The Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA), we learn from its website,
“is a South Australian not-for-profit organisation, which has as its main aim the promotion of peace and justice in Palestine based on International Law and the relevant UN resolutions.
AFOPA also aims to provide Australians with information about Palestine, its people, its land, its history and culture.
AFOPA raises money for a variety of humanitarian projects in Palestine, including sending medical teams and allied health professionals to work in Palestinian refugee camps, donating medical equipment for clinics and hospitals and providing playground equipment and toys for children.
AFOPA organizes local, national and international speakers to inform Australians about the current issues concerning Palestine. Our flagship annual public event is the Edward Said Memorial Lecture, which is held every year in conjunction with the University of Adelaide, featuring an international speaker of note [Emphasis added].
AFOPA regularly distributes information about human rights abuses in Palestine and provides speakers on Palestinian issues to interested politicians, community groups and others.
AFOPA has been an incorporated Association since 2004 and has many members from all walks of life. We are concerned about human rights for Palestinians and work together to obtain a just peace in the Middle-East.”
All rather innocuous, some might think. If so, think again.
Julie Nathan, Research Officer of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, has detected a darker side to AFOPA than might be suggested by such material. She writes:
“Many supporters of the Palestinian cause claim their support is based on a social justice and antiracism platform. Anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian individuals and organizations often make the claim that they are simply anti-Israel and not anti-Jewish.
However, many of these people and organizations cross the line from legitimate criticism of the State of Israel into outright anti-Semitism….
Videos are another means of propagating anti-Jewish sentiment, conspiracy theories, or similar sinister insinuations about Jews. Such videos, posted on the facebook [sic] site of the Australians Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA), based in Adelaide, include videos entitled “Zionists are a Satan worshiping Cult!,” “Dangers Of A ‘Jewish’ State,” and “The Hitler Speech They Don’t Want You To Hear.”
The first two titles sound anti-Israel, yet the synopsis of the first states: “To help you understand the difference between the “true Israel” and the Synagogue of Satan.” This is the familiar terminology of far-right religious anti- Semitism.
The second video repeats this theme, as it states: “Jewish elitism has permeated every aspect of our nation’s infrastructure….
If this trend continues then a Judaic tyranny never before experienced in American life will dismantle all that Christianity has bequeathed to our once free and prosperous nation.”
The third video claims to be the English translation of a speech by Hitler which blames Roosevelt for WWII and portrays Hitler and the Nazis as innocent and peaceful, which is a standard neo-Nazi theme.
When, for example, AFOPA allows anti-Semitic videos which demonize Jews and sell Hitler as a hero to be posted and kept on their facebook [sic] page, this belies the claim that they are only anti-Israel. It shows, at best, an unacceptable tolerance for those who are deeply and overtly hostile to Jews.
When pro-Palestinian websites, like Australians For Palestine (AFP) and AFOPA, republish articles from overseas which use anti-Semitic language, this only reinforces the negative portrayal of Jews. An example is an article which uses the term “Talmudic rituals.”
This term, a coded expression for attacking Judaism, is used on many Islamic websites such as IslamOnline, and by Arab journalists such as Khalid Amayreh.[Emphasis added]
As one study of anti-Semitism has noted, “The term ‘Talmudic rituals’ used by Amayreh (2009c) and Islam- Online (2009a) in reference to Jews near Al-Aqsa is a coded allusion to some sort of ‘sinister’ Jewish rituals, given that historically the Christian authorities condemned and burned the Talmud as an allegedly sinister Jewish text in an effort to convert the Jews to Christianity” (ADL 2003).In comparison, a less active website, Palestine Solidarity Campaign Melbourne, has the same story but from the Maan News website, where the article contains nothing inflammatory or anti-Semitic. This shows that there are various ways to choose to tell a story and that anti-Israel organizations like AFP and AFOPA have chosen to use and republish articles with anti-Jewish language and content rather than articles that are not anti-Semitic….”
AFOPA, whose members appear to overlap to some extent with the BDS movement in South Australia that regularly stages protests in Adelaide against Seacret cosmetics, mounted, a few months ago, an exhibition entitled “Keys of Hope,” symbolised by a photo of a hand holding a key indicating the so-called Right of Return, at the Migration Museum in Adelaide:
“Keys of Hope is a metaphorical symbol of longing for peace, justice and reconciliation to end the conflict in Palestine….
This exhibition, presented by AFOPA, traces the history, the culture, the people, and the beliefs of Palestinians, from earliest times to the present day. It outlines the displacements of 1948 and the later wars, conflicts and the continuing occupation, finishing with a note on Palestinians in South Australia.”
“The ESML,” we read again here, “is AFOPA’s showpiece event.”
This “showpiece event” (held in memory of the Columbia University professor described in a Guardian article quoted on the University of Adelaide’s website regarding the lecture as “a Christian humanist with a healthy respect for Islam”) has been taking place since 2005, hosted by the University of Adelaide, with Professor Bassam Dally the secretary of the Lecture’s Steering Committee.
We read here:
“The Edward Said Memorial Lecture, ESML, is a University of Adelaide annual public lecture to honour the memory of a path-breaking scholar, courageous advocate, passionate critic and an unfailing humanist, the late Edward Said. The lecture was proposed by the Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA) who are proud sponsors of this lecture….
The lecture is organized by a steering committee made of academics from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, public figures and representatives of AFOPA. The lecture is held every year close to the beginning of October and is delivered by high profile intellectuals who transcend the gap of academia and public discourse.”
Fisk was followed by:
“A one-state solution, in which Israeli Jews and Palestinians would share and live as equals in a single, democratic and secular state is the way to go, I believe. This solution was also championed by Edward Said….
The two-state solution would preclude the possibility of finding justice for those Palestinians and their descendants who were ethnically cleansed from their homes during the creation of Israel in 1948.
“By contrast, a one-state solution would allow those Palestinians who were expelled in 1948 to exercise their moral and legal right to return. It would also grant full and equal citizenship to Palestinians living inside what is today Israel; and it would end the misery of life under military occupation.”
In 2012 by Professor Ilan Pappe (see more here); note that the University of Adelaide’s website quotes John Pilger’s description of Pappe as “‘Israel bravest, most principles and most incisive historian”.
It will be seen that this roll call of speakers includes notorious, incorrigible Israel-bashers.
This year, the lecture will be held not, as is more usual, in September or October, but (can this be mere coincidence?) on 2 November, the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration that is being assailed so vehemently at present by Stephen Sizer and friends in the evident hope of persuading the British government to issue an apology on its centenary in 2017.
Like sponsoring organisation AFOPA, he might be described as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”. As one Middle East-watcher put it privately to me, Barghouti
” gets Brownie points from some people because he opposed corruption in the PA and talks laudably about creating Palestinian civil society etc. To the extent that he seems to advocate a peaceful two-state solution, he is very attractive to many western commentators. But I have heard him speak and watched him in interviews: he blames everything on Israel and THE OCCUPATION, at a drop of a hat invokes insidious apartheid and Nazi analogies such as the Warsaw Ghetto, etc. etc.”
This cautionary attitude towards Barghouti, who was involved in the “Global March to Jerusalem” stunt is borne out by this article here, which begins:
‘Mustafa Barghouti is well known in Palestinian circles as a physician, parliamentarian, and reformer who has campaigned for a robust civil society and the elimination of corruption in the Palestinian Authority. He gained wider attention when he ran in the campaign to succeed Yasser Arafat as PA President and is still spoken of as a likely candidate for that office. Lately, he has been in the news again, making the media rounds as a commentator on the Gaza conflict–most recently, today in two interviews on CNN.
Unfortunately, what he said–above and beyond the usual platitudes about regret for loss of all human life and the ultimate need for a political settlement–was as callous and disingenuous as it was preposterous:
• Israeli politicians have staged this “bloodbath” in order to bolster their chances in the February elections
• as the world’s fourth-largest arms exporter, Israel is using Gaza as a “field for experimenting [sic] their military equipment”
• the ground incursion was “first step of full re-occupation”
• Israel’s government “seems not to consider Palestinians equal human beings,” for “Israel is conducting this terrible war not on[sic] Hamas, but on Palestinian children”
• therefore, “it’s like Warsaw Ghetto” [sic]As if this were not enough, he attributed this bloodlust to Judaism itself, accusing Israel of hypocrisy for attacking on the Sabbath:
“The Jewish religion says you cannot fix your car on Saturday–but you can kill people.”
His anger rises, the façade falls: Yes, those nasty Jews. Not Israel or Zionism (often a euphemism anyway), but “the Jewish religion.” The Jews. ‘
Do read it all.
This post is taken from the award winning ‘Daphne Anson’ Blog