Two news stories in as many days are shedding some much needed light on a dark corner of the peace studies and conflict resolution fields.
The first story, in today’s Haaretz, reports on one of the iconic founders of global peace studies, Norwegian sociologist Johan Galtung. This founder of the Peace Research Institute Oslo is also an apparent believer in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The second story, in yesterday’s Haaretz, is on an Israeli conflict resolution expert banned from a UK conference on, well, conflict resolution.
The Galtung story is especially disconcerting as it concerns a person who dedicated his life to finding ways of lessening conflict, not instigating it. Despite this he somehow has come to believe that “the Jews control U.S. media” with his source being an article written by white supremacist William Pierce, founder of the neo-Nazi National Alliance.
Galtung also lays a measure of blame on the Jewish victims of Nazism for their own genocide. Auschwitz, it seems, had “two sides.” What could possibly be the other side to the death camps? “[It was] not unproblematic that Jews had key niches in a society humiliated by defeat at Versailles,” Galtung wrote. “In no way, absolutely no way, does this justify the atrocities. But it created anti-Semitism that could have been predicted.”
So, if only those upity, pushy Jews knew their place then Auschwitz would not have happened?
But Galtung’s recommendation of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion shows that he considers German Jews holding “key niches” in Weimar Germany as having a more organized and sinister intention.
His thinking also includes the notion that “there is a possible link between Anders Behring Breivik, responsible for massacring dozens of children in Norway last summer, and Jewish and Israeli factions.” What is this link? Allegedly Breivik is a “Freemason,” which according to Galtung, “has Jewish origins.” Also, the massacre took place on the same date as the Irgun’s bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946. Ergo the Mossad “ordered” Breivik to carry out the attack. What is his evidence? None, he admits. All he has is a hypothesis and the circular logic of a conspiracy theorist:
“When we know nothing about who is behind Breivik, including whether there is anybody at all, any hypothesis is legitimate; that is in the nature of research. I consider the Mossad highly unlikely, but it is illegitimate to eliminate it as a hypothesis with no evidence.”
I think what he is trying to say is the absence of evidence is evidence of potential evidence. Or something like that.
The second news item was the barring of Professor Moty Cristal, “an Israeli expert on negotiating skills and crisis-management” who was to have “taught a class entitled The Role of Negotiation in Dealing with Conflict, as part of a workshop on conflict resolution for health-trust managers and union officials” in Manchester.
Cristal’s master class was cancelled by the British National Health Service “after trade union members who were to take part in the class objected to participating in a workshop with an Israeli expert.”
Pardon my ignorance as a non-expert in conflict resolution, but isn’t this field all about learning how to listen to those with whom you disagree? Doesn’t muzzling someone for belonging to a particular class of people go against the very foundations of conflict resolution?
Never mind that Cristal the Israeli has “worked in the past with Palestinian groups and human-rights organizations, and has lectured on his field on numerous occasions in Britain, including a lecture to the Muslim Council of Britain.” For the folks at UNISON, Britain’s largest trade union, his being an Israeli was enough to disqualify him.
The subtext here: he is an Israeli Jew. I find it highly unlikely that the “excommunicators” would have banned him had he been an Israeli Arab academic.
The world needs, perhaps now more than ever, credible conflict resolution experts and scholars. But, clearly the conflict resolution and peace studies universe has a Jewish problem that threatens to undermine the good work of many people. The need for this field to clean the antisemitic rot from their house is great.
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P.S. I further recommend reading this piece by Alex Joffe in today’s YNet that explores the “Jewish question” and the contemporary Left. While not directly related to Galtung and the banning of an Israeli academic in the UK, it nonetheless ties the two together within the larger gestalt of hard Left politics.