Home Education Guest lecturer discusses history of Palestine, anti-Zionism

Guest lecturer discusses history of Palestine, anti-Zionism

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Famed historian and author Norman Goda gave a lecture to a crowd of approximately 50 people in Baker Center Theater on Thursday afternoon on “The Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry” and its impact on international relations, even today.

Goda, a current professor at the University of Florida and a former professor at Ohio University, gave the history of the little-known committee and some of the key players both in the committee and in the debate over whether a Jewish state should have been established following the Holocaust and WWII.

A major point of Goda’s lecture was the anti-Zionist sentiment present in this committee, especially from the British side.

“The committee’s work was in many ways choreographed,” Goda said during his lecture. “The committee and those who testified before it were to build a certain narrative about Zionism. Zionism was to be painted as nationalistic to the point of outdate chauvinism, imperialistic, … and selfish to the point where Zionist leaders were willing to start a new world war to get their way.”

He also touched on the other people who had to testify before the committee—“everyone who was anyone” from both the Zionist sides and the Arab states testified, he said.

Goda later spoke on the British resistance to the recommendations of the committee because the leaders in London thought it would be logistically impossible to follow each recommendation.

Personally, Goda thought it was more an issue of anti-Zionism and global politics than anything else.

“I think what I want people to take away is the very clear link between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism,” Goda said after the lecture.

The audience asked many questions following the lecture, ranging from specifics of how the original Anglo-American committee worked to Goda’s own ideas on the topic.

Paul Milazzo, an OU associate professor of History and a colleague of Goda’s was one such audience member. Milazzo came to the lecture to support Goda in his work and to hear what he had to say.

“I don’t know much about this issue, so I saw this lecture as an opportunity to get some more knowledge on the topic,” Milazzo said. “Norm’s cracking into some interesting source material, so it’s really interesting to hear what these new sources have to say.”

Another member of the audience was Andrea Howard, a student working toward her master’s degree in German history. Howard attended the lecture simply because she wanted to know more.

“I wanted to learn about how we developed our current ways, because what happened then is just as important now,” Howard said. “The most interesting part to me was the rhetoric behind the movements. It’s just interesting, the rhetoric behind the anti-Semitic and the anti-Zionist movements, and it’s important that we look at it and how it affects us now.”

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