Qataris Rebuke National Library for Hosting Zionist Journalist

New York Times Journalist, Roger Cohen. (Photo: via Twitter)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

A pro-BDS Qatari group and hundreds of citizens have taken on Qatar National Library for inviting a Zionist intellectual who denies the Palestinian right of return to its inauguration ceremony.

A civil society group known as The Qatar Youth Group Against Normalization urged the management of the newly inaugurated public library not to allow New York Times columnist Roger Cohen participate in a panel discussion on “the difference between false news and media propaganda and misinformation” for upholding Zionist views and rejecting Palestinian rights.

A statement published on their website said:

“Roger believes that the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza have the right to self-determination, but the Palestinian refugees do not have the right of return, perhaps because they are concerned about the ‘the end of Israel as a Jewish state.’ This is not simply a point of view that Cohen has adopted, but rather this constitutes imposing the Zionist narrative and vision by trying to dismiss the resistance and reproduce a misleading narrative about the Palestinian cause.”

The hosting of Cohen was an outrage for Qataris on twitter. The hashtag #لا_لتطبيع_المكتبة_الوطنية, which translates to “No to Qatar National Library’s Normalization”, was used to disapprove the Qatari state’s reception of Cohen.

Mohamed al-Qahtani, a columnist and legal expert, tweeted:

“So the normalizing episode’s continuing on full swing in public and secret while Israel’s persisting to perpetuate the status quo and impose its perspective for peace through establishing settlements non-stop, suffocating Gaza, and using violence against civilians to make political gains”.

Hala Alkuwari, a Qatari citizen with a BA in international politics, tweeted:

“Sadly some officials take pride in receiving this Zionist citing freedom of expression while forgetting our right a people to express our utter refusal to his presence here”.

Noora Al Thani said:

“Openness and belief in freedom of expression in your view means normalizing with a Zionist entity that we don’t recognize as Arabs.. thanks but we don’t want him [here]! And if the National Library claims to be national and represent the Qatari people.. listen to us and enough normalization”.

Patronizingly, while Cohen recognizes the 1948 plight of the Palestinian people being driven out of their land, he mocked the right of return as “Blight of Return” in a 2013 article for New York Times and called the Palestinian claim to this legitimate right under the UN 194 resolution as an “annihilation ambition”.

Cohen appears to be consistently dismissive of the Palestinians’ right of return, which they view as a core issue in their political struggle at the grassroots and diplomatic level.

For a third consecutive Friday, tens of thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been demonstrating as part of the Great Return March, a six-week program of non-violence at five locations along the Gaza’s border with Israel.


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