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An Intellectual Ambush Masquerading as Truth

Dr. Ilan Pappe

The interview you are about to watch between Stephen Sackur and his guest Dr. Ilan Pappe is an example of pseudo-intellectual ambush built on deception and hypocrisy. The deceived are the viewers who assume that the host is asking serious questions about an important topic of special interest to his guest. Dr. Pappe is a Professor of history renowned for a series of books detailing the Israeli state, the most significant of which is The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. Sackur uses this work to question Pappe’s academic credentials as breaching what he claims is a biased perspective, a work that is ideologically biased against Zionism.

 

Dr. Pappe fortunately is diplomatic, forthright, and capable of avoiding Sackur’s strategy to condemn his work as non-academic and biased toward the Palestinians. Sackur assumes academic integrity and honesty must be kind and comforting to those who have perpetrated crimes and not forthright in condemning what intellectual investigation has revealed. But in fact, the intent of “academic freedom” and its necessary corollary, academic tenure, is to ensure honest investigation of truth and its presentation to the academic community regardless of the individual feelings of the groups listening or studying that investigation. Pappe’s condemnation rests on the intent of the Zionists to destroy the Palestinians’ culture by stealing their land as they slowly incarcerate them behind walls controlled totally by the occupying forces of the Zionist state.

Sakur attempts to deflect this assertion by claiming Pappe used the term “genocide” in an interview some time back pointing out that “genocide” is the eradication of a people thereby demonstrating Pappe’s bias against the Jewish State. What he does not refer to is the definition of “genocide” as defined by the United Nations in its Articles determining what constitutes “genocide.” (See “Hope Destroyed, Justice Denied: the Rape of Palestine” by this writer in The Plight of the Palestinians, Macmillan Publishers, 2010). That definition came from the investigations of Raphael Lemkin in 1944, a study that used the Nazi genocide of the Jews as the reality of what constitutes “eradication” of a people. Israel as a member state of the UN has signed agreement with this newly defined description.

“These are the criteria that determine genocide under the UN Convention.

Article II:

“In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, as such:

                        a. Killing members of the group;

                        b. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

c. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

                        d. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

                        e. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

Article III:

            “The following acts shall be punishable:

  1. Genocide;
  2. Conspiracy to commit genocide;
  3. Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
  4. Attempt to commit genocide;
  5. Complicity in genocide.”

(Cook, “Hope Destroyed, Justice Denied: the Rape of Palestine”).

Sakur’s questioning continues to interrogate Pappe as one sided pointing out that after all “stuff happens” in wartime, borrowing a phrase from our own intellectual wizard, Donald Rumsfeld. Pappe’s response is both truthful and honest and it fractures Sakur’s deflection of the real history Pappe records in his work. People die; these actions of the Zionist state are crimes against humanity. How else can one talk about them? Sakur suggests that the dead in number are not that many when compared to other atrocities in wartime. “Small potatoes” he calls them. How comforting. Justify crimes against humanity because they were not necessarily intentional, just accidents of war. But the reality Pappe discloses is the fact that there was no war, there was no Palestinian army fighting against the 25 to 80 thousand experienced and well equipped Zionist forces. This was mass slaughter as even Benny Morris noted who confessed that the Zionists should have eradicated all the Arabs before the state was declared. How’s that for objectivity!

Finally, let me refer the viewers of this mock interview to the files available in the Rhodes House archives by Sir Richard C. Catling, Deputy Assistant of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Mandate Police. There he collects evidence of the Zionists intent from the very beginning to eradicate the Arabs living in Palestine, evidence seized by the Mandate police from the Jewish Agency and Haganah. If Sakur wants to truly know what the intent was and what it is, he need only read what is already in print with evidence to prove it. My book The Plight of the Palestinians was initially titled As the World Watches: Genocide in Palestine. The board of directors at Macmillan asked to remove the word genocide from the title. But they did not change one word of the chapters that record the reality that has taken place in the first decade of this new century that matches the intent of the original Zionists that controlled the immigration of the Jewish people into Palestine and undertook a massive and calculated destruction of over 418 Palestinian towns and villages as they gradually stole the land of the Palestinians from a defenseless people. This is called “hardball” as though the interrogator asks hard questions of his guests when in truth he is hypocritically using them for his own purposes.


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