The Chief Rabbi of a section of Commonwealth Orthodox Jews pronounces that he knows the term ‘apartheid’ cannot be used about Israel because he comes from S. Africa. Diana Neslen, like quite a few of our signatories, is also from South Africa and disagrees. Apart from that, the term apartheid now describes more forms of dividing society than existed in S. Africa.
Amos Schocken, publisher of Haaretz, unequivocally defines Israel as an apartheid society. Israelis accept this. But apartheid is a betrayal of the Zionist project which Schocken believes in. It would recognise Palestinian national rights as apartheid never can.
Khaled Diab questions the value of BDS as a tool for dismantling the machinery of Israeli colonialism, or of any state oppression. It can have the result in making the target more innovative he argues. He does not, however, make a clear distinction between sanctions imposed by states (eg US against Cuba and Iran) and popular movements which encourage the oppressed people and their supporters – see the subversive wall graffiti.
Prison practices which are judged illegal are those which deprive a prisoner of his or her basic humanity; removing them far from everyone they know, subjecting them to torture or solitary confinement, holding them without charge, legal representation or trial, refusal to provide medical treatment… G4S has not been accused of all these wrong practices – but enough of them to merit inquiries into their ethical and legal standing.
Former judge Richard Goldstone, author of the Goldstone report, chastises those who use the ‘canard’ of Israeli apartheid in a ‘calculated’ attempt to retard peace talks and deny terrorist attacks (1). Kopty and Rahman (2) and Ben White (3) say Goldstone is missing the point – the reality of Israeli state power in the occupied territories.
A visitor from Abahlali, the Durban shack-dwellers’ movement,, witnesses a house demolition in Palestine, and makes connections with what oppresion means, from Palestine to South Africa and on….
What did the Proms protest achieve? First, two blogs from Zionist Federation co-chairman Jonathan Hoffman (who was ejected from the concert for waving an Israeli flag) then a hard-argued debate between the editor of Israeli Occupation Archive and critics including Tony Greenstein
South African Shafiq Morton found much of his critique of Zionist blindness was no longer controversial. The sticking point for his readers was Hamas;despite experience with the ANC of the gap between demagoguery and practical negotiation they could not hear the nuance.
Last February, guitarist Dave Randall said on South African radio ‘Twenty years ago I would not have played in apartheid South Africa; today I refuse to play in Israel. Be on the right side of history.’ Complaints were made. Today they have been rejected
Young Palestinians see the BDS campaign as the key to a mass movement at home and links with people abroad. The campaign against apartheid South Africa is their inspiration, yet the home-grown leadership of the BDS work is vital
Doc Jazz, inspired by South Africa to create the Musical Intifada, applauds ‘Freedom for Palestine’ – see this page -and the power of music to bring courage and hope
The University of Johannesburg took the momentous decision last week to break off institutional relations with Ben Gurion University. We posted materials on the debate around this issue last October. In this posting there is a news report on the decision and immediate reactions to it, John Strawson’s Engage posting critical of the decision; and Ran Greenstein’s reflective analysis of some issues around the academic boycott, sparked off by this recent decision.
In the face of the US veto at the Security Council last week, Jeff Halper argues that “the United States simply cannot deliver on a just peace in Israel/Palestine”, that even if Obama, Petraeus and the rest “understand that Israel’s occupation is unsustainable and only isolates the US in the international community”, they cannot deliver – because of the overwhelming support for Israel in both Houses: “Unlike other foreign policy issues, Israel has become a domestic American issue.”
The US should no longer be “seen as the sole and ultimate arbitrator of the conflict”: instead we and the Palestinians should be looking for ways of “Working around America”, with Latin America, Turkey, South Africa, Russia, all of which are making interesting noises about the conflict…
The attempt by prominent Zionists in South Africa to denounce Archbishop Tutu as antisemitic and force the South African Holocaust Foundation to dismiss him as a patron has been seen off. Thanks to the over five thousand who signed a petition in his support, including former chief justice Arthur Chaskalson, human rights lawyer Joel Joffe, Annie Lennox, Adam Hochschild, Andrew Feinstein, Neve Gordon, Justice Albie Sachs, Zackie Achmat, Justice Dennis Davis, Geoff Budlender, Barbara Hogan, Pregs Govender and Jan Kavan.
An appeal from South Africa: Archbishop Tutu has been labeled an “anti-Semite” and a “bigot”. Please read the appeal and sign the petition in his support.
In October Archbishop Desmond Tutu appealed to the Cape Town’s renowned opera troupe to cancel a performance of Porty and Bess in Israel in November. The opera company refused and the performance went ahead – with a highly creative flashmob protest in Tel Aviv. Meanwhile, in South Africa the Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein wrote an Open letter to Tutu saying there was ‘no apartheid in Israel’. Allan Boesak & Farid Esack responded.
CodePink reports on the successes of its Boycott Ahava campaign to date and call for renewed energy and exertion in the months ahead… Seven Brooklyn rabbis wrote to the campaign claiming that the kibbutz Mizpeh Shalom, where Ahava is based, is in Area C of the West Bank, so it is all right. Brooklyn for Peace answered politely but firmly, pointing out the error in the rabbis’ position…
Chris McGreal reports: “Secret South African documents reveal that Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime, providing the first official documentary evidence of the state’s possession of nuclear weapons…”
Gary Younge writes: “To rubbish the former judge’s report on Gaza, Israel has dredged up his record in South Africa – while forgetting its own.”
We recently linked to Sasha Polakow-Suransky’s defence of Richard Godlstone in a posting on “The Get Goldstone campaign”. Here veteran anti-apartheid campaigner Benjamin Pogrund reviews Polakow-Suransky’s new book, “The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship With Apartheid South Africa”.