Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Racism in Israeli academia: David Sheen's tweets from the Professors for a Strong Israel conference

Dear friends,
independent Israeli-Canadian journalist and film maker David Sheen, who reports regularly on racism and religious extremism in Israeli society, recently attended the "Professors for a Strong Israel" conference held at Bar Ilan University on 24th January 2017. Sheen tweeted the conference, posting a series of tweets reporting on the conference speakers, their presentations and comments.  As he notes in his tweets, all of the speakers at the conference are from the "hard-right".

"Professors for a Strong Israel" was established in 1988 but expanded their activities in 1993 at the time of the Oslo Accords.  While it was founded as  a "non-partisan organisation of academics united in a common concern for the security and the Jewish character of the State of Israel" and it aims "to counter the activities of some leftwing members of the academic community in support of anti-Zionist and post-Zionist political parties".

According to David Newman, a professor of political geography in the department of politics and government at Ben Gurion University, it is an "extreme right group" and "its members are involved in opposing the establishment of a Palestinian state and support settlement and the policies of successive rightwing governments".   Newman has written a number of articles on the organisation, which you can read here and here.

The conference topic  was "The end of the 'occupation' " (indicating that the conference organisers and participants don't believe Israel is engaged in an illegal military occupation of Palestinian territory in violation of international law).

Sheen's tweets are enlightening because often such conferences enjoy little english language reporting. The tweets reporting on the conference presentations and speeches illustrate the racism of the hard right with Israeli academia and the racist nature of the Israeli state.  Sheen's tweets from the conference amply illustrate why we should be supporting the Palestinian BDS campaign and the academic boycott of Israel.

I have screen shot his tweets and reposted them here as I think they are well worth reading in their entirety.   I have screen shot the tweets into group batches, retaining their tweeting order and all tweets, because it makes them easier to read.

You can follow Sheen on twitter: @davidsheen

His website can be accessed by clicking here.

In solidarity, Kim


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