A PALESTINIAN American journalist who says ,“The two-state solution as typically expressed is no more than a last-ditch plan to save Zionism” is set to visit Australia next week where he will address a number of public events.
Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the anti-Israel website Electronic Intifada, is due to speak in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
His visit is not without controversy, with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection only granting Abunimah a visa on Wednesday (Australian time).
The delay prompted anger from pro-Palestinians, with Friends of Palestine WA starting a petition calling on the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton to issue a visa to Abunimah.
“The denial of an entry visa to enable Mr Abunimah to speak in Australia about the Israeli occupation of Palestine amounts to a denial of his right to freedom of speech,” the petition, which had 2753 signatures, stated.
It also noted that former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz was granted a visa to address fundraising events for the United Israel Appeal and “defend Israel’s record of military aggression in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including war crimes committed by forces under his command in Gaza”.
On Wednesday Abunimah tweeted: “I’m so grateful to every person who stood up for free speech. Delighted that I just received my visa for Australia. See you Down Under!” He previously stated: “If Australia forces cancellation of my tour by refusing visa, it’s first and foremost an attack on its own citizens’ right to free association.”
Describing Abunimah as a leader and founder of the “loathsome” BDS campaign, Executive Council of Australian Jewry president Robert Goot told The AJN, “Abunimah does not merely engage in ordinary political criticism of Israeli government policies and actions but openly advocates Israel’s liquidation. By denying the identity and right of self-determination of the Jewish people, he promotes anti-Jewish racism.”
Goot added: “His views are repugnant to the inclusive and respectful values that underpin contemporary multicultural Australia, and an insult to fair-minded people everywhere.”
In a 2009 article titled “Why Israel won’t survive”, Abunimah wrote that Israel was founded as a “Jewish state” through the “ethnic cleansing” of Palestine’s non-Jewish majority Arab population.
“It has been maintained in existence only through Western support and constant use of violence to prevent the surviving indigenous population from exercising political rights within the country, or returning from forced exile,” he wrote.
He also said Israel will keep trying – as it has for 60 years – to “massacre Palestinians into submission”, that Israel’s achievement has been to make South Africa’s apartheid leaders look “wise, restrained and humane by comparison”, that the two-state solution is no more than a “slogan” that has “no chance of being implemented or altering the reality of a de facto binational state in Palestine/Israel”, and that supporting Zionism is “not atonement for the Holocaust, but its continuation in spirit”.