By Dr. Vacy Vlazna
Prof. Grant Guilford
Wellington, New Zealand.
Dear Vice-Chancellor Grant,
I wish to pay my respects to the Victoria University academics who protested the mendacious talk last week by Israeli soldiers, Raphael Wein and Naftali Gross, who had taken part in the 2014 monstrous Israeli war crime, Operation Protective Edge against Palestinian families sealed in by land, sea and air.
It is outrageous that Victoria University condoned what its decent academics censured as “an exercise in propaganda and apologetics for military violence . . .This meeting gives a platform to [Israeli Defence Force] soldiers for them to celebrate the very conflict that led to such massive Palestinian loss of life” and the mass homelessness, trauma, maiming, unemployment and the grief and suffering that in now daily life in Gaza.
Prof. Grant, I am keen to know how you would justify your allowing the Israeli apologetics event to little 3 year old Hamza Almadani, whose home, while he and his family slept, was hit with an illegal white phosphorus missile fired by military colleagues of Wein and Gross on 25 July 2014.
Or if face to face with Safa, Nabil, Badruddin, Rumba, Mustafa, Yamen, Amal, Achmed , Hussama and Sharif I am curious to know how would you explain the blessing, per se, you gave to the Israeli military that does not see them as human beings and thus can blithely execute the open-fire policy, Dahiya Doctrine and Hannibal Directive against them.
You can’t use the argument for free speech for surely it does not apply to Orwellian newspeak, ‘propaganda and apologetics’ for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Raphael Wein, a foreign fighter from Australia, spoke fluent disinformation. Regarding ‘rockets showering down upon the land and 80 percent of the country under attack’, I suggest you listen to American Jewish intellectual, Norman Finkelstein who thoroughly dismisses the dangers to Israel of the Palestinian resistance rockets,
“How could only one Israeli house have been destroyed and 11 others hit or damaged by a mega barrage of rockets? The obvious, and most plausible, answer is, most of these so-called rockets must have amounted to little more than enhanced fireworks.” (Finkelstein)
And as for “attacks out of the numerous tunnels dug under the Gaza border and into Israeli towns”, Wein belies “compelling evidence, including statements by a senior Israeli army source and an Israeli military analyst, that Hamas fighters exiting the tunnels targeted Israeli soldiers, not civilians” (Finkelstein)
For facts on the quantitative difference between these “fireworks” and Israel’s mighty military arsenal, I suggest you also read Israeli activist, Dr Jeff Halper’s new book, War against the People: Israel, The Palestinians and Global Pacification,
“For the seventh year running, it [Israel] has been named the “most militarized nation in the world” by the 2014 Global Militarisation Index” and “Israel has more military aircraft than any European country and more land-based weapons (tanks, armored vehicles, anti-tank platforms, mobile rocket throwers, self-propelled guns, crew-served mortar weapons and towed artillery pieces) than any European country except Greece.”
Inevitably, despite the disproportionate imbalance, Wein dutifully parroted the Israeli blah-blah of self-defence: “We are not fighting a war in foreign lands, we are not fighting halfway across the world, we are defending ourselves. We are here defending our borders, our towns and our families.”
Well, Israel’s high-tech army, navy, airforce are fighting in a foreign land, Palestine, against poorly armed freedom fighters who have a right to resist the brutal zionist occupation, colonisation and annihilation of their people, their land and their culture.
And as for Naftali Gross’s Hebron fairytale, the dirty truth of Israeli violence in Al Khalil was sanitised by calculated understatement and omission. Gross described how “They would enter houses whilst children and women were sleeping, and he would have to calm down the family while his patrol bound the wrists and covered the eyes of those they wished to arrest”.. no sense here of the terrifying SS-like jackboot havoc as reported by Gerard Horton, a lawyer and co-founder of Military Court Watch. Omitted was the fact that Al Khalil, a Palestinian town on Palestinian land, is terrorised by 600 vicious Jewish zealots that are protected by 2000 military the likes of Gross.
Furthermore, Wein and Gross, are not ordinary civilian holiday-makers as claimed, they are military personnel (reservists). All Israeli citizens, bar few exceptions, after completing their compulsory military service are assigned to reserve duty until exempted at 40 years of age.
And these two soldier-students are on duty as atrocity apologists along with thousands of “paid individuals, often university students, who are hired by the office of the prime minister of Israel to respond quickly and fiercely to anyone daring to criticise the state of Israel and its actions.” (Kuttab)
In realistic contrast to Wein’s false assertion “that Israel never stops believing in peace” is Israeli dissident, Miko Peled’s assertion, “Zionism has created a state that wants nothing to do with peace or reconciliation. The problem is not Benjamin Netanyahu and Lieberman… The problem is that the basic premise on which the Jewish state was founded, Zionism, is flawed.”
One has to wonder, in these days of fiscal cuts, how much of their human decency, values, intellectual integrity and reputation some universities (executives, councils and staff} will cull for zionist funds.
To Victoria University’s 23 remonstrating academics out of 2000 staff, and the 60 plus protestors who disrupted Wein and Gross’s hasbara and lies, I salute you.
Dr. Vacy Vlazna
Justice for Palestine Matters