Activism and BDS Beat 5 March 2018
Activists walked out of a lecture by Alan Dershowitz in Doha on Sunday, chanting “Zionists are not welcome here.”Dershowitz, for decades a Harvard law professor, is one of the most prominent pro-Israel propagandists in the United States. He has a long record of justifying attacks on Palestinians, including accusing them of using their children as “human shields” so they can be killed in order to embarrass Israel.
Dershowitz has attacked President Barack Obama for refusing to veto a December 2016 UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank.
He also urged Donald Trump to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy there – steps Obama’s successor in the White House took in the face of global opposition and condemnation.
Dershowitz’s lecture, titled “Law and Media,” was held at the Northwestern University Qatar campus.
The event was not publicized and was only announced through an email to students at Education City, a vast campus housing that Qatar franchises of half a dozen prestigious US universities – Northwestern, Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, Georgetown, Texas A&M and Virginia Commonwealth – and several European institutions.
Founded by former Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the multi-billion dollar Education City is operated by the Qatar Foundation.
Each year the US universities there receive hefty subsidies from the Qatari government totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.
Northwestern distanced itself from the event in a follow-up email. It stated that the university “is not hosting or sponsoring the lecture by Professor Dershowitz,” but rather that it was being sponsored by the Qatar Foundation in a Northwestern University auditorium.
The university added that an email from the Qatar Foundation stated “mistakenly” that Northwestern was hosting the event.
The activist group Qatar Youth Opposed to Normalization denounced the event on Twitter and called for accountability from those responsible.An attendee who requested anonymity told The Electronic Intifada that Qatari police in civilian clothes were present at the event, monitoring and harassing students who filmed the walk-out.
According to the attendee, Dershowitz accused students who walked out of censoring him.
When asked by a student if he believed in the protection of minorities over free speech, Dershowitz responded by saying that “in Qatar, Zionists are a minority,” and in that case he does.
Dershowitz used his presence in Qatar to push anti-Palestinian talking points he has repeated for years, including blaming Palestinians for the failure of every peace initiative. “They have never missed a chance to say no,” Dershowitz claimed.
He also asserted that Israel has killed fewer people than any other nation in the world.
Students and activists took to twitter to express their opposition to Qatar’s normalization with Israel, using the Arabic hashtag, “do not defile Qatar with normalization.”
Israel lobby in Qatar
In the email invitation, Dershowitz was introduced as a “vocal supporter of Qatar” who has been “speaking out publicly about the illegitimacy of the blockade against the country.”
After an earlier trip to Doha in January, Dershowitz sympathetically compared the wealthy emirate to Israel, as a state “surrounded by enemies, subject to boycotts and unrealistic demands, and struggling for its survival” in the face of isolation by its neighbors led by Saudi Arabia.
The Qatari government has been inviting rightwing Americans and key leaders of Israel’s Washington lobby for all-expenses-paid junkets to Doha, including Dershowitz and the head of the Zionist Organization of America Morton Klein.
Influential anti-Palestinian propagandists have returned to the US to sing Qatar’s praises.
Some have even claimed that Qatari officials promised them to suppress an undercover investigative documentary filmed by Al Jazeera, which is similar to a film that last year cast light on the underhanded activities of British groups tied to Israel.
Qatar has denied those claims.
What does the Al Jazeera documentary reveal?
On Monday, The Electronic Intifada exclusively revealed that the documentary will expose groups working covertly with Israel to spy on, smear and intimidate US citizens who support Palestinian rights.
It has been five months since the network’s chief investigative reporter Clayton Swisher announced that the documentary would be shown “very soon,” but it has yet to be aired.
Whether the film airs or not, there’s no doubt that Qatar’s broader PR campaign has paid off.
Qatar-US ties have already warmed up considerably.
In February, Al Jazeera’s Arabic channel hosted Israeli military spokesperson Avichay Adraee onto its primetime debate program The Opposite Direction.
Leading up to his appearance, Adraee tweeted that he planned to tell “viewers in the Middle East that wherever there’s corruption and evil, we find the hands of Iran.”
Al Jazeera came under strong criticism from observers who called this another form of normalization with Israel.
- Qatar Foundation
- Qatar Youth Opposed to Normalization (QAYON)
- Alan Dershowitz
- Morton Klein
- Northwestern University in Qatar
- Israel Lobby
- Education City
- Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani
- Al Jazeera
- Al Jazeera America
- Al Jazeera English
- Clayton Swisher
- Arab normalization
- Qatar normalization
- Avichay Adraee
- The Opposite Direction
- The Lobby--USA
The only occupation
Permalink Alee replied on
This is 21 century what the hell on earth an occupation continues for more than 7 decades whots the reason if UN and other international bodies why no one cud do something?
What is even harder to
Permalink Katerina Osatenko replied on
What is even harder to stomach is the outrageous ramping up of war cries against Iran, all manipulated by the Lobbies and the Israelis, who get a free pass in all the MSM and from the White House, Britain, Canada etc. Utter insanity that in today's world the principles of propaganda laid down by Edward Bernays a hundred years ago still work among our makers of policy and declarers of war. Rudimentary, Watson.
What will it take to tear down the facade and reveal the ugly and cruel greed? Kudos to those brave students who made a stand. Another slap. Amazing what people can be led to believe, especially when they are enslaved and spending all their time keeping the bankers from their doors.
Get it out there!
Permalink Cassander replied on
We somehow need to pressure Al Jazeera to release that documentary, very important that it gets out. Whoever is reading this, if you can do anything to influence that do so! (Even if a simple email or petition)
Permalink Sean Breathnach replied on
Alan Dershowitz and Mark Regev, two fine propagandists for apartheid Israel. Qatar is making a big mistake, after years of support for the Palestinians. Like the US unconditional support for Israel, no matter what atrocities they commit against the Palestinian population, the US has the UN in a headlock. Virtually every resolution the UN comes up with to condemn Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza open prison, the US vetoes. I'm afraid that the UN is impotent and drastically needs to be re-invented. "A criticism of the Security Council involves the veto power of the five permanent members. As it stands, a veto from any of the permanent members can halt any possible action the Council may take. One country's objection, rather than the opinions of a majority of countries, may cripple any possible UN armed or diplomatic response to a crisis. For instance, John J. Mearsheimer claimed that "since 1982, the US has vetoed 32 Security Council resolutions critical of Israel, more than the total number of vetoes cast by all the other Security Council members."
Normalizing with the deadly enemy of all decent human beings
Permalink Taher H. Kanaan, Ph.D. (Cantab.) replied on
It is shameful for any truly independent country which cherish human rights and humanistic values to give platform to criminal zionists such as Dershovitz to spread their venom and defend the racist state of Israel that continues to occupy and colonize Arab and Palestinian lands and persecute and oppress Palestinian children. Algezira has long ago lost respect of all decent audience because of its extreme prejudice and of fraternizing with the Zionist enemy.
Permalink Sean Breathnach replied on
In my opinion, you are completely wrong, Al Jazeera is in the top 10 tv channels in the world, for in depth unbiased analysis of world affairs.
Dershowitz at Qatar
Permalink Paul Schaefer replied on
Dershowitz's chief claim to fame is his defense of OJ Simpson, who murdered his wife and her boyfriend. Since then, he's been nothing but a nattering nabob of Zionism, a nasty little man who I would love to introduce to some of the animals in my barn!