The Making of Israel’s Apartheid. By Phil Gasper

Via: Socialist Workers Party.

Phil Gasper recounts the history of how Israel was founded on the basis of the expulsion of the Arab population of Palestine.

ZIONISM IS a political movement that originally emerged in the late 19th century as a response to anti-Semitism, particularly in Eastern Europe.

Capitalist development had undermined the traditional commercial roles that many Jews had played in the old feudal economy. As the economy moved into periodic crises, ruling groups in many countries deflected mass anger by scapegoating Jews.

Zionists drew the pessimistic conclusion that anti-Semitism couldn’t be eliminated–and that to escape persecution, Jews had to emigrate to a region where they could set up an exclusively Jewish state.

Theodore Herzl, known as the father of Zionism, wrote of “the emptiness and futility of trying to ‘combat’ anti-Semitism,” and called for a Jewish state to be set up in an undeveloped country outside Europe.

Herzl was explicit that the program could be carried out only with the backing of one of the major imperialist powers. Once such support had been won, the Zionist movement would conduct itself like other colonizing ventures.

Herzl wrote that, if a Jewish state were created in Palestine, it would form “a portion of the rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism.” In other words, the new state would be part of the system of colonial domination of the rest of the world.

The founders of Zionism were prepared to ally themselves with the most vicious anti-Semites. Herzl approached Count Von Plehve, the sponsor of the worst anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia, with the message: “Help me to reach the land sooner, and the revolt [against Tsarist rule] will end.”

Zionist leaders offered to help guarantee Tsarist interests in Palestine, and rid Eastern Europe and Russia of those “noxious and subversive Anarcho-Bolshevik Jews”–in other words, the people who wanted to fight anti-Semitism, rather than capitulate to it. Von Plehve agreed to finance the Zionist movement as a way of countering socialist opposition to the Tsar. Continue reading

Israel And Apartheid: By People Who Knew Apartheid. By Lawrence of Cyberia

Via: Lawrence of Cyberia.

1. André Brink, one of South Africa’s leading authors, whose opposition to the apartheid regime resulted in his novels becoming the first books in Afrikaans to be banned by the government. This extract is from his memoir, A Fork In The Road (in French, from which the excerpt is taken, Mes bifurcations, pub. Actes Sud, Arles, 2010). Translation mine.

[T]he decisive experience of this trip (in 2002) was the visit to the Palestinian University of Birzeit. I’d read a lot about the Middle East conflict; in Salzburg and elsewhere, I had long impassioned conversations with Palestinian writers. I still remember my discussion with Hanan Mikhail Ashrawi, when she visited the Cape years ago. On several occasions before his untimely death, I also benefited from the wisdom and the gentle humanity of Edward Said.

But this immersion in the terrible reality of this tragic place, of this land and its people, felt to me like very few other things in my life. I felt as if I’d rediscovered the hideous heart of apartheid: the way in which Palestinians, including some of the most wonderful people I’d ever met, are subjected to one of the cruelest forms of oppression on earth; the web of hypocrisy and lies through which the Israeli side tries to obscure and twist the truth.  During this visit there was one particularly shocking event: an old Palestinian man had his shack bulldozed by the Israeli army because he had presumed to install a water tank on its roof to catch the few drops of rain that fell there.

I saw the network of modern highways built for the Israelis, and the pathetic little roads to which the Palestinians are confined; I saw olive groves, often the only means of subsistence for Palestinian farmers, uprooted by the Israelis; I saw the proliferation of new Israeli settlements in the heart  of Palestinian land, built there in contravention of all the agreements signed, just to reinforce the presence and the power of Israelis in territory that does not belong to them. I had already seen this, in the era of the oppression of blacks by whites in South Africa. I had already heard the same pious excuses and explanations.

When I look back on it now, I can’t help but remember the terrible images of Dachau and Auschwitz. Even if Israel has not embarked upon a genocide of the same magnitude as the Holocaust, the ethnic cleansing it is inflicting on the Palestinians is morally equivalent to a slower and smaller-scale version of the death camps. I struggle to understand how a people that has found it so difficult to recover from the horrors of the Holocaust can go on to do to others what was once done to it.

h/t Nouvelles d’Orient. Continue reading

Making the connections between South Africa and Israel–Palestine

Via: Pambazuka News.

The new apartheid
Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights

Israel’s iniquitous treatment of Palestinian people has clear parallels with the discrimination suffered by ‘non-white’ people under apartheid South Africa, argues the Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights. The Israeli state has continued to flout international law in its efforts to annex further territory and marginalise Palestinian people, the coalition argues, calling for the maintenance of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) until Israel ends its occupation.

Apartheid becomes official government policy

‘Apartheid’ is the Afrikaner word for ‘apartness’. It reflected the racist belief that certain people are less human than others. White colonial rulers in South Africa set aside 87 per cent of the best land for themselves. They wanted the labour of the majority indigenous black population, but viewed black Africans as a ‘demographic problem’ whose numbers and movements had to be strictly controlled.

In apartheid South Africa, people were classified as either ‘white’ or ‘non-white’ (‘black’, ‘coloured’ or ‘Asian’). This classification determined where people could live, what kind of jobs they could get, what schools they could attend and what kind of rights they would have. As under ‘Jim Crow’ segregation in the American South, the best of everything was reserved for ‘whites only.’

Apartheid consisted of hundreds of laws that allowed the ruling European minority to segregate, exploit and terrorise the vast majority. The system was maintained by military repression.

The state of Israel is established on the land of Palestine and ethnic-cleansing is made unofficial Zionist policy

In May 1948, the State of Israel was established on 78 per cent of what had been the land of Palestine. Zionist settlers wanted the land, but not the people. In March 1948, Zionist leaders decided to expel them. Within six months, more than 750,000 Palestinians – half of the indigenous population – had been forced to leave their homes, and some 500 Palestinian villages had been destroyed.

In the words of Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, ‘The story of 1948 … is a simple but horrific story of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, a crime against humanity that Israel has wanted to deny and cause the world to forget.’

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were again driven from their homes when Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the 1967 Six Day War. It has maintained that occupation in defiance of the world community for more than 42 years. Continue reading

Canadian Policy: The Jerusalem effect. By Bahija Reghai

Via: OpEndNews.

One must wonder why the Government of Canada feels the need to by-pass the Canadian electorate and announce changes in its policy relating to Israel/Palestine through Israeli media: these announcements should have been made in Canada because they have a profound impact on Canadian interests and need to be debated in Canada.

And our national media have gone AWOL on a number of issues when they are supposed to be their readers’ and viewers’ watchdogs, especially since Parliament has been prorogued.

First, we learned of the Security Agreement through the Jerusalem Post in 2007. On March 2, 2008, a Declaration of Intent was signed by then Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day in Tel Aviv. Having a mutual security agreement with a country that grants rights according to religion rather than citizenship is not in accord with Canadian values.

The fact that Israel is an occupier state and uses its army against Palestinians while occupying their land should also raise a red flag as intelligence gathered on Canadian Arabs of Palestinian and Israeli background may be skewed, “shared”, and used against them. The implications of such an agreement should be the subject of parliamentary debate and oversight.

Second, the Israeli settler radio station Arutz Sheva said in October 2009 that Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon had announced in Israel his intention “to present the Canadian Prime Minister with a plan to revive the multilateral “refugee committee’ headed by Canada that was established in the Madrid Conference in 1991.” The question of Palestinian refugees has been a core issue in the Arab-Israeli conflict since 1948. As the “gavel-holder” of the Refugee Working Group (RWG), Canada has a special responsibility towards all Palestinian refugees. Continue reading

Shattering the Myth of Democracy and Equality in Israel. by Angie Tibbs

Dissident Voice.

An Interview with Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh

Hatim Kanaaneh was an eleven year old boy when his peaceful village of Arrabeh, Galilee, was invaded by Jewish terrorists and the villagers forced to surrender in 1948. What followed was living under a military regime, which had absolute powers, a life filled with terror and humiliation, coupled with a curtailment of freedom and infringements on human rights. Discrimination was evident in all aspects of everyday life, even in the education system, something Dr. Kanaaneh experienced first hand when he was denied entry to the Hadassah medical school because he was deemed to be unqualified.

He later attended Harvard and received his medical degrees, following which he returned to Galilee where he worked as a physician for thirty-five years. He founded the Galilee Society for Health Research and Services, and also the Elrazi Center for Child Rehabilitation, the first such facility specifically designed to serve rural Palestinian children. He is now retired from clinical practice but continues to be an active member of the Galilee Society and serves on the Board of Directors of Elrazi.

Dr. Kanaaneh’s memoirs have been published in a book, A Doctor in Galilee: The Life and Struggles of a Palestinian in Israel, (Pluto Press, June 20, 2008), which gives readers an in-depth look at the struggles he, and the Palestinian minority in the Jewish state, have faced over the last 60 years, and which they continue to face. His first-hand experience of life inside Israel contrasts with ex-US President Jimmy Carter’s contention that the term “Apartheid” only applies to Israeli practices in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza.

I spoke with him via e-mail. Continue reading

Who Said Nearly 50 Years Ago that Israel was an Apartheid State? By Ronnie Kasrils

At the onset of international ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ in solidarity with the embattled Palestinian people, I want to start by quoting a South African who emphatically stated as far back as 1963 that “Israel is an apartheid state.” Those were not the words of Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Tutu or Joe Slovo, but were uttered by none other than the architect of apartheid itself, racist Prime Minister, Dr. Hendrik Verwoerd.

He was irked by the criticism of apartheid policy and Harold Macmillan’s “Winds of Change” speech , in contrast to the West’s unconditional support for Zionist Israel.

To be sure Verwoerd was correct. Both states preached and implemented a policy based on racial ethnicity; the sole claim of Jews in Israel and whites in South Africa to exclusive citizenship; monopolized rights in law regarding the ownership of land, property, business; superior access to education, health, social, sporting and cultural amenities, pensions and municipal services at the expense of the original indigenous population; the virtual monopoly membership of military and security forces, and privileged development along their own racial supremacist lines – even both countries marriage laws designed to safeguard racial “purity”. Continue reading