TAU academic opens ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ on London campus

Adi Ophir to share a platform with Sari Hanafi, an associate professor of sociology at the American University of Beirut.

By JONNY PAUL, JPOST CORRESPONDENT
February 26, 2010 08:46
3 minute read.
The Jerusalem Post

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LONDON – A Tel Aviv University professor is set to open this year’s “Israel Apartheid Week” taking place at three London university campuses next week.

Adi Ophir, an associate professor at TAU’s Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science, will open the event on Monday. “Israel Apartheid Week” takes place at the School of Oriental and African Studies, the London School of Economics and University College London.

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In a talk titled “Anatomy of rule in the occupied Palestinian territories,” Ophir, who is author of the book The Power of Inclusive Exclusion: Anatomy of Israeli Rule in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, will share a platform with Sari Hanafi, an associate professor of sociology at the American University of Beirut.

Also taking part is Israel-born lawyer Daniel Machover, co-founder of Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights. Machover is also a major player in the campaign to arrest Israeli officials who visit the UK, on charges of war crimes.

Ending the week of events will be Israel-born filmmaker Eyal Sivan, who will answer questions following the screening of his film Yizkor: Slaves of Memory.

The event program describes the film as “a portrait of the Israeli society that has never been shown before” that looks “in depth at this imperative that is imposed on the children of Israel.”

The film accuses Israel of using the “myths and symbols” of Purim and Pessah to indoctrinate Israeli youth.



“In Israel during the month of April feast days and celebrations take place one after another. School children of all ages prepare to pay tribute to their country’s past. The collective memory becomes a terribly efficient tool for the training of young minds,” the program states.

Speaking also next week is Michael Warschawski, described as a “leading Israeli anti-apartheid figure,” and Arab-Israeli Salah Mohsen, a member of the Balad party’s General Council.

Other participants include Yasmin Khan from War on Want, a charity whose political campaigning and stance on Israel has been decried by the UK’s Charity Commission, and veteran anti-Israel activist Ben White, author of a book titled Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide.

The event will also take place at Oxford University; participants include Israel-born academics Ilan Pappe and Avi Shlaim as well as MK Jamal Zahalka, chairman of the Balad party, who has a doctorate in pharmacology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The event has been strongly condemned and deemed as a “crass campaign” by the National Union of Students (NUS).



“I do not recognise the description of Israel as an ‘apartheid’ state,” said NUS president Wes Streeting. “Crass campaigns like this do little to promote the cause of peace and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. The Union of Jewish Students will be running a national Israel awareness week on campuses in March, which I hope will give people a more accurate picture of life in Israel.”


“Hosting events which do more to drive a stake between ‘pro-Israel’ and ‘pro-Palestine’ students is both unconstructive and irresponsible,” Raheem Kassam, national director of anti-racism campaign group Student Rights. “Never before have we been in a position to so easily bring people around a table to have practical and positive discourse on these issues, and instead we see downbeat, detrimental movements which achieve very little.”

“There are all sorts of ways to debate international affairs on campus as elsewhere, but it is entirely unacceptable that institutions paid for by the tax-payer should continue to receive funding when they sponsor and host hate-fests like those taking place in London next week,” said Douglas Murray, director of the London think tank Centre for Social Cohesion.

“The UK government should pull the funding plug from universities that cannot get their house in order. Israel is not an apartheid state – it is a democracy, an ally and a friend. Demonising the State of Israel in such a way is entirely illegitimate,” he added.

Meanwhile former MK Azmi Bishara, who is accused of passing information to Hizbullah during the Second Lebanon War, and Leila Khaled, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Palestinian National Council, who participated in airline hijackings in 1969 and 1970, are both to address a conference at the School of Oriental and African Studies over the weekend via video link.

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