Concordia -2: Minus 2 years, that is. Nearly exactly to the date.
The following article, entitled Student ‘tolerance’: Palestinian activists brook little opposition on a Montreal campus by Shafer Parker first appeared in Report Magazine on December 18, 2000:
Simmering discord between the two groups erupted into open conflict last month when the local chapter of Hillel, an international Jewish student support group, displayed on their information table a widely circulated column entitled “Myths of the Middle East,” by Arab-American journalist Joseph Farah, who serves in the U.S. as editor and chief executive officer of the on-line magazine WorldNetDaily (www.worldnetdaily.com). The column, which first appeared in the Jerusalem Post, argues that the Palestinian fight for a homeland and for control of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem are merely a cover for the Arab world’s intention to erase Israel from the Middle East.
[. . .]
But instead of refuting Mr. Farah’s assertions, an Arab student group, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), insisted that the offending material be immediately removed from the information table. It then passed a resolution within the Concordia Student Union (CSU) condemning Hillel for disseminating material that was “racially, ethnically and religiously discriminating.”
Hillel spokesman and Concordia business major Yossi Lanton says the official condemnation was unnecessary because Hillel took steps to undo the damage as soon as they were told their material was offensive. “We had that column off the table 20 minutes after it first appeared,” he says. “Later we apologized. But that wasn’t considered good enough because the apology was made in the CSU council meeting to the Muslim Students’ Association, not in public to the SPHR.”
But what rankles most with Mr. Lanton is his perception that the CSU supports a double standard in regard to the SPHR. “They repeatedly play videos in the student centre that show things like an Israeli policeman beating a Palestinian,” he says. “And when the SPHR held a march this fall to protest the ongoing violence in the Middle East, they had banners that equated the Star of David with a swastika. Someone tried to burn an Israeli flag, and when a Jewish girl ran to rescue it, the crowd started chanting ‘Down, down with Israel.'” When Hillel asked for an apology, spokesmen for the Palestinian group denied responsibility, blaming non-member “extremists” for the excesses.
CSU president Rob Green brushes off Hillel’s accusation that the SPHR is allowed to distribute material offensive to Jews. “No one has ever shown me any SPHR material that opposes the Jewish culture, people or religion,” he says. “The SPHR is focused exclusively on the behaviour of the Jewish state.” Confusion over what materials are acceptable arises, he says, because “the minute anyone says something against the state of Israel, the Jews start crying anti-Semitism. But it’s not the same thing.” Which is a shame, he adds, because “a lot of Palestinian students want nothing more than a democratic debate on these issues.”
Hillel’s concerns over the abuse of democracy rose to new heights on November 27, when a CSU resolution calling for Israel to enforce UN Security Council Resolution 242 was supposed to be debated and approved. Resolution 242, which was originally approved in November 1967, calls on Israel to withdraw from all the territories it occupied at the end of the Six Day War and to “achieve a just settlement of the refugee problem.” Concerned that the Palestinians could easily approve the resolution in overwhelming numbers, Hillel called for a boycott of the vote.
Which may have worked, says dean of students Donald Boisvert, because only 411 students showed up, 111 short of the number needed to form a quorum. “But then again,” he says, “we’re approaching exam time. A lot of students may have decided they needed to study.” Mr. Boisvert says that even though Hillel was prevented from distributing a particular piece of information, he sees no need to defend their right to free speech. “We stand back from ruling on what is appropriate and inappropriate,” he says. Nevertheless, he insists he would never allow anyone to distribute hate literature. Asked about the banners equating the swastika and the Star of David, he replies, “Well, I can’t get into what an individual Palestinian decides to do or not do.” He acknowledges the Palestinians are numerous enough to dominate campus discussions. But he cannot say how many of each group are on campus. “We don’t ask for that kind of information,” he says.
The real issue, says Mr. Farah, whose column sparked Concordia’s recent unrest, is whether freedom still exists on North American campuses. He sees a growing intolerance for meaningful free speech within academia that, in his opinion, seems even worse in Canada than in the U.S. “But these days campus demonstrations everywhere are often in opposition to free speech,” he says, “which is ironic considering student activism began in the 1960s with the free-speech movement.”
Freedom is also the reason why even Arabs ought to support the existence of Israel, Mr. Farah says. “I’ve travelled extensively throughout the Middle East,” he says. “And I can tell you that unlike Israel, Arab-controlled lands are one giant police state. Until the Arab world demonstrates it believes in individual rights, Arab students in the West ought to be most concerned about what’s going on in their homelands.”
Just replace Yossi Lanton with Noah Joseph, and Rob Green with Sabine Freisinger. Anyone feeing a sense of deja-vu?
“The column, which first appeared in the Jerusalem Post, argues that the Palestinian fight for a homeland and for control of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem are merely a cover for the Arab world’s intention to erase Israel from the Middle East…But instead of refuting Mr. Farah’s assertions, an Arab student group, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), insisted that the offending material be immediately removed from the information table.”
Aside from the fact that SPHR is not “an Arab student group,” this report fails to mention why Hillel was condemned and why SPHR refused to debate Mr. Farah’s argument. It had nothing to do with the quote mentioned above, but with Farah’s statement that Palestinians don’t exist. As I’ve stated before that is racist and SPHR is right not to “debate” such racist bullshit. It is the newer form of the old Zionist myth of “A land without people, for a people without land,” which served as the justification for the colonization of Palestine by Europeans Jews. The only way that old myth can be held as true is if we fail to consider Palestinians as people or as human beings.
“And when the SPHR held a march this fall to protest the ongoing violence in the Middle East, they had banners that equated the Star of David with a swastika…”
I remember that incident. The person who had brought the banner was not a member of SPHR and when SPHR monitors were alerted to the fact, they immediately went over and told the person to remove the banner and to leave the demonstration because that is not the message of SPHR.
“Which may have worked, says dean of students Donald Boisvert, because only 411 students showed up, 111 short of the number needed to form a quorum. “But then again,” he says, “we’re approaching exam time. A lot of students may have decided they needed to study.”
I also rember this incident first-hand. I think the low turn out had more to do with the Zionist mob–mostly non Concordia people–blocking the entrance to H-110 and shouting racist slogans to intimidate others from approaching the auditorium. I later had to testify in a case where one Zionist supporter spat on another student. The most ironic part, however, is to see Zionists screaming “Arabs go home” to Palestinian students. The f***ing nerve!!!
Another gem from Farah: “Until the Arab world demonstrates it believes in individual rights, Arab students in the West ought to be most concerned about what’s going on in their homelands.”
Nothing like speaking on an issue one knows nothing about. “Arab” students are not the only people in the West protesting Israel’s human rights violations. Moreover, those students belonging to SPHR who are of Arab descent are precisely “concerned about what’s going on in their [homeland].”
Resolution 242, which was originally
approved in November 1967, calls on Israel to withdraw from all the territories it
occupied at the end of the Six Day War and to “achieve a just settlement of the refugee
This is factually wrong. 242 does not
call for a withdrawal from “all the territories”,
it just calls for a withdrawal from “the territories”. It
specifically leaves out the word all.
Also, the resolution calls for all states
in the middle east to:
Termination of all claims or states of belligerency
and respect for and acknowledgement of the
sovereignty, territorial integrity and political
independence of every State in the area and their
right to live in peace within secure and recognized
boundaries free from threats or acts of force.
This is something the Arab states refused to do.
Recall the THREE NO’s from the Khartoum right
after the end of the Six Day War.
Hanthaliar, you are living up to your name.
Nothing like Anglocentrism. Whatever Josh, not all UN member states representatives speak English. The intent of the authors is quite clear from the other versions and subsequent resolutions and statements substantiate the understanding that 242 means all of the territories occupied following the 1967 war.
ALL other official UN languages (French, Spanish,
Chinese, Russian, Arabic), the document states that
Israel must withdraw from “the territories” it occupied
following the 1967 war, meaning every inch.
but it still doesn’t say “all” in the
Anyway, the resolution also “affirms”
that all parties involved in the conflict
make peace. At Khartoum, shortly after the
war, the arab states responed with the
famous 3 “no’s”.
On the intent of the authors, since this seems to be at the crux of this debate:
The Security Council did not say Israel must withdraw from “all the” territories occupied after the Six-Day War. This was quite deliberate. The Soviet delegate wanted the inclusion of those words and said that their exclusion meant “that part of these territories can remain in Israeli hands.” The Arab states pushed for the word “all” to be included, but this was rejected. They nevertheless asserted that they would read the resolution as if it included the word “all.” The British Ambassador who drafted the approved resolution, Lord Caradon, declared after the vote: “It is only the resolution that will bind us, and we regard its wording as clear.”6
This literal interpretation, without the implied “all,” was repeatedly declared to be the correct one by those involved in drafting the resolution. On October 29, 1969, for example, the British Foreign Secretary told the House of Commons the withdrawal envisaged by the resolution would not be from “all the territories.”7 When asked to explain the British position later, Lord Caradon said: “It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967, because those positions were undesirable and artificial.”8
Similarly, Ambassador Arthur Goldberg explained: “The notable omissions which were not accidental in regard to withdrawal are the words ‘the’ or ‘all’ and ‘the June 5, 1967 lines’….the resolution speaks of withdrawal from occupied territories without defining the extent of withdrawal.”9
Source: Mitchell J. Bard – “Myths and Facts” – http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/myths/mf7.html#c.
The footnoted sources are:
6 Prosper Weil, “Territorial Settlement in the Resolution of November 22, 1967,” in John Moore, ed., The Arab-Israeli Conflict, (NJ: Princeton University Press, 1974), p. 321.
7 Abba Eban, Abba Eban, (NY: Random House, 1977), p. 452.
8 Beirut Daily Star, (June 12, 1974).
9 Speech to AIPAC Policy Conference, (May 8, 1973).
“…other official UN languages (French, Spanish,
Chinese, Russian, Arabic), the document states that
Israel must withdraw from “the territories” it occupied
following the 1967 war”
Well, for at least French and Spanish, “the” is a grammatical necessity and not a statement: without an article the sentence might become completely meaningless.
An example: sitting at table with a German, I said “Salz, bitte” – and he truly puzzled over it for a while before he realised I meant “Das salz, bitte” (Please pass the salt) as without the article “the” the noun was meaningless to him.
Actually Bill, UN Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) in its English version, and only in its English version, does not ask for Israeli withdrawal from “all the territories” OR from “the territories,” but from “territories” occupied following the 1967 war. Because of this, Israel has argued that it is not legally compelled to withdraw from all of the territories it occupied following the 1967 war. However, in ALL other official UN languages (French, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Arabic), the document states that Israel must withdraw from “the territories” it occupied following the 1967 war, meaning every inch. Since the document reads as such in ALL official UN languages except English, the intention of its authors is clear: withdrawal from all of the territories occupied following the 1967 war.
It is hardly clear, as you claim it to be. The only language I understand of those five is English. Therefore, I have no proof to substantiate your claims. What I do know, and presumably what the US knew when voting, is that in ENGLISH, the message is clear. If it was for some reason different in other languages, they should pass the resolution again, where it is more clear in purpose. Until then, I will interpret what I can understand.
For the record – Bakra Israel has a good beat.
“It had nothing to do with the quote mentioned above, but with Farah’s statement that Palestinians don’t exist. As I’ve stated before that is racist and SPHR is right not to “debate” such racist bullshit.”
Well, I don’t know about Palestinians as they are presently constituted having been in existence for thousands of years. I don’t recall any King/Nation/Country whatever of Palestine ever having existed and when the British were around, the term Palestinian referred to Muslim, Christian and Jewish residents of the Palestine Mandate.
However, they sure do exist now so the debate is perhaps irrelevant. I would nominate David Ben Gurion as the father of Palestinian Nationalism. Imagine if after the 6 Day war Israel had actually returned the disputed territories to Egypt and Jordan – the nature of the conflict would be very, very different. That’s just food for thought.
You love to throw the term racism around. You hardly ever post anything without calling someone or something racist. Of course you fail to recognize that this is not a racial issue. Arabs/Palestinians do not form a distinct racial group separate or different from anyone. Jews as well do not represent a monolithic racial entity.
Now I know racial issues are very close to the hearts of North Anericans interested in social justice, but projecting the language and tactics of another movement, like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, simply doesn’t work.
Please. Try again. Try being original, creative and accurate and come up with something you didn’t read in “Noam Chomsky for Dummies.”
Yes, Hanthala. I think it is incumbent
on Arabs of the Levant to produce evidence
of “Palestinian” “nationhood” before 1964
the year Nasser created the PLO.
“Yes, Hanthala. I think it is incumbent on Arabs of the Levant to produce evidence of “Palestinian” “nationhood” before 1964 the year Nasser created the PLO.”
Bill, with all due respect, go fuck yourself.
“Of course you fail to recognize that this is not a racial issue. Arabs/Palestinians do not form a distinct racial group separate or different from anyone.”
Dave, not only have you no musical taste, but it seems that you are illiterate as well. Or maybe its just that you are not so well read on the history and various forms of racism. We’ve been through this before.
Of course Arabs do not constitute a “race.” Neither do Jews, quite simply because “race” does not exist. However, Jews were socially constructed as a race not so long ago (and still are by the neo-Nazis), in much the same manner as Arabs are constructed as a racial category today.
I know its difficult for you, Dave, but there’s no need to get frustrated and start patronizing. It doesn’t become you.
“As for Mr. Farah, he is actually an Arab. He’s a Lebanese christian…so he has familiarity with the subject matter.”
That’s a rather ridiculous statement. Which part of his identity, exactly, gives him the special familiarity? His Maronite background? Are Arab Muslims, particularly those who are Palestinian, not specially familiar with Palestinian history?
About the old Zionist myth, I did hesitate on whether or not it includes the “a’s.” You’re right about this debate (and btw, Bernard Lewis is an Orientalist) so I’ll do this quickly:
1-I don’t trust “those people who visited the land and then coined this phrase.” We’re talking about a period in Western history when racist colonization was acceptable, and when even academic works (just think of anthropology as a discipline) were based on racist assumptions and characterizations of the Other.
2-“there was no indiginous people” I guess that depends on how you define “indigenous.”
3-The Palestinians begun their struggle for independance BEFORE the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
4-Regardless of any of the above, Zionist terror gangs did carry out an ethnic cleansing campaign in 1947-48 and then later, once they had declared independance, set up the absentee-ownership laws. This is morally and legally wrong. It needs to be recognized and repaired through either return or compensation.
Hanthala, are you now going to start calling Joseph Farah a “self-hating Arab”? After all your endless references to the fact that many of the CSU memebrs at Concordia who support your group are Jewish, therefore how could they possibly be antisemitic?
Ah, the irony . . .
Not to be overly critical, but you quoted the (very) old Zionist slogan as:
“A land without people, for a people without land,”
However, that’s an incorrect translation of the Hebrew phrase (which has been perpetuated). The actual phrase is:
“”A land without a people, for a people without a land”
There is a difference here. As for the second part of the quote, it refers to there being no Jewish homeland at that time. The first part of the quote is the “thornier” part.
Those who visited the land during the Ottoman’s rule didn’t see many people there (Note: The ottomans kept very detailed statistical records of populations, and the land was very empty–population wise).
Furthermore, those people who visited the land and then coined this phrase didn’t see an indiginous (sp?) people in the land at the time–the population was a mix of Druze, arabs, bedouin, Jews, Christians, Ottomans….
It’s not that the people who visited the land said that there were no people there at all–that’s not the case (again see the ottoman census data), but rather there was no indiginous people.
And as for the slogan, it’s rarely toguht in most places these days.
As for Mr. Farah, he is actually an Arab. He’s a Lebanese christian…so he has familiarity with the subject matter.
While I don’t always agree with Mr Farah’s columns, I respect him for the way which he writes them, clearly laying out an argument supported by (cited) facts/records, rather than others who just spew propaganda. He’s written a few columns after his “myths of the Middle East” one, which are worth a read.
Finally, you mentioned
You can see the difference
As for the argument that Mr. Farah doesn’t know first hand what he’s writing about…this is starting to remind me of the Bernard Lewis vs. Edward Said debate….just a random observation
No Segacs, he is not a “self-hating Arab” and I don’t see where I’ve said anything of the kind. But since you bring up the issue, he is a Maronite Christian. Given civil war in Lebanon, he might have an agenda other than getting to the “truth” of Palestinian lineage.
“Given civil war in Lebanon, he might have an agenda other than getting to
the “truth” of Palestinian lineage.”
Yes, the PLO and the Syrians did murder
about 80,000 people in Lebanon, mostly
Many muslim women died too. They were killed
by their fathers because they were raped
by PLO and Syrian soldiers.
jaws, the Palestinians are not the ones you should be appealing to for restitution concerning Jewish refugees. The tendency to put all A-rabs into one pot is at the source of this confusion. So, I’m really wiped, been working on the Jaggi case for over 48hrs but i respect our dialogue and will be back to you shortly after some sleep. Contrary to Diana’s opinion, I’m only one man and not an organization!
in response to your posting:
“That’s a rather ridiculous statement. Which part of his identity, exactly, gives him the special familiarity? His Maronite background? Are Arab Muslims, particularly those who are Palestinian, not specially familiar with Palestinian history?”
I don’t know Mr. Farah, but he refers to himself as an Arab-American (who is christian) in many of his columns. You’d have to ask him about his orgins/backgrounds. He did work as a journalist in Lebanon before 1982, so there is possibly the “animocity” aspect, but I’m not to sure about it–I haven’t read enought about his experiences.
As for the old myth, the “a”s do go in there. I’m not sure if you’re at all familiar with Hebrew grammar (otherwise it’s harder to explain).
As for Lewis vs. Said; many scholars in the field basically say that “Orientalism” (the book) was an ‘attack’ at lewis. I’ve not read this book, but I’ve read some of Said’s other pieces, and I’ve read some of Lewis’ work and heard him lecture (which is an amazing experience in general).
I’m more in agreement with Lewis than Said. Said’s arguments don’t hold much weight. Despite Said’s claims that Lewis is a forigner, Lewis is actually probably much more well versed in the history of the middle east than Said. He speaks all the relevant languages (really), and has gone through the archives of many countries (Western ones, the Turkish ones, etc.) In this debate, I’m siding with Lewis; but there is a debate between these two.
2–In reference to the indiginous remark, the populations outside of the major cities were small at the time. There were a lot of nomads (bedouin) and there were some farms/farm communities up north, in what by today’s maps would be the Israel/Lebanon border. Otherwise the country was very empty, until after the arrival of the first Zionists, who began cultivating the land and the fall of the ottoman empire; events after which, “Illegal immigrants” began flocking to the land (Arab and Jew) as a result of the new economic oppertunities offered.
3–I have not ever read anything about this, nor have such things ever been reported from the archives of Turkey. So I’m hesitant about believing this–it requires further reserach.
4–It’s true that there were Jewish terror gangs/groups. No one will deny that. Did they cary out ethnic cleansing–NO–that’s a myth. Your likely refering to Dir Yassin, which was a military battle (the Jewish gangs made a point of having kids/women evacuated from the city before the fighting).
For example, this quote:
The Jews never intended to harm the population of the village, but were forced to do so after they encountered fire from the population, which killed the Irgun commander.”
– Yunes Ahmed Assad, a Deir Yassin survivor, Al Urdun (Jordanian Newspaper), April 9, 1953.
As can be seen from the documents in the archives of the state of Israel, and the IDF, there was no plan put into effect to mandate the expulsion of Arabs. infact, the opposite was the case, Ben-Gurion wanted the arabs to stay and make peace. However, this wasn’t the case.
Also, to pre-empt one rebuttle, Benny Morris’ work on the subject has fallen to academic criticism; infact, he has taken back his claims of planned expulsion and now rejects such an idea.
Israel could provide financial restitution to those evicted. But at the same time, what about all the Jews expelled from Arab countries? What about all the Jews deliberately murdered in the pre-state era (e.g. the 1929 riots?)
Take your time in replying…it’s seriously no big deal. (Note: I’m being serious)
As to clarify my earlier point, i wasn’t calling on the palestinians to provide restitution to the Jews who had to flee from other arab/muslim countries. I was saying that it’s not fair to say taht Israel should give restitution to the palestninans, while at the same time, Jews forced out of arab/muslim countries don’t get any restitution.
jaws, I’ll answer back, I just really don’t have time for long debate right at this moment.
As for your last comment on Jewish refugees, I agree with you. It isn’t fair that Jewish refugees have not been compensated by the governments which made them refugees.