Tensions ran high at the USU Monday as controversial historian, Dr. Ilan Pappé, addressed the audience. An Israeli Jew, Pappé takes a strong stance against policies concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
His tour, “Revisiting 1967: The False Paradigm of Parity and Partition” has met substantial resistance across the CSU system, as numerous groups opposed his appearance. Zionist organizations launched a letter writing campaign to try and prevent his lectures across the CSU system.
“Your lack of understanding as a society, as a political body is a main reason for political unrest in Israel and Palestine,” Pappé said when he opened his speech.
Groans crept from some audience members.
According to Malek Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Student Association and A.S. Senator, Interim President, Dr. Harry Hellenbrand sent out an announcement against the opposition of Pappé’s talk.
Hellenbrand demonstrated a “clear and unwavering support for academic freedom,” said David Klein, professor of mathematics.
Opponents of Pappé gathered outside of the building, passing out fliers drafted by the CSUN Students for Israel. The flier questioned his credibility.
The flier quoted Historian Yoav Gelber, and said Pappé “has totally abandoned the academic disguise…and has enlisted the service of Palestinian propaganda in Israel and abroad.”
“Any human being living in Israel has more rights than any other Arab country in the world,” said Adam Paul-Reuven, President of the CSUN Students for Israel.
A woman with a grey bob and a purple sweater spoke to Pappé as a fellow historian.
“He’s not a good historian, he distorts quotes and he has an agenda to destroy the Jewish state. He’s dangerous,” said Dr. Roberta Seid, historian and adjunct UC Irvine professor.
As soon as Pappé began to address her concerns she stormed away from the front of the room.
Pappé’s talk centered around the reevaluation of the mainstream paradigm of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the “peace process” in the region. He said Palestinians are an underrepresented group that aren’t seen as a competent participant in a conflict that they are at the very heart of.
“The peace process becomes an educating process for the ‘less developed’ Palestinian people,” Pappé said.
Reseda resident, Duane Buckley, 69, stood outside wearing a leather jacket adorned in red, white and blue.
“He hates everybody, what more do you want?” Buckley said about Pappé.
Pappé iterated three main assertions that contribute to his proposed false paradigm. The collective false assumptions of the 1967 war conflict, the Palestinian population residing solely in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and if Palestinian representatives disagree to a proposed resolution, the Israelis are justified in offering them less next time they come to the table.
A long line formed quickly after Pappé finished delivering his speech with supporters and opponents alike.
Pappé was called a “self-hating Jew” by a man identifying himself as an Iranian Jew during the Q&A segment.
“This is really an industry of hot air, it has nothing to do with what people are experiencing on the ground,” Pappé said.