Pappe’s poor performances

September 25, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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The Executive Council of Australian Jewry has commented on the performances of UK-based Israeli historian Ilan Pappe.

Pappe was brought to Australia to appear in the Festival of Dangerous Ideas at the Sydney Opera House and was a panelist on ABC-TV’s “Q&A” last week…on second night Rosh Hashana.

From Executive Director of the ECAJ Peter Wertheim:
“Ilan Pappe’s much-heralded visit to Australia turned out to be a fizzer.  Audiences who had perhaps hoped to hear original in-depth analysis from Pappe based on authentic historical scholarship were instead harangued with ready-made slogans, light on the facts and heavy on rhetoric.  This should have come as no surprise.  Pappe himself has acknowledged that he is an advocate first, and an historian only to the extent that the facts fit his point of view. ”

From ECAJ  president Danny Lamm:
“The airing of the Q & A program on Rosh Hashana meant that most Australian Jews were excluded from participating. The live audience and Twitterers were therefore biased in favour of Pappe, creating a quite false impression that he was persuasive. Yet anyone reading the transcript of the program will notice that Pappe was repeatedly caught out and shown to have omitted, or mis-stated, vital historical facts. At the Opera House, most of the questions directed to Pappe were critical of his point of view and he failed to address them.  Little wonder that there was no follow-up coverage of his performance in the mainstream media.”


11 Responses to “Pappe’s poor performances”
  1. Liat Nagar says:

    Thanks very much for the NGO Monitor/Gerald Steinberg link, which I read with dismay. It’s necessary for the Jewish communities everywhere in the Diaspora to become fully aware of what’s going on here and the very real damage it’s doing. Groups like NIF are bogged down in their own notions of ‘progressive’, as well as intellectualising realities that defy the abstract. Others, such as ‘Breaking the Silence’, are obviously made up of people with personal, distorted agendas. I wonder if we need to form a new Jewish organisation, soliciting the backing of at least a few influential, or well-known spokespeople, to launch Jewish activism, rather than continue to wallow in the comfortable land of passivity and polite defensiveness.

    On a deeper level, it’s important to understand as well as possible what motivates the anti-Israel extremists (I make the distinction ‘extremist’, because it’s okay to criticise Israel, or any other country, in a reasoned, honest way), and that’s what interests me. To fight something one needs to understand it. I am wondering if you, or Otto, might have read Barry Rubin’s writings? Rubin is based in Herzliya and is Director of Global Research in International Affairs, and of the Interdisciplinary Centre, Herzliya. His publications are numerous, the latest being ‘Israel: an Introduction’. The book that really interests me insofar as the dilemma we’re discussing here, is his 1995 publication ‘Jew: Assimilation and its Discontents’, which has many examples of Jews in the Diaspora in particular, who turn against their own inheritance, and he posits reasons for this. Have a look via Google at the SPMI Archives and his article on ‘Why So Much of the Western Elite Hates (or Doesn’t Like) Israel (and Their Own Societies, too)’. He has also written books focussing on the Arab world, and his recent comments on Obama’s speech to the UN in relation to his comments on the Middle East is well worth reading for the way he deconstructs the cant. I have just learned that he announced last August that he has inoperable lung cancer; I don’t know the prognosis, however I do know that his is a voice that will be a great loss to us and the people of the world who might be interested in both intellectual excellence and unbiased truth.

  2. Liat Nagar says:

    Ilan Pappe in particular, and many other Israeli and Jewish leftists/revisionists, provide dangerous incitement to those who need little excuse to defame Israel and persecute Jews. The world situation is grim currently, as hatred, invective and crowd mentality invade any arena where Israel/{Palestine is up for discussion. The BdS campaign is remindful of 1930s Germany when persecution of Jews through their professions, including retailers and University campuses was rife. That the words of Ilan Pappe, so obviously lacking in any rigorous scholarly discipline, could be so passionately and openly embraced is a worry and should be perceived as a warning. The ECAJ should see it it in this light.
    We must provide active, equally vocal, combatants to this and make the same sort of waves.

    • Shirlee says:


      Oh that our general Community would make some sort of waves. Most haven’t a clue what is going on. I can tell you that most haven’t even heard of the BDS or the NIF for that matter either.

      At least not too many Jews are involved with the BDS. The NIF and their grantees are a huge cause for concern. That so many of our own are working against the State of Israel sickens me to the pit of my stomach and they seem to host one Israel hater after another.

      Check out the NGO Monitor

      The New Israel Fund, Jewish values and atonement
      Gerald M. Steinberg September 24, 2012

      • Otto Waldmann says:

        Shirlee I agree with you wholeheartedly !!
        One of the problems is precisely the inability of our community to muster its intelligent core and put together strategies that address eficiently not just the Jewish community, but the general Australian public.
        I alluded to this necessity on numerous occasions and it seems to me that there are factors at play keen on silencing this kind of apporach as, they, no doubt, would consider that enlisting our leadership to a more vibrant, active, suitable effort is undermining their authority, cudos, if you want.
        A far more aggresssive NIF is making serious inroads into the PR arena and that is the most vivid example of a Jewish leadership falling behind the efficiency of Israel’s detractors. To make things even more serious, certain roof bodies have been displaying evident sympathies with the NIF agenda. David Landau’s welcome to the organisation’s schedule was just one example, another one was the futile efforts by Pul Winter to find a seconder in the entire NSW Jewish community to a motion revealing the pernicious nature of NIF and any such orgnistion.
        Scores of local Jews have been attending all manner of international and national courses, conferences etc. aimed at creating leaders capable (!!!) to hndle efficient PR matters and all we see is the same communal “successful” functions providing fantastic photo oportunities with all smiles and self satisfaction that …………….what !!???
        This PR crisis in our community has been alive for quite some time now and it shall escalate as long as all that is happening is some of us kvetching and allowing the top brass to sediment erosion while gathering unjustified respect.

        • Shirlee says:


          I agree and will email you , when I get a chance.

          The problem is the LEFT and that was very evident at the last AGM of the B of Deps, which was a stacked meeting,in order to get loony lefties on the Executive Committee. A person who should have been elected wasn’t and that was a surprise to all. Now we can look forward to a couple more years of these cosy interfaith sessions. How cute!

          Oh what fun they had cooking together !!! Shame they haven’t done what I’ve done and looked at the groups these people follow on Facebook.

  3. Otto Waldmann says:

    Pathetic that ECAJ is attempting to underestimate Pappe’s impact only to justify ECAJ’s obvious inability to handle anything in a public forum of ABC’s or SBS’ level.

    But, it seem,s that criticizing ECAJ on this site is not allowed …………

  4. Michael says:

    Lewis you are spot on however someof our Jewish community [ Zionist] leadership would like to underplay Pappes influence here ,but as an observer of anti Zionist activity in Australia and the conga lime of Israeli anti- Zionist activists invited to come here by the Palestinian lobby and supported by Jewish left/ progressives Left wing Communist propagandist , Israeli exile Pappe has been by far the most damaging to Israel’s image.

    This from one of the most active of of the many lobby groups , Australians for Palestine’s Sonja Karkar wife of Melbourne QC John Karkar. sums it up and confirms your concerns Lewis . [ BTW Some of the activists from this Palestinian group have been supported or promoted by Jewish Academics from Monash ACJC]


    Interviews and lectures

    Editor’s note: Simply, the man is extraordinary – his intellect, his wit, his clarity, his moral integrity, his humility, his courtesy all combine to make him the most formidable speaker yet to talk truth to power. Ilan Pappe has had audiences riveted to every word as he makes his way from city to city on his Australian lecture tour. Those who have heard him more than once are just as captivated the second and more times around which is due to his amazing ability to construct a very human story out of the historical facts, so even those who thought they’ve heard it all before, feel their eyes tear up and their hearts go out to the forgotten Palestinians. At a dinner in Parliament House last night, he said to forget about the peace process, Oslo, solutions and think instead about the sheer cruelty of what is being done to the Palestinians on a systematic day-to-day basis that never captures dramatic headlines, and yet cumulatively over decades, is worse than even the worst days of apartheid in South Africa. The simplicity of his words struck home: he was holding up a mirror to our own human condition and vulnerabilities.

    Below are his most recent interviews and lectures. It has been a gruelling tour for him so far and it is by no means finished yet. On Saturday, he will be giving the Edward Said Memorial Lecture at the University of Adelaide hosted by the Australian Friends of Palestine Association who brought him out to Australia for this annual event. On Sunday, he will taking part in Sydney’s Festival of Dangerous Ideas at the Sydney Opera House on the topic “Israel is an apartheid state”. If the thunderous applause and standing ovation this week at the packed-to-the-rafters University of Melbourne lecture is anything to go by, these two events will be sensational. It was impossible to squeeze another person into the large theatre in Melbourne and many people were left outside disappointed. We hope the following audios and videos will compensate and whet the appetite of those who are yet to see him as his Australian tour comes to a close.

    Sonja Karkar

  5. Lewis Levi says:

    I believe Ilan Pappe has generated more Anti Semitism in Australia than any speaker I have heard in the last 50 years

  6. Otto Waldmann says:

    Yet another splendid example of the incredulous efficiency of ECAJ in responding publicly to the Israel detractors.
    Just one question, whre were our fantastic leaders, Peter/Danny when SBS staged that recent anti Israel Insight session or on so many other Qanda events when Israel was attacked without much retort from our excessively frumm ECAJ top blokes, who celebrate Yomim Tovim on ANY and every day !!

    What we see here is the message from ECAJ that, indeed, ECAJ organised so discretely that Pappe would be …humiliated by the comprehensive rebuttal of his ineptitude, (!!!????) which follows that, the NON-appearance on any public forum of our communal leaders is the best strategy. It follows that, if they chance any public appearance it may stuff up the whole hasbara, something I also happen to agree most with !!!

    Cleveeeeeeeer ………..

  7. Norman says:

    I believe that he is also going to , or has, deliver ed the Edward Said oration at Adelaide Uni, pushing BDS against Israel.

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