Taking sides in the debate over the Middle EastVery different but do you see the similarity. They both appear to be written by the same person, Ghada Karmi. But one is at Exeter and the other is at Goldsmiths. Now the Ghada Karmi I know of is at Exeter. The other Ghada Karmi, the one that accuses Professor Colin Green of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions of antisemitism, purports to be at Goldsmiths. Now I seem to remember someone else at Goldsmiths who goes round falsely accusing all and sundry of antisemitism and has used at least one false name, Alf Green, to do so. But surely, Dr David Hirsh, wouldn't stoop so low as to use the name of so prominent a victim of the ethnic cleansing that he supports, would he?
Monday October 29, 2007
The decision to withdraw from the Oxford Union's October 23 debate was not lightly taken (Letters, October 27). The union was due to debate the one-state solution to the Israel-Palestine issue that I, as one of the three who withdrew, and the only Palestinian, believe passionately to be the only way to solve a conflict that has ravaged my homeland and its people. I was keen to see this debated publicly. But the issue was hijacked by pro-Israel groups which pressured the Oxford Union's president into uninviting Norman Finkelstein, also due to speak on the motion, fearing a panel dominated by critics of Israel.
We rejected this attempt to stifle the debate, so typical of Israel's supporters, and the resulting controversy over detail has aimed to distract attention from the main issue. Such tactics are transparent. Israel cannot hope to maintain itself indefinitely in this way. Sooner or later, it must accept its future lies with the Palestinians, not through dominance, but in equal partnership.
Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter
Colin Green claims lawyers threatened to bankrupt anyone who criticises Israeli policy. In fact Alan Dershowitz threatened to sue anyone who initiated an exclusion of scholars who work in Israel from British campuses. Anthony Lester confirmed that such an exclusion would violate British anti-discrimination law.
Criticising policy is not the same as setting up a racist exclusion. The Guardian should not print self-evident falsehoods. The Guardian should be extra careful when the falsehoods it prints constitute part of an antisemitic narrative of global Jewish conspiracy. The incurables will read this letter as a threat from the "Israel lobby" against a paper which "courageously" allows criticism of Israel. Others will read it as a warning, from someone who is, himself, a critic of Israeli policy, against the accelerating contemporary danger of anti-Jewish racism. If the left can't recognise the threat, then we are in trouble, because nobody else can be relied upon to oppose racism. The Guardian needs to stop hosting a debate between antisemitic and antiracist points of view. It is time to take sides.
Goldsmiths, University of London
Check the Guardian later for a correction. Who knows? They might even run a "correction and clarification."