Middle East studies in the News
Mossad Agents Cheered 9/11, Claims American Jewish Academic at Anti-Israel Conference in Ireland [on Joel Kovel, incl. Richard Falk]
by Ruthie Blum
A controversial conference that wrapped up in Ireland on Sunday included 9/11 conspiracy theories, according to live-stream footage from the event.
The three-day conference in Cork — "International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Exceptionalism and Responsibility" – featured academics from various countries, including Israel, who had gathered to call the Jewish state's right to exist into question.
In the question-and-answer period of one of the panels on the third day of the event, which, as The Algemeiner reported, was held at the University College Cork (UCC), American-Jewish professor emeritus Joel Kovel, former Alger Hiss Chair of Social Studies at Bard College and author of Overcoming Zionism, stated: "There are so many facts that aren't known, and then they're lost to memory. Did you know that, as the towers were burning on 9/11...the five painters who were cheering on the process from across the river...were Mossad agents?! And they were arrested and disappeared from the face of the earth."
David Collier of the blog The Great Divide, who attended the event, wrote that this section of Kovel's talk "will no doubt take the headlines, but in truth, his entire speech could be classified as a horrific antisemitic attack." Collier said, as well, that the audience "seemed to appreciate [Kovel's] suggestion that the world is ecologically doomed unless you can remove Israel from the Middle East."
According to the UK's Jewish News, "Palestinian academic Dr. Ghada Kharmi elsewhere provoked controversy by using a Nazi term – 'untermensch' (inferior people) to describe Israel's treatment of Palestinians."
As The Algemeiner reported in December, upon the announcement that the conference would be held at UCC, the university said that while it would not be taking any official part in the event, it would provide space on campus for its final day.
In a separate development, one of two pro-Israel speakers invited to the conference, which began March 31, backed out after learning that former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Richard Falk – co-author of a widely criticized report released last month by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, which called Israel an apartheid regime — was invited to deliver the keynote address.
Professor Alan Johnson, senior research fellow at the Britain Israel Communications & Research Center (BICOM), said in a statement, "I had agreed to participate in an academic conference to present a paper in defense of Israel's right to exist. But by inviting a speaker who espouses antisemitic conspiracy theories the conference is now objectively an attempt to normalize antisemitism and I cannot attend such an event."
"International Law and the State of Israel" was originally scheduled to take place last year at the University of Southampton in Britain, but the school rescinded its invitation after it came under a barrage of criticism.
Watch footage of Kovel's remarks below:Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
Campus Watch contact e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org