“For too long, the injustices inbuilt in the Israeli state and the suffering and humiliation of the Palestinian people have been marginalised in discussions of the conflict in that region. After my visits to the Holy Land I wrote about my ongoing bonds and solidarities with the Jewish people and their historic suffering, but I also made clear my feeling that what Israel has done to another people to guarantee its existence and expansion is not justifiable. A true peace can ultimately only be built on justice. Yet the injustice of Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians continues. The attacks on Gaza and the ongoing colonisation projects have made more and more people around the world aware of this, and there is a strong desire to move the situation out of its current impasse. This requires progressive thinking and intellectual engagement. For a small country, Ireland contributed in a big way to the global struggle against apartheid in South Africa. Irish workers, students, activists and intellectuals played important roles in the boycott and solidarity movements. In these challenging times, it is inspiring to see University College Cork leading the way by pushing scholarly analysis forward in pursuit of a just and lasting peace in the Holy Land. I would like to extend my support to the conference and send my best wishes for constructive discussions to all participating in this important event. God bless you.”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
“This conference is both timely and belated, focusing explicitly on the problem of state legitimacy. So often we are asked to base discussions on Palestine on the assumption that the State of Israel is legitimate, but rarely do we have a public chance to break through the pervasive censorship on that issue. This conference offers a public opportunity to examine the meaning of state legitimacy, the history of its establishment in the context of the State of Israel, and the means of justification for the claim and for the critique of the claim. Ideally, a legitimate state is one that opens up for reflection the historical and contemporary mechanisms by which legitimacy is asserted and claimed. Ideally, one should be able to judge whether the claim to legitimacy is legitimate. And yet, open and scholarly reflection on the State of Israel’s claim to legitimacy is subject to censorship, panic, and accusation. This conference frees the life of the mind to consider the historical and conceptual foundations of the claim, the link between state legitimacy and the illegitimate dispossession and occupation in Palestine. This event is timely. It is also past time to start to think together and in public from a range of scholarly perspectives on these important topics.”
“The coming conference on International Law and the State of Israel at University College Cork should be an event of considerable significance, not only with regard to Israel and the Palestinians, but with implications reaching well beyond to related problems and issues throughout much of the world. The conference seeks to explore the relation between, on the one hand, the repression and clear illegalities in the occupied territories and, on the other, the wider context of the fate of Palestinians as a consequence of the foundational principles and the practices of the State of Israel. Exploration of these issues and the challenge they pose to international law and norms is particularly urgent now in the light of the increasing strength of ultranationalist and expansionist forces in Israel, accompanied by the arrival of a new administration in Washington that has declared its support for further Israeli settlement in the occupied territories, in direct violation of Security Council orders, and even possible annexation.”
“As the situation in the Middle East gets ever more dangerous and destructive of human life and dignity, it is more important than ever that we should try to understand how it got to be like this, so that we can search for just solutions. The Israeli /Palestine conflict is one of the root problems; but as people across the world begin to understand the gross Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people, there are more and more attempts to smear anyone who wishes to discuss the problem honestly as anti-Semitic. The University of Southampton has shamed itself in blocking the conference on International Law & the State of Israel organised by such a prominent international and interdisciplinary team. It is great news that it is now to take place in Cork. I hope all people of good will from all sides of the argument will attend.”
The Rt. Hon. Clare Short
“The restoration of this vital conference is a beacon in a world threatened by the bombast of bullies. The taboo of Israel as the great violator of international law is long overdue for open, unfettered discussion – the essence of academic freedom – without pressure from its enforcers and those who give in. The universal struggle for freedom of the Palestinian people deserves nothing less. Congratulations to the University of Cork.”
“Presently we are entering a period wherein it has become acceptable even at the highest political level to speak and write offensive untruths especially about racial groups viewed as undesirable or worse. This regularly involves anti Arab/Muslim invective. Such abuse of the right to free speech has to be countered by a reasoned reaffirmation of the rights of those targeted to explore all violations of the international rule of law by state parties. Any curtailment of this is in itself an obvious further violation. The forthcoming conference in University College Cork offers a timely and essential opportunity for interrogation of the legal constitution and governmental policies of the State of Israel in the context of international law, at what is now a crucial juncture for the reclamation of Palestinian rights and self-determination.”
Michael Mansfield QC
“I strongly support the Conference ‘International Law and the State of Israel.
History does not belong to any one group, state or political project. It belongs to us all. History must be constantly re-examined and analysed; accepted versions should be challenged and accepted interpretations interrogated. In this spirit, the October Revolution will have its one hundreth anniversary marked by being re-told, re-interpreted and re-evaluated. That is how it should be. Why should the founding of Israel be any different?
There are big issues to consider, not least the tragic consequences for those who previously lived in that land. The ethnic cleansing of Palestinians at Israel’s inception, an intended result of the state’s establishment, has marked the history of the region ever since. This conference is all the more urgent given that Israel has continually broken international law with impunity. Why is one state able to defy the rule of law, oppress those it has dispossessed and yet suffer no consequences? In this most complex history there is much that needs to be examined. It is a proper subject for serious academic discourse.
The attacks on universities who wished to hold this conference make it all the more imperative that it should take place. It is the job of universities to defend academic freedom. Shame on those who have bowed to political pressure. Perhaps there is something to hide? May this conference not only succeed but spark a series of such exchanges.”
The above statements are a set of endorsements from a wider list of supporters of the conference whose endorsements will be uploaded on this page soon.