Academic Israel bashing won’t let up

Upcoming conference on conflicts in the Middle East. Iranian journalist and human rights activist Asieh Amini may find that the Norwegian view to her nation’s plight is pretty much a non-issue, unless it can be seen under the prism on the Israeli-Palelstine conflict.

A DUTY TO INFORM 2012 02 16, Tarjei Tvedten

The leader of the UN Students, Erika Mortensen, sees it as her duty to inform people over what is ongoing in the Middle East. She has herself been to the Middle East 3 times, having felt what it feels like being in an area of conflict.

“Everybody knows what happened there in 2008, and one has seen pictures of it, and it will be interesting to be updated on this situation. I am thinking, if you are working with humans, in the particular in the Middle East and have strong opinions about it and have experience from the region, I see it as a sort of duty to disperse it to other people who does not possess the same insight”.

Arranging major event.

The UN Students will arrange, while cooperating with other students- and local organizations, a large three days event, the Students Middle East Conference. Focus will be on the Middle East as  a region, every day will have its particular focus.

“Israel-Palestine on Wednesday, Iran on Thursday and Libya on Friday. Through SMED we shall have an opportunity to reach out to people we maybe would not have reached other how, and we hope for as many as possible to come. I hope people really learns something by those invited”, Mortensen says.

Mads Gilbert is coming.

Celebrity doctor and activist Mads Gilbert is coming. So is the well-known author, journalist and human rights champion Asieh Amini from Iran.

“I am really, really pleased over making this program, sending large thanks to the rest of the team behind SMED. I am also talking on their behalf. By now, it is about implementing this. The most important remains”, Mortensen says.

She is looking forward to be updated on Palestine which she has not visited since 2009-

“What you hear in the media is very fragmented and piecemeal and shows far from all of the picture. I am looking forward to see Mads Gilbert’s Gaza images and the West Bank images and listen to his tales”.

The program of the “SMED” event is here .

On the Israel-Palestine conflict, Mads Gilbert and Jørgen Jensehaugen will be the lecturers. While Mads Gilbert is well known, Jørgen Jensehaugen is less so. Here are some of his publications, lifted from this webpage at PRIO:

Jensehaugen, Jørgen, 2011. ‘Avkledde palestinere‘ [Palestinians Revealed], Dagsavisen, 27 January.

Jensehaugen, Jørgen, 2011. ‘Palestinsk ettergivenhet, israelsk arroganse‘ [Palestinian Appeasement, Israeli Arrogance],, 25 January.

Jensehaugen, Jørgen, 2009. ‘Ulven tar av seg fåreklærne‘ [Dr Jekyll Shows his Hyde], Palestinabladet , 29 December.

Jensehaugen, Jørgen, 2009. ‘Abbas: Offer for fredsprisen‘ [Abbas: A Victim of the Peace Prize], Dagsavisen, 23 November.

Jensehaugen, Jørgen, 2009. ‘Flyktningnasjonalisme: Fra Nakba til PLO‘ [Refugee Nationalism: From the Nakba to the PLO], Babylon 7(2): 22–33.

Jensehaugen, Jørgen, 2009. ‘Når blir massevold politisk? – 1948 og den palestinske katastrofen‘ [When Does Mass Violence Become Political? – 1948 and the Palestinian Catastrophe], Etter Lemkin – Tidsskrift for studier av Folkemord og Politisk Massevold 1(2): 8–18, 22 October.

Jensehaugen, Jørgen, 2008. ‘Friendship Reanimated: The Israeli-Transjordanian Armistice Negotiations 1948-1949‘, Department of Archaeology, Conservation, and History, University of Oslo. Supervisor: Hilde Henriksen Waage. Defended 05/2008.

Jensehaugen, Jørgen, 2008. ‘Palestina: Apartheid i vår tid‘ [Palestine: Modern Apartheid], Oslo, 30/03/2008.

The organizer of the conference, Erika Mortensen is anything but balanced in her approach, below you can find an article she published in June last year, where she demonstrates an astonishing level of ignorance if we are to interpret her in a benign way, or more ominously, trying to present an alternative history to further complicate the conflict. Sadly, this is representative of the way the UN organizations work in Norway… Mortensen is also no stranger to employing classic anti-Semitic language, now dressed up in modern garb, but really, this endless harping that Israel is a racist endeavor, when will these rabid Israel haters realize that they are only the latest version of a very long sickness

So here we are then. Over 60 years after Israel was created, and the term “Middle East conflict” was created. It seems that there is an eternal circle of failed peace talks , holding off the final solution. And we can ask ourselves: “Why?”

“The Jewish national home” of Israel was established on 15 May 1948 in Palestine, as an apology from the West after the Holocaust had £ 6 million Jews their lives. The neighboring Arab countries reacted with opposition, and it immediately broke out into war.

15. May has since become a milestone with two very different meanings, while Israel celebrates its National Day, Palestinians worldwide lament that yet another year has passed since, “Al Nakba” – “the catastrophe” – where 700,000 Palestinians fled from their homes, without a right to return.

The paradox is that Israel itself has evolved to become a repressive and State that displaces people. Through various social and political measures discriminated against Palestinians both within Israel and in their own lands in the West Bank and Gaza.

An example to illustrate this the increasing number of  Israeli colonies in the West Bank,  in contravention of international Law, and despite the fact that these areas are recognized as Palestinian territory. Furthermore, Israel has built tlarge, fine highways that connects Israel with the West Bank, but that is reserved for Israelis who have built on Palestinian territory.

Even more to the point,   the ongoing construction of a 709 km long wall, which winds its way into the West Bank and makes life difficult and cumbersome for anyone who must cross the barrier. To get through, one must pass through checkpoints. And for those with Palestinian ID, this can mean waiting in line for hours, refusal of the application, or curfew.

What is the point of these measures? The answer I got when I asked an Israeli guard at the airport in Tel Aviv, was “security measures”. On the other hand – how can the Israeli expansion and colonization in the West Bank be explained by security? And an important question: How can the occupation be consistent with the peace Israeli politicians claim to promote?

A State has the right and duty to protect its population. This can be done through various measures, but with the provision that it takes place on its own territory. The colonies are built on Palestinian land, however, and it is mainly the settlers here that are protected by the Wall and checkpoints. Together with an alarmingly high number of Israeli soldiers inside the West Bank, this has meant that Israel exercises complete control over the Palestinian population. It is naive to believe that this situation can be the basis for peace and reconciliation.

Israel is struggling  with a dilemma: Should they continue to occupy the West Bank and block the Gaza Strip, or should they decide to comply with international law and the numerous resolutions of withdrawal and treatment made by the UN and international forums – and thus form a de facto basis for peace.

This is an abridged version of an article that first time was printed in Utopia winter of 2011.

About the Author: Erika Mortensen studying law at the University of Tromsø, and is a member of the UN students Tromsø Lawyers Association. After a visit to Palestine / Israel, where she has traveled around the West Bank, she is convinced that peace requires the withdrawal from the occupied territories.

One must wonder after reading this, if she is taking her degree in myths and fantastical stories. Her grip on International Law is woeful, as is her version of why the barrier was built: it was expressly built to stop suicide bombers entering Israel proper where they were murdering and maiming civilians in horrific terrorist attacks. It is plainly embarrassing that she has no knowledge of even this basic fact. I feel sorry for any future clients she may have, with this poor ability to check facts, she get them into real trouble with the Law.