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(Ismael Mohamad / United Press International)

Four of five speakers pull out of UNESCO conference honoring Israel’s Peres at University of Connecticut

A “human rights” conference at the University of Connecticut was in disarray after almost all the speakers pulled out. The Hartford Courant reports today:

Four of the five speakers scheduled to address a conference on human rights scheduled for [today] Tuesday at the University of Connecticut canceled Monday, with one of those speakers saying she would not come because the event was honoring Israeli President Shimon Peres.

The Electronic Intifada was the first to report on Sunday that Bahrain rights defender Maryam Al-Khawaja had withdrawn from the UNESCO-sponsored conference that was due to honor her father, political prisoner Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, because the same event is honoring Peres.

“Whilst I am honored that you chose my father, I am also utterly disappointed that you would honor him alongside a person who has been responsible for many human rights violations and should be put on trial, not honored,” Al-Khawaja wrote in an open letter.

The Hartford Courant adds:

It was not immediately clear why the other speakers canceled, but Stephanie Reitz, spokesman for the university said “It’s disappointing. I’m sure they all had a lot of interesting things to share.”

But she said the event would go forward Tuesday with some modification. She said the only speaker scheduled is Peres’ son-in-law and personal physician, Raphael Walden, a vascular surgeon who was chief of surgery at Sheba and has been a visiting professor at Masschusetts General Hospital in Boston.

The other speakers at the 13th Annual UNESCO Chair & Institute of Comparative Human Rights Conference at the University of Connecticut on 23 October, titled “Legacies Of Human Rights Leadership And Struggles” were due to be Akemi Kochiyama-Sardinha, granddaughter and biographer of grassroots civil rights activist Yuri Kochiyama, Samia Nkrumah, daughter of Ghana independence leader Kwame Nkrumah, and Shehrbano Taseer, daughter of Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province who was assassinated in January 2011.

Last night, opponents of the honor to Peres held an alternative event titled “What Legacy of Human Rights Leadership? The Truth About Shimon Peres and Israel/Palestine,” featuring Lenni Brenner, Stanley Heller, and J. Kēhaulani Kauanui.

Stanley Heller, executive director of the Middle East Crisis Committee, told the Courant, “The UNESCO conference is a great idea to honor people who have fought for human rights, but they are making a huge mistake with Shimon Peres.”

Kauanui, a Wesleyan University professor who serves on the Advisory Board of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) said in an email to the Courant, “Peres and the State of Israel are responsible for the violent domination of the Palestinian people through colonialism, occupation, and apartheid. These three prongs of brutal oppression are not only illegal, each is the very antithesis of human rights, democracy and freedom.”

On Monday, PACBI, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, publicly thanked Al-Khawaja for her stance. “From Palestine to Bahrain, we stand with you, firm in the knowledge that only together, supporting each other’s struggles, can we free ourselves,” the statement said.

Comments

and call it what they want, but they look stupid

UNESCO is pandering to Zionistan to placate the USA after admitting Palestine as a state.

Love that name. Suits it to a "t."

When, if ever, will Zionists get the message that their brutal actions speak so loudly we cannot hear what they say?

They are unwelcome in the community of civilized people.

It really says something when the only speaker left is related to Shimon..

He was in charge of the project to develop nuclear weapons for Israel, among many other projects and missions to perpetuate the Zionist agenda. And he was awarded a Noble prize as a peacemaker.?

It is a long-standing tradition that so-called Peace Prize is given to the war criminals and their propaganda shills, from Kissinger to Sakharov. Peres is not much worse both of them, given Sakharov repugnant Zionism.

If you find ways to punish the left in Israel then it may eventually disappear as a viable alternative. While this is the plan of Ali Abunimah and his minyons it is not a plan to promote peace, human rights, freedom and a future for Palestinians in Israel, the West Bank, Gaza or the Diaspora.

Larry Snider means the "left" Zionists? The same who murder and rob Palestinians as much as "right" Zionists, or even more, but call it another names? A "viable alternative", sure.

There are maybe several 100th of anti-Zionist Jewish leftists in Israel. NO ONE here wants to find ways to punish them. But to call the old scoundrel Peres "left in Israel" and "a viable alternative" is a dirty joke.

And "peace" is a code word for Zionists who do not want the end of their colonial enterprise on Palestinian land. Peace means zero without justice, no it means even less then zero - it means Palestinians should shut up and let "the left in Israel" manage the problem - the same left Zionists first had made the problem.