ANU Palestine Conference Threatened

As members of Byron Friends of Palestine we attended the above conference for an update about the current state of Palestine under Israel’s military occupation and its future prospects.

International law Professor Richard Falk, ex UN Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Professor Jeff Halper, founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) and Research Professor of Global Studies Hilal Elver (co-director of the Project on Global Climate Change, Human Security, and Democracy), led a strong line-up of experts covering education, international law, water resources, health, settlements and settler violence, the movement restrictive pass system, land and housing dispossession, administrative detention (imprisonment without charge), the blockade of Gaza, the effects of the Security/Apartheid Wall and the rights of children.

We were shocked to learn from conference organiser Dr Victoria Mason that she had received threats of disruption and “numerous attacks from those who do not want these issues discussed”.

The Australian newspaper wrote “ANU faces rage over conference: Jewish community objects to mid-east hardliners” and placed an insert in the same article headlined “Bullets and burning towers on Islamic group’s 9/11 fare” (September 11).

Professor Falk commented that we have an obligation to tell the truth as accurately as possible and not be intimidated; it was shocking that truth telling could be construed as anti-semitism.

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