Professor Oren Yiftachel from Ben Gurion University is a visiting scholar at UCL. Yiftachel’s shtick (SOAS, 20 March) is a confederation between Israel and the Palestinians. Fine. It’s a non-starter – but fine. It’s a non-starter because neither Israelis nor Palestinians want it. Each wants their own state. Added to which, Israelis would be fearful of being in a confederation with Palestinians because of the terror threat. They would never agree a confederation in a vote, it would have to be forced on them. I asked Yiftachel the same question as I ask ‘One-Staters’: How many Israelis would need to die in order to make your proposal happen?
If Yifatchel had left it at that, no problem. But he didn’t. Because like Labour, SOAS is institutionally antisemitic. You don’t get a platform at SOAS to talk about Israel unless you vilify the country. You have to call it ‘colonial’ and ‘an apartheid state’ at least five times. Even if it’s organised by Yair Wallach of the Centre for Jewish Studies. Because only brain-dead anti-Israel parrots get to talk about Israel at SOAS.
Yiftachel duly obliged. He said five ‘apartheids’ and sixteen ‘colonials’.
“Ethnic cleansing” featured too, of course. “Israel has destroyed large parts of Gaza and killed many” – no mention of Hamas terror, the reason why Israel takes action in Gaza after enduring months of missile assault. He showed a map where he referred to Haifa, Tel Aviv, Beersheba and other Israeli cities as ‘settlements’ consequent on ‘Judaiszation’!
Another slide had 4% of the population in Gaza in 2015 as Jewish! (no Jews were in Gaza by then, of course – Israel pulled out all the Jews in 2005). He referred to Israel as the “historical or mythical homeland of the Jewish people”. Which is it, Oren? And if it’s ‘mythical’, how come there has been a practically unbroken Jewish population around Jerusalem for thousands of years?
And apparently we can’t call Israel a ‘Jewish’ state either – because it’s the ‘Israeli’ state.
In case we didn’t get the ‘apartheid’ point, Yiftachel even showed us a map of South Africa:
And just to hammer the point home, we got a slide where the Jewish population of Israel was called “whites”, Israeli Arabs ‘coloureds’ and Palestinians ‘blacks’. In an event organised by the Centre for Jewish Studies. Not the Palestine Society. The Centre for Jewish Studies. Repeat, the Centre for Jewish Studies.
However the statement from Yiftachel that left us (Richard Millett and Damon Lenzner came too) open-jawed came in the Q+A: “Hamas supports a two-state solution.” The same Hamas as digs terror tunnels to murder Israeli citizens. The same Hamas which boasted at end-2018 that it had fired 16,377 rockets at Israel, carried out 86 suicide bombings that murdered hundreds, 36 stabbing attacks, over 500 infiltration attacks, over 250 sniper attacks, over 80 attacks on Israeli armoured targets and 26 abductions of live or dead Israelis, since its inception in 1987. That Hamas.
The thing is, Oren, you go back to Beersheba after ten months. You don’t have to live with the consequences of your lies. But we – the UK Jewish Community – do, in the form of record levels of antisemitism.
Do us all a favour and go home now.