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April 1, 2015 10:46 am

Human Rights Group Slams Southampton University Conference on Israel’s Legitimacy, Says Agenda ‘Redolent of Nazism’

avatar by Shiryn Solny

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The front of Avenue Campus, University of Southampton. Photo: Wikipedia.

Major Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center on Monday criticized an upcoming conference to be held at the UK’s Southampton University that questions Israel’s right to exist.

“First, it fails what I call the ‘Preference versus Prejudice Test:’ a preference for an alternative government of Israel is legitimate. A desire for its replacement by a ‘State of Palestine’ reflects a prejudice denying the right of sovereignty to the Jewish people,” the Center’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, said in a letter to the UK university. “Among the 195 member-states of the United Nations, only Israel is so singled out.”

Samuels warned that in holding the event, Southampton University is allowing itself to be “hijacked” by an agenda that implies genocidal malice toward Israel. He said the event also “sets a dangerous precedent for ‘state-nations’ in Africa, Latin America and even Europe” and will aid in the “identity theft of the Jewish narrative,” which he said, according to the European Union Working Definition, “can be described by only one word: ‘Antisemitism.'”

The conference, scheduled to take place April 17-19 , is entitled, “International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism.” The event is described as “unique because it concerns the legitimacy in international law of the Jewish State of Israel. Rather than focusing on Israeli actions in the 1967 Occupied Territories, the conference will focus on exploring themes of Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism; all of which are posed. by Israel’s very nature.”

Samuels said the event is not an academic debate, but rather a political move to delegitimize Israel and “delete from the map the
sovereign state of the Jewish People.” He told the university that this form of denunciation is “redolent of Nazism” and invokes “contemporary nationalist and rightist extremism.” He urged the university to take the appropriate measures to prevent such abuse of “Southampton University’s good name.”

A number of unconfirmed reports on Tuesday stated that the conference had been cancelled in light of the backlash it received. Event organizers released a statement claiming the University of Southampton told them on Monday “that it intends to withdraw its permission to hold the academic conference on International Law and the State of Israel.” However on Tuesday morning, Southampton University said it had yet to make a final decision about the conference and that its status was “under review,” the UK’s The Telegraph reported.

“The University of Southampton is in discussion with the organizers of the conference ‘International Law and the State of Israel’ about the possibility of withdrawing permission for the event to be held on campus,” a spokesperson said. “However, this review process is still ongoing. Any decision will be judged purely on considerations around the health and safety of our staff, students and for the general public.”

Oren Ben-Dor, a professor at the school and one of the event organizers, said the institution’s operating officer told him on Monday that the program would not be allowed to take place, according to The Guardian. Blogger Elder of Ziyon alleged that conference organizers heard about potential security issues at the event and therefore lied about the program being cancelled “in order to help their case.” The event planners also enlisted the anti-Israel publication Electronic Intifada to help spread the false claims, according to the blogger.

“By announcing that the conference was canceled, and coupling that with a threat of legal action, they can force the university to either deny the news outright or to worry about the threats in case they were leaning towards cancellation,” the blogger said. “It also  gives the haters a chance to pressure the university.”

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  • mireille mechoullam

    Oren Ben Dor is the enemy from within who wants to destroy Israel as we know it. He is one of many Jews who are their own enemy. Shame on him.

  • Pierre Elie Mamou

    unfortunately, JStreet is proposing the end of Israel and the Israelies living in the new Aran state as a “protected minority”.

  • Steve Loeb

    Maybe someone will just burn the place down — oh that’s right, this is about Israel and Jews who discuss their grievances like civilized people – perhaps that’s why these silly Anti Israel anti Jewish “discussions” continue to occur and real discussions abut real issues regarding real threats regarding Islam – don’t

  • Lynne T

    I don’t know from Electronic Intifada jumping onto this one although I am sure they would, but MEMO was definitely in there because Ben White is involved with both MEMO and the thugs who were promoting the conference.

  • And these are the future leaders of the world ?
    What a waste, a Shanda their parents wasted money on their education !

  • A war on the streets and the university

    A war on the streets and the university

  • Of the Palestine Mandate about 77% was given to create the Arabic Kingdom of Jordan, leaving 23% for Israel plus a second Arab state. PM Barak and PM Olmert each offered the PLO / PA 96% of the land they requested, but each negotiated agreement ended when the PLO / PA demanded that 4,000,000 Arab refugees be moved inside Irael instead of the proposed Palestinian state, turning Israel itself into an Arab state, in addition to Jordan and Palestine. Abbas has continued with this impossible demand. Not so many years ago almost every US Senator — including Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton — was on the record saying that Jerusalem must be the united capital of Israel.Jerusalem has never been an Arab capital, just as there has never been a sovereign state of Palestine. As far back as the 1905 Jerusalem census there were 40,000 Jews in Jerusalem, 13,000 Christians and 7,000 Muslims.

    • Jack

      To express the issue more purposefully, the reality of the Temple on the Mount’s situation today is the result of criminal chauvinistic Islamic actions, or at least as they should be historically perceived.
      Revisionist political history is often the popular flavor, but never serves anyone any better than the popular flavor that preceded.
      That’s why failing to call the Palestinian position anything other than what it is, which is CRIMINAL, leads to the same old outcomes. DUH!
      The reality is that the organizers of this conference are motivated by hate, pure and simple.
      That they try to blackmail institutions that represent or heuristic beliefs in this way speaks poorly of the school.
      That it has to get so far as to be common public knowledge is even more unfortunate.
      The people that organized this event should be forced to pay the costs of policing, and possibly charged for inciting hate.

  • Leo Toystory

    I question Southampton University’s right to exist. In fact, it definitely has no right to exist. As it has no right to exist it should be cleared away and replaced with something of greater value, like a parking lot.

  • rachel robinson

    Naked anti Semitism dressed in supposedly intellectual discussion. Nothing of the sort, just plain good old Anti-Semitism. They cannot dress this as intellectual that you can dress a piece of sh–t and call it art.

  • *** What Jewish Liberals Fail to Comprehend (part 1): ***

    “As our Evelyn Gordon wrote in a prescient COMMENTARY article published in January 2010, by signaling its willingness to withdraw from some territory, the Israelis did not convince anyone of their good intentions.

    To the contrary, such concessions reinforced the conviction that Israel was a thief in possession of stolen property.

    The reaction from the Palestinians and hostile Europeans was not gratitude for the generosity of the Israelis in giving up land to which they too had a claim, but a demand that it be forced to give up even more.

    Land-for-peace schemes and a belief in two states on the part of Israelis has always led most Palestinians to believe that their goal of forcing the Jews out of the entire country was more realistic, not less so.”


    *** What Jewish Liberals Fail to Comprehend (part 2): ***

    Somali-born Hirsi Ali, age 45, said:

    “…Muslims equate compromise with shame…”


    PS: How does this effect out ability to negotiate with Muslims?

    *** What Jewish Liberals Fail to Comprehend (part 3): ***

    Why Muslims hate Israel?
    (priceless honesty in 1.5 minute video from MEMRI TV)

  • Abbushuki

    The point: Hate speech leads to violence.

    This ‘conference’ by design and purpose is pure hate speech with manufactured facts. It will most likely lead to long term campus violence either from those convinced that Jews are satanic, dehumanized and worthy of immediate destruction as do some of the planned speakers and expected attendees, or from supporters of Jews who, lacking university support, will, in self defense, counter attack rather than cower from the above.

    Individuals and small groups have already taken violent and lethal action against Jews and others in Paris, London, Sweden, Copenhagen and other centers. The threat of campus violence is real and current. It’s one thing to also not care about Israelis or even Jews; it’s another for the university management to not be concerned for the safety and welfare of Southampton U. students. Physical safety long after this hate fest must trump free speech. Ultimately the University shall without question be held directly and expensively liable should even one student be harmed by the outcome.

    The University must also recognize that there are limits to free speech rights, such as causing panic with false alarms.
    In this case, there is no doubt that every point to be made will be false for the purpose of raising an alarm. Those who follow violent forms of religious faith, and many have arrived in the U.K. of late, need only have a thin veneer of justification to become what are called ‘shahid’: suicide bombers or simply Jihadis. To ignore that reality is culpability in any resulting violence.

  • AlanB
  • ric b

    Shame.anti zionism is anti Judaism. If you rent your space to evil people what does it say you are?

  • Divest from the “palestinian authority” and iran

    Divest from the “palestinian authority” and iran