An award-winning Israeli journalist who lives in Ramallah has been criticised for an “inexcusable” reference to the Elders of Zion in a speech to Palestinian supporters at a British university. 

Amira Hass, who writes for Ha’aretz, drew the wrath of community leaders after addressing a crowd of 200 at the University of Kent, in a 45-minute talk titled: “Israel and the Palestinians: Colonialism and Prospects for Justice.” 

At one point Hass, the daughter of two Holocaust survivors and winner of several international journalism prizes, appeared to joke about today’s political situation, linking it to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a fabricated text purporting to show a plan for Jewish world domination. 

“I ask myself did the Elders of Zion really sit together at the beginning of the 70s and then during the 90s, and plan, and have all these military orders, all these changes?” she asked. 

“I believe that they knew for sure that they don’t want to give back the land… My conclusion is that they wanted to do everything possible to stop the two-state solution.”

 

Board Senior Vice President Richard Verber said: “Amira Hass’s invocation of anti-Semitic tropes and conspiracy theories is inexcusable, and completely undermines the credibility of her supposedly-academic lectures.”

Zionist Federation chairman Paul Charney added: “While Hass thought she was making a joke, her audience might well have uncritically ingested the anti-Semitic inference as easily as they did her anti-Israel propaganda.”

He added: “People who are brainwashed to believe the worst about the Jewish state will soon believe the worst about the Jewish people, too.”

Blogger David Collier, who attended the meeting, said: “I missed many of the following comments as I tried to come to terms with what I had just heard, as a Jew in the UK in 2016 – in a university.”