by Steven Plaut
Harvard University is a school of rich tradition. And in a few days it will be restoring a great Harvard tradition dating back to the 1930s: the tradition of hosting Nazis and violent anti-Semites on campus seeking the mass murder of Jews.
Harvard is to hold a pseudo-academic conference devoted to calls for Israel’s extermination. This “academic conference” will be little more than a genteel campus pogrom. Misnamed the “One State Conference,” it will definitely not have any discussion of any “one-state solution” under which all of Western “Palestine” remains one single Jewish state, while “Palestinians” unhappy about living there as a political minority move to one of the 22 Arab states. When the conference organizers and speakers talk about a “one-state solution,” what they mean is a Rwanda solution, a final one, to the “Jewish Problem” of the Middle East. They want Israel annihilated and replaced by a “bi-national” state with an Islamist Arab majority in control. And it does not take a great imagination to understand just how Jews will fare under such a “solution.”
Naturally, Harvard is defending this campus atrocity with the usual protestations about academic freedom and freedom of speech. The administrators who justify such open and violent bigotry in the guise of an academic conference are the very same people who never seem to express any objections when campus hooligans disrupt and harass talks by Israeli diplomats and rallies by Jewish students. Harvard administrators would be the first ones in the Ivy League to shut down as “hate speech” any “conference” devoted to proving that black people have lower IQs than others, that called for evicting all illegal Hispanics from the nation, or that promoted the view that homosexuality is a mental disorder.
In any case, a brief review of pedigrees of the participants in this “conference” illustrates just how clearly this is to be nothing more than a bash-the-Jews campus crusade.
The “star” of the Harvard pogrom will be Ilan Pappe, who is arguably the most thoroughly discredited pseudo-academic on the planet. Pappe is a notorious fabricator, someone who claims proudly that facts and truth are of no importance. “Indeed the struggle is about ideology, not about facts. Who knows what facts are? We try to convince as many people as we can that our interpretation of the facts is the correct one, and we do it because of ideological reasons, not because we are truthseekers,” the French newspaper Le Soir, has cited Pappe as saying.
Pappe is an expatriate Israeli who devoted one of his “books” to his sons with the wish that they may grow up in a world without Israel. His own University of Exeter recently chastised him for his infamous habit of playing fast and loose with facts. Pappe is best known as a fulltime anti-Israel propagandist who has done more than any other anti-Israel Israeli to promote the moral equivalence of “Nakba denial” with Holocaust denial. (For those who are unaware, “Nakba,” meaning “catastrophe,” is the term Arabs use to refer to Israel’s birth.) He is a “new historian” in the sense of pseudo-historian. His mission in life is to invent an imaginary Palestinian historic “narrative.” Nearly all those beating the “Nakba” drum today cite Pappe and his books about the supposed “ethnic cleansing” of Arabs by Israel in its war of independence.
Pappe was a lecturer in political science at the University of Haifa, but moved to resume a pseudo-academic propagandist position at the University of Exeter in the UK. Even other anti-Zionists have repudiated Pappe as a liar and fabricator. He openly calls for Israel to be exterminated and endorses Hamas terrorism. He considers Noam Chomsky insufficiently anti-Israel.
Pappe, who ran for the parliament in Israel on the slate of the Stalinist communist party and played a central role in fomenting boycotts of Israel in the UK and elsewhere, was also the central figure in the now infamous “Tantura Affair.” In this incident, Pappe coached a graduate student of his into inventing a non-existent “massacre” of Arabs by the Hagana Jewish militia (Alexandroni Brigade) in Tantura, south of Haifa, a “massacre” that Pappe claims took place in 1948. Not a shred of any evidence for any such “massacre” exists. Arab and other journalists who were present at the time of the battle that took place in Tantura reported no massacre. Arabs living in the town at the time confirmed that a battle did occur, but that after the battle the Jewish militiamen aided and assisted the townspeople, not massacring anyone. The graduate student in question was sued for libel by the veterans of the Hagana militia. He later admitted in court with his lawyer present that the entire massacre was an invention.
No matter – Pappe roams the world and continues to spread the lie about the imaginary Tantura “massacre,” a lie that has found its way into nearly every anti-Semitic web site and Neo-Nazi magazine on Earth, and even a handful of otherwise respectable mainstream journalists foolishly rely upon him. Pappe has lied about practically everything else, including about being “persecuted” by his own university in Israel. In fact, Pappe was never fired for his fraud and fabrication by the University of Haifa, although he should have been. (Some wags even suggested the university should be boycotted for not firing Pappe.) That did not stop Pappe from waving his stigmata as a “victim of Zionism” before the European anti-Semites promoting “divestment” from Israel. His recruitment by the University of Exeter proves how indifferent that school is to scholarly standards. His coming appearance as the star of the Harvard academic pogrom shows that things are not much better there.
While Pappe may be the most notorious fabricator at Harvard’s Destroy Israel Conference, he is hardly the only one. A close runner-up will be Stephen M. Walt, who – along with his sidekick John Mearsheimer – is best known for proliferating medieval “theories” about a grand Jewish cabal plotting to control the world. Walt and Mearsheimer spin yarns about the imaginary power of the “Jewish lobby” that sound very much like German propaganda from the 1930s. It would be an exaggeration to say that there is no Israel lobby whatsoever in the United States, but only a small exaggeration. The “Israel lobby” does not come up to the pinky toes in terms of the power of the farm lobby and the teachers union lobby. Walt’s partner Mearsheimer has been in the news the past few weeks for endorsing and celebrating a notoriously deranged British Israel-born Holocaust denier, Gilad Atzmon. Walt also defends Mearsheimer’s choice of Nazi chums on his own personal blog…