Readers will probably remember the Israel – or rather anti-Israel – conference which was due to be held at Southampton University back in 2015. I was inclined to oppose cancelling the conference, but others thought it should not go ahead. In the end the conference was cancelled in rather confusing and, to my mind, unsatisfactory, circumstances.
It was recently announced that the conference would be held in a new venue – Cork University. Last month it looked as though it might be cancelled yet again, but now it seems to be going ahead as planned.
One of the biggest problem with this conference – in both iterations – is the involvement of Oren Ben Dor on the organising committee. In the bizarre article I discuss here, he demonstrates the intersection between antizionism and antisemitism – although of course many antizionists find his ideas equally disturbing.
Another member of the organising committee – the full list is here – has recently set some alarm bells ringing through his efforts to publicise the event.
Here’s a taste of the views of some of those he thought – presumably through interacting with them in the past – would be interested in the event.
Now, the organiser has distanced himself from these views.
But – why on earth did he think these were appropriate people to be alerted to his academic conference on Israel? In the case of one of these accounts, it really does seem to have been simply careless, as his only previous interaction had been to chide them for an linking to an antisemitic site.
But given that he is highly aware of the controversial nature of this conference, and the desirability of distancing the event from the charge of antisemitism, you’d think he’d have been a bit more careful.
Finally, a couple of related items – first here’s a link to an interesting draft of a definition of antisemitism prepared by a pro-Palestinian activist who is keen to counter antisemitism in his networks. And – in case you missed it – here’s an account of the appalling anti-semitic postings of a former Labour PPC, John Clarke.