The main theme of the lectures was the need to challenge widely-accepted Zionist history and ideology which creates a ‘misinformed, conditioned and even brainwashed public’ in Israel and across the world. By highlighting the daily human rights abuses that Palestinians face, a more active citizenship -which could pressure government into making policies which support the Palestinian cause – would surely emerge. Therefore, the path to Palestinian liberation is the liberation of history which acknowledges Israel’s utter refusal to recognise Palestinian rights to self-government and sovereignty.
Alan Hart, author of “Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews”, emphasised the need to question the portrayal of Israel as a ‘victim’ of Arab terrorism whose existence is under threat. As Hart goes onto point out, Israel is in fact the major threat to peace in the region. Ilan Pappe supported this stance stating that Israel is careful about using the rights word and maintaining its victim image which creates a fearful Israeli populace who are willing to accept their leader’s lies. This gap between the representation of Israel in contrast to the reality of politics on the ground needs to be revealed. Pappe uses the Israeli policy of ethnic cleansing and apartheid to illustrate this contradiction, as the policy was formulated and documented in government archives in 1967 but was later justified as a ‘reaction’ to Palestinian violence.
The policy of ethnic cleansing was formulated for the occupied territories as an alternative strategy after the mass expulsion of Palestinians that occurred in 1948. However, if you keep a people and their land but control their borders, water, air and security then what you have effectively created is a “Mega-Prison”. If the populace ‘behaves’ and doesn’t resist, then they are granted certain privileges and autonomy within the prison walls. However if there is any opposition then Israel reverts back to high security and holds the people siege as it has done in Gaza. Israel has been able to operate this policy with full Western support and US-backing and without any consideration for the international community.
Yet this won’t and can’t continue indefinitely. There is a wider feeling that there is a gradual change in general public opinion which questions Israel’s policies and justification, both in Israel and within the wider international community. Many are now starting to see beyond the PR-Spin, hot air and lies that the media and Israeli state spew out. They want an end to the injustice of apartheid and demolition of the prison walls of Palestinian occupation.