Academic boycott of Israel the topic of two talks held in DCU

Two events emphasising the continuing struggle between Palestine and Israel were held in DCU two weeks ago.

Dr Ghada Karmi, a Palestinian doctor of medicine, author and academic, and Professor Ilan Pappe, an Israeli historian and socialist activist, spoke at a talk held on the 13th of November concerning issues for third level institutions.

The academics highlighted the plight of Palestinian academics, who struggle to study under Israeli regulations. Karmi talked of “an Israeli campaign of harassment: they think of all sorts of ways of preventing Palestine from gaining any type of academic distinction”.

Karmi said blockades prevent students from getting to and from universities, meaning they can’t be sure if they will be able to sit their exams.

Pappe, an Israeli himself, said that “the charade of peace is one principal of which the Zionist movement wishes to have a Palestine with as few Palestinians in it”.

He believes that “Zionism is a far worse ideology for the native people of Palestine than apartheid was for the Africans”. He called it “inhumane”, “racist”, and “supremacist”. Zionism is a movement for the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel.

Both Karmi and Pappe are activists for the BDS movement which began 10 years ago and promotes an academic boycott of Israel.

In the second talk, held by DCU Law Society, the Irish Times legal correspondent Ruadhán MacCormaic spoke about his time reporting from Gaza during two of the wars.

He noted the difference between Israel and Gaza: “I was in Tel Aviv and I watched the World Cup. There was a huge crowd in t-shirts drinking beer while almost two miles down the road there was an almost apocalyptic war”.

He said that Palestinians, when asked, predominantly supported Hamas and Israeli press surveys indicated 85 per cent of the population supported government policy in Palestine.

MacCormaic also commented on Israel’s criticism of western press, accused of siding with Hamas. “Israel see Palestine as part of a body of countries that are hostile towards Israel and believe by containing Hamas they’ll be more secure as a nation,” he said.

Chai Brady

Image Credit: Chai Brady

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