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15 years ago, ‘IHT’ piece warned: failed peace process=’apartheid’

on 23 Comments
Raji Sourani

Raji Sourani

Last night at Vassar College, Ali Abunimah stated how appalling it is that the mainstream media are jumping all over John Kerry’s “apartheid” statement without asking Palestinians how it looks to them. On the one hand it’s incredible that the elites are having this conversation, Abunimah said.

“But it’s a discussion they’re having with themselves and Israel and the Israel lobby…. The discussion would be a lot easier if you just asked Palestinians about this. But that’s something that’s forbidden.”

Blast from the past. The International Herald Tribune published this great op-ed by Raji Sourani of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in 1999, when the peace process had failed to deliver freedom to Palestinians after five years of promises. That was 15 years ago. And Sourani used the word apartheid repeatedly, and called on an American tradition of civil rights reforms.

The madness of using the peace process to foist apartheid upon us surely cannot be the will of the American people.

Notice that Sourani also bashed the unending settlement project. Time flies, huh?

At Oslo, our negotiators placed their hope in the negotiating process, but the rightness of their cause seemingly fell on deaf ears when the negotiator across the table lived on the stolen land of a Palestinian family long since displaced, and it seems, forgotten.

Despite the bitter path we have walked, those who know us find us to be a hospitable and welcoming people. We are worthy of better than to be demonized by members of Congress who have never visited us to observe the tragic consequences of years of occupation. We are worthy of better than for Representative John Lewis — a man who walked through hell on earth to speed his people’s day of freedom and self-determination — to tell us to hold on and wait still longer. We should wait on no one to claim what is rightfully ours.

Yet, so thoroughly have the parameters of the debate been shaped for us that even should we obtain all of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem we would only be securing 22 percent of historic Palestine. Any further settlement, or splintering of the West Bank will make a Palestinian state nonviable and will rekindle support for other solutions, including a binational state in which Palestinians would soon compose the majority.

To Mr. Lewis, other individual members of the Congressional Black Caucus, and to all congressional leaders and Americans of goodwill who spoke out against the grotesque consequences of apartheid, we beseech you to once again find your conscience and your voice. Generations of Palestinians have abhorred the “politics of dispossession” practiced by one American administration after another, but retain a fundamental confidence in the good sense of the American people to do right by oppressed peoples around the world. The madness of using the peace process to foist apartheid upon us surely cannot be the will of the American people.

The plans for a nonviable Palestinian state have left only two choices, Max Blumenthal said last night at Vassar: apartheid Israel, or plan for equality.

Update: I initially stated that Sourani’s piece ran in the New York Times. It is archived at the Times, but it appeared in the IHT.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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23 Responses

  1. Kay24 on May 1, 2014, 2:25 pm

    All signs say Israel has chosen to keep the status quo, which really leads to apartheid, and it is almost there. Many world leaders have stated that they can recognize apartheid policies when they see it, but when John Kerry said it aloud, oy vey, what outrage. It is a shame that no American has supported Kerry, whether his old colleagues in congress, the media, or even someone from the Obama administration.
    I guess they are afraid to face the wrath of apartheid nation and it’s lobbies here.
    Can the world’s greatest superpower be afraid of a small, alien nation, that is aided, armed and supported by that same superpower? Seems so.

  2. Boomer on May 1, 2014, 2:30 pm

    Re: “I initially stated that Sourani’s piece ran in the New York Times. It is archived at the Times, but it appeared in the IHT.”

    Evidently “not fit to print” where Americans might read it.

    • lysias on May 1, 2014, 2:38 pm

      Like the big difference between CNN International and CNN’s U.S.A. version. Time magazine also has different international and domestic editions, doesn’t it?

      • Boomer on May 1, 2014, 5:08 pm

        I don’t know about Time (could be, I just don’t know) but you are certainly right about CNN. Even Aljazeera now has gone that route, in an effort to get an audience here. Even so, it is still a better source on I/P issues than other U.S. MSM. I don’t know how many Americans see it, or even have access to it.

      • Jeff D on May 2, 2014, 5:04 am

        Too right. One of the things I truly celebrated upon moving out of the US (for what looks too likely to be the last time, but that’s another story) was how CNN in its international version reminded me of the CNN before the TimeWarner merger, after which it descended into Zionist and corporatist propaganda, seasoned with Important-Sounding Fluff.

        What distresses me about CNN International in the last couple of years is the reliability with which, when any important or sensational story comes up, we are switched to the CNN USA feed. (At which point I usually switch over to the BBC.)

        It’s bad enough that American media is a weapon used against Americans who’ve been indoctrinated not to think they have a choice; does the rest of the planet really need to be subjected to that sort of abuse as well?

  3. on May 1, 2014, 2:39 pm

    Kind of off topic but the Boston Globe ran an article today portraying the Northeastern SJP as being contrite and agreeing to act better in the future in order to get un-suspended. Complete bullcrap

  4. James Canning on May 1, 2014, 3:08 pm

    Great piece. The US Congress has foolishly rewarded Israel for growing the illegal colonies of Jews in the West Bank, year after year after year.

    • Jeff D on May 2, 2014, 5:09 am

      Congress have shown themselves to be more loyal to Likud and the seditious colonies of Eretz Israel than to the USA or to the rule of law. (Rule by law is not the same thing; for a confirming example, visit Singapore.) Given that, and given the reality that most US Presidents and Cabinet officials previously served in Congress, there’s a real question of sovereignty that people are expending a great deal of effort and ingenuity to evade admitting, let alone addressing.

  5. bilal a on May 1, 2014, 3:09 pm

    Irregardless of how the Israels got to Palestine, they have the right to self rule, self determination as a people with a unique ethno-cultural identity distinct from the greater Arab Muslim world, much like the Tibetans in greater China, Dalai Lama:

    “With regard to a mutually-acceptable solution to the issue of Tibet, my position is very straightforward. I am not seeking independence. As I have said many times before, what I am seeking is for the Tibetan people to be given the opportunity to have genuine self-rule in order to preserve their civilisation and for the unique Tibetan culture, religion, language and way of life to grow and thrive. My main concern is to ensure the survival of the Tibetan people with their own unique Buddhist cultural heritage. [unique Israeli Jewish heritage is also worth preserving ]… For this, it is essential, as the past decades have shown clearly, that the Tibetans [Jews in Palestine ] be able to handle all their domestic affairs and to freely determine their social, economic and cultural development. ”

    This argues for a federation not a one state multicultural solution.

    Yes, ‘Irregardless’ Is a Word

    • RoHa on May 1, 2014, 8:12 pm

      “Irregardless of how the Israels got to Palestine, they have the right to self rule, self determination as a people with a unique ethno-cultural identity distinct from the greater Arab Muslim world,”

      How does “a unique ethno-cultural identity” justify the right to self rule?
      Also, if by “the Israelis” you mean the citizens of Israel, then 20% of them have a “cultural identity” which is shared with the Levantine Arab world.

      And using “irregardless” indicates a lack of concern for accurate communication.

      • bilal a on May 2, 2014, 2:34 pm

        How does “a unique ethno-cultural identity” justify the right to self rule?

        I’m not qualified to argue with the Dalai Lama on international legal grounds, but Tibetans have made this argument, and to me, its appealing.

        It is consistent with the idea of self rule , liberty, self determination for a people, and I think a people is not defined by a geography or DNA set, but by a shared culture and set of values.

        We may personally prefer one culture over another, but I believe humanity is richer with Tibetans, and other small distinct cultures .And these deserve protection from being leveled by large soulless multicultural unions.

      • RoHa on May 2, 2014, 9:19 pm

        “It is consistent with the idea of self rule , liberty, self determination for a people, and I think a people is not defined by a geography or DNA set, but by a shared culture and set of values.”

        But where do you get the idea that a “people” has a right to self rule, particularly when that self rule requires disregarding the rights of others?

        We have discussed this issue a great deal on MW. So far no convincing arguments for self-rule of “peoples” has been presented, and no conceiving response to the arguments against it. (Actually, hardly any arguments or responses at all.)

      • Citizen on May 3, 2014, 11:41 am

        @ RoHa
        As I see it, “self-rule” is a good thing, but it depends on if one’s, or a nation’s, or a state’s self-rule comes at the expense of another individual, nation’s, or state’s self-rule, yes?

        I’m reminded of the most basic analogy. A man alone on an island, compared to a man living amongst a community elsewhere, and then, there is that community, living adjacent some other community. There’s sacred individualism but there’s also sacred “social contract.” And, by extension, the social contract in an even wider community–international law, the UN, etc.

        How many humans live alone on an island? How many live within a local community? How many communities live totally apart from foreign communities, states, etc?

        A man living alone on an island has full independence of conduct as there’s no other human he may intentionally or accidentally “tread upon.” Once one is living among others, one doesn’t get to do whatever one wants always.

        OK, this sounds lame. Does the concept of justice and tolerance even come up when one lives on an island? Yes, but not as to fellow humans. Otherwise, it automatically creeps up.

  6. Citizen on May 1, 2014, 3:55 pm

    Sourani was right about the just sensibility of the American masses, but he didn’t realize the great extent they never get any objective news about how Israel handles the natives, nor that the Average American has little interest in US foreign policy, especially since the end of the military draft.

  7. Kathleen on May 1, 2014, 4:31 pm

    Yes wondering when Chris Hayes will have Ali Abunimah on to talk straight about the situation since he gave Josh Block from Israel Project plenty of time to say things like “not sure that is true” in response to Palestinians having to stand in long lines and wait for hours to get through checkpoints. Block also called Hamas a “genocidal terrorist organization” and said that there was democracy in the West Bank for Palestinians.

    Giving folks who lie time on his program falls under that “false equivalency” notion that you have to give those who speak with forked tongue the same time as those who repeat facts that can be confirmed my internationally respected human rights organizations. Time for Chris Hayes to have Ali Abunimah on. Please join me in making that request..over at Chris Hayes FB page…Under the Starling 81 racism issue

    • Kay24 on May 1, 2014, 6:08 pm

      I hope your efforts to persuade Chris Hayes to have Ali Abunimah on his show, will be successful. It is disappointing that apologist after apologist come on the zionist msm in the US, lie, exaggerate, and say anything they want to, without a voice from the other side challenging the lies, or shed light on what is happening on their side.
      I am sure there are excellent speakers like Ali Abunimah, who would be happy to speak for those who are never represented, or address the zionist propaganda.
      Good luck.

    • SQ Debris on May 1, 2014, 11:58 pm

      Don’t just talk about putting Chris on the spot. DO IT.

      • Kathleen on May 2, 2014, 4:26 pm

        Because you just never know. Have had it work with some other big media shots. Never hurts to try…

  8. American on May 1, 2014, 4:44 pm

    In 2012 the USSD labeled Israeli settlers attacks as ” terrorist” attacks on Palestines.
    Netanyahu then vowed to the US to bring the settler terrorist to justice.

    This years 2014 report on Isr 2013 says the attacks are still on going and spreading with no real effort to apprend or punish the settlers.

    Nothing changes in Israel. Every Isr adm lies, lies, promises and does nothing.

    U.S. report: ‘Price tag’ attacks spread into Israel, go unpunished
    The annual State Department’s terror report says there were 399 attacks in 2013 by Israeli settler extremists that resulted in Palestinian injuries or property damage
    Ap 2014

    U.S. State Department defines settler violence as terrorism
    In annual report on terrorism in foreign countries, U.S. government report defines so-called ‘price-tag’ attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank as acts of terror.

    By Barak Ravid | Aug. 18, 2012 | 8:35 PM |

    • American on May 1, 2014, 5:15 pm

      Think about 2012 in the US there were 900 attacks on Jews (mostly verbal, not deadly) and Jewish property in a US population of 319+ milllion people.
      In Israel with a population of only 7 to 8 million there were half that many attacks on Palestines and their property.
      That would be the equivalent of about 37,000 hate crimes directed at Jews in the US in one year instead of 900.
      And a state the size of NY cant get control of their settlers and punish them for this?…the obvious truth is they dont want to and make no effort to.

  9. eGuard on May 1, 2014, 8:06 pm

    Ali Abunimah: But it’s a discussion they’re having with themselves

    That could include you, Phil Weiss. You have thrown out certain attitudes for sure (J Street, and eh, need I go on). But did I miss the “**** you, Peter Beinart” piece? Where was the break-with-MJRosenberg moment? All these liberal Zionists: cut the credit.

  10. hophmi on May 2, 2014, 11:06 am

    Ali can say what he wants. I’m not aware of SJPs or other BDS groups inviting mainstream Israelis to learn about their point of view and their narrative. I am aware of a number of mainstream Jewish organizations, including the organization I most identify with, the American Jewish Committee, regularly inviting people from B’Tselem, Peace Now, Encounter, and OneVoice, to address its members about life in the West Bank.

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