Invitation to public talks: Illan Pappe in Stellenbosch, Cape Town, Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Johannesburg

“Myths and Truths about the Land of Israel”

– by two Jewish scholars: Prof Illan Pappe & Dr. Heidi Grunebaum:

ilan-pappe-200 heidi

Thursday, 31 July 2014
Room 222, Arts Building, c/o Merriman and Ryneveldt Streets, Stellenbosch

18:00 – Public Lectures/ Discussion
19:30 – Soup, Bread & Drinks + book and dvd sales.

Please RSVP by 30 July to

This invitation to courageous conversations with two highly respected Jewish scholars on Israel/Palestine will be hosted by Stellenbosch University’s Sociology and Social Anthropology Department, Kairos Southern Africa and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) Stellenbosch on invitation of Muslim Views who is responsible for the South African tour.

For Prof Pappe’s schedule in the other South African cities, click here:
Pappe Programme – Public Sheet1

Background to the topic in Stellenbosch

The Israel-Palestine conflict is often viewed as so complex that no-one seems to know how it started or how to go forward. Such views lead to feelings of hopelessness and inertia and play into the hand of Zionist myths. The discussion will uncover myths such as “Palestine was a land without a people”, “Israel is about to be pushed into the sea”, “Israel wants peace for all” and “the exodus of Palestinian refugees in 1948 was a voluntary mass relocation” as portrayed by Jewish and Christian Zionist ideology.

These myths need to be uncovered not only for scholarly reasons or because it’s interesting. Amongst other, social relations and particularly the role of South Africa in either perpetuating the oppression of another people through our myths and ignorance or acting in solidarity, demand clarity.

The event offers the opportunity to reflect critically on common myths to advance an understanding of the historical political domination of the Palestinian People by the State of Israel.

More about the speakers

In the 1980s, a group of Israeli historians challenged the traditional Zionist view of the events leading up to and including the 1948 Declaration and War of Independence.

pappe2Prof. Pappe is one of these historians who argue that the violence and war crimes that accompanied the transfer of the Palestinian population to the West Bank and Gaza was a conscious strategy for ethnic cleansing. He is an Israeli historian from the College of Social Sciences and International Studies, Director of European Centre for Palestine Studies, and Co-director of the Centre for Ethno-Political Studies, University of Exeter, UK.

Dr. Heidi Grunebaum is a scholar, writer and senior researcher at the Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape. Her work focuses on memory and trauma; the afterlives of war and genocide; and psycho-geographies of displacement in South Africa, Germany and, more recently, Palestine/Israel. Her exploration mirrors that of Prof. Pappe through challenging the dominant mainstream Zionist myths.


About PSC Stellenbosch and Kairos Southern Africa

PSC Stellenbosch is a group of people drawn together out of its concern for the human rights violations by Israel over the Palestinian people. Kairos Southern Africa is an ecumenical voice from within the Christian community, inspired by the contextual and liberation theology tabled in the 1985 South African Kairos document. Both PSC Stellenbosch and Kairos South Africa support the Palestinian peoples’ right to self-determination, oppose Israel’s systematic violation of the human rights of Palestinians, endorse the human rights and the dignity of both Israelis and Palestinians and join with like-minded others to work towards a sustainable, just peace based on international law.

Previous events hosted by PSC Stellenbosch and Kairos SA include the showing of three films on Israel/Palestine, as well as addresses by Israeli author Miko Peled and Dr. Mitri Raheb, a Christian Palestinian theologian.

We look forward to welcoming you on 31 July.

Please RSVP by 30 July to

For Prof Pappe’s schedule in the other South African venues, click here:
Pappe Programme – Public Sheet1


New Film Peels Layers of Truth: Invitation, Cape Town

You are invited to a screening of and conversation on The Village Under the Forest at 6.30pm on Tuesday, 8 April at Hiddingh Campus, UCT. It is part of St Georges Cathedral, District Six Museum and Michaelis School of Fine Arts series of conversations “Victim: No Resurrection?”


I used to be convinced that I cannot direct reality and I was very sure that I was right.  Life happens…people fall ill and die, nature creates havoc and nations are at war. 


But how do we remember things? This is one of the questions a new documentary asks. What if we (as individuals and as humanity) are accountable for how we shape the past, the present and the future….and how we define “truth”? 



A brilliant new film on Israel/Palestine offers so much more than excellent information from an intimate perspective. Besides winning the Audience Award for Best South African film in 2013 at Encounters South African International Documentary Festival, the film leads perceptions on Israel-Palestine away from division and towards hope. 

It is the story of a South African Jewish woman told bravely and without trampling on the humanity of anyone.   I have seen many great films on Israel-Palestine, but this one offers a perspective we urgently need.  It is a film that should be seen by all South Africans, by all Jewish people, and by the international community.


The Village Under the Forest is about making sense, and about finding meaning and a way forward.  It reflects inner strength and compels the viewer to ask his or her own questions.

On a symbolic level, we all walk through our own “forests” in life.  In this film, there is a real forest of trees – but not a natural one.  It is one that was deliberately planted to hide the remains of the Palestinian village of Lubya.  Lubya was one of the more than 500 Palestinian villages destroyed by Israel in 1948.

refugees near tulkarem, summer 1948

The purposefully cultivated plantation called South Africa Forest attempts to hide the past in the name of green ecology.  But now it is revealed for all to see.

The intimately personal perspective combined with scholarly input from Israelis raise questions on how we (as individuals and as members of a global society) deal with our own “forests” – and this one.

sa forest

In the words of Director and Emmy-winner Mark J Kaplan and the writer and narrator Heidi Grunebaum:

By using the forest and the village ruins as metaphors, the film explores themes related to the erasure and persistence of memory. Moreover, the film imagines a future in which dignity, acknowledgement and co-habitation become shared possibilities in Israel/Palestine.

View the trailer here.

According to BDS South Africa,

(t)he film also explores the role of the controversial Israeli-parastatal, the Jewish National Fund (JNF), in building a forest (the “South Africa Forest“) over the Israeli-destroyed Palestinian village of Lubya. Israel and its supporters celebrates the JNF for its forest building work, however, human rights activists critisize the JNF for its involvement in the Israeli oppression and “ethnic-cleansing” against the indigenous Palestinian people, and specifically the construction of forests above Israeli-destroyed Palestinian villages in an attempt to erase all traces of Palestinian life. (See also the Mail&Guardian newspaper review).

After watching The Village Under The Forest, Ismail Coovadia, South Africa’s former ambassador to Israel, announced he will be returning the Jewish National Fund certificate he received and requesting that the trees the JNF planted in his name be removed. The story’s been covered all over the world, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Electronic Intifada.