The “Occupation” under a Microscope … writes Gil Solomon

April 30, 2015 by Gil Solomon
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Attending a Symposium at the UNSW on April 24 to examine: “Law, Rights and Resistance in Occupied Palestine” was an exercise which simply confirmed that Israel has no chance of ever receiving a fair hearing by some members of the entrenched academia of this country.

Gil Solomon

Gil Solomon

Prominent Jewish attendees included:

BDS campaigner Dr Peter Slezak

Keynote speaker Amira Hass who writes for Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper

Anti-Zionist campaigner Vivienne Porzsolt

Speaker after speaker uttered a tirade against Israel to a converted audience of about 80 who had obviously long ago been taken in by a narrative devoid of any semblance of historical facts and whose minds were closed to any opposing view.

The first speaker was Professor Hal Wootten, the UNSW Law School’s founding Dean. By his own words, this man’s views have been profoundly shaped after visiting and living in the West Bank some years ago with those that refer to themselves as “Palestinians.” He offers himself as being able to present a more balanced viewpoint but in reality his views were a re-write of history, including such gems as:

  • While Palestine is a poor “country” he still found the population sympathetic for Jewish suffering in the holocaust.
  • The Israeli establishment is not interested in dialogue let alone solutions to the problem.
  • At the creation of Israel, the establishment wanted to reduce the Arab population and literally expelled 700,000 people.

Not only are these numbers absurd but no mention of course was ever made of Moshe Dayan’s appeal to them to stay, offering them full citizenship. No mention that the Grand Mufti of Cairo advised them to leave, stating that when the invading Arab armies came and slaughtered every single person found alive in the new Jewish nation, they could go back.

When I stated to the assembled throng that this was a complete rewrite of history, a fictional viewpoint which was anything but balanced the audience response was a predictable request for my silence.

At a coffee break, I was confronted by Hal Wootten who was accompanied by a woman who asked me if I were a scholar. When I replied that I was not a scholar in any formal sense, I was then accused of being a propagandist. My response to her that I do not spread propaganda but the man next to her is a propagandist masquerading as a scholar, let’s say terminated the conversation.

Amira Hass then took the podium to speak. Her tirade against Israel would do Hamas proud.

  • She berated the Jewish nation for the dispossession and suffering of “Palestinians” who she claimed she lived with in Gaza during the 2014 war.
  • She claimed that she saw children stretching out their hand to pluck a vegetable growing beyond their perimeter fence being shot dead by Israelis.
  • She claimed that 15,000 “Palestinian” constructions in Area “C” had been demolished.

I pointed out to her that there were at last count by Regavim only 500 constructions, all of which had not been demolished (as they should have) and in any event, Area “C” which she well knew, was, according to that abomination known as the Oslo Accords, designated to being Israeli only and that not one “Palestinian” construction should ever have been erected there in the first place. She then went into some type of denial claiming it was only to be Israeli for a period of 5 years and would then be handed over to “Palestinians” anyway.

  • She claimed there are thousands of children in detention for throwing a rock and that tying a child’s hands behind his back is a form of crime against humanity.
  • She berated her own country for not letting in en masse “Palestinians” from wherever to work anywhere they liked in Israel and deplored the restrictions and checkpoints imposed.

I did point out to the audience that these restrictions were necessary due to past acts of terrorism and were thoroughly justifiable, a comment that the attendees did not obviously take kindly to.

Peter Slezak then took the stand and spoke in support of the BDS, a viewpoint that most readers would be familiar with, an opinion which there is no need to re-iterate here.

His comment to the assembled throng that, in his opinion, the director of the ECAJ and others from the mainstream Jewish establishment did not attend the seminar because of the objection to the word “Occupation” drew guffaws from the attendees.

While no one from the Jewish community leadership was in attendance, this symposium was rightly condemned for framing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as being about “the occupation”, whereas the conflict predates not only “the occupation” but even the establishment of Israel. As predicted, the symposium completely failed to address the long and appalling history of Palestinian rejectionism regarding any kind of sovereign Jewish presence in the historical homeland of the Jewish people.

Finally, Samah Sabawi, spoke and showed slides of the devastation caused in various parts of Gaza, claiming thousands were killed by Israeli aggression. I pointed out that vast numbers of homes in Gaza had detachable roofs which opened to fire missile salvos at the Israeli civilian population, then closed after firing. Additionally, while these were legitimate military targets, even then Israel provided pre-attack warnings to so called “civilians” to get out. She was forced to acknowledge the warnings but claimed people had nowhere to go. What no one acknowledges is that if one allows missile batteries to be set up in a room of your house, then one is a terrorist and Israel should cease the pre-attack warning fiasco.

On a personal note, there were some who came up later to agree to what I was saying, but these people remained silent throughout the seminar. During a coffee break, one individual who I will not name and whom I invited to sit with me to share his views of the proceedings, referred to me as “stupid” for drawing attention to myself at a closed “Church” function for only the converted and that he didn’t want to sit long in my presence in case he was seen to be collaborating with me.

I pointed out to him that the symposium had invited the public to attend.

In summary, anti–Israel talk fests such as this are not something the Jewish establishment should ignore. The individuals involved are highly articulate and represent a cancer that should be tackled head on at every opportunity.

Author Gil Solomon is a retired finance manager who takes an intense interest in current affairs impacting on the Jewish community.







10 Responses to “The “Occupation” under a Microscope … writes Gil Solomon”
  1. Eleonora Mostert says:

    I tried to attend the Symposium at UNSW, but never received my invitation no matter how hard and how many times I tried to get one. It appears they limit the amount of Jewish people as they may contradict their speaker with facts as is evident from Gil Solomon article. We as a people should endeavor to attend as many as possible to give the truth a chance. Even my computer is trying hard to stop me receiving this page as NOD32 Antivirus considers this page “dubious reputation with potentially unwanted content. Every article is blocked from J-wires and every time I request them to unblock the page, I’m a stubborn little Jewish Granny and with every article I fill in another request for them to unblock it. Lets all be stubborn until the truth is told for all to hear.

    • Gil Solomon says:


      There was no invitation to me at all. I just turned up at the advertised site as disclosed on Jwire.

      However, when I turned up there was no one there and only after a phone call to a friend did I subsequently find out where the organisers had moved the seminar to.

      Of course when I turned up at the new site, most of the attendees were already there. At that point not many knew who I was.

      One can only come to the conclusion that the initial site advertised was phony in order to lessen the possibility of people they would regard as “undesirables” attending. Good way to throw people who they don’t want off track and into thinking that the seminar was cancelled.

  2. Diana olsberg says:

    Well done Gil for attending and presenting some facts although these people are interested only in their own voices.

  3. Larry Stilllman says:

    Can Mr Solomon find an authoritative source for this claim please: “. I pointed out that vast numbers of homes in Gaza had detachable roofs which opened to fire missile salvos at the Israeli civilian population, then closed after firing. ”

    I would like to buy a detachable roof for my house.

    • Geoff Seidner says:

      This is merely your classically oblique irrelevant, obstropolous, abstruce and obtuse ground – shifting attempt at denying the undeniable, Larry Stillman.

      You do this ethereal – irrelevancy act all the time: never having to respond to your self – hating Jew moniker you wear and try un – heroically to deny.
      Shame on you.

      May you one day feel guilty!

    • Paul Winter says:

      Congratulations, Larry.As the true academic that you are, you picked up a trifle and – in your own mind – inflicted a fatal blow on Gil’s thesis, thereby invalidating it.

      Attacking the thrust of the argument, that a conclave of Jew bashers who don’t let facts confuse their minds or distort their ideology – dearer to them than a religion, particularly for the ones who parade themselves in front of their fellow luvies as the “good Jews” – condemned the nation state of the Jewish people for sins of which it is innocent and uncritically supported a “people” constructed by the zsivsekcia (Jewish section) of the KGB, purely to deny Jews self-determination. Feeling sorry for the masters of the victimhood charade makes you feel, oh so good and noble and relevant, doesn’t it comrade.

      You are right on a small matter of detail, a good measure of your mind, in my humble opinion. The houses with sliding roofs are in Hizballahland, while in Hamastan, the rockets and mortars are merely stored in UNWRA premises, mosques and civilian residences and fired from civilian areas.

      Somehow the sense of outrage of you and your ilk is confined to Jews, who are not yet saints. At the same time you have nothing but praise and pity for a pack of Jew-hating jihadis who dig terror tunnels and then kill the tunnellers, who violate the rights of the child by training them for war, who force civilians to remain in areas that would come under attack for being rocket launching sites, who subjugate Christians, summarily execute accused collaborators, refuse to hold elections and speak bravely from the basement of Shifa hospital. Yes, Larry, it is so very nice to see with whom you identify.

  4. Suzanne aladjem says:

    A disgraceful meeting full of flaws, they re-wrote history with false information to impress their audience one needs to set the record right for the ignorant sheep following these fools

  5. Geoff Seidner says:

    We are living in the best of times.

    In every realm: you would not want to be alive in any other times.

    Yet there is the BOB CARR SYNDROME – created by the attention -deprived former Foreign Minister – who always goes for quotable quotes from avid / rabid Jewish haters of the Middle East’s only democracy!!
    Carr even manages to pervert Golda Meir quotes to attack Israel!

    Bias by Labor ministers goes back a long way to multiple eras.

    Like Labor’s earlier Foreign Minister Gareth ‘Biggles’ Evans.He has history like Carr. and remains an Israel basher

    Or like Bill Hayden who decades ago was not ashamed to claim that ”Jews are more likely to cheat on their income tax”

    Whitlam’s ”even – handed approach” is the stuff of historical record: sarcasm intended.

  6. Leon Poddebsky says:

    A war against the Jews is being waged globally, and it reached Australia some time ago.
    It has seeped into multiple strands of the fabric of society, and its ferocity will only increase.

  7. Rabbi Pinchos Woolstone says:

    There will never be a Palestinian State because it is predicated on the dismantlement of the State of Israel.
    Everything else is a smoke screen.

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