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Davis, California

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Guest Opinion: Dialogue is not possible with propagandists

“All we want is to talk. All we want is dialogue.”

Everywhere one turns today this is the cant of the powerful. Gaddafi wants to talk to the rebels, to negotiate a ceasefire that allows him to continue to rule Libya uncontested. The Tea Party wants to dialogue with the Democrats so they can negotiate how many elderly people will be forced into poverty and denied health care, how many poor people will no longer have access to Food Stamps, how many unemployed people will have no unemployment insurance and how many young people will have no access to public education.

Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict these calls for dialogue are nothing new. Israeli politicians and Palestinian politicians have been flying to the United States to negotiate peace since the 1970s. As everyone knows 40 years of negotiation has not brought peace.

What has it brought? In Gaza it has brought, most recently, a siege, one which cuts off access to basic medical supplies and even food. It also brought a war in which around 1400 people were killed, at least 400 of them children. In the West Bank it brought the construction of large networks of settlements, connected by Jewish only roads that cut off Palestinians’ access from their community. It also brought the Wall, dubbed a separation fence. This is a mainly concrete wall 26 feet high that, according to the World Bank, will de facto annex 38.8 percent of the land in the West Bank.

All this has occurred at the same time as dialogue.

With a history like this, one can understand being resistant to dialogue.

The headlines recently are filled with great stories of people around the Middle East rebelling against dictatorships, and with horrifying stories of the continuing aftermath of the tsunami and earthquake in Japan. It is only toward the back of the newspaper where one will read that 18 Palestinians in Gaza, 9 of whom are confirmed civilians, have been killed by Israeli bombs recently.

This was the immediate cause of the protest of Akiva Tor’s visit to UC Davis. But this was not the only cause. Tor is a professional shill for Israel – that is the job of a Consul General. He is a propagandist. He is not a scholar, a policy analyst or even someone interested in a good debate. His job, pure and simple, is to propagandize for Israel. To have a debate with him would have been dishonest. We made our position clear on fact sheets handed out both before and after the event. We are more than willing to talk with anyone who wishes to engage with us as equals and to have an honest conversation. We have no wish, however, to be condescended to by propagandists.

The past 40 years of failed negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians – a time in which the Palestinians have made tremendous sacrifices in the failed hope of co-existence, as made apparent due to recently leaked diplomatic documents – shows that, in pursuing peace, a new tactic is necessary. For this reason I, and many of my friends and colleagues in the movement toward a just solution for Israel-Palestine, have signed on to the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (www.pacbi.org), whose mission is to copy the same tactics that helped bring about a solution to Apartheid in South Africa.

Only together can we pursue a just peace for all, but we can only truly work together when we stop letting propaganda stand in for facts, and when we stop believing that people in power speaking down to students constitutes a dialogue.

– Geoffrey Wildanger

Graduate student, art history


  1. Readabook, did the British Mandate for Palestine make the land any more theirs than the South African Act of 1909 make South Africa theirs? Does the occupation by a colonial power really make a land inhabited by local communities not theirs? And under that rationale, was South African Apartheid justifiable because it happened under the auspices of the country’s colonial masters?

    Katie, Jews have no reason to blockade Germany, because Germany has, since the 1950s, had a law on the books allowing for a full right of return to those who fled Nazi Germany and their descendants.

    What I want to know though, is why doesn’t Israel allow the Palestinians in the occupied territories and the larger diaspora that same right of return and full citizenship?

    The simple answer reveals the fundamental flaw of Zionism- allowing this would negate the possibility of a uniquely and predominately Jewish state.

    Unfortunately, in my opinion, the pursuance of an ideology which maintains the necessity of a sovereign state reserved for any particular race, ethnicity or religion is a fundamentally prejudiced goal.

  2. That’s a nonargument. If you want to argue, I suggest you remain calm (all-caps really is not calm, and damn is a cuss word) and stay away from ad hominem. I did not say I know more than you, but I’m sure anyone working for the department of defense as a spy does. Will you please read what I have written before you respond? Otherwise, this is pointless. What I am saying is not ignorant. People who claim the Holocaust did not happen must belong to an incredibly small minority, of which all members are insane. There are Holocaust survivors and children of Holocaust survivors who detest what Israel is doing because it mirrors what the Nazis did to European Jews. I don’t want to drive Jews to the seas. I have Jews in my family. My first love was a Jew. Jews are fine, Jews are great. I won’t make assumptions about an entire group of people based on a shared race or religion. That’s absurd. I want Israelis to stop holding Palestinians in open air prisons. That’s not an extremist view. It is one held by the former Chief of the Bin Laden Issue Station of the CIA, and many other unbiased and knowledgeable people. LOL at Israelis understanding the desire for Palestinians to have a land of their own. The Palestinians have a land that Israelis occupy, where Israelis oppress and humiliate them. When Britain was in what is now Israel, Palestinians were not treated this way. Are you really going to tell me that’s not true? Israelis have continued to annex and occupy Palestinian land, which is illegal. So much of what Israel is doing is black and white. It’s indisputable. UN condemns them. Humanitarian organizations condemn them. They don’t share American interests. Our funding of them is a national security threat. You claim my sources are biased but you have no way of knowing what my sources are.

    I said before that I meant Arab and not Muslim. I do believe that there are far more Jews who stand against Israel than Arabs who stand for Israel. I know of at least 3 very prominent Jewish people (2 of them being a survivor or son of a survivor of the Holocaust, the other a Brit whose mother wanted to move to Israel) who stand very publicly against Israel. There are many more everyday folk (not public figure) Jews against Zionism. Why should Jews displace Palestinians? Go blockade Germany. Arab Muslims have at least a 700 year history of protecting Jews from Christians. If what I am saying is ignorant, then please prove it. There is no motive for me to be biased on this topic.

    Lastly, this whole persecution hogwash has to stop if you want to be taken seriously. I know I addressed it earlier, but really? It’s these delusions that the world is out to get the Jews and wipe them off the planet that brainwash Israelis into delusional ideas about entitlement and the need for “self-defense.” (I know of one Israeli who has publicly realized this.) In the words of Michael Scheuer (former CIA guy): “I hope Israel flourishes. Just not at the price of an American life or an American dollar.” Israel could be fine. Jewish people are fine. Their military actions right now (and since the beginning of their existence)absolutely must be stopped. At the very least, our money should have nothing to do with it. Fight your own “wars,” Israel.

    If you actually read what I wrote and have some arguments that aren’t ad hominem or straw man, awesome. You don’t know if I know more than you and I don’t know if you know more than I do. We obviously don’t know each other– if we did you probably wouldn’t be so bold as to attack me so freely. People who know each other and talk face to face generally show some courtesy, but I guess I can’t assume that you would. I’m assuming most people in the CIA and NSA know more than college students. I don’t know if your ignorance attack is also an attack on my intelligence (doesn’t have to be but I kind of feel like you might be leaning that way). If you believe in grades meaning anything about education level/intelligence, I’m in the top 10% of seniors here. It’s not valid to assume some one’s a dummy because they don’t agree with you. (This is irrelevant I suppose if you really meant strictly to call me ignorant– which I am not.) Would you call Noam Chomsky ignorant? He has the exact same views I do. You may vehemently disagree with him, but no one on this planet with any credentials could argue his ignorance.

  3. 1. You continue to demonstrate your ignorance on the subject.

    “Why are there so many Jews that protest Israel and no Muslims protesting Palestine? ”

    There are tons of Muslims that support Israel and protest Palestinian actions, or rather Hamas actions. Walid Shoebat comes to mind as a speaker who was both Muslim (now Christian) and supports Israel and spoke at this University. The same display that was done by SJP recently was done back then, and I was at that speech.

    2) I didn’t cuss. I used “frelling” which is a standin for the actual thing from a scifi show. I was not hysterical. I used caps to emphasize certain points since there is, to my knowledge, no way to bold or italicize on this forum. Get over it.

    3) Since you admit that Palestine was never an independent state, you must realize that the creation of the country Palestine at all is “bogus” but it is honored by Israelis because they understand the desire to have a land of their own. As for what Britain did that was so unfair… it was their land, they get to do what they want with it. If peace happened before Israel (which it didn’t btw they have been killing each other for centuries) why can’t it continue to exist with both Israel and Palestine?

    Have you ever BEEN to Israel in the first place? Your arguments are so baised and yes based off extremist literature disseminated by people who claim Palestine 1) existed previously 2) to drive the jews to the sea and 3) that the holocaust never existed. You certainly do not know more than I. But you definitely are a fine example of the ignorance produced by this fine university.

    Peace Out. Try to read something other than crap shoved down your throat by biased sources. I’m gonna go do something productive now.


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