Mechanisms of Denial

A couple of weeks ago I discussed an event I attended at ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ at the University of Toronto.

One of the speakers at that event was Ilan Pappe, who I interviewed the following day. The interview is published on ZNet. Check it out.


A couple of weeks ago I discussed an event I attended at ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ at the University of Toronto.

One of the speakers at that event was Ilan Pappe, who I interviewed the following day. The interview is published on ZNet. Check it out.

Also, because it’s mentioned in the interview, I wanted to call your attention to an excellent blog post by David Peterson about the foray of the Ward Churchill flap from an attack on freedom of speech and into good old-fashioned 19th century scientific racism. I have no idea how far back these retrogrades want to go…

Justin Podur

Author: Justin Podur

Author of Siegebreakers. Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction. Teach at York U's FES. Author. Writer at ZNet, TeleSUR, AlterNet, Ricochet, and the Independent Media Institute.

3 thoughts on “Mechanisms of Denial”

  1. Except that Pappe’s got a
    Except that Pappe’s got a problem with the truth.

    1. He is not the only guy in Israel who teaches about the dispossession of the Palestinians in 1948. That’s nonsense. Benny Morris far precedes him, and I’m sure many Israeli universities have someone who covers the issue from a radical viewpoint. I wonder how many Arab universities teach a course about the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Arab states in the 1940s and 1950s?

    2. No one in Israel or any other country is going to support a guy who calls for the dismantling of his country. If someone called for the dismantling of Canada because it displaced the Indians, no one would take him very seriously. Now think of what people in Canada would think if Canada’s national security and sovereignty were truly threatened.

    3. All his blather about being expelled for politics is nonsense. Neve Gordon is as extreme as he is. He was not expelled from Ben-Gurion U. Benny Morris was for many years thought of as having the same politics, and was never expelled. Tanya Reinhardt has not lost her job to my knowledge. Israeli universities have more than their fair share of radical academics. So there is no movement in Israel to restrict radical thought or dissident voices. Pappe is just frustrated that more people don’t think like him, and he uses false accusations of censorship to gain support for his political cause.

  2. Michael, your three comments
    Michael, your three comments seem unrelated and irrelevant to the points made in the interview.

    It would be uncharitable of me to suggest that a response like yours proves Pappe’s point about denial.

    At any rate, Benny Morris as I assume you know couldn’t be more different from Pappe politically. As for Neve and Tanya, all you’ve done is made a point about how tokenism works. The ‘special disciplinary tribunal’ and Teddy Katz’s expulsion suggest that you are quite wrong – that Pappe is taken quite seriously indeed. And should be. Pappe’s book, which I’ve just started reading, is very good, very serious, and has got no ‘problem with the truth’ that I can see. Of course, why should you trust me? You’ll have to make up your own mind about what sources are credible and what sources are not, and why. If being ‘frustrated that more people don’t think like him’, or thinking that a reckoning with the dispossession and genocide against the indigenous people of the Americas is necessary and urgent, is enough to disqualify a source, believe me Michael, you shouldn’t trust anything I write. As for your own credibility, you might consider your own standards of evidence for calling a claim “nonsense” – the fact that you’re “sure” many Israeli universities have courses on the Nakba. Even if you’re right, that doesn’t affect any of the points Pappe’s trying to make. In fact your whole post is a distraction from the real issue – the ongoing dispossession, colonization, and murder of the Palestinians by Israel and the United States, and facilitated by denial.

  3. Just wanted to add a little
    Just wanted to add a little anecdote with respect to the politics of denial noted by Pappe that are practiced in Israel. It’s interesting to note that on stretches of the Apartheid wall/seperation barrier one can find murals of landscapes on the Israeli side of the wall in which the Palestinian villages that the wall obscures are completely wiped out. I’ve seen examples of this in the settlement of Gilo and along the highway linking west Jerusalem to settlements in occupied East Jerusalem. It’s a small but symbolic form of what Leena Dhalesh, from the Alternative Information Center, has called “the Zionist fantasy of erasing the Palestinians from this land.”

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