Uzi Landau doesn’t steal Palestinian homes because there is no such thing
DENVER- Israeli PR envoy Uzi Landau addressed CU Denver students today, the majority of whom were antagonistic to his message. Denver policemen lined the walls, altar and choir loft, as Landau went on about the mortal threat which “extremist” Islam poses to Judeo-Christian civilization. Landau likened Iran to Nazi Germany and Ahmadinejad to Hitler, but had no comparison for the nefarious and subversive terror plots which Iran has been foisting on the free world. I’m thinking perhaps, like the CIA or Mossad?
Landau entered the room strangely like a Mafia don, flanked by an entourage of black coats and security. A well dressed man and a woman who an hour earlier had been loitering behind me as I protested outside, and whom I took to be Russian when I heard them speak to each other, now appeared as part of Landau’s party.
Due to the sudden snowfall, the campus closed for the afternoon. As a result, the turnout for Landau’s speech was sparse. The security detail of Denver and campus police officers which subjected attendees to metal detectors and bag searches, and kept vigil from the sidelines, would have been disproportionate even if all the seats had been filled. One got the impression that law enforcement were there to assure the audience stayed awake and respectful. Policemen could be seen conspicuously conferring about the seating area occupied by activist Glenn Spagnuolo and his colleagues. When Glenn rose and walked forward to queue for the microphone, a handful of the officers adjusted their positions accordingly.
Glenn was responsible for pulling together voices to oppose Uzi Landau’s appearance. Glenn had a personal connection to Landau, having worked in the occupied territories like Rachel Corrie, and knew the activist who was ultimately killed by a bulldozer working under orders of Uzi Landau. Subsequent to that event, Glenn was deported to Jordan.
When Glenn announced the protest against Landau’s visit, the CU organizers were faced with additional security costs, for which they had no budget. Attempts were made to negotiate calling off the protest. Ultimately the Israeli embassy fronted the funds for the added police.
You might ask, against whom were the officers protecting Uzi Landau? Considering audience members had already been search for weapons, were the police trying to prevent a citizen’s arrest?
The good news, Israeli PR envoy Uzi Landau is not a very good speaker. His heavy accent and habit of letting his voice trail off confident the audience is hanging on his words, makes Landau a fortuitous emissary for those cheering against a military attack upon Iran. The bad news is that landau is as far right as they come, and if he’s reaching sympathetic ears, there are too many racist Americans without any understanding of international law.
I was surprised to discover that this Israeli minister’s talking points were no more nuanced than the flack we receive at this website from IDF Internet Megaphone trolls. Landau reflected the same disrespect for the people from whom lands were taken, and are still being taken. He argued that soldiers must be permitted to target insurgents regardless the civilian casualties.
Landau spoke confidently without batting an eye about the plight of Palestinians. He justified increased Israeli settlements based on Israel’s better record of land stewardship, and of course, he argued that anti-Semitism nugget: why should there be any lands forbidden to Jews? Specifically, to paraphrase: “If Israel can be 20% Palestinian, why cannot the Occupied Territories be 20% Jewish?”
Because Israel then builds walls around settlements and claims more land.
To his credit, Uzi Landau was entertainingly pugilistic in his response to audience questions. Instead of ignoring comments being made out of turn, he took them on, so confident and self-righteous he was about Israel’s actions. Even in Gaza, even in the context of over 60 years of occupation. But to Landau, the Palestinian Problem is dismissed easily. Palestinians don’t exist. They didn’t exist, they didn’t accept the offers of statehood when given the chance, their opportunity past, they never were.
Landau accused his detractors of offering no facts. He, on the other hand, came equipped with facts. One fact of his, from history: Even before it was declared a Jewish nation by the UN, the land of Israel had been in continuous possession of the Jews. So called “Palestinians” only came to the area for the jobs the Israelis offered them.
One of the best questions posed had to do with borders. If G-d promised the holy land to the Jews, which land was that precisely, as defined by what borders? For example, the UN granted land to inaugurate the nation of Israel. It didn’t include Jerusalem, nor much of to what Israel is laying claim. Does the “promised land” encompass more than Israel has even now? What can be the expected boundaries of Israel’s assumed birthright?
Dr. Landau didn’t dwell long on this polemic, except to say with a smile: “that will depend on our neighbors.”