Free Palestine Melbourne - Freedom and Justice for Palestine and its People.

Terror victim ‘was human garbage’, says Adelaide Writers Week author

by admin

A Palestinian author appearing at Adelaide Writers Week has described a Jewish-American civilian murdered by terrorists in Israel this week as “human garbage” who deserves no sympathy.

The comments came as South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas revealed he had considered axing funding for the writers’ week but did not want to set a precedent where governments determined who could speak.

Susan Abulhawa is one of two authors at Adelaide Writers Week who have been condemned by key Jewish and Ukrainian groups over a string of inflammatory remarks that have seen three writers pull out of the festival and sponsors threaten to withdraw funding.

Abulhawa’s latest comments involve the murder of Elan Gan­eles, a 26-year-old Jewish-American civilian ambushed and shot near the Dead Sea last Monday while visiting Israel for a friend’s wedding.

His death was labelled an act of terrorism by the Israeli Defence Forces, in which Ganeles had served as a computer programmer before returning home last year to Connecticut to finish his studies at Columbia University.

Ganeles was killed a day after two Israeli brothers were shot dead in a similar attack in the West Bank, the incident prompting a violent outbreak by hardline Israeli settlers who torched hundreds of Palestinian homes and vehicles in Nablus, with one Palestinian death confirmed and many people seriously injured.

Abulhawa took to Twitter this week to ridicule a eulogy for Ganeles posted by the Israeli ­consulate-general in New York that said Israelis were “shattered by his loss” and he had been a good man “who sought to better the world”.

“Privileged white man leaves US to violently colonise another people, gets killed by the people he’s robbing and oppressing,” ­Abulhawa said. “Simultaneously his coloniser friends go on a murderous rampage, committing a pogrom in Nablus.

“And y’all are upset over this human garbage.”

The comments have been condemned by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry as another example of Abulhawa’s violent abuse towards Jewish people.

ECAJ co-chief executive Alex Ryvchin told The Australian ­Abulhawa’s latest tweet was “unstable and despicable”.

“I pity Susan Abulhawa,” he said. “It can’t be easy to live with such inhumanity as to mock and celebrate the murder of an innocent young man. The writers’ week director and any board members that still support her should feel deeply ashamed.”

Abulhawa’s comments about the death of Ganeles and subsequent attacks on Palestinians were made despite the IDF denouncing the anti-Palestinian ­violence and warning Israeli hardliners against vigilantism.

The Israeli general in charge of troops in the West Bank, Major General Yehuda Fuchs, described the attacks as a “pogrom” and admitted the IDF was unprepared for the scale of anti-Palestinian ­violence, accusing the Israeli settlers of “spreading terror”.

The participation of Abulhawa and fellow Palestinian author Mohammed El-Kurd has sparked outrage over Adelaide Writers Week and strong criticisms of its director, former Melbourne University Publishing chief Louise Adler.

Abulhawa is a fierce critic of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whom she has described as “a depraved Zionist trying to ignite World War III”.

She has written several tweets saying the war is Ukraine’s fault for trying to join NATO and has tweeted declaring “DeNazify Ukraine”, the line used by Moscow to defend the invasion.

She has also described Mr Zelensky as “mad and far more dangerous than (Vladimir) Putin” and written “It’s possible to be Jewish and a Nazi at the same time”.

El-Kurd has written scores of tweets that prompted the New York-based Anti-Defamation League and the ECAJ to write to Adelaide Festival organisers to say they were giving a platform to “unvarnished anti-Semitism”.

He has described Israel as “demonic”, “sadistic” and a “death cult”, labelled Zionists “barbaric neo-Nazi pigs” with a “lust” for Palestinian blood, and compared Israel with the Nazi regime whose genocide led to the creation of the Jewish state, ­including accusing Israel of ­“Kristallnachting” Palestinian people.

The Australians has approached Abulhawa and El Kurd for comment through AWW organisers but has had no reply.

Despite saying last week that he would boycott any writers week sessions featuring Abulhawa and El-Kurd, Mr Malinauskas on Thursday night honoured a commitment to launch AWW at the Adelaide Town Hall alongside its director, Ms Adler.

Mr Malinauskas used the launch to repeat his criticisms of the authors but said he did not want to set a precedent of a government deciding what could be said at a writers festival.

“I confess to contemplating removing government support for writers week,” he said.

“And to be sure, this may have been a politically expedient action for the government to take.

“But as the holder of the highest elected office in our state, I can’t just be a politician looking to get a six-second grab up on the nightly news.

“As Premier, I have the responsibility to actively contemplate all the consequences of each and every decision I make.

“If I was to unilaterally defund writers week on the basis of Susan Abulhawa’s views, what path does that take us down?

“It’s a path to a future where politicians decide what is culturally appropriate.

“And at worst, it leads us to a future in which politicians can directly stifle events that are themselves predicated on freedom of speech and the expression of ideas … a path, in fact, that leads us into the territory of Putin’s ­Russia.”

Jewish Community Council of South Australia spokesman Norm Scheuler said Adelaide’s Jewish community “could not believe” that Mr Malinauskas honoured his commitment to open writers week, especially in light of Abulhawa’s latest tweets.

“Not only are we surprised, we are bitterly disappointed,” he said.

Asked about the latest Abulhawa tweet, Adelaide Festival chief executive Kath Mainland gave this statement: “Ms Abulhawa is one of 160 writers from 10 countries taking part in Adelaide Writers Week, which has a zero-tolerance policy to racist com­mentary at and during the event.

David Penberthy

Article link:
Article source: Weekend Australian

2024-05-08 07:04:10.000000