic myth – “The right of Jewish people to self determination”. Nations have the right to self-determination not religious, cultural groupings. It will be as meaningful to speak of the right of “Catholic people ” to self -determination. The Jews are not a nation – they extended in historical times from the Atlantic coast of Africa to the east coast of China and include communities as widespread as the Berbers, Libyans, Egyptians, Iraqis, Iranians, Tunisians, Ethipoians, Morrocons, Yemenis, the Shanivar Teli and Cochinites of India and Jews of China, poland, Hungary, Spain, Russia.

    Speaking of the non-existant right is merely code for supproting the displacement of Palestinians.

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