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SOAS Palestine Society Conference

Medyan Dairieh | 13.10.2007 20:30 | Palestine | London

John Pilger gave the keynote speech at a gathering of academics debating the need for a cultural and academic boycott of Israel yesterday. (Sat 13/10/2007)

SOAS Palestine Society Conference.

John Pilger gave the keynote speech at a gathering of academics debating the need for a cultural and academic boycott of Israel yesterday. (Sat 13/10/2007)

The event took place at the School of Oriental and African Studies at Vernon Square, London and was organised by the SOAS Palestine Society and sponsored by The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

The pressures facing Palestinian academics was made apparent by the non-appearance of Dr. Haidar Eid, of the Al-Aqsa University, Gaza in Occupied Palestine, who was denied a visa to visit the UK after the British Consulate in Jerusalem refused to coordinate with Israeli authorities. He gave his talk via a phone link up and gave a frank talk about the terrible conditions for ordinary people in Gaza and confirmed that the majority of Palestinians are in favour of a boycott of Israel. Referring to Gaza as the largest concentration camp with the largest number of persons in the world he said: ’Gaza is becoming the Auschwitz of our times.’

The appalling situation of young residents of Gaza who have places at universities abroad but are still being denied permission to leave Palestine by Israeli authorities was discussed. Also the methods used by Israeli universities to keep Israeli Arabs from receiving places, such as Haifa universities infamous psychometric tests set in Hebrew made for uncomfortable listening.

Professor Ilan Pappe, of the University of Exeter talked about the ‘conscription’ of Israeli academics by the Israeli Armed forces. Of Israeli academia and their tacit support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine, he said: ‘When a synagogue becomes an embassy and when academics become ambassadors they should be treated as ambassadors of a rogue criminal state.’

The speakers were:
John Pilger
Distinguished Journalist and Film Maker: 'Palestine Is Still The Issue'.

Chair: Dr Bashir Abu Manneh, Barnard College, Columbia University, US
• Dr Mudar Kassis: Formerly Director of Institute of Law, Birzeit University; currently in the Department of Philosophy and Cultural Studies and MA Programme in Human Rights and Democracy, Birzeit University, Palestine
Facts on the Ground: Palestinian Academic Freedom and Four Decades of Occupation and Settler Colonialism

• Dr Haidar Eid: al-Aqsa University, Gaza, Palestine, and PACBI
Palestinian Academic Freedom and the Israeli Siege of Gaza

• Professor Ilan Pappe, University of Exeter, UK
Israeli academic institutions and complicity with the occupation

Dr Oren Ben-Dor, University of Southampton, UK
Israeli academic institutions, Palestinian Nakba and dispossession and the Politics of Denial

• Dr Mahmoud Hawari, Oxford University, UK

Israeli Academic Institutions and Discrimination against the Palestinian Citizens

• Professor Haim Bresheet, University of East London, UK, and BRICUP

The Israeli and British Media and the boycott Issue

• Dr Phil Marfleet, Secretary of the UCU Branch, University of East London, UK

The UCU and boycott: Lessons from 2006-07 and the autumn campaign

• Ms Sue Blackwell, Birmingham University, UK, and BRICUP

UCU branches and the boycott debate: strategies and tactics

• Ms Betty Hunter, Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), UK

The anti-apartheid struggle and lessons from the consumer and cultural boycotts

1. Professor David Seddon, University of East Anglia, UK, and BRICUP

Sharing Experience and Practical Guidelines on Boycott to Colleges

2. Prof Haim Bresheet, University of East London, UK, and BRICUP

The British Media and the Israel-Palestine Question

Chair: Dr Nur Masalha: St Mary’s University College, UK, and BRICUP

• Dr Kay Dickenson (Goldsmiths College, University of London), Reports from

• Prof. Mona Baker, University of Manchester, UK

Medyan Dairieh
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