Zionists’ Efforts to Coopt the BLM Movement: Can Racists Be Anti-Racist?

February 14, 2021

Palestinian artists painting George Floyed on the walls on UNRWA office, in Gaza. (Photo: via UNRWA Website)

By Benay Blend

On February 6, 2021, Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza announced that she was pulling out of a World Values Network online gala with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a prominent American Zionist.

“They approached me about having a conversation about the importance of solidarity between black communities and Jewish communities,” she explained, then thanked Palestinian American activist Linda Sarsour for amplifying the larger picture.

According to journalist Michael Brown, Garza has a history of denouncing other public figures who joined propaganda trips to Israel. Boteach’s gala, Brown continued, appears just as egregious, for it “follow[s] Boteach’s years of backing the racist Donald Trump, thereby making a mockery of the efforts promoted by Black leaders and the wider Black community to advance racial justice and decolonization.”

Placed within a larger context, Boteach’s move comes at a time when Zionists are increasingly fearful of the Boycott, Divestment Sanctions Movement (BDS)’s success. Coupled with the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s decision to investigate Israel for War Crimes, any support for Palestinian rights will undoubtedly come under attack.

There is a long history of Pan-African support for Palestine which has resulted in Zionists denouncing that alignment. In a lecture series “Palestine and Us: Black and Palestinian Solidarity,” Ahmad Abuznaid traced the history of Black support for Palestine as well as the fall-out from it. Referring to Malcolm X’s Zionist Logic (1964), Abuznaid explained that this statement drew from Malcolm X’s shift from Black Nationalist to a more Pan-Africanist position, particularly after he saw connections between Pan-Arabists, represented by Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, and Pan-Africanists that he was beginning to support.

After the 1967 war, Black Radicals began to move away from seeing Zionism as a liberation movement to viewing it as a colonialist venture, much like the colonialism that was oppressing Africans around the world. Following in this direction, Ethel Minor, a leader in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), wrote a piece in their newsletter entitled “Third World Round-up: The Palestine Problem: Test Your Knowledge,” leading to a split between those, like Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) who would continue to support Palestine on principle, and others who feared that without taking a more “balanced position,” one that included mention of the Holocaust, there would be loss of funding.

Indeed, as Ture made clear“immediately after the statement, phone calls rang in and the checks stopped coming.” Today, organizations, politicians and others who depend on funding are leery of taking a principled stance on Palestine, because, much like what happened with SNCC, Zionist supporters will use whatever means necessary to launch a targeted smear campaign of anyone who is critical of the Israeli state.

For example, in the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter movement’s 2014 platform that denounced the US government’s military aid to Israel, there were claims of “one-sided” and “unfair” from pro-Israel commentators who rejected the coalition’s critique. Several years before B’tselem’s quite similar statement, which was either ignored completely or applauded for its courage, BLM charged the following:

“The US justifies and advances the global war on terror via its alliance with Israel and is complicit in the genocide taking place against the Palestinian people. Israel is an apartheid state with over 50 laws on the books that sanction discrimination against the Palestinian people.”

The BLM platform also drew ire for its support of BDS. Fear of its success continues to motivate Zionists into the present time. In a piece for Haaretz, Rabbi Dan Dorsch of Atlanta declared that the mainstream Jewish community, and also Palestinian Government officials, have rejected BDS.

He continued that connecting the Black struggle in American to that of Palestinians is “unquestionably shortsighted and will only undermine the credibility of the movement and the important cause of civil rights in America”.

Like several years before, when pro-Israel donors withdrew their funds from SNCC, Rabbi Dorsch was warning that the pattern would continue as long as BLM lent its support to Palestine. Returning to the question of whether Zionists can be anti-racist, the short answer is an emphatic “no.” Quoting a message from Jewish Voice for Peace: “If you oppose racism, you should oppose Zionism too.”

As BDS successes grow and the ICC moves closer to investigate Israel for war crimes, pro-Israel groups will increasingly try to sever anti-racist movements in the US from their ties to Palestinians. Nevertheless, given several factors—the historic connections between Palestine and anti-colonial movements around the world, coupled with the waning acceptance of Progressive Except Palestine–Israel will not succeed.

For example, in a recent article Ramzy Baroud noted that

“Israeli efforts at co-opting Africa countries received a major setback on Saturday, February, 6 when the African Union issued a strong statement of solidarity with Palestine, condemning Israel’s illegal settlement activities and the US’s so-called ‘Deal of the Century’.”

In return, Palestinians have supported movements against injustice around the globe. Documenting a new round of Palestinian uprisings within the Zionist entity, Gaza-based journalist Wafaa Al-Udaini chose to use a photo from another protest against the Israeli regime.

Dating back a year to the shooting of Iyad al-Halak, an unarmed autistic Palestinian man, Palestinians in the picture also hold signs calling attention to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis the previous week, an extralegal murder that they link with al-Halak.

While Palestinians understand the connections between their struggles and anti-colonial movements in other countries, many liberals in the U.S. do not. Nevertheless, as Marc Lamont Hill and Mitchell Plitnick outline in their new book, Except for Palestine: The Limits of Progressive Politics, the days are over when so-called progressive public figures can join the anti-racist struggle at home while accepting gifts from Zionist organizations who fully support the Israeli apartheid state.

As Sarah Doyel notes in her review of Hill and Plitnick’s book, the authors observe that

“Democrats will take to the global stage to champion victims of other humanitarian crises, but Palestinians in Gaza living in what is commonly described as ‘the world’s largest open-air prison’ somehow merit little succor in the liberal worldview.”

Their work, Doyel concludes, is “a crucial and ultimately hopeful tool that better equips progressives to combat injustices within their own political circles.” Combined with the work of members of anti-colonial coalitions, some of whom convinced Alicia Garza to withdraw from Shmuley’s gala, perhaps anti-Zionists in the future will be strong enough to resist what will surely be increasing attacks on their political alignment with Palestinians.

– Benay Blend earned her doctorate in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Her scholarly works include Douglas Vakoch and Sam Mickey, Eds. (2017), “’Neither Homeland Nor Exile are Words’: ‘Situated Knowledge’ in the Works of Palestinian and Native American Writers”. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

The ‘Western’ Racist Roots of Israeli Apartheid

by Jeremy Salt

Source

Palestinian phoenix 4510c

Joe Biden supports a two-state solution to the ‘Palestine problem’. Well, first of all, it never was a Palestine problem. It was a  zionist problem, leading to the colonization and takeover of Palestine by a settler minority. 

Second, the two-state solution is a chimera. Israel is not interested and by supporting a two-state solution that is a delusion,  Biden is actually supporting the continuation of a policy of no solution. In fact, his bogus two-state solution is no more than a mask drawn over the face of his real policy, of continuing lavish support for Israel whatever it does. The one issue Biden does have to face is the Israeli threat to attack Iran if he dares to take the US back into the nuclear agreement breached by Trump. We have to wait to see how he works this out.   

By themselves, the Palestinians have never counted for less in the strategic and political calculations of the zionists. They are treated as a defeated people who should have surrendered long ago and true, the zionists have never been stronger at the material level,  the Palestinians never weaker. 

Only the Palestinians have the right to decide what to do next in the current calamitous situation, but friends can make suggestions and an obvious one would be the need to reconstitute themselves as a national community, building tactical and strategic consensus, before going any further.

In the absence of a two-state solution, the pendulum swings back to one state, either one  Jewish national state or one state for all.  This second aspiration takes the issue back to the 1960s and the one secular state advanced at that time by the PLO.

This soon foundered on the reef of zionist ideology, which from the beginning was based on a Jewish state established over all of Palestine.  That was the whole point of taking the land in the first place: it was a delusion to think the zionists would ever accept anything less than a Jewish state.  Israel’s extended dissembling over the past two decades has merely enabled what was intended,  its colonization of east Jerusalem and the West Bank to reach the point of what many believe to be irreversibility.   

Irreversibility has no meaning in history, of course. The examples are too numerous even to bother proving the point but apparent irreversibility manifested in the 600,000 settlers occupying East Jerusalem and the West Bank has led many Palestinians back to the idea of  one state for all across all of Palestine. 

The pooling of resources in one state with equal rights for Jews, Muslims and Christians (and anyone else) is an attractive and sensible option, of course,  even with all the immense practical difficulties that such an idea entails, beginning with acceptance of the right to return of Palestinians (and their heirs) to the places they came from,  taken over by Jewish settlers in 1948/9 as illegally as the settlers living in east Jerusalem or the West Bank since 1967.

However, even if all this could be sorted out theoretically (and a new name devised for this shared land),  the Jews of today’s Israel do not want it any more than their forebears did.   

For secular Jews living in pre-1967 Israel/occupied Palestine,  the ‘right’ of Israel to exist as a Jewish state is the rock of their collective existence:   for religious Jews living in the territories taken in 1967,  God’s mandate and not Israel’s ‘right’ to exist explains their position but the two positions dovetail in the belief of the necessity of a Jewish state, across all if not most of Palestine.

Just as there were a handful of brave Afrikaners who fought white settler apartheid, so there have always been Jews who challenge zionist racism:  Judah Magnes and the small circle around him in the 1920s-40s who believed in a binational state,  Uri Avnery and the peaceniks in the 1960s and 1970s and currently,  the scholar Ilan Pappe and the journalists Amira Hass and Gideon Levy.  They expose the lies of the state and the endorsement of its crimes by the people but they represent a tiny minority, allowing the state and the people to shrug them off. 

The similarities between apartheid South Africa and apartheid Israel should not blind people into thinking that the outcome will be the same, that one day,  like the white settlers in South Africa,  the zionists will voluntarily see the error of their ways and change course. 

As far as we can see ahead, this would be another delusion. By 1990 the small white minority of South Africa had declined to about 13 percent of the total population.  Apart from the numbers, the apartheid regime was isolated internationally, with sanctions being imposed that spelled economic ruin: ultimately it had no choice but to give in to what was manifestly inevitable.    

By comparison, while the demographics continue to change against them all the time,  Jews still constitute about 50 percent of the population of Palestine between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. They still have sufficient numbers as well as the armed might for Israel to be able to put down any Palestinian challenge from inside.   

Furthermore,  there is little effective pressure on Israel from the ‘western’ world to change its ways.   BDS has damaged Israel,  but at the cost of a counter-reaction which has resulted in  Israel being given additional protection by the passage of anti-BDS measures by state legislatures across the US and by parliaments in Canada,  Britain, France and Germany.  The gains have been heavily offset by the cost.

The cash flow from the US continues undiminished,  and neither the UN as a collective body or any of its member governments seeks to restrain Israel in any serious way. Not only that,  but they give their fervent support to the charge of anti-semitism which Israel continues to use unscrupulously to destroy those who stand against its racism, the most recent high profile scalp being Jeremy Corbyn’s.

In such an environment of international indulgence,  with only notional marginal interest at home in a genuine one-state settlement, the Israeli government sees no need to change course.  It knows it can do virtually whatever it wants  without the ‘international community’ stepping forward to stand in its way.  Not even the killing of children on the West Bank or in Gaza have been sufficient to push it into making Israel pay for the consequences of its actions.   

Holocaust guilt helps to explain indulgence of Israel but so does the racism of the ‘west,’  past and present,  as manifested yet again by the recent slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent people in Middle Eastern lands.

Far from generating absolute horror at such crimes,  these deaths count for little in the ‘western’ homeland.  Black lives in the US, Canada, or Australia might matter but black or brown lives destroyed in Iraq,  Syria,  Libya, Yemen,  Palestine and numerous other places count for very little in these same countries.

The deaths of 3000 people on 9/11 were widely described as a turning point.  By comparison, no episode of the mass killing of people of color has ever been described as a turning point in history. 

These deaths have little impact in the countries where they are decided:  the faces are faceless, the names nameless,  the features featureless,  the deaths not counted,  no more than an estimate if someone asks.    

There is no turning point for these victims of racist wars:  their world will continue to turn the same way it always has done.  Their deaths do not register because they are not exceptional  – as the deaths on 9/11 were –  but only the normal continuation of what has been going on for centuries in Latin America,  Africa, the Middle East and South-east Asia, with no end in sight even now, and one does not sit up and take notice of the normal.

The ending of these lives of unequal value at the hands of ‘western’ armies is ignored or quickly forgotten:  no-one in the ‘western’ homeland is ever held responsible, not the politicians launching the wars,  not the pilots firing the missiles, and not the media giving encouragement on the home front.

These two complementary forms of racism, zionist apartheid  on one hand and deeply imprinted  ‘western’ racism on the other,  have been fundamental to the success of Zionism from the beginning. 

With support continuing from the US at all levels,  and with the ‘international community’ reluctant to intervene,  it would be a delusion to think that Israel will one day voluntarily accept a genuine one-state settlement.  The great bulk of Jewish Israelis do not want it and the state will fight it tooth and claw if it ever becomes a serious threat (an extremely remote prospect at the moment).   

There are no signs that sufficient momentum can be developed to compel Israel to accept such a solution.  BDS is effective but only up to a certain point.  The ‘international community’ is not interested in challenging Israel in any meaningful way.  Arab governments never genuinely committed to the Palestine cause in the first place are now coming out of hiding and signing agreements with the enemy who never was. 

To see where any prospect of breaking this deadlock might lie, one has to look at the regional strategic situation as seen through Israeli eyes. The dominant feature in military circles is alarm, born not just of Israel’s failure to intimidate its enemies but the fact that they are stronger now than they were a decade ago. 

The exception is Syria, which has withstood the most determined attempt ever made to destroy an Arab government, has had to pay a terrible price in the loss of life and destruction of its towns and cities and is still battling armed takfiri groups in different parts of the country. It has to concentrate on its own recovery: there is not much else it can do at the moment but its strategic allies, Iran and Hizbullah, remain a standing cause of active preparation for war in Israel.

Inside their homeland, the Palestinians can be killed, bullied and beaten, and otherwise oppressed by a suffocating network of pseudo-legal ‘laws’ but Israel has no such control beyond Palestine’s borders. This external dimension of the Palestinian question –  as an Arab question, historically, politically, culturally, and geographically; as a Muslim question, with the enormous weight that this signifies; and as a human rights question that resonates around the world – has always represented the greatest threat to the zionist state,  as by themselves the Palestinians would never have been capable of overcoming the vast power wielded against them after 1918. 

Resistance to Israel by Iran and Hizbullah arises from the centrality of Palestine in Arab and Muslim consciousness.  They have paid heavily for their commitment but they have not backed off because,  to put it as it is understood in Iran and by Hizbullah, the cause is sacred. Their resistance is deeply principled,  something the ‘western’ homeland cannot allow itself to understand if Israel is to be defended,  but as much as they are demeaned and abused in the ‘western’ homeland as ‘terrorists’  it is they who have human rights and international law on their side,  not Israel.  

In this external form, from beyond Palestine’s borders, the Palestinian phoenix rises again from the ashes of its suffering to haunt its enemy.  An idea can be much harder to crush than a people, because it has to be countermanded by ideas and Israel has none in its armoury, at least not any good ones. 

In the event of another regional war, unfortunately, a probability more than a possibility, on the basis of all past experience, Iran and Hizbullah have the missile capacity to damage Israel well beyond anything it has ever experienced.

Only the trauma of such an experience is likely to push Israel in the direction of one state for everyone living in the land of Palestine,  with the doors of return opened to the refugees. This is clearly the common-sense solution, the humane solution, but it is not one that Israel is likely to embrace voluntarily.

Apartheid from the Sea to the River

By Jeremy Salt

Source

BTselem apartheid Israel Palestine Latuff 46b11

B’Tselem’s description of Israel an apartheid state is valuable because B’Tselem, Israel’s leading human rights organization, is saying it.  Otherwise, the reaction should be of course it is. B’Tselem applies the word to all of Palestine and not just the remaining territories seized in 1967.  Again, of course it should.  Structural discrimination against the Palestinians is built into every level of government except elections,  which allows Israel repeatedly to tell the world that it is the only democracy in the Middle East, as if the ballot box is the only measure of democracy, blurring the reality unless people take a close look.

Israel and the policy of apartheid were born in the same year, 1948,  Israel as a colonial-settler declared unilaterally over occupied Palestine on May 15 and apartheid as the election-winning policy of South Africa’s National Party on May 26. On December 9 the same year, the UN General Assemby adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.  

The convention describes genocide as acts intended to destroy “in whole or part” a national,  ethnical, racial or religious group.   There is no other way to describe Israel’s intentions in 1948.  Hundreds of Palestinian villages were razed and about 800,000 people driven out of their native land to make way for European settlers.   As for why they had to go there are two reasons:   they were not Jews,  and they were living in a land the zionists wanted to turn into a Jewish state.   

The occupation of the rest of Palestine in 1967 and the military, economic and pseudo-legal weapons used to suffocate the Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem ever since are no more than an extension of what began in 1948.

B’tselem’s declaration revives the debate over whether zionism is a ‘racist’ ideology.  For the victims of racism in other colonized countries,  of course it is. Only in the imperial ‘west,’ with its own long history of racism, occupation and massacre, could the question even arise. 

In fact, racism has been in zionism’s DNA ever since Herzl talked of “spiriting” the Palestians out of their land to make way for a Jewish state.   How to get rid of them was the central consideration of the Zionist planners who followed him.

Everything evil committed against the Palestinians since 1948 speaks to the historical racism of the zionist enterprise.  You don’t treat people with the brutality that has accompanied the zionist march through history if you think they have the same rights as you do. Your soldiers, police and settlers do not kill or massacre people if they think they have the same right to life as they do.

Your state doesn’t create different laws and different rights if it thinks all people should have the same rights and live under the same laws. The state does not give a false right of return to Jews wherever they live and deny the genuine right of return of Palestinians. The state does not declare that the state is the state of the Jewish people and not the state of  its citizens,  Jewish or not.  

On November 10, 1975, the UN General Assembly passed resolution 3379,  describing zionism “as a form of racism and racial discrimination.” The word ‘race’ has no basis in science but everyone knows what it means in practice:   discrimination against specific groups on the basis of religion, ethnicity or skin color.  The Israeli ambassador,  Chaim Herzog,  was so enraged when the resolution was passed (72-35 with 32 abstentions) that he tore up his printout.

The passage of this resolution led to an immediate counter-attack by Israel, supported by the US and other governments.   As always, the bludgeon used was anti-semitism, with the US, from behind the scenes, prodding governments that had voted for the resolution to change their minds.  The tactics worked. On December 16,1991, the General Assembly revoked the resolution in resolution 46/86, passed 111-25 with 13 abstentions and 15 absentees.

Daniel Moynihan, the US ambassador at the UN and a zionist diehard, commented before 3379 was revoked that the UN “is about to make anti-semitism international law.” Of course, the resolution had nothing to do with anti-semitism but was born of the growing need to expose the ideology of a state which even by then had wrought massive destruction in the Middle East.

On the basis of  the commitments it had made to respect UN principles,   Israel was accepted as a UN member (Resolution 273, May 11, 1949), the General Assembly having resolved  that Israel “is a peace-loving State which accepts the obligations contained in the charter and is able and willing to carry  out those obligations.”  The next day it signed a protocol accepting resolution 194 (III) of 1948, setting out the basic rights of the Palestinians, including the right of return to their homeland, and the preservation of their property.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. Even at the time Israel was not “peace loving”: in hindsight the phrase is grotesque.  Neither did Israel have any intention of abiding by the commitments it had made to the Palestinians whom it had ethnically cleansed.  They would never be allowed to return. 

As for their property,  Israel was asked to suspend its ‘’Emergency Applications on Absentee Property’’ until a final peace settlement could be reached.  It responded that the so-called “custodian of absentee property” was acting only as a trustee for the owners,  “whose property is being administered in their interests.” 

This was a blatant lie. The “absentee property” was already being distributed among settlers old and new. It included village and town houses and a mass of agricultural land which had Chaim Weizmann, the state’s first president, in absolute raptures.  So much of it, and all of it acquired at absolutely no cost:

“ … about five million dunums of land [1.235 million acres] at least which could be taken under the plough almost at once,  but we have not yet got the people. In the district between Ramleh and Latrun there are about two milion dunums of the best land in Palestine for which, if we had to buy it, we would have to pay at least LP [Palestine pounds] per dunum and as you know, one could never buy land between Ramleh and Latrun. Now it is all free, overgrown with weeds and it is very doubtful whether the Arabs will ever come back to work it. Eveybody seems to think they have gone for good.”

This master dissembler knew perfectly well that Israel had no intention of allowing  ‘the Arabs’ back,  and as for a land “overgrown with weeds,” it was fertile and intensively worked by Palestinian farmers.

Everything the owners of “absentee property” had left behind was destroyed or stolen, down to furniture and small household items. The houses left standing were handed over to settlers,  senior zionist figures taking some of the best for themselves. 

An additional category was added to the list of absentees. These were the “present absentees” who fled from one part of Palestine to another during the fighting.   They were not allowed back to their original place of residence and their property was stolen too.

The lies told by Israel to secure UN membership were followed by the serial violations of Palestinian rights and international law along the spectrum of human rights which have continued to the present day. 

This being the case,  the rules of the club should surely prevail.  Anyone who joins a club and refuses to abide by the rules is usually warned once, warned twice,  suspended on the third offence and then thrown out if it still ignores the conditions of membership.  

Israel was admitted to the club on the basis of a false application.  It then refused to obey the rules, not once, twice or thrice but thousands of times but is still allowed to remain a member. 

Without the protection of the US, the UN General Assembly almost certainly would have voted for suspension of Israel decades ago and then ejection if it still refused to comply.   Thanks to the US, however, not only does  Israel remain a member but it is never punished for its crimes.

Noam Chomsky has described Israeli apartheid as “much worse” than South African apartheid. On the basis of the number of people who have died as a result of Israel’s racist policies, there is actually no comparison.

Under an apartheid government,  South African police, soldiers and white settlers beat, tortured and killed Africans.  Israeli police, soldiers and settlers do the same to Palestinians but whereas the worst state massacres in apartheid South Africa were Sharpeville (March 21, 1960), when police killed 69 people and wounded 180 others demonstrating against the pass laws,  and Soweto (June 16, 1976),  when at least 176 students (estimates are as high as 700) demonstrating against having to learn Afrikaans were killed,  the victims of Israel’s massacres run into the tens of thousands. 

This state of affairs will continue as long as the “international community” refuses to punish Israel for violation of the laws it has passed to protect human rights and preserve global peace.  Such punishment would be imposed through suspension from the UN and the suspension by governments of diplomatic and trade relations with Israel, but as long as it does not have to pay for its crimes and its contempt for international law it will see no reason to change.   As long as it refuses to change, it will remain a threat to Middle Eastern regional and global peace.

Dr Tim Anderson: dismantling apartheid in occupied Palestine

HRW: “Israel” Systematically Repressed Palestinians in 2020

HRW: “Israel” Systematically Repressed Palestinians in 2020

By Staff, Agencies

Human Rights Watch [HRW] says the apartheid “Israeli” regime “systematically repressed and discriminated” against Palestinians last year.

HRW said in a report on the year 2020 that the “Israeli” regime’s practices “far exceeded the security justifications” it often gave.

In the occupied West Bank, including East al-Quds [Jerusalem], the “Israeli” Occupation Forces [IOF] martyred 20 Palestinians and injured at least 2,001 as of October 5, HRW cited figures presented by the United Nations [UN] Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs [OCHA].

“‘Israeli’ authorities have rarely held accountable security forces who used excessive force or settlers who attacked Palestinians,” HRW said.

It also cited the “Jerusalem [al-Quds] Legal Aid and Human Rights Center” as saying that the apartheid  “Israeli” entity held, as of September, the bodies of 67 Palestinians martyred since 2015.

The apartheid “Israeli” regime said in September last year that it would use the bodies of deceased Palestinians as bargaining chips to have the bodies of IOF members purportedly held by resistance factions in Gaza released.

The HRW also criticized the entity’s 13-year-old siege of the Gaza Strip and other restrictions imposed on the Palestinians in the enclave.

“These restrictions, not based on an individualized assessment of security risk, robbed with rare exceptions the 2 million Palestinians living there [the Gaza Strip] of their right to freedom of movement, limited their access to electricity and water, and devastated the economy,” the organization said.

The HRW also denounced the “Israeli” move to tighten the restrictions in August as “unlawful collective punishment.”

The report added that, “Egypt also sharply restricted the movement of people and goods at its Rafah crossing with Gaza.”

The New York-based group also said that the apartheid “Israeli” regime facilitated the further transfer of “Israelis” into settlements constructed in the occupied West Bank, slamming the practice as “a war crime”.

The HRW referred to a report by Peace Now in which the “Israeli” group said the “Israeli” entity last year approved the construction of more settler units in the occupied West Bank – 12,159 as of October 15 –more than in any other year since the group began tracking those statistics in 2012.

More than 600,000 “Israeli” settlers live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 “Israeli” occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

All “Israeli” settlements are illegal under international law as they are built on occupied land.

The HRW also cited OCHA as saying that the “Israeli” entity demolished 568 Palestinian houses and other structures in the West Bank, including in East al-Quds, as of October 19, 2020, leaving 759 people displaced.

Most buildings were demolished under the pretext of lacking “Israeli” building permits, which are almost never given.

Referring to about 600 checkpoints and other permanent obstacles set up by the entity within the West Bank as of June, the HRW said, “‘Israeli’ forces routinely turn away or humiliate and delay Palestinians at checkpoints without explanation.”

Israel is losing the fight to obscure its apartheid character

Israel’s separation wall is pictured on 11 February 2020 (AFP)
Jonathan Cook
Jonathan Cook, a British journalist based in Nazareth since 2001, is the the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is a past winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His website and blog can be found at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net

Jonathan Cook

14 January 2021 11:31 UTC

New report by rights group B’Tselem will make it harder to smear Israel’s critics as antisemites for arguing that Israel is a racist state


For more than a decade, a handful of former Israeli politicians and US diplomats identified with what might be termed the “peace process industry” have intermittently warned that, without a two-state solution, Israel is in danger of becoming an “apartheid state”. 

The most notable among them include Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, two former Israeli prime ministers, and John Kerry, who served as former US President Barack Obama’s secretary of state. Time is rapidly running out, they have all declared in the past. 

Their chief concern, it seems, was that without the alibi of some kind of Palestinian state – however circumscribed and feeble – the legitimacy of Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state” will increasingly come under scrutiny. Apartheid will arrive, the argument goes, when a minority of Israeli Jews rule over a majority of Palestinians in the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan controlled by Israel. 

Demographic threshold

The apartheid threat has been wielded by the so-called “peace camp” in hopes of mobilising international pressure on the Israeli right, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The goal has been to force it into making sufficient concessions that the Palestinian leadership agrees to a demilitarised statelet, or statelets, on fragments on the original Palestinian homeland. 

Meanwhile, demographic trends have continued apace, and the Israeli right has ignored all warnings, preferring to pursue their Greater Israel ambitions instead. But strangely, the apartheid moment never arrived for the Israeli peace camp. Instead, its expressions of concern about apartheid fizzled into silence, as did its once-vocal worries about a Palestinian demographic majority.

How much sense would it have made in the former South Africa to claim that apartheid existed only in the Bantustans or black townships, while exempting white areas?

This entirely cynical approach to Palestinian statehood was very belatedly blown apart this week with the publication of a report by B’Tselem, Israel’s most prominent and respected human rights group. It broke ranks to declare what has been obvious for many, many years. Israel has created a permanent reality in which there are two peoples, Jews and Palestinians, sharing the same territorial space, but “a regime of Jewish supremacy” has been imposed by the stronger side. This unequivocally qualifies as apartheid, B’Tselem said. 

It dismisses the sophistry that apartheid relates to some self-serving demographic deadline – one that never materialises – rather than the explicitly segregationist practices and policies Israel has enforced throughout the territories it rules. It also dismisses arguments made by Israel’s partisans abroad that Israel cannot be an apartheid state because there are no South African-style “whites only” signs on park benches. 

Hagai El-Ad, B’Tselem’s executive director, notes that Israel’s version – “apartheid 2.0, if you will – avoids certain kinds of ugliness … That Israel’s definitions do not depend on skin colour make no material difference: it is the supremacist reality which is the heart of the matter.” The report concludes that the bar for apartheid was met after considering “the accumulation of policies and laws that Israel devised to entrench its control over Palestinians”.

Daring analysis

What is perhaps most daring about B’Tselem’s analysis is its admission that apartheid exists not just in the occupied territories, as has been observed before, including by former US President Jimmy Carter. It describes the entire region between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River – which encompasses both Israel and the Palestinian territories – as an apartheid regime. It thereby denies Israel’s claims to be a democratic state even inside its internationally recognised borders.

B’Tselem has abandoned the pretence that apartheid can be limited to the occupied territories, as though Israel – the state that rules Palestinians – is somehow exempt from being classified as integral to the apartheid enterprise it institutes and oversees.

That was always obvious. How much sense would it have made in the former South Africa to claim that apartheid existed only in the Bantustans or black townships, while exempting white areas? None at all. And yet, Israel has been getting away with precisely this clearcut casuistry for decades – largely aided by the peace camp, including B’Tselem.

Palestinian workers cross the Nilin checkpoint on 18 March 2020 (MEE/Mohammad Abu Zaid)
Palestinian workers cross the Nilin checkpoint on 18 March 2020 (MEE/Mohammad Abu Zaid)

Now, B’Tselem observes: “Jews go about their lives in a single, contiguous space where they enjoy full rights and self-determination. In contrast, Palestinians live in a space that is fragmented into several units, each with a different set of rights – given or denied by Israel, but always inferior to the rights accorded to Jews.”

Israel’s “Jewish supremacist ideology” is revealed in its obsession with “Judaising” land, in its bifurcated citizenship laws and policies that privilege Jews alone, in its regulations that restrict movement for Palestinians only, and in its denial of political participation to Palestinians. These discriminatory policies, B’Tselem notes, apply also to the fifth of Israel’s population who are Palestinian and have nominal Israeli citizenship. 

El-Ad concludes: “There is not a single square inch in the territory Israel controls where a Palestinian and a Jew are equal. The only first-class people here are Jewish citizens such as myself.”

Permanent occupation

What B’Tselem has done is echo the arguments long made by academics and Palestinian civil society, including the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, that Israel is a settler-colonial society. 

In an emailed response to the report, Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of the BDS movement, said it helped to put an end to “the vicious and deeply racist lies about the not-so-perfect Israeli democracy that has a problem called ‘the occupation’”. Why acknowledging Israeli apartheid is not enough

The B’Tselem report observes that, while “occupation” must be a temporary situation, Israel has no intention of ending its military rule over Palestinians, even after more than five decades. A Palestinian state is not conceivably on the agenda of any Israeli party in sight of power, and no one in the international community with any influence is demanding one. The two-state solution has been smothered into oblivion.

For that reason, it argues, all of Israel and the Palestinian territories under occupation are organised “under a single principle: advancing and cementing the supremacy of one group – Jews – over another – Palestinians”.

There are good reasons why B’Tselem is biting the bullet now, after decades of equivocation from it and the rest of the Israeli peace camp. Firstly, no one really believes that Israel will be pressured from outside into conceding a Palestinian state. Trump’s so-called “peace plan”, unveiled a year ago, gave Netanyahu everything he wanted, including support for annexing swaths of the West Bank on which illegal settlements have been built. 

Four years of Trump, and the recruitment of much of the Gulf to Netanyahu’s side, has shifted the conversation a long way from efforts to secure Palestinian statehood. Now, the focus is on how best to delay Israel’s move towards formal annexation. US president-elect Joe Biden will at best try to push things back to the dismal state they were in before Donald Trump took office. At worst, he will quietly assent to all or most of the damage Trump has inflicted on the Palestinian national cause.

Deeply isolated

Secondly, B’Tselem and other human rights groups are more deeply isolated at home than ever before. There is simply no political constituency in Israel for their research into the systematic abuses of Palestinians by the Israeli army and settlers. That means B’Tselem no longer needs to worry about messaging that could antagonise the sensibilities of Israel’s so-called “Zionist left” – because there is no meaningful peace camp left to alienate. 

The disappearance of this peace camp, unreliable as it was, has only been underscored by the Israeli general election due in late March. The battle for power this time is being waged between three or four far-right parties that all support annexation to varying degrees. 

Israel’s apologists will now face the much harder task of showing that B’Tselem is antisemitic, along with the Palestinian solidarity activists who cite its work

The Israeli left has ceased to exist at the political level. It comprises a handful of human and legal rights groups, mostly seen by the public as traitors supposedly meddling in Israel’s affairs on behalf of “European” interests. At this stage, B’Tselem has little to lose. It is almost entirely irrelevant inside Israel.

Thirdly, and as a result, the only audience for B’Tselem’s careful research exposing Israeli abuses is overseas. This new report seeks to liberate a conversation about Israel, partly among Palestinian solidarity activists abroad. Their campaigns have been stymied by the failure of the Palestinian leadership under Mahmoud Abbas to signal where they should direct their efforts, now that prospects for Palestinian statehood have vanished.

Activists have also been browbeaten into silence by smears from Israel’s partisans in the US and Europe, decrying any trenchant criticism of Israel as antisemitic. These slurs were relentlessly deployed against the UK’s Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn because of his support for the Palestinian cause.

Breaking a taboo

By calling Israel an apartheid state and a “regime of Jewish supremacy”, B’Tselem has given the lie to the Israel lobby’s claim – bolstered by a new definition promoted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance – that it is antisemitic to suggest Israel is a “racist endeavour”. 

B’Tselem, a veteran Israeli Jewish organisation with deep expertise in human rights and international law, has now explicitly declared that Israel is a racist state. Israel’s apologists will now face the much harder task of showing that B’Tselem is antisemitic, along with the Palestinian solidarity activists who cite its work.

Palestinian protesters confront Israeli soldiers during a protest in the occupied West Bank on 29 January 2020 (AFP)
Palestinian protesters confront Israeli soldiers during a protest in the occupied West Bank on 29 January 2020 (AFP)

The report is also intended to reach out to young American Jews, who are more willing than their parents to foreground the mistreatment of Palestinians and to forgo the Zionist idea that Israel is their bolthole in times of trouble. 

Significantly, the B’Tselem report has been published in the wake of two groundbreaking essays this past summer by influential American Jewish journalist Peter Beinart. In them, he broke a taboo in the US Jewish mainstream by declaring the two-state solution dead and calling for a single democratic state for Israelis and Palestinians.

It doubtless served as a wakeup call to Israeli groups such as B’Tselem that the conversation about Israel is moving on in the US and becoming much more polarised. Israeli human rights groups need to engage with this debate, not shy away from it.

Battle for equality

There is one possible lacuna in B’Tselem’s position. The report suggests a reticence to focus on outcomes. Nowhere is the two-state solution ruled out. Rather, the report notes: “There are various political paths to a just future.” Statements by El-Ad to Middle East Eye indicate that his organisation may still support a framework of international pressure for incremental, piecemeal change in Israeli policies that violate Palestinian human rights.Israeli settlers’ racism is not an aberration. It’s part of an apartheid systemRead More »

That is very much what western states, particularly Europe, have been paying lipservice to for decades, while Israeli apartheid has entrenched.

Does B’Tselem hope its apartheid criticisms will prove more effective than Barak and Olmert’s apartheid warnings, finally galvanising the international community into action to push for a Palestinian state? If so, Biden’s performance in office should soon dispel any such illusions. El-Ad observes that the goal now is “a rejection of supremacy, built on a commitment to justice and our shared humanity.” 

That cannot happen within the two-state framework, even on the untenable assumption that the international community ever seriously rallies behind Palestinian statehood, against Israel’s wishes. So why not say so explicitly? The best-case two-state scenarios on the table are for a tiny, divided, demilitarised, pseudo-Palestinian state with no control over its borders, airspace or electromagnetic frequencies.

That would not offer “justice” to Palestinians or recognise their “shared humanity” with Israeli Jews.

As welcome as the new report is, it is time for B’Tselem – as well as Palestinian solidarity activists who look to the organisation – to explicitly reject any reversion to a “peace process” premised on ending the occupation. The logic of an apartheid analysis needs to be followed to the very end. That requires unequivocally embracing a democratic single state guaranteeing equality and dignity for all.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

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Against the Witch Hunt: On the Instrumentalization of Antisemitism in Britain’s Labour Party

December 17, 2020

UK Labour Party voted in favor of a motion which could see Britain cease trade with Israel. (Photo: via Twitter)

By Ronnie Kasrils

The assault on free speech within Britain’s Labour Party speaks like a ghost from my past. I was banned from public speaking in apartheid South Africa almost sixty years ago. My crime aged 23, was advocating votes for all. The apartheid government accused those like me of undermining the safety of whites. When all avenues of peaceful change were blocked, we had no option but to turn to armed struggle.

We argued that there was no equivalence between the state violence of the oppressor and the resistance of the oppressed. International solidarity helped bring about the demise of the apartheid system. We empathize with those in the Labour Party today, who are being victimized by a double agenda: for their socialism and defending Palestinian rights. It is astonishing and deplorable that a witch hunt is underway within those ranks – as elsewhere.

I was invited to address a BDS event in Vienna over a year ago which the city council quickly banned. A couple of months ago I was involved in a planned event with Palestinian freedom fighter Leila Khaled, at San Francisco State University, which was blocked. Then attempts to have our discussion broadcast via Zoom, Facebook and YouTube were obstructed. The voice opponents of free speech were desperate to gag was Leila Khaled. The Palestinian narrative being the primary target.

Those who attack human rights, whether in advanced capitalist countries or feudal tyrannies, simultaneously attack Palestinian rights. They follow violent precedents and consequences.

Repressing freedom of speech in South Africa paved the way for the emergence of a terrorist state. Ruthless suppression was instrumentalized in Europe’s colonies, and by USA imperialism on the back of slavery and genocide; and in the colonization and dismantling of Palestine.

The latter context falls within the project to counter the national liberation upsurge of the 20th Century.

The Apartheid regime’s use of anti-communism as a blanket device to smash opposition; along with Joe McCarthy’s witch-hunting; is mirrored in manipulating “anti-Semitism” as a shield to protect Israel. It is an umbrella formula to delegitimize the Palestinian cause and BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) campaign.

Upholding Palestinian rights has been reflected in United Nations resolutions; and statements by Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Tutu, Angela Davis, Arundhati Roy, Noam Chomsky; and back in time Jewish scholars such as Eric Fromm and Martin Buber.

Apartheid alleged the South African struggle was about sweeping whites into the sea and handing the country to Russia. This echoes the claim that giving in on the human and national rights of the dispossessed Palestinians means the extinction of the Jewish people.

Those linking freedom of expression and Palestinian solidarity articulate the same goals as we did in South Africa’s struggle – the objective is about changing a system not destroying a people.

Criticizing Zionism, an exclusivist ethnic-based political doctrine is not anti-Semitic. It is the valid criticism of a reactionary political theory.

Zionism, not the Judaic religion; Israel, not the Jewish people is the focus of criticism.

The anti-communism of apartheid South Africa, and charges of anti-Semitism against Israel’s critics, are terms of Machiavellian elasticity stretched by charlatans to stifle opposition. This is the new taboo. The untouchable holy cow shamelessly peddled in Western countries that preach freedom of expression.

Those who fall prey, who are deceived by the confusion sown, should note the lesson of the boy who cried wolf. When the real monster of anti-Semitism strikes, the most steadfast of opponents, have been on the left of the political spectrum.

False allegations of anti-Semitism weaken the fight against the real demon. This is exactly the pitfall of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) treatise conflating criticism of Israel with hate speech. It is biased and fatally flawed. A dubious, non-internationally represented Eurocentric document, devised by a hand-picked cabal of sophists seeking to be referee and player at the same time. With a veiled attempt at “objectivity,” Israel is given umbrella-like cover, impunity for its crimes and a cudgel to beat its opponents.

In 1948 when Menahem Begin visited New York to raise funds for his party – later to become Sharon and Netanyahu’s ruling Likud – Albert Einstein and Hannah Arendt labeled him a “fascist”. After cold-blooded massacres of Palestinians that year, an Israeli cabinet minister, Aharon Cizling, declared “now we too have behaved like Nazis and my whole being is shaken.”

In terms of the IHRA’s guidelines, they would be labeled anti-Semitic. Jeremy Corbyn’s “crime” that accusations of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party have been exaggerated is minuscule by comparison.

Manufacturing mountains out of molehills, characterizes the sophistry of medieval inquisitors, hitching Labour to the Blairite anti-socialist bandwagon. Unopposed this witch hunt will escalate, attacking popular protest wherever humanity opposes injustice.

We say to the deceit of Labour Party leaders, Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner, who misappropriate a sacred trade union principle: Yes! “An injury to one is an injury to all” – but in your denialism you ignore the millions of Palestinians facing the bullets and bombs of Israeli aggression.

The recent statement of prominent Palestinian and Arab figures with regard to the IHRA’s false strictures eloquently attests to how the issue of anti-Semitism should be formulated.

They declare:

“Antisemitism must be debunked and combated. Regardless of pretense, no expression of hatred for Jews as Jews should be tolerated anywhere in the world.”

The left and human rights movement, including Black Lives Matter and formations such as the African National Congress of South Africa, should join those Palestinian and Arab voices in formulating genuinely international guidelines regarding defense of free speech; and in combatting the scourge of anti-Semitism and all forms of racism.

– Ronnie Kasrils, veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle, and South Africa’s former Minister for Intelligence Services, activist and author. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle

The Palestinian children of Karmiel know what Israeli apartheid is

Orly Noy is a journalist and a political activist based in Jerusalem.

Orly Noy

3 December 2020 11:09 UTC

The nation-state law has been invoked to reject a petition by students for reimbursement of their bus fares to Arabic-language schools

An Israeli flag flies in the northern city of Karmiel on 3 November (AFP)

Less than a day after Israel’s nation-state law was approved by the Knesset, Haaretz published a commentary by Jonathan Lis addressing its practical significance. “The nation-state law is mainly a symbolic measure designed to enshrine national values in a basic law,” he wrote.

Considerable commentary of this nature was heard at the time: Israel is defined as a Jewish state, with all the concomitant discriminatory ramifications. Many sought on that basis to mute criticism of the new law. Others understood that the law, officially legalising apartheid within Israel’s borders, would be more than merely symbolic.

Lawyer Hassan Jabareen, founder of the legal defence group Adalah, whose petition against the law has been pending for more than two years, described it nicely to me at the time: If hitherto Arab citizens could turn to the courts for help in fighting discrimination in the name of the law, from now on the legal system itself can validate apartheid, also in the name of the law.

Confiscated land

A 30 November article in Haaretz proves just how correct Jabareen’s point was, as the Krayot Magistrate’s Court recently cited the nation-state law as grounds to reject a petition from Arab children in Karmiel seeking reimbursement for their bus fares to Arab schools outside the town, since there are no Arab schools in Karmiel.

“Karmiel, a Jewish city, was founded to strengthen Jewish settlement in the Galilee,” Senior Registrar Yaniv Luzon wrote in his decision. “Establishing an Arabic-language school … [and] funding school transportation for Arab students, for anyone who needs it anywhere, could change the demographic balance of the city and damage its character.”   

The experience of more than seven decades proves that the Israeli legal establishment is an integral part of the system of Jewish superiority

It might be worth noting the founding circumstances of the “Jewish city” of Karmiel, whose character the chief registrar is so concerned about: Karmiel was established in 1964 on land confiscated from surrounding Arab villages.

Karmiel is one of more than 700 communities the state has built for the Jewish population since Israel’s founding, compared with none built for the Arab population – apart from a few towns in the Negev designed for the orderly resettlement of Bedouins whose lands the state coveted.

Though the two populations have grown at a similar rate since 1948, the apartheid land-use policy, which confiscates land from one population to build towns for the other, has so constricted Arab towns geographically that many of their residents have been forced to find housing in nearby Jewish towns.

But apartheid is unhappy with that too, apparently. It does not want Arabs in Jewish towns, and it also does not want to let them live on their own lands, separately. On the one hand, outright theft; on the other, a sense of superiority and racial purity.

‘Equal rights as individuals’

Back in the day, when the nation-state law was brought before the Knesset, its initiator, Avi Dichter, made the following appeal to Arab citizens: “You will be able to live as a national minority among us and enjoy equal rights as individuals, but not equality as a national minority.” 

Now, Senior Registrar Luzon clarifies, based on the nation-state law, even “living among us” is not a real option, because maintaining Jewish demographic superiority is an explicit goal of the law itself. That is, even if theoretically the Arab residents of Karmiel were prepared to send their children to the city’s Jewish schools – where they would be exposed to racist, militaristic indoctrination that, among other things, normalises the occupation – that would not be a solution. Their very presence in the city is unwanted, and fighting against it is considered legitimate and lawful.

Protesters denounce Israel’s nation-state law in the village of Jatt in October 2018 (AFP)
Protesters denounce Israel’s nation-state law in the village of Jatt in October 2018 (AFP)

The person who ought to have been battling for the rights of these students who petitioned the court for help is Education Minister Yoav Galant, who voted in favour of the nation-state law. Given the court’s decision, it is worth noting again the deception in the distinction made by Dichter between individual rights and national rights for Palestinian citizens. 

Has the massive confiscation of land belonging to Arab citizens been done on an individual or a national basis? Is the discrimination against Arab students carried out on an individual or a national basis? Is abandoning the security of Arab citizens and ignoring their victimisation by organised crime an individual or a national trend? Is preventing Arab families from making their homes in Jewish towns via residential screening committees happening on an individual or a national basis? 

Just one service was accomplished by the nation-state law for the public discourse in Israel, and that was tearing the mask away from all these manipulative and false distinctions.

Persecuting Palestinian identity

The children of Karmiel did not petition the court to allow them to wave a Palestinian flag or sing the Palestinian anthem in the city’s streets. They petitioned for the right to live in their city and study at a school where their language is spoken, and where they will not be viewed as inferior citizens. The court made it clear that their Palestinian identity makes them inferior and unwanted; that their very existence is a threat, by law.Why acknowledging Israeli apartheid is not enough

The country’s Arab citizens are persecuted for wanting to be who they are. Their Palestinian identity is what makes them, in the eyes of the Zionist government, less than fully reliable citizens. The intra-Zionist argument is only about limits to their rights, which are never material and are always conditional.

True, institutional and racist discrimination against Arab citizens of Israel existed even before the nation-state law. But with its passage, the parliament of Israel proudly proclaimed the legitimacy of the state’s apartheid foundations. Apartheid became the law of the land.

Although many petitions against the nation-state law are still pending, the experience of more than seven decades proves that the Israeli legal establishment is an integral part of the system of Jewish superiority. It is the gatekeeper. In that sense, Luzon has simply done what is expected of him.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

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Hollywood Star Mark Ruffalo Calls out Israel’s Apartheid (VIDEO)

October 9, 2020

Source

Hollywood A-lister Mark Ruffalo has a long history of speaking out for Palestinian rights. (Photo: via Facebook)

Hollywood A-lister Mark Ruffalo called out Israeli apartheid during an interview on the Mehdi Hasan Show aired yesterday.

Speaking to the British journalist, Ruffalo said: “My connection to Palestine came through Palestinians and hearing their stories and then watching this asymmetrical warfare being enacted upon them.”

“That kind of inequality, that kind of oppression, that kind of apartheid.”

The Avengers star has a long history of speaking out for Palestinian rights, during Israel’s 2014 war on Gaza, Ruffalo slammed the Israeli army for blowing up Al-Wafa Hospital killing dozens of patients.

“There is no reason why an ally of America shouldn’t be held to the standards of any other country in the world, especially an ally. And what I see there is wrong,” he added.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Israeli Forces Demolish Palestinian Bedouin Village for 177th Time (VIDEO)

Source

August 27, 2020

Israeli forces habitually destroy al-Araqeeb village. (Photo: via Twitter)

The Israeli authorities today demolished the Palestinian Bedouin village of al-Araqeeb, in the Naqab desert, for the 177th time since 2000 and for the sixth time this year, according to the Palestinian news agency WAFA.

Israeli police broke into the village and tore down the tents and tin structures, leaving the villagers, including children, homeless.

The village was last leveled on March 5, 2020, and every time the residents rebuild their tents and small houses, Israeli police return to raze them.

The village shelters, inhabited by Palestinian families, were built out of wood, plastic, and corrugated iron.

Located in the Naqab desert, the village is one of 51 “unrecognized” Arab villages in the area and is constantly targeted for demolition ahead of plans to Judaize the Naqab by building homes for new Jewish communities.

Israeli bulldozers, which Bedouins are charged for, have demolished everything, from the trees to the water tanks, but Bedouin residents have tried to rebuild it every time.

Bedouins in the Naqab, who are Israeli citizens, abide by the same laws as Jewish Israeli citizens. They pay taxes but do not enjoy the same rights and services as Jews in Israel and the state has repeatedly refused to connect their towns to the national water and electricity networks in an effort to end their presence in that area of the country.

“Al-Araqeeb is only symbolic of that historic fight,” Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle, Ramzy Baroud, wrote in a recent article.

“It would be no exaggeration to state that there is a war waged by Israel against Palestinian Bedouins. The aim is to destroy their culture and to force them into townships similar to those of Apartheid South Africa,” Baroud added.

(Palestine Chronicle, WAFA, Social Media)

BDS Victory, Manchester university divest from Caterpillar

By Elfalasteen -August 5, 2020

MANCHESTER, PALESTINOW.COM — Students across the UK have called on universities to end their complicity in Israeli apartheid. ‘Apartheid off Campus’ actions were held at over 30 universities this week.

Stop Arming Colonialism

The protests are part of the annual Israeli Apartheid Week, an international series of events that “seeks to raise awareness about Israel’s apartheid regime over the Palestinian people and build support for the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.”

Israel is currently militarily occupying the West Bank and East Jerusalem, maintaining a siege of the Gaza Strip and denying equal rights to its Palestinian citizens.

Israeli Apartheid Week is now in its 15th year. The theme of the event this year is #StopArmingColonialism.

Students call for divestment from Caterpillar

In the UK, students at Manchester University called for an end to university investments in Caterpillar:The BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel) society marched through the University of Manchester campus to demand that the University divests its shares, worth £482,381.26, from Caterpillar, and in solidarity to the Palestinians protesting every day during the Great March of Return, of which over 200 have been killed by the Israeli military.

The protest is part of a three-year campaign against the university’s investments in Caterpillar. In February, students occupied a meeting of the Board of Governors, demanding that the university divest.

Caterpillar bulldozers used in revenge attacks on Palestinian families

Caterpillar, a US multinational, provides D9 military bulldozers to the Israeli army through the US’ Foreign Military Sales programme. According to a recent book by research group Corporate Occupation, Caterpillar bulldozers were used in demolitions of at least 41 Palestinian properties by Israeli authorities during 2018. Seven of these demolitions were acts of collective punishment against the families of Palestinians accused of involvement in resistance attacks on Israeli soldiers or colonists. The Israeli policy of punitive home demolitions is widely accepted to be in breach of international law.

Caterpillar D9 bulldozers were used in January 2018 to demolish houses near Jenin in the West Bank. The demolition was carried out as a revenge attack against the family of Ahmad Jarrar. Jarrar was suspected of fatally shooting an Israeli colonist. According to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, the soldiers, accompanied by Caterpillar D9 bulldozers, began the demolition while people were still inside one of the houses. One Palestinian man was killed during the incident.

“Our kids were so frightened they were in tears”

In a testimony given on 24 January 2018, Nassim Jarrar said:


Shortly after 3am we heard cars and a bulldozer approaching our house. The bulldozer started demolishing the western side of the house. My husband, children and I started screaming because we were scared the house would collapse on top of us. We felt the ground shake and heard parts of the house come crashing down. We went into the kitchen and stood there, confused and scared. Our kids were so frightened they were in tears. The sounds of the demolition grew louder.

Caterpillar D9 Bulldozers are also regularly used in invasions of the Gaza strip, razing Palestinian farmland in the area close to the apartheid barrier between Gaza and Israel, levelling the land to give Israeli snipers a clear shot at Palestinian Great March of Return protesters.

Bulldozer used in yet another murder

On 19 March, the Israeli military shot dead two young Palestinian men. Raed Hamdan, 21, and Zayed Nuri, 20, were driving in their car when soldiers opened fire on them. A military bulldozer was then used to drag and crush the car. The bulldozer appears to be manufactured by Caterpillar. Palestinian people tweeted that the men were still inside the car when it was bulldozed:


About last night in #Nablus and the killing of the two friends, Raed and Zayed.
“Then an Israeli bulldozer drove over the car several times, and the screaming of the guys inside the car was heard, until they were no longer screaming”. pic.twitter.com/TWM8KKB0hG

— Fidaa فِداء (@fidaazaanin) March 20, 2019

The Canary contacted Caterpillar for comment but had not received a reply at the time of publication.

The Apartheid Week protest comes as campaigns against Israel’s home demolition policies are gathering momentum. The #StopTheDemolitions campaign aims to persuade construction equipment manufacturers to stop supplying the Israeli authorities. The Israeli state used military and civilian bulldozers to demolish 461 Palestinian structures in the West Bank last year.

Caterpillar isn’t the only company being targeted. Activists have also taken direct against bulldozer company JCB twice within a year, blockading its factories and preventing goods from arriving and leaving.

On 21 March, four #StopTheDemolitions activists appeared in court in Newcastle-under-Lyme to plead not guilty. They were charged with blockading the JCB Global Logistics Headquarters earlier this month. UK company JCB also manufactures bulldozers which the Israeli authorities use to demolish Palestinian homes. The defendants plan to argue that their actions were justified because of JCB’s complicity in Israel’s home demolitions.

As activists face prosecution, Israel continues to act with impunity, while the bulldozer companies continue to rake in the profits.

‘The Deal of Shame’: Thousands in Gaza Protest against Annexation, Urge Boycott of Israel (PHOTOS)

Source

Thousands of Palestinians rally in the besieged Gaza Strip in protest of Israel’s annexation plan. (Photo: Fawzi Mahmoud, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Thousands of Palestinians on Wednesday rallied in the besieged Gaza Strip in protest of an Israeli government’s plan to annex large swathes of the occupied West Bank. 

The protesters were led by representatives of all Palestinian political groups and civil society organizations. The crowds, which descended from across the Strip, carried Palestinian flags and placards condemning US bias towards Israel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attempt to confiscate more Palestinian land.

Annexing approximately a third of the occupied West Bank means that Israel would officially consider the newly-annexed Palestinian land as part of the Israeli state, similar to Israel’s illegal annexation of East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights in 1980 and ‘81 respectively.

Annexation also means that some 4.5% of the Palestinian population of the West Bank will be living in isolated enclaves within the annexed territories.

“The annexation is a threat to the Palestinians and violates international legitimacy resolutions,” Saadi Abed of the Palestinian Democratic Union (FIDA) said, addressing the rally in Gaza, TRT News reported. 

“The land grip will give away for a new Palestinian intifada,” he said, going on to call on the Palestinians to close ranks and “end the rift to face occupation plans.”

Netanyahu’s government coalition had set July 1 as the date to begin the implementation of the annexation plan, as part of the US President Donald Trump’s Administration’s so-called ‘Deal of the Century’.

Similar mobilization was reported in the West Bank as well, and many protests have already been scheduled for the coming days. 

Protesters in Gaza held signs in English and Arabic that read in part, “The annexation is contrary to the UN charter and a fundamentally illegal act,” “Palestinian Lives Matter,” “Our People Are United against Annexation,” “No Apartheid No Annexation,” “Down with the Deal of the Century,” “The Deal of Shame,” and “BDS: Boycott Israel.” 

Aside from the political factions that participated in the Gaza rally, women groups, student groups, and many civil society organizations were also present, including representatives from the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).

(All Photos: Fawzi Mahmoud)

(The Palestine Chronicle)

Related

“Greater Israel” in the Making: Netanyahu Regime’s Illegal Annexation Scheme Nears Implementation

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, June 24, 2020

Trump’s unlawful Deal of the Century scheme green-lighted Israeli annexation of illegally established settlements on stolen Palestinian land and the Jordan Valley.

Netanyahu earlier vowed to press ahead with annexation. 

Reportedly on or around July 1, he’ll initially announce the annexation of what the Times of Israel called “three West Bank (settlement) blocs,” not the Jordan Valley for now, adding:

“Well-placed sources told The Times of Israel last week that the joint mapping committee tasked with delineating the contours of the annexation move still had weeks if not months of work, and the IDF has not been told precisely what Netanyahu has in mind.”

For starters, Ma’ale Adumim, Ariel and Gush Etzion, three large settlements, will be annexed in the coming days, ruling coalition partner Benny Gantz reportedly going along with what’s clearly a flagrant breach of international law.

According to the broadsheet, there’s “relative consensus, domestically and in Washington,” to making the move.

Or is there? The Times of Israel added the following:

“The US initially said it would recognize annexation immediately, but subsequently appears to have at the very least tempered its enthusiasm for the controversial move before the joint mapping committee can complete its work.”

“The (Trump regime) is highly unlikely to approve an Israeli move to unilaterally annex parts of the West Bank by the July 1 date envisioned by Netanyahu,” according to an unnamed “well-placed source.”

Annexation of historic Palestinian land in whole or in part will formally end the two-state illusion — what long ago was possible, clearly not now.

Trump regime hardliners are on board with the most extremist of Netanyahu regime policies — time and again blaming victims of US/NATO/Israeli high crimes for what’s committed against them.

At most, Trump and Pompeo et al may only press Netanyahu to slow, not abandon, illegal annexation of Palestinian land.

It’s highly unlikely that Biden will soften US policy toward long-suffering Palestinians if he succeeds Trump in January.

Throughout his time as US senator and vice president, he one-sidedly supported Israel, including three preemptive wars on Gaza based on Big Lies.

On June 16 at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and four Palestinian human rights groups discussed the illegality of Israel’s annexation scheme.

They warned that it’ll “normalize Israel’s colonial project and amounts to apartheid via the continued expansion and construction of illegal settlements, displacement and dispossession of Palestinians, and demographic manipulation,” adding:

“The Israeli plan would further entrench racial, ethnic, and religious segregation as a legal norm, and Israel will formally establish itself as the sole sovereign regime over the Palestinian people in historic Palestine.”

On the same day, 47 UN special rapporteurs denounced the annexation scheme as “a vision of 21st century apartheid.”

A presentation by Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies’ international advocacy officer Nada Awad to the UNHRC on behalf of Adalah and the four Palestinian human rights groups said the following:

“Last month, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Israel swore in a new government seemingly committed to formally annexing parts of the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT) in the West Bank in July, in a blatant violation of international law.”

“This annexation, part of the so-called Trump-Netanyahu ‘Deal of the Century’ and the Netanyahu-Gantz coalition agreement, normalizes Israel’s colonial project and amounts to apartheid via the continued expansion and construction of illegal settlements, displacement and dispossession of Palestinians, and demographic manipulation.”

“The principles of this plan are enshrined in Israel’s Jewish Nation-State Basic Law enacted in July 2018.”

“This law established a constitutional order based on systematic ethnic supremacy, domination, and segregation in the so-called ‘Land of Israel’ and the denial of the realization of national self-determination for the Palestinian people.”

“Article 7 of this law provides that Jewish settlement is a national value to be encouraged and strengthened, giving the state authorities further constitutional legal tools to justify the illegal settlement enterprise in the occupied Palestinian and Syrian territories.”

“This law intends to justify as constitutional segregation in land and housing that targets all Palestinians in historic Palestine, including Palestinians citizens of Israel, who have suffered decades of systematic oppression.”

“Annexation would further entrench racial, ethnic, and religious segregation as a legal norm.”

“In this context, Israel will formally establish itself as the sole sovereign regime over the Palestinian people in historic Palestine.”

“We call on the UN and the international community to call for the dismantling of all settlements, to vehemently oppose any annexation, and to guarantee the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right of return to their homes and property.”

Separately, Adalah called Netanyahu’s annexation scheme a flagrant breach of the UN Charter, the Geneva Conventions, and other international law, including binding Security Council resolutions.

Israeli occupation, settlements, land confiscations, resource theft, and related abusive practices are “profound” high crimes against peace and the fundamental rights of all Palestinians.

If annexation proceeds as planned, the West Bank will resemble Gaza, a second open-air prison for a bludgeoned into submission people.

It’ll resemble Dante’s hell, its gate bearing the inscription: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

A Final Comment

On Monday, thousands of Palestinians rallied in Jericho against Netanyahu’s annexation scheme.

Dozens of foreign diplomats joined them, including Nickolay Mladenov, UN special coordinator for Middle East peace — a position accomplishing nothing because of the US/Israeli regional imperial project.

As long as Washington supports Israeli aims, views of other nations never made a difference because a price to pay by the world community on its ruling authorities for the worst of their high crimes was never imposed.

The so-called peace process was and remains a colossal hoax, a notion the US, NATO and Israel reject.

Yet the illusion of what never was and isn’t now persists, establishment media, Western officials, and UN secretary general fostering it.

Palestinians were abandoned over a century ago by the infamous Balfour Declaration, the beginning of the end of historic Palestine.

Generations of political, military and cultural repression of its people followed, including dispossession from their land, other property, their fundamental rights, and in countless thousands of cases their lives.

Establishment of a nation for Jews on stolen Palestinian land was and remains a scheme to advance Western interests in the oil-rich region.

It led to over 100 years of endless conflict, occupation, dispossession, and repression, along with social and cultural fragmentation,

Historic Palestine and rights of its people were and continue to be abandoned in deference to Western/Israel regional control.

Palestinians are largely on their own, resistance their only option, staying the course no matter the long odds against them.

The world community never offered more than lip service help — the plight of ordinary people everywhere, exploited to benefit privileged interests.

It’s much the same in the West as in the Middle East and Occupied Palestine.

Ordinary people are largely on their own to press for positive change they’ll never get any other way.

*

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Featured image is from Another Day in the EmpireThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

West Bank annexation plan is a 21st century apartheid with Trump’s approval: Amal Wahdan

Source

Amal Wahdan

June 23, 2020 – 10:45

TEHRAN – Amal Wahdan, a Palestinian activist who has been campaigning for the liberation of Palestine, tells the Tehran Times that the plan by Israel to annex the West Bank is a “new apartheid” that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “would not dare” to implement without the “approval of Donald Trump and his circle”.

Wahdan, who was founder and editor of the Arab Gazette, says the annexation plan is in line with Britain’s colonial design in West Asia.

“The West Bank annexation plan fits in perfectly within the larger strategy of “Greater Israel’ to ensure the regional superiority of the Zionist entity through Balkanization of the Arab countries into smaller and weaker entities,” Wahdan notes.

She calls Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Trump two “troubled leaders” who need each other’s help in these “difficult times”.

“Both troubled and defeated leaders, Netanyahu and Trump need each other’s help in their difficult times in order to remain in office. The former is facing corruption charges that might end his political career if he is indicted and the latter is under constant attack from his adversaries and facing impeachment,” explains Wahdan, a permanent member of the Palestinian Coalition for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Following is the full text of the interview.

Question:  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facing a number of criminal indictments, has repeatedly said that he would commence cabinet-level discussions for annexing more areas in the occupied West Bank on July 1 in accordance with U.S. President Donald Trump’s so-called “deal of the century” plan. What is your take on it?

Answer: The Zionist colonial settler entity in occupied Palestine intends to further its ethnic cleansing plans against the Palestinian people by moving on with Netanyahu’s West Bank annexation scheme, a promise he made to his ultra-right election constituency and allies.

The proposed plan seeks to annex 30% of the West bank, including the Jordan Valley stretching 85km to the North along Jordan River and larger illegal settlements in the de facto occupied Palestine. This move poses an imminent threat to the livelihood of 60,000 Palestinians who live in the Jordan Valley and depend mostly on agriculture (compared to 6000 Jewish settlers( and to hundreds of thousands who live in rural areas surrounding the larger settlements.


“For over 72 years, Zionists practiced apartheid policies against Palestinian people which is much worse than those practiced in South Africa and like those of Nazi Germany.”Netanyahu would not dare to go ahead with his plan of annexation without the approval of the U.S. President, Donald Trump, and his circle. Actually, both troubled and defeated leaders, Netanyahu and Trump need each other’s help in their difficult times in order to remain in office. The former is facing corruption charges that might end his political career if he is indicted and the latter is under constant attack from his adversaries.
In return, Trump will guarantee the support of AIPAC and the American Jewish votes. In addition, we have to bear in mind that Trump’s “deal of the century” granted the Zionist colonial entity what they have been dreaming for over the past decades; recognizing “Israel” as a Jewish state and Jerusalem as its eternal capital, supporting the illegal settlements in the West Bank in opposition to UN Security Council Resolution 2334, annexation of the Golan Heights, and the occupied West Bank. With this gift, Trump granted the Zionist entity what he doesn’t own to those who don’t deserve it. Just like what Belfour did with his declaration over a century ago; he granted a Jewish Homeland in Palestine, a land that he didn’t own, to the Zionist movement.

Q: Could we consider this plan in line with the Zionist colonial project of “Greater Israel”?

A: The ideology of the Zionist Movement and Project has developed over the decades as an organic part of the European colonial powers. It came into formal existence at the end of the 19th century with one main theme: the creation of a Jewish Homeland. In the process to materialize this dream, several options were put in place before they spotted Historic Palestine as the most suitable choice, mainly for geopolitical reasons but covered by the religious myth for political tactics. 

Most Zionist leaders from Herzel, the founder of the Zionist Movement, to Jabotinsky, Ben Gurion, Moshe Dayan, Ariel Sharon up-to-date Netanyahu have used the religious mythology in their political platforms, speeches, and with world leaders even though none of them was actually religious.

It was Herzl who carved the area of the future Jewish state by saying: “From the Brooks of Egypt to the Euphrates.” Ben-Gurion had wanted Israel’s northern border to extend to the River Litani. While the World Zionist Organization declared a century ago that the Jewish state shall extend to cover all of historic Palestine, Litani Rive, Golan Heights, Hauran Plain, Deraa, to control the Railroad from Deraa to Amman in addition to the Gulf of Aqaba.

Thus, within the framework of the Zionist project, Palestine, which has been inhabited for thousands of years becomes the ‘promised land’ to God’s ‘chosen people’, and empty land for another people (from all over the world) who have no land! The replacement of the people of Palestine with colonial invading settlers became the implementation of a divine promise.     

Q: Do you think the U.S. “New Middle East” doctrine was to create chaos and divide the Arab homeland into sectarian entity?

A: The West Bank annexation plan fits perfectly within the larger strategy of “Greater Israel’ to ensure the regional superiority of the Zionist entity through Balkanization of the Arab countries into smaller and weaker entities. This was in fact an extension of Britain’s colonial design in West Asia when the victors of WWI, Britain- France signed the Sykes-Picot agreement. This was the first phase of the geographical division of the Arab Homeland and the creation of the satellite entities of the British colonial empire; Saudi Arabia, Persian Gulf states, carving Jordan, Lebanon, and historic Palestine from the Levant.

The Oded Yinon plan went further beyond the geographic division to the sectarian divide of the Arab Homeland between Muslims and Christians, Sunnis and Shiites. This vision had kicked off in 1982 with the Israeli occupation and invasion of Lebanon and the creation of the Antone Lahed Army south of the Litani River. This war led to the expulsion of the PLO leadership and the scattering of the Palestinian fighters as far as Yemen, Tunisia, and Algeria. The second major blow was the U.S. incitement of Saddam Hussein of Iraq to wage an eight-year war against the Islamic Republic of Iran and its new revolution, which had immense ramifications on both countries. The third was the eruption of what the U.S. and its allies called the “Arab Spring.” This was manifested in a wave of mass demonstrations that swamped the Arab region from Tunisia in December of 2010 to Egypt, Libya and to the torn country of Iraq since the invasion of 2003, to the division of Sudan in 2013, the instigated terror war in Somalia, and the “Arab Coalition” war on Yemen in 2015, led by Saudi Arabia with the support of the U.S. and the Zionist entity. 

Despite of the pan-Arab Nakba (catastrophe), millions of casualties among civilians, exodus, destruction of infrastructures, economic sanctions, and devastation, and loss of billions of dollars of national wealth, the Yinon plan of Balkanization of the Arab Homeland failed miserably to achieve its goals as well as the U.S. “New Middle East” doctrineOn the contrary, it drove regional and Arab resistance movements and countries closer in confrontation with U.S. hegemony and Zionists’ expansionist project from Yemen in the South, to Syria, Lebanon, occupied Palestine, Iraq, and Iran as a regional power.

The Balkanization of West Asia is an integral part of U.S. foreign policy. A policy which the U.S. administration under Bill Clinton successfully implemented in the former Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc and managed to dismantle the Eastern bloc but into failed fragmented entities.

Q: The U.S.-Zionist strategy to annex the West Bank would have serious ramifications on the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and Egypt. What are the options left for the Palestinian people and leadership?

A: The U.S.-backed West Bank annexation plan has put an end to the Oslo agreement that was signed between the PLO leadership and the Zionist colonial settler entity in September of 1993 and the two-state solution. This agreement was in “Israel’s” favor from A to Z. Although, it entailed mutual recognition and the creation of the Palestinian state at the 1967 war borders which included the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem as its capital, several important issues like the right of return, borders, settlements, water, sea and airports will be decided at the end of the five year period. None of these articles were implemented. Furthermore, after 25 years of Oslo, the Palestinians are still living in a huge open prison as the Gaza Strip is under siege for 13 years, hundreds of thousands of dunums of Palestinian land are confiscated, dozens of Zionists colonies are erected, over 800 km of the illegal wall surrounding and cutting in between the Palestinian cities, towns and rural areas, water springs, power grids, land, sea, and airports all are under the control of the Zionist colonial entity.

The PLO executive committee and President Mahmoud Abbas have declared their decision to abandon the Oslo agreements, to suspend their diplomatic and security relations with the Americans and the Zionist leaders in rejection to the West Bank annexation plan. But this is not enough to confront the new wave of ethnic cleansing.

The Palestinian leadership needs to free its mind from any illusions that Americans and Zionists want peace and recognize reality that we are in the process of national liberation not state-building. For over 72 years, Zionists practiced apartheid policies against Palestinian people which is much worse than those practiced in South Africa and like those of Nazi Germany. Even the UN human rights experts announced their condemnation of the Zionists’ annexation plan of parts of the occupied West Bank, as a “vision of a 21st century apartheid”.

The new geopolitical order provides a positive environment to a genuine solution in front of the PLO and the Palestinian people; to restore the National Charter of 1968 and resolutions of the National Councils up to 1974 on the vision of comprehensive unity of an undivided, historic Palestine in terms of both land and people, to maintain a tight link between the objectives of the Palestinian National Movement and the Arab, regional and international resistance movements, to emphasize the leading role of the organization in liberating Palestine from settler colonization along with all national forces as a framework for their alliance during the liberation stage.

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Empires and their puppets including Israel will eventually fall: “Free Gaza Movement” co-founder Greta Berlin

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June 8, 2020 – 12:45
Berlin likens the situation in the occupied Palestinian lands to South Africa under the apartheid regime which will finally be a country for all citizens including Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
 “This kind of situation, like its predecessor in South Africa, will eventually fall apart, and the country will end up being a country for all citizens, Jews/Christians/Muslims,” Berlin, an author and activist, tells the Tehran Times in an exclusive interview:  
This is the text of the interview:
1: Madame Greta Berlin, please tell us what Israel has achieved after 72 years since its establishment. Has it succeeded to win legitimacy?
 A: Israel has achieved what all white/colonial/racist entities have achieved; subjugating, terrorizing, marginalizing, and stealing from the indigenous population to make an illicit country. It’s no different than the U.S. or Canada or South Africa or Australia. 
Israel has the biggest gorilla in the room on its side and that’s the U.S.It’s gotten its legitimacy from the very countries who have done the same thing to a population that was already there and perceived as, somehow, being “less human” than the invaders. After 72 years, it’s only legitimate claim to the land of Palestine has been through force, and all empires and their puppets eventually fall. Israel will as well.  
2: How do you analyze the situation inside Israel?
 A: There are three strata inside Israel; Ashkenazi Jews, the white Jews from Europe/Russia, and the U.S. who control power, politics, and money. The second tier is the Sephardic or Arab Jews who were often forced to immigrate to Israel immediately after Israel was founded on the backs of the Palestinians. Once the European Jews drove out 750,000 Palestinians, they needed workers to come and settle in the land they stole. What better place to find them than the Arab Jews of the Middle East and North Africa? If they didn’t want to come peacefully, Mossad made sure they changed their minds. 
After arriving in Israel, they even made up a name for themselves… Mizrahi… so they didn’t have to be called Arab Jews. They are becoming the largest segment of the population, but they have little power. You’ll often see them as members of the IOF, subjugating the third tier in Israel; the Palestinians, who have no power whether they are Israeli citizens or living in the Bantustans of the occupied West Bank and Gaza. 
Americans are beginning to wake up to the terrorism of the Israeli occupation This kind of situation, like its predecessor in South Africa, will eventually fall apart, and the country will end up being a country for all citizens, Jews/Christians/Muslims. 
 3: Israel plans to annex parts of the West Bank, and Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz are unanimous in this move. Netanyahu has confidently said that annexation will take place within “a few months,” or before the American presidential election in November. What has made Israel behave so unashamedly and intransigently? Don’t you think that an impotent international community or inaction by international bodies have made Tel Aviv so emboldened?
 A: Israel has the biggest gorilla in the room on its side and that’s the U.S. It makes no difference who is President in the U.S., Israel controls Congress, and most politicians will bow to its demands. However, watching what is happening in the U.S., everything is going to change over the next few years, as China emerges triumphant and the U.S. becomes another failed empire like Britain and France. 
Personally, I’m all for a one-state solution and have been for decades. And the sooner, the better for everyone living there. Palestinians already outnumber Jews, and those demographics are only going to improve for Palestinians, both Christian and Muslim.  
 4: You are internationally famous for advocating “justice” for Palestinians since early 1960. What prompted you to highlight the sufferings of the Palestinians?
 A: While in graduate school in 1963, I met and married a Palestinian and had two Palestinian/American children who couldn’t return to Safad, the city where their father was raised, while a Jew from New York City could immigrate there with no other credentials except religion. 
That sense of injustice has challenged me since then. The most outspoken advocate for the rights of marginalized people like Palestinians are often the people who learned the truth after being lied to as children. Like many Americans, I grew up thinking Israel was the victim and Jews had the right to settle in the Holy Land. When I met my husband, and he began telling me the truth of the violent takeover of his land by European terrorist Jews, I became an advocate for justice in Palestine for life.  
 5: You were a co-founder of the Free Gaza Movement and among those brave persons who broke the Gaza siege. Can you please explain your experiences and reactions?
 A: This is such a long story, encompassing two years of planning, buying the boats, sailing to Gaza and so much pain, laughter and delight at finally getting there. It’s a book and a movie and a webinar already. The best way of describing our journey to Gaza is to provide people with these three links.
 6: The U.S. has been blindly defending the illegal behavior of Israel toward Palestinians over the past seven decades. How can such support be justified by a country which proclaims leadership of the free world and defender of democracy and human rights?
 A: The U.S. has never been a defender of democracy and human rights. The country was founded on the genocide of the native population and got rich on the back of slavery. It has had, however, one of the most brilliant PR campaigns of any country in the world. Israel tries to emulate it with many of the same catchphrases such as, “the only democracy in the Middle East.” That’s as big a lie as the U.S. saying it stands for human rights.
However, there is a difference between government propaganda and the citizens of the U.S. Americans, once they wake up, are among the most outstanding advocates for justice for people seeking equal rights, and have put their lives on the line, from the martyrs of the civil rights movement, https://www.splcenter.org/what-we-do/civil-rights-memorial/civil-rights-martyrs
to Rachel Corrie in Palestine. They are the one bright and hopeful beacons of light in the U.S., especially this younger generation. I have great hopes they will become like many of us out of the 1960s, advocates for a better world. 
 7: How is it possible that successive Congresses and to a lesser extent administrations remain so biased in favor of Israel? Does it show that the American people who vote for their representatives are indifferent or ignorant toward the situation of the Palestinians?
A: Bribery, Blackmail, and Benjamins. 
It is true, however, that Americans are beginning to wake up to the terrorism of the Israeli occupation. But to be honest, Americans can barely make it from one paycheck to the next and are overwhelmed with problems in their own back yards. 
And the country is huge, with 331 million people, only 20% who even own a passport. Very few of us travel outside the Northern Hemisphere. America and much of its population are isolated and not very well-educated about other countries.  
 8: And, why anybody who opposes the stealing of the Palestinian lands or criticizes suppression of Palestinians is easily being accused of ant-Semite?
 A: It’s become a badge of honor to be called anti-Semitic. Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, Stephen Hawking, Roger Waters have all been called anti-Semites. I’m proud to be in their company.

Do Black Lives Really Matter in “Israel”?

Do Black Lives Really Matter in “Israel”?

By Batoul Ghaddaf

“Black Lives Matter” chanted the protestors in “Tel Aviv” a few days ago as they stood in solidarity with the Black community in America. The protestors seemed to be condemning the actions of the American police that has murdered a Black American while pinning him to the ground with one officer’s knee on the victim’s neck until he could no longer breathe. The protestors held banners that read “I can’t breathe” as they were George Floyd’s, the victim, final words.

But the question here comes to mind, do Black lives really matter in “Israel”?

A small investigation can reveal that this protest is yet another attempt for “Israel” to whitewash its endless crimes in front of the international society. In fact, the occupation has a history of systematic discrimination against Black Jewish migrants, treating them as second-class citizens, and even questioning their Judaism.

The occupation promoted itself as welcoming any Jewish person to the so-called “promised land” only to later appear that it actually meant white Jews as Jewish communities of color struggled their way in their very own so-called savior entity. Upon their arrival, Black Jews had their faith questioned by religious authorities, were deprived of health care as opposed to white Jews and even their blood donations were destroyed in fear of them carrying HIV, a stereotype for Africans. To this day, African Jews lag in almost every socioeconomic category. Ethiopian Jews living on the stolen land record the highest poverty rate in all of the Occupation. 

In addition to this, “Israel” has plans of voluntary deportation of African Jews to a third country. These plans ignited a series of protests in their so-called capital as the African community there sought the International community to pressure the government to neglect such plans. The results were to let the plans go for now, yet voluntary deportation still stands, and more than 66% of the “Israelis” are in support of it.

Moreover, the systematic discrimination continues as it is recorded that when a Black man is shot in “Israel” by the IOF, the soldier responsible does not get the proper punishment in contrast to when a white “Israeli” is shot. Ironically, these same soldiers train the policemen that the people in Tel Aviv are protesting against. According to Amnesty USA, since 2002, mostly-taxpayer funded trips to the occupied land are done to train US police officers from more than 25 states including Minnesota police. It appears that they train them on brutality and discrimination.

Yet again, not only do Black lives not matter in the occupied lands but also no life matters except that of the White Jew. “Israel” continues its daily unjustified murder of Palestinian men, women, children and most recently, people who are handicapped and of special-needs. The latest “Israeli” brutality recorded is of the murder of Iyad Halak, a Palestinian autistic man, unarmed, right in front of his school in occupied al-Quds, with 8 bullets of an M-16 weapon to his body as he was trying to run away from them after he was scared. Reports have said that his teacher was with him, and has tried to warn the soldiers of his disability.

Raising a “Black Lives Matter” banner in the occupied territories is but an offense to the “Black Lives Matter” movement. A white supremacist apartheid entity that continues to murder Palestinians with cold blood and continues to annex Palestinian land on a daily basis raising a banner of justice and showing solidarity to a disadvantaged group is embarrassing to endorse and ironic to watch. The international community that saluted the protest is the same community which has long ignores the fact that this entity is a colonial one built on indigenous people’s genocide and exile, the annex of their land and daily murder of children, women, people with disabilities and anyone that is not a white Jew.

So once again, the question is raised, “Do non-Jewish white lives really matters in “Israel”?”

Liberating the American People

 BY GILAD ATZMON

liberating the American ppl.jpg

by Gilad Atzmon 

I am a jazz artist, I have dedicated my entire adult life to the study of Black American music and culture. Jazz is certainly the most important and maybe, the only significant American contribution to world culture. And the next question is, where is Black American jazz now? Why did Black Americans lose interest in their own fantastic creation?

One answer is that Jazz was born out of resistance. It was fuelled by defiance of the ‘American dream’: instead of seeking mammon, wealth and power, our Black artistic founding fathers sacrificed their lives for the sake of beauty. They literally killed themselves searching for new voices, sounds, colours. They left us with a great legacy but their offspring moved on to new artistic domains such as Hip Hop and Rap.  

For the people who made Jazz into an art form, music was a revolutionary spirit. For Bird, Now’s the Time meant that time was ripe for social change.  For John Coltrane, Alabama was the appropriate answer to the KKK’s Baptist Church bombing that killed four African-American girls.

When Jazz meant something it wasn’t a language of victimhood. Quite the opposite, Jazz was a message of defiance: everything you can do, we, the Black people, can do better. And that is the truth, no one has managed to do it better than Trane, Bird, Miles, Elvin, Sonny, Blakey, Duke, Ella and many others. These artists did  not  beg for Wall Street funding, they didn’t ask for others to join their struggle: instead, they made the rest of us beg for their beauty, their art and their spirit to illuminate and liberate us. It didn’t take long before America’s elite realised that Jazz was the best Ambassador for America around the world. And all of this happened while Black Americans were subject to apartheid, especially in the South. It would be reasonable to believe that it was Jazz’s  transformation into the ‘Voice of America’ that became a major factor in the liberation of the Black south.

 Sadly, Jazz lost its soul a decade or two ago. It went from the voice of resistance to what has gradually been reduced into an ‘academic matter,’ a ‘system of knowledge.’ Nowadays, many young jazz musicians are ‘music college graduates.’ They may be very fast and sophisticated but have very little to say and, in most cases, they prefer not to say anything. Some may believe that saying something defies their ‘artistic objectives’ as it blurs the distinction between art and politics. I am afraid that they are wrong. For Jazz to be a meaningful art form, it better be revolutionary to the core. Jazz is, before anything else, the sound of freedom.

 For a while, we have witnessed contemporary Jazz deteriorate into a meaningless  technical exercise. Jazz, basically, died on us. Did this artistic demise anticipate the collapse of American civilization and America’s self-image  as a ‘free society?’

 Why did  Jazz die? Because Black Americans lost interest in their original art form.  Why did they lose interest? Largely because their art, like every other aspect of the American culture, finance, media, spirit and dream has been occupied.

 Along with other Jazz artists and humanists, I hate racism in all forms. Yet, I want to see people celebrating their symptoms. I am one of those guys who want to see Germans writing philosophy and composing symphonies again. I want to see people celebrating their own unique cultures as long as they don’t do it at the expense of others.  More than anything else, I want Black people proud of what they are. I wish that they will, once again, lead us back to the path of beauty that they, more than any other people, introduced to us all. I hope Black America will give us a young Trane, a fresh upcoming Bird, the next  Sarah Vaughan, a Miles character.   I want to see Black Americans hypnotising us with their talents, celebrating their greatness. I want  them to be the American Ambassadors they once were  rather than victims of America’s abuse. I guess that instead of sending American soldiers to liberate other people in criminal neocon wars the time is ripe for America to liberate itself.

 Watch me Liberating the American People


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Israel: A utopian image or merely a mirage?

May 13, 2020 – 21:53

TEHRAN – While the founders of Israel had envisioned a utopia for Israeli settlers, now after 72 years, it has brought no freedom or justice to anyone except for some Zionist Jews and been involved in genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians an Israeli-American activist and author tells the Tehran Times.

‘Genocide and ethnic cleansing is the practice of Israel’ 

On promises by the founders of Israel, including Ben Gurion, who had envisioned a utopia for settlers in Israel based on freedom, justice, and peace,  Miko Peled says “Israel is an apartheid regime” which “has been involved in genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.”

He says Israel is “providing Jewish citizens who are Zionist with all the rights of liberal democracy.” 

He also says it “is true” that some Israelis are returning to their original countries as they are fed with governance.

‘Corrupt Netanyahu main reason behind Israeli political crisis’

Israel has been in a political crisis after three inconclusive elections and it is facing the growing prospect of an unprecedented fourth election.

Peled says it is mainly because “Israeli politics is controlled by the corrupt Prime Minister Netanyahu and his racist, violent allies.”

The deadlock ended now that Netanyahu got an agreement that he accepted and protects him and allows him to continue to serve as prime minister, he says, adding there was even social disobedience “about the fact that the man they voted for, Benny Gantz, who promised to unseat Netanyahu, lied to his voters and is now sitting with Netanyahu.”

‘Israel not a democracy but an apartheid’

On claims by Tel Aviv and its allies in the West that Israel is the only democratic country in the West Asia region, Peled says, “Israel is not and has never been a democracy. It an apartheid regime.”
 
He goes on to note that “the problem with West perspective is that it is a Zionist perspective which recognizing the legitimacy of Zionism and does not recognize the rights of Palestinians.”
 
 Israel sees Trump’s reckless policies toward Iran ‘a great thing’ 

Actually, in over a year that Israel has been holding three elections, each time Donald Trump has taken a step to promote chances of Netanyahu in elections. His administration moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, recognized the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory, and recently Mike Pompeo claimed that annexation of lands in the West Bank does not violate international law. However, each time Netanyahu’s party failed to win enough seats in Knesset to form a government.

“Israelis are actually very happy with Trump. His support for the Israeli regime and his reckless policies regarding Iran and the Palestinians is seen as a great thing,” Peled points out.

‘Racism in Israel comes even at expenses of public health’

Despite the coronavirus epidemic, Israel is refusing to release Palestinians who are held in crowded prisons, he said, noting, “Israel never respected Palestinian rights, even now that the spread of the Coronavirus is dangerous to all people.” 
“Racism in Israel is so strong that it comes even at the expense of public health,” the activist regrets.

 ‘2 million people of Gaza are heroes’

Gaza Strip is considered the greatest open prison on the earth.

Peled calls two million residents of Gaza “heroes” who are victims of “Zionist racism and violence”.

He also notes that except Iran, no country in the world cares about the miseries of the Gazans.

“They are victims of Zionist racism and violence and of the fact that the rest of the world, with the exception of Iran, do not care about them.”

RELATED NEWS

The “Zionist Virus” and the Future of Palestine

New York Governor Cuomo, the Virus, the Nakba and Me

By Rima Najjar

Global Research, May 13, 2020

To me, an American-Palestinian, the world tainted by the corona virus is analogous to Israel tainted by the evil it contains.

Every day for the past few days, I have been listening to New York Governor Cuomo give his daily briefing on the virus. His words resonate with me eerily transforming themselves to advice on how to handle Israel’s cruel manifestation in Palestine as a Zionist Jewish apartheid colonial state. As talk of “re-opening” the New York increases in volume, so does my feverish imagination.

For those who don’t know, the Arabic word “Fateh” [فتح], the name of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, which is the political bloc now dominating the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank, means “opening”. It also carries the meaning of “conquering”. What’s more, “Fateh” and “key” [مفتاح], that profoundly indicative word of Palestinian longing for return, have the same linguistic root in Arabic. Hence, all these unbidden associations in my mind as I listen to Cuomo.

Every day, I wait for Cuomo’s briefing impatiently and watch while perched, tense and hyper-alert, at the edge of my seat, mesmerized by the shifting lines of his charts that, I swear, often morph into the outline of the map of Palestine.

My mind automatically sucks in Cuomo’s words and echoes them back at the TV in an altered form. I am Muslim, but the dynamic gripping me is one akin to the relationship between a pastor and his congregation at a black church. Cuomo calls and I respond, sometimes aloud. I hold back from hollering and shouting at his image, so as not to scare my family.

I take in every word of his sane, hopeful message — facts, not “facts on the ground”; science, not myths; let’s learn from our mistakes. Yes!

I translate his sentences into something else, like this: After decades of land theft, when will Palestinians be finally in control of their destiny and not subject to the whims of Israel and the international community? You tell me how Israel behaves today; I will tell you how Palestinians will be resisting a year from now.

The Zionist virus that is the Jewish state of Israel has yet to be stamped out. Hot-spot outbreaks have been with us since the Nakba of 1948. Currently, they are in the form of Israel’s horrifying annexation of parts of the West Bank, preying on the most vulnerable of peoples. We need to look for solutions that make things better for the Palestinian people. We need to reimagine the status quo and pose such a solution.

“In the first phase, we had to figure out what we are dealing with because we had no idea.” Yes, we had no idea — just intimations of unbelievable cruelty and diabolical greed! In 1947–48, we really had little idea. Remember, Palestine was 80% agrarian then — not the sophisticated community of Basle, Switzerland, where the plot for our dispossession was hatched at the First Zionist Conference in 1897.

“In the first phase, stabilize, control the damage,” says Cuomo. It turns out the key (here is that word again!) is information.

“I worked hard every day to make sure they knew the facts. ‘Trust the people’ — Lincoln, right? An informed public will keep this country safe. True, and that’s exactly what happened here,” Cuomo continues.

Funny Cuomo should say that, because, just the other day, a Palestinian friend on Facebook, Imad Jibawi, was saying something similar. He was commenting on a Zoom discussion I had posted titled “What do we do now?” conducted by Hani al-Masri, Director General of Masarat — The Palestinian Center for Policy Research & Strategic Studies (Masri is also a Policy Advisor for Al-Shabaka).

Imad Jibawi wondered:

“What is it that would drive the Palestinian people to the streets to protest by the thousands? Is it the annexation of Jerusalem? No; is it annexation of the Jordan Valley? No; is it Israel’s new settlements, then? No.

Why is that so?

I think the answer is in the question: Who is it mainly that we expect to take to the streets? They are those who are primarily under 30 — i.e., the Oslo generation.

These Palestinians were born and brought up in the reality of the Palestinian Authority, a government, ministries, VIPs, jobs, loans, etc.

[Preserving that] has been the national project for which our people sacrificed for years. People’s very livelihoods are now the red lines, holding them back. Their concerns are the teachers’ movement, the social security movement, the “we want to live” movement.

The question that concerns the political class as a whole is this: What next? What to do? The answer is: We start with our ABCs all over again. The first lesson is: Who are the Palestinians? What are the borders of the homeland of Palestine? The second lesson is: Who is our enemy? And what do we want?

Wanted: a new national awareness ….” [my translation from Arabic]

But then, as I continued to listen to Cuomo, I realized that, even though he and Jibawi are appealing to people to act collectively in their best interests by looking to themselves, rather than to their governments, there is a fundamental difference.

Cuomo is invoking security of health, family and livelihood as a raison d’etre for a certain set of collective behaviors, whereas what Jibawi is pushing for, necessarily given the Palestinian condition, is a revolutionary national consciousness that calls for a sacrifice of the very same things Cuomo is protecting for New Yorkers.

To Jibawi, the ideal of home and hearth (job security, health care, education, etc., as provided currently by the Palestinian Authority and the Oslo regime) must be superseded by the ideal of liberty, justice and equality for a people under occupation, who have escaped Israel’s genocide so far, but who continue to be dispossessed, brutally subjugated and oppressed by a vicious, powerful judeo-fascist entity and its allies.

Cuomo says,

“I don’t know when government became so political. It all became about rhetoric rather than actual competence, but it happened somewhere along the way that government could not handle the situation. People had to get engaged; people had to be informed and that’s the new thing I did. They got engaged because it mattered — this is not an abstract issue we are talking about people’s lives and people’s health and the health of their children.”

They’ll get engaged, because it matters. For both Palestinians and New Yorkers, these are not abstract issues. Far from it. In our case, all you have to do to realize the concreteness is to tune in to the daily news of thievery and savagery in their myriad forms the Israeli regime inflicts on the Palestinian people.

Many ask, if not the Palestinian Authority, if not the status quo of self-government for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, what then? My answer is this: First, hard as it is for many, we must find the will and steadfastness to effect an insurrection to continue the interrupted Palestinian revolution, returning to the political and community structures that sprang up to further the first intifada. We need a supreme manifestation of popular resistance against both the Palestinian Authority and Israel in all of occupied Palestine from the river to the sea with aid from Palestinians in exile.

Cuomo is right! “No government can impose any of these things … Stay in the house. Close every school. Close every bus. State government can’t enforce that. People had to understand the facts people had to engage in governing themselves in a way they hadn’t in decades … We are tough, smart, united, disciplined and loving” — even if our governments aren’t. We are samidoun.

Amen to that! Hallelujah!
*

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Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank.

All images in this article are from the authorThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Rima Najjar, Global Research, 2020

Israeli Forces Demolish Emergency Coronavirus Clinic for Palestinians

Monday, 30 March 2020 17:52

Israeli forces on Thursday entered a Palestinian village in the northern Jordan Valley to confiscate materials designated to build a clinic to deal with the novel coronavirus outbreak. 

Officials from the Israeli Civil Administration came to the village of Khirbet Ibziq with a military escort, bulldozer and two trucks equipped with cranes on Thursday morning to demolish community clinic and emergency housing, according to Israeli human rights monitor Btselem. 

The group reported that Israeli officials seized poles and sheeting designated to form eight tents, two for a field clinic, two for a mosque, and four for emergency housing for people evacuated from their homes. 

A power generator, as well as supplies of sand, cement and cinder blocks to be used for the floor of the tents, were also confiscated. Btselem said the villagers were building a first-aid community initiative to deal with the Covid-19 crisis which has paralyzed large parts of the southern West Bank. 

There are 91 confirmed cases so far in the Palestinian territories, with one death reported on Wednesday. 

The Jordan Valley covers an area of about 1.6 million dunams (1,600 km2) and constitutes around 30 percent of the total occupied West Bank. According to a previous government report, the Valley includes about 280,000 dunams of arable land, 50,000 of which are still used by Palestinians and 27,000 by illegal Jewish settlers. 

The majority of the Jordan Valley is under full Israeli military control, despite being within the West Bank. Meanwhile, at least 44 percent of the total land in the Jordan Valley has been reappropriated by Israeli forces for military purposes and training exercises. 

Source: The Palestine Chronicle 

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