Jeff Halper is used to a little controversy: He’s an Israeli Jew who’s opposed to Israel’s tactics.
“It’s unusual to have an Israeli who’s critical of Israel and supports Palestinian rights, especially with the war in Gaza going on,” he told Metro yesterday.
The anthropology professor and author is in Halifax on a tour to talk about the violence in Gaza. He will be speaking at Dalhousie University tonight at 7:30 p.m.
He said the Israeli offensive response to a Hamas attack is to be expected since Palestinians tried to negotiate but cannot end the Israeli occupation.
“So finally, it all blew up in a resistance. I don’t blame them, I blame Israel for starving the people in Gaza,” he said.
Halper’s controversial views given his background — an American who has lived in Israel for 35 years — are being well-received so far.
“Everything is slogans: Arabs are terrorists, Israelis are somehow the good guys,” he said. “I think people appreciate it when somebody comes in and tells them how complex everything is.”
He spoke with a number of students — including Jewish students — at the University of King’s College yesterday. Halper said he’s encouraging Canadians to pressure their government to confront Israel.
“The international community, including Canada, has to tell Israel the occupation is simply not acceptable and there has to be a Palestinian state in the occupied territory. Without that, Israel won’t do it by itself.”
Something needs to be done, he said, because the current situation isn’t just affecting Gaza, it’s “messing up the whole world.”
“This conflict has to be resolved for everybody’s good,” he said.