Definitions of citizenship and what it means to be a citizen of a particular nation has been used to justify discrimination against various groups of people for centuries. These people are generally in the minority in a particular region and are seen as an underclass, and/or something to be dealt with in whatever manner those in the majority deem appropriate. History is full of examples where this thinking has led to egregious levels of discrimination and violence aimed at the minority or undesirables; from the Catholics in Northern Ireland to the Tutsi in Rwanda, where in both cases discrimination and ostracisation eventually led to full-blown violence. This is also the case when it comes to the Palestinians in what was historic Palestine and is now, for the most part, considered the modern state of Israel.
In the recent study “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy”, two distinguished political science professors charge that the United States has willingly set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of Israel. In addition the study accuses the pro-Israeli lobby, particularly AIPAC of manipulating the U.S. media, policing academia and silencing critics of Israel by labeling them as anti-Semitic.
(Originally Published on Indymedia.ie in January 2011)
This time two years ago, Gaza was being bombarded ceaselessly, from land, sea and air, by the forces of an illegal occupying force. Civilians were deliberately targeted along with schools, power stations, and other non-military targets. Overall, the occupying forces managed to kill 1,416 Palestinians, of which 926 were civilians and 255 were police officers. The occupying force which I am speaking of is of course the Israeli Defence Forces. The supposed reasoning behind this illegal, three week long incursion into Gaza, was in order to stop rocket attacks when in matter of fact it was simply an exercise in military domination. As testimony from Israeli soldiers who took part in the offensive, dubbed Operation Cast Lead, shows, Israel “used insane amounts of firepower”; firepower used indiscriminately against a civilian population. This is the kind of existential but also very real threat that the Palestinian people have to live with on a day-to-day basis.
On the 24th of September 2003 noted political scientist and author on the issue of Palestine and the Holocaust, Professor Norman Finkelstein, engaged in a debate with Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz. The resulting hour long debate, chaired by Amy Goodman, resulted in accusations of plagiarism leveled at Dershowitz and his new book, “The Case for Israel”, by Finkelstein. As a result of this and the hour long debate, a long standing feud emerged between the two professors which directly resulted in the denial of tenure for Finkelstein at DePaul University and attempts by Dershowitz to suppress the publication of Finkelstein’s then upcoming book, “Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History”. Further accusations were leveled at Finkelstein’s mother, a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto and concentration camps during the Holocaust, by Dershowitz who accused her of being a collaborator.
On 17 November 2010, in the J M Synge Lecture Hall of the Arts Building in TCD, Ilan Pappé spoke strongly to an attentive audience on “The Current Struggle Against Nakba Denial” at the book launch of academic and activist Ronit Lentin’s “Co-Memory and Melancholia: Israelis Memorialise the Palestinian Nakba”. The meeting was chaired by academic and past chairman of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign David Landy.