|Gideon Levy in full flood|
Under the auspices of AFOPA (the Australian Friends of Palestine Association), it's due to take place in Adelaide in late November:
'This year, 2017, marks important anniversaries pertaining to the issue of Palestine. It is the 100 year anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, 100 years of Australian involvement in Palestine, and 50 years of Israeli Occupation. The 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement set the scene by carving up the region into the modern Middle East, and the 1956 Suez Crisis highlighted the geo-political importance of the region. Collectively these significant events have influenced the destiny of the Palestinians and the inhabitants of the region, shaped international and Australian involvement in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
This three-day symposium seeks to examine Palestine and the West: History, Contemporary Realities and Challenges Ahead.
The focus of this academic symposium will be Palestine in the context of the West, and not the West in the context of Palestine. The central theme will be Palestine, its past, present, and its future.
Historical interventions and their impact on Palestinians will set the scene of the theme of this symposium. Experts in the field will examine the impact of these interventions on contemporary realities within the Palestinian territories and among Palestinians wherever they are found. The symposium will examine Palestine in context of the MENA region from both micro and macro levels. It will cover international and regional developments and their impact on Palestinians within the Palestinian territories, within Israel, those exiled or living in neighbouring countries, or the Diaspora. The impact of 50 years of Israeli occupation, or almost 70 years of Palestinian displacement since 1948 will also be addressed.
The challenges ahead for Palestinians and the prospects of a just and peaceful resolution will be discussed, as will possible solutions to resolving this core international conflict.
The Symposium will be inviting a number of Australian and international guests, each scholars or experts in their fields, including:
Mr Gideon Levy, acclaimed journalist with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, who will deliver the keynote annual Edward Said Memorial Lecture;
Dr Mohammed Shtayyeh, member of the PLO Negotiation Team
Dr Peter Slezak, University of New South Wales, Independent Australian Jewish Voices
Dr Ahmad Shboul AM, University of Sydney
Mr Ben White, writer, journalist, researcher and activist
Ms Samah Sabawi, acclaimed Palestinian-Canadian-Australian writer, commentator, playwright and PhD candidate.
Further speakers to be listed as they are confirmed.' [Emphasis added]As reported by Rachel Baxendale in The Australian on 19 July,
'The University of Sydney has distanced itself from a controversial Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions conference being hosted by its Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, after members of the Jewish community labelled the gathering an “anti-Israel hate-fest”.
The department is holding the conference on July 28-29 in conjunction with lobby group Sydney University Staff for BDS and a range of pro-Palestinian organisations. Conference events include a speech on Palestinian rights under Donald Trump by US Campaign for Palestinian Rights executive director Yousef Munayyer, a paper by pro-BDS academic Jake Lynch on the pro-Israel influence in Australia, and a panel discussing anti-Semitism with pro-BDS Jewish speakers Peter Slezak, Marcello Svirsky and Vivienne Porzsolt....
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff said the obsessive focus on BDS by the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies ignored the reality that it does nothing to advance a resolution to the conflict.
...and students take their seats while Hage awaits his cue
“Then there is the irony that the organisers have scheduled a discussion on working with the Jewish community for a Saturday, automatically excluding observant Jews and demonstrating how tokenistic any attempts to understand the Jewish community actually are,” he said.
A spokeswoman for the University of Sydney said the institution was strongly committed to academic freedom and to being a forum for debate on a wide range of issues. “The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions policy is not a university-endorsed policy.”'If you're a glutton for punishment (Professor Ghassan Hage for one is a very boring speaker), you can read and see more about the conference here