Criminologists turned criminals
Israeli peace group Gush Shalom tells crime experts not to endorse illegal occupation
Israeli Peace Bloc Gush Shalom has written to Israeli and international criminologists who are to lecture at a conference due to be held later this month at "University Center" in the Israeli settlement of Ariel on the Occupied West Bank. The conference, entitled ‘Pink Crime - Women, Crime and Punishment’ is scheduled for May 30. Among guests from Europe are Jean-Pierre Gauci and and Isla Masson, both of King's College, London.
In the letter< http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/press_releases/1304877525/>, signed by Gush Shalom spokesperson Adam Keller, the participants at the conference are reminded that the event is due to take place at a settlement established in Occupied Territory in flagrant violation of International Law, and which constitutes a major obstacle to achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Therefore, says Keller, holding a conference in Ariel in itself constitutes complicity in the breach of International Law.
Keller states that "Criminology is an academic discipline designed to scientifically and systematically investigate the effects of crime (crime by women in this specific case). There is great irony and an inherent contradiction between these aims of Criminology and the holding a criminologists' conference in circumstances where the conference itself became complicity in the commission of a crime."
Tel Aviv, May 6, 2011
I am writing to you because your name appears on the list of lecturers at a conference due on May 30 this year, entitled " Pink Crime" and dealing with the phenomenon of crimes committed by women. Definitely a serious issue, well deserving of being seriously discussed by the practitioners of criminology. I would like, however, to draw your attention to the fact that the conference will take place at the institute known as the "University Center of Samaria", located at the Israeli settlement of Ariel on the West Bank.
It is important to note that deliberations taking place at such a location, under the auspices of such an institution, are not – and cannot be – a "purely academic" event, free of political connotations. The settlement of Ariel is in an Occupied Territory under the rule of a military governor. It is not part of Israel - not according to Israeli law, since no government has ever annexed it, and certainly not under International Law. The creation and maintenance of the settlements, including Ariel, is a grave violation of International Law, which prohibits an occupying power from transferring its citizens to the Occupied Territory. This, in addition to the settlements being the main obstacle blocking Israel from reaching peace with its Palestinian neighbors.
Criminology is an academic discipline designed to systematically and scientifically investigate phenomena of crime (crime by women in this specific case.) There is a great irony and an irresolvable contradiction involved in the holding of a Criminology conference at a location and under circumstances which make the conference itself an accessory to crime.
The settlers in general, and those at Ariel in particular, make great efforts to provide for themselves a "respectable" and "legitimate" image. The creation of an academic institution in Ariel, and the inviting of lecturers such as yourself to speak at academic conferences, is a significant part of this effort.
Should you go through with lecturing at the Ariel conference, in spite of the above arguments, may I suggest that you devote a few words at the beginning of your lecture to the contradiction between the goals of the conference, designed to reduce the effects of crime in human society, and the severe violation of International Law constituted by the conference's location.
(The Israeli Peace Bloc)
PO Box 2542
Tel. +972-3-5565804 or +972-54-2340749