This week has seen the promotion of yet more anti-democratic legislation in Israel. A new law that received final approval by the Knesset gives, for the first time, separate representation to Muslim and Christian Palestinian citizens on a national employment commission. The bill’s sponsor, Likud MK Yariv Levin, was clear about his motivation: “[the Christians are] our natural allies, a counterweight to the Muslims who want to destroy the country from within.” An editorial in Israeli newspaper Haaretz described it as “racist legislation” by “nationalist zealots”. Read more
Posts tagged ‘apartheid’
As students begin a new academic year, there are signs that pro-Israel propaganda initiatives at Britain’s universities are being given a boost. The Union of Jewish Students (UJS) has established a new role within the organisation of “Israel Engagement Officer”, a post being taken up by Canadian Beca Bookman. Bookman comes with considerable experience in working with the Israeli government to undermine Palestine solidarity, and is a past recipient of a “Hasbara in Action” award from the Menachem Begin Foundation. Read more
This Friday will mark 20 years to the day since Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO chair Yasser Arafat shook hands on the White House lawn, signing an agreement that established the Palestinian Authority (PA) and a framework for negotiations that has lasted to this day.
On the 20th anniversary of the Oslo Accords, the infographic below demonstrates what these years of the US-led peace process have produced for Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip: an acceleration of Israeli colonisation and a cementing of an apartheid regime of control and discrimination. The infographic is far from comprehensive: The last two decades have also seen the siege and brutalisation of the Gaza Strip, the consolidation of the checkpoint and permit system, land confiscations, settler outposts expanding, and the detention and torture of thousands. Read more
Two weeks ago, Israel’s outgoing ambassador to the US Michael Oren was interviewed by Fareed Zakaria on CNN. In the context of discussing renewed negotiations, Zakaria asked Oren about the demand that Palestinians recognize “Israel as a Jewish state”. Oren’s response is instructive and goes to the heart of the nature of the State of Israel as a settler colonial ethnocracy that practices an institutionalized racism Oren specifically denies, yet unintentionally highlights.
According to Oren, a “Jewish state” means ensuring that “refugees from 1948″ will “will be repatriated to the Palestinian state and not to Israel” since, quite simply, Israel is “predicated on having a Jewish majority”. Read more
With peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials beginning again, many analysts have given their reasons for being either cautiously hopeful or sceptical. Yet what is incredible is that, twenty years on from the Oslo Accords, many people still have not asked more fundamental questions about the paradigm of the official peace process itself. Read more
As the world has reflected on Nelson Mandela’s legacy and his fight against apartheid in South Africa, some have recalled his famous observation: “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
That special bond between two peoples and their national struggles has in recent times contributed to increasing South African efforts to challenge continuing Israeli human-rights abuses and systematic discrimination. Read more
Discussion about a one state solution in Palestine/Israel is moving into the mainstream. As its advocates gain a platform for their views, defenders of ethnic separation are increasingly falling back on crude arguments about birth-rates and how ‘Jews’ would be treated in an ‘Arab state’. But a smarter, seemingly ‘pragmatic’ objection to a single state is also common: namely that a majority of both Israelis and Palestinians actually want a ‘two-state solution’. At first glance, this can appear to be a strong argument, particularly when deployed in debates in the West (e.g. ‘Who are you to force your solution on people who don’t want it?’) However, it is a claim that cannot withstand serious scrutiny. Read more
In March 2012, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) published unprecedentedly harsh concluding observations following Israel’s periodic review. In what one expert called “the most cutting CERD recognition and condemnation of a legal system of segregation since apartheid South Africa”, Israel was called out for violating the right to equality in numerous ways with regards to both Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, and those in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Israeli policies, according to CERD, include “segregation between Jewish and non-Jewish communities”, a lack of “equal access to land and property”, “forced displacement”, “de facto segregation” in the West Bank – and an overall regime necessitating a reminder of the “prohibition” of policies of “apartheid”. Read more
Two recent episodes serve as useful illustrations of the hypocrisy of Israel’s apologists in the West and their approach to racism.
Firstly, there was the outrage that greeted Gerald Scarfe’s cartoon in The Sunday Times and which forced an eventual climb down by the newspaper. Some did not hesitate to call the cartoon anti-Semitic – others were more ambiguous but explained why others could think it was anti-Semitic. Read more