Japanese Scholars Call for People To Stand Up For Palestine

Saturday, August 9, 2014

By Mayako Shibata

Tokyo-(PanOrient News) “What is going on in Gaza is nothing but genocide,” says Kyoto University Professor Mari Oka, who not only denounces Israel but also the Japanese government for failing to take action against Israel.

Describing the environment the people of Gaza are living in, Oka says: "The blockade not only separates the Gaza people from the external world but also restricts their rights to come and go freely, and that is why some of them say making a truce is not enough. They do not want to go back to the same prison once again." Oka was speaking at a symposium at the University of Tokyo on Friday held to explain to the public what is happening in Gaza and to call for Israel to stop abusing the people there.

Oka called on the international community not only to deal with the situation but also to help realize the desire of the people in Gaza for a better living environment. She also said the mass media across the world have fallen for Israel's media manipulation.

"The Japanese mass media reports in a way as if Hamas is denying Israel's right to exist and opposing a two-state solution, but that is not true at all," she said. "In the international community, resistance against Israel is called 'terrorism' while Israel constantly commits war crimes."

Although the symposium was attended by more than 150 people, including political activists and freelance journalists, many declined to have their names mentioned or faces shown on TV.

PanOrient News was told by one of the organizers that revealing their identities could be harmful to their business and lives.

"It is a possible scenario that Israel could put pressure on those who campaign against them,” said Mayumi Nakano, a radio personality at state broadcaster NHK. “Israel is very good at media manipulation, and you can see that from how the Japanese mass media have been reporting about the situation in Gaza."

Yoshiko Tanaka from the Campaign for Children in Palestine made an appeal to those who attended the symposium. "I have been to Gaza and Israel, and so has Professor Oka,” she said. “We have been advocating and criticizing Israel publicly, but we are still able to go to both countries. Raising your voices and stating your opinions will not prevent you entering Gaza or Israel, so please stand up and raise your voices to bring justice for the Palestinians."

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