Genocide scholars pull out of Israel conference

The vice-president of the International Network of Genocide Scholars has pulled out of the group’s conference at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, following appeals by Palestine solidarity campaigners.

BDS South Africa, an organization supporting the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israel, has announced that University of Cape Town professor Mohamed Adhikari had informed it that he has withdrawn his presentation from the conference.

The British genocide scholar Martin Shaw has also announced he is pulling out of the conference, which begins Sunday.

Earlier this week, South Africa’s Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation also withdrew from the conference, citing concerns about Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights.

Shaw, who has held appointments at several European universities, wrote that he had decided to respect a boycott campaign which “offers Palestinians the means of applying peaceful international pressure to Israel to reach an equitable settlement.”

PACBI, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, had urged the International Network of Genocide Scholars to move the conference from Jerusalem because of the complicity of Hebrew University and other Israeli institutions in the occupation and dispossession of Palestinians.

Failing that, Palestinians have called on participants, including the UN’s top adviser on genocide Adama Dieng, to boycott the conference.

At least 270 academics from 19 different countries heeded that call and signed their names to a letter urging conference organizers “to act in a principled way” and relocate the event to another country.

But both INoGS and the UN’s Dieng have ignored the appeals, a stance Shaw criticized.

“I would have respected INoGS’ board more if it had responded publicly to the criticisms of the boycotters,” Shaw wrote, “so that this debate, instead of being brought together in this piece, would have taken place between INoGS and those academics who thought it should not go to Jerusalem.”

“In the midst of this crisis, genocide scholars cannot ignore the call for boycotting Israel which comes, not from those ‘singling out’ or ‘demonizing’ Israel,” Shaw added, “but from those Palestinian organizations which see it as a more potent weapon for justice than rockets, bombs or knives which harm innocent civilians.”

“This is why I am not in Jerusalem,” Shaw concluded.

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And that's really the main reason the usual suspects are getting so upset about it-- I mean, more hysterical then usual, at any rate.

Palestinians have every right to legitimate armed resistance in what's left of Palestine itself-- but the BDS movement is just as crucial in defense of the Palestinian people.

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Gencidaires hosting a conference on Genocide.
Who is presenting the "How to" topic, Bibi?

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.