Thursday, September 19, 2013

Don't Mention the (Palestinian) Refugees

Late Night Live presenter, Phillip Adams, never ceases to amaze. The occasion for my flabbergasting this time around came during his interview (Rethinking Foreign Occupation) with the UN's Special Rapporteur on Palestine, Professor Richard Falk, on September 17.

In discussing the Murdoch press-facilitated Israel lobby attack on him, covered in my 12/9/13 post Anatomy of a Beat-Up, the following exchange took place:

Falk: Israel has tried to discredit the UN auspices and those that are charged with trying to report on what's going on in the occupied Palestinian territories, and it's part of what I call a politics of deflection, getting people to think about the messenger rather than the message. They don't attack my substantive analysis, they attack me as the presenter of that.
Adams: And yet you're a fine young Jewish gent, aren't you?
Falk (embarrassed laugh): I wish.

I cannot help but wonder whether Falk actually squirmed with embarrassment at this point. Be that as it may, the "Jewish gent" quip was as nothing compared to what was to come. Falk is speaking:

"[Israel has] pursued this fragmentation of the Palestinian identity. So when you ask who are the Palestinian people, it's not just those living under occupation, it's the minority in Israel, it's the people in Gaza living under Hamas, it's the refugees..."

Then Adams interrupted, quick as a flash, drowning out the word "refugees" with this most bizarre tangent:

"It's the one and a half million Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Turkey and Jordan."

Syrian refugees!!!

Falk must've thought he was talking with a lunatic. He valiantly tried steering Adams back on course:

"Well, in Turkey, they're Syrian refugees, but in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan there are between 2 and 3 million Palestinian refugees who've been living there generation after generation. It's a horrible reality."

Adams was having none of it, however, and retained his grip on the Syrian straw in a desperate bid to avoid being swept onto those dreaded PALESTINIAN REFUGEE rocks:

"In... in... parentheses, Richard, let's look at the broader Middle East for a moment. You've said there's no good endgame to the conflict in Syria. Where's it heading?"

Falk could hardly believe his ears:

"Oh, I didn't hear the last words."

"Where is the conflict in Syria heading?" replied Adams, white as a sheet by the sound of it.

The cognitive dissonance here was positively crackling, capping a sad pattern of same which I've documented on this blog over the years. Adams can grit his teeth and tolerate discussion of Israel's colonization of the West Bank, but any reference to Israel's original sin - the ethnic cleansing of 1948 - elicits a lightning quick change of subject. Clearly, Palestinian refugees are to Adams what garlic is to Dracula.

I can only speculate that, as an old leftie raised on dreams of kibbutz 'socialism', or baloney about making the desert bloom, or some other such zio-colonial fantasy, he finds the fact of Zionist genocide and expulsion in 1948 simply too awful to contemplate.

Feel free to browse my other posts on Adams, and you'll see what I mean. If you've only got time for two, try The Remarkable Mr Adams (9/9/10) and He Just Doesn't Get It (19/9/09).

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