The end of apartheid in Israel will not destroy the country, it can only improve it

Israel/Palestine
on 42 Comments

I have been looking for years, and I cannot, for the life of me, locate the Republic of South Africa on any map of the world.  The name should be a very helpful indicator: Africa is a very large continent, South Africa, then, must be at the southern tip.  Yet I keep looking, and South Africa isn’t there.  It just disappeared, one fine, fine morning in 1994. On April 28, 1994, to be very specific, when the people of South Africa voted to end apartheid, the system of institutionalized discrimination that privileged one race over others.  With the end of apartheid, celebrated in all corners of the world, South Africa must have simply disappeared.

And I worry, is this going to be the fate of Israel? Once we finally overthrow apartheid there will it completely disappear off the map, just as South Africa did? Because I keep hearing that if Palestinians achieve their rights, then Israel will disappear. As Norman Finkelstein put it in the now famous infamous interview in February, 2012:  If BDS accomplishes its goals, “there is no Israel.”  You know, like there is no South Africa, since the indigenous people of that land finally overthrew apartheid there.

Now that I think of it, what kind of person would view the abolition of institutionalized racism as a loss, a disappearance, rather than a global victory?  What kind of person actually believes South Africa was finished, after the end of white supremacy there?  Because that is the kind of person who would believe Israel would be destroyed, rather than improved upon, by justice.

Which leads me to the more serious discussion: we need new terminology, we need the freedom to discuss the major change we hope to see happening in Israel, without it being described in mainstream discourse as overwhelmingly negative, the “end” of Israel, its “destruction.”  Because I cannot fathom how someone would claim that “there is no South Africa” after apartheid, and I doubt that many rational beings would describe the end of apartheid there as the destruction of that country.  Why then describe the end of a Jewish supremacist state as destruction?

And we need to redefine sovereignty.  Israel will not disappear off the map.  The majority of the Israelis living there today will not return to the countries their parents and grandparents came from, even though I do suspect that some will try to desert the sinking ship of unearned prerogatives.  After all, if they are to suddenly become equal with the Palestinians, no longer living in “Jewish-only” luxury gated communities, some will decide that they are better off living in Europe or the US.  But these will be the minority.  Millions of Israelis will continue to live in the country they love, for many, the only country they know.  They just won’t be legally privileged, as much as they will be privileged as all hereditary benefactors of oppressive systems are.  You know, like being white in the US after the abolition of slavery, or white in South Africa, after the end of apartheid.  They will be Jewish in Israel, after the official end of Jewish supremacy. 

And the Palestinians will return, after decades of languishing in refugee camps, in hostile countries, or even just miles from their ancestral village. Impoverished, traumatized, rightfully bitter at their unfair cruel treatment for close to a century, they will finally enjoy equal rights in a country transformed by decades of Jewish supremacy.  They will be a free people again, free to learn and teach and take pride in their culture and history, and they will have much to learn, for so much will have been erased, has already been erased.   How do we redefine sovereignty, so that the Palestinian people are sovereign in their homeland, as Israel ceases to be a Jewish supremacist apartheid state, but is not “destroyed,” only improved upon? 

I do not believe any solution can take the shape of “two states,” for that would simply be replacing one apartheid state, and some occupied fragments, with two apartheid states.  I believe the solution can only be in one single entity:  historic Palestine, which is today’s “greater” (apartheid) Israel.  If Palestine is to be free, it can only be from the river to the sea.

In The Wretched of the Earth, his manifesto of anti-colonial struggle, Frantz Fanon urged “If we want humanity to advance a step farther, we must invent, and we must make discoveries…. We must turn over a new leaf, we must work out new concepts, and try to set afoot a new man.”    

This too will be an imperative in Palestine/Israel, to invent, to create a new vocabulary, to redefine nationhood and sovereignty.  I’m ready.  I am so ready to shift gears, to switch from resistance to creativity.  But for that to happen, we need to end apartheid.  Some would say we are out to “destroy Israel,” but you and I know better.  

About Nada Elia

Nada Elia is a Palestinian scholar-activist, writer, and grassroots organizer, currently completing a book on Palestinian Diaspora activism.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

42 Responses

  1. amigo
    April 21, 2016, 12:25 pm

    “Some would say we are out to “destroy Israel,” but you and I know better. “Nada Elia.

    You and I know that the only people destroying Israel , are the Zionists .The very ones claiming that others are out to destroy it, wherever it,s borders are .

    Classic pathological narcissism and projection.The eventual destruction of Israel is in good hands.Outside help is not necessary.

  2. eljay
    April 21, 2016, 1:04 pm

    … I keep hearing that if Palestinians achieve their rights, then Israel will disappear. …

    What Zio-supremacists worry about isn’t the disappearance of Israel – it’s the disappearance of:
    – religion-supremacist “Jewish State”; and
    – their supremacist standing within it.

    … I do not believe any solution can take the shape of “two states,” … I believe the solution can only be in one single entity: historic Palestine, which is today’s “greater” (apartheid) Israel. If Palestine is to be free, it can only be from the river to the sea. …

    One state or two, the solution must be based on justice, accountability and equality in (a) secular and democratic state(s).

    If the solution is two states and if those two states decide to merge into a single state at some point through the democratic consensus of the citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees of both states, that would be an act of self-determination (the real kind, not the Zio-supremacist kind) and it would be perfectly acceptable.

  3. Stephen Shenfield
    April 21, 2016, 2:53 pm

    Beautifully written. But I am not altogether clear what the author means by Israel “not disappearing.” Will the post-apartheid regime still be called Israel then? Rather than Palestine?

    One of the differences between apartheid South Africa and Israel is that the former had a politically neutral geographical name that could fit any type of regime (though there were some who wanted to rename the country Azania). The word “Israel” was originally a collective name for Jews or Jewry, so its use as the name of a country implied and implies a special position for Jews (at a minimum). Perhaps the author wants us to understand that despite this logic the country might continue to be called Israel for the sake of continuity and reconciliation. Or perhaps it could be called Israel and Palestine simultaneously/.

    • bryan
      April 21, 2016, 7:50 pm

      Stephen – Surely a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Did you not argue a few days ago that “Anyway, how far back do we have to go before we get to roots? And why be true to them? Trees have roots but we are not trees”. You also make the very valid point that continuing to call the land Israel would automatically imply the continuation of an unwarranted Jewish privilege within a land that has hosted many cultures.

      The term, Israel, has very briefly been applicable, for a short period in ancient history (if we are to believe ancient theological writings, largely uncorroborated by archaeology), and then again for ideological reasons to provide a certain credibility to a coloniser / conquest culture that briefly emerged in the twentieth century, and persisted into the early 21st century. Returning to ancient roots we might just as well re-christen the land Canaan or the kingdom of the Franks. But Palestine surely has for centuries been the most appropriate description of the land. In the 12th century BCE the Egyptians referred to it as Peleset; in the 9th century BCE the Assyrians referred to it as Palashtu or Pilistu; in the 5th century BCE Herodotus referred to it as Palaistine, as also did the later writings of Aristotle, Pliny, Plutarch, Josephus, Ovid and numerous other classical writers. The term abounds also in the Masoretic version of the Hebrew Bible, the Torah and the books of Judges and Samuel.

      Even more relevantly (especially if you do not like roots) the Jewish claim to settle in the land derives from the Balfour Declaration (which referred specifically to “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”) and from the British Mandate for Palestine, and the 1947 UN proposal for the partition of Palestine, which preceded the 1948 conquest and ethnic cleansing.

      Thus justice and elementary reparations to the Palestinian people for the hardships they have endured surely requires that a future single state, should it ever emerge, recognise the name of Palestine, and if current Israelis don’t like this let them return to Brooklyn or London or Paris or Berlin, or Capetown, or Kiev or any one of the countries of Europe, America, Africa, Asia or Australasia from which they or their families have mostly, relatively recently, migrated.

      • George Smith
        April 21, 2016, 9:57 pm

        Bryan:

        Excellent expansion of Stephen Shenfield’s excellent comment. I fully endorse the geographically appropriate term “Palestine” for the new democracy. It was after all the term that both Palestinian Arabs and Palestinian Jews used in the Mandate era.

        Still, we must admit that the name is no longer entirely neutral. “Palestine” has taken on an additional nationalist connotation over the last 100 years as the Arabs of Palestine have come to appreciate the commonality of their heritage and culture. They insist on referring to themselves as “Palestinians” rather than deracinated “Arabs,” in order to assert their indigeneity, and to counter “transferist” ideology that insists that the greater Arab region outside Palestine is homeland enough for them. It is understandable, then, that Zionists regard changing the name of their homeland to “Palestine” as adumbrating replacement of the Jewish ethnocracy with a Palestinian Arab ethnocracy. That might be a condign end to Zionism, but it would be adding a new injustice to the old one.

        Of course, replacement of one ethnocracy with another is not at all what the anti-Zionist, anti-apartheid, pro-democracy movement stands for. But has the movement made that sufficiently plain, either inside Palestine or outside? When Americans like me say we’re in “solidarity” with the Palestinians, do we make it crystal clear that that solidarity is an entirely different kind of solidarity from the solidarity that AIPAC, ADL, etc. feel with Israeli Jews who are enforcing their ethnocratic supremacism on Palestinian Arabs? Indeed, I think anti-Zionists should avoid the term solidarity entirely. It weakens our case. The only enduring commitment that stands to prevail is solidarity with universal rights. We should explicitly, emphatically, and consistently declare that we regard both Palestinian Jews and Palestinian Arabs as indigenous people sharing their common Palestinian homeland.

      • bryan
        April 22, 2016, 3:22 am

        You make some very relevant points. The new state will need a name. Retaining Israel would imply continued Jewish dominance. I argued Palestine is historically meaningful and the obvious single word name but might be a bitter pill for Zionists who have spent a century arguing there is no such thing as a Palestinian. Some newly coined hybrid such as Palezion or Israstine would be an abomination. The Levant would be neutral and meaningful but is unfortunately already sullied by ISIL. Do we go for something verbose but neutral, such as the United Republic of Palestinians and Jews, or would it take as long as redesigning a New Zealand flag to decide whether that form were used or the alternative, the United Republic of Jews and Palestinians. The Holy Land would not be in the spirit of modern secularism, but would unite Christians, Jews and Moslems. As Nada Elia argues invention and creativity are clearly required.

        Rather than just talking about the death of the two state solution, and the inevitability of one state, now is clearly the time for Israeli and Palestinian activists to come together and to draw up a blueprint, or at least a set of options, as to what the future looks like, in terms of a Constitution, a government structure, a definition of citizenship, and the rules applying to refugees and future immigration, restitution for the loss of land, and the myriad of other issues. Some concrete proposal would allow people to start to visualise the shape of the future, and its costs and benefits.

      • echinococcus
        April 22, 2016, 9:22 am

        We should explicitly, emphatically, and consistently declare that we regard both Palestinian Jews and Palestinian Arabs as indigenous people sharing their common Palestinian homeland

        Wow. Just awesome.
        Is that the latest brainstorm of the Zionist propaganda ministry?
        Not original, but at least blindingly fresh in its Babe in the Woods approach!
        “Palestinian Jews… indigenous people… sharing common.. homeland”
        Indian Brits… indigenous people… sharing common.. homeland
        Congolese Belgians… indigenous people… sharing common.. homeland
        Chickencoop foxes… indigenous species… sharing common.. homeland

        The Palestinian Jews sharing a legitimate residence with other Palestinians as of the start of the rape of Palestine were not more than 6%.
        The Fredmans and Hoffmes and Narrs of this world are not a problem. It’s the twisted, perverted, smart propaganda agents that should be booed out –but it seems that we’re happily asleep.

      • echinococcus
        April 22, 2016, 9:38 am

        George Smith, continued.

        Of course, replacement of one ethnocracy with another is not at all what the anti-Zionist, anti-apartheid, pro-democracy movement stands for. But has the movement made that sufficiently plain, either inside Palestine or outside?

        Yes, it has made exceedingly plain that it doesn’t give a shoot for Palestinian sovereignty rights or international law re self-determination, or even the plain sense of fairness. That all it cares for is rescuing some “legitimacy” for invasion, conquest and genocide.

        Indeed, I think anti-Zionists should avoid the term solidarity entirely. It weakens our case.

        Yes indeedy, solidarity would mean deferring to those unarmed, occupied, murdered Palestinian losers’ legitimate requests for their own territory. We must make sure that they are silenced and the Zionist invasion continues successfully.

        The only enduring commitment that stands to prevail is solidarity with universal rights.

        Which universal rights do not, obviously, include that of sovereignty over one’s own territory, freedom from conquest or self-determination. Solidarity with some obscure losers out in the hills? Nonsense, give me solidarity with our Western Conquistadores who urgently need a New Legitimacy!

      • MHughes976
        April 23, 2016, 5:27 pm

        I don’t know what sense of ‘indigenous’ is intended but it is impossible to apply it in the same sense, with the same imputation of right, to the current Palestinians of Palestine, who were almost all born in the place and inherit a normal right to remain there, equal in every way to my right to remain on the soil of England, and to those of the current Israelis, many of whom were born there but who mostly owe their presence to force with no subsequent treaty of peace or achievement of mutual undesrstanding. To which we may add that no glimmer of compromise is on offer.

    • George Smith
      April 24, 2016, 4:51 pm

      Indigeneity is a fraught concept. As both Echinococcus and MHughes point out, the long-standing population of Palestinian Jews was tiny in comparison to the European and (eventually) Middle Eastern settlers who flooded into Palestine under the banner of Zionism. In 1936, say, at the beginning of the Arab Revolt, it is at least arguable that those Jewish settlers weren’t “indigenous,” and that no great injustice would have been done if the truly, unarguably indigenous Palestinian Arabs had managed to expel them and their abhorrent Zionist ideology by force of arms. Now, 80 years later, Zionism is no less abhorrent, but surely the second, third and fourth generations of the settlers’ descendants are more “indigenous” than their forebears. If you don’t like the term “indigenous,” can you not at least admit that these people have human rights as individuals that parallel those of the descendants of the victims of the Nakba? To deny these Jews their individual human rights because they mostly support Zionism is just as wrong as Zionists’ denial of the human rights of Gazans because they support (or don’t overthrow) Hamas. Individual human rights inhere in individuals, not in the political ideologies those individuals espouse or tolerate.

      I presume that Echinococcus (and MHughes) agree with anti-Zionists (including me) in fully endorsing the right of return of the Palestinian Arab refugees and their descendants to their homeland. That in itself would mean an end to Zionism. Given that premise, what is s/he objecting to so strenuously? What does s/he mean by Palestinian Arabs’ “sovereignty over their own territory”? Does s/he want the right of return to be accompanies by an ethnic cleansing of “non-indigenous” Jews? Does s/he want those Jews to be relegated to second-class citizenship as punishment for the Nakba? If either of these is her/his position, s/he parts company with all but a fringe of the global anti-Zionist movement, and with basic demands of justice.

      • echinococcus
        April 24, 2016, 5:35 pm

        George Smith,

        Reasonable post, only that 1936 is not a starting date for the Zionist invasion to be officially belligerent, that is 1897 when it was accompanied by a declaration from the movement that organized it entirely. If you want to cut them more slack, take 1917 when the hostile intent is fully confirmed by HM’s Government.

        What does s/he mean by Palestinian Arabs’ “sovereignty over their own territory”?

        That seems to be the central point. To bypass all inane talk about real estate ownership, let’s use the term territory. The sovereignty over it is the right to dispose of all things happening on that land. The law of nations has confirmed, at least during much if not all of the 20th century, that the sovereignty over any territory belongs to its legitimate inhabitants (excluding the colonial invaders.) In practice and in different texts, there has always been a request for a valid plebiscite –in this case totally ignored by the colonial powers’ partition agreement. Also, in practice the sovereignty of the indigenous peoples over their own territory has been ignored and violated by the colonial powers to the very end of the so-called colonial era and beyond, until today wrt the Zionist entity.

        If we accept the bedrock principle that sovereignty over the territory belongs to the indigenous people, invaders and their offspring are not to be counted –at least as of the date of hostile invasion. The citizenship / “indigenous” status of each person is to be ruled by whatever laws the **owners of the sovereignty** choose to apply; I certainly am not proposing one or the other system but opposing whoever wants to replace the will of the Palestinians, and all Palestinians, as of the invasion date, by hisher own fancied solutions.

        Jus solis, citizenship based on place of birth, is not the only known system; ancestry is determining citizenship in many countries on earth; who are we to tell the Palestinians which system to adopt?

        Does s/he want the right of return to be accompanies by an ethnic cleansing of “non-indigenous” Jews? Does s/he want those Jews to be relegated to second-class citizenship as punishment for the Nakba?

        As very sensibly observed by Hughes and paraphrased by Mooser, making big, lofty-sounding statements about the inviolability of the principle of self determination of the peoples, like the UN and related agencies, is not compatible with allowing invaders to use their offspring as human shields. Where there is a rule there must be enforcement. This does not mean inhumane treatment, of course. For example, the offer of Palestinian citizenship to all local offspring, should this solution be adopted as it was in Algeria, would be entirely fair. As would be a number of possible other solutions. At any rate, Herrenvolk Israelians keep their right to citizenship of most of the countries of origin and the US has already guaranteed taking up the rest.

      • Sibiriak
        April 24, 2016, 10:53 pm

        George Smith: Does s/he want the right of return to be accompanies by an ethnic cleansing of “non-indigenous” Jews?
        —————–

        Yes he does. (But, of course, it would be up to the victorious Palestinians, he assures us.)

        Does s/he want those Jews to be relegated to second-class citizenship as punishment for the Nakba?

        According to echinococcus, after the Zionist entity has been militarily defeated, those Zionist invaders who hadn’t already fled would have their citizenship and associated rights suspended; whether or not and to what degree they might be reinstated would depend on:

        a free decision by all Palestinians as represented by a generally and expressly designated body and in the absence of duress or occupation. Not being Palestinian I [echinococcus] cannot presume to decide or recommend. [which is what he just did and continually does]

        http://mondoweiss.net/2015/10/jerusalem-breaking-point/#comment-801997
        ——————–

        [George Smith:] s/he parts company with all but a fringe of the global anti-Zionist movement, and with basic demands of justice

        BINGO!!

      • Sibiriak
        April 25, 2016, 12:57 am

        echinococcus: The law of nations has confirmed, at least during much if not all of the 20th century, that the sovereignty over any territory belongs to its legitimate inhabitants (excluding the colonial invaders.)
        ——————

        You apparently have a highly inflated and illusory idea about “the law of nations”.

        Colonialism was not effectively condemned in international law until the 1960’s, and there has never been any legal imperative for sovereignty over the territory of settler -colonialist states to be placed solely in the hands of “indigenous inhabitants.”

        ——————–

        In practice and in different texts, there has always been a request for a valid plebiscite

        No, not true at all. The attitude toward plebiscites has varied enormously since the principle of self-determination was first promulgated, and in most all cases plebiscites have been used by existing powers to legitimize sovereignty arrangements only after the fact .

        Both the first period of decolonization in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in the Americas and the second global period of decolonization after 1945 had very little to do with democracy. In both cases, the basis for decolonization was a principle of natural law according to which overseas rule and therefore colonial rule was illegitimate and ultimately illegal. This was not an empirical, but rather an axiomatic principle.

        Decolonization was primarily and increasingly a question of justice, not of majority decisions. Only in relatively few cases was the independence of a country decided by a plebiscite.

        The division of colonial territories into sovereign states had even less to do with democracy.Normally, it was carried out according to the principle of uti possidetis, by simply adopting the external and sometimes also the internal colonial borders as the international frontiers of the new independent states. Plebiscites were held only in rare cases, and these frequently had the character of confirmations of independence, and not of decisions for independence.

        It is thus unsurprising that many states created by decolonization did not become democracies, but rather often degenerated into dictatorships and despotisms: Decolonization was no act of democratization , and democracy first had to contend with other forms of government. [emphasis added]

        Jörg Fisch, }The Right of Self-Determination of Peoples: The Domestication of an Illusion” Cambridge University Press 2015
        ———————————-

        [echinococcus:] If we accept the bedrock principle that sovereignty over the territory belongs to the indigenous people,

        There is no such “bedrock principle” in international law. (Anyone is free, of course, to posit it as a moral principle).

        Certainly, indigenous rights have been increasingly promulgated in international declarations and documents, for example, in the legally non-binding 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which calls for protection of indigenous rights to equality, limited local autonomy, culture, identity, language, employment, health, education etc.

        But, rightly or wrongly, those rights have NOT included a right to political sovereignty over territory.

        The first decolonization did not bring the indigenous population self-determination , but rather predominantly only the European settlers and those of European descent and at the most small groups of indigenous and somewhat larger ones of mulattoes and freed slaves. […]

        The objection could be made in the same way for the second decolonization: While the main winners were the local populations, these were not the original indigenous peoples, whose rights only became an issue mostly decades after the formal decolonization. [emphasis added]

        Jörg Fisch, “The Right of Self-Determination of Peoples

        ——————————————

        [echinococcus:]… statements about the inviolability of the principle of self determination of the peoples […] is not compatible with allowing invaders to use their offspring as human shields.

        Where in international law do find the notion that indigenous peoples have the right to deny rights to or expel “offspring “of colonialist invaders who have been legal citizens of an internationally recognized state?

        Quotations please.

      • talknic
        April 25, 2016, 7:10 am

        @ Sibiriak April 25, 2016, 12:57 am

        //echinococcus: The law of nations has confirmed, at least during much if not all of the 20th century, that the sovereignty over any territory belongs to its legitimate inhabitants (excluding the colonial invaders.)//
        ——————

        “Colonialism was not effectively condemned in international law until the 1960’s, and there has never been any legal imperative for sovereignty over the territory of settler -colonialist states to be placed solely in the hands of “indigenous inhabitants.””

        A) The phrase used was “legitimate inhabitants” and refers to the colonization of existing states
        B) Colonialism by any means of coercive measure force was condemned long before 1960.
        C) you then switch to the formation of states via decolonization

        IOW a very confusing post

      • Sibiriak
        April 25, 2016, 7:51 am

        talknic: A) The phrase used was “legitimate inhabitants” and refers to the colonization of existing states
        —————

        Actually, echinococcus used the term “indigenous” multiple times

        “the territory belongs to the indigenous people”

        “the sovereignty of the indigenous peoples over their own territory”

        as did George Smith, McHughes 976 and others. If you read over the article and subsequent comments, it will be clear that the rights of indigenous peoples/inhabitants has been a central focus of discussion.

        ——————-
        B) Colonialism by any means of coercive measure force was condemned long before 1960.

        Notice, I wrote “effectively condemned” , the word “effectively” being critical to the assertion. And I was referring specifically to international law. Some history:

        1960 marked at turning point in the policy of the General Assembly towards colonial self- determination. At this time the de-colonisation process had gained momentum, with seventeen new states taking up their seats that year.

        On 23 September 1960 Soviet Chairman Nikita Khrushchev presented the Assembly with a draft declaration on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples. This was taken up and on 28 November, when debate opened on the issue, twenty- five Asian and African states submitted their own declaration on colonial independence. This draft drew on resolutions of the Afro-Asian conference in Bandung in 1955 and the first and second conferences of African states at Accra and Addis Ababa in 1958 and June 1960.

        On 14 December it was adopted without changes, by 89 votes to 0, with 9 abstentions,258 as the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, GA Res. 1514(XV).

        The Colonial Independence Declaration has been called the “Magna Charta” of decolonisation. And it is a landmark document. If the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen 1789 signalled the emergence of nationalism as a political force, the Colonial Independence Declaration marked its global conquest.

        It was also a watershed, which specifically repudiated many of the basic assumptions in earlier instruments, like the UN Charter. In particular, size and development were no longer held to be prerequisites for statehood, at least for trust and non -self-governing territories.

        As a resolution of the UN General Assembly, the Declaration, unlike the UN Charter or the Covenants, is not formally legally binding. Nonetheless, it has been considered by the International Court of Justice in determining international law in the Namibia and Western Sahara advisory opinions. [emphasis added]

        James Summers, “The Idea of the People The Right of Self-Determination, Nationalism and the Legitimacy of International Law”

        —————–

        So, I stand by my assertion that:

        Colonialism was not effectively condemned in international law until the 1960’s, and there has never been any legal imperative for sovereignty over the territory of settler-colonialist states to be placed solely in the hands of “indigenous inhabitants.

        As the author above pointed out, 1960 was indeed a watershed, “which specifically repudiated many of the basic assumptions in earlier instruments, like the UN Charter.”

        I’m open, of course, to opposing arguments.
        ——————–

        [talknic:] C) you then switch to the formation of states via decolonization

        I’m not sure what your complaint is. Echinococcus has been framing the formation of a Palestinian state in the language of decolonization , and I have been responding to that.

        Echinococcus wrote:

        If we accept the bedrock principle that sovereignty over the territory belongs to the indigenous people...

        I pointed out that there was no such “bedrock principle” in international law. I stand by that.

        I will grant you that the legal issues surrounding the principle of self-determination are indeed confusing–the concepts are ill-defined and the law is in many ways contradictory.

      • Sibiriak
        April 25, 2016, 8:11 am

        1960 was indeed a watershed, “which specifically repudiated many of the basic assumptions in earlier instruments, like the UN Charter.”
        ———-

        Correction: I meant to write “the Colonial Independence Declaration of 1960 was indeed a watershed.

      • Sibiriak
        April 25, 2016, 8:30 am

        @talknic

        I just searched the ICJ “Wall” opinion, and I cannot find a single reference to “indigenous” rights or anything related. (Of course, it’s possible the search missed something.) Under international law, Palestinian rights to self-determination and a sovereign state on their own territory are in no way based on concepts of indigenous peoples’ rights.

        There is no backing whatsoever for echinococcus’ assertion that the “indigenous people” of Palestine have a right to sovereignty over the entire Israel/Palestine territory. And there is no backing whatsoever for the idea that legal citizens of Israel–Jewish and non-Jewish–do not have their own rights to citizenship, equality, etc, within Israel’s internationally recognized borders.

        Are you agreeing with Echinooccus’ claim that under international law “ sovereignty over the territory belongs to the indigenous people, invaders and their offspring are not to be counted.

        I’ve seen zero evidence put forward to support that contention. Just imagine if such a principle had to be applied globally.

      • echinococcus
        April 25, 2016, 8:45 pm

        Sibiriak,

        You argue impressively well. One can only fervently hope that the Palestinian people, if allowed to survive, is unlike most other invaded and occupied peoples we know about. Meaning that just it gives up after umpteen years, seeing how complicated and controversial the lawyerly cavilling is, and the varying opinion of the learned advocates and opponents of colonizers. That it thirsts no more and gives up, accepting that its sense of fairness and justice is not lawyerly enough: after all, the lawyers themselves have no consensus among them, do they?
        It’s not as if nobody tried selling the Palestinians that line over the last 70 years. Wonder why all failed.

      • talknic
        April 26, 2016, 4:20 am

        Sibiriak April 25, 2016, 8:30 am

        “I just searched the ICJ “Wall” opinion, and I cannot find a single reference to “indigenous” rights or anything related.”

        Uh? The ICJ only answers the specific question/s they were asked.

        Meanwhile http://search.un.org/results.php?ie=utf8&output=xml_no_dtd&oe=utf8&Submit=Search&_ga=GA1.2.784966905.1461652691&_gat=1&query=self+determination&tpl=un&lang=en&rows=10

      • Sibiriak
        April 26, 2016, 5:21 am

        talknic: The ICJ only answers the specific question/s they were asked. Meanwhile link to search.un.org
        —————

        Thanks. It seems we agree on all points here.

      • talknic
        April 26, 2016, 9:05 am

        @ Sibiriak April 26, 2016, 5:21 am

        “Thanks. It seems we agree on all points here”

        Oh? Indigenous peoples included in the legitimate citizens of a territory are not excluded from the same right to self determination as their fellow citizens.

      • Sibiriak
        April 26, 2016, 9:09 am

        talknic: indigenous peoples included in the legitimate citizens of a territory are not excluded from the same right to self determination as their fellow citizens.
        ————–

        Yes. And see the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples I mentioned above.

    • lysias
      April 25, 2016, 3:12 pm

      For its last few months before Mugabe took over and the country became Zimbabwe, Rhodesia was called “Zimbabwe/Rhodesia”.

      Why not “Palestine/Israel”?

      • Annie Robbins
        April 25, 2016, 4:50 pm

        or “Al-Quds/Jerusalem”

        (less controversial?)

  4. Marnie
    April 22, 2016, 2:02 am

    I think Palestine is correct just from a historic standpoint. It is much older than “israel”, this area was known around the world as Palestine and on all the maps as Palestine. Voila!

    “As Norman Finkelstein put it in the now famous infamous interview in February, 2012: If BDS accomplishes its goals, “there is no Israel.” You know, like there is no South Africa, since the indigenous people of that land finally overthrew apartheid there.” BINGO!

    This was a wonderful article – thank you!

  5. erizo
    April 22, 2016, 11:16 am

    Amen! I dream that this scenario will come into being. However, unfortunately, I cannot see it happening in my lifetime. A whole generation of Israelis have been brainwashed by the supremacist mindset of Zionism – they will defend it with their lives, for they cannot see outside the totalitarian belief system. I too believe that the reality depicted by Nada will come into being, but only after years of bloodshed and attrition and a paradigm shift by the outside world to finally put a stop to Israeli’s messianic ideology encompassing moral turpitude and oppression of the other. For now, it is precisely the outside world, and in particular America, that facilitates such a reality within Israel. But a new socail-media embibed generation of Americans are growing up too, more savvy, less accepting of the hegemonic narrative, and more questioning the beliefs of their elders. With them too come hope of change …

  6. silamcuz
    April 22, 2016, 12:45 pm

    Good call. When justice prevails, everyone wins, even the ‘losers’.

  7. Michael Rabb
    April 24, 2016, 12:02 am

    there must be regime change, Israel dismantled. When democracy is established and refugees return, the majority of citizens (Palestinians) will vote to change the name to Palestine.

  8. Antidote
    April 24, 2016, 8:38 pm

    I find this article rather shallow. It would no doubt be rejected in Israel, and not just in Israel, as a typical example of the utopian solutions offered by the ‘lunatic and suicidal left’ bent on inflicting another round of genocide on the Jews. This concern can not simply be shouted down as racist, supremacist, and what not. The question is:

    Does it make sense to advocate post Apartheid SA as a positive model for Israel, and hope for any resonance among the majority of Israelis, be they on the left or the right?

    The first problem with this is that the “Rainbow Nation” has not yet materialized. The debate whether SA was better off during or after Apartheid is ongoing. Bishop Tutu, the moral voice of SA and hardly an apartheid or Israel apologist, laments the fact that the painful disillusionment came so quickly, while finding comfort in the fact that Mandela did not live to experience the wreckage. Not every black South African is a Mandela. Not every Palestinian an Abuelaish.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/two-decades-after-apartheid-ended-racial-tensions-rattling-south-africa/article22571118/

    The second problem is that the analogy Israel-SA is problematic and obviously not widely accepted in Israel. Apartheid does not equally apply to the situation of Palestinians in Israel, Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. More important, Zionists, or most of them, do not see themselves as colonists but as a long-suffering people who finally came home. The white colonists and settlers in SA had suffered plenty of violent and occasionally genocidal religious persecution in Europe as well but they never considered themselves to be the indigenous people of Africa. One would have to go back very, very far in history to make that claim, and nobody would have come up with any such notion at the time of colonization. The same applies to the settler folk in the New World. The people who came with the Mayflower were, after all, illegal immigrants and religious fanatics not wanted in their country of origin. Nobody is going to ask them or their descendants go go back to where they came from. One should also note demographics which are pretty much opposite wrt SA and USA.a post-apartheid Israel would be much more like SA than the US.

    See:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_and_the_apartheid_analogy#Analysis_by_Adam_and_Moodley

    excerpt:

    Adam and Moodley note that Jewish historical suffering has imbued Zionism with a subjective sense of moral validity that the whites ruling South Africa never had: “Afrikaner moral standing was constantly undermined by exclusion and domination of blacks, even subconsciously in the minds of its beneficiaries. In contrast, the similar Israeli dispossession of Palestinians is perceived as self-defense and therefore not immoral.”[56] They also suggest that academic comparisons between Israel and apartheid South Africa that see both dominant groups as “settler societies” leave unanswered the question of “when and how settlers become indigenous”, as well as failing to take into account that Israeli’s Jewish immigrants view themselves as returning home.[57] “In their self-concept, Zionists are simply returning to their ancestral homeland from which they were dispersed two millennia ago. Originally most did not intend to exploit native labor and resources, as colonizers do.” Adam and Moodley stress, “because people give meaning to their lives and interpret their worlds through these diverse ideological prisms, the perceptions are real and have to be taken seriously.”[

    __

    I am neither for nor against BDS. I just don’t think it will work in this case. May instead prolong the conflict

    • Annie Robbins
      April 24, 2016, 11:06 pm

      antidote, (my bold) The question is: Does it make sense to advocate post Apartheid SA as a positive model for Israel, and hope for any resonance among the majority of Israelis, be they on the left or the right?……..The second problem is that the analogy Israel-SA is problematic and obviously not widely accepted in Israel. Apartheid does not equally apply to the situation of Palestinians in Israel, Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem.

      the problem with your logic is that the crime of apartheid is not defined by what does or does not have “resonance among the majority of Israelis” or what’s accepted in israel or whether SA apartheid ‘equally applies’ israel wrt gaza/WB,EJ.

      what does matter is if the apartheid meets the definition of the crime of apartheid as it’s defined by the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court:

      “committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”

      if someone commits a crime, do we say Does it make sense to charge that person based on whether the charge will have any resonance for the criminal? do we say or concern ourself with whether the charge will be accepted by the criminal? no. if the crime meets the definition as it applies to the law — the person will be charged and tried based on the evidence available.

      you can read the crime’s definition here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_of_apartheid#ICC_definition_of_the_crime_of_apartheid in contrast to the definition of apartheid (here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apartheid ) which is NOT the same as the definition of the crime of apartheid.

      “Originally most did not intend to exploit native labor and resources, as colonizers do.” Adam and Moodley stress

      note the bold:

      Article 7
      Crimes against humanity
      For the purpose of this Statute, ‘crime against humanity’ means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:

      the criteria is not what ‘most originally intend to do’ or whether the oppressors are indigenous or not or whether their self-concept is that they are ‘simply returning to their ancestral homeland’. the criteria is whether there is “widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack“. so even if someone didn’t intend to commit a crime, once they have knowledge of the crime and perpetuate the crime, they are complicit.

      only if one argues the zionist regime has no knowledge the occupation is a widespread or systematic attack directed against a palestinian civilian population of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group [racial group defined as ethnic group in the rome statue — iow, israeli jews] over any other racial group or groups [Palestinians] and committed with the intention of maintaining that zionist regime — could one claim it doesn’t meet the definition of the crime of apartheid.

      , “because people give meaning to their lives and interpret their worlds through these diverse ideological prisms, the perceptions are real and have to be taken seriously”.

      again, it doesn’t really matter if one says ‘but we didn’t intend for there to be systematic oppression and domination by jewish people over palestinians.’ or ‘but i have a right to my homeland and therefore i have a right to systematically oppress and dominate you to maintain our state.’ or i have a right to interpret my world through these diverse ideological prisms because my perceptions are real and have to be taken seriously’ or ‘but it’s not the same kind or the same rationale as the regime of SA based on other criteria not spelled out in the crime’s definition.’ all that matters is the definition of the crime and if that criteria is met (not according to the opinion, perception or judgement of criminal). and i think it is.

      • tod77
        April 25, 2016, 5:42 am

        Antidote:”Does it make sense to advocate post Apartheid SA as a positive model for Israel, and hope for any resonance among the majority of Israelis, be they on the left or the right?”

        Is there any choice? the majority of Israelis don’t want to compromise and don’t want to find a solution that will benefit Palestinians. You won’t be able to resolve the conflict without giving right of return to Palestinians – and practically no zionist will accept the right of return – yet. The 2SS can be a temporary solution but in the long run the Israeli public view will have to be swayed by a global community united in its call for right of return.

        Annie: “what does matter is if the apartheid meets the definition”.

        I feel that the use of the analogy to apartheid is counter productive whether it meets the definition or whether it doesn’t. There are so many zionist rebufs to the term aparthied (look at the rights of Israeli arabs… bla bla… it’s not aparthied because the west bank isn’t part of Israel… bla bla… these aren’t anti racial laws – they’re security measures…bla bla)
        The overwhelming majority of people worldwide will define the situation as “occupation” while only a minority of people will define it as “apartheid” because of those question marks raised.
        Occupation is a stronger word anyway (the term “brutal occupation” can also be used).
        Much easier to sway public opinion worldwide by using terminology that is easier for everyone to agree upon (just my personal opinion).

      • Mooser
        April 25, 2016, 12:45 pm

        “I feel that the use of the analogy to apartheid is counter productive”

        Oh well, one person’s prosecutable crime against humanity is another person’s “analogy”.

      • Antidote
        April 25, 2016, 3:24 pm

        @qnnie

        “the problem with your logic is …”

        if logic was a sufficient approach to human affair, I would be glad to accept your argument

        “what does matter is if the apartheid meets the definition of the crime of apartheid as it’s defined by the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court”

        As Israel apologists have pointed out repeatedly, that definition also fits Saudi Arabia, and on the whole, even better.

        frontpagemag.com

        of course there have been plenty of calls, from Medea Benjamin to Rand Paul, from Christians, Muslims, Jews or Hindus, for boycotting KSA, also using SA as a model.

        Has it made any difference over the past decades, and if not, why not?

        “if someone commits a crime, do we say Does it make sense to charge that person based on whether the charge will have any resonance for the criminal? do we say or concern ourself with whether the charge will be accepted by the criminal? no. if the crime meets the definition as it applies to the law — the person will be charged and tried based on the evidence available.”

        That is perfectly reasonable. But I also can’t help noticing that this is not common practice.

        “Why isn’t Wall Street in Jail?”read a headline in Rolling Stone Magazine in 2011, and the open question is still a major focus of the current presidential election campaign.

        “Nobody goes to jail. This is the mantra of the financial-crisis era, one that saw virtually every major bank and financial company on Wall Street embroiled in obscene criminal scandals that impoverished millions and collectively destroyed hundreds of billions, in fact, trillions of dollars of the world’s wealth — and nobody went to jail. Nobody, that is, except Bernie Madoff, a flamboyant and pathological celebrity con artist, whose victims happened to be other rich and famous people.”

        It’s a long article, still worth reading. Yet Rolling Stone has just endorsed Clinton for president.

        http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-isnt-wall-street-in-jail-20110216

        “Article 7
        Crimes against humanity
        For the purpose of this Statute, ‘crime against humanity’ means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:

        the criteria is not what ‘most originally intend to do’ or whether the oppressors are indigenous or not or whether their self-concept is that they are ‘simply returning to their ancestral homeland’. the criteria is whether there is “widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack“. so even if someone didn’t intend to commit a crime, once they have knowledge of the crime and perpetuate the crime, they are complicit.”

        Yes, I know. So what? Do you think the expulsion of 14 million Germans in the mid-1940s was not a crime against humanity? Do you think they were not committed under the same international laws as the Nakba? Has anyone gone to jail for either? Have the “Big Three” at Potsdam and Nuremberg been universally condemned? Do we not constantly trip over hagiographic tributes to FDR and Churchill in the West, and to Stalin in Russia? I see no moral difference between Churchill and FDR, Stalin and Hitler, unless you think it is more moral to kill as few as possible of your own people/citizens, and as many as possible of those of your enemies AND your allies.
        If it had been up to Churchill, WW III would have started immediately after the German capitulation, with Allied and defeated armies going to war against the SU. The man felt lonely without a war, by his own admission. Google “Operation Unthinkable”. By that time FDR was dead, and Truman still needed the Soviets to defeat Japan.

        Has there been a global, or even national (German, Finnish, Japanese) movement to force Poland, the Czech Republic, or Russia to return land annexed by no other right but the law of conquest, occupied, ethnically cleansed and resettled with their own ethnic group?

        No post-war German government has ever accepted this as “just”. But it has been accepted in the peace treaty that followed German reunification, some half century after the event, as “irreversible”.

        Unless you think Palestinians are more deserving of justice than, say, Sudeten Germans, or Polish or Hungarian Germans etc, you would have to agree that it’s time the Palestinians and their supporters do the same.

        If you do, you are not applying the law consistently, but selectively and, presumably, viewed through your ideological prism, however required.

        A selective and arbitrary application of either criminal or international law can never lead to anything but a travesty of justice, and the absurd and dangerous world we live in
        ,

      • Annie Robbins
        April 25, 2016, 4:03 pm

        the person will be charged and tried based on the evidence available.”

        That is perfectly reasonable. But I also can’t help noticing that this is not common practice.

        au contraire it is completely normal in criminal matters. whereas, your comment suggesting charges should be made weighed against what opinion the alleged criminal would have (of the charges) is absurd. ie: if a murder suspect’s “opinion” about the charges made against him mattered, no one would ever be charged with murder. our government affords israel that luxury, as well as other criminal states who are our allies. it doesn’t mean the people have to shut up about it.

        re SA, please find a source other than frontpage magazine. david horowitz is a flaming racist — i see no reason to promote his site on mondoweiss. i totally agree SA is a criminal state.

        all your examples are whataboutery. the fact of the matter is that palestinian civil groups representing the majority of palestinian society, unlike saudis, initiated bds. there’s no logical reason palestinians should not be “selective and arbitrary” in focusing on their own oppression. not poland, hungary, or wall street for that matter. supporting bds doesn’t mean not supporting the rights of others. had the oppression not gone on so long it’s likely bds wouldn’t have the traction is has. that’s just what happens after decades of oppression sometimes, things come to a head.

        if the overwhelming civil society of saudi arabia initiated a bds movement to end their oppression i would back them 100 percent! in fact someone recently put out a call to support the end of repression in SA and i said ‘sign me up’.

    • Sibiriak
      April 25, 2016, 2:12 am

      Antidote: The debate whether SA was better off during or after Apartheid is ongoing.
      ——————

      SA’s problems aren’t the result of the demise of political Apartheid; they are the result, for the most part, of an imposed neoliberal economic regime that has maintained, if not worsened, a structure of gross economic and social inequality.

      Cf. Ronnie Kasrils, “How the ANC’s Faustian pact sold out South Africa’s poorest

      http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jun/24/anc-faustian-pact-mandela-fatal-error

      Patrick Bond, “Why South Africa should undo Mandela’s economic deals

      https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/why-south-africa-should-undo-mandelas-economic-deals/

      • Antidote
        April 25, 2016, 11:45 am

        good point , sib, no objections except that I don’t see that or how either Israel or Palestine, or a unified post-apartheid state ever did or in the future would escape the very same impositions of a neoliberal economic regime. Remember Stalin refusing the Marshall Plan, and forcing all Soviet satellites and occupied zones to do the same. How did that work out? Cold war, proxy wars, arms and space race, collapse of the Soviet Union, American triumphalism

        “Once I’m dead”, he predicted, “the capitalists will drown you like kittens”

        And no, this is NOT an endorsement of Stalin.

        Dick Cheney, Rupert Murdoch, Jacob Rothchild got a 3 year contract to assess the oil situation in the Golan Heights. Let’s say Assad prevails both in Syria and against Israel, and the latter would somehow be forced to adhere to international law and return the Golan, in whole or in part. Let’s say Assad, or a democratically elected government with or without him, would then nationalize the oil industry. Would we see another liberation movement, coup or assassination a la Mossadegh, Lulumba etc etc?

      • Mooser
        April 25, 2016, 12:42 pm

        “And no, this is NOT an endorsement of Stalin.”

        I can sure see why you felt it necessary to say that, but it doesn’t obscure the hagiography.

      • Keith
        April 25, 2016, 2:13 pm

        SIBIRIAK- “SA’s problems aren’t the result of the demise of political Apartheid; they are the result, for the most part, of an imposed neoliberal economic regime that has maintained, if not worsened, a structure of gross economic and social inequality.”

        I mostly agree, however, it can be argued that Black faces in the SA government served to dampen resistance to neoliberalism, hence, to facilitate implementation of neoliberalism, just as Obama serves to dampen dissent in the US among Blacks and other minorities due to his race and his image as a “liberal” Democrat. Likewise, “empowering” the PA to maintain law and order in the Palestinian areas of the West Bank serves to facilitate Israeli control over the entire West Bank.

    • Keith
      April 25, 2016, 2:32 pm

      ANTIDOTE- “Does it make sense to advocate post Apartheid SA as a positive model for Israel….”

      The short answer is no. Rather, South Africa serves as a cautionary tale to emphasize that nowadays the political system is subservient to the economic system. If Israeli’s were rational, they would embrace the South African model in a heart beat, however, they do not because they are constrained by the Judeo-Zionist ideology involving the “redemption” of the land, an ancient/medieval tribal theology which takes precedence over rationality, and will not countenance returning even one inch of the “sacred soil”, nor accepting Goyim in the Holy Land on a permanent basis.

      What to do? Stop the worst abuses and fight for the maximum civil rights. Concentrate on short term victories rather than endless debate over some ultimate solution decades from now.

    • lysias
      April 25, 2016, 3:22 pm

      Any worries Israeli Jews might have about establishing a binational state could be assuaged by a new constitution that gives them constitutional protections. And those could be backed up by guarantees from the UN and from guaranteeing foreign powers (undoubtedly including the U.S.) embodied in the agreement setting up the binational state.

      If it is necessary to give the parties confidence, troops from the guaranteeing foreign powers could be stationed in the new state.

  9. Ossinev
    April 25, 2016, 1:11 pm

    tod77
    “I feel that the use of the analogy to apartheid is counter productive whether it meets the definition or whether it doesn’t. There are so many zionist rebufs to the term aparthied (look at the rights of Israeli arabs… bla bla… it’s not aparthied because the west bank isn’t part of Israel… bla bla… these aren’t anti racial laws – they’re security measures…bla bla) The overwhelming majority of people worldwide will define the situation as “occupation” while only a minority of people will define it as “apartheid” because of those question marks raised. Occupation is a stronger word anyway (the term “brutal occupation” can also be used). Much easier to sway public opinion worldwide by using terminology that is easier for everyone to agree upon (just my personal opinion).”

    Totally agree with your bla bla observations but IMO we have to focus on and use the term Apartheid as the term is a true reflection of the status that the Jewish State in the Levant has reached. Simply referring to “occupation” or even “brutal occupation” IMO will not encourage people specifically to educate themselves and it is hoped ask their political representatives to answer embarrassing questions. The word “Apartheid” put simply “rings a bell” in the same way as the words “Holocaust” or “Genocide” . The BDS movement should be supported and promoted on the basis of pressuring the World Community to address the simple fact that it has sat idly by and watched this grotesque variation on SA evolve and can no longer ignore it`s responsibility to address the problem. And yes the only way ultimately to address the problem is by Governmental BDS actions.

    • lysias
      April 25, 2016, 3:24 pm

      Apartheid is a crime under international law. Which makes Israel, once one grants that it practices apartheid, an outlaw state.

Leave a Reply