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  • Israel detains and deports American Jews because they are Black
    • To put it another way, if someone failed the "pencil test" in Apartheid South Africa, was the problem with not recognising that person as white, or with the very concept of white privilege?

  • Reconstructionist Jewish site censors rabbi's essay because he supports BDS and one state
    • PS It’s not the Jews or Judaism that is at stake, it’s conquest, war crimes,apartheid & open air prisons.

      It's both, although not in that order (obviously, "conquest, war crimes,apartheid & open air prisons" come first).

      PPS Why should Jews seek allowance to support BDS? Allowance from whom?

      No allowance from anyone. Wider acceptance, like any movement or idea -- especially at the source (or source of inspiration) of the greatest opposition to that idea.

      Is there any hidden totalitarian agency that a Jew must be concerned about?

      Yes. God.

  • AIPAC-backed legislation targeting BDS movement advances in Congress
    • The wording "in Israel or in Israeli-controlled territories" is straight out of Israel's own anti-boycott law.

      I suggest "occupying" that phrase to highlight the apartheid practised in an area that is treated by Israel (and apparently by the US Congress) as a single entity.

  • NY rabbi implores those in her congregation who are joining Israel's enemies to love the country
    • Israel as the “beating heart” of Judaism

      It is not a heart, beating or otherwise, but a modern polity rooted in a modern ethno-nationalist ideology. Rabbi Buchdahl's misrepresentation of Zionism not only as equivalent to Judaism, but as its "beating heart" is the crux of the debate within the Jewish community that she has sought to shut down with her rallying-round-flag rhetoric. We will not rally round the flag of racism, torture, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and apartheid, and we refuse to believe that these things are part and parcel of the "beating heart" of Judaism.

      she urges Jews to put aside their criticisms of Israel and love the country, as they would have loved the U.S. during the time of slavery.

      Judaism is not a country, and were I a US citizen at the time of slavery I would by no means have "put aside my criticism" for love of country -- quite the contrary.

      I live with questions of Jewish identity and texts and history, in which Israel is central to everything.

      Precisely because you are a scholar and are familiar with questions of Jewish identity and texts and history, I would expect you to recognise the differences between myth, history, eschatology and modern political ideology (including religious ideology) and constructs.

  • Defending Apartheid: Then in South Africa, now in Palestine
    • It’s not the Zionist ideology that’s responsible for Palestinian apartheid, as this author claims, but rather the band of racist, bombastic idiots currently running Israel

      A few highlights of severe discrimination against non-Jews in Palestine/Israel, long before the arrival of the current "band of racist, bombastic idiots":

      Ethnic cleansing (1947-48)
      Absentee Property Law (1948)
      Nationality Law (1952)
      Martial law (for Palestinians only) until 1966
      Annexation of East Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank (1967) - "max. territory; min. Arabs"
      Jewish settlement in OT - beginning with Eshkol's approval of return to Kfar Etzion in 1967.

      Every Israeli government since 1967 has actively contributed to creating the facts on the ground that amount to apartheid. So either they have all been "racist, bombastic idiots" and there is some form of pure Zionism that no one has ever tried, or there's a problem with the basic ideology (which is Israel's state ideology) that has guided all Israeli governments and the Yishuv leadership before that.

  • Being Palestinian got me barred from visiting Palestine
    • what’s going on in Area-C is not occupation but internal development and management.

      That would make the differential treatment of Palestinians in that area analogous to apartheid (or "de-facto" apartheid, if you prefer) rather than administration of an occupied population supposedly denied civil and other rights pending a political solution.

  • The Banality of Religion: 'Prayer summit' at the Vatican fails to inspire
    • I was encouraged by the Pope praying at the apartheid wall. Unfortunately, his joint prayer meeting and urging that both sides try to look work for a reasonable solution attached a moral equivalency to the issue that it doesn’t deserve.

      I saw the gesture at the wall (together with the visit to Mt. Herzl) as little more than a giant exercise in moral equivalence, until I read Peter Beinart's take on the far-reaching moral and political significance of the pope's coupling of peace with justice. I also failed to consider the religious significance of the gesture (and completely misunderstood the invitation of Peres and Abu Mazen), until yesterday's ceremony in Rome. It was not a political event at all, but a profound expression of faith in prayer -- where politics and diplomacy have failed miserably.

  • Palestinian Refugees Welcome The Pope: The story behind the iconic photo at the Separation Wall
    • You start off by saying the situation if different than the Warsaw ghetto so I read your comment expecting at least some support for your assertion. But you gave us nothing. Can you list a reason or two as to why such comparisons are false.

      From Wiki (sorry, but in this case, I think it will do):

      The Warsaw Ghetto ... was established in the Polish capital between October and November 16, 1940, in the territory of the General Government of German-occupied Poland, with over 400,000 Jews from the vicinity residing in an area of 3.4 km2 (1.3 sq mi). ... During the next year and a half, thousands of Polish Jews as well as some Romani people from smaller cities and the countryside were brought into the Ghetto, while diseases (especially typhus), and starvation kept the inhabitants at about the same number. Average food rations in 1941 for Jews in Warsaw were limited to 184 calories, compared to 699 calories for gentile Poles and 2,613 calories for Germans. … Hundreds of four- to eight-year-old Jewish children went across en masse to the "Aryan side," sometimes several times a day, smuggling food into the ghettos, returning with goods that often weighed more than they did. Smuggling was often the only source of subsistence for Ghetto inhabitants, who would otherwise have died of starvation. … Over 100,000 of the Ghetto's residents died due to rampant disease or starvation, as well as random killings, even before the Nazis began massive deportations of the inhabitants from the Ghetto's Umschlagplatz to the Treblinka extermination camp during the Grossaktion Warschau, part of the countrywide Operation Reinhard. Between Tisha B'Av (July 23) and Yom Kippur (September 21) of 1942, about 254,000 Ghetto residents (or at least 300,000 by different accounts) were sent to Treblinka and murdered there.

      Stating that this is a "different situation" hardly minimises Palestinian suffering and the injustices they continue to endure. I can understand why a Palestinian living under occupation would scribble something like that on the Apartheid Wall (particularly in Bethlehem), but that doesn't mean that the comparison is apt or serves the Palestinian cause in Europe or America.

    • Do we have to wait until a people is gassed in ovens to act to protect them? Did we do that for the black South Africans under apartheid? Did we do that for those suffering in the Jim Crow South?

      How does objecting to a specific comparison on both historical and pragmatic grounds amount to inaction or indifference? Was the Warsaw Ghetto comparison a sine qua non for the two struggles you mention?

      I don’t get the point of what you are saying.


  • Apartheid label will stick
    • The headline of Haaretz' unsigned editorial yesterday was "Apartheid in Planning" (אפרטהייד תכנוני), referring to the extreme discrimination in construction planning between Jews and Palestinians in Area C (where Israel should not even be settling its citizens in the first place). It's no big deal any more.

  • Haaretz joins Rush Limbaugh and company in trying to link Max Blumenthal to KC shooter suspect
    • Israel is not in any way an ethnically exclusive state. It is multiethnic and multiracial. Its representative body is not exclusively Jewish. Its Supreme Court is not exclusively Jewish. Its universities are not exclusively Jewish.

      Apartheid South Africa was also multi-ethnic and multiracial. It all depends on how the "multis" are treated. The granting of significant political and civil rights -- including representation -- to some of the non-Jews under its jurisdiction, is what makes Israel within the Green Line an ethnocracy (with a charter ethnic group), rather than a Herrenvolk regime. The other side of the Green Line is, of course, another story.

  • 'Can you tell who is an Arab?' appeal is tax-deductible
    • Apparently all we had to do to make our point was quote from “Learn and Live” about the “tens of thousands” of Jewish girls trapped in Arab villages. Mahane seems to accept their garbage without hesitation.

      It all depends on what aspect of Israeli policy or society he happens to be defending at a given moment. When it's settlement apartheid, there are no Jews in Arab towns. When it's marriage laws, there are thousands of Jewish women who have married Muslim men (a figure for which he has no source other than the racist propaganda of organisations like "Learn and Live"). When it's anti-miscegenation campaigns, it must be all about misrepresentation.

  • Israel and apartheid: a response to Hirsh Goodman
    • Shalom,

      How do you think BDS "de-legitimizes" Jewish Israelis? What sort of non-violent resistance do you support (that would not "de-legitimize") and do you think it stands a chance of being effective (considering the fact that the situation on the ground is one of brutal occupation, apartheid and ongoing ethnic cleansing)? What importance do you ascribe to Palestinian agency in leading their struggle against oppression?

  • 'You seem to be on both sides of this legitimate/illegitimate kind of a thing': State Dept. spox says neither Israeli settlements, nor settlement boycotts, are legitimate
    • What another "private citizen" (albeit not a citizen of the US) has to say about boycotts against the settlements and Israel in general:

      The boycott is first of all a kind of uprising against the colonialism and apartheid that dominate the territories. The Europeans are more familiar with the situation than are the Americans, because they really want to learn about, and are trying to understand, the extreme right-wing ultranationalist viewpoint that shapes Israeli politics. The Europeans have also learned lessons from their colonialist past and the left is ashamed of it, just as it is ashamed of anti-Semitism. ...

      But that opinion is not limited to the European left: Neo-liberal German Chancellor Angela Merkel also believes that all human beings have a right to freedom. ...

      Refusal to cooperate with the occupation is reflected in the economic and cultural boycott against the Israeli settlers’ colony. Among the vast majority of European public opinion the boycott is seen as a justified instrument of pressure to liberate the Palestinians. This opinion is shared by people from the entire political spectrum, including those who despise anti-Semitism and support Israeli wholeheartedly. ...

      [T]rampling the rights of the Palestinians in the name of our exclusive right to the country and by dint of a divine decree is an ineradicable stain on Jewish history. Anyone who becomes entrenched in these views will end up bringing about the international ostracism of all of Israel, and if that happens, it won’t be anti-Semitism.

      ---Zeev Sterhnell
      link to

  • Simon Wiesenthal Center calls Falk, Walker, Waters, Blumenthal and ASA anti-Semites
    • I nominate the Simon Wiesenthal Center, for equating Judaism with nationalism, racism, ethnic cleansing and apartheid; for trivialising anti-Semitism; and for suggesting that their idiocy is somehow representative of Judaism or Jews in general.

  • Mahmoud Abbas: Hero of the anti-boycott forces
    • But that doesn’t mean that Palestinians do not support economic boycotts, academic boycotts, divestment and/or sanctions of one form or another by Americans, Europeans, et al.

      Here's Boycott from Within's take on the subject, from the perspective of Israeli citizens (Palestinians and Jews):

      (5) As a person residing in Israel, how can I possibly boycott Israel or Israeli institutions? Shouldn’t I start by resigning my own job?

      The call for BDS is addressed, not to Israelis themselves, but to non-Israelis. It is a call for people outside Israel to boycott Israeli institutions, companies, products, etc. Boycott operates through applying economic and cultural pressure for an end to Israel's occupation. Such pressure can mainly, if not only, be implemented from outside.

      You can, however, contribute to efforts within Israel by calling on others to follow the call and boycott Israeli institutions. In Apartheid South Africa, the voices of anti-Apartheid South African activists who supported BDS played an important role in putting an end to Apartheid. Such voices coming from Israel, today, can help the international campaign respond to accusations of practicing “anti-Semitism” or “the denial of Israel’s right to exist”.

      Obviously, those living in Israel cannot entirely avoid cooperation with Israeli institutions, companies, or products. This, however, does not imply they should leave the country that is their home. They should, instead, strive to make Israel a better place for both Palestinians and Israelis alike. Supporting BDS is one important way of doing this.

  • African asylum-seekers march to Jerusalem to protest detention, violently arrested [Video]
    • Has it occured to anyone to ask why, if Israel is such an evil, racist, apartheid , state, do so many Africans want to enter and remain in Israel.

      Straw man hyperbole aside, African asylum seekers also risk extreme hardship and death just to get to destinations like Israel. You'd think they'd try to avoid that as well. Does that mean drowning or getting raped or murdered aren't that bad? No, it just means that they are desperate. And yes, they do want to remain -- not because they've discovered paradise on earth, but because the alternatives are even worse.

      I seem to recall apologists for South African apartheid making a similar argument, citing black migration to South Africa.

  • Netanyahu didn't go to Mandela memorial because he needed '100s' of Israeli officers to 'protect him' -- Danon
    • It would be weird if the leader of an apartheid state attended an anti-apartheid event.

      The world's a weird place. I'm sure it could have come to terms with Netanyahu or Peres at Mandela's funeral (along with dozens of other hypocritical leaders, no doubt).

      The real problem, was a domestic Israeli one. The ANC was/is "against us", Mandela was against us, SA today is against us (Durban, academic boycott, labelling settlemnt goods, etc.). Hobnobbing with those "anti-Semites" (and maybe a couple of diplomatic "ambushes" as well) would not have been healthy for Netanyahu, his coalition or his party. Peres would have loved to go (a VIP photo-op!), I'm sure, but his presence was also best avoided from Netanyahu's perspective. Preventing Peres from going might have been behind the otherwise ridiculous financial argument against going - if the country can't afford to send the pm, it can't afford to send the president either. So what if we look like idiots? At least we're proud, Jewish idiots who don't go kissing up to anti-Semites!

  • Deconstructing Netanyahu's tribute to Mandela
    • Jeff,

      Marc's comment about a “Zionist Gandhi” was a joke. The circumstances of the Jews in Mandatory Palestine in no way resembled those of Indians under British rule (or black South Africans under Apartheid – as long as we're treating Gandhi and Mandela as if they were interchangeable). There may or may not have been a “need” for a nationalist leader like BG, but there was certainly no “need” for a Gandhi (or a Mandela).

      Having said that, the question “Where is the Palestinian Gandhi/Mandela/MLK?” is generally voiced by supporters of Israel who reject all modes of Palestinian struggle – violent and non-violent - against oppression they downplay or deny altogether. The question serves to blame Palestinians for their own condition, and to provide an alibi for Israeli intransigence, along Ehud Barak's “no partner” lines (see e.g. yesterday's unsigned editorial on the subject in Haaretz).

      There is something else at play here, however, and that is the notion (directly related to the denial of historical and ongoing oppression) that the entire issue is one of conflict, to be resolved through compromise, leadership, confidence-building, generosity and even “love”. Yes, there is a conflict here that needs to be resolved through negotiation, but there is also oppression, domination and a rejection of the fundamental humanity not of the oppressor (which takes what it wants anyway), but of the oppressed. Without such recognition, there can be no real basis for negotiation. A Palestinian Gandhi or Mandela would demand no less.

    • Are you asserting that the Jewish community in South Africa tried to squash Mandela’s legacy?

      What makes you think Susan was referring to South African Jews? The entire premise of this "deconstruction" is Netanyahu's hypocrisy in praising Mandela while practising apartheid. The "brethren" remark obviously refers to those who ran and wished to perpetuate apartheid in SA.

  • Obama's Mandela eulogy -- moving, and hypocritical
    • if the pro-Palestinian activists all started using the term “persecution”, then the pro-Israel side would whine and complain and deny in exactly the same way they do with respect to “apartheid

      Of course they would, and they might even have better luck making the "singling Israel out" argument stick ('Persecution?* But everybody does that!'). I agree that time should not be wasted arguing over the aptness of the apartheid analogy. So why are we doing just that?

      *Popular rather than legal understanding of the word.

    • Hostage,

      Is this a change of heart/strategy on your part? I seem to recall many comments of yours defending the use of the term apartheid in reference to Israel.

    • Here in America hate crimes are usually considered misdemeanors, not crimes against humanity.

      You've lost me. Were we talking about the crime of apartheid itself, or calling something apartheid?

      I explained to Sibiriak that his statements would work just as well if persecution were substituted for references to apartheid

      Among the great jurisprudentially unwashed? Don't bet on it -- no matter how many people have been convicted or executed for that crime. Ordinary people don't have such information at the tips of their fingers or their consciousness. "Apartheid" they know (or think they know); "persecution" means everything and nothing to them.

    • Amira Haas is not a very significant factor in the court of public opinion in North America.

      Sadly, very little discourse in favour of Palestinian rights is "a very significant factor in the court of public opinion in North America". That doesn't mean we should stop trying to change, influence and mobilise that opinion in a variety of ways. Personally, I think the apartheid analogy is a potentially effective one (to the extent that anything is effective). You disagree.

      Apartheid Week is not the only thing Israel's supporters have tried to ban as hate speech, and if what we say and do must take into account the self-serving inferences of "Israeli apologists" ("as practised in SA", "territories" or "the territories", "population transfer as in WWII, etc.), we might as well just shut up.

    • We could dissect every line of Hass' article, but the bottom line is that she explains why the term apartheid offers an appropriate description of the system in force in Israel and the OT (something that her paper's unsigned editorials have begun doing as well - at least regarding the OT). This is significant in the court of public opinion. If legal experts prefer to pursue the crime of persecution in real courtrooms, more power to them.

    • True, Hass' frame of reference is not specifically legal, but she does assert that the apartheid practised in Israel is comparable ("similar but not identical") to the policy of apartheid practised in South Africa, for example:

      Those who say “Israeli Apartheid” refer to the philosophy of “separate development” that was prevalent in the old South Africa. This was the euphemism used for the principle of inequality, the deliberate segregation of populations, a prohibition on “mixing” and the displacement of non-whites from lands and resources for their exploitation by the masters of the land. Even though here things are shrouded by “security concerns,” with references to Auschwitz and heaven-decreed real estate, our reality is governed by the same philosophy, backed by laws and force of arms.

    • Here is Amira Hass saying as much

      Actually, Amira Hass concludes that there is apartheid in Israel (and not only in the OT!), which may not be exactly the same as the SA version, but shares the same essence: separate development, inequality, segregation, etc. In the article "What does 'Israeli Apartheid' mean, anyway?" she does not reject the term, but simply explains what it means in the Israeli context.

  • Like the status quo? Ever wanted to stand on the front line against human rights? Apply here!
  • 12,000 Cherokee, 40,000 Bedouin -- Don't let history repeat
    • Fetid indeed, and the "antisemitic bile" (following Steven Goldberg's eugenics fantasy: link to ) is only the beginning. The "documents" he cites are from the website of a racist, sadistic organisation (Regavim) that actively supports apartheid and ethnic cleansing on both sides of the "green line" -- in the belief that the Israeli state is, in fact, not doing enough to dispossess and discriminate against Palestinians (whom it refers to as "foreign elements"). For those who don't understand Hebrew, the racist caricature on the first page of fnlevit's link should suffice.

      Background on Regavim (Hebrew): link to

      Idan Landau, in a thoroughly researched article on the outrageous treatment of the Palestinian residents of Susya (most recently with the "help" of Regavim), suggests that Regavim operates as a "GONGO" (Hebrew again, sorry): link to

  • 'The new Zionism': Nefesh B'Nefesh urges young American Jews to leave 'exile' for the Negev
    • A pastoral people, who sprawl over land, move at will, and tap into regulated utilities

      The village of Umm al-Hiran is a permanent settlement that has been there since its inhabitants were ordered to settle there by Israeli authorities, in 1956 (after having been driven from their traditional lands). Other unrecognised villages (the focus of the Prawer Plan) have been there even longer. They are in fact denied access to "regulated utilities".

      If "sprawl" or legality or "integration" were the issues, Israeli governments would not have encouraged all forms of Jewish settlement - including "individual farms", sometimes established without permits and approved retroactively. The policies are clearly guided by demographic considerations. This has been explicitly stated countless times by Israeli leaders.

      Forced isolation in designated townships, to make way for Jews-only settlements is not integration. It is apartheid.

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  • Jerusalem gov't invites you to watch knights battle in the occupied city
    • Is it innocent? Is any militaristic white-guy festival in an occupied city innocent?

      Neither innocent nor a "militaristic white-guy festival in an occupied city". It's about cultural identification and tourism. It's an attempt to show that Jerusalem is just another, normal European town with some old walls, where we can dress up as knights and ladies, joust and play the hurdy-gurdy. No ethnic cleansing, home demolitions, apartheid, walls of the non-romantic variety, etc. Just good clean European fun. And after you're done, you can follow the "Judea and Samaria wine trail" and pretend you're in Bourgogne.

  • 'Variety' misses the story on BDS
    • yrn, one of your examples it’s definitely worthy of denouncement, it’s just wrong. the other tho, how are the words of the Israel’s consulate in New York a reflection of the statements of BDS reps in the article?

      I agree. The South African story sounds pretty nasty, although it doesn't actually relate to my question regarding pressure on artists not to play.

      In the other case, the only relevant part is the BDS petition itself (not the Israeli consulate's editorialising), which seems to be worded in a way that could hardly be described as harassment or intimidation:

      “People in Wales know you care about human rights and social justice,” the letter directed at Jones reads. “We ask you to reconsider and to cancel your performance in Israel, especially as you signed a pledge not to play in South Africa during its apartheid era.”

  • Video: Peaceful NYC protest of Israeli musician Idan Raichel met with racist response from fans
    • What’s Idan Raichal’s crime again?

      “We certainly see ourselves as ambassadors of Israel in the world, cultural ambassadors, hasbara ambassadors, also in regards to the political conflict.” - Idan Raichel, 2008 (“An interview with Idan Raichel,” translated from Hebrew in online magazine To Australia)....

      As is evident in Idan Raichel’s quotation above, the musician is willingly part of the Brand Israel campaign, which aims to bring arts to the world in order to, in the words of an Israeli foreign ministry official, “show Israel’s prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war” (“After Gaza, Israel grapples with crisis of isolation,” The New York Times, 18 March 2009)....

      Adalah-NY stated in a recent press release that beyond Raichel’s collusion with the Israeli government’s cynical use of art, he has served in and performed for the Israeli army and actively expressed support for the Israel military during its brutal attacks on Gaza in the winter of 2008-09 and criticized Israelis who refused to serve in the army.

      Raichel’s performance in 2007 in the Israeli settlement Nokdim led to a call for boycott by the Israeli organization Gush Shalom for collaborating with settlements that prevent any possibility of peace (“New Yorkers protest India.Arie concert with Israeli superstar Idan Raichel,” 18 October 2011)....


  • What Comes Next: The one state/two state debate is irrelevant as Israel and the US consolidate Greater Israel
    • The Civil Rights struggle is still a big part of our recent history, and equality of citizenship regardless of ancestry is now well entrenched in our national psyche.

      Absolutely, and even following Finkelstein's logic, it puts liberal American Jews on the spot: You supported Civil Rights and you supported the struggle against Apartheid, but when it comes to Israel you oppose equality?!

      Come to think of it, this is probably what won me over to anti-Zionism. It was the only position consistent with my values.

    • Except in stages, the one-state option is an illusion. It has no international support, and there is no reason why Israel and its US sponsor would accept it, since they have a far preferable option, the one they are now implementing; with impunity, thanks to US power....

      US policies are also not graven in stone, though they have deep strategic, economic, and cultural roots. In the absence of such changes, there is every reason to expect that the picture from the river to the sea will conform to the third option. Palestinian rights and aspirations will be shelved, temporarily at least.

      The crucial element is thus, not international support per se (the 2ss currently enjoys that but is still going nowhere), but the changing of US policies, which leads to the question of how such change might be brought about. Norman Finkelstein suggests getting US Jews behind such a 2ss or at least out of the way. Would this be sufficient to change US policies? Even Finkelstein is uncertain, arguing that such a course of action would at least remove a significant obstacle.

      The distinction that Chomsky makes between "advocacy" and "mere proposal" is a good one but, at an impasse (where advocacy is effectively blocked), "mere proposal" may be sufficient to bring about a shift in perception that may, in turn, result in a change in policy. I believe that this is the underlying strategy of Palestinian BDS -- to place the "conflict" on different footing in the popular imagination in the countries that both wield power and (sometimes) concern themselves with popular opinion (direct lobbying would be a waste of time in this case). That is why the movement insists on calling itself a "rights-based" (rather than "solution-based") movement, and why it constantly seeks to evoke images of Apartheid South Africa and the Jim Crow US South. As long as the situation in I/P continues to be popularly viewed as a "conflict" between warring sides or, worse, a "clash of civilisations", there will be no change in policy.

      Finkelstein is right that the one-state view dominates BDS discourse, although the movement may declare itself "agnostic". It is indeed significant that its most prominent Palestinian spokesmen advocate a 1ss. Chomsky is also probably right that a single state (which he has "advocated for 70 years") cannot be achieved directly, without passing through two states first. In this case however, I believe that "mere proposal" has an advantage over "advocacy". The proponents of one state offer a vision of equality that highlights the current state of inequality and oppression (Barghouti says this explicitly in his book). The goal is thus equality, or rather the abrogation of inequality -- which is precisely the focus of the rights-based approach. The first step in reaching a state of equality (best illustrated, perhaps, by the idea of a single, democratic polity) is to change perceptions of the very unequal reality in I/P. Merely advocating a two-state solution, based on "overwhelming international consensus" at this point would continue to achieve nothing, and merely contribute to the "shelving" (or "warehousing", as Jeff Halper has called it) of Palestinian rights and aspirations. What is really needed is a new paradigm, capable of shifting public opinion (including but not limited to Jewish public opinion) particularly in the US.

      I think the Palestinians leading the BDS movement have come up with the best operative plan out there, and that they deserve to be supported in their struggle.

  • The young flee Israel because it is a 'failure' and 'xenophobic theocracy' -- 'Haaretz' columnist
    • Complicity of Jews who have supported the apartheid state of Israel for decades

      And non-Jews who have supported Israel? And Jews who have not supported Israel?

      which Neri Levneh has admittedly done

      Neri Livneh is not just Jewish; she is an Israeli and, as such, actually does bear responsibility for her own actions and those of her elected representatives in this regard. But she has not been "silent" or "complacent". On the contrary, she has (while living within Israeli society) protested against discrimination of all kinds and especially against the occupation, going to "all the right demonstrations" and writing "all the right things" - for decades.

      Relatively recently (this is not her first column in this vein), and directly related to her years of activism and protest over these very issues, she has finally given up all hope of changing the country for the better, and wants out - much as the far more radical Felicia Langer did a number of years ago. And this is the "amazing" development you call "growing a conscience"? Did Felicia Langer also "grow a conscience" only when she gave up hope of changing Israel and moved to Germany?

      Look I celebrate and acknowledge that far more Jews have gotten involved with the movement over the last 5-10 years (Phillip Weiss being an example)

      And non-Jews who have gotten involved? Did Phil Weiss work for Aipac before he started this blog, canvass for the JNF? Where's his complicity? And what if he did? Are there no learning curves, no recognition of past mistakes or trying to fix them, in your world?

      But many people that I have talked with and who have been involved for decades see a real effort by some to cover up these tracks of silence and lack of involvement.

      Where do they see this effort? Has Phil tried to predate his blog? Photoshop some pictures of himself wearing a keffiyeh at age 10? Why would anyone try to cover up something that only seems to matter to you? I have never known an activist on this or any other issue who has been anything but honest regarding when and how they got involved. Besides, what sort of "tracks" do "silence and lack of involvement" leave, and how would one go about covering them up?

      And no real explanation about why they have been silent for so long knowing what was going on.

      Phil seems to have been rather forthcoming about how and why he got involved. Medea, whom you have singled out many times for this kind of criticism, was busy saving the world in so many other ways before she decided she had to act on this particular issue (abandoning and ignoring many others). What do you call a "real" explanation?

      I will continue to bring attention to this.

      And from time to time I may point out how superfluous and petty it is.

  • What Comes Next: Even one state may not be enough
    • Mr. Melnick,

      I don't know whether you have ever been to Israel or understand any Hebrew, but Noura Erakat is referring to the difference in Israel between the civil status of citizenship (ezrahut) and that of "nationality" (le'om). The fact that there is no difference between the two terms in English confuses things a bit, but the reality is that Israel discriminates between citizens (and some non-citizens) on the basis of le'om -- call it "ethnicity" if you like, although the word itself means "nation" in Modern Hebrew.

      Those whose ethnicity is registered by the Israeli state as "Arab", for example, are indeed "systematically excluded from the privileges" enjoyed by members of Israel's charter ethnic group: Jews. Others have provided some of the details of this discrimination here, and the MW archives are full of information on the subject. Whether this is defined as apartheid or not is entirely beside the point. Erakat's statement is correct either way.

      BTW, as a rule, Palestinian citizens of Israel do not serve in the IDF.

  • Is Rwanda the Israel of Africa?
    • Israel, the un-apartheid state – a comparison with Australia.

      I would expect no less of "an Australian solicitor working for Shurat HaDin – The Israel Law Center in Tel Aviv".

      My question was can you find another South African MP (btw, I believe Meshoe is no longer an MP) who shares Meshoe's views on Israel and apartheid. After all, your argument was based on Meshoe's authority as a South African politician -- one who disagrees with the views of the ANC (for example) on Israel/Palestine.

  • Violence works-- by ending complacency
    • Israel is not an apartheid state and that it!! with Rome or without Rome!!

      Got it. I will stop trying to confuse you with the facts.

      Thanks for your recommendation to me to be offended by the reality of the system of oppression and discrimination in force in the OT, but I can’t do it since I offended first by the un proportional treatment Israel receives ... while other major catastrophies, disasters, war crimes and (real) genocides take place every day in our planet ... there is massive campaign in the media aimed to dehumanize and demonize the state of Israel.

      Got it. You may be interested in "peace and reconciliation" or disturbed by oppression and violations of human rights on some level, but you have much bigger fish to fry: contextualising Israeli crimes and protecting Israel's image as a "paragon" of democracy.

      Meanwhile, I will continue my efforts for peace and reconciliation with Israel, a Jewish Zionist state, paragon of democratic state in the ME.

      By doing battle against those who would put her "on the cross" by suggesting that she is anything but a "paragon of democratic state in the ME". You have made your priorities absolutely clear. "Peace and reconciliation" not through the elimination of injustice, but through its contextualisation and rationalisation. Got it.

      You missed my comment on Khirbet Makhoul? Last Friday an Palestinian murdered his Jewish friend (a soldier, but friend) after he convinced him to visit his home in WB and hided the body in the sand.

      You are right, perhaps I should have commented on the murder of Tomer Hazan. I condemn it unequivocally. I have 3 nephews in the army right now, and my daughter was shocked by the news.

      How about Khirbet Makhoul and the ethnic cleansing of the Jordan Valley? Or would you rather discuss the applicability of the term "ethnic cleansing", contextualising and rationalising it (security, zoning laws and building codes just like in the UK and Australia, provocation, international interference, paragon of democracy, no discrimination, etc.).

    • but my main claim is, although the above facts, that Israel has no apartheid laws in Israel itself or in the OT. I already wrote and admitted that there are two laws system – good or bad, right or wrong – they don’t contain apartheid laws as I mentioned in my above comments examples (interracial sex, segregation, and any law imposed on man because his race or nationality).

      You are entitled to your historical understanding of the essence of apartheid, but that is not how the crime of apartheid is defined according to international law.

      If you are indeed as committed to peace and reconciliation as you say you are, I would expect you to be far more outraged and offended by the reality of the system of oppression and discrimination in force in the OT than by whatever legal jargon someone might use to describe it. That system of discrimination must stop now, without waiting until the nations beat their swords into plowshares and the wolf lies down with the lamb.

      I missed your comments on the most recent outrage in Khirbet Makhoul. If you are so concerned with Israel's "good name" (as most of your comments seem to indicate), write and act against the ethnic cleansing of the Jordan Valley. You are in Jerusalem and on holiday this week. Here are some people you can contact for information on how to express your protest and solidarity: link to

    • Since the OT are different entity, Israel must obey the international law, and declare a special law system on the OT residents which are not Israeli citizens.

      That didn't stop Israel from acting differently in East Jerusalem or the Golan Heights, so the principle of international law is obviously not the issue here.

      The same way the American laws were not applied on Afghanistan residents during the US occupation.

      1. The US has not been occupying Afghanistan for 46 years;
      2. The US does not refer to Afghanistan as "disputed territory";
      3. The US does not refer to Afghanistan as the "cradle" of its religion/culture, nor does it lay claim of any kind to any part of it;
      4. The US has not incorporated Afghanistan into its own economy and infrastructure;
      5. The US has not permanently transferred a significant percentage of its own civilian population to Afghanistan, where they and only they are subject to US civilian law, while Afghanis are subject to US military law.

      The fact of occupation (and non-annexation) in and of itself does not preclude the existence of an apartheid system (as defined by international law). Cf. Namibia under South African rule.

  • Roger Waters says Israel's wall is '100 times more horrifying' than Berlin wall
  • Major 'NYT' piece calls two-state negotiations 'phony'--and catastrophic
    • in your slur on me about ‘fear of brown people’

      Do you have any reason -- apart from the fact that they are Palestinian Arabs (Muslims?), highly critical of Israel -- to presume that Abunimah and Barghouti are Arab nationalists merely seeking an Arab majority in Israel/Palestine, with no concern for democratic safeguards to protect the rights of a future Jewish minority? Then it must be that "brown people" thing Abunimah talks about (based on prejudice rather than legitimate concern). There is certainly room for legitimate concern (Abunimah talks about that too), but that doesn't involve prejudging the views of Palestinian Arabs (without ever having heard or read them!) simply for being the views of Palestinian Arabs.

      How blithely you talk...

      There's that imagination of yours again. Have I ever downplayed the situation in Egypt? Have I suggested in any way that the problems there are easily resolved? Have I indicated at any time that a 1ss in Israel/Palestine is a simple matter (I think I asked you that earlier today -- no reply)? If you ask me, a 1ss is a pipe dream. I'd rather talk about the ongoing theft, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, torture, closures and daily harassment, and leave the dream-talk to the visionaries.

    • Maybe because she is willing to accept a one state solution that ensures political rights for the Jews and she doesn’t trust the other Palestinian activists who advocate similar ends.

      Maybe, but I doubt it. What she seems to be doing is citing Kuttab (out of context) as someone who recognises the dangers of a 1ss for Israeli Jews (see, even a Palestinian says so!).

      I have heard interviews with settlers that are advocates for a one-state solution that seems to exclude the apartheid option. It might be worth hearing more from such people.

      Yehouda Shenhav writes about such promise among right-wingers (who believe in the indivisibility of the land and aren't necessarily sticklers when it comes to questions of sovereignty), but I found that part of his book (Beyond the Two-State Solution) rather unconvincing, to say the least.

      The one who has probably come closest to fitting that bill is Menahem Froman, but he was always rather vague about the "exclude the apartheid option" part and, in any event, was very much a one-man show.

  • Latest 'generous offer' leaked: Israel wants to control Jordan River and 40% of West Bank while Palestinians get 'temporary borders'
    • MY1,

      I have cited Yiftachel a number of times because his analysis is the most pertinent to the issue of ethnocracy vs. democracy, democratic features within a discriminatory system, etc. I could just as easily cite Smooha or Peled or Kedar or others, but you would avoid their arguments as well, merely repeating the mantra that Israel is a model society, backed up by your subjective impression of Jewish Israeli attitudes and a few superficial talking points (Palestinians love it, freedom of speech, not in Scandinavia, etc.).

      I am not merely giving you a "reading list", but asking you to engage with the arguments -- without resorting to distractions, distortions or arguments over semantics. Is the basis of the Israeli polity the "demos" (Israeli citizens) or the "ethnos" (the Jewish people)? Does Israel have a "charter ethnic group"? Is there really no institutionalised discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel?

      Is any article with little understanding of Israel is a propaganda?

      No, only ones that justify Israeli policy toward Palestinians by saying things like (paraphrasing) "they're better off than they are in other countries" or "a Palestinian judge was on the court that sentenced Katsav" or "Israel is a world leader in technology".

      The article you linked to is propaganda because its arguments are (at best) irrelevant, meant to create a certain impression. You may not agree with Yiftachel, but (unlike your Saudi propagandist) he employs academic sources and methodology, rather than talking points. If there are parts of Yiftachel's work or reasoning that you feel are less than rigorous, please point them out.

      I've given you my views on the difference between propaganda and analysis (and explained that terms like "ethnocracy" and "apartheid" are not insults but descriptions with clear definitions). I'd appreciate it if you could explain the difference between "fair criticism" and "demonization" in anything I have written or cited. Thanks.

    • As I understand it, discrimination and apartheid laws and activities are based on the (evil) view that one race is superior on the other.

      According to the Rome Statute:

      The "crime of apartheid" means inhumane acts … 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;

      The justifications (or rationalisations) offered for the existence of such an "institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination" are not relevant to the definition itself.

    • Glad things are going well at the shuk. I hope the Yom Kippur trade is good. Thanks for the link. As enlightened as it may make you feel, it only reinforces my assessment of your other comments, but it's good to a have look at the entire “opus”.

      You are the first one says I wrote lies.

      Knowing the crowd here, I find that hard to believe, but I'll take your word for it.

      Lie 1: The Israeli ban against family reunification for Palestinians only (and, by implication, Israeli immigration policy in general) is no different from limitations on immigration imposed by “[the] USA, Australia, GB”.

      Lie 2: “There is no discrimination of Palestinian Israelis inside Israel. I repeat: NO discrimination.”

      Not only is this claim demonstrably false, but so is the less-than-anecdotal, take-my-word-for-it argument you use to back it up – followed by 'nobody's perfect' and 'Israel should be cut some slack anyway' caveats (So which is it? Is there really NO discrimination, or is the discrimination that does exist understandable under the circumstances).

      I admit that I have not read Gelber, but I am thoroughly acquainted with the entire range of “Israeli and proud Zionist” views, having been raised in them and having subscribed to a variety of them myself (from national-religious to secular-liberal) for most of my life. You, however, do not seem to be familiar with concepts such as “ethnocracy” or “ethnic democracy”, or you would not be calling a semblance of democracy “freedom”, or citing it as proof of the lack of discrimination. If you'd like links for Yiftachel and Smooha (or Sasha Kedar or others who have written on this subject) just say the word.

      The examples taken from Apartheid SA and the Jim Crow South are entirely apt because, like you, they employed the 'blacks would rather be here than anywhere else' argument as justification for their unequal treatment. Not because they were “elephants searching for food”, but because 'they love it here'. It was a cynical, condescending and irrelevant argument then, and it is a cynical, condescending and irrelevant argument now. But how could I possibly be talking about a country where there is “NO discrimination” (although nobody's perfect and Israel has been at war for its entire existence)? Proof? They love it here and are flocking here in droves, bless their souls, clamouring to defend the country they love from its mortal enemies the Arabs! (BTW, weren't there “colonial” units in various European armies – British, French, Italian, etc? Guess they loved their colonial masters to bits too – until they didn't.)

      you can know it too if you only leave behind your prejudices

      I have done my best to leave the prejudices and preconceptions with which I was raised behind. How about you? You can start with this one:

      The Zionist movement created here one of the best states on earth

      Gemar hatimah tovah to you too, and remember that divine judgements can be reversed through repentance, prayer and charity!

    • MY1,

      Hi. How goes the basta? I sympathise with your discomfort over the word "hasbara". Being called out on propaganda is never fun, but that is what your comments (at least the ones I've read; I've been away for a while) amount to. I can think of no better word to describe the stew of lies, half-truths and distractions that you have served up here.

      1. Israeli immigration policy is not comparable to that of western democracies -- as discriminatory and racist as some of those may be. The particular example discussed here (family reunification for Jewish citizens of Israel, no family reunification for Palestinian citizens of Israel) is a case in point.

      2. There most definitely is structural and systematic discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel (beginning with Israel's "Nationality Law" and "Absentees' Property Law" that completed the first stage of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine). Of course it's not as bad as the outright apartheid practised in the territories, but "nobody's perfect" just doesn't cut it. If you have any interest in better understanding the Israeli regime and its semblance of democracy within some of the territory it controls on a by-now permanent basis, while privileging a "charter" ethnic group, I recommend the work of Oren Yiftachel and Sami Smooha.

      3. That the situation elsewhere is worse, is a distraction typical of propaganda designed to maintain a status quo favourable to one's own group. As Amira Hass recently wrote:

      Ranking injustices, atrocities and discrimination on a scale of horrors is just one more technique employed by those in power to retain their power, to justify their excessive privileges and to belittle any public or civil struggle for equality.

      Your attempt to deflect justified criticism of Israel by pointing to Palestinians who would rather live there than in the WB, Gaza or Syria, is a classic version of this strategy (also used in Apartheid South Africa and the US South under Jim Crow: 'Our blacks have a much higher standard of living than anywhere in Africa.')

  • Margaret Atwood signs on to Canadian letter opposing Palestinian evictions
    • Hostage,

      I was not talking about the David Prize, but about Walid's claim regarding TAU itself.

      If there is irony in "He’s not boycotting Israeli culture or academic institutions, but asks others to do so on his behalf", there is also irony in Neve Gordon's call for academic boycott (he teaches at Ben Gurion University) or the support of South Africans for the international boycott of their country, during Apartheid.

      It is neither loophole nor excuse, but common sense. One cannot live in Israel or under Israeli control and support BDS the way one can from outside. From its very inception, BDS was a call to the international community:

      In view of the fact that people of conscience in the international community have historically shouldered the moral responsibility to fight injustice, as exemplified in the struggle to abolish apartheid in South Africa through diverse forms of boycott, divestment and sanctions; and

      Inspired by the struggle of South Africans against apartheid and in the spirit of international solidarity, moral consistency and resistance to injustice and oppression;

      We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.

      Some criticism is fair and some is not. Finkelstein's criticism regarding 2ss and Israel's continued existence as a Jewish state is fair. Your criticism regarding "normalisation" (especially in the context of the cultural boycott - performances, etc.) is fair. Downplaying the role of TAU in the occupation, or dragging out Barghouti's PhD and the fact that he was born and raised outside of Palestine is not. The "cult" accusation also strikes me as little more than a silly insult meant to discredit rather than to criticise.

  • Haaretz warns 'Israel is facing its moment of truth' as Europe explores sanctions against companies tied to the occupation
    • Shmuel, so are you saying that I should reconsider?

      I'm saying you should be consistent and support the Palestinian BDS movement. I'm also saying (not for the first time) that you should stop misrepresenting Palestinian BDS. As I and others have explained numerous times (I can repost the links, if you like), the Palestinian academic and cultural boycott is institutional and relates specifically to involvement in the occupation. It does not target individual Israelis or Israel as a whole - with the exception of "business as usual" events ("normalising apartheid"), in the spirit of the Sun City boycott.

      You are, of course, free to support any part of the boycott you like, but for boycott to have any effect, a single, concerted (Palestinian-initiated and led) campaign is crucial. I can also repost the links (specifically to Magnes Zionist) I have cited on that score. If you are serious about supporting a settlement-linked (and not just Beinart-style settlements only) boycott, it's time to stop misrepresenting and attacking BDS, and to start supporting it wherever you can.

      If you haven't already read Gideon Levy's call for boycott, I suggest you do, keeping in mind that it must be made as effective as possible. I also suggest getting in touch with the Israeli group Boycott from Within (חרם מבפנים): link to

    • This is the kind of action which I’ve always advocated

      Really? This is not a boycott of settlement produce or industry per se, but of "Israeli companies that have economic links with the Palestinian occupied territories". What about Israeli universities or cultural institutions "that have economic [and other] links with the Palestinian occupied territories"? Or the big daddy of them all: the Israeli government that not only has "economic links with the Palestinian occupied territories" but is directly responsible for the entire occupation/settlement project.

      Direct involvement in the occupation has always been the primary focus of BDS and PACBI (with the notable exception of "normalising apartheid" events, such as foreign artist performances). Neither BDS nor PACBI have ever called for a "blanket boycott of Israel". Had they done so, there would be no point in their messing around over Ahava, Soda Stream or correct labelling.

  • How Israeli apartheid is coming unstuck
    • Sinn Fein MPs practice ‘abstentionism’.

      But they are allowed to be elected, as are Scottish nationalists and separatists in numerous countries (including Italy, Spain, Canada, France). One could also add anti-Apartheid MPs (in all 3 houses) in Apartheid South Africa, members of Aung San Suu Kyi's party in Burma, and many other dissidents in countless regimes/occupations/colonies, etc.

    • South African blacks under apartheid did not have the right to vote

      But, for a decade or so, "Coloureds" and "Indians" did. For all of the weight given to their political (and other civil) rights, Palestinian Israelis might as well be voting for a separate house. "Grand apartheid" sounds about right.

    • Israel’s Arabs always have had the right to vote.

      They are not "Israel's Arabs", but Palestinian citizens of Israel, and their vote is still worth less than that of Jewish citizens of Israel, both de jure (e.g. "Basic Law: The Knesset" -- soon to be joined perhaps by the proposed "Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People") and de facto (e.g. the exclusion of their representatives from every coalition).

      Cook's point was that "grand apartheid" is meant to look like no apartheid at all. The nominal right to vote (only for those not already ethnically cleansed, of course) is entirely consistent with that analysis.

    • Excellent article. Just one nit to pick. Cook uses the expression "Jewish community". If he meant Jewish neighbourhood or area, he should have said so. "Jewish community" evokes images of Jewish kinship and voluntary association outside of Israel, rather than the system of discrimination and segregation that is the subject of the article. In Apartheid South Africa, white areas were just that, not "white communities". (The word community, in and of itself, has warm, positive connotations).

      I presume that Cook was not referring to Jewish settlements - which the settlers themselves and Israeli propaganda like to call "Jewish communities", precisely for the reasons noted above.

  • End your illusion: Israeli government will never implement a two-state solution, top official says
    • End your illusion: Israeli government will never implement a two-state solution, top official says

      OK, illusion ended. Next on the agenda: Palestinian human rights. For years Israel has been claiming that violations of Palestinian human rights are temporary, and will be addressed and resolved through negotiations and a two-state solution. Lack of civil rights? In a future Palestinian state. Refugees? In a future Palestinian state. Equal rights? In a future Palestinian state. Now that Deputy Minister Danon has explained that there will never be a 2ss or a Palestinian state, it is time to address the system of apartheid implemented by Israel, in (at least) some of the territory under permanent Israeli rule.

  • Israel approves construction to transfer West Bank Bedouin
    • Burston writes:

      Last month, BDS leader Omar Barghouti, writing in the Abu Dhabi-based The National, may have gotten closer to an answer.
      "Equal rights for Palestinians means, at a minimum, ending Israel's 1967 occupation and colonization; ending Israel's system of racial discrimination; and respecting the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their lands from which they were uprooted and expelled during the 1948 Nakba and ever since."

      No need to have waited all that time for a statement from Barghouti. These very goals are stated in the "Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS" (9 July 2005).


      If a boycott is to work, it has to have clear aims, honest momentum, and a time frame that doesn't say, as Barghouti essentially has, "We'll boycott Israel until the end of Israel or the end of time, whichever comes first."

      What, like "the end of apartheid" or "1 man 1 vote"? How is that different from what Barghouti (or the Palestinian Civil Society Call) said?

      As for Burston's qualms about BDS, he should try TBDS!

  • SF officials describe 'apartheid' label as 'intolerance alienating the Jewish community'
    • Those who don’t speak out against them.

      Against whom? The members of San Francisco's board of supervisors (7 out of 12) who think they're doing the Jewish community a favour by equating this ad (end apartheid ) with the previous one (Muslim savages)?

    • intolerance alienating the Jewish community

      Why? Did someone suggest that the Jewish community in SF practises apartheid? Supports apartheid? Defends apartheid? The ad mentions Israel (not the Jewish community), Americans (not Jewish Americans) and the U.S. (not the San Francisco Jewish community).

      Had someone called out the "Jewish community" (or at least its mainstream institutions and most vocal spokesmen) for its support and defence of apartheid, that would have been alienating - true, but alienating. If the "Jewish community" can't take its political choices being challenged (even harshly), then it should stay out of politics.

      It's rather ironic that it is those claiming to defend the Jewish community -- not the people behind the ad -- who are blaming all Jews (by religious/ethnic association) for Israeli apartheid. Shame on them.

  • In electric atmosphere, Medea Benjamin takes over the president's speech
    • As things stand, many more drops will need to be assembled before we have enough of an ocean and the dam finally starts to give. For the Palestinians’ sake, one can only hope this process doesn’t take too long.

      Which is why it is such a waste of time and energy to focus on the motives or personal history of activists. So what if someone is a media-hungry egomaniac (a purely theoretical example)? So what if the "limelight" is "stolen" from activists who have been at it "since the days of Ticho" (as the Hebrew expression goes)? Do they get the job done? Do they draw attention to the issues of Palestinian reality (ongoing ethnic cleansing, apartheid, torture, collective punishment, daily harassment major and minor) and rights? Do they mobilise others? That really should be all that matters. All the Palestinians need is a fight between Euros over recognition of their efforts.

  • San Francisco bus ads condemn Israeli apartheid: backlash begins
    • Apartheid defined under international law.
      Apartheid is defined as an institutionalized form of racism in which states enact laws which function as the apparatus to commit inhuman acts for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them. The practice of apartheid is a crime under international law.

      Racism or racial group is any distinction, exclusion or preference based on race, color, religion, descent, national origin, ethnic origin or other criteria which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the rights of one group.

      Apartheid Regimes Rely on Three “Pillars of Apartheid” to Maintain Their Domination

      Pillar 1: The state codifies into law a preferred identity. It then establishes adjunct laws that grant preferential legal status and material privileges to the preferred group on the basis of their identity while discriminating against the non-preferred group on the basis of the inferior status afforded them.

      Pillar 2: The state segregates the population into geographic areas based on identity. The state establishes security laws and policies designed to suppress any opposition to the regime. The favored identity receives preferential access to land, water, other resources and to government benefits and services while the non-preferred group is confined to ever- shrinking, non-contiguous, besieged territorial enclaves.

      Pillar 3: The system of domination is reinforced through assassinations; administrative detention; torture; cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment; and arbitrary arrest and imprisonment of the non-preferred group.

      Using these criteria, the May 2009 South African study finds that “Israel, since 1967, is the belligerent Occupying Power in occupied Palestinian territory, and that its occupation of these territories has become a colonial enterprise which implements a system of apartheid.”

      The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions-USA has summarized the findings of this study to help people understand that talk of apartheid is more than just rhetoric and to provide a tool which concerned citizens can use to help bring an end to Israel’s apartheid regime.


      The full South African Human Sciences Research Council study can be found at:
      link to

  • Israeli right-wing flys off the deep end following Hawking boycott
    • "Stephen Hawking's message to Israeli elites: The occupation has a price"

      That is the message of the academic boycott in general to the Israeli elites: Your colleagues, mentors and students -- people for whom you have deep respect and admiration -- are outraged by Israeli policies and long-standing intransigence, and wish to express solidarity with their (and your) Palestinian colleagues, by not crossing their picket line. As more and more academics, like Stephen Hawking, join the boycott, it will get harder and harder to dismiss them as naive, misinformed, manipulated, hateful or hypocritical.

      The message is that business cannot simply go on as usual in Israeli faculties and labs (as well as at high-profile media events like the "Presidential Conference"), while policies of apartheid and oppression are implemented only a few kilometres (or metres in some cases) away.

  • A Catholic heritage community is next on the occupation's chopping block
    • I wonder whether the pope will raise the issue of Cremisan in his upcoming meeting with Shimon Peres (30 April, at the Vatican). The subject of the meeting (as reported by the Italian press) is in fact the legal and fiscal status of Church properties in the Holy Land. Thus, even if His Holiness doesn't want to offend his guest by talking about such pesky issues as occupation, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, torture, administrative detention, etc., he can safely broach a subject directly pertaining to Church real estate.

  • The limits of liberal Zionism: 'NYT' columnist Roger Cohen misrepresents the Nakba and the right of return
    • Netanyahu and Lapid speak for Jews collectively.

      No, they speak for Israelis collectively (albeit an ethnically-engineered electorate - by means of selective immigration, ethnic cleansing and apartheid).

  • Visualizing Palestine: Imagine if you were born at an Israeli checkpoint
    • You seem to be saying, in effect, that we need to accept the radical Palestinian position, period.

      Not really - although I do consider the right of return, as understood by the UNGA and the refugees themselves, to be a moral, legal and pragmatic imperative.

      The thrust of my comment was that you do not in fact accept RoR, and so it is dishonest to state that you do - redefining the concept to the point of emptying it of all meaning. If you reject Palestinian RoR (as do the vast majority of Jewish Israelis), please say so, instead of playing semantic games.

      it seems to me that demanding the RoR to their actual former homes inside Israel , without admitting that that’s a euphemism for the destruction of Israel – there’s the dishonesty.

      The expression "destruction of Israel" is also dishonest in this context, as advocating the RoR implies no such thing. What it does imply is an end to ethnocracy, apartheid and ethnic cleansing. I would call that "constructive" rather than "destructive", but to each his own.

  • Exchange on anti-Sephardi racism on the left
    • But this is the most important point: the biblical themes in Jewish religious Zionism greatly overshadow the European nationalist themes. In fact, most Jewish religious Zionists are extremely hostile to European nationalism.

      Once upon a time, there were a bunch of European Jewish assimilationists, who wanted nothing more than to be good Germans, Austrians, Hungarians and Czechs. When they discovered that their discarded religious origins were a greater impediment to that goal than they had originally thought, they decided that if they could not be good Germans etc., they would become like good Germans etc. ... but Jewish!

      They had their work cut out for them. They needed to invent a people, a homeland, a national language, mythology, folk culture, high culture, symbols, holidays, etc. Some things could be borrowed (with a few necessary changes) from the Jewish religious traditions they had rejected as primitive and backward, while others would have to be baked from scratch. The political and cultural model would of course be mitteleuropäisch, but the specific content would have a different national flavour. European folk cultures were a good place to start, with a little orientalism thrown in (after all, Jews were "semitic" and the moorish style was all the rage in modern synagogue architecture) and a little religious culture to taste (weren't European nations infused with their religious culture?)

      Bourgeois assimilationists weren't buying it, nor were religious Jews of all stripes. So they looked eastward to the impoverished, but largely traditional Jewish masses. That meant upping the dose of religious elements in Jewish nationalism (Palestine, myths, symbols, holidays, etc.) and even tossing in a little socialism (for those Jews so inclined), but that couldn't be helped. They enjoyed a modicum of success, but were still opposed by virtually all religious leaders, although they were quick to exploit any sign of religious support for their new ideology - whether that had been the intention of the leaders in question or not.

      They were eventually joined by a small group of religious Jews, who embraced their modern, European national aspirations, but needed to flesh out the religious justification for it (and develop their own mythology regarding their role in the movement from its very inception, and even before). For the most part, these religious Zionists aligned themselves with the mainstream within the movement. Some had serious doubts and fears of where such nationalism might lead, and took moderate, pragmatic positions.

      Fast forward. The State of Israel is established and gradually, the reformist religious streams that had been vehemently opposed to Zionism, come around, but (not believing in the supernatural or the divine authorship of Scripture) adopt the secular Zionist positions. After the '67 war, both secular and religious messianism went wild, with Orthodox religious Zionism finally finding its niche in the movement - largely imitating the culture of the earlier, secular settlement movement on which they had missed out. From a small, core group of mystic-nationalists, Orthodox religious nationalism spread to virtually the entire Orthodox Zionist public, even making inroads into some Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) groups. They rallied around the Zionist flag - but heightened its "authentic" Jewish meaning; embraced the army, guns, violence, apartheid and ethnic cleansing - but sanctified them and sought religious justification and precedents; and developed a theology that would explain the secular origins of the Zionist movement and the scant enthusiasm it had aroused among religious Jews.

      Of course religious (and secular) Zionism is "hostile to European nationalism". It is both modelled on it and a reaction to it. Rival nationalisms often resemble one another, although they would never admit it.

  • If Hillel rejects nonviolent resistance to the occupation, what does it propose in its place?
    • if Hillel does not want to interact with pro-Palestinian groups that support nonviolent resistance for peace, how does Hillel expect people to resist Israel’s brutal occupation and well-documented human rights abuses?

      If Hillel rejects both violent and non-violent Palestinian resistance, one can only conclude that it rejects Palestinian resistance tout court. And if it rejects Palestinian resistance, it must support (whether enthusiastically or in a hand-wringing, lesser-of-the-evils sort of way) the status quo of Israeli occupation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing, because the powerful and the privileged will not renounce their power and privilege unless somehow compelled to do so. It is in this light that we must view any professions on the part of Hillel or similar organisations of commitment to
      peace or a two-state solution -- or to diversity of opinion.

  • Israeli commandos board ship to Gaza and direct it to Israel
    • Are there any parties, who deny the rights of Israel as a Jewish State being banned from participating in elections?

      The exact wording of the Basic Law (art. 7a) is "negation of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people", but do you think the lack of such parties might have something to do with the fact that they are banned?

      However, the majority of VOTERS still prevail over her personal and political beliefs, making her accusations of “regime” silly and infantile.

      Not really, because that "majority" was achieved through 64 (or 95, or 130) years of electoral engineering, including selective immigration, ethnic cleansing, gerrymandering and apartheid. What is silly and infantile (not to mention dishonest) is to pretend that Israel is an ordinary democracy with an ordinary electoral process.

      I becoming fully convinced that her actions ... are for the self-promotion and the ongoing publicity

      There couldn't possibly be any other explanation for Dr. Peled's activism (including the bereaved families' circle) and scholarship, so naturally, she must be after the publicity. So obvious. How could we have missed it?

  • If only it was just one tweet: One activist's experience in the 'Our Land' Facebook group
    • When I first started to look outside my liberal Zionist comfort zone (having previously left a few, more extreme comfort zones) soon after the beginning of the Second Intifada, I joined the Al Awda-Right of Return listserve. Martillo/Provoni/Ajami was there; Israel Shamir was there; a couple of US white supremacists were there; and a guy calling himself Horst Wessel was there. Time after time, Palestinian activists put them in their place, rejecting their racism both in principle and as a detriment to the Palestinian cause - basically telling them, 'we don't want or need your kind of support'. Were they following a "Zionist agenda"? Using "the master's tools"? Showing weakness? It would have been all too easy for them to take the "any enemy of my enemy is my friend" approach or to follow the Zionist example of excusing alliances with Pinochet or Apartheid South Africa as necessary evils for "a small people with few friends in the world". But they didn't. They showed both integrity and farsightedness - at the risk of splitting their own movement and rejecting much-needed support.

      It is in that light that I see the positions taken by Abunimah (and other tireless Palestinian activists) in this matter as in the matter of Israel Shamir and Gilad Atzmon. Berlin herself may not be in the same category as the other two but, as Today in Palestine puts it:

      I don’t want to get into any philosophical questions about what truly makes an anti-semite, the fact is that Greta is responsible for this current sh*t storm and it is up to Palestinians (and others like Bekah) to clean up her mess. I understand that Greta has done good work in the past but that does not give her carte blanche to discredit our movement by associating our cause with unsavory characters online.

  • Pinkwashing advertisement in NY, brought to you by Birthright
    • So if the question is not being avoided- what’s the answer?


      While it may seem natural for gays to side with Israel, after all they have such good gay rights laws, this support reflects a major weakness of so many human rights movements that tend to prioritize their own struggles without considering the ways in which all forms of discrimination are linked. In Israel/Palestine gay rights and human rights more broadly are necessarily connected to one another, and treating one domestic minority well does not excuse or diminish the immorality of the state’s other rights abridging policies. Had South Africa enacted good gay rights laws during the Apartheid era no one would have seen that as excusing their treatment of black and colored people.

      link to

      The Gisha report is from 2007, the Goldstone report has been dead ever since Justice Goldstone himself repudiated it. The reality is Hamas rule.

      More obfuscation. What has changed, specifically, to invalidate the Gisha report, and can you cite another, more recent report or legal opinion that explains why these criteria of "effective control" - although they may have applied in 2007 - no longer apply? Goldstone's "repudiation" made no mention of Israel's status as occupier, but referred only to questions of war crimes and intentionality. I repeat: The "reality [of] Hamas rule" does not, in and of itself, determine whether Israel is an occupying power in Gaza or not. There are specific legal criteria - presented by Gisha and the Goldstone report - which you have failed to address. 'It looks like the occupation is over to me' is not a valid argument.

  • Discarded EU definition of anti-Semitism is important tool in silencing criticism of Israel
    • I urge all regular Mondoweiss commenters and Phil Weiss himself to read the section on “the non-Jewish Jew.”

      I couldn't disagree more. The author of the review is so obviously hostile to Rose's views (despite his attempts to compliment her on some of her prose and the "touching" essay on her sister) as to make his representation of them practically worthless.

      On the subject of "settler converts", Taxi has explained to me in the past that although even a pedigreed descendant of ancient Judeans would have no right to displace the indigenous people of Palestine, it is particularly irksome when even the dubious Zionist claim itself doesn't pan out.

      When the Zionist in question is not even the possible descendant of converts some time in the distant past, but a direct and recent convert herself - and an extreme "ethnic" nationalist at that (living as a member of the dominant group in an apartheid reality) - it just makes things all the more outrageous and offensive.

  • Discussing life 'after zionism' in Israel/Palestine
    • A boycott means a boycott.

      You still haven't explained how Palestinians exercising their right to go to the beach in their historical homeland violates the boycott part of BDS.

      Furthermore, BDS is a strategy, not a religion, and its application by those living under occupation necessarily differs from its application abroad. South African blacks living under apartheid or South African occupation were never expected to lend a hand to their own oppression by denying themselves access to the few rights they actually enjoyed.

      Your "take" is thus entirely without basis.

  • It's apartheid, says Jeffrey Goldberg
    • So when can we expect Goldberg to endorse BDS (de-facto and officially temporary BDS, of course, and neither as elaborate nor as pervasive as the South African anti-apartheid divestment campaign)? If he finds the acronym too "highly-charged" he can call it BITS (Boycott Israel to Safety) or SIGN (Save Israel's Good Name), although he probably did that already, 20 years ago, when he was working for the Jerusalem Post.

  • Geller's 'savage' bus ad meets strong resistance from the Bay Area
    • So now you’re agreeing there is a qualitative difference?

      You are rather obviously attempting to avoid conceding the point.

      You really don't get it. I try to judge both historical and current phenomena for what they are - without hyperbole and without trivialisation.

      The crimes of Fascism were enormous. They destroyed millions of lives. That cannot and must not be contextualised or rationalised or minimised. Were some of their policies less draconian, less destructive than those of the Nazis? Yes. Were their policies toward Jews less all-consumingly brutal? Yes. Did they gas and hang and torture Ethiopians and Serbs and Italian political prisoners with any less brutality than the Nazis did Poles or communists? Probably not. And where does Israel fit into all of this? Is it somewhere between extremely evil and mind-numbingly evil? Based on what criteria? Is it more like the Belgians in the Congo or the French in Algeria? Is the Nakba more like the Porajmos or the Holodomor or the Rape of Nanking? Is it more Apartheid or Jim Crow? If you suggest a historical analogy that is less than the absolute worst you can possibly imagine, are you belittling it? Betraying Palestinian suffering? How do you decide that Israel is more Poland than Somaliland, more Eichmann than Graziani? Surely not the number of dead. The communities destroyed then? The families broken apart? The freedom denied?

      Auto theft? Paint cans? Sent some people away for a holiday (to quote another apologist for Fascism)? You do not know what you are talking about. If you have a point to make beyond the most evil thing you can think of, make it. If not you do an injustice to the victims of Zionism and the victims of Fascism.

  • The blatancy of apartheid
    • An argument that is constantly waved around by Israel apologists is that those who criticise Israel are somehow singling that country out (the implied motivation is inevitably anti-Semitism or "self-hatred").

      What Phil has done in this post is exactly the opposite. He sees apartheid. He doesn't want to hear that "Israel is different" or "it's complicated" or "it's their fault". He sees injustice and wants to know why so many people and institutions have colluded for so long to cover up this reality and, more importantly, when will they stop.

  • Finkelstein's critique misreads the special relationship and misunderstands political mobilization
    • Where I don’t agree with Max is that working class Jews will find common ground with Palestinians to overthrow the apartheid regime. The system in place is designed to prevent that since even working-class Jews are more privileged than Palestinians.

      I agree, Inanna, but it's not only actual privilege. The way things are set up, the very fact of membership in the ruling group (even when denied all access to power and resources), precludes making common cause with non-members. How does one raise (create?) class consciousness in a context of all-pervasive ethno-religious nationalism? Chip away at the edges I guess, but I don't see it happening either.

  • Should we call it apartheid?
    • View this video for another perspective

      MP Meshoe may know a lot about apartheid, but he seems to know very little about the situation "in Palestine, in Israel" (as he puts it). I'm afraid the only ignorance exposed here is his own.

      [The Palestinians have] freedom of movement without being arrested

      What part of "Palestine" is the Honourable Kenneth Meshoe talking about? If he is only referring to Israel proper he is simply avoiding the issue (the HSRC report,* for example, only addresses the situation in the OPT), and why then does he call it Palestine?

      * link to

  • If '5 Broken Cameras' wins an Oscar-- then will you end the occupation?
    • Israeli director Guy Davidi said that BDS worked in South Africa but now everything is different, for global material reasons—anyone who buys an HP printer is complicit in the technology of the wall, so why single out Israel?

      What is Davidi actually saying (beyond real or feigned ignorance of how BDS works)? That someone who buys an HP printer is just as responsible for Israeli policies of apartheid and ethnic cleansing as the Israeli state that devises and carries out those policies? The "singling out Israel" argument reaches new heights of preposterousness.

  • Story of forced searches of travelers' emails goes viral
  • 'Hath not a Palestinian eyes?': Protesters disrupt Habima performance at Globe
    • I wonder what Juliano Mer-Khamis would have thought about this protest?

      No need to wonder. He was a strong supporter of the cultural boycott of Israel. From an appeal he signed:

      We, the undersigned Palestinian filmmakers and artists, appeal to all artists and filmmakers of good conscience around the world to cancel all exhibitions and other cultural events that are scheduled to occur in Israel, to mobilize immediately and not allow the continuation of the Israeli offensive to breed complacency. Like the boycott of South African art institutions during apartheid, cultural workers must speak out against the current Israeli war crimes and atrocities. We call upon the International community to join us in the boycott of Israeli film festivals, Israeli public venues, and Israeli institutions supported by the government, and to end all cooperation with these cultural and artistic institutions that to date have refused to take a stand against the Occupation, the root cause for this colonial conflict.

      link to

  • International attention must be paid to the Palestinian nonviolent movement
    • we want the reconciliation to start now

      An interesting notion, reconciliation before (read: rather than) ending apartheid. Now why didn't De Klerk think of that? He could have had his koek and eaten it too! Mmmm, lekker.

    • gilad,

      Reconciliation came after the abolition of apartheid and is an ongoing process.

      As another Barghouti (Omar) said:

      “When a master hugs a slave, it is not love, but rape. First the master-slave relationship must be ended, then we will be able to tolerate one another and eventually, who knows, maybe even come to love one another.”

  • US military officers taught to target civilians and wage 'total war' on Islam
    • The cartoon is not only Islamophobic; it is also reactionary in a broader sense, inasmuch as it trots out the old stereotype that liberals are unable or unwilling to confront harsh reality.

      It is the approach that justifies Guantanamo and torture and "pre-emptive war" by "our side", because "they" have no respect for human rights. It is the approach that allows Israel to - literally - get away with murder (and apartheid and ethnic cleansing), because Israelis live "in a tough neighbourhood", surrounded by people who "don't share our values".

      The cartoon dehumanises Muslims, but it also dehumanises the rest of us, by rejecting the fundamental principles of human rights and dignity as "soft" and "naive". All in the name of "freedom and democracy", of course.

  • A portrait of a former Zionist (Part 1)
    • Yes, it's all so complicated, and westerners are so naive. They mean well, the poor dears, but their grasp of the world is so black-and-white. They just don't understand the myriad shades of grey that make up reality beyond their comfortable existences. Yet they presume to judge us. How dare they! If only they could see the things that we've seen, experience the things that we've experienced. Then they'd know that the Middle East is not "uptown" or even "midtown", that here it's kill or be killed, oppress or be oppressed. How can we possibly hope to compete with romantic notions of occupation and resistance, imperialism and liberation, apartheid and democracy?

      The best we can do is "rebrand" and hope for the best, Oleg. Try to tap into their simple binary minds and make them believe that we wear the white hats on this frontier. They're so gullible, it might just work.

  • Feminist scholar Katherine Franke refuses to be pawn in Oren's equality game
    • I agree, David. I know what I'm linking to, the next time the subject comes up (if someone else doesn't beat me to it).

      I especially liked this part:

      While it may seem natural for gays to side with Israel, after all they have such good gay rights laws, this support reflects a major weakness of so many human rights movements that tend to prioritize their own struggles without considering the ways in which all forms of discrimination are linked. In Israel/Palestine gay rights and human rights more broadly are necessarily connected to one another, and treating one domestic minority well does not excuse or diminish the immorality of the state’s other rights-abridging policies. Had South Africa enacted good gay rights laws during the Apartheid era no one would have seen that as excusing their treatment of black and colored people. For this reason I have chosen to honor PQBDS’s request that we boycott the Equality Forum.

  • Major olive producing village ordered to uproot 1,400 trees by May 1
    • Actually, that definition won’t work. Neither Israelis nor Palestinians are racial groups.

      "Race" is a tricky concept, and some anthropologists will even tell you that there is no such thing. Fortunately for us, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination has defined "racial discrimination" as pertaining to "race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin". That should cover the differences between Israeli Jews and those eligible to become Israeli citizens according to the law of return on the one hand, and Palestinians on the other.

      The Convention does exclude "citizenship" from its definition, but citing that distinction in Israel's case is rather cynical (beyond the fact that the distinction is in fact between Jews [and their relatives] and non-Jewish Palestinians, rather than citizens and non-ctizens), as the Yishuv ethnically cleansed Palestine and created a new kind of citizenship specifically designed to exclude the ethnically cleansed non-Jewish population.

      Areas under Israeli control basically comprise two systems. Both systems entail elements of colonialism and apartheid, although not to the same degree. As others have pointed out, South Africa was both colonialist and apartheid - both within its sovereign borders and in the territory it occupied in Namibia. There is no inherent contradiction between the two terms.

  • The rifle-butting video is following a different narrative
    • Yes, but it’s a very different reality if the discrimination is “citizen vs occupied” rather than “Jew vs Arab”.

      Maybe for lawyers and members of the de facto Herrenvolk. When you're on the receiving end, it feels just the same.

      You see the apartheid terminology as inflammatory. Yet the security and citizenship terminology fail to provide an accurate representation of the reality on the ground, serving rather to downplay and even justify what is effectively institutionalised religio-ethnic discrimination.

      There are also important repercussions in international law, but I'll leave that to the experts. See link to

    • Apartheid is the reality - whether on the roads, in the allocation of resources (that do not belong to the occupying power or its citizens in the first place), or in the administration of justice. You don't need a "pencil test" to conduct an apartheid regime.

      Citing "security", or "citizenship" as the determining factor, only serves to excuse and perpetuate the intolerable situation in the OPT.

  • Anti-Zionism will reemerge in American Jewish life -- Beinart
    • Regarding 2012 to the future, neither my thoughts nor my emotions have informed me of the path to a better future.

      Yet you stipulate that such a path, from your perspective, must give preference to perceived Jewish needs, with a generous margin of safety. I believe such a position precludes a better future for all concerned – including Jews. The fact that you are a a leftish marker of Jewish Israeli public opinion merely adds to the dismal hopelessness I see in your views. The only “truth” that I have seen is that there is a basic minimum of dignity and recognition (see e.g. Magnes Zionist on the subject) that must be afforded to the other, manifestly weaker side, as a basis for any “experimentation”. If Jewish Israelis and their supporters continue to deny Palestinians this dignity and recognition there simply will be no better future, copious hand-wringing notwithstanding.

      I am not “knocking” you, but disagreeing with you on a fundamental level, arguing that your a priori preference for Jewish welfare (where your views do converge with those of Netanyahu and Lieberman), although perhaps understandable, is both morally and practically self-defeating. Israeli ethnocracy (and apartheid) is a reality. You say that you don't know how to change it, but you establish ground rules that effectively shoot the possibility of change in the foot (or higher). I think your emotional explanation is a cop-out. Don't know how or won't?

  • Where is the Bedouin Intifada?
    • tree,

      I appreciate your comments, as always, but I find the parameters of the entire discussion (set by Winnica) disturbing. Apart from the straw man about what we "here at Mondoweiss" think about the condition of Palestinians in Israel or occupied Jerusalem and the attempt to downplay apartheid and ethnic cleansing ("aren't perfect ... leave much to be desired ... overall trajectory is positive"), I find the "progressive" defence of colonialism utterly repugnant.

  • Jewish substitution and the white gaze
    • Before discussing the various categories of cultural products and events ...

      Look at the categories themselves, emanresu, not just the introduction. I repeat: merely drawing a salary or enjoying a grant is not sufficient cause for boycott.

      OK, I'll spoonfeed:

      Products funded by official Israeli bodies -- as defined in category (1) above -- but not commissioned, therefore not attached to any political strings, are not per se subject to boycott. Individual cultural products that receive state funding as part of the individual cultural worker’s entitlement as a tax-paying citizen, without her/him being bound to serve the state’s political and PR interests, are not boycottable, according to the PACBI criteria. Accepting such political strings, on the other hand, would clearly turn the cultural product or event into a form of complicity, by contributing to Israel’s efforts to whitewash or obscure its colonial and apartheid reality, and would render it boycottable, as a result.

      I note that the guidelines apply the standard of “complicit until proven otherwise,” which an inversion of the traditional burden of proof, and a guilt-through-silence phrase, which is an inversion of the ancient common law rule.

      It's not a court of law, but guidelines for political action (with higher and lower priorities and admitted grey areas), and as a rule of thumb, the assumption of complicity on the part of "major [Israeli] state and public entities" is quite realistic. If you would like to cooperate with an Israeli institution you suspect is not complicit, no one is stopping you from looking into it. Nevertheless, specific PACBI-initiated campaigns do include demonstrations of complicity.

  • Halper vows to rebuild Palestinian home destroyed five times by Israeli soldiers
    • I’ll see if I can find something that demonstrates the difference between Halper and Avnery

      How about this - from a 2003 interview: link to

      Jeff Halper: The Israel-Palestine conflict is often framed in terms of territory: ending the occupation, a viable Palestinian state, and what that means in terms of territory. But two states and a complete end of the occupation, even in the best scenario, is not really the best solution. The whole Palestinian state would be on only 22% of the country, divided between the West Bank and Gaza. The State of Israel today, within the 1967 borders, represents 78% percent of the country. So even in the ideal situation, if the entire occupation ended and Israel pushed back to 1967 borders, the Palestinian state would be in only 22% of the country. Israel can't compromise on any more than that - even that is a question mark.

      But Israel does want a Palestinian state because it needs to get rid of the three and a half million Palestinians currently living in the Occupied Territories. If it can't send them out of the country, it at least wants to enclose them in a little Bantustan-type state. And so, the issue is framed in terms of territory, and what gets lost is the issue of control.

      The issue is this: will the Palestinians in the end have a state that has potential for economic development, that has real political sovereignty, that has control of its borders, that has control of its resources, like water? Will Palestinians have a state that is a coherent territory that people can move freely within? Is it a real state, even if it's a small one, or is it really a Bantustan controlled by Israel?

      And so, the matrix of control talks about how Israel controls the Palestinians: through incorporating the West Bank into Israel-proper with roads, through connecting electrical systems, water systems, urban systems, and so on. It talks about Israel keeping military control, about Israel keeping control of parts of the country like Jerusalem and parts of West Bank, which in the end will leave the Palestinians with non-viable islands.

      The matrix of control talks about the use of planning and law, and administration bureaucracy to control the movements, building, and commercial activity of the Palestinians. In other words, what the matrix of control says is that besides the issue of military control, and besides the issue of territory, Israel exerts a lot of control over Palestine. It controls the water, it controls the borders, it controls Jerusalem, it controls their army, it controls their freedom of movement. And unless we dismantle the matrix of control, we haven't really done anything. The difference between a real Palestinian state, even if it's small, and a Bantustan, is the matrix of control.

      Now, I don't think we can dismantle the matrix of control. I think it has gone too far, and that the occupation is permanent. We are in a state of apartheid. But not everybody agrees with me - Uri Avnery doesn't agree with me, the people who are in favour of a two-state solution still think that we can end the occupation, or that we can roll it back enough that a Palestinian state will emerge. But the danger in being for a Palestinian state is that if you don't understand the control dimensions, then you are actually agitating for a Bantustan. I mean, Sharon also wants a Palestinian state; he wants a state that is completely controlled by Israel. So if you only look at territory and you don't look at the issue of control, you end up advocating a Bantustan.

    • seafoid,

      I think the strategy that Shawamrehs have pursued (together with Jeff Halper and the ICAHD) has been both wise and courageous. They have sought to highlight one aspect of the injustices that they have suffered and continue to suffer, as Palestinians - exposing the Israeli apartheid system for what it is.

      I think he’s another one of these committed Israelis who is working for an Israel that is no longer salvageable

      I disagree. Halper is one of the most realistic Israelis I know.

  • Oh, the outrage! 'Haaretz' runs 'Pinkwashing' piece from NYT!
    • Just to get things back on track. The issue on this particular thread is not the coolness of TA, but the intentional exploitation of TA's relative tolerance to cover up all the other stuff. That's the pinkwashing part.

      An appropriate analogy would be a State Department programme to improve the image of the US in Europe (tarnished by things like war, torture and propping up racist apartheid regimes) by showcasing SF as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world. That would be pinkwashing.

  • JNF board member resigns over eviction of Palestinian family in Silwan
    • How did he live with himself belonging to that den of thieves for so long?

      That's an important question, kalithea. I think a significant part of the answer lies in the widespread international and liberal approval of the "peace process", which has legitimised the existence of an ethnic Jewish state within '49 borders (with all that entails in terms of past and ongoing dispossession and ethnic cleansing), and refused to deal with the harsher and more blatant dispossession and ethnic cleansing and apartheid going on in the OT, because that situation is "temporary" and will be resolved through "negotiation". Of course Israeli settlement policy (post-'67) is "provocative" and "unhelpful", but if we can just get the sides (especially the Palestinians - who continue to reject Israel's "right to exist") back to the table, everything will be resolved.

      Mr. Morrison has just realised that he is somehow involved (albeit through a subsidiary) in these "provocations", which he rightly considers immoral, but will not question the JNF's role in ethnic cleansing within the Green Line - because every moderate, progressive, liberal he knows says it's OK, and because he himself believes "that the Jewish people have the right to a secure, democratic and peaceful homeland in Israel". Only anti-Semites and whackos question the morality of Zionism itself ("mistakes" and "warts" notwithstanding). In a feat of twisted logic, Morrison opposes the ethnic cleansing of Silwan, because it undermines the "peace process", viz. the perpetuation of the ethnic cleansing within the armistice line - some of it by the very same method (the Absentee Property Law) he decries in East Jerusalem!

      I know two leaders of the local branch of the JNF - one a blatantly racist right-winger, and the other a member of the "peace camp". Sadly, there is no talking to either of them about Israel, although the latter might share Morrison's discomfort at the specific actions of Heimanuta (the JNF subsidiary complicit in the ethnic cleansing of Silwan).

  • Beinart says Israel must give citizenship to Palestinians under occupation
    • When Hamas or Fatah or both or either declare that they are freeing their people to become Israeli citizens, then Israel will face this problem squarely... This does not mean that Israel or Israel supporters are under no “obligation” to offer the Palestinians (or the future Israeli Palestinians) rights or citizenship until that point, but until that point Israel has an excuse for dithering

      Israel doesn't need any particular excuse for "dithering". Beinart's point seems to be that the onus is on Israel to act, in the realisation that the damage it is causing to itself (with the help of American Jews) is irreparable.

      The Hamas/Fatah divide is serious, but just as Israel has fomented it over the years, it can contribute to creating conditions conducive to reconciliation.

      Beinart is not really proposing a single state, but observing that I/P is effectively a single unit, under a single regime. This undermines the Israeli defence against the apartheid accusation, and makes Israel responsible for violations of Palestinian human and civil rights now. It also means that that negotiations cannot merely treat the conflict as a "dispute" between two more-or-less equal sides. There is an oppressor side and an oppressed side, and the rights of the latter (as opposed to the "generous offers" of the former) must be on the table.

  • Israeli newspaper owner says Obama can't stop settlers' 'apartheid regime' because of 'Jewish lobby'
    • Hmm. An unequivocal statement in a US Department of State report vs. an article by an associate director and research director of CAMERA, who confuses Israeli citizens, "aliens" and Jews, and cites repealed laws. I wonder which one we should believe?

      Distraction over. Now what was Schocken saying about Israeli apartheid?

  • 'Segregated country': Israel envisions Orthodox-Jewish-only 'cities' in Palestinian area
    • The white majority in the US and Australia is “artificial” because it is the result of ethnic cleansing, discriminatory immigration policies and gerrymandering.

      You forgot apartheid South Africa, and I forgot the word "ongoing". There are a few other differences, but I'm sure everyone here knows them by now.

      In any event, my original comment was not about the state of Israeli democracy, but about your ideas of that concept - including your reduction of Jewish opinion to the views of a majority of a community that may one day (but not today) constitute a narrow majority of world Jewry, with little or no regard for the roles of minorities, dissent and protest.

  • Dueling messages on Iran
    • For even Goldstone to be strong armed into writing an op ed tryhig to refute teh charge proves it is not dismissed.

      In the UN footage that Adam posted the other day ("Wayback Machine"), the New Zealand ambassador eloquently - albeit unwittingly - explained why it is a charge that Israel and its supporters must refute at all costs. Ambassador Templeton noted that apartheid is universally considered to be racist, but Zionism is not apartheid and therefore should not be equated with racism.

      But what if it could be demonstrated that Zionism (or, more precisely, the system of religio-ethnic separation and discrimination in force in the State of Israel) is apartheid, or something very close to it? Should it not then be universally considered racist as well, and treated as South Africa was?

      These are high stakes - for the Palestinians, for human rights and international law, and for Israel and Zionists.

  • Aloni: Goldstone legitimizes apartheid in Israel/Palestine
    • The fact is that there is today a single political and geographic space between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. The whole area has been under Israeli sovereignty and control for the past 44 years. The skies, seas, borders, water rights, the judicial system as well as military and civic government are all controlled by Israel. Palestinians have municipal rule; not sovereignty.

      Ironically, according to a story that appeared at Ynet a couple of months ago, it is the Israeli FM that is insisting that the OPT are part of sovereign Israel, while those nasty Jew-haters the French are trying to save Israeli from the ignominy of apartheid by locating Israeli colonies in "Occupied Palestinian Territory". link to

    • A couple of years ago I approached my ardently Zionist mom, a woman who carried a weapon for the Jewish community of Jerusalem in 1948, and asked her a simple question: “Mom, is all this apartheid?”

      With the sigh of a betrayed lover she indicated that, yes, this is apartheid. My heart broke.

      Wow! Shulamit Aloni used the "a" word. Does Justice Goldstone believe that the great Shulamit Aloni who has dedicated her life to the cause of peace also seeks "to retard rather than advance peace negotiations" (his characterisation of those who "slander" Israel with the apartheid label)?

      This is sufficient to call this Israeli practice a form of apartheid.

      Not quite. According to Justice Goldstone, it is not technically apartheid unless a significant percentage of the population bears the surname Van der Merwe.

  • Spinozapalooza! Jewish leader says American Jewish community must kick out anyone who supports boycott
    • the allegation of apartheid is leveled at the whole Jewish populace of Israel.

      No, it is levelled at a government that pursues certain policies and has the power to pursue others. Like Apartheid South Africa. There was never a boycott of "the whole [white] populace of [South Africa]".

      You want to discuss making changes in the attitude towards Israel and in Israel’s behavior? I have no problem with that.

      The Jewish community at large does have a problem with that (as do Israeli government agencies), and has been seeking to suppress such views and expel those who hold them for a very long time - long before BDS, which is only about 5 years old (or the settlement boycott initiated by Gush Shalom, which is a little older).

      You want to discuss using BDS to make changes? That is like discussing whether Jesus is the son of God. There is nothing to discuss.

      Heresy. Herem.

    • The BDS movement is aimed at having non-Jews boycott and sanction Jews. That has always been considered the action of a “moser”. That is where it crosses the line. It is not the excessive criticism of Israel, it is the egging on of the goyim to harm Jews.

      BDS is not a Jewish movement and it is not aimed at Jews. It is a Palestinian movement supported by Jews and non-Jews, and its target is a political construct, representing both Jews and non-Jews (albeit unequally). It is based on the principles of human rights and international law. The argument of "singling Israel out" doesn't wash with Jews (or Palestinians), because we have many good reasons to take a particular interest in Israel - as the Federations and the Israeli government never tire of telling us.

      The concept of "moser" is primarily a Halakhic one. Since you do not observe Halakhah, we can set internal Halakhic discourse regarding interpretation and applicability aside. The parallel sociological concept is little more than a closing of ranks to protect "one's own", regardless of their actions. It is a throwback to the days of separate judicial systems and double ethical standards, and should be anathema to "a free people in its land" or to citizens of "the land of the free". The vast majority of Jews today would not protect child molesters or embezzlers simply because they are Jews, why should we protect Jews who commit the crime of apartheid?

      Your last sentence - and entire comment in fact - really is straight out of the shtetl. It is indicative of a deep contradiction within Zionism. This is something we should be able to discuss in our communities, without banning or shunning or unilaterally "de-Jewing" those we disagree with.

      On a side note, you should read Immanuel Etkes' הדת והחיים: תנועת ההשכלה היהודית במזרח אירופה [English title: The East European Jewish Enlightenment]. In one of the chapters, he describes the mutual recourse of Maskilim and Hasidim to the Austro-Hungarian authorities to settle internal, Jewish differences - not over criminal activity or harm done to others, but over issues of education, theology and ideology. It is because of these battles that the rabbi who performed my great-grandparents' wedding ceremony could not register the marriage (he was an "unrecognised" rabbi, thanks to the efforts of the Maskilim) and my grandfather was listed in official records as a "bastard". Historically, when Jews have believed that it was for their own good and/or the good of others, they have not hesitated to seek "outside" help or alliances. There is nothing "un-Jewish" or herem-worthy about such efforts in and of themselves. How they are recorded by history usually depends on who is doing the recording.

      To return to my original point. There is no room in most organised Jewish communities today for anti-Zionism, with or without BDS. It is Israel the rabbis are afraid to discuss, not political strategies or tactics. Support for Israel is today's Jewish orthodoxy - not religious or theological orthodoxy, as in the past, but secular-national orthodoxy. Where there is orthodoxy there is heterodoxy and, unfortunately, herem. There is no inherent reason why most of our communities and organisations cannot get over this kind of orthodoxy, just as they have gotten over religious orthodoxy.

  • Goldstone's major error: By looking for South Africa, he missed Israel's own brand of apartheid
    • Goldstone's second major error is to omit core Israeli policies, particularly relating to the mass expulsions of 1948 and the subsequent land regime built on expropriation and ethno-religious discrimination. By law, Palestinian refugees are forbidden from returning, their property confiscated - the act of dispossession that enabled a Jewish majority to be created in the first place.

      In other words, having successfully completed the first stage of apartheid - creating a Jewish majority and setting the mechanisms of Jewish domination in motion - Israel moved on to the second, less blatant and less draconian, pseudo-democratic, "maintenance" stage of apartheid.

      Justice Goldstone is right that Israeli policies of discrimination differ from those of South African Apartheid. The Israeli system has been far more successful.

  • Goldstone sugarcoats persecution to try to save Israel
    • I was struck by two ostensibly marginal points in Goldstone's op-ed.

      First, Goldstone attacks the Palestinian bid for UN membership as "put[ting] hope for any two-state solution under increasing pressure". This is an untenable position rejected even by many of Israel's supporters. It is, however, the position taken by the Israeli government (which has called the acceptance of Palestine as a member of UNESCO a "tragedy" - no less) and consequently by organised Jewish communities around the world. It also serves Goldstone as the "timely" background for his attack on the Palestinian solidarity movement - which brings me to the second point.

      It is an unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel, calculated to retard rather than advance peace negotiations.

      Really? Is that the "calculated" intention of those who accuse Israel of the crime of apartheid? "To retard rather than advance peace negotiations"? Talk about slander.

  • The law and practice of apartheid in South Africa and Palestine
    • Ah, so, rape isn’t rape when there is no intent to maintain “a regime of sexual violence and physical domination of the female by the male.”


      The definition of the crime of apartheid (as opposed to other crimes that Goldstone admits Israel regularly commits in the OPT) requires an "institutionalised regime" and the intent of "maintaining domination". In that sense, Goldstone addresses the right points when he attempts to demonstrate that Israeli crimes in the OPT - as awful as they may be - do not amount to apartheid. The question is how he can ignore all of the evidence that points to the existence of such a regime and the clear intent of all Israeli governments to maintain Jewish domination in those territories (with or without ineffectual hand-wringing) for the foreseeable future.

  • Boycott update: Champion fencer Sara Besbes stands down rather than plays Israeli
    • 3e,

      The question was whether the system in force in all or part of the territory under Israeli control is consistent with the definition of the crime of apartheid in international law. Jon did not argue, as you do, that what counts is which countries are "considered" (by whom?) to practise apartheid, rather than criteria established in international statues and conventions, but that Israeli policy (as deplorable as it may be) does not meet those criteria. It is thus reasonable to ask that he back up his opinion with cogent arguments and sources, especially since he has accused the HSRC report of bias.

    • jon,

      Thanks about the riots. I think I have pretty good protest "survival" skills, and they served me well yesterday.

      I think you are missing a few points in your analysis of the applicability of the apartheid label.

      First, the OT are not on the moon, or even in another country. They are a de facto part of Israel, in which Israel formulates and implements policy. To say that 'Israel practises apartheid in some of the areas under its control' in not fundamentally different from saying that 'Israel is an apartheid state'. That it was only a partial study of Israel's worst violations is duly noted both in the original report and in the summary.

      Second, apartheid is not a matter of taste or degree (a little discrimination not nice, a lot of discrimination apartheid). There are legal definitions, which do not require precise equivalence to the situation in apartheid South Africa. The relevant question is does Israel - in any part of the territory under its control - fit those definitions? You have not seriously addressed the actual legal arguments contained in the report, or cited any counter sources. Do you have an opinion on "the pillars of apartheid", or are you only prepared to dismiss them in general terms because you don't like the politics of ICAHD (or the HSRC, or the experts it consulted)?

      Start with the definition offered at the beginning of the report (based on the Rome Statute and ICERD convention):

      Apartheid is defined as an institutionalized form of racism in which states enact laws which function as the apparatus to commit inhuman acts for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them. The practice of apartheid is a crime under international law.

      Racism or racial group is any distinction, exclusion or preference based on race, color, religion, descent, national origin, ethnic origin or other criteria which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the rights of one group.*

      * Emphases mine.

    • jon,

      As tree points out, I have made quite a number of comments on the subject, that you can access by searching for "apartheid" on my profile page.

      You have basically made three points on this thread:
      1. Gaza is not under Israeli control and therefore does not count, even if definitions of apartheid might otherwise apply.
      2. You do not approve of policies in the West Bank (I don't know whether you include E. Jerusalem or not), but would not define them as apartheid.
      3. Because Palestinians vote as citizens in Israeli elections, the situation cannot be defined as apartheid.

      I do not accept your position on Gaza (as I have argued before), but let's leave it out, for the sake of argument.

      With regard to the WB and E. Jerusalem, have you read the ICAHD summary of the report (only 15 pages in large print)? Which parts of it do you disagree with? What is wrong with the HSRC understanding of international law in this case? Can you cite any sources to back up your critique?

      With regard to Israel within the Green Line, the situation is certainly much better than in the OT (or apartheid SA), but why are you so certain that the definition of apartheid could not possibly apply? The mere fact of citizenship and the right to vote does not preclude the existence of a racist system that might be legally defined as apartheid (although not as severe as in the OT or in apartheid SA). The ongoing policies of "Judaization" - especially in the Galilee and Negev - would seem to point in that direction, especially when examined in the broader context of systemic discrimination and access to resources (land, in particular) in favour of Israel's "charter" ethnic group.

    • The South African report looks like a case of shooting the arrow and then drawing the bull’s eye around it. The conclusions were pre-ordained.

      Anything substantive to say about the content of a 300-page report written by a group of experts on the subject of Apartheid?

    • From:

      Is Israel an Apartheid State?
      Summary of an International Legal Study

      The Government of South Africa, seeking to eliminate and prevent the kind of suffering the South African and Namibian people suffered under apartheid, commissioned a legal study of the Israel-Palestine situation. “The aim of this project was to scrutinize the situation from the nonpartisan perspective of international law, rather than engage in political discourse and rhetoric.”

      An international team of legal and human rights scholars carried out this fifteen month collaborative study. They set out to examine legally the question:
      Do Israel’s practices in occupied Palestinian territory, namely the
      West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, amount to the crimes of
      colonialism and apartheid under international law?

      The study is comprehensive. It addresses pertinent international law and legal rulings, the legal status and laws governing historic Palestine from Ottoman times to the present, Israeli law and Israel’s various legal arguments as to why international law does not apply. It reviews Israel’s practices weighed against this legal context, citing similar practices carried out by the government of South Africa during apartheid.

      The evidence in the study is broad. It addresses Israel’s practices within the state of Israel proper and in occupied Palestinian territory as well as practices that affect Palestinian refugees. Conclusions about apartheid focus on Israel’s practices after 1967 when it occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.


      The conclusions of the study address Israel’s practices in occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The study finds Israel’s practices in these territories constitute both colonialism and apartheid.
      The study contains much evidence of similar practices within the state of Israel itself, suggesting the need for additional studies in areas where Israel’s laws dominate. That would include Israel’s practices within the state of Israel proper, where 1.7 million Palestinian Israelis, nearly 24% of the population, are considered “citizen non-members of Israel and afforded a status inferior to that of Jewish citizens;” Israel’s practices regarding Palestinian refugees where Israel’s citizenship laws place inhumane limits on refugees’ right to return to their homes and reclaim their property confiscated by Israel in 1948 and 1967; and Israel’s practices in the occupied Golan Heights.

      Under international law, practices of colonialism and apartheid are judged damaging to international legal order and seriously threaten world peace and security. Findings of colonialism and apartheid legally obligate third party nations to oppose the colonialism-apartheid system. Findings of apartheid, a crime against humanity, also give rise to individual criminal responsibility.

      The full HSRC report, "Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid? A re-assessment of Israel’s practices in the occupied Palestinian territories under international law" (Cape Town, May 2009), can be found here: link to

    • jon,

      Definitions of Zionism are far less important in this context than definitions of Israeli policies. It is not enough just to say they're bad or that you feel for Palestinians. Whether they do indeed constitute such crimes as apartheid and ethnic cleansing is a matter of serious international, legal and diplomatic import.

      Read the ICAHD booklet I linked to (summary of the South African Human Sciences Research Council report), and provide substantive arguments and evidence to the contrary, if you like.

    • The Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa published a report saying Israel is practicing apartheid.

      A summary of the 300-page South African report can be found here:

    • Many of you will remember how effective the sports boycott of the 1970s and 1980s was in conveying to sport-crazy South Africans that our society had placed itself beyond the pale by continuing to organise its life on the basis of racial discrimination.

      Your refusal to kow-tow to racism was the sanction that hurt the supporters of apartheid the most, and for those of us who suffered the effects of discrimination nothing could have shown us more vividly the principal value enshrined in the preamble to the Spirit of Cricket, which Lord Cowdrey and Ted Dexter later helped to introduce to the laws of the game, the value of which is all the more powerful for the simplicity of its statement, and that of course is fair play.

      For 20 years, as the sports boycott tightened and apartheid stopped generations of South African sportsmen and women, both white and black, realising their full potential, you and others like you drummed into us what the world saw as fair play and what it saw as unfair play.

      I have not the slightest doubt that what you did played a major role in persuading the supporters of apartheid to change their ways and, in the negotiations that followed F.W. de Klerk’s courageous decision to release Nelson Mandela in 1990, to agree on a constitution based on the principle, also enshrined in the Spirit of Cricket, of respect for others.

      There have been those who have loved the dichotomies that try to divide life into watertight compartments – religion, politics, sport – imagining fondly that they were watertight and impervious to one another. But we know differently: politics impinges on sport as much as on any other aspect of life.

      We know that politics and sport have an important relationship. We indicated that the sports boycott played a crucial part in our liberation, and now sport is playing a pivotal part in helping to build South Africa up to be the rainbow nation.

      From a speech given by the Most Reverend Dr. Desmond Tutu at Lord's Cricket Ground in June 2008. See the full text here.

  • South African student bodies declare, 'We recognise apartheid when we see it'
    • On a related note, at a demonstration in Rome, against Israel's 2008-2009 Gaza massacre, I met a friend who is a very liberal Zionist. She was enraged and on her way home (I suspect she may have been looking for an excuse). Apparently there had been a lot of pre-rally negotiating between organising/sponsoring groups, and in an attempt to appeal to the broadest possible spectrum, an agreement had been reached that there would be no flags or symbols of any kind. The reason my friend was angry is that she had spotted a couple of people wearing keffiyehs around their necks. She insisted that the keffiyeh, in Italy, is associated with the most virulent anti-Israel and anti-Semitic left (always the left, eh?), and as such was an inflammatory symbol and a violation of the pre-rally agreement. One person's symbol of freedom and liberation was another person's symbol of bigotry and violence. I carried a sign in Hebrew. I don't think anyone was offended, but who knows?

      In my experience (about 25 years of activism in 2 countries), efforts to please everyone rarely have the desired effect when it comes to causes that are considered pretty radical to begin with (like calling the Israeli system apartheid and supporting sanctions against Israel). Those who are interested in the message will swallow a frog or two (I'm not particularly keen on national flags or Che Guevara, for example), and those who are indifferent or opposed will always find reasons to be offended or turned off (such as the mere mention of the dreaded A-word in relation to Israel).

      If you're looking for material to circulate on Palestinian rights, BDS or Israeli apartheid, uncontaminated by the dreaded and irredeemable symbol of the gulag, there's certainly no shortage. You can just give this one a miss.

    • I'll take your word for it about Sweden, but communism has been many different things in different places at different times - much of it honourable and entirely compatible with human rights and liberation struggles. The South African Communist Party took part in the struggle against apartheid. The Italian Communist Party took part in the struggle against Fascism, and was instrumental in the establishment of the democratic Italian Republic and the drafting of its constitution after the war. The Israeli Communist Party has been at the forefront of the struggle for Palestinian rights in Israel and the OPT.

      Communism has played a crucial role in labour movements throughout the world (including the United States, and probably Sweden too, although I am not familiar with Sweden's specific case). Without the various communist parties and movements in Italy, there would be virtually no human rights movement, no gay rights movement, no feminist movement, and little if any interest in the Palestinian struggle (or the plight of Afghanis or Iraqis or Roma or immigrants). The dominant symbol at any pro-Palestinian rally in Italy today is the hammer and sickle - because of communist values, not in spite of them. My point is that in many countries, the hammer and sickle is a symbol of freedom and equality, not oppression. I believe South Africa is one of those countries, and that is the context of the above statement. There are countries in which one can call her/himself communist publicly and be taken very seriously (and respected even by opponents). I am sorry that Sweden is not one of them.

      Communist parties all over the world have undergone numerous reforms and changes over the years - including chucking the hammer and sickle. In Italy, the parties that have done so - including the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and the left-of-centre Left, Liberty and Ecology Party (SeL) have also chucked Palestinian solidarity right along with it. Probably the freest and most open (and pro-Palestinian and pro-human rights and anti-war and anti-corruption and pro-equality) paper in Italy is called Il Manifesto, and the dominant colour in every struggle against oppression - at home and abroad - is red.

      There is a very decent communist ethos, currently and historically - despite the terrible things that have been done in the name of communism. I can't say the same for that other symbol you mention. There is no equivalence.

      The crazed wingnuts don't need a hammer and sickle to see commies and Al-Qaeda under every bed.

  • Palestinian statehood initiative is educational tactic in a long struggle
    • Sometimes ignorance is better than a bad education. Contrary to BDS, the PA bid for recognition at the UN, reinforces the message that the post-'67 occupation is the only problem in I/P, once again abandoning Palestinians within Israel and especially the refugees (Arafat did so at his peril). Does this move really represent what Palestinians want?

      I think Abunimah put it well (as usual):

      The effort to seek diplomatic recognition for an imaginary Palestinian state on a fraction of historic Palestine is a strategy of desperation from a Palestinian leadership that has run out of options, lost its legitimacy, and become a serious obstacle in the way of Palestinians regaining their rights....

      Recognition of a Palestinian "state" under Israeli occupation would certainly solidify and perpetuate the privileges and positions of unelected PA officials, while doing nothing to change the conditions or restore the rights of millions of Palestinians, not just in the territories occupied in the June 1967 war, but within Israel, and in the diaspora.

      Far from increasing international pressure on Israel, it may even allow states that have utterly failed in their duty to hold Israel accountable to international law to wash their hands of the question of Palestine, under the mantro of "we recognised Palestine, what more do you want from us?"

      Palestinians and their allies should not be distracted by this international theatre of the absurd, but should focus on building wider and deeper BDS campaigns to end Israeli apartheid everywhere that it exists, once and for all.

      link to

  • New tactic in anti-boycott effort: 'name and shame'
    • OK, I'll start, but I see no reason to limit the campaign to BDS-supporters.

      I name David Harris - for defending apartheid, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and other violations of human rights and international law, while smearing any views he doesn't like with accusations of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, and hiding behind words he doesn't really mean, like "peace", "engagement" and "co-existence".

      Shame on him.

  • Israel 'maintains an apartheid regime,' Israeli general says in 'Haaretz'
    • Welcome, zhaomafan.

      Defining the actions of the Israeli government as consistent with "the crime of apartheid" is far from academic. Such a definition has serious international, legal, financial and diplomatic ramifications. See this ICAHD report on the subject (a summary of a study commissioned by the South African Government): Apartheid%20Booklet%20Digital.pdf" rel="nofollow">

      As for your criticism of BDS, it is a Palestinian initiative and so, naturally focuses on Palestine. Other boycotts focus on other issues (I think there's a list of current boycotts at Wiki). Furthermore, boycott is a strategy, not an ideology. It worked against South Africa and could work against Israel. On the subject of "Singling Israel out for Moral Opprobrium", I recommend the following article by Jerry Haber (Magnes Zionist): link to

  • The erasure of history (Israel gives go-ahead to desecration of Mamilla cemetery)
    • Good for you, 3e. If only it were a matter of this law or that law. It is systemic and it is apartheid. You'll be happy to know, I'm sure, that BDS is not meant to be observed by Israelis (with the exception of companies and institutions complicit in the occupation - where possible). BDS is mainly an external gig, although encouragement "from within" is important and most welcome.

      As for myself, when abroad, I BDS like an outsider, and when in Israel, I BDS like an Israeli - avoiding anything related to the occupation, and trying to buy Palestinian products.

  • Richard Witty's 10,000th comment
    • Richard,

      Again, you frame everything in the terms most comfortable for you - which is very nice, because not only are you not a Palestininian; you're not even an Israeli.

      Why does "the goal" have to be stated in positive terms, when the reality (Palestinian reality) is so negative? The correct order is stop oppression (without creating new oppression, of course), and build something positive. The former is non-negotiable, the latter impossible to achieve without negotiation and co-operation. You want to skip the first part, or worse, make it contingent upon the successful outcome of the second part.

      To go back to our favourite examples, the struggles against Jim Crow and Apartheid were first and foremost about ending oppression - a sine qua non for building an egalitarian, multiracial society. You can't work on what the new, non-discriminatory society (or societies) will look like before you have established the principle that there will be no discrimination, and seriously worked toward eliminating it. The oppressor loves talk about visions for the future - he can't get enough of it - because it means he can preserve his privilege in the present.

      The most effective way of attaining the primary goal of ending oppression is to highlight the fact that the issue is one of human rights and international law, not contingent upon negotiation or compromise or peace or love or relationships. Establishing the non-negotiability of the principle of equality is also the most effective way of ensuring an eventual, viable resolution to the conflict.

      In practical terms, BDS would appear to be an effective strategy, in terms of its guiding, non-violent principles, ability to raise awareness of the situation in I/P as a problem of rights and international law, and possibility of bringing significant - especially moral - pressure to bear on Israel to abide by its obligations according to international law. Furthermore, as a Palestinian initiative, supported by the vast majority of Palestinian society, it reaffirms the principle of self-determination.

      You then create a false dichotomy. The fight against oppression (including BDS) does not "follow hateful statements and terrorist mass murderous actions." That is something you have been trying to attribute to it, without any basis in fact - because you are extremely uncomfortable with the idea that one side (your side) bears far more responsibility than the other, and not because it is "insensitive" or "inhumane" or requires anyone to "suicide their sensitivity" (a rather odd and violent expression).

      You close with another false and slanderous assertion - that the Palestinian struggle against oppression somehow entails "hate", which must then be "justified". Your pompous, Ten Commandment-style sermon on mutual declarations of "I shall not hate" is just another way of saying "why can't we all just get along". Masters and slaves don't just get along, although the master sometimes likes to pretend that they do. Work on changing the relationship, establish equality, and then talk about getting along.

    • You do not crave reliable information on Palestinians' lives. You crave comfortable information on Palestinians' lives. You want to hear moral equivalence and mutual pain and respective narratives and relationship-building and sympathy, because that is what you need to hear, whether that is what Palestinians are saying or not. You ignore and dismiss authentic, intelligent, non-violent, Palestinian voices, like the Unified Call for BDS - twisting and mauling them in the process, for failing to live up to your vision, your ideal, your interests, not theirs.

      You do the same with authentic Palestinian views on the Gaza massacre, the closure, the checkpoint regime, the hell on earth created by the supremacist settlement project, and every other aspect of Palestinian reality that would upset your why-can't-we-all-just-get-along approach to ongoing apartheid and ethnic cleansing.

      It is uncomfortable for you to think of "the relationship as ONLY oppressor/oppressed", but that is the way the vast majority of Palestinians in the OPT experience it. You "crave RELIABLE information on Palestinians' lives", but have no interest whatsoever in the way that Palestinians actually live and feel, because that would interfere with your "self-construction". So you dismiss views you find disturbing as unreliable or polemical.

      BDS is precisely "a grand mix of engagement and self-development efforts and non-violent civil disobedience". As in SA and the US South, alliances and relationships are built for the purpose of ending oppression, not for understanding and sympathising with the oppressor and his supremacist sensibilities. BDS is anything but "loud drama", but you can't allow yourself to see that. So you make up your own version of BDS - a "fascist" version, that you can easily dismiss.

      Your green thread suggestion is not an act of resistance, because it resists nothing and shows no solidarity - if only because it fails to recognise the existence of the other side and its needs. The concept of two states, in and of itself, is meaningless to Palestinians. BTW, Palestinians from the WB are not allowed anywhere near the green line. Gazans are simply shot if they go anywhere near their prison fence. The privileged lords and masters of the land may go anywhere they like, with as much yarn as they fancy. No one cares. Certainly not Palestinians.

    • When I referred to experience of direct action, I meant Jim Crow, Apartheid, and anti-colonialism - struggles against oppression that would never have succeeded were it not for determined action to render privilege less comfortable. These are the models for BDS and the current struggle for Palestinian rights.

      Palestinians have been using every possible method of struggle (including direct action) against their dispossession for nearly a century. They have had successes and failures - the First Intifada, with its tax- and commercial-strikes and other forms of civil disobedience being a case in point. Without the First Intifada, the Israelis would never have gone to Madrid or Oslo. The latest concerted effort - BDS -is only 6 years old and has had remarkable success so far in heightening awareness, offering a way in which to channel and expand solidarity, and showing Israelis that their actions are not without consequences.

      The Oslo years saw a huge rise in Israeli-Palestinian dialogue on a popular level, joint projects, exchanges and "relationship-building". Palestinian society as a whole has come to the conclusion however, that these efforts have, for the most part, been a waste of time, simply serving to perpetuate their oppression, while offering their oppressors ways to feel better about themselves without effecting any real change - even in attitude. The more they met with Israelis, the more the settlements grew and the harder their lives became. BDS (as explained in the Unified Call) was not the product of impatience, but of sober evaluation and the understanding that negotiation and dialogue, as practised thus far, have been to the exclusive advantage of their oppressors.

      You say that you "crave reliable information on Palestinians’ experience". Not only does this site present mountains of it (from Palestinians themselves and from close observers such as Jonathan Cook), but you reject as "vague" and "maximalist" and even "racist and fascist" the conclusions and appeals of Palestinian civil society - the fruit of Palestinian experience - first and foremost the Palestinian- initiated and led BDS campaign. You say you would like to build relationships, but you never bother to ask whether Palestinians are interested in such relationships, or what their experiences of such relationships have been in the past, or what they would like to accomplish in the short, medium and long-term.

      And a word about your mother-in-law. The difference is that regardless of what Hungarian anti-Semites may have said and felt, she was not an interloper. Regardless of what the settlers may say and feel, they are indeed interlopers - and brutal ones at that - by every measure of international law, progressive values and common sense. It is the Palestinians who resemble your mother-in-law, not the settlers. It is they who are called interlopers in their native land, and are harassed, stolen from, beaten, tortured, killed and driven out on a daily basis. Yet you do not even have the courage to stand up and tell them to stop, to condemn and take action against those responsible, because you feel that BDS is not sensitive enough to the possible future needs of the oppressor.

      I repeat:

      Is there anything in your universe that might warrant actual condemnation and resistance?

  • Jerusalem Ad: Beautiful apartment, breathtaking view, Jews only
    • Rechavia,

      The license plates give the soldiers at the checkpoints a convenient way of sorting the cars. What really counts is ID cards. WB Palestinians in a yellow-plated car will not be allowed to continue, if stopped and checked.

      Regarding the non-citizen residents, there are yeshiva students, American Jews who spend part of the year in “Israel” (I have some relatives like that in Efrat), and olim on A1 visas (תושב קבע) trying to figure out if they want to stick it out or not – a common practise among western olim. I am sure they far outnumber other foreign nationals in the WB.

      You complain about nitpicking, but the entire discussion began when justicewillprevail was criticised for his accurate characterisation of the roads as “Jews only”. The definition proposed by tokyobk (which you incorrectly claim is “technically correct”) was “Israelis only”, which is, at the very least equally imprecise, but misses the essence of the division – the isolation, restriction and dispossession of non-Jews who challenge Jewish hegemony. The essence is not a matter of immigration laws (citizenship) or the DMV (license plates). It is about taking the land from those whom the state views as having no right to be there (only temporary sufferance) – because it is Jewish land (Jewish, not Israeli) and they are not Jews (פשוטו כמשמעו).

      From the Rome Statute:

      ‘The crime of apartheid’ means inhumane acts … 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;

      The context of the “inhumane acts” committed by Israel in the OPT is the “systematic oppression and domination” on the basis of ethnicity, regardless of the specific bureaucratic means used to carry it out. Highlighting the bureaucratic mechanism (especially when done incorrectly), rather than the essential ethnic discrimination, merely serves to absolve Israel of the crime of apartheid – with far-reaching legal consequences. Needless to say, this is extremely important, hardly nitpicking.

    • You are absolutely correct in your analysis, but incorrect in terms of semantics. That’s the only thing under debate.

      Sorry to insist, but if Jewish non-citizens of Israel resident in the WB may use the roads, but non-Jewish non-citizens of Israel resident in the WB may not do so, how is it a matter of citizenship? That's on the technical level.

      On the non-technical level, it is self-defeating to employ Israeli terminology and bureaucratic justifications (even when technically correct - which is not the case here) for what is for all intents and purposes apartheid.

      Tokyobk was thus technically wrong in his correction, and was essentially saying to justicewillprevail (whether that was his intention or not) that things are not really as bad as all that. Discrimination between citizens and non-citizens does not seem quite as nefarious as discrimination between ethnicities, and it's much harder to call apartheid.

    • Rechavia,

      I was not talking about JNF land, but about a certain type of property, of which there is a lot in Jerusalem, technically owned by the Israel Land Authority but permanently leased (effective sale) only to Israeli citizens (including Palestinians) or those entitled to Israeli citizenship by the Law of Return. Thus my parents could buy a flat in French Hill, as could a Palestinian colleague of my dad's, originally from the Galilee, or a Jew from Tucson, but not a Palestinian resident of E. Jerusalem, born and bred down the street in Shu'afat (or even in the pre-67 Palestinian enclave in French Hill itself). Technically, it would be accurate to say that the policy is based on citizenship (and potential citizenship), when in fact, it is a policy of ethnic discrimination, part of a wider policy of ongoing ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem.

      That is what I meant by my comparison. Yes, a Palestinian from the Galilee can drive on the network of settler roads leading to Eilon Moreh, but a Palestinian from Nablus (right near Eilon Moreh) can't, and that is because only Jewish residents of the WB are allowed to use those roads. It is thus entirely accurate to call those roads "Jews only roads", and incorrect (for the reasons I have explained) to say that it is a matter of citizenship. It is not - technically or otherwise.

      Israel calls itself a democracy, and insists that it be treated as one. It is in fact an ethnocracy - with some trappings of a democracy, behind which it tries to hide the essence of its political system. In the OT it goes a step further, pretending that the situation is temporary, and that everything will be resolved by accord some day - while continuing to perpetuate its colonisation of the territory. Of course the colonisers have more rights. After all, they are citizens of the metropole! The distinguishing factor is citizenship. There is no apartheid or ethnic discrimination there!

      I don't think I jumped down anyone's throat, and the facts presented were incorrect both in substance (the example of the US citizen I gave) and in focus (the only relevant discrimination is between populations resident in the territory itself).

    • This is because the law pertaining to the apartheid roads distinguishes between citizens and non-citizens, not between Jews and non-Jews. The reason these roads are apartheid roads is that among the actual residents of the area, only the Jewish ones are citizens of Israel.

      So it’s not exactly about citizens and non-citizens (a [non-Palestinian] US citizen, for example, would have no problem driving to Eilon Moreh – although trying to get through BG Airport en route to Nablus might be a problem if she tells the truth), but about the two different kinds of residents in West Bank. One is entirely native born, legally resident, entirely non-Jewish, and involuntarily provided all of the land for the roads in question. The other kind, includes many non-natives and even non-citizens (Efrat, for example, is full of tourists and A1 “toshavei keva”), resides entirely illegally in the area, is entirely Jewish, and was not required to provide any of the land for the roads.

      Of all of the characteristics of these two groups – who are the only relevant groups for the purposes of deciding who may and may not use the roads in their area – which do you think is the decisive one? Citizenship or ethnicity? Besides, who has the “Jewish” state been stealing all that land for? All Israeli citizens? The Bahai? The Circassians?

    • ToivoS,

      These complications are the foundation of the "Jewish and democratic" fallacy. They must be exposed for what they are - individually and as a system.

      Ironic that Israel's critics are accused of waging "lawfare", when Israeli ethnic cleansing and apartheid are concealed within a web of legal and ostensibly reasonable mechanisms.

    • Rechavia,

      The assertion that the distinction on the roads in question is by license plate and not ethnicity (although technically correct) is, to quote Shulamit Aloni, "hityafyefut nefesh". Without getting into the situation within the "green line", the entire system and regime in the West Bank is designed to isolate, restrict and expropriate space from non-Jews for the benefit of Jews. For all intents and purposes, there is an apartheid regime in effect, that is absolutely a matter of ethnicity, regardless of the technical, bureaucratic, diplomatic and security excuses employed to make it somehow more acceptable to Israeli and western ears and eyes.

      Similarly, one might say that the prohibition against "selling" (technically perpetual leasing) Israel Land Authority properties in Jerusalem (including French Hill) to anyone who is not an Israeli citizen or entitled to Israeli citizenship (i.e. non-Israeli Jews) is a matter of citizenship and not ethnicity, because it includes non-Jewish citizens of Israel. In fact it is a racist policy designed to limit the housing possibilities for Palestinian residents of Jerusalem - hopefully causing them to leave the city, thereby losing their residency status. It is equally disingenuous to say that they have been offered Israeli citizenship (see link to ), so what are they complaining about?

      It is paramount to denounce Israeli policies for what they are, and not for what they pretend to be - which inevitably softens (in appearance only) and excuses them, even in the mouths of critics.

  • Unsafe, unfair, unreasonable Hitchens
    • GF,

      Mandela was a terrorist, and the ANC was considered a terrorist organisation even by governments that condemned apartheid. An Amnesty report chosen at random (1981) from the Apartheid years, explicitly refers to "violent acts" on the part of the ANC, "an attack on a police station", "the seizure of a bank" and "the deaths ... of civilian hostages." The ANC was definitely not "nice", and Amnesty never said it was. The bulk of Amnesty's criticism and documentation however, was aimed at the South African government, just as it is currently aimed at Israel.

      Codepink is not identical to the flotilla, although I'm sure that all individual and organisational participants in the flotilla agree that Hamas must be given a place at the negotiation table (the substance of Benjamin's "mission"), and that Israel is by far the greater perpetrator of violence and acts terrorism. Like Gideon Levy, Benjamin focuses on the far greater and lesser-known injustice. It is preposterous to suggest that she "works for" or supports Hamas.

      Demands that those who support the Palestinian cause denounce violence by Palestinians (legitimate and illegitimate) are little more than parlour tricks, intended to distract, manipulate and obfuscate. If you were truly concerned about your kids growing up in "an Apartheid state", you wouldn't be trying to draw attention away from the crimes committed by that state, even if Palestinian resistance and the movements it has produced have been less than perfect (not to minimise, but to put in proportion - as Amnesty and HRW do).

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