30 juni – Silencing critical voices : how Israel lobbies make it harder to speak up against Israel’s policies

Peter Beinart

Thursday 30 June 2022, 19:30-21:30 (Doors open at 19:00)

Location: Pakhuis de Zwijger, fifth floor, IJ-zaal (Piet Heinkade 179, Amsterdam)

Entrance is free. To attend the discussion please register by sending
an email to info@leonhardwoltjer-stichting.nl.

Israel lobbies have made a habit of trying to silence critics of Israel’s policies of oppression, eviction and apartheid vis-à-vis the Palestinians. One silencing tactic consists of intimidating outspoken critics by slandering them as antisemites and calling them other bad names until they lose their credibility and podium. To avoid such a hostile treatment critics might self-censor or take a safe “evenhanded” or agnostic stance on who is to blame for the conflict. Another known tactic of Israel lobbies is to cancel and stifle public discussion about Israel’s policies by lamenting that such discussion makes the Jewish community “feel unsafe”.

This evening we will take a closer look at how silencing tactics could lead to a “shrinking” public space in which it is becoming increasingly difficult for people and organizations to voice their concerns openly and safely and develop a shared and nuanced understanding of how a just settlement of the conflict can be reached. We have three discussion rounds:

1. Peter Beinart, a professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York, will discuss (online) what silencing means more specifically, the various forms it can take, and how detrimental it can be for democratic values and critical discussion.

2. Alice Garcia will provide a broad overview of the most notable silencing cases from 2015 to 2020 in the Netherlands on the basis of a prolonged research projectthat she and her colleagues conducted at the European Legal Support Center (ELSC).

 3. Layla Kattermann and Itaï van de Wal will zoom in on an extreme recent silencing case in the Dutch context, which was the attempt to frustrate a legal request of information (“WOB-verzoek”, based on the Dutch Freedom of Information Act) about Dutch-Israeli academic ties.

The discussion will be moderated by Dina Zbeidy. She is an anthropologist at Leiden University of Applied Sciences and LWS board member.

Language of communication: English

This event is organized by the Leonhard-Woltjer Stichting (LWS) and Een Ander Joods Geluid (A Different Jewish Voice).