My impression from the entire interview is not so much that he is maliciously against Israel as he is brainwashed from his academic forebears. He strives so mightily to be "even handed" that he completely loses his sense of morality, equating Israeli actions aimed at terrorists to suicide bombs aimed at children.
He is speaking at an anti-war, anti-Bush group, which the newspaper could have mentioned a bit more clearly.
Interestingly, his academic profile says that his specialty is the Jewish population of Algeria during French Colonial rule, which actually sounds interesting. I'm not sure what to make of his love of "classical Arabic music."
If you’re looking for a better understanding of the Israeli-Arab/Palestinian conflict then University of Wisconsin-Parkside historian Nathan Godley’s presentation on the topic is a must.And this is a history teacher.
He will speak Thursday evening at the presentation sponsored by the Racine Coalition for Peace and Justice.
Godley, 34, joined UW-Parkside’s faculty last fall and teaches courses on World History, the Middle East and Islamic World, and imperialism. He also teaches classes on the Mediterranean and on post-colonial migration, as well as on various aspects of modern European history. His research focuses on the Jewish population of Algeria during French colonial rule from 1830 to 1962.
Godley holds graduate degrees in history from the University of Iowa and the Université Charles de Gaulle in Lille, France. He earned his bachelor’s degree in French and history from Keele University in his native England in 1993.
Recently Godley spoke with the Journal Times about the conflict and its history.
Where do the roots of the conflict lie?
To my mind, the roots of the present conflict lie primarily in the period between the two World Wars, when Great Britain had control of Palestine.
During this time, the British government, which governed the territory under a mandate from the League of Nations, allowed large-scale Jewish immigration to Palestine.
This led to tens of thousands of Palestinian peasants being forced off their land, and allowed the Jewish community to build up both its population and the institutions that would later become the state of Israel. So this is when the two communities began to see each other as enemies and rivals for territory. (I have never heard about a single Arab who was forced off any land in Palestine before World War II. - EoZ)
If there had been some way back then to help Jewish immigrants integrate with less of a negative impact on the existing population, I think we would not have the depth of bitterness that divides the two communities today. (Yes, helping build the economy and providing jobs for more Arabs to immigrate to Palestine was some negative impact. -EoZ)
Of course, many of the Jews who immigrated at this time were fleeing racist persecution in Europe, and most Western countries — including the United States — shut their doors, so perhaps many of them might have gone elsewhere and lessened the pressure on an already crowded land. (Um, right now the land holds perhaps four or five times as many people as it did then. It must be unbearable. - EoZ)
Do you think people understand the problems?
I do not think that most people in America have a clear understanding of what drives the conflict. The U.S. media, as a general rule, does not report reliably on the climate of fear, bitterness, and anger that exists on both sides, and which feeds violence on both sides.
People make their judgments based on the images they get, which tend to focus on the Israelis as a heroic people struggling to survive, and to portray the Palestinians only through the desperate acts of terrorism that a few of them commit.
It is important to understand that elements on both sides commit horrifically violent acts against the others’ civilian population, and that, as a result, the majority of people on both sides is very fearful and angry about what the other side has done and might do to them on future.
It’s much easier for us to say that one side is “good” and the other is “evil” than it is for us to understand that both sides basically want to be able to live a normal life, but each is very angry at and afraid of the other. (And one elects leaders who advocate the genocide of the other. - EoZ)