The lefties in Oslo are going bananas over the recent rapprochement between Oslo and Jerusalem. While the boycott movement basically is in tatters in Norway (not for lack of wanting, they want so much, but just can’t get no satisfaction – now thats me being cheeky after the smashing Rolling Stones concert that left Israelis young and old with rattling ear drums but very happy hearts!), Israel and Norway are now negotiating on improved trade, research, culture relations. This of course is not what the lefties had ordered, and now, like the ugly trolls in Scandinavian fairy tales, they huff and puff and try to be as scary as possible. So in synch with this new order of the day, university professors now try to undo the damage by making up stories as they go. Thomas Hylland Eriksen, a famous (in Norway only) social anthropologist has taken this art to new heights, and now claims – in the caption underneath a picture used in the article – without offering any documentation in support of his claims, that Israeli soldiers from time to time make young Palestinian girls dance in the heat as they wait to clear through security controls. Is it only me or is he trying to create some sort of Terezienstadt analogue? And his conclusion in clear from the start: Israel is an apartheid state, and committing unmentionable human rights crimes (they seem to be so unmentionable that he does not even care to give one single example of the alleged crimes). Funny that in the exact same week, if not on the exact same day, former South Africa president Frederik W De Klerk, just drew the opposite conclusion. But for people like Mr. Hylland Eriksen and his ilk, this is an inconvenient piece of information, which therefore must be ignored.
How good it is to watch how the academic institutions tear themselves to bits! Now maybe we can have universities devoted to the exact science, where people actually produce something useful, such as new cancer medicines, water preservation and sustainable food production?
lifted from aftenposten.no (google translate)
Neither the holocaust or Palestinian terrorism can excuse the brutal and humiliating treatment of Semitic-speaking brothers and sisters.
Chronicle Thomas Hylland Eriksen, University of Oslo
The discussion on academic boycott of Israel is at it again. Still, I did not hesitate when it came an invitation to hold the main lecture at the Israeli anthropologist annual meeting in Jaffa in mid-May.
Thomas Hylland Eriksen, professor
I have previously lectured in countries that aren’t distinctly democratic, Iran, and it is precisely when there is considerable disagreement and deep differences that it is important to keep the conversation going. Besides, there is complete freedom of speech in Israel. Therefore I accepted on the condition that I also got to do something meaningful in the occupied territories. The claim was settled, I got to visit Palestinians in the West Bank and voice for Palestinians and Norwegians at an event in Palestinian East Jerusalem.
There’s nothing more meaningful place in the world than this compact, densely populated speck of a country. Israel / Palestine has so many layers of history that there is hardly a stone that is not at least three groups of claims, and that they tell three different, conflicting stories. There is hatred, contempt and mutual suspicion. Yet it is not intolerance that is the problem mess, but physical resources such as house, land and water.
An apartheid state
Israel is a democratic country, but also an apartheid state. The Israeli government deprives Palestinians their land and territories, continuously. Talking about a ‘conflict’ in this context are misleading because it creates the impression of equality. It is true that Palestinians, not Israelis, has conducted suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks. But it is not the Palestinians who have driven the Israelis out of house and for over 60 years, and who daily expose their neighbors of intimidation and abuse.
Israel marginalization of Palestinians began with the establishment of the Israeli state in 1948, when about 80 percent of the country’s Arab population was driven from their homes. Most of these families are now living as refugees in the West Bank. Annual commemorate the Nakba, “catastrophe”, and some go with keys around their neck to make it clear that they demand the right to return to their homes.
Later, Israel won wars, beaten down riots, been affected by and defended itself against terrorist attacks. The country’s response to demands from the Palestinians and the international community are not looking for solutions, but to strengthen the control of Palestinian movement and their territory. It is in this area that the similarities with apartheid is most striking.
Fence or wall?
Jerusalem is surrounded by West Bank on three sides. East Jerusalem is part of Palestine, but is on the Israeli side of the barrier that separates the West Bank from Israel. (Some call it a security fence, while the second is an apartheid wall.) Palestinians from the West Bank who want to Jerusalem or vice versa, must seek permission. It may take a long time to get it, whether it whatsoever will be met.
As herring in a barrel
Parts of the wall is built a piece inside the West Bank, which both insulates some Palestinian villages from the rest of the occupied territory and increase Israel’s land area. Palestinian children living in villages on the Israeli side of the wall does not go to school in Jerusalem, and must pass safety barriers every day on the way to and from school.
Sometimes they are held inside the barrier, designed as a cage for an hour. Other times they let out after two minutes. It happens that Israeli soldiers set to music and get Palestinian girls on their way home from school to dance for him. Recently a man died of a heart attack while he was held back in the cage, along with many other Palestinians, like herrings in a barrel, in searing heat, without explanation.
Settlements big as cities
It has been written about Jewish settlements in the West Bank. I had previously been told that these were illegal, that the Israeli government does not officially support them, and that residents were largely Orthodox Jews who, for religious reasons, insisted on the right to stay in their mythical Samaria. This proved not to vote.
The first settlement I saw on my visit to the occupied territories, was the size of a city, with massive apartment buildings and a well-developed infrastructure. The settlers have a much better water than the Palestinians around the green lawns and swimming pools. The houses are reasonable and the food in the shops inside the settlements are subsidized.
It is estimated that 650,000 Israelis now live in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which according to international law is illegal, but that the Israeli government recognizes and supports financially and institutionally. In addition, there are settlements that do not receive state funding, and that Israel also considers illegal.
Controlled by the “mother country”
West Bank works in much the same way as a bantustans (homelands for black South Africans) in apartheid’s last phase. The economy is effectively controlled by the “motherland”. Israel may at any time hold back tax revenues to the Palestinians, they may at any time close the border to Palestinians working in Israel did not come up at work, and the Israeli bureaucracy is at its least efficient when a Palestinian applying for such building permit.
In some areas, the West Bank less than an independent bantustans. The country is gradually split up of the Jewish settlements. When the wall was built, there were many who lost all or part of his property, without getting real substitute. The whites in South Africa never attempted to eat into the black homelands.
Israel also built the first roads where the color of the license plate determines who has the right to use them. A main road from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv passes through the West Bank, but you see no cars with green sign there (ie Palestinian vehicles). Officially this is due to safety concerns. Also in this area scores Israel poorer than South Africa during the apartheid era. There were no roads in the black homelands that were not available for black Africans.
Contributes to more hatred
It is easy to see that barrier, settlements, soldiers, security items and exclusive system is neither a recipe for reconciliation and compromise or a medicine against terrorism and suicide attacks. On the contrary, it is obvious that the Israeli government actively contributes to increasing hatred, desperation and intransigence on the Palestinian side.
Now, it added that Israeli society has its own internal complexity, which is often overlooked by the environment. About 20 percent of the population within Israel are Arabs, many of whom live in the Galilee, who escaped nakbaen in 1948. And the Jewish population composed. The elites made up largely of Ashkenazi Jews with a background in Europe, while mizrahim of Middle Eastern and North Africa is poorly represented in leadership positions everywhere.
The hard line
Newer Jewish immigration, especially from Russia after 1990, has also changed the population composition. General says the Russian Jews to the right politically and support the hard line towards the Palestinians. One of my colleagues commented that with the current demographics in Israel, the Labor Party or other moderate forces could never return to power.
Would accepted the invitation now? Undoubtedly. Neither the prison camp at Guantánamo or the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq dried out the flow of academic visit to the U.S., and there are no academic boycott of the brutal and undemocratic China.
Yet Israel is particularly outrageous, maybe because the contrast is so great: There is freedom of speech and religion, the selection in stores is impeccable, and the standard of living is high. But to enjoy the exceptionally rich cultural history, the colorful markets and the delicious food fully, it is necessary to forget the dark side. It can probably be done, but only if it remains under the barrier. Only then is it possible to remember the Holocaust, but to forget the nakba.
It doesn’t get more manipulative than this. And this is supposed to be the finest of the Norwegian Academic traditions? Goebbles would be very proud!