Academics from across the world will gather for three days at Southampton University this April to establish a legal platform from which to discuss Israel’s legitimacy. The controversial summit is led by University of Southampton’s own Ex-Israeli Law Professor, Oren Ben-Dor.
Southampton Law Professor Oren Ben-Dor has long been a critic of Israel, writing variously about alleged apartheid in Israel and how Israel wants to be hated by Palestine. But he may now turn more heads than ever, by heading up an international conference regarding the “problems associated with the creation and nature of the Jewish state itself”.
The conference, taking place April 17th-19th 2015, claims to be “the first of its kind, and constitutes a ground-breaking historical event on the road towards justice and enduring peace in historic Palestine”.
Speakers will include Richard Falk, a former UN advisor who published an antisemitic cartoon depicting a dog wearing the Jewish ‘Kippah’, urinating on lady Justice while chewing bloody bones. Falk has also attributed blame of the Boston bombings to American foreign policy, and accused Israel of genocide. He has been condemned by UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon, as well as the British, American, and Canadian governments.
A conference on Israel’s right to exist has never been conducted on this scale at a British university before.
Israel’s right to exist has long been the line in the sand past which Israeli apologists will not retreat. Most famously in 1977, Prime Minister Menachem Begin gave this speech to the Knesset:
Our right to exist— have you ever heard of such a thing? Would it enter the mind of any Briton or Frenchman, Belgian or Dutchman, Hungarian or Bulgarian, Russian or American, to request for its people recognition of its right to exist?
Predictably, the conference has drawn the Ire of many contemporary Jewish leaders, with the Jewish Leadership Council of Britain’s Chief Exec Simon Johnson saying he is “gravely concerned about this unbalanced, deleglitimising conference, which will have a detrimental impact on cohesiveness”.
The Zionist Federation of Israel also weighed in, calling the conference a “Kangaroo court” and “Illegal”.
The law school of Southampton Uni to hold a kangaroo court arguing Israel's existence is illegal: http://t.co/2GiVg5Uuhb
— Zionist Federation ()
A on Change.org also calling the conference a “Kangaroo court” and a “disgrace” has gathered over 2,000 signatures.
The University has rebuffed calls to cancel the conference, which will go ahead on the 17th-19th April.
Is the conference suitable for this university? Should it go ahead or be cancelled? Let us know in the comments below.