Our story so far:
The University of Pennsylvannia has issued a formal statement distancing itself from the BDS conference scheduled to be held on its campus the first week in February.
In a press release, issued by StandWithUs, conference participant Ali Abunimah from the Electronic Intifada is quoted as saying “Ending the occupation does not solve the problem. The Jews do not view all human beings as equal. The 1948 borders were calculated to harm Christians, Arabs, Palestinians and Muslims.” (Chicago Sabeel Conference, October 7, 2005)."
In a very public Twitter tantrum, Ali takes offense at this quote. Is he retracting his lies? Its hard to tell.
December 24, 2011
Ali Abunimah has denied he ever made the 2005 statement we attributed to him in our recent release about the extremism of speakers scheduled for the upcoming national BDS conference at the University of Pennsylvania in February, 2012. It is unclear which part of the statement he is retracting.
Members of a few organizations, including StandWithUs, the American Jewish Congress, the David Project and others attended the 2005 Sabeel event in Chicago, heard Abunimah’s talk and some took notes on the presentations. Three quarters of the time, the speakers told the audience stories about why they should despise Israel, and in the remaining time, encouraged them to initiate divestment campaigns in their churches. There was another speaker, George Rishmawi, who even told participants that the Israelis have a new gas that slows down the muscles of the Palestinians. These speakers did not support the Jewish and Palestinian national movements. Rather, they opposed the very existence of the Jewish state and wanted to contribute to its destruction through false accusations that lead to campaigns like BDS.
If Mr. Abunimah is retracting the statement attributed to him by those who attended the Sabeel conference in 2005, we welcome his recognition that his remarks are unacceptable and categorize him as an extremist. According to those who attended the Sabeel event, Abunimah is quoted as having said:
“Ending the occupation does not solve the problem. The Jews do not view all human beings as equal. The 1948 borders were calculated to harm Christians, Arabs, Palestinians and Muslims.” (Chicago Sabeel Conference, October 7, 2005).
We would like him to explain how the statement we quoted differs from what he actually said at the time, or why he no longer subscribes to these views.
We hope that Mr. Abunimah also retracts or distances himself from other, similar statements he has made, which are public record, such as:
“.....From its inception, the Zionist movement set out to turn a country where the vast majority of people were not Jewish into a country that gives special rights and privileges to Jews at the expense of non-Jews.....”(5/14/07)
“...In Palestine-Israel, this means abrogating all laws in Israel that systematically privilege Jews and harm non-Jewish citizens....” (10/16/07)
“Zionism’s hatred of diaspora Jews and its desire to see them removed from Europe and other places they live persists to this day.” (12/1/11)
“That is something Zionism shares with anti-Semitism, a disdain for actual Jewish culture and life as it existed.” (12/15/10)
“Supporting Zionism is not atonement for the Holocaust, but its continuation in spirit.” (10/25/10)
“It is precisely this basic insistence on equality that is perceived by Zionists as an existential threat to Israel, undermining its inherently discriminatory foundations which privilege its Jewish citizens over all others.” (12/30/07)
We hope that Mr. Abunimah confirms that he no longer subscribes to these views either.