MideastWeb Middle East Web Log
As noted by Engage, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has called for a boycott of Al Quds University in East Jerusalem in response to alleged comments made recently by Sari Nusseibeh, the university's President and translated by MEMRI.
In a television panel with Ahmed Tibi, Nusseibeh said:
A number of right-wing bloggers have characterized these words as antisemitic. According to the heavily cut interview clip Nusseibeh also insisted that Jaffa, Acco and other Israeli cities could or should be annexed to annexed to a Palestinian state. Campus Watch, like ZOA, seems to support a boycott of Al-Quds University and Sari Nusseibeh.
This is not the first time that ZOA and similar organizations have painted Sari Nusseibeh as an enemy of the Jewish State. ZOA reminds us that, according to them,
What they don't tell us is that he was released, because the remarks made on the telephone were apparently harmless, and the arrest was due to over-enthusiasm of the police.
Nor is it the first time that MEMRI has quoted Nusseibeh saying awful things. In 2002, MEMRI interpreted his remarks, and quoted him as saying:
Note that it was actually MEMRI, and not Nusseibeh, who wrote " Professor Nusseibah said that the [signatories'] objections to military operations referred only to operations against civilians within Israel." Nusseibeh simply talked about different sorts of resistance. He also took note of the death of Fares Odeh. According to Palestinian accounts, Odeh was a boy of 15 in Gaza who would stone tanks to annoy soldiers. At the time of the interview, Odeh had been killed, allegedly while pursuing his hobby and nothing more.(See here).
Nusseibeh is in fact much more controversial in Palestinian politics than in Israeli-Palestinian relations, because of his outspoken stands for peace. He has co-initiated and popularized the Ayalon-Nusseibeh agreement calling on Arab Palestinian refugees to give up the 'right' of return to Israel in return for an equitable two state solution. During the hysteria in Britain about academic boycotts of Israel, Nusseibeh led the way in condemning boycotters and calling for dialog and academic freedom. At the height of the suicide bombing attacks, when they were supported by nearly 80% of the Palestinian Arab public, he organized a petition by Palestinian intellectuals calling for an end to suicide bombing. The remark regarding Odeh was made write after this petition was published.
Sari Nusseibeh is a Palestinian Arab, not a Zionist or a Jew. He will not always say things that are pleasing to Israel or Zionists. But his constructive stands on right of return, boycotts and suicide bombings require personal courage. In the Palestinian polity, the positions he has taken are hazardous to one's health. Ingrid Jaradat of the European financed BADIL organization, a refugee group that lobbies for right of return and encourages violence, reminded me at one time that her group considers Nusseibeh to be a traitor. We know what Palestinian Arab society does to traitors. Other groups have made similar remarks about Nusseibeh.
As the latest group of clips appeared to be taken out of context in a heavily edited interview, I asked Sari Nusseibeh for his response. I also asked MEMRI to explain the cut up clips, reminiscent of "Pallywood" practices. Of course, if someone is playing a double game, he or she should be exposed. But the MEMRI quotes, taken out of context, did not provide conclusive evidence of that.
Bloggers who were copied on this letter asked why I was interceding for Sari Nusseibeh. I did it because I think the truth matters. There can be different points of view. But the truth is not infinitely elastic, and all "narratives" are not equal. Establishing the truth is not "pedantry" or "positivist facticity" as post-structuralists argue. It is the basis of correct action and of personal integrity.
MEMRI has not yet responded. Sari Nusseibeh responded to my letter.
Below is the full text of Sari Nusseibeh's letter:
Sari Nusseibeh's question deserves an answer. Of course, without the tape of the full interview, we cannot reach a definitive conclusion, and even then, there will be different "interpretations." Inevitably, there are already some who are insisting, "but he said it," "but he said it," and continue to argue that Nusseibeh's remarks are "anti-Semitic."
Indeed Sari Nusseibeh did say there could be an agreement in which no Jews were allowed to live in a Palestinian state, apparently in a hypothetical context.. And indeed, Yitzhak Rabin said of the Palestinians, "We will break their bones." One can't argue that Rabin didn't say it. Those who continue to say of Nusseibeh, "but he said it," should remember that. There are many other such quotes taken out of context that make people out to be monsters when they are not.
Every leader must speak the language of his people if they want to be persuasive. For a leader like Dr. Nusseibeh, who is trying to popularize the very unpopular ideas of peace based on compromise in Palestinian Arab society, this is especially important. Words and phrases have different meanings and connotations in different societies. Words have a special role in the history and unfolding of the Arab-Israeli conflict (see What's in a word?). "IDF killed a Palestinian terrorist" has a different connotation from, "Israeli Occupation forces martyred a member of the Islamic Jihad resistance group." But they both may refer to the same event. "Jews returned to settle in the Land of Israel," and "European Jews came to colonize Palestine" both refer to the same event.
At MidEastWeb, we found that we cannot even label a map without someone using the label to "prove" that we are pro-Palestinian because we wrote "Occupied territories" over the West Bank, or pro-Zionist if we show the border of the state of Israel at the Jordan river. If we write "West Bank," then Zionist partisans may remind us that this phrase was only invented after World War II by the Transjordanian government. If we call the same areas "Judea and Samaria," then most people will insist that we favor settler Zionism. For Israelis, Fares Odeh was a child who was incited to violence and hate from an early age. For Palestinians, he was a martyr of resistance to the occupation. The same extremists who insist that the hypothetical proposition that there can be no Jews in a Palestinian state, or that Jaffa may be part of that state is racist, are equally vehement in asserting that Ariel should be part of a Jewish state of Israel, and that it is right that no Arabs can live there.
Of course, if MEMRI wish to insist that Sari Nusseibeh really advocates a Judenrien Palestine, they need only to produce the uncut interview with the translation. Thus far, MEMRI has been very strangely silent. They have not responded in any way to numerous requests for clarification. If MEMRI wants to be respected as a source of information and reliable translations of Middle East Media, they owe that much to themselves.
Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000665.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to email@example.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.
Replies: 7 comments
Well stated Ami. It's important for us to appreciate Nusseibeh's efforts for peace and to support him when under attack.
Posted by Ralph Seliger @ 01/07/2008 04:59 PM CST
ok, jews can return to hebron. and all the pals can return to their land in israel, the west bank and gaza.
Posted by scottsoperson @ 03/22/2008 09:32 PM CST
zionist terrorists stole the land of the pals, says benny morris, a zionist historian. perhaps you all have heard of him.
in this case "you all" would zionists for peace.
Posted by scottsoperson @ 03/22/2008 09:34 PM CST
The fairy tale is over.
Obama's pixie dust is wearing off.
A few in the corporate media are finally starting to reveal some details about this man's judgment.
I speak of Obama's long association with his spiritual advisor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Obama says he didn't know Wright was far, far left. While that is hard to believe, it says that Obama is not a very discerning judge of character. And it shows poor judgment for a presidential candidate to allow such an extremist to serve on his campaign.
Rev. Wright says AIDS was created by the US government to kill black people.
"I didn't know about that man, Rev. Wright." Is that what Obama is telling us?
But there is more to come.
Obama's friend, William Ayers, is an unrepentent terrorist.
An Obama fund raiser, Rashid Khalidi, supports terrorists.
Wait till these tidbits come out. Maybe they won't release them till after Obama wins the nomination.
These associations with radicals show that Obama does not yet have the judgment nor the experience to be at the top of the ticket.
Posted by scottsoperson @ 03/22/2008 09:34 PM CST
obama says the pals are suffering...but...uh....it's their own fault.
Posted by scottsoperson @ 03/22/2008 09:35 PM CST
obama says, "the pals are suffering...but...uh....it's their own fault." playing both sides. old style politics.
Posted by scottsoperson @ 03/22/2008 09:36 PM CST
the book of exekial: when you return to israel do not displace those you find living there, especially those with children.
Posted by scottsoperson @ 03/22/2008 09:38 PM CST
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