“What is your Peace Plan?” they asked Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh. His answer consisted of four words.
On Monday 11 March 2013 Qumsiyeh’s public talk in Stellenbosch started by mentioning his own interwoven family history with ties to people in various cultures and religious groups – including Jewish links.
Mazin is an American citizen. Five years ago he returned to Palestine where he now plays an active role in civil society in addition to his academic career in genetics and zoology.
When asked what his “Peace Plan” is, he said it consists of four words:
HUMAN RIGHTS and INTERNATIONAL LAW.
I couldn’t agree more.
In the end one would hope for HUMAN DIGNITY too.
After his talk at the Faculty of Theology (and the great introductory talk by Bonga Mbenenge and his remarks on human dignity), a few of us accompanied Prof Qumsiyeh to the nearby lush green botanical gardens. What a gift it was to share this day in such great company!
Public broadcaster cancels radio talk:
The next morning Qumsiyeh had an appointment for an interview on SAFM (a South African public radio station that broadcasts nationally), but it was cancelled at the very last minute.
Why? As stated in the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s letter (PSC letter to SABC station manager the Jewish Board of Deputies who first insisted to be part of the discussion in the name of “balance in a sensitive issue” withdrew the evening before the show – and so South Africa’s public broadcaster cancelled the show.
The next morning, Terry Crawford-Browne took Prof Qumsiyeh to the studio. Says Crawford-Browne:
The SABC’s security record for the day will confirm that Mazin Qumsiyeh and I signed in at 08:45. The receptionist’s computer monitor confirmed that Mazin was expected. The sound engineer on duty can confirm that he took us into a studio, and contacted Johannesburg to advise that Mazin was in the studio. He was then hugely embarrassed to tell Mazin that the programme had been cancelled.
To call the matter between Israel and Palestine in need of “balance on a sensitive matter” displays in my opinion either ignorance or a disregard of international law, human rights and the gross violations thereof by Israel in its occupation of Palestine.
Why not give someone from Palestine a voice? Surely the public can phone in and ask any questions they want? I think this was an attempt to silence a strong voice who speaks the reason of inclusion and dignity for all in the Middle East. I am deeply ashamed that my country’s public broadcaster’s decision. In fact, the South African Palestinian Solidarity Campaign called this censorship by the SABC/SAFM:
“unlawful and unconstitutional, violating South Africans’ rights to freedom of expression and access to information.”
See also the PSC Media Statement
Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh (http://qumsiyeh.org/aboutqumsiyeh) is a Palestinian American of Christian background and was raised in Beit Sahour, the biblical Shepherd’s field just outside of Bethlehem, where he continues to live and work.
Mazin now teaches at Bethlehem University and Birzeit University in molecular genetics and other biology related courses. His worthy blog: http://popular-resistance.blogspot.com/ is informative and analytical regarding the Palestine/Israel conflict.
His academic career started with his Ph.D. in Zoology from Texas Tech University. His later training was in genetics and he served as Associate Professor of Genetics and director of cytogenetic services both at Duke University and Yale University. During his 24 years in USA, he served on the faculties of these Universities.
He has traveled extensively in Jordan, Israel/Palestine, North Africa, East Africa, Europe, and America conducting scientific work and research, and has published over 120 scientific papers in areas ranging from Zoology to Genetics and two books: Mammals of the Holy Land and Bats of Egypt.
As an activist with Palestinian liberation movements, Mazin has served on several organizations’ Boards, authored books and published views and commentaries via the Internet and on websites.
Qumsiyeh being arrested in Al-Walaja 6 May 2010*
*The illegal Israeli Wall confiscates fertile Palestinian land (and the livelihood of families) in Al Walaja, a village in the district of Bethlehem. Most Palestinian men have been detained at least once – often for acts such as protests or stone throwing and often without a formal complaint.
13 thoughts on “Qumisyeh’s Peace Plan/ South African public broadcaster cancels interview”
Reblogged this on Kairos Southern Africa and commented:
For those in Stellenbosch and in the Western Cape, please attend this lecture on Monday. On Sunday at 9h30 Prof Mazin will preach at St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town.
Prof. Qumsiyeh is such a remarkable man. I have so looked forward to meeting him one day. Did not know about his visit to South Africa.
And SAFM robs its listeners of the rare opportunity of hearing an interview with him.
Does this mean that SAFM will from now on never again interview a pro-Israel representative without, for the sake of balance, having someone present representing the Palestinian cause?
The prevention of Prof Qumsiyeh from talking on SAFM is an example of the outrageous censorship that mainstream Zionists like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) justifies with the language of “a balanced view of the issue”. In Canada it is now a crime to give a one-sided critique of Israel and Zionism. Judith Butler has written a penetrating analysis of this censorship, which now includes the term “anti-semitic in effect if not in intent”, usually fired off at critics who are clearly not anti-semites (often Jewish critics of Zionism). So if they can’t smear you as a ‘racist’ (Jew-hater) they tag as you as the useful idiot of the Jew-haters.
The recently constituted South Africa Israel Public Affairs Committee (SAIPAC) clearly exerts the same type of pressure on suppressing the open debate about Israel and Zionism in South Africa. This influence is already evident through the cancellation of this and other talks. This pressure has been exerted before the formation of SAIPEC, but expect it to intensify from now on. As with the AIPEC, where money plays a role we should also expect a new corrupting influence on our already money-compromised democratic system.
I think that there is a desperate need by Zionists to suppress discussions about the history of the establishment of the state of Israel and what they are currently doing (e.g. last year’s provoked rocket attack from Gaza and the massive counterattack that left so many dead or seriously injured, the ongoing blockade of Gaza, the forced removal of the Bedouin from their Negev settlements, the ongoing house demolitions in East Jerusalem, etc.). This is in order to prevent the Truth from coming out. The Truth, because it is incontrovertible, is dangerous to oppressors who don’t want it known what they have done in the past and continue to do. Uncovering the truth about Palestinian oppression is a political struggle. There are many truth seekers and we are banding together in a wide variety of campaigns here in South Africa and also internationally, and of course in Israel/Palestine where the struggle against colonialism has been waged for over 60 years. The power to resist this imposition of the Zionist narrative and censor us is growing daily. Long live the struggle for truth and freedom from oppression of all!
It is amazing how Kairos and the PSC distorted the truth without even blinking. I was scheduled to debate (on SAFM) the issue of the Middle East conflict at the request of the SAJBD. So unlike others who peddle this lie from hearsay, I speak from a position of intimate knowledge and involvement.
I did not pull out of this debate and neither did the SAJBD – the cold fact is that Prof Qumsiyeh cancelled citing changed flight details (whatever that meant). I was a mere 5 munites from the studio when I was called and informed of Prof Qumsiyeh’s withdrawal – I even have text messages from the station to prove this!
Why does Kairos mix faith with deliberate lies? Whatever happened to the basic decency of verifying information before sensationally proclaiming it as the absolute truth?
Carol Martin from PSC asked me to post her words as she is currently unable to do so herself: “I personally bought and organized Prof Mazin’s airticket between JBG and Cape Town, so would have known if there was any “change of flight”, as alleged by Mr. Mayekiso. I was informed, the evening before the scheduled 9am interview with SAFM, by an email sent to PSC Chair in the evening that the interview was cancelled. I received that email earlier in the morning, and telephoned Terry CB at around 7:30am to notify him of this cancellation. He and Prof Mazin still proceeded to the studios to challenge why this cancellation occurred. So if Mr. Mayekiso is reading this, he should apologize for the outrageous lie he has perpetuated, about some sort of ‘change in flight’.”
I am staggered by Luba’s lies. I physically drove Mazin to the SABC studios in Sea Point for the programme. We then went into one of the studios to be hooked up to the SABC in Johannesburg preparatory to the programme. Only then did the controller VERY APOLOGETICALLY, after connecting with Johannesburg, confirm that the debate had been cancelled. I subsequently learned that the SABC and South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) in 2007 negotiated veto rights for the SAJBD on any programme relating to Palestine. It is totally scandalous that SAJBD has veto rights on the content of SABC programmes when Palestinians of the calibre of Mazin Qumsiyeh are available to counter the Zionist propaganda machine.
I agreed to debate Luba a week later. I did not wish to be rude to him, but it was blatantly clear to me that he had very, very little knowledge of Palestine, and is simply a stooge for the SAJBD. In fact, I wonder whether he has even been to Palestine?
Luba cites Mazin as having withdrawn because of flight changes. The fact of Mazin’s physical presence in the SABC studios disproves that. Mazin in fact had delayed his return to Palestine in order to participate in the talk show.
Terry, I have engaged with you at other forums such as Parliament and IAW and have a very good idea of what your stance is. Terry, I am unashamedly Biblically orthodox in my belief that Scripture embodies the Word of God. I am unapologetic in my stand with and defence of Israel. I stand with my Jewish brothers and sisters as fellow believers in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I also do not mock God and compare Him to an estate agent (a claim that your good Prof Qumsiyeh made in the same sermon, echoing others in your brood) but simply accept and believe His word. I am happy to state that I am neither an atheist in nor a believer in replacement theology. Please do not feel the compulsion to respond as we know that we stand for very different things but one of us is right and neither of us will change.
Prodly standng with Israel, Luba Mayekiso
Actually Terry, it is you with the most extraordinary imagination and propensity for conspiracy invention that stuns me. Luba is a decent and honest man and you try to trash him as he opposes what you say. As for your conspiracy theory about the SAJBD, I challenge you to prove what you allege in writing for all to see. I am willing to bet you can’t.
The Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies would like to clearly divorce fact and fantasy from fiction. We cannot attest to whether Mr Crawford-Browne did or did not drive Professor Mazin to the SABC studios in Sea Point or what the SABC said or did not say to Ms Martin and others. However, we can attest to the following:
1. On Monday afternoon 11 March, our offices received a phone call from the SABC saying they were hosting Professor Mazin the following morning at 9 am on SAfm and they wanted us to provide someone in Cape Town to go to the SABC studio to debate with Prof Mazin.
2. This was an unsolicited request.
3. We arranged with the producer of the show for Mr Mayikeso to speak.
4. The Executive Director of the Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies, Mr Jacobson, was going to meet Mr Mayikeso at the studio at 8.55 am.
5. At 8.30 am on Tuesday morning, 12 March, the day of the arranged radio debate on SAfm, Mr Mayikeso received an sms from the SABC (which he then forwarded to Mr Jacobson) to inform him that “the other guest has just pulled out due to international flights rescheduling” and the interview had therefore been cancelled.
Given that the debate was scheduled for 09h00, it hardly seems plausible that the SABC would usher Terry into a studio and “hook” him up to Johannesburg a full hour and a half before the show actually starts. The fact is that when Terry and I were there on the rescheduled day, this was done only a few minutes before the start and that is consistent with any other studio.
Supposedly the SABC sent an email to Carol Martin on the evening before the debate to advise her that the show was cancelled (and we are either asked to believe that this cancellation was at our request and we have yet to have sight of this elusive email); is it not rather strange that whilst the SABC called me to arrange and confirm my participation yet somehow we are expected to believe that it failed to send me or the SAJBD a copy of this same cancellation advice on the evening before the show? I only received an SMS shortly after 08h00 from the engineer at the SABC and then I called the studio and they confirmed the cancellation.
Carol Martin’s response: I was not handling the interview arrangements for the interview. The person in charge of that was the PSC Chair who forwarded to me and Terry CB an email notice of cancellation. The email arrived in my box late at night, and I only saw it the next morning, around 7am, on that day of the scheduled interview, which is why I quickly telephone Terry to alert him. FYI, the PSC had sent a letter to SABC requesting an explanation for cancellation.
I ask you, Luba: Do you not also feel discriminated against by this SABC cancellation? Perhaps it was on the basis of our (PSC) protest that SABC was willing to reschedule the interview. Luba: Do you not agree that having an open and intellectually responsible debate on Palestinian/Israeli issues would benefit all of us, and inform the public of the facts at hand about these issues? Do you not think there was outright censorship involved regarding the interview cancellation on 12 March?
I was also a peace monitor with EAPPI in the West Bank in 2011 for three months, during which I was able to spend lengthy visits with Israeli peace for justice groups. Have you had this experience, Luba? We are talking about human rights and international law, here, and ending a military occupation so that peace and justice can be established for ALL (Palestinians and Israelis), and not on biblical references. Your attack on fellow Christians is therefore unwarranted and vicious. Shame on you! ‘Dissenting views’ must also be based on FACTS, not opinions, nor invectives. I am willing to debate with you at any time!
The very reason I drove Mazin to the SABC studios was that I “smelled a rat” and that Mazin would be blamed as a no-show — exactly the stunt that Luba is now trying. Luba, you trash yourself by being party to such antics and by associating with the Zionist lobby. Obviously you and the SAJBD backed out because Mazin “would have eaten you for breakfast.” As I found one week later, you haven’t a clue about Palestine-Israel other than what your puppet-masters have fed you. (Mazin and I arrived at the studios at 8:45 — not one and a half hours before the programme was scheduled).
You self declared champions of democracy, freedom, human rights and justice will happily insult and seek to silence any dissenting view
Since you are so keen to make use of the funds from the World Council of Churches and travel on their sponsored EAPPI and represent this body to further your stance against Israel – I would have hoped that you would have at least felt the compulsion to open the Bible and read it so that you can have a basic understanding of what it actually says. What God has promised will come to pass, either in our lifetime or beyond. That, Terry, is faith. So keep waging this battle in the full knowledge that you shall never taste victory.
Farewell to you Terry and your merry bunch