Dr Leshem teaches Geography at Royal Holloway College and has a PhD about the conflicting histories of the Israel/Palestine conflict. He was born in Israel, but has presumably spent most of his academic life in the USA and the UK. He is typical of many left-wing Israelis who sees Israel as being the source of all problems in the Middle East, while Arabs have nothing to answer for.
So we certainly did not get any Israel advocacy but we did get plenty of revisionist history in which he essentially presented the Palestinian narrative of it, and he claimed that the conflict could be resolved if only the Israelis were more aware of Arab sensitivities. His central thesis (and he reminded us arrogantly several times that he had researched this for six years) was that the ‘conflict’ was simply a ‘labour’ struggle in which the Jews forced out Arab labourers from working the scarce agricultural land that was available. He even argued that land bought legally by Jews from Arab owners really belonged to the other Arabs (i.e. the non-owners) who lived on that land.
He claimed that the conflict officially started with the Arab revolt in 1935 (he conveniently ignored the many previous pogroms committed by Arabs against Jews in the 1920s including the massacre of most of the Jewish population of Hebron in 1929, but in his view of the world there was no such thing as Arab terrorism). He claimed the 1935 Arab revolt was evidence that the Arabs – and not the Jews – were the first to assert a national Palestinian identify. To support his argument he actually quoted a claim by Rashid Khalidi that the Palestinian Arabs asserted their national Palestinian identity in the early nineteenth century (failing to inform the audience that Khalidi is an extreme Palestinian propagandist who funded the Gaza flotilla ship that sailed from America). Even more outrageously (and ignoring all the evidence that the British gave the Arabs free reign to murder Jews) he claimed that the British crushed the 1935 Arab revolt with such force that it wiped out the entire (Arab) Palestinian leadership as well as all their infrastucture and funding; and that it was this act by the British which enabled the Jews to establish themselves more effectively and was the reason why the Jews were able to win the War on Independence in 1948.
|According to Noam Leshem the Arabs and not the Jews were the first to assert a Palestinian identity. So how would he explain these posters from the 1940s?|
In response to a question about why he failed to mention the religious aspect of the conflict (such as Muslim intolerance of Jews) his response was that there were fanatics in every religion and that the biggest threat to Israel came from the Jewish West Bank settlers (he gave the example of his car being petrol bombed in the West Bank while on Army reserve duty).
Most worrying of all is that, if he is telling the truth about his current activities, he has the ear of Israeli and Arab politicians at the highest level and appears to be discussing with them the forthcoming UN vote.
Whoever he is advising it should certainly not be BICOM, but it is indicative of the spinelessness of British Jewry that they can use a guy like this as one of their prominent spokesman on behalf of Israel.