Ilan Pappe, one of the most bitter critics of Israel, has been amply rewarded for his anti-Israeli position. Since 2010 he is Director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies in the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at Exeter University. Under its founder and former head, Professor Tim Nibloc, the Institute received large donations from Arab countries. This largess has continued to date, making Exeter University one of the largest recipients of Arab money in Great Britain.
Unsurprisingly, the Institute has little to say about the collapse of the Arab Spring, the bloody civil war in Syria or the rise of the malevolent Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) which has committed unimaginable atrocities in its quest to create a new Caliphate.
Instead, it is funding Pappe's new conference titled "Conference on Settler Colonialism in Palestine."
According to the outline, the conference will address the following questions: "What is the nature of Israel’s colonisation of Palestine? How does it manifest itself in different political, economic, social, as well as material and ideational arenas? How do settler colonial structures affect different forms of resistance? How are settler colonial narratives articulated (and disarticulated)? How has Israel’s settler colonial project impacted upon Palestine’s social, demographic, political and economic landscapes? How does settler colonialism intersect with global processes such as neo-liberalism, imperialism and war? How does Israeli settler-colonialism relate to the Israeli nation-state building project? How does resistance against the settler colonial regime by the indigenous Palestinian population relate to and articulate itself within/vis-à-vis the Palestinian national struggle?"
Ironically, in 2011 The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) organized a conference titled
Past Is Present: Settler Colonialism in Palestine which stated that "For over a century, Zionism has subjected Palestine and Palestinians to a structural and violent form of destruction, dispossession, land appropriation, and erasure in the pursuit of a new colonial Israeli society. By unearthing the histories and geographies of the Palestinian experience of settler colonialism, this conference does not only chart possibilities for understanding Palestine within comparative settler colonial analyses. Rather, it also seeks to break open frameworks binding Palestine, re-align the Palestinian movement within a universal history of decolonisation, and imagine new possibilities for Palestinian resistance, solidarity and common struggle."
Here is suggestion for the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at Exeter: How about organizing a conference titled "Present is Present" which would discuss current events in the Middle East? Regurgitating colonial grievances is not going to advance our knowledge of some vital contemporary issues.
Here are some suggestions for a conference: How is it that after decades of independence, with the exception of Tunisia, no Arab country has managed to sustain a viable democracy? How is it that, in spite of decades of nation-building, many of the Arab states have devolved into ethno-religious enclaves engaged in bloody warfare? How is it that a group like ISIS can commit some of the most heinous crimes in history, including beheading, burning alive, crucifixion, rape, sexual slavery, among others?
And here is a suggestion for the really intellectually adventuresome at the Institute. How about organizing a conference called "Present is Future" which would try to imagine the political and social conditions of an ISIS led Caliphate?