Thanks to Lee Jones we have the pleasure of posting his chapter from a forthcoming book. In it he examines the different function of BDS demands in S. Africa and Palestine. In brief, Palestinians lack an effective leadership, an intellectual analysis of Israel’s economy and the ability to mobilise the masses.
Last Sunday a few, then a lot of, Israeli Jewish passengers on an Aegean flight from Athens to Israel demanded that two Palestinians be removed from the flight. The captain refused – but to end the stand-off the Palestinians left the flight with dignity – and no doubt the familiar humiliation and anger.
Ma’an reports that a group of settlers is demanding that Palestinians be banned from ‘settlers” roads, presumably forcing Palestinians in the oPt to use what are in effect dirt tracks – or not travel at all. Because of the knife attacks, more and more measures are being taken to wall Palestinians in.
The visit by Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal to South Africa has enjoyed maximum publicity for the joint declaration of opposition to apartheid policies. The Israeli foreign ministry is ‘furious’. Covertly, the US tried to establish relations with Hamas in 2012 via South African agents – an Al Jazeera story from earlier this year.
The EU and USA continue to evade all action on Israeli illegality by summoning the ‘two-state-solution’. This is a chimera. Jeff Halper, redoubtable campaigner, tells Robert Cohen that now Israelis and Palestinians have to push for another ‘just and workable solution’ – and to work out the aims of the BDS campaign.
This article by Roy Isacowitz continues the debate about whether Israeli governance of Palestinians can properly be described as apartheid. Roy Isacowitz thinks yes. This is illustrated with photos of Israeli police rough-handling children and shouting at women whom they are not allowing through the Qalandia checkpoint. Israel justifies its repressive measures as protecting their security.
Youth Against Settlements is a very unsettling group for those who need Palestinians to be violent terrorists. The group has grown from seven to over 50 in a few years and drew a rally of 25,000 to protest against the assault on Gaza – all from a premise of not using violence. That is despite the fact that the Jewish settlers, often violent, are subject to civilian law while the Palestinians, however peaceful, are governed by martial law.
An anguished Bradley Burston, who immigrated from LA to Israel in 1976, has finally had to recognise that the mesh of laws which the Israeli state has amassed to restrict every possible form of independent Palestinian life can only be called apartheid. Every self-respecting Jew should oppose this injustice.
Defence minister Ya’alon announced a plan to make bus segregation absolute and required by law. PM Netanyahu, very aware of the symbolism of bus apartheid in his alma mater, the USA, has over-ruled him. This will not change the long-established practice of different bus lines for Palestinians and settlers in the West Bank. The settlers will be disappointed at not getting apartheid legally enforced.
Apartheid has become the preferred term for some critics of Israel as the best label for Israeli/Palestinian relations. Irene Calis disagrees. Whereas white South Africans needed, and still need, black people as cheap labour, Zionist containment of Palestinians is merely an unfortunate by-product of creating a Jews-only state.
The proposed amendment to Israel’s Basic Law, defining the country as ‘the national homeland of the Jewish people’, instead of ‘a Jewish and democratic state’ rips through the claim of ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’. The new law doesn’t define Palestinians as 2nd class citizens; it defines them as not belonging at all – while all Jews, wherever they now live, are imaginary citizens of the country. The law is based on a delusion.
Under Netanyahu, Israel launched another lethal onslaught on the people of Gaza, rejected strenuous American efforts to broker a peace deal with the PA, expanded settlements and responded to unrest with increasing violence. Kerry’s prediction that this will lead to apartheid and isolation is coming true writes Tony Karon.
MK Ze’ev Elkin is pushing a new bill which will supersede all other laws on what sort of state Israel is and who its citizens are. Not only does it define Israel as ‘the Jewish state for Jewish people’ it also promotes discrimination against non-Jews and the development of separate land and communities for Jews – i.e. apartheid.
Access to buses for Palestinians travelling to Israel for work has long been segregated because of separate checkpoints. Now defence minister Ya’alon has ordered that Palestinians travelling home have to go on separate lines. He cites security of course. But his highly symbolic decision appeases settlers – and enrages Americans.
In 2011, the Knesset passed an Admissions Committees Law allowing such local groups to be set up with the authority to decide on who should not be allowed to live in their community. This week, the Supreme Court ruled this lawful, thus making apartheid neighbourhoods and towns official. Excluding Palestinians is the main aim, but the religious could exclude the secular, ashkenazi the sephardi etc thus making concrete the many rifts in Israeli society.
Prof. Zeev Sternhell, an authority of the rise of fascism in France, defines fascism as a rejection of, an assault on, enlightenment values. In the regime’s treatment of the Palestinians and of Jewish dissidents, in the submission of intellectuals to government orders and the blind following of the masses, Prof. Sternhell sees signs of fascism, and certainly the end of Zionism as he understood it.
This week the long-running argument about the morality, efficacy and limits of boycotting Israeli products as a means of pressing for change from the outside hit the headlines. London’s Tricycle theatre did not want to accept the Israeli state-funding for the Jewish Film Festival which it hosts. Although the theatre offered to make up the funding itself, the JFF rejected the offer on grounds of principle.
The extraordinary Desmond Tutu has developed an understanding of forgiveness which is vigorous, liberating, and founded on the idea of justice. Naming Israel an apartheid state and divesting from its machines of oppression are thus steps towards his Christian idea of what liberation, forgiveness and reconciliation mean.
A word has been coined to step forward from the arguments about whether the governance of the Palestinians is apartheid, S. Africa-style, colonialism, European-style or occupation, war-time style. An editorial in the Abu Dhabi-owned The National calls it Occupartheid to name the unique means of dispossessing Palestinians.
I want the majority of the land with the minimum of Palestinians on it says Danny Danon. Government policies are moving in the right direction – but not fast or completely enough. With the failure of the peace-talks, the brakes are off. It’s straight out of the South African playbook