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Posts tagged ‘apartheid’

Why we must see Israeli policies as a form of settler colonialism

The so-called ‘Israeli-Palestinian conflict’ is not an ancient, tribal conflict, or millennia-old grudge match. Nor, as some propose, is it a tragic clash of competing nationalisms, or a cycle fuelled by religious extremism. The Zionist political project in Palestine has been, and is, a form of settler colonialism. Understanding it as such is important for three reasons. Read more

Displace, demolish, construct, repeat: the time-tested Israeli way

“[Israeli] settlement activity…is corrosive to the cause of peace,” the statement began, describing Israel’s recent steps as merely “the latest examples of what appears to be a steady acceleration of settlement activity that is systematically undermining the prospects for a two-state solution”.

Settlement construction and the demolition of Palestinian homes, it went on, “is part of an ongoing process of land seizures, settlement expansion, legalisations of outposts, and denial of Palestinian development that risk entrenching a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict”. Read more

The Palestinian Nakba goes far beyond one day in 1948

The late Australian scholar Patrick Wolfe famously said of settler colonialism that “invasion is a structure not an event”.

These are words worth remembering, in this three-week period between Nakba Day and Naksa Day, which mark respectively Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1947 to 1949, and the beginning of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip on June 5, 1967.

Anniversaries are important, but they can also mislead: the Nakba began long before the formal establishment of the State of Israel on May 15, 1948, and it has continued ever since. Read more

Analysis: The old-new fight over Israeli unilateralism

Speaking at a media-friendly photo opportunity in occupied East Jerusalem this month, Israeli Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog declared the need for a “disengagement” between Israelis and the Palestinians, “not by withdrawing from the territories, but by separating us physically”.

Two months earlier, Herzog had announced a new plan “to separate from as many Palestinians as possible, as fast as possible”, describing the two-state solution asimpossible under current conditions. The opposition leader’s proposal: to complete the separation wall around so-called “settlement blocs” in the West Bank, and to cut off major Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem from the rest of the city. The Labor Party has officially approved the plan. Read more

In Israel, racism is the law

On January 3, two Palestinians were removed from an Aegean Airlines flight from Athens to Tel Aviv, after Jewish Israelis claimed that they constituted a “security risk”. The incident made headlines worldwide. A month later, a Tel Aviv-based cleaning company sparked outrage with a flyer that priced its staff based on ethnicity. The story was also covered around the world.

For some, these kinds of episodes are proof of the racism that critics claim permeates Israeli society; for others, they are examples of isolated bigotry and idiocy. In fact, neither interpretation is quite right. While stories resonate and go viral, they can mask the fact that in Israel racism is the law. Read more

Calling Israel’s occupation of Palestine apartheid isn’t lazy or inflammatory – it’s based on fact

This week I have participated in events organised as part of Israeli Apartheid Week, which every year “aims to raise awareness about Israel’s ongoing settler-colonial project and apartheid policies over the Palestinian people”.

For some, talk of Israeli “apartheid” may seem like just another buzzword used by activists. Others see it as unhelpful, lazy, inflammatory, or even antisemitic.

But what are we really saying when we talk about Israeli apartheid? Read more

Boycotting Israel isn’t anti-Semitic – how many human rights groups need to condemn it until this is clear?

The Conservative Government is planning a significant assault on political freedoms in the name of protecting those profiting from human rights violations. Specifically, they are seeking to shield Israel from the growing pressure of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Read more

The case for cultural boycott of Israel

The case for a boycott of Israel is straightforward, based on: the reality of Israel’s policies of colonialism and apartheid; the Palestinians’ appeal for solidarity, including the 2005 call for a global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign; and the effectiveness of BDS as a tactic.

But what about a cultural boycott? This is a problem for some people who agree with the above argument – yet it is also based on a similar, logical argument. Read more

The Apartheid Fear

Apartheid, in the words of the Rome Statute, is when inhumane acts are committed “in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”

Increasingly, Israel’s “inhumane acts” against the Palestinians are being understood not as mere aberrations or excesses, but as part of a system of discrimination and segregation: an Israeli form ofapartheid. In response, support for campaigns like Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) is growing.

Recognising these developments, pro-Israel lobby groups are worried. In 2014, one such organisation, the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre, orBICOM, published a booklet called ‘ The Apartheid Smear’, written by staffer Alan Johnson. Read more

Why Israel invented the concept of ‘settlement blocs’

“We are here to stay.” These were the words of Israel’s Science and Space Technology Minister Ophir Akunis, as he attended the ceremonial opening of a new “heritage centre” in Ariel settlement on 17 January. “I want to send the EU ministers a message from here, the city of Ariel,” the minister said. “No step or decision that you take will remove us from our land.”

Ariel, established in 1978, is one of the largest Israeli settlements in the West Bank, with some 20,000 residents, as well as a university. The colony lies some 12 miles from the “Green Line”, and was “strategically built to wind its way along a mountain ridge surrounded by Palestinian towns and villages on all sides.” The Ariel “finger”, or bloc, includes a dozen or so separate, official settlements. Read more

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