LAT columnist: Jerusalem is ‘apartheid city’ in ‘apartheid’ country

on 78 Comments

Earlier this week the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement got a big break when Amnesty International announced that it was withdrawing from any sponsorship of Leonard Cohen’s concert in Tel Aviv next month. Today brings another.The amazing LA Times op-ed page breaks new ground in the mainstream media by running "Boycott Israel," an eloquent argument in favor of BDS from an Israeli, Neve Gordon. (Maybe some day LAT will allow Americans to weigh in on this issue?).

The piece suggests that Gordon would be for one state, because it already is one virtually, but for the "ideological" attachment of Israelis to the Jewish state. This is what Americans actually have the great power to help change, the thinking, not the geography.

Remember the charges against Jimmy Carter for saying just half of what Gordon is saying? Excerpts:

The most accurate way to describe Israel today is as an apartheid state. For more than 42 years, Israel has controlled the land between the Jordan Valley and the Mediterranean Sea. Within this region about 6 million Jews and close to 5 million Palestinians reside. Out of this population, 3.5 million Palestinians and almost half a million Jews live in the areas Israel occupied in 1967, and yet while these two groups live in the same area, they are subjected to totally different legal systems. The Palestinians are stateless and lack many of the most basic human rights. By sharp contrast, all Jews — whether they live in the occupied territories or in Israel — are citizens of the state of Israel.

The question that keeps me up at night, both as a parent and as a citizen, is how to ensure that my two children as well as the children of my Palestinian neighbors do not grow up in an apartheid regime.

There are only two moral ways of achieving this goal.

The first is the one-state solution: offering citizenship to all Palestinians and thus establishing a bi-national democracy within the entire area controlled by Israel. Given the demographics, this would amount to the demise of Israel as a Jewish state; for most Israeli Jews, it is anathema.

The second means of ending our apartheid is through the two-state solution, which entails Israel’s withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders (with possible one-for-one land swaps), the division of Jerusalem, and a recognition of the Palestinian right of return with the stipulation that only a limited number of the 4.5 million Palestinian refugees would be allowed to return to Israel, while the rest can return to the new Palestinian state.

Geographically, the one-state solution appears much more feasible because Jews and Palestinians are already totally enmeshed; indeed, "on the ground," the one-state solution (in an apartheid manifestation) is a reality.

Ideologically, the two-state solution is more realistic because fewer than 1% of Jews and only a minority of Palestinians support binationalism.

For now, despite the concrete difficulties, it makes more sense to alter the geographic realities than the ideological ones. If at some future date the two peoples decide to share a state, they can do so, but currently this is not something they want.

So if the two-state solution is the way to stop the apartheid state, then how does one achieve this goal?

I am convinced that outside pressure is the only answer. Over the last three decades, Jewish settlers in the occupied territories have dramatically increased their numbers. The myth of the united Jerusalem has led to the creation of an apartheid city where Palestinians aren’t citizens and lack basic services…

Nothing else has worked.

78 Responses

  1. Richard Witty
    August 20, 2009, 9:19 pm

    In contrast, outside pressure has been attempted for two decades solid. Its a falsehood to say that boycott efforts have not been attempted.

    And, they haven’t worked.

    Certainly not academic boycotts. They can’t work. The only reason that they are chosen at all is that academics tend to be politically liberal, and have tenure or the equivalent that allows academics to express political opinions without any other accountability or influence.

    But, as has been said many times, the single greatest influences of hearts and minds are arts and study. So, to endorse an academic and artistic boycott is to pursue the exact measure that hinders the ability to make changes.

    It is only the conclusion that a people are unreachable, that supports that. But, in the REALITY that the dissenters organizing this have not even tried, have not even dared to communicate their views person to person, makes advocacy of boycotts an armchair “accountability”, a form of commitment that renounces COMMITMENT.

    Involvement is what transforms.

    • VR
      August 20, 2009, 11:51 pm

      Yes, this along with a 100 year debate about what “non-punitive surgery” to use, give it a rest Witty.

    • America First
      August 21, 2009, 6:10 am

      It has not been tried, Israel has been insulated from all pressure by big daddy US. That’s what’s changing, beginning with the public discourse, and that’s what scares you so much. I just wonder whether you’re more scared of the loss of Israeli control over Palestine, or of Jewish power in the US.

      • Ali Ahmad
        August 21, 2009, 8:35 am

        Richard Witty must have some kind of a notification service turned on for posts uploaded here. He is always the first to comment. One other strategy he is pursuing, and which I’ve seen elsewhere, is to write other first level comment on the same page again and again, sometimes just repeating the same idea in the first comment. The rest of the people who comment end up catching up and stay on the defense and Richard gets to focus the conversation to his advantage. The reader gets the feeling that there is much opposition to what is being said and more readily reaches the “conclusion” that the issue is “controversial.” This conclusion, of course, by disabling the forming of an opinion and paralyzing action, is to the advantage of the oppressor and the dominant in the relationship and ensures the continuity of the massive funding and arming of Israel.

        There is another side of this; it keeps the likes of Richard Witty busy. It drains the resources of the IDF in continuous battles on the Internet. Israel thinks that oppressing the Palestinians long enough will get them to leave or to to indefinitely submit. They are missing the human element in the equation. But they are also missing it in another context. The perpetual state of conflict, confrontation and alarm Israelis are paying for sustaining their domination of Palestinians will pressure them, will radicalize them and will isolate them so that before the civil world intervenes, they might very well individually and socially break down themselves.

      • Margaret
        August 24, 2009, 5:39 am

        “focus the conversation to his advantage.”
        “The reader gets the feeling that there is much opposition to what is being said and more readily reaches the “conclusion” that the issue is “controversial.”

        Interesting observation, as are the conclusions. Thanks.

      • Shingo
        August 24, 2009, 9:17 am

        Ricahrd is a vigilant poster here and provides food for thought, though his efforts to portray moderation usually fall falt, as they are betrayed by his bias.

  2. Gellian
    August 20, 2009, 9:56 pm

    Interesting idea, but it depends how you interpret it. Two years ago when Israel was carpet bombing Lebanon, I actually worked specifically *against* the boycott – i.e, I participated in some academic work that (as I explained to the Israelis) I had chosen to do as a counter-measure for the boycott, even though ( as I did not explain to the Israelis) I thought they were committing war crimes.

    My reasoning is that the academics are the very group of brave Israelis who are working to change their system from within. I can’t imagine the pressure a humanistically-inclined Israeli must feel in going against the system that, as far as i can tell, the remained of his or her country completely supports. The pressure in resisting the Iraqi invasion was tremendous (and I foolishly supported it, being too naive to know better). Abandoning these brave souls is giving them the Bay of Pigs treatment. You’ve showcased videos periodically from academics who get in the faces of soldiers, who try to spark their conscience, who understand that Palestinians are human beings and not Untermenschen. How can we boycott them? Someone tell me a better solution…

    • Shmuel
      August 24, 2009, 1:40 pm

      Academics like Amiel Vardi (the prof. shown telling off a soldier) are few and far between – and should be supported in every way. The vast majority of Israeli academics either actively support Israeli violations of human rights and international law to one degree or another, or refrain from speaking out and taking action against them. They feel that they are a part of the “enlightened world”; good-hearted souls caught in a tough situation. Treating such people as respectable members of the international community simply reinforces these beliefs. Challenge them. Shake them up. Convince them that everything is not ok, that it’s not all the fault of the post-67 settlers, or the Palestinians, or Hamas or anti-Semitic bleeding hearts. Hopefully, cracks will begin to appear in their denial.

  3. VR
    August 20, 2009, 11:59 pm

    Here comes another “on the contrary” that reflects the facts, specifically if you are talking about academics. Sanctions may be selectively applied, you do not need to take what is the insignificant handful of dissenters and boycott them. This in turn, puts them in a position of negotiating strength rather than hampering their efforts. In fact, this is what was used in South Africa, which over a period of time gave a platform to the legitimacy of the criticism among more and more academics. So, boycotts, sanctions and divestment’s can be selective in many spheres and very effective. So lets get to the next objection, because I KNOW it is coming.

    • Gellian
      August 21, 2009, 6:08 am

      You make a good point; I hadn’t thought of it that way. But I’m still not sure I agree.

  4. VR
    August 21, 2009, 12:23 am

    I mean don’t kid yourself, behind all of this activity the words and positions are academics helping to hone the the deception, including the anesthetizing of the population which enters its doors. Academic institutions for the most part are the willing supporters of the status quo and power in any given country, they are the inside layer of fat around the midsection of whatever the thrust from the powerful in a nation calls for. In this case, for the most part they are for not only a continued occupation but a progressive one until Eretz Yisrael is fulfilled. They open their doors to the entire military apparatus, and all the clandestine bodies. They help to create the entire narrative no matter how twisted it becomes.

    So, as I said previously the BDS can be selective in this arena, and it makes the voice of dissent more powerful as the price is paid for the illegal and immoral process the nation has embraced. The same goes for cultural boycott, and also the arts – as an example, every medium of the art that continues in the dissent makes a much greater impact, etc. This was true for South Africa and it will also be true for Israel. As the pressure builds in the process of BDS the clarion call of those who are dissenters becomes louder, and eventually the people are brought out of their stupor from supporting such atrocities. Because here we are talking about a global BDS, one which pits the world community against the transgressor – it will seep into all arenas, and will temporarily cripple to bring about the the correct and desired result.

  5. Richard Witty
    August 21, 2009, 5:37 am

    I think a more reasonable effort would be to ASSIST academia in Israel to hold genuinely open-minded conferences, in all fields inviting diverse constituency.

    I don’t get how universalism is fostered by segregation, in the name of opposing segregation.

    Boycott efforts towards Israel are not new. And, their history suggests that the purpose of the boycotts extend beyond the focused goals of specific policy changes that effective civil disobedience realizes.

    It depends on what your goal is. If your goal is rub people’s noses in it (rather than change people and institutions), then the boycott effort should be assertively opposed by anyone that describes themselves as humanist.

    • James
      August 23, 2009, 1:36 am

      >>If your goal is rub people’s noses in it (rather than change people and institutions), then the boycott effort should be assertively opposed by anyone that describes themselves as humanist.<<If israels goal is rub people’s (palestinians) noses in it (rather than change people and institutions), then israel should be assertively opposed by anyone that describes themselves as humanist.

  6. alec
    August 21, 2009, 6:17 am

    What’s not clear here?

    Why are we picking up the red herring of Richard Witty concerning academics?

    The solution here is clear: an absolute and total boycott against apartheid sustained over at least a decade as took place in South Africa, with UN troops standing by to protect the Palestinians in case the Israelis decide to run totally amok.

    Anyone who posits a boycott against apartheid won’t solve the problem is an open or secret proponent of genocide which is what has been on slow burn for the last ten years at least.

    • Richard Witty
      August 21, 2009, 6:51 am

      Anyone who posits that a punitive approach will not harm many innocents, is a proponent of genocide?

      And, you are willing to do that for ten years? You are willing to wait that long for change there?

      And, you are willing to stifle discussion as to what would be effective more quickly, with less subsequent collateral damage?

      • jimby
        August 21, 2009, 12:55 pm

        I don’t know which discussion Witty is referring to. Yesterday it was revealed that Moshe Ya’alon , who is Minister of Strategic Affairs and Vice PM second only to Bibi Netanyahu and recently chief of staff of the army said that Peace Now is a virus that must be stamped out. Israel will never make peace with the Palestinians without a very swift kick in the ass.

        link to

  7. Julian
    August 21, 2009, 7:10 am

    Neve GordonIs a far left winger that has been spouting this nonsense for as long as I can remeber. His ideas have almost zero support in Israel.

    • Oscar
      August 21, 2009, 8:22 am

      Perhaps, but Neve Gordon’s ideas are getting a lot of momentum everywhere else in the world. It’s about time.

      • Julian
        August 22, 2009, 6:19 am

        Phil calling Gordon an LA Times columnist was a little bit disingenuous. Gordon has been spouting this same anti Zionist, anti Israel, line as a columnist at Haaretz forever. He is well known for his anti Israel rants.
        This column was actually pretty tame for Gordon. Limiting “right of return” to only a few Palestinians will never fly. The Palestinians won’t accept it.

      • Shingo
        August 24, 2009, 9:22 am

        If left wingers were all uniformly anti Israeli, the popu;ation of Israel would be less than half what it is now. Every time an Israeli voice speaks out, along comes a Zealot like yourself, that dismises them as far left and anti Semitic.

        “He is well known for his anti Israel rants.”

        What does that mean Julian? That his name is on some secret “enemy of the state” register?

  8. homingpigeon
    August 21, 2009, 8:18 am

    I say boycott the US politicians – whether Democrat or Republican – who fall all over each other seeing who can be most obsequious to Israel and who can call for the greatest increase in the size of the welfare check to this fraud. Vote Libertarian or any other third party.

    • Oscar
      August 21, 2009, 8:24 am

      I recommend we come up with a list of US companies to boycott or divest. Start with Caterpillar, Motorola, Starbucks . . . anyone else have suggestions?

      • Chu
        August 21, 2009, 9:51 am

        The links between US and Israel, be it corporate power or politicians, should be identified, exposed and broken. Where to start? The public needs to be better informed about foreign policy, which can only occur if they are well informed. Which is up to the fourth branch of gov’t, which is right now on it knees. : (

        Is this the stealthy Trojan Horse that the internet has been awaiting?
        No more hiding in the shadows of the internet…
        link to

      • David
        August 21, 2009, 12:52 pm

        Think tactically. Join ongoing campaigns and work to make them successful. Every win strengthens the next campaign:

        link to

        As far as a list, Interfaith Peace Initiative has the best U.S. list that I’ve seen: link to

        The Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace is also a good resource, you can search their database by country:

      • Julian
        August 22, 2009, 6:53 am

        Please divest in the companies that are making the largest profits. This will allow me to buy these great companies at a discount and make some real money.

      • Shingo
        August 24, 2009, 9:23 am

        “This will allow me to buy these great companies at a discount and make some real money. ”

        If such a boycott were to take place, these companies would cease to exist.

    • potsherd
      August 21, 2009, 8:46 am

      YES! And this means no contributions to the Democratic Party. And tell them so. Contribute only to candidates who make their positions on the Israeli issue clear – and who don’t backslide in their votes.

      I was very disappointed by the J-Street-supported candidates that I also supported, who then turned around and voted for the first AIPAC bill that come along.

  9. potsherd
    August 21, 2009, 8:59 am

    Just in case it isn’t clear that Israel is an apartheid state: link to

  10. VR
    August 21, 2009, 11:21 am

    “Neve GordonIs a far left winger that has been spouting this nonsense for as long as I can remeber. His ideas have almost zero support in Israel.”

    I do not agree with your assessment on Neve Gordon. However, you are correct that he is not well listened to in Israel, but neither is anyone left of the till of the Hun. however, as i mentioned above, you can rest assured as the BDS is applied in earnest his voice will become louder and he will be listened to. Some individuals retort that he will be expelled from Israel along with others, and if this is the case it will just give a signal that much much more pervasive BDS needs to be applied if Israel wants to expel righteous men, and that is probably what will happen.

    One other point, I do not believe that the entire goal for the Palestinians should be civil rights like what took place in South Africa. The goal for the Palestinians should be total liberation specifically if you study the results of what happened right after Apartheid’s capitulation and the current course in South Africa. Unfortunately the real wealth of South Africa never left the hands of those who practiced Apartheid, and to this day it has caused preying upon South Africa from the usual neocolonial sources and the commiseration of the people who have now taken up the phrase “worse than Apartheid” (because it is difficult to pinpoint many culprits with “civil rights,” the same civil rights that still causes the majority of people of color to be eaten alive by the prison industrial complex in America – that “civil rights”). There should be liberation in equal access to resources and the accumulation of wealth for the Palestinians, a demand of adequate reparations, and a structure which ensures the complete independence of the Palestinians.

    • Richard Witty
      August 21, 2009, 11:24 am

      So you are taking up my thesis that progressives abandoned South Africa after the “easy” work was done.

      • VR
        August 21, 2009, 3:56 pm

        I am sorry Richard I must have not read you points on the subject.

      • Richard Witty
        August 21, 2009, 4:40 pm

        That was that once the armchair approach of boycott ended, progressives moved on, ignoring the institutionalized poverty that remained.

        Its a component of the “anti”-approach.

      • VR
        August 21, 2009, 7:27 pm

        Ahh, well than Richard we should strive not to make the same mistake, but the BDS will move forward

      • America First
        August 22, 2009, 6:46 am

        Richard’s concern about Palestinian poverty is touching. Once the one state solution is implemented, I propose international Zionist reparations to the Palestinians on account of the nakba and occupation, just like the world has been paying reparations to the Jews for the much briefer Holocaust period.

      • David
        August 22, 2009, 6:26 pm

        Richard Witty, I think that your critique of progressives abandoning South Africa post-apartheid does have some merit, although the primary reason that institutionalized poverty has been allowed to continue is because of the pressure that the apartheid gov’t was able to put on the ANC to abandon key principles of its Freedom Charter vis-a-vis economic justice in order to end blatant apartheid. If anything, this would mean that what is needed is a more radical approach to changing policy, not a more conciliatory approach. Naomi Klein has a good analysis of this in the Shock Doctrine, but here is a more concise and more charged analysis from Khadija Sharife at Foreign Policy in Focus: link to

        Here’s an excerpt that is also relevant to the BDS conversation: “And yet, regardless of the government positions, this landmark decision [to allow suits against U.S. companies that aided and abetted the apartheid regime] sets a global precedent for corporate accountability and transparency. By finally laying to rest the ghosts of apartheid, the lawsuit may well usher in similar moves targeting the economic systems of global apartheid.”

        A have to take exception to your characterization of the BDS movement against apartheid as an “armchair” approach. Countless South Africans who struggled against apartheid, including Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, have testified to the importance that the international BDS movement played in maintaining their own steadfast resistance against apartheid. BDS was solidarity exactly where it was needed–in people’s home communities, churches, investments, purchases, etc.

        You pose interesting critiques–far more interesting then some of your interlocutors here are willing to admit!–but I think it’s important to point out that many of the questions of motivation, tactics, engagement, etc. that you bring up are also being debated and discusses within the BDS movement (against Israeli occupation and apartheid policies) itself. You object to BDS. Fine. But your critiques often smack of dogmatism–there is only one right way to engage the situation, and it ain’t ours. Your critiques are of progressive approaches to the situation; yet the more conciliatory approach towards Israeli policy you are proposing is the one that has been dominant in the policy of the most dominant actor in the region, the United States. You ask whether we are willing to let suffering go on for 10 years to have it our way, yet the question you pose about S. African solidarity is actually exactly the opposite question–are we willing to settle for a “solution” that will not actually grant freedom, self-determination, human rights, and equality for all in Palestine and Israel?

        Have some faiths in Palestinians and Israelis to figure out the best way to do that ONCE an equitable bargaining table has been assured. This equitable bargaining table cannot exist as long as the United States pumps weapons into the region (to Israel and to the PA “security” that is increasingly being used to suppress Palestinian dissent) and as long as U.S., international, and Israeli corporations continue to profit off of military occupation and the dispossession of the Palestinians.

      • Richard Witty
        August 23, 2009, 11:39 am

        For me the first question to clarify, relative to Neve Gordon’s article, particularly the last phrase, “Nothing else has worked”, what “works” means.

        What is the goal? What is attempted to be accomplished?

        For me that is treble. Not “end the occupation” only (also a vaguely stated objective).

        1. Establish viable sovereignty for a self-governing Palestinian state that realizes equal civil rights for all citizens and residents, color-blind
        2. Realize a peace treaty that yeilds actual security for Israeli civilians and Palestinian civilians with clear respected borders
        3. Establish full civil rights for all Israeli citizens and residents, color-blind

        The goal of “end the occupation” sounds nice, but really leaves the situation similar to currently, in a state of conflict/war, in which military logic supercedes even confusing civil logic. Specifically, military logic has a very high emphasis on ends over means. That is what they are there for.

        To create a situation in which military is still the most relevant institution (borders without peace), invites repetition of the past, and it doesn’t improve. The military’s response to not succeeding at forcing compliance, will likely be to exert more force. (A few rational Israeli military, and Hamas militia, observe that repetition of the same is already a failure, not a work in progress.)

        From a clear and consented definition of goal, the discussion of what is the right AND effective means to achieve the goal is the relevant question.

        To achieve a consented just peace, persuasion and putting one’s intelligence, time and money into persuading (not on blogs, but door to door in the US and in Israel most importantly) is the most effective and most humane.

        Obama in particular is a key player. He gets into living rooms. His lustre is a little tarnished though now, after the ambiguity of the health care process.

  11. Jacqueline_Hyde
    August 21, 2009, 6:36 pm

    Gotta admire Witty’s tenacity. He’s like that earnest young man in a cheap suit on your porch Saturday morning flogging the Watch Tower. Nothing can stop his entreaties to immerse yourself in the “blood of the Lamb” until you finally throw up your hands and shut the door in his face.

    • Richard Witty
      August 21, 2009, 8:12 pm

      I have three faiths that may be illusions:

      1. That people are motivated by compassion
      2. That people are motivated by reason
      3. That dissenters are especially so

      • VR
        August 21, 2009, 8:58 pm
      • Shingo
        August 24, 2009, 9:27 am

        You’re wrong Richard,

        People are motivated by fear and by self interest. Israel is a prime example. If compassion were of any relevance to Israel, there woudl be a Palestinian State. If reason were of any relevance to Israel, Israel would have accepted the Arab peace initiative long ago.

  12. Richard Witty
    August 21, 2009, 9:56 pm

    That is a misdirection on your part.

    What do you think of my faiths? Are they accurate? Or are they an illusion?

    • Michael Weiz
      September 27, 2009, 3:20 pm

      I don’t see faith, I see bullying and threats, backed by a machine that specialises in targetting individuals and silencing them. It’s worked for a long, long time, deliberately acting to create Jew-hatred (not really, but managing to carry it off as if that was what you were doing) and then punishing it.

  13. Richard Witty
    August 21, 2009, 9:58 pm

    Or, is the motivation and character of dissent of no consequence?

    • Citizen
      August 22, 2009, 6:28 am

      Assent is agreement, dissent disagrees.
      Both sides have motives, both professed and sometimes not. All dictators and wannabees always proclaim they
      act in the best interests of the people. Every lobby group in our land does too.

      The character of consent and dissent often is most revealed by looking at the ox to be gored; it is a question of both ends and means, creed and deed.

    • jimby
      August 22, 2009, 10:29 am

      It’s irrelevant. People protest from self interest, idealism, fear…. whatever.

      • Richard Witty
        August 23, 2009, 5:25 am

        But not from reason and compassion?

  14. wondering jew
    August 21, 2009, 10:21 pm

    Mister Weiss states in his piece, “The piece suggests that Gordon would be for one state, because it is one virtually, but for the “ideological” attachment of Israelis to the Jewish state. This is what Americans actually have the great power to help change, the thinking, not the geography.”

    This is an assertion without any backup. Does Mister Weiss mean by the means of a boycott this will change the ideological attachment of Israelis to the Jewish state. The logic is not there. A boycott would loosen the hold of those with the lightest ideological attachment to the state and cause them to leave, leaving those with the strongest ideological attachment to the state.

    Quite often I disagree with Mister Weiss’s statements on ideological grounds, but in this instance, I quite simply don’t understand what he means or if I do understand, I feel he is way off base.

    • America First
      August 22, 2009, 6:43 am

      A boycott would loosen the hold of those with the lightest ideological attachment to the state and cause them to leave, leaving those with the strongest ideological attachment to the state.

      Not a problem. If they have a Masada complex the rest of the world will be happy to oblige.

      • Citizen
        August 22, 2009, 6:54 am

        Samson Option. Whose walls would come tumbling down?

  15. Citizen
    August 22, 2009, 6:52 am

    Here’s a brief comparison of Rhodesia and apartheid S Africa and what became of their respective white populations after they lost world public opinion and accrued boycott. Neither is an easy analogy to the I-P conflict, especially
    since the demographic percentages are much more even in the I-P conflict and neither former rascist African state was ever conceived of as a place to continually expand white immigration; rather the whites were there as a cadre to milk the natural resources.

    link to

    • VR
      August 22, 2009, 11:45 am

      That is a rather quaint rendition of what happened in both areas…lol I wonder what the author “thinks” is going on today?

  16. Citizen
    August 22, 2009, 1:57 pm

    pls elaborate.

    • VR
      August 22, 2009, 3:15 pm

      What I mean is that it seems to be a rather bland reference to what happened in the regions – I suppose it is mostly due to the brevity of the accounts. It says very little about the exploitation and murderous activity perpetrated by the “Whites” in these regions, whether there are Black intermediaries or not at whatever juncture. As an example, take this statement –

      “Mugabe turned out to be a racist dictator who authorized the seizure of White-owned farms.”

      Because of the lack of historical reference previously it is easy to make a statement like this (especially if you belong to the House of Lords). First there is no reference to the methodology of how this was done, and second, now that the land has been taken what the aftermath has been. It had always been in the agreements with the majority rule that the land which was the most arable and had been used for cash crops by the colonials, was to be turned over to the people. There is mountains of official conferences and paperwork that attests to the facts, but the process had drug on at a glacial pace for years and years. Finally a rupture in the majority of this fact erupted. So it was hardly that Mugabe was a racist dictator and just suddenly said – “OK, whitey get off the land now!”

      However, lets develop the the history of how this group got into and ended up with the most arable land with all of the industries. Zimbabwe, which was formerly the colonial prize of the UK, than called Rhodesia. The history is so twisted and sordid with exploitation and forced labor with pauperism that one could go on forever.

      Named after Cecil Rhodes the rabid colonist and racist for his own interest, who built his financial empire on blood diamonds – they were blood diamonds whether you look under the current condition or the original colonial state. Rhodes used his British South African Company with it’s own paramilitary force to control Matabeleland and Mashonaland which is present day Zimbabwe. Think of this the next time you want to honor a “Rhodes scholar.”

      Where the present contention lies is in Mugabe taking back land that was stolen by the Rhodes gang in the 1890’s, it was taken by force and each soldier that was a participant was given 9 square miles of territory. Of course, this land is the present bone of contention (but not the only one) in Zimbabwe. So over 70% of the arable land belonged to 4,500 white farmers who were descendant’s of the British settlers.

      Of course, even in this venue I am leaving a massive amount of information out. However, it is a bit of a stretch to say that suddenly Mugabe was a racist or a dictator. However, since he finally forced the issue their is an entire neocolonial machine raging against him, much of it you see in the “news,” and it has its adherents in the country itself – those who want to return to the “master.” Let me elaborate a bit.

      When one thinks of colonialism one sees occupation forces, invading armies putting down “insurrections” (think Iraq), the wanton murder of civilians in the streets by foreign powers, and the wholesale robbery plain for all who have eyes to see. However, there is now another form of oppression in vogue, after years of resistance from indigenous populations they are said to have won their “freedom.”

      Whereupon rather than the previous invading forces of colonialism being present in the classical sense, there is a systemic servility imposed, and much more subtle techniques used so that the previous colonial interest can be realized – it still has devastating effects upon the previous colonial object. This is called Neocolonialism, and today we are going to look at it in all it’s inglorious splendor, having reached it’s apex as part of globalization.

      Neocolonialism is the structure embedded in the newly “free” country, which locks all of the doors of the country’s prosperity from the inside out, that is, it makes the prosperity of the former colonial enterprise subservient to a system which does not have the interest of the people at heart. What it does is further enrich the former colonial perpetrators.

      When this is ruptured by an democratically elected ruler, who has the interest of the people in mind, it unleashes an array of damaging acts meant to bring the country back under the thumb of it’s colonial rulers. This can be displayed by looking at Zimbabwe as an example, and it’s current president Robert Mugabe. What we are going to look at can be used as a template for what takes place all over the world in the neocolonial nightmare, it is by no means exhaustive but is meant to give you a taste of what the Euro-American enterprise is involved in all over the globe.

      For the stupid multitudes that believe that there is starvation in this country because of the land grab, you need to go back to the drawing board, because these farms produced “cash crops” like tobacco, and had nothing at all to do with food that sustained the people. However, what was imposed was a trading system which favored the crops, with all of the prejudicial trade ties inherent in the closed system of trade in today’s global order (you do not pay you cannot play, the first duty is to screw your people – if that is refused you become a “rogue nation”).

      It was the land and Mugabe’s desire to give back this land to land-poor indigenous population that caused his head on collision with the neocolonial machine empowered by Western governments. A good portion of the farm land was held by absentee landowners, many the Lord’s in jolly ol’ England.

      Because of the aggravated reasoning of the colonial thievery Mugabe had legislation passed that took back 1500 white farms without compensation. It was at this point, in the words of Zimbabwe’s foreign minister Stan Mudenge – “all hell broke loose.” Suddenly Zimbabwe’s President Mugabe, who was democratically elected by a firm majority, became a “fraud and a horrible dictator.”

      The imperialist Royal African Society meets in 1999, and their topic is “Zimbabwe – Time for Mugabe to go?” So the neocolonial grinding machine starts it’s engine recommending – a military coup, buying the opposition, insurrection, subverting Mugabe’s party. Washington get’s into the ring a few months later sporting the “Zimbabwe Crisis.”

      NGO’s are marshaled, and their job is to foment discontent and become the conduit for monies to unseat the president. They encourage people to take to the streets and have rallies and foment discontent and further unrest. Sanctions are applied and threats of bombings, all of this is supposed to make the people rise against the democratically elected government led by Robert Mugabe.

      Everything is done to effect the people, so that everything bad they are experiencing is reflected by these foreign influences toward the government. In the end of this sordid affair brought on by the neocolonial machine the people are supposed to undo their own government.

      All governments that pose a revolutionary alternative get the same treatment, the people are stirred up to give the “natural effect,” and the questions about electoral fraud begin to fly. President Bush signed the “Zimbabwe Democracy and Recovery Act” in December 2001, this empowers the President under the US Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to “support democratic institutions, the free press and independent media” in Zimbabwe.

      So suddenly these “home grown democratic movements” end up with all sorts of expensive paraphernalia to push their movement. Such as the Zvalawana movement in Zimbabwe – flashy stickers, phone cards, video’s and audio, etc. In other words, they are armed with more than radical movements in the west have, their money comes from foreign hostile sources.

      Suddenly, all over the radios and TV’s Zimbabwe’s government, primarily Mugabe becomes the monster – the volume is turned up really high in the UK. Of course all of these sources are supposed to be democratic, inside and outside of the country all speaking against the government – so what is that supposed to make the Zimbabwe government? You guessed it, undemocratic.

      When this is done during election time, as in the last election, and the opposition still loses than that is supposed to put the election into question – as during the 2005 elections. The reason why many of the oppositions tactics have not worked is because Mugabe’s regime will not put up with subversion from within.

      Take for instance, NGO’s which actually work as a fifth column for foreign interest – they must divulge their financing, this cuts them off almost immediately. Media, like CNN which works for foreign interest is not allowed to report from inside of Zimbabwe. People scream that this is not democratic, but this opposition is clearly financed by hostile sources, so the point is moot.

      To say that Zimbabwe’s ills do not come from drought is patently false, particularly since the country is agriculturally based, especially in light of this phenomena happening all over the region. As I said previously, land redistribution did not destroy Zimbabwe’s agricultural source, IT WAS DESTROYED BY WHITE AGRICULTURAL CASH CROPS SUCH AS TOBACCO!

      To say that sanctions have not destroyed the economy is equally ridiculous, sanctions are not economically neutral. They disrupt assistance to the country, disrupt the flow of trade and cut off investment prospects. The sanctions cannot be isolated in the government, it hurts and can even kill people.

      Once again for some emphasis and elaboration, why does the West want Mugabe out? Remember, you can almost use this as a template for all neocolonial activity in other nations. Neocolonial’s always want to uproot the policies of revolutionary governments, and they want to replace them with their own repressive policies.

      There are five reasons they want to oust him, and none of them have to do with humanitarian reasons. First, Mugabe got rid of IMF (International Monetary Fund) policies in the 90’s, because all they were doing was impoverishing the people to pay a debt through currency devaluation, reduction of social programs, and all this to pay debt at any human cost.

      Mugabe has also shown signs of resistance to Western design in nearby countries. He has sent troops into the Congo that have frustrated the will of Anglo alliance.

      Mugabe’s economic policies are not compatible with neo-liberal policies. Recently he announced the nationalization of the diamond mines, now this is a real problem for western powers, nationalization and enrichment of the people. It gets rid of the darling of privatization, that is, all the money going into the pockets of an elite foreign few.

      He has demanded that a portion of the earnings be reinvested in the country, and places this as a performance requirement on foreign investors. As an example, they are required to invest in government bonds – this really makes them blow their stacks!

      Fouth reason, British companies dominate Zimbabwe’s country, and the British governments and banks want to protect their investments. Neocolonialism lives in the domination of the country through the corporations and the investments, they want a ruler in power who will look after their interests no matter how much it destroys the people! Mugabe is not their man, and he will never be their man and they know it.

      The fifth and final reason they want Mugabe out is, they do not want other neighboring countries to get the idea that they can be independent and help their people prosper – they take it as a bad example. Imagine if the other countries took up the same process – why, Africa after a period of time might be free and independent!

      As you can see there is neocolonial and neo-liberal interest all over Africa, they have it sliced up like a pie. People in America wonder why there is so much unrest in the world, well, you got a taste of it above, and you can apply it like a template all over the world.


      So I dare say, things are a bit more complicated and involved than what was a very cursory treatment in your link Citizen.

      • Citizen
        August 23, 2009, 7:01 am

        Thanks v
        Interesting to apply that template to the USA itself; hard not to conclude the masses
        have not also been neo-colonialized.

      • Michael Weiz
        September 27, 2009, 3:50 pm

        You seem to have skimmed over the fact that Mugabe’s policies have been catastrophic for the Rhodesians (people of Zimbabwe, if you prefer). And his “land redistribution” seems to have involved theft on behalf of his cleptocracy, followed by complete neglect of the food-producing land, leading to mass -starvation.

  17. VR
    August 22, 2009, 3:45 pm

    Now, you might say all this has changed, look we have a Black president – and I would say bullshit. Essentially, what you have in Obama is the higest form of neocolonialism, the summit. All he has to say the the Black population here is “pull up your pants,” and all he can say to Africa when he visits it is –

    “Africa’s future is up to Africans,” he said in Accra. No it’s not. Africa’s future is to a pervasive extent up to the World Bank, the IMF, international mining and oil companies, the US Congress (which for example votes cotton subsidies to domestic corporate farmers, thus undercutting and laying waste the cotton economies of Burkina Faso, Benin, Mali and Chad).

    “No one has written your destiny for you. Your destiny is in your hands,” was his New York message for America’s black youth. Rip the entrails out of America’s manufacturing economy, hock the economy to Goldman Sachs and then tell the kids, if you fail, you’ve only yourself to blame.

    No, what I say can be summarized in this song –


    People are still enslaved here in the states and they are vilified, this matches the rhetoric about the “backward” lands and countries, it is meant to anesthetize the general public to elicit the sentiment “oh, it is just one of those backward savages who cannot do anything right. Look at them, they are all in jail or we are at war with them because they are terrorists or giving them “financial aid” because they are so decrepit.” That is what is taking place, and if you cannot see it, there is nothing I can do for you, you are going to have to be honest with yourselves and check out the real facts.

    • Citizen
      August 23, 2009, 7:14 am

      You read my mind. The whole process can be graphed by following the always trending up income gap and/or consolidation of the news media.

  18. Margaret
    August 22, 2009, 7:53 pm

    V – Brilliant analysis, most of which makes sense to me, right up to this point:

    “Essentially, what you have in Obama is the higest form of neocolonialism, the summit.”
    “People are still enslaved here in the states and they are vilified.”

    The experience of slavery, of being the possession of some one else, is quite different from the burden of enfranchised people living in a system where levels of economic inequality result in oppression (the “Euro-American alliance”). A key difference, in my view, is that the challenge to ownership of people, which prevailed, created a change in the concept of entitlement attached to property. The effects of that change still continue. By viewing the power of those who still attach entitlement to property, or income, or religion, or sex or physcial capability, or any of the other forms of discrimination by which entitlement is entailed, as people capable of enslaving you, one accepts their definition of power as being based in entitlement. You vilify those you oppose, matching their rhetoric, possibly expecting that effective challenge to their power requires violence to equal what they are willing to use. Deal with them in the arena in which their power is based, and they are the more powerful. Use the power of unified agreement on necessary change -change the paradigm on which power is based- and you divest them of overwhelming power, make of them an adversary you can beat. That, I think, is what Obama has done and is doing.

    On Thursday, an astounding 280,000 Organizing for America supporters gathered online to huddle with the President at our National Health Care Forum. Organizing America, Jeremy Bird,

    The effort to divide his base of support has been overt – and the degree to which it is exposed, in my opinion, demonstrates the degree to which he challenges entrenched powers.

    I will be at the building housing my local Congressional representatives on September 1, to demonstrate my support for health care reform. That makes the figure quoted total 280,001.

    My admiration for the many comments made here is great; I continue to learn from the knowledge and insight offered so freely and with such passion. “Amateur propaganda” – *so much* for that evaluation.

    • America First
      August 23, 2009, 6:33 am

      The perceived need for health care reform is itself due to the Democrats’ abandonment of the unions for financial globalism, and the destruction of the manufacturing base that once provided meaningful economic security for most workers. Now the autoworker and the degreed engineer will have some sort of governement health entitlement to go along with their burger-flipping jobs. If they’re lucky.

    • Citizen
      August 23, 2009, 7:37 am

      How has Obama changed our banking system in any root way whatsoever? The old players are the new players. Goldman Sachs et al. Will Obama come out in favor of
      Paul’s Fed Reserve transparency audit bill? Will he actually do anything about the Israeli settlements?

      Is the cash for clunkers a net good?
      Where is he headed in Afghanistan?
      Will he sign any health plan bill, just to have a bill passed this term?

    • r
      August 23, 2009, 5:47 pm


      Your concerns about Republican efforts to divide Obama’s base can be safely laid to rest. That’s not to say they aren’t working against him 24/7, but only to recognize the fact that no one could manage to alienate Obama’s base to the astonishing degree that Obama has. Indeed, no matter what issue you had hoped to see positive change in, it’s safe to say Obama has gone to extravagant lengths to ensure such hopes have been utterly dashed to pieces.

      Poor blacks?

      Obama lectures them about pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and ‘not playing the blame game’ in a manner Ronald Reagan would surely delight in, were he alive. In the meantime, tens of billions are shoveled to our leading bankers so they can go on multimillion dollar golfing vacations.

      Restoration of the rule of law? A principled stand in favor of the Geneva Conventions, common decency and an unbending opposition to torture?

      Hardly. Obama in fact makes a point of CONGRATULATING the vermin from the CIA for a job well done, assuring them they will face no consequences from his administration for pouring water into people’s lungs, attacking them with police dogs or simulating execution. He rules to deny habeus corpus rights to the prisoners suffering in our dungeons in Afghanistan—places like Bagram, where the taxi driver Dilawar—deemed innocent of any wrongdoing, was tortured and beaten to death for the sheer delight it gave our brave men in uniform.

      NSA wiretapping?

      Obama says: go for it!

      and on and on, with the most hideous of his many betrayals surrounding the Mid East disaster, where he cow tows to Jewish Nazis and lectures the Palestinians about responsibility and “an end to the culture of violence.”

      In summary—we were all worried about Obama getting assassinated before the election and are all dismayed at the fact he’s still alive after the election.

      • Citizen
        August 24, 2009, 6:17 am

        Nice summary. OTH, imagine the VP taking over, or Pelosi. I wish we could catapult
        Nader or Paul into the White House. Kuncinich?

  19. VR
    August 22, 2009, 11:07 pm

    Margaret, the sacrifice of one sacred cow (health care) is hardly addressing the entire systemic issue that I mentioned. It has always been the process of not only this country but others who have gone before as colonial “pioneers” to assuage the distaste of their people about the system by giving them something. The invisible means of sustaining the empire (and it is invisible many times purposefully by non-coverage from the acquiescent corporate media, and all other informed sources) remains invisible, while the world languishes and the drones consume. Health care which is a domestic issue and important is merely a placation while the interests of empire are stoked, essentially what empire means is that the “people” will NEVER be the focal point of the government which has merely is the franchise of the elite.


  20. VR
    August 22, 2009, 11:35 pm

    I am not trying to be unkind about the issue of Obama, but just realistic. Your activity is good, but trying to stretch this issue over the entire picture is…well, a bit of a stretch. Why? I have posted this before, listen to the assessment and see if it bears any resemblance to reality –


    • Citizen
      August 23, 2009, 8:03 am

      Thanks for the video. Yes it does.

    • r
      August 23, 2009, 7:03 pm

      Pilger perceptively notes that in the midst of a recession with millions of Americans losing their jobs, Obama votes for an increase in military spending.

      This ALONE should qualify him for the death penalty (which, after all, he supported).

  21. VR
    August 23, 2009, 2:00 am

    Do you know what the difference is between the old Antebellum slavery and systemic slavery? In the old slavery people were better able to pinpoint their oppressors. Likewise, there is nothing worse than a slave that has no idea that they are one.

    • Citizen
      August 23, 2009, 7:54 am

      I’d bet that the wiser Old South plantation owners had many slaves who thought they
      had it pretty good, the house staff being only the most obvious. Then there was the
      indentured whites Up North. And the early factory workers, the line boss, the supervisor, etc. And so, down to the system we have today.

  22. Margaret
    August 23, 2009, 3:48 am

    V – The difference between where we stand is not great, imo. Nor is it one arising from confusion over the relative importance of national versus foreign policy. Does a realistic view, as you understand it, incorporate the reciprocal nature of action?

    • VR
      August 23, 2009, 1:28 pm

      Absolutely Margaret, and it has an even more elementary tenet, recognizing what one is dealing with. If you cannot agree on this it is almost worthless to move let alone start a movement.

      Let me give you an example. lets say we are dealing solely with the health care issue you made mention of, if one does not recognize what one is up against any counter move is only a waste of time. Ergo, you cannot mix the “for profit” system with the universal health care issue – one will wholly devour the other. I want you to remember this post if you see Obama’s program adopted. Unfortunately, if you look at my site (this is not an advertisement) you will find each issue I called out over the last five years came to pass, well in advance of seeing its fruit. This is not because I am a psychic, but because I know the nature of the beast.

      • Margaret
        August 24, 2009, 5:54 am

        “If you cannot agree on this it is almost worthless to move let alone start a movement.”
        I’m joining one movement – regarding health care; am part of another, regarding Palestine; am interested and getting more involved in others.

        “I want you to remember this post if you see Obama’s program adopted.”
        Oh, I will! The events of the next year or so are going to be important.

  23. jimby
    August 23, 2009, 10:49 am

    The latest on Neve Gordon is that LA Jews are threatening withholding of donations to Ben Gurion University. That might be interesting since so many Zionists are on the faculty.

    link to

    • VR
      August 23, 2009, 11:22 am

      They can help to kick off the BDS than…LOL All joking aside this is not a new issue, they have threatened this before because of Neve’s statements and stance. They tried to stop him from gaining tenure. However, in spite of itself the way the University is set up it is near impossible for donors to wield influence like they do in the states. We should take a lesson from this, so that rather than having universities that are subject to the whim of private money and administration almost undying support for these donors and not the real reason for any university, have caused the ejection of some of its finest teachers. Here is Neve addressing this very subject in 2007 at Univ. of Chicago during an academic freedom conference after the expulsion of Norman Finkelstein –


      If you want it posted in written form let me know

  24. VR
    August 23, 2009, 11:53 am

    Oh why not here is Neve’s written speech from the above link:

    “Take a minute before you conclude that the pro-Israel lobby is the sole culprit behind the witch hunt directed against scholars who criticize Israeli military rule over Palestinians. Consider Norman Finkelstein. If he had been on the faculty of an Israeli university, rather than DePaul University, he probably would be an associate professor by now.

    I say that because several years ago I came up for tenure at Ben Gurion University of the Negev under similarly contested circumstances. As in Finkelstein’s case, when I was recommended for tenure the president was promptly inundated with letters from outsiders seeking to influence the process. Like Finkelstein’s, my sin was criticizing Israel’s policies in the occupied Palestinian territories. All the calls for my dismissal emanated from America — not from Israel. In one typical letter, the president of the Zionist Organization of America used ominous threats to urge the university to fire me. Yet, unlike in the Finkelstein case, ultimately intimidation failed.

    Why, then, have such tactics succeeded in the United States? Why do Israeli scholars have more academic freedom than their American counterparts?

    The answer is rooted in the fact that many American universities are being reconstructed as corporations whose major objective is to sell products, most obviously degrees to students. The corporatization of academic life means that faculty members are perceived as both producers and products. They are expected to come up with inventions and patents that can be sold to corporations, as well as with research funds and citations that have a pseudomarket value, since they help elevate the university’s ranking. As saleable products, faculty members are valued according to a corporate calculus rather than an academic one. To put it bluntly: Finkelstein was considered a liability to the corporation; therefore he was sacked.

    The remaking of universities as corporations has also altered accountability. Those at the helm have become more accountable to boards of trustees, shareholders (i.e., major donors), and customers (i.e., students, parents, and viewers of athletics events) than to the university’s original mission (i.e., seeking truth and educating the next generation) and the faculty members who carry it out. Consequently administrators behave like corporate executives and are hardly invested in intellectual achievements or democratic processes.

    In Israel, by contrast, all faculty members are unionized, and their salaries are determined according to rank and a series of relatively objective academic criteria. Law and business professors earn the same as their colleagues in literature and philosophy. That has a major impact on how we think about faculty members. They are not seen as no more than products, as Finkelstein seems to have been.

    In addition, the corporate ethos that dominates American campuses has helped destroy mechanisms of faculty governance and has led to the ascendancy of administrative rule. I do not want to unduly romanticize Israeli universities, but it is worth pointing out that faculty members at my institution elect department chairs, deans, and our provost. The fact that deans and provosts at American universities are beholden to administrators and donors renders them susceptible to external pressure. I doubt that Charles S. Suchar, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at DePaul University, would have refused to support the decision of the promotion committee on Finkelstein’s tenure if he were primarily accountable to the faculty and the mission of academic excellence.

    The pressures brought to bear on tenure cases in America by the pro-Israel lobby are only one part of a much more complex story. There will, after all, always be attempts from outside to suppress unpopular voices in academe, and there will always be people within higher education who act as accomplices in efforts to stifle academic freedom. Neither group, however, would be as likely to succeed if the faculty governed its own university. And that is precisely where American academics have failed. It is not enough to expose the pro-Israel lobby. The menacing tide of corporatization must also be opposed. Academic freedom can be guaranteed only once the idea of the university is restored and the structure of universities transformed.”

    • jimby
      August 23, 2009, 3:00 pm

      Thanks v…, as a graduate of UC Berkeley in ’68 and the recipient of a great humanist liberal education I can only watch with dismay at the current state of education in the US. I learned how to learn. It’s easy but sad to see the US flushing itself down the drain.

    • Citizen
      August 23, 2009, 4:19 pm

      V: Stating the obvious about the USA ivory towers, which are no longer ivory at all; but thanks–your info comparing Israel higher academia with the USA’s is of great value in making a contrast. V, how about European academia? I suspect it’s even
      worse there than in the USA….

  25. r
    August 23, 2009, 5:20 pm

    I find Gordon’s meditation thought provoking, though not entirely convincing. Ilan Pappe’s stand on Palestine earned him not only denunciations and calls for resignation from within Israel, but daily death threats as well. He is far from the only principled commentator quite literally driven out of Israel at the barrel of a gun by its majority population of psychotic Nazi garbage. I’m glad Neve has managed (for the time being) to keep his post, but he may be the exception that proves the rule. I’d love to read a book about just what sort of abuse and intimidation over the years, the few remaining Israelis for peace (Amira Hass, Gideon Levi, etc) have been subjected to. If they go to the extreme of attending a public protest, they are typically clapped in jail.

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