THE Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) has condemned a decision to pick Dr Salman Abu Sitta, a Palestinian academic who has likened Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to the Holocaust, to give this year’s Edward Said Memorial Lecture at the University of South Australia.
Abu Sitta, founder and president of Palestine Land Society, a London-based group, is due to speak on “The Right of Return is the Only Key for Peace”, this year’s lecture in memory of Said, a Palestinian-American literary theorist who died in 2003. The lecture has been held annually since 2005 in partnership with the university.
Addressing a 2017 conference in Ireland on “Israel’s right to exist”, Abu Sitta described Israeli policies as “apartheid” and “the most comprehensive ethnic cleansing operation in history”. He added, “There is no moral, legal, demographic, geographic, or historic reason why [Palestinians] cannot return [to Israel proper].”
Earlier this year, he compared US plans to boost the Palestinian economy as akin to Auschwitz guards promising to give inmates two meals a day instead of one.
While in Australia, Abu Sitta will also speak on “BDS for the Right of Return”, at Sydney’s Redfern Town Hall on October 9.
During a 2015 TV interview, Abu Sitta commented, “Only three years after [Auschwitz] was shut down in Europe, this was done again, and by people some of whom had been held in those camps. When I examined the names of the officers who survived, [at] the Israeli detention camps for Palestinians in 1948, I found that they had German names: Sneiderman, Mulseman, and so on. These were some of the most extremist Zionists. They established these detention camps.”
“They would take [Arabs] to the detention camps, where the detainees would be used for forced labour. They would dig trenches for the Israelis, and would transport ammunition, as well as all the loot from Arab homes,” he said.
ADC chair Dvir Abramovich told The AJN, “Why is the University of South Australia offering the bully pulpit to a speaker who has cast Israel as a Nazi state, and who charges that the Palestinians are modern-day Auschwitz inmates enduring a Holocaust at the hands of the Israelis?
“There is nothing more odious and insidious than associating Hitler’s victims with the monstrous perpetrators – a demonising tactic that diminishes the suffering and industrialised extermination of the Shoah.”
Abu Sitta is the author of Compendium Atlas of Palestine 1917-1966, The Atlas of the Return Journey in Arabic, English and Hebrew, and over 300 papers and articles on the Palestinian refugees, and the “right of return”.