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The case for US government sanctions on Israel Mondoweiss

United States government diplomatic, economic, and military support has been critical for Israel to maintain its post-1967 occupations of Gaza, East Jerusalem, and West Bank, and to transform these occupations into a permanent apartheid state.

The role of the U.S. government in facilitating Israeli apartheid, however, will eventually fade for multiple geopolitical reasons, and that development will create opportunities to turn an apartheid state into as an equitable democratic state or two separate states. The sooner United States government for Israeli apartheid ends, the sooner this transformation could occur.

The waning of U.S. government support for Israel may take the form of conditions on military aid or comprehensive government sanctions, even though either development strikes many people as unimaginable. Nevertheless, a December 2016 Brookings public opinion poll reveals that nearly half of the U.S. public supports sanctions on Israel including a majority of self-identifying Democrats. This increased support for U.S. government sanctions indicates that now is the time for political groups committed to a just resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict to lead public opinion, not follow or ignore it. They need to become advocates for official U.S. government sanctions on Israel, such as an update to the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986. Instead of sanctioning South African apartheid, this updated legislations new goal should be to end Israeli apartheid.

While there have previously been short-term, minor sanctions on Israel, like President G.H.W. Bushs withholding loan guarantees in 1991, and there are several groups calling for partial sanctions, this is not enough. Full sanctions are needed, and its case rests on three principles:

Emerging Trends: Advocacy of U.S. sanctions on Israel will be aided by many emerging geopolitical trends, several of which we previously described in a Countercurrents article.

While some of these trends are beyond our control, we can play a role in advancing others. Especially effective may be calls for U.S. government sanctions on Israel and anti-apartheid political mobilizations by the U.S, Israeli, and Palestinian publics for a viable and just one- or two-state solution.

We should have no illusions about the intensity of Israeli opposition to any campaign to finally implement U.S. government sanctions. And, even when U.S. sanctions are enacted, Israels democratic transformation will be lengthy, contested, and could face many setbacks, including new expulsions and atrocities. Furthermore, we must also learn an important lesson from South Africa and address the economic equity issues that have undermined that countrys efforts to end apartheid.

The battle of ideas is at the core of the political struggle for government sanctions on Israel. To that end we must carefully describe how the Israeli occupations have transformed into an apartheid state, how apartheid violates international laws, and how Israeli apartheid could, in turn, be transformed into a democratic state or states.

This intellectual effort must be coupled with political organization since even the most carefully drafted anti-apartheid proposals will become shelf documents unless a well-organized and strategic movement supports them. To succeed that movement needs to be fully aware of both local and global geo-political trends because these, and only these, will create openings for a successful campaign to impose U.S. government sanctions on Israel.

Once sanctions finally take their toll, the chances that either a viable and democratic one- or two-state solution will emerge dramatically increase.

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The case for US government sanctions on Israel Mondoweiss

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May 25, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

Why Israel is an apartheid state – jonathan-cook.net

More than a decade ago, US President Jimmy Carter warned that Israel was practising apartheid in the occupied Palestinian territories. But in truth, it would be more accurate to say Israel itself is an apartheid state

AMEU March-April 2018

To read this essay on the Americans for Middle East Understanding website, click here

For a PDF version, click here

North from Nazareths city limits, a mile or so as the crow flies, is to be found an agricultural community by the name of Tzipori Hebrew for bird. It is a place I visit regularly, often alongside groups of activists wanting to learn more about the political situation of the Palestinian minority living in Israel.

Tzipori helps to shed light on the core historic, legal and administrative principles underpinning a Jewish state, ones that reveal it to be firmly in a tradition of non-democratic political systems that can best be described as apartheid in nature.

More than a decade ago, former US president Jimmy Carter incurred the wrath of Israels partisans in America by suggesting that Israeli rule over Palestinians in the occupied territories was comparable to apartheid. While his bestseller book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid broke a taboo, in many ways it added to the confusion surrounding discussions of Israel. Since then, others, including John Kerry, when US secretary of state, and former Israeli prime ministers Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak, have warned that Israeli rule in the occupied territories is in danger of metamorphosing into apartheid though the moment of transformation, in their eyes, never quite seems to arrive.

It has been left to knowledgeable observers, such as South Africas Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to point out that the situation for Palestinians under occupation is, in fact, worse than that suffered by blacks in the former South Africa. In Tutus view, Palestinians under occupation suffer from something more extreme than apartheid what we might term apartheid-plus.

There is a notable difference between the two cases that hints at the nature of that plus. Even at the height of apartheid, South Africas white population understood that it needed, and depended on, the labor of the black majority population. Israel, on the other hand, has a far more antagonistic relationship to Palestinians in the occupied territories. They are viewed as an unwelcome, surplus population that serves as a demographic obstacle to the political realization of a Greater Israel. The severe economic and military pressures Israel imposes on these Palestinians are designed to engineer their incremental displacement, a slow-motion ethnic cleansing.

Not surprisingly, Israels supporters have been keen to restrict the use of the term apartheid to South Africa, as though a political system allocating key resources on a racial or ethnic basis has only ever occurred in one place and at one time. It is often forgotten that the crime of apartheid is defined in international law, as part of the 2002 Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court at The Hague. An apartheid system, the statute says, is 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. In short, apartheid is a political system, or structure, that assigns rights and privileges based on racial criteria.

This definition, it will be argued in this essay, describes the political regime not only in the occupied territories where things are actually even worse but in Israel itself, where Jewish citizens enjoy institutional privileges over the 1.8 million Palestinians who have formal Israeli citizenship. These Palestinians are the remnants of the Palestinian people who were mostly dispersed by the 1948 war that established a Jewish state on the ruins of their homeland. These Palestinian citizens comprise about a fifth of Israels population.

Although it is generally understood that they suffer discrimination, the assumption even of many scholars is that their treatment in no way undermines Israels status as a western-style liberal democracy. Most minorities in the west for example, blacks and Hispanics in the U.S., Asians in the U.K., Turks in Germany, and Africans in France face widespread prejudice and discrimination. Israels treatment of its Palestinian minority, it is claimed, is no different.

This is to profoundly misunderstand the kind of state Israel is, and how it relates to all Palestinians, whether they are under occupation or Israeli citizens. The discrimination faced by Palestinians in Israel is not illegal, informal, unofficial, or improvised. It is systematic, institutional, structural and extensively codified, satisfying very precisely the definition of apartheid in international law and echoing the key features of South African apartheid.

It was for this reason that the United Nations Economic Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) published a report in 2017 concluding that Israel had established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole, including its Palestinian citizens. Under severe pressure from Israel and the US, that report was quickly retracted but the reality of apartheid in Israeli law and practice persists.

This argument is far more controversial than the one made by President Carter. His position suggests that Israel developed a discrete system of apartheid after the occupation began in 1967 a kind of add-on apartheid to democratic Israel. On this view, were Israel to end the occupation, the apartheid regime in the territories could be amputated like a gangrenous limb. But if Israels treatment of its own Palestinian citizens fits the definition of apartheid, then it implies something far more problematic. It suggests that Jewish privilege is inherent in the Israeli polity established by the Zionist movement in 1948, that a Jewish state is apartheid-like by its nature, and that dismantling the occupation would do nothing to end Israels status as an apartheid state.

Tzipori was founded by Romanian and Bulgarian Jews in 1949 as a moshav, a socialist agricultural collective similar to the kibbutz. It specialized in dairy production, though most of its inhabitants long ago abandoned farming, as well as socialism: today its 1,000 residents work in offices in nearby cities such as Haifa, Tiberias and Afula.

Tziporis Hebrew name alludes to a much older Roman city called Sephoris, the remains of which are included in a national park that abuts the moshav. Separating the moshav from ancient Sephoris is a large pine forest, concealing yet more rubble, in some places barely distinguishable from the archeological debris of the national park. But these ruins are much more recent. They are the remnants of a Palestinian community of some 5,000 souls known as Saffuriya. The village was wiped out in 1948 during the Nakba, the Arabic word for catastrophe how Palestinians describe the loss of their homeland and its replacement with a Jewish state.

The Palestinians of Saffuriya an Arabized version of Sephoris were expelled by Israel and their homes razed. The destruction of Saffuriya was far from an isolated incident. More than 500 Palestinian villages were ethnically cleansed in a similar fashion during the Nakba, and the ruins of the homes invariably covered with trees. Today, all Saffuriyas former residents live in exile most outside Israels borders, in camps in Lebanon. But a proportion live close by in Nazareth, the only Palestinian city in what became Israel to survive the Nakba. In fact, according to some estimates, as much as 40 percent of Nazareths current population is descended from Saffuriyas refugees, living in their own neighborhood called Safafri.

Nowadays, when observers refer to Palestinians, they usually think of those living in the territories Israel occupied in 1967: the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Increasingly, observers (and the various peace processes) overlook two other significant groups. The first are the Palestinian refugees who ended up beyond the borders of partitioned Palestine; the second are the 20 percent of Palestinians who managed to remain on their land. In 1948, some 150,000 survived the Nakba a figure far higher than intended by Israels founders.

They included 30,000 in Nazareth both the original inhabitants and refugees like those from Saffuriya who sought sanctuary in the city during the fighting. They avoided expulsion only because of a mistake. The commander who led the attack on Nazareth, a Canadian Jew called Ben Dunkelman, disobeyed an order to empty the city of its inhabitants. One can guess why: given the high profile of Nazareth as a center of Christianity, and coming in the immediate wake of the war crimes trials of Nazis at Nuremberg, Dunkelman presumably feared that one day he might end up in the dock too.

There were other, unforeseen reasons why Palestinians either remained inside Israel or were brought into the new state. Under pressure from the Vatican, a significant number of Palestinian Christians maybe 10,000 were allowed to return after the fighting finished. A further 35,000 Palestinians were administratively moved into Israel in 1949, after the Nakba had ended, when Israel struck a deal with Jordan to redraw the ceasefire lines to Israels territorial, but not demographic, advantage. And finally, in a far less technologically sophisticated age, many refugees who had been expelled outside Israels borders managed to slip back hoping to return to villages like Saffuriya. When they found their homes destroyed, they blended into surviving Palestinian communities like Nazareth, effectively disappearing from the Israeli authorities view.

In fact, it was this last trend that initiated a process that belatedly led to citizenship for the Palestinians still in Israel. The priority for Israeli officials was to prevent any return for the 750,000 Palestinians they had ethnically cleansed so successfully. That was the only way to ensure the preservation of a permanent and incontrovertible Jewish majority. And to that end, Palestinians in surviving communities like Nazareth needed to be marked out branded, to use a cattle-ranching metaphor. That way, any infiltrators, as Israel termed refugees who tried to return home, could be immediately identified and expelled again. This branding exercise began with the issuing of residency permits to Palestinians in communities like Nazareth. But as Israel sought greater international legitimacy, it belatedly agreed to convert this residency into citizenship.

It did so through the Citizenship Law of 1952, four years after Israels creation. Citizenship for Palestinians in Israel was a concession made extremely reluctantly and only because it served Israels larger demographic purposes. Certainly, it was not proof, as is often assumed, of Israels democratic credentials. The Citizenship Law is better understood as an anti-citizenship law: its primary goal was to strip any Palestinians outside the new borders the vast majority after the ethnic cleansing of 1948 of a right ever to return to their homeland.

Two years before the Citizenship Law, Israel passed the more famous Law of Return. This law effectively opened the door to all Jews around the world to immigrate to Israel, automatically entitling them to citizenship.

Anyone familiar with modern US history will be aware of the Supreme Court decision of 1954 in the famous civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education. The judges ruled that the creation of separate public schools for white and black pupils was unconstitutional, on the grounds that separate is inherently unequal. It was an important legal principle that would strike a decisive blow against Jim Crow, the Deep Souths version of apartheid.

If separate is inherently unequal, Israels segregated structure of citizenship is the most profound form of inequality imaginable. Citizenship is sometimes referred to as the foundational right offered by states because so many other basic rights typically depend on it: from suffrage to residency and welfare. By separating citizenship rights on an ethnic basis, creating an entitlement to citizenship for Jews with one law and denying most Palestinians citizenship with another, Israel institutionalized legal apartheid at the bedrock level. Adalah, a legal rights group for Palestinians in Israel, has compiled an online database listing Israeli laws that explicitly discriminate based on ethnicity. The Law of Return and the Citizenship Law are the most significant, but there are nearly 70 more of them.

Ben Gurion was prepared to award the remnants of the Palestinians in Israel this degraded version of citizenship because he assumed this population would pose no threat to his new Jewish state. He expected these Palestinian citizens or what Israel prefers to term generically Israeli Arabs to be swamped by the arrival of waves of Jewish immigrants like those that settled Tzipori. Ben Gurion badly miscalculated. The far higher birth rate of Palestinian citizens meant they continue to comprise a fifth of Israels population.

Palestinian citizens have maintained this numerical proportion, despite Israels strenuous efforts to gerrymander its population. The Law of Return encourages with free flights, financial gifts, interest-free loans and grants any Jew in the world to come to Israel and instantly receive citizenship. More than three million Jews have taken up the offer.

The Citizenship Law, on the other hand, effectively closed the door after 1952 on the ability of Palestinians to gain citizenship. In fact, since then there has been only one way for a non-Jew to naturalize and that is by marrying an Israeli citizen, either a Jew or Palestinian. This exception is allowed only because a few dozen non-Jews qualify each year, posing no threat to Israels Jewish majority.

In practice, Palestinians outside Israel have always been disqualified from using this route to citizenship, even if they marry a Palestinian citizen of Israel, as became increasingly common after Israel occupied the rest of historic Palestine in 1967. During the Oslo years, when Palestinians in Israel launched a legal challenge to force Israel to uphold the naturalization of their spouses from the occupied territories, the government hurriedly responded by passing in 2003 the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law. It denied Palestinians the right to qualify for Israeli residency or citizenship under the marriage provision. In effect, it banned marriage across the Green Line formally separating Palestinians in Israel from Palestinians under occupation. The measure revealed that Israel was prepared to violate yet another fundamental right to fall in love and marry the person of ones choice to preserve its Jewishness.

Most citizens of the United States correctly assume that their citizenship and nationality are synonymous: American or US.

But the same is not true for Israelis. Israel classifies its citizens as holding different nationalities. This requires rejecting a common Israeli nationality and instead separating citizens into supposed ethnic or religious categories. Israel has recognized more than 130 nationalities to deal with anomalous cases, myself included. After I married my wife from Nazareth, I entered a lengthy, complex and hostile naturalization process. I am now an Israeli citizen, but my nationality is identified as British. The vast majority of Israeli citizens, on the other hand, hold one of two official nationalities: Jewish or Arab. The Israeli Supreme Court has twice upheld the idea that these nationalities are separate from and superior to citizenship.

This complex system of separate nationalities is not some arcane, eccentric practice: it is central to Israels version of apartheid. It is the means by which Israel can both institutionalize a separation in rights and obscure this state-sanctioned segregation from the view of outsiders. It allows Israel to offer different rights to different citizens depending on whether they are Jews or Palestinians, but in a way that avoids too obvious a comparison with apartheid South Africa. Here is how.

All citizens, whatever their ethnicity, enjoy citizenship rights. In this regard, Israel looks at least superficially much like a western liberal democracy. Examples of citizenship rights include health care, welfare payments, the domestic allocation of water, and education although, as we shall see, the picture is usually far more complex than it first appears. In reality, Israel has managed covertly to subvert even these citizenship rights.

Consider medical care. Although all citizens are entitled to equal health provision, hospitals and major medical services are almost always located in Jewish communities, and difficult for Palestinian citizens to access given the lack of transport connections between Palestinian and Jewish communities. Palestinian citizens in remote communities, such as in the Negev (Naqab), are often denied access to basic medical services. And recently it emerged that Israeli hospitals were secretly segregating Jewish and Palestinian women in maternity clinics. Dr Hatim Kanaaneh, a Palestinian physician in Israel, documents these and many other problems with health care in his book A Doctor in Galilee.

More significantly, Israel also recognizes national rights, and reserves them almost exclusively for the Jewish population. National rights are treated as superior to citizenship rights. So if there is a conflict between a Jews national right and a Palestinians individual citizenship right, the national right must be given priority by officials and the courts. In this context, Israels rightwing justice minister, Ayelet Shaked, observed in February 2018 that Israel should ensure equal rights to all citizens but not equal national rights. She added: Israel is a Jewish state. It isnt a state of all its nations.

The simplest illustration of how this hierarchy of rights works can be found in Israels citizenship laws. The Law of Return establishes a national right for all Jews to gain instant citizenship as well as the many other rights that derive from citizenship. The Citizenship Law, on the other hand, creates only an individual citizenship right for non-Jews, not a national one. Palestinian citizens can pass their citizenship downwards to their offspring but cannot extend it outwards, as a Jew can, to members of their extended family in their case, Palestinians who were made refugees in 1948. My wife has relatives who were exiled by the Nakba in Jordan. But with only an individual right to citizenship, she cannot bring any of them back to their homes now in Israel.

This distinction is equally vital in understanding how Israel allocates key material resources, such as water and land. Let us consider land. Israel has nationalized almost all of its territory 93 percent. Palestinian communities in Israel have been able to hold on to less than 3 percent of their land mostly the built-up areas of their towns and villages after waves of confiscation by the state stripped them of at least 70 percent of their holdings.

It is not unprecedented in western democracies for the state to be a major land owner, even if Israels total holdings are far more extensive than other states. But Israel has successfully masked what this nationalization of land actually means. Given that there is no recognized Israeli nationality, Israel does not hold the land on behalf of its citizens as would be the case elsewhere. It does not even manage the land on behalf of Jewish citizens of Israel. Instead the land is held in trust for the Jewish people around the globe, whether they are citizens or not, and whether they want to be part of Israel or not.

In practice, Jews who buy homes in Israel effectively get long-term leases on their property from a government body known as the Israel Lands Authority. The state regards them as protecting or guarding the land on behalf of Jews collectively around the world. Who are they guarding it from? From the original owners. Most of these lands, like those in Tzipori, have been either seized from Palestinian refugees or confiscated from Palestinian citizens.

The political geographer Oren Yiftachel is among the growing number of Israeli scholars who reject the classification of Israel as a liberal democracy, or in fact any kind of democracy. He describes Israel as an ethnocracy, a hybrid state that creates a democratic faade, especially for the dominant ethnic group, to conceal its essential, non-democratic structure. In describing Israels ethnocracy, Yiftachel provides a complex hierarchy of citizenship in which non-Jews are at the very bottom.

It is notable that Israel lacks a constitution, instead creating 11 Basic Laws that approximate a constitution. The most liberal component of this legislation, passed in 1992 and titled Freedom and Human Dignity, is sometimes referred to as Israels Bill of Rights. However, it explicitly fails to enshrine in law a principle of equality. Instead, the law emphasizes Israels existence as a Jewish and democratic state an oxymoron that is rarely examined by Israelis.

A former Supreme Court judge, Meir Shamgar, famously claimed that Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people was no less democratic than France as the nation-state of the French people. And yet, while it is clear how one might naturalize to become French, the only route to becoming Jewish is religious conversion. Jewish and French are clearly not equivalent conceptions of citizenship.

Netanyahus government has been trying to draft a 12th Basic Law. Its title is revealing: it declares Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People. Not the state of Israeli citizens, or even of Israeli Jews, but of all Jews around the world, including those Jews who are not Israeli citizens and have no interest in becoming citizens. This is a reminder of the very peculiar nature of a Jewish state, one that breaks with the conception of a civic citizenship on which liberal democracies are premised. Israels ethnic idea of nationality is closely derived from and mirrors the ugly ethnic or racial ideas of citizenship that dominated Europe a century ago (and are in places being revived). Those exclusive, aggressive conceptions of peoplehood led to two devastating world wars, as well as providing the ideological justification for a wave of anti-semitism that swept Europe and culminated in the Holocaust.

Further, if all Jewish nationals in the world are treated as citizens of Israel real or potential ones what does that make Israels large minority of Palestinian citizens, including my wife and two children? It seems that Israel regards them effectively as guest workers or resident aliens, tolerated so long as their presence does not threaten the states Jewishness. Ayelet Shaked, Israels justice minister, implicitly acknowledged this problem during a debate on the proposed Nation-State Basic Law in February. She said Israel could not afford to respect universal human rights: There is a place to maintain a Jewish majority even at the price of violation of rights.

The hierarchy of citizenship Yiftachel notes is helpful because it allows us to understand that Israeli citizenship is the exact opposite of the level playing field of formal rights one would expect to find in a liberal democracy. Another key piece of legislation, the Absentee Property Law of 1950, stripped all Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war of their right to any property they had owned before the Nakba. Everything was seized land, crops, buildings, vehicles, farm implements, bank accounts and became the property of Israel, passed on to Jewish institutions or Jewish citizens in violation of international law.

The Absentee Property Law applied equally to Palestinian citizens, such as those from Saffuriya who ended up in Nazareth, as it did to Palestinian refugees outside Israels recognized borders. In fact, as many as one in four Palestinian citizens are reckoned to have been internally displaced by the 1948 war. In the Orwellian terminology of the Absentee Property Law, these refugees are classified as present absentees present in Israel, but absent from their former homes. Despite their citizenship, such Palestinians have no more rights to return home, or reclaim other property, than refugees in camps in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.

Although Tzipori was built on land confiscated from Palestinians some of them Israeli citizens living close by in Nazareth not one of its 300 or so homes, or its dozen farms, is owned by a Palestinian citizen. In fact, no Palestinian citizen of Israel has ever been allowed to live or even rent a home in Tzipori, seven decades after Israels creation.

Tzipori is far from unique. There are some 700 similar rural communities, known in Israel as cooperative communities. Each is, and is intended to be, exclusively Jewish, denying Palestinian citizens of Israel the right to live in them. These rural communities control much of the 93 percent of land that has been nationalized, effectively ensuring it remains off-limits to the fifth of Israels population that is non-Jewish.

How is this system of ethnic residential segregation enforced? Most cooperative communities like Tzipori administer a vetting procedure through an admissions committee, comprising officials from quasi-governmental entities such as the Jewish Agency, the Jewish National Fund and the World Zionist Organization, which are there to represent the interests of world Jewry, not Israeli citizens. These organizations effectively interest groups that enjoy a special, protected status as agents of the Israeli state are themselves a gross violation of the principles of a liberal democracy. The state, for example, has awarded the Jewish National Fund, whose charter obligates it to discriminate in favor of Jews, ownership of 13 percent of Israeli territory. A Jew from Brooklyn has more rights to land in Israel than a Palestinian citizen.

For most of Israels history, there was little need to conceal what the admissions committees were doing. No one noticed. If a Palestinian from Nazareth had applied to live in Tzipori, the admissions committee would simply have rejected the applicant on the grounds that they were an Arab. But this very effective mechanism for keeping Palestinian citizens off most of their historic homeland hit a crisis two decades ago when the case of the Kaadan family began working its way through Israels court system.

Adel Kaadan lived in a very poor Palestinian community called Baqa al-Ghabiyya, south of Nazareth and quite literally a stones throw from the West Bank. Kaadan had a good job as a senior nurse in nearby Hadera hospital, where he regularly treated Jewish patients and had on occasion, he told me when I interviewed him in the early 2000s, helped to save Israeli soldiers lives. He assumed that should entitle him to live in a Jewish community. Kaadan struck me as stubborn as he was nave a combination of personality traits that had got him this far and ended up causing Israel a great deal of legal and reputational trouble.

Determined to give his three young daughters the best opportunities he could manage, Kaadan had built the family an impressive villa in Baqa al-Ghabiyya. While I sat having coffee with him, one of his daughters played the piano with a proficiency that suggested she had a private tutor. But Kaadan was deeply dissatisfied with his lot. His home was grand and beautiful, but Baqa was not. As soon as the family stepped outside their home, they had to wade into the reality of Palestinian life in Israel. Kaadan was proof that it was possible for some Palestinian citizens, if they were determined and lucky enough to surmount the many obstacles placed in their way, to enjoy personal success, but they could not so easily escape the collective poverty of their surroundings.

Like many other Palestinian citizens, Kaadan was trapped by yet another piece of legislation: the Planning and Building Law of 1965. It advanced a core aim of Zionism: Judaizing as much land as possible. It achieved this in two main ways. First, communities in Israel were only recognized by the state if they were listed in the Planning Law. Although nearly 200 Palestinian communities had survived the Nakba, the law recognized just 120 or them.

The most problematic communities, from Israels point of view, were the dispersed Bedouin villages located among the remote, dusty hills of the semi-desert Negev, or Naqab, in Israels south. The Negev was Israels biggest land reserve, comprising 60 percent of the countrys territory. Its vast, inaccessible spaces had made it the preferred location for secretive military bases and Israels nuclear program. Israel wanted the Bedouin off their historic lands, and the Planning Law was the ideal way to evict them by de-recognizing their villages.

Today the inhabitants of dozens of unrecognized villages home to nearly a tenth of the Palestinian population in Israel are invisible to the state, except when it comes to the enforcement of planning regulations. The villagers live without state-provided electricity, water, roads and communications. Any homes they build instantly receive demolition orders, forcing many to live in tents or tin shacks. Israels aim is to force the Bedouin to abandon their pastoral way of life and traditions, and relocate to overcrowded, state-built townships, which are the poorest communities in Israel by some margin.

In addition to creating the unrecognized villages, the Planning and Building Law of 1965 ensures ghetto-like conditions for recognized Palestinian communities too. It creates residential segregation by confining the vast majority of Palestinian citizens to the 120 Palestinian communities in Israel that are officially listed for them, and then tightly limits their room for growth and development. Even in the case of Palestinian citizens living in a handful of so-called mixed cities Palestinian cities that were largely Judaized after the Nakba they have been forced into their own discrete neighborhoods, on the margins of urban life.

The Planning Law also drew a series of blue lines around all the communities in Israel, determining their expansion area. Jewish communities were awarded significant land reserves, while the blue lines around Palestinian communities were invariably drawn close to the built-up area half a century ago. Although Israels Palestinian population has grown seven or eight-fold since, its expansion space has barely changed, leading to massive overcrowding. This problem is exacerbated by Israels failure to build a single new Palestinian community since 1948.

Like the other 120 surviving Palestinian communities in Israel, Baqa had been starved of resources: land, infrastructure and services. There were no parks or green areas where the Kaadan children could play. Outside their villa, there were no sidewalks, and during heavy rains untreated sewage rose out of the inadequate drains to wash over their shoes. Israel had confiscated all Baqas land for future development, so houses were crowded around them on all sides, often built without planning permits, which were in any case almost impossible to obtain. Illegal hook-ups for electricity blotted the view even further. With poor refuse collection services, the families often burnt their rubbish in nearby dumpsters.

Adel Kaadan had set his eyes on living somewhere better and that meant moving to a Jewish community. When Israel began selling building plots in Katzir, a small Jewish cooperative community located on part on Baqas confiscated land, Kaadan submitted his application. When it was rejected because he was an Arab, he turned to the courts.

In 2000, the Kaadans case arrived at the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court. Aharon Barak, the courts president who heard the petition, was the most liberal and respected judge in Israels history. But the Kaadans case was undoubtedly the most unwelcome he ever adjudicated. It placed an ardent Zionist like himself in an impossible situation.

On one hand, there was no practice in Israel more clearly apartheid-like than the ethnic-based residential exclusion enforced by the admissions committees. It was simply not something Barak could afford to be seen upholding. After all, he was a regular lecturer at Yale and Harvard law schools, where he was feted, and had often been cited by liberal counterparts on the US Supreme Court as a major influence on their judicial activism.

But while he could not be seen ruling in favor of Katzir, at the same time he dared not rule in the Kaadans favor either. Such a decision would undermine the core rationale of a Zionist Jewish state: the Judaization of as much territory as possible. It would create a legal precedent that would throw open the doors to other Palestinian citizens, allowing them also to move into these hundreds of Jewish-only communities.

Barak understood that much else hung on the principle of residential separation. Primary and secondary education are also segregated and largely justified on the basis of residential separation. Jewish children go to Hebrew-language schools in Jewish areas; Palestinian children in Israel go to Arabic-language schools in Palestinian communities. (There are only a handful of private bilingual schools in Israel.)

This separation ensures that educational resources are prioritized for Jewish citizens. Arab schools are massively underfunded and their curriculum tightly controlled by the authorities, as exemplified by the 2011 Nakba Law. It threatens public funding for any school or institution that teaches about the key moment in modern Palestinian history. Additionally, teaching posts in Arab schools have historically been dictated by the Shin Bet, Israels secret police, to create spies and an atmosphere of suspicion in classrooms and common-rooms.

A side-benefit for Israel of separation in residency and education is that Palestinian and Jewish citizens have almost no chances to meet until they reach adulthood, when their characters have been formed. It is easy to fear the Other when you have no experience of him. The success of this segregation may be measured in intermarriages between Jewish and Palestinian citizens. In the year 2011, when the Israeli authorities last issued statistics, there were only 19 such marriages, or 0.03 percent. Israeli Jews openly oppose such marriages as miscegenation.

In fact, Israel is so opposed to intermarriages, that it prohibits such marriages from being conducted inside Israel. Mixed couples are forced to travel abroad and marry there typically in Cyprus and apply for the marriage to be recognized on their return. Notably, the 1973 United Nations Convention on Apartheid lists measures prohibiting mixed marriages as a crime of apartheid.

Residential separation has also allowed Israel to ensure Jewish communities are far wealthier and better provided with services than Palestinian ones. Although all citizens are taxed on their income, public-subsidized building programs are overwhelmingly directed at providing homes for Jewish families in Jewish areas. Over seven decades, hundreds of Jewish communities have been built by the state, with ready-made roads, sidewalks and public parks, with homes automatically connected to water, electricity and sewage grids. All these communities are built on state land in most cases, lands taken from Palestinian refugees and Palestinian citizens.

By contrast, not one new Arab community has been established in that time. And the 120 recognized Palestinian communities have been largely left to sink or swim on their own. After waves of confiscation by the state, they are on the remnants of private Palestinian land. Having helped to subsidize housing and building programs for millions of Jewish immigrants, Palestinian communities have mostly had to raise their own money to install basic infrastructure, including water and sewage systems.

Meanwhile, segregated zoning areas and separate planning committees allow Israel to enforce much tougher regulations on Palestinian communities, to deny building permits and to carry out demolition orders. Some 30,000 homes are reported to be illegally built in the Galilee, almost all of them in Palestinian communities.

Similarly, most of the states budget for local authorities, as well as business investment, is channeled towards Jewish communities rather than Palestinian ones. This is where industrial areas and factories are built, to ensure greater employment opportunities for Jewish citizens and to top up Jewish communities municipal coffers with business rates.

Meanwhile, a central government balancing grant intended to help the poorest local authorities by redistributing income tax in their favor is skewed too. Even though Palestinian communities are uniformly the poorest in Israel, they typically receive a third of the balancing grant received by Jewish communities.

Residential segregation has also allowed Israel to create hundreds of national priority areas (NPAs), which receive preferential government budgets, including extra funding to allow for long school days. Israeli officials have refused to divulge even to the courts what criteria are used to establish these priority areas, but it is clearly not based on socio-economic considerations. Of 557 NPAs receiving extra school funding, only four tiny Palestinian communities were among their number. The assumption is that they were included only to avoid accusations that the NPAs were designed solely to help Jews.

Israel has similarly used residential segregation to ensure that priority zoning for tourism chiefly benefits Jewish communities. That has required careful engineering, given that much of the tourism to Israel is Christian pilgrimage. In the north, the main pilgrimage destination is Nazareth and its Basilica of the Annunciation, where the Angel Gabriel reputedly told Mary she was carrying the son of God. But Israel avoided making the city a center for tourism, fearing it would be doubly harmful: income from the influx of pilgrims would make Nazareth financially independent; and a prolonged stay by tourists in the city would risk exposing them to the Palestinian narrative.

Instead the norths tourism priority zone was established in nearby Tiberias, on the Sea of Galilee, a once-Palestinian city that was ethnically cleansed during the Nakba and is now a Jewish city. For decades investors have been encouraged to build hotels and tourist facilities in Tiberias, ensuring that most coachloads of pilgrims only pass through Nazareth, making a brief hour-long stop to visit the Basilica.

Although Nazareth was very belatedly awarded tourism priority status in the late 1990s in time for the Popes visit for the millennium little has changed in practice. The city is so starved of land that there is almost no room for hotels. Those that have been built are mostly located in the citys outer limits, where pilgrims are unlikely to be exposed to Palestinian residents.

Public transport links have also privileged Jewish communities over Palestinian ones. The national bus company Egged the main provider of public transport in Israel has established an elaborate network of bus connections between Jewish areas, ensuring that Jewish citizens are integrated into the economy. They can easily and cheaply reach the main cities, factories and industrial zones. Egged buses, however, rarely enter Palestinian communities, depriving their residents of employment opportunities. This, combined with the lack of daycare services for young children, explains why Palestinian women in Israel have long had one of the lowest employment rates in the Arab world, at below 20 percent.

Palestinian communities have felt discrimination in the provision of security and protection too. Last November the government admitted there was woefully inadequate provision of public shelters in Palestinian communities, even in schools, against missile attacks and earthquakes. Officials have apparently balked at the large expense of providing shelters, and the problem of freeing up land in Palestinian communities to establish them. Similarly, Israel has been loath to establish police stations in Palestinian communities, leading to an explosion of crime there. In December Palestinian legislator Yousef Jabareen pointed out that there had been 381 shootings in his hometown of Umm al-Fahm in 2017, but only one indictment. He said the towns inhabitants had become hostages in the hands of a small group of criminals.

In all these different ways, Israel has ensured Palestinian communities remain substantially poorer than Jewish communities. A study in December 2017 found that the richest communities in Israel all Jewish received nearly four times more welfare spending from the government than the poorest communities all Palestinian. A month earlier, the Bank of Israel reported that Palestinian citizens had only 2 percent of all mortgages, in a sign of how difficult it is for them to secure loans, and they had to pay higher interest charges on the loans.

Among the 35 member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Israel has the highest poverty rate. This is largely because of high rates among Palestinian citizens, augmented by the self-inflicted poverty of Israels ultra-Orthodox community, most of whose men refuse to work, preferring religious studies. In evidence of how Israel has skewed welfare spending to benefit poor Jews like the ultra-Orthodox, rather than Palestinian citizens, only a fifth of Jewish children live below the poverty line compared to two-thirds of Palestinian children in Israel.

Back at the Supreme Court, Aharon Barak was still grappling with the conflicting burden of Zionist history and the expectations of American law schools. The judge understood he needed to fudge a ruling. He had to appear to be siding with the Kaadan family without actually ruling in their favor and thereby creating a legal precedent that would let other Palestinian families follow in their path. So he ordered Katzir to rethink its decision, warning that it could not keep them out on religious or national grounds.

The Jewish community did rething its policy, but not in a way that helped Barak. Katzir responded that they were no longer rejecting the Kaadans because they were Arab, but because they were socially unsuitable. Barak knew that would not wash at Yale or Harvard either it too obviously sounded like code for Arab. He ordered Katzir to come back with a different decision regarding the Kaadans.

The case and a few others like it dragged on over the next several years, with the court reluctant to make a precedent-setting decision. Quietly, behind the scenes, Adel Kaadan finally received a plot of land from Katzir. Unnerved, cooperative communities across the Galilee started to pass local bylaws insisting on a social suitability criterion for applicants to pre-empt any decision by the Supreme Court in favor of the Palestinian families banging at their doors.

By 2011, it looked as if the Supreme Court was running out of options and would have to rule on the legality of the admissions committees. At that point, the government of Benjamin Netanyahu stepped in to help out the court. There was no statutory basis for the admissions committees; they were simply an administrative practice observed by all these hundreds of Jewish-only cooperative communities. The Netanyahu government, therefore, pushed through an Admissions Committee Law that year. It finally put the committees on a statutory footing, but also made them embarrassingly visible for the first time.

As the parliament backed the legislation, reports in the western media labeled it an apartheid law conveniently ignoring the fact that this had been standard practice in Israel for more than six decades.

A petition from the legal group Adalah against the new law reached the Supreme Court in 2014. Barak had by this time retired. But in line with his aversion to issuing a ruling that might challenge the racist underpinnings of Israel as a Jewish state, the judges continued not to make a decision. They argued that the law was too new for the court to determine what effect the admissions committees would have in practice or in the language of the judges, they declined to act because the law was not yet ripe for adjudication. The ripeness argument was hard to swallow given that the effect of the admissions committees in enforcing residential apartheid after so many decades was only too apparent.

Even so, the legal challenge launched by the Kaadans left many in the Israeli leadership worried. In February 2018, referring to the case, the justice minister Ayelet Shaked averred that in the argument over whether its all right for a Jewish community to, by definition, be only Jewish, I want the answer to be, Yes, its all right.

It is time to address more specifically the nature of the apartheid regime Israel has created and how it mirrors the essence of South Africas apartheid without precisely replicating it.

Close to the forest planted over the ruins of the Palestinian homes of Saffuriya is a two-storey stone structure, an Israeli flag fluttering atop its roof. It is the only Palestinian home not razed in 1948. Later, it was inhabited by Jewish immigrants, and today serves as a small guest house known as Tzipori Village. Its main customers are Israeli Jews from the crowded, urban center of the country looking for a weekend break in the countryside.

Scholars have distinguished between two modes of South African apartheid. The first was what they term trivial or petty apartheid, though visible apartheid conveys more precisely the kind of segregation in question. This was the sort of segregation that was noticed by any visitor: separate park benches, buses, restaurants, toilets, and so on. Israel has been careful to avoid in so far as it can this visible kind of segregation, aware that this is what most people think of as apartheid. It has done so, even though, as we have seen, life in Israel is highly segregated for Jewish and Palestinian citizens. Residence is almost always segregated, as is primary and secondary education and much of the economy. But shopping malls, restaurants and toilets are not separate for Jewish and Palestinian citizens.

The same scholars refer to grand or resource apartheid, which they consider to have been far more integral to apartheid South Africas political project. This is segregation in relation to the states key material resources, such as land, water and mineral wealth. Israel has been similarly careful to segregate the main material resources to preserve them for the Jewish majority alone. It does this through the establishment of hundreds of exclusively Jewish communities like Tzipori. As noted previously, almost all of Israels territory has been locked up in these cooperative communities. And in line with its Zionist sloganeering about making the desert bloom, Israel has also restricted the commercial exploitation of water to agricultural communities like the kibbutz and moshav. It has provided subsidized water to these Jewish-only communities and denied it to Palestinian communities by treating the commercial use of water as a national right for Jews alone.

A thought experiment using Tzipori Village guest house neatly illustrates how Israel practices apartheid but in a way that only marginally differs from the South African variety. Had this bed and breakfast been located in a white community in South Africa, no black citizen would have been allowed to stay in it even for a night, and even if the owner himself had not been racist. South African law would have forbidden it. But in Israel any citizen can stay in Tzipori Village, Jew and Palestinian alike. Although the owner may be racist and reject Palestinian citizens, nothing in the law allows him to do so.

But and this is crucial Tziporis admissions committee would never allow a Palestinian citizen to buy the guest house or any home in the moshav, or even rent a home there. The right a Palestinian citizen has to spend a night in Tzipori Village is trivial or petty when compared to Israels sweeping exclusion of all Palestinian citizens from almost all the countrys territory. That is the point the scholars of South African apartheid highlight in distinguishing between the two modes of apartheid. In this sense, Israels apartheid may not be identical to South Africas, but it is a close relative or cousin.

This difference is also apparent in Israels treatment of suffrage. The fact that all Israeli citizens Jews and Palestinians have the vote and elect their own representatives is often cited by Israels supporters as proof that Israel is a normal democratic country and cannot therefore be an apartheid state. There are, however, obvious problems with this claim.

We can make sense of the difference by again examining South Africa. The reason South African apartheid took the form it did was because a white minority, determined to preserve its privileges, faced off against a large black majority. It could not afford to give them the vote because any semblance of democracy would have turned power over to the black population and ended apartheid.

Israel, on the other hand, managed to radically alter its demographic fortunes by expelling the vast majority of Palestinians in 1948. This was the equivalent of gerrymandering the electoral constituency of the new Jewish state on a vast, national scale. The exclusion of most Palestinians from their homeland through the Citizenship Law, and the open door for Jews to come to Israel provided by the Law of Return, ensured Israel could tailor-make a Jewish ethnocracy in perpetuity.

The Israeli-Palestinian political scientist Asad Ghanem has described the Palestinian vote as purely symbolic and one can understand why by considering Israels first two decades, when Palestinian citizens were living under a military government. Then, they faced greater restrictions on their movement than Palestinians in the West Bank today. It would be impossible even for Israels keenest supporters to describe Israel as a democracy for its Palestinian citizens during this period, when they were under martial law. And yet Palestinians in Israel were awarded the vote in time for Israels first general election in 1949 and voted throughout the military government period. In other words, the vote may be a necessary condition for a democratic system but it is far from a sufficient one.

In fact, in Israels highly tribal political system, Jews are encouraged to believe they must vote only for Jewish Zionist parties, ones that uphold the apartheid system we have just analyzed. That has left Palestinian citizens with no choice but to vote for contending Palestinian parties. The one major Jewish-Arab party, the Communists, was in Israels earliest years a significant political force among Israeli Jews. Today, they comprise a tiny fraction of its supporters, with Palestinian citizens dominating the party.

With politics so tribal, it has been easy to prevent Palestinians from gaining even the most limited access to power. Israels highly proportional electoral system has led to myriad small parties in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. All the Jewish parties have at various times participated in government in what are effectively rainbow coalitions. But the Palestinian parties have never been invited into an Israeli government, or had any significant impact on the legislative process. Israels political system may allow Palestinian citizens to vote, but they have zero political influence. This is why Israel can afford the generosity of allowing them to vote, knowing it will never disturb a tyrannical Jewish-majority rule.

Palestinian parliament member Ahmed Tibi has expressed it this way: Israel is a democratic state for Jewish citizens, and a Jewish state for Arab citizens.

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Why Israel is an apartheid state – jonathan-cook.net

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Its time to admit that Israel is an apartheid state …

One of the facts about Israel that is often disputed is its status as an apartheid state. There are, obviously, some differences between the Israeli regime occupying Palestine and the former white supremacist regime in South Africa. On that basis, apologists for Israel reject the label of apartheid. Worse still, Israels propagandists around the world even sometimes claim cynically that it is anti-Semitic to apply the term.

There are differences and there are similarities between apartheid Israel and apartheid South Africa. The white supremacist regime that once ruled South Africa, for example, did not tend to bomb into submission with fighter jets and attack helicopters the puppet Bantustan homeland enclaves that it controlled.

Israel, however, regularly bombs the civilian population in the Gaza ghetto, using the pretext of self-defence against terrorist groups. Its for this reason, and others, that some South African anti-apartheid struggle veterans have said that the Israeli regime is actually a worse form of apartheid than the late, unlamented regime in South Africa. The main point to remember, though, is that this entire debate is a red herring.

According to international law, Israel can unequivocally be defined as an apartheid state. A 1976 United Nations document, the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, defines the term unambiguously, and Israels occupation regime in Palestine very much falls into the A-word category.

READ:Apartheid land theft is an explosive issue in South Africa and Palestine

Israels treatment of Palestinians Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The UN document points out that, although the word apartheid is of Afrikaans origin, the wider practice is a more general one of systemic racism which applies to regimes beyond South Africa. For a start, other white supremacist regimes in Africa had extremely similar practices, such as Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was once called.

The definition of apartheid under the convention makes it clear that Israels occupation regime in the West Bank is an apartheid model. One example of the definition that fits the Israeli occupation is the arbitrary arrest and illegal imprisonment of the members of a racial group. Israels military justice system in the West Bank has a conviction rate of 99.7 per cent, and is targeted at Palestinian Arabs only. The Jewish settlers illegally colonising the same territory have recourse to Israels civilian courts system, from which Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem are barred.

While it has become more accepted in recent years, at least among many on the left, that Israels is an apartheid occupation regime, some still reject the term. They point to the supposedly democratic nature of Israel within its pre-1967 borders, an inaccurate term, since Israel has never once defined its own borders and the so-called Green Line of 1949 is more accurately described as the Armistice Line, not a border.

The recent news from an Israeli town in the Galilee region is a very good illustration that the whole of Israel is in fact an apartheid regime designed deliberately to discriminate racially against Palestinian Arabs, who are both historically and (once again) presently the majority population between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea. Last month, the Israeli authorities in Kfar Vradim which was founded in 1984 on land annexed from the nearby Palestinian village of Tarshiha halted the sale of building plots in the town after they learned that half of the buyers were Arabs. These are the Palestinian citizens of Israel who supposedly have equal rights under Israeli law; one-fifth of all Israelis are Palestinian Arabs.

READ:Palestinians file complaint to UN over Israel violation of anti-racism convention

The leader of the local council, Sivan Yehiel, explained to Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz that because he is entrusted to preserve what he called the Zionist-Jewish-secular character of the town, he decided to cancel the sales to Arabs in order to create solutions that will enable the preservation of demographic balances. The term demographic balances is a racist euphemism. Clearly, what Yehiel meant was that the sales would mean too many Palestinian babies being born in the town that is supposed to be a part of the self-declared Jewish state.

Demographic balances (or demographic threats as Israeli officials often put it) is a euphemism very much akin to apartheid, a word which means separateness in Afrikaans. The idea behind South Africas apartheid government propaganda was that the Black population would benefit from separate development. This, of course, was a lie, and the Black population was exploited and repressed most brutally.

While the UN convention makes it clear that the decision of the Israeli council leader in Kfar Vradim falls very obviously under the crime of apartheid, Yehiels action was anything but unique. Israels Palestinian citizens face discrimination on many levels simply because they are not Jews.

The convention states that the term the crime of apartheid applies to acts including measures calculated to prevent a racial group or groups from participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country including [by violating] the right to freedom of movement and residence.

Its time for people in the West to wake up to these facts and admit that Israel is, root and branch, an apartheid state.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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Video: A Black South African, Israel & Apartheid – aish.com

Fix Yourself

Want to make the world a better place? Start by bettering yourself, the only person you can actually change.

Should kids be given trophies for playing sports, even when they don’t win? Former Olympian and LA Galaxy soccer star Cobi Jones thinks theyre destructive.

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Video: A Black South African, Israel & Apartheid – aish.com

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Hopkins Students for Justice in Palestine | Blue Jays for …

As the Israeli bombardment and invasion of Gaza continues to claim Palestinian lives, Baltimore activists have been organizing protests and engaging in direct action in solidarity with the Palestinian people.We join cities cities across the world, from Toronto and Berlin to Istanbul and Durban, in condemning Israeli aggression and demanding an end to the killing.

The IDF deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for unimaginable restraint says Israeli Ambassador to US

On Monday, a group of Baltimore activists, several from Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and Hopkins Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), joined an action organized by JVP and Code Pink in Washington DC. Activists posed as conference attendees to disrupt Ron Dermer, Israeli ambassador and keynote speaker in front of 5,000 supporters at Christians United for Israels (CUFI) A Night to Honor Israel event.

Dermer shared the stage with John Hagee, Founder of CUFI, Lindsey Graham, a US senator from South Carolina, and a personalized message from Benjamin Netanyahu, each of whom delivered a terrifying message, demanding uncompromising support for Israeli aggression and settlement expansion. Protesters gathered outside the convention center to denounce the Israeli attacks on Gaza and CUFIs hateful rhetoric. Inside, members of the crowd hit, spit on and choked activists, who shortly after disrupting Dermer were dragged from the convention center by security.

The same day in Baltimore, several JVP activists met outside the Jewish Community Center in Owings Mills to engage with attendeesand protest the presence of an Israeli embassy official.

Baltimore says Hey-ho, Israeli troops have got to go!

On Thursday JVP, SJP and other local activists organized a rally on the corner of 33rd and St. Paul. The demonstration coincided with a National Day of Action, with Baltimore joininghundreds of actions in cities across the United States.

Nearly 150 people, representing a diverse range of political, religious and community affiliations, joined the demonstration. For several hours, protesters took over the four corners the busy cross-street, waving signs and Palestinian flags and demanding an end to the assault on Gaza.

Check out more photos and videos on our Facebook page.

The demonstration received wideTV, radio and print coverage, including The Baltimore Sun, City Paper, WBAL TV, WBAL 1090 AM, CBS Baltimore, and the Baltimore PostExaminer. There was also a considerablepolice presence, but with the exception of an officer who prevented activists from hanging a banners on a fence, there was little interference.

Present at the demonstration were family members of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, who was kidnapped and burnt alive by Israeli nationalists in Jerusalem, and Tariq Abu Khdeir, the Baltimore-native who was savagely beaten by Israeli police.

The large numbers of supporters that came out evidence that a growing number of people in the United States stand with Palestinian people to demand an end to Israeli occupation, colonization and apartheid.

Not yet done

As of this writing, the bombing and ground invasion has killed more than 1000 men, women and children. Protests will continue as long as Israeli aggression does not cease. Join us this Wednesday, 5:30, at Penn Station for a solidarity march and rally at Charles St. and North Ave.

And on August 2nd, come to DC for a mass demonstration at the White House.

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Haaretz Editor: I’m Anti-Zionist and Yes, Israel=Apartheid …

Yes, you read that headline right.

In a series of Tweets, Asaf Ronel,world news editor of Haaretz, declared that he is an anti-Zionist. No, hes not some off-the-wall opinion writer thrown into the newspaper for shock value: hes the worldnews editor.

Ronelfollowed up his initial statement (above) by calling apartheid in Israel reality, and clarifying that such apartheid began in 1948.

In case you dont have Twitter, or in the event this conversation gets subsequently deleted, you can follow some of theconversation in these screen shots:

The anti-Israel activist agenda at Haaretz is not limited to its international news editor: HonestReporting previously addressedthe statements of the newspapers owner, Amos Schocken that Haaretz is striving not for objective and accurate reporting but for promoting a political and campaigning agenda.

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Zionism is commonly understood to be the support for Jewish self-determination in the land of Israel. Which begs the question, if Ronel opposes Zionism, is there any way to understand his statementsother than that he opposes the existence of Israel, or at least the existence of a Jewish homeland in Israel? And if Ronel represents the editorial policy of Haaretz, is there any possible conclusion other than that it is Haaretz policy to oppose Israels very existence?

The person debating against Ronel in the above Twitter conversation is Dr. Emmanuel Navon,an International Relations expert who teaches at Tel-Aviv University and at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Centerand is a Senior Fellow at the Kohelet Policy Forum. Navon weighed in on the topic saying:

What is the difference between blaming the Jewish people and blaming the Jewish state for the worlds ills?

and:

Denying sovereignty only to the Jews is discriminatory. So is saying that only Jewish sovereignty intrinsically immoral.

Mainstream Israeli journalist Haviv Rettig Gur (Senior Analyst for Times of Israel) also weighed in via Twitter:

Gur adds on his Facebook page in relevant part:

Something dishonest is happening at Haaretz, and its a damn shame. We need a progressive voice in this country that doesnt let itself turn into a fawning parrot for the latest anti-Zionist fashion abroad, but speaks to us Israelis, to our experience and concerns, and tries to convince us its vision is better. Thats not Haaretz, at least not anymore.

Asaf even took a crack at HonestReporting in the following tweet:

In light of Ronels reply invoking the concept of free speech, we simply have to ask: if the best you can say about your writing is that it isnt outright illegal, isnt that setting the bar a little low for a professional journalist?

Put another way, just because youhavethe right to say something, that doesnt mean youare right to say it.

Of course, Ronel is not even a journalist at all: by his own admission, he is really an agenda driven activist. And while free speech means that disguising activism as journalism cannot get you thrown in jail, it should certainly get you thrown out of a newspaper office.

Unlikecommentary or opinion writing, a professionalnews editor must embody the values of openness and impartiality. This is essential in orderto convey accurate information to news readers. Can an anti-Zionist editor who believes Israel is an apartheid state really be capable of reporting on Israel in a manner that is accurate and impartial?

Unfortunately, foreign news outlets often quote Haaretz, misrepresenting it asa mainstream Israeli voice, even though Haaretzscirculation isonly 3.9% of Israeli news readers. This gives news readers around the world an inaccurate understanding of Israel and of Israelis.

Haaretzs ownership and international news editors not only fail to embody the values of professional journalism, but are publicly statingthat they do not even wish to. There is nothing wrong with having a personal agenda, but disguising an agenda as journalism, is misleading and harmful to news audiences, as wellto the news profession itself.

Simon Plosker, HRs Managing Editor, comments:

While a tenacious and free Israeli media are a vital part of Israels democracy, Haaretz, and particularly its English-language site, plays a significant role in the demonization of Israel. Many foreign journalists find the most negative stories to publish straight from Haaretz. Its time that they acknowledge that Haaretz is wholly unrepresentative of Israel and Israeli society. This appalling rant by Asaf Ronel on Twitter is further confirmation of Haaretzs openly hateful agenda that permeates from editorial all the way to its owner Amos Schocken.

In short, if Haaretz truly cannot bring itself to start behaving like an actual newspaper, then it should stop calling itself one. Perhaps the Haaretz Anti-Zionism Advocacy Organization, would be a good name. At least it would be honest.

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Pro-Palestinian Groups Compare Chris Rocks Show in Israel …

Chris Rock performs his stand-up comedy routine during a stop of his Total Blackout Tour on June 10, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Much to the dismay of pro-Palestinian groups, it looks like Chris Rock will be following through on a scheduled performance in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Following months of urging from activists and fans to cancel the Jan. 9 performance, Rock is currently in Tel Aviv for the next stop of his stand-up Total Blackout Tour. The Electronic Intifada, a Chicago-based website that covers the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, reports that nearly 4,000 people signed a petition asking Rock to boycott apartheid Israel.

A group of 20 Palestinian performing arts organizations also wrote Rock an open letter pleading with him to reconsider his show in Tel Aviv, likening the event to performing in apartheid South Africa.

The letter, which was published on the Palestinian human rights website BDS Movement (the BDS stands for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions), references the renowned comics history of speaking out against racial injustice.

You were born into a society which spelled out with brutal clarity and in as many ways as possible

The letter writers also note that although Rock may never explicitly condone Israels treatment of Palestine, his show would be used by the Israeli government as a tacit endorsement:

As the recent performance by Radiohead, in defiance of Palestinian and international appeals, has lucidly shown, what matters most is not whether artists performing in Tel Aviv support Israels grave crimes against the Palestinian people or not but how Israel will irrespectively use their performances to portray a false image for itself, covering up its human rights violations.

Dozens of tweets from Israeli officials and Israel lobby groups, as well as US right-wing pundits, gloated over Radioheads decision to violate the cultural boycott, with a leading right-wing Israeli newspaper describing the bands decision to cross the Palestinian boycott picket line as the best gift of hasbara [propaganda] Israel has received lately. Israel, after all, sees culture as a hasbara tool of the first rank, as a ranking Israeli official once admitted.

The letter compares the current cultural boycott of Israel to those that occurred during the time when the fight against Jim Crow laws was at its peak. It also lists notable entertainers and speakers who have decided to avoid any engagement in Israel, like Angela Davis, Alice Walker, Lauryn Hill and Archbishop Desmond Tutu:

Of the twenty six Oscar nominees in 2016, none has accepted an all-expense-paid Israeli propaganda junket, and out of eleven NFL players, six turned down a similar offer by the Israeli government in 2017.

The open letter ends with a comparison to Black Lives Matter in the U.S., which Rock has openly supported:

We take to heart Baldwins advice to his nephew, Please try to remember that what they believe, as well as what they do and cause you to endure, does not testify to your inferiority, but to their inhumanity and fear. We shall continue to resist Israels dehumanization of us just as the Movement for Black Lives resists racial violence and institutionalized oppression in the US.

The conflict between Israel and Palestine has entered into a state of uncertainty in recent months as a two-state solution over control of the West Bank seems less and less viable.

It will be Rocks first appearance in Israel, according to the Jerusalem Post. He will play at the Menora Mivtachim Arena with fellow comedian Jeffrey Ross as his opening act.

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Roger Waters sets the record straight: I hate apartheid …

The tires of the taxicab crunch softly along the gravel driveway leading up to the house. The gray building, hidden from the street like all the houses here, isnt so large for Southampton, this very affluent suburb on Long Island, New York. A tiny house-number sign, by the side of the entrance to the driveway, is the only way you know youve reached your destination. The taxi driver who picked me up at the local bus station tells me Paris Hilton has a house nearby. He doesnt know who lives in the gray house.

I ring the doorbell at the appointed time, and hear a dog barking. Roger Waters opens the door, barefoot, in shorts and a faded polo shirt. His cheeks are covered with white stubble, his blue-gray eyes seem a little weary and his gray hair is disheveled. He shuffles a little as he walks, but his body is youthful and his smile endearing. Hours of wavering over whether to greet this idol of my youth with a handshake or a hug are dispensed with instantly: He embraces me. Weve never met before.

I follow him back into the two-story house. An American home with paintings on the walls and broad carpets on the floors, a grand piano in the living room. Outside is a heated swimming pool, whose water is kept surprisingly warm, even early on a chilly morning. Next to the pool is a small gym. There are a number of bedrooms, some just for guests. And, of course, a recording studio.

The garden is impeccably maintained, and vases of freshly cut blue flowers can be found throughout the house. Every window looks out on a gorgeous view: a big pond with wide green marshes behind it and, beyond that, the ocean, whose waves can be heard clearly. The closest house is a good distance away, and the tennis court of the Swedish neighbor lies in between. On the two-hour bus ride from Manhattan, people were talking about the new helicopter service to the town: just $400 each way, a real bargain.

Laurie Durning, Waters fourth wife, welcomes me with a friendly handshake and we sit down on the garden patio, their 11-year-old white dog joining us too. Laurie is very knowledgeable about whats happening in the Middle East, and she accompanied Roger on his unforgettable concert in Israel in the summer of 2006. She says she could feel the audiences love, maybe even more than her husband did.

A lot of chickpeas have since grown in the fields of Neve Shalom, where the concert took place before a crowd of 54,000 Israelis. Waters says he remembers all the lavish goodies that producer Shuki Weiss arranged to have backstage. I remember that incredible, magical night, but its difficult to tell Waters that he doesnt like hearing fans gush about How you changed my life, blah, blah, blah.

To him, Pink Floyd the band responsible for the mysterious and legendary soundtrack of our youth, the greatest-band-of-all-time, in my view is primarily a job he left behind 30 years ago. His 20 years with the band, especially the latter ones, became a nightmare for him, mainly due to a rancorous relationship with guitarist David Gilmour.

The masterpiece Shine on You Crazy Diamond, about initial lead singer, Syd Barrett, is a heartbreaking tale of mental illness and the drugs that precipitated it. Waters says that if Barrett hadnt become ill and stopped writing, he may never have started writing songs himself. Barretts premature retirement spurred Roger to write what became the bulk of Pink Floyds work.

An Englishman in New York

On his right hand, Waters wears a ring he hasnt taken off since 1968. The wedding band on his other hand has been replaced several times over the years. He has three children from two of his previous marriages (his first wife died). Durning, with whom he does not have children, is a film producer from New York.

For many years now, Waters has been an Englishman in New York, as Sting once sang. I tell him this as he leads me upstairs to my room, and he smiles. The couple is currently building a new summer house, not far from this one. It will be much larger, in the hope that the kids and grandkids will come to visit more often.

The man who once sang Money, its a crime lives well. He also has a townhouse in midtown Manhattan and a vacation home in England, which he doesnt use much. Two shiny black Mercedes sedans are parked out front; one is a convertible. Still, he comes across as a modest guy, devoid of rock-star pretensions. Here at home, at least.

He has a British personal manager, Mark Fenwick, whos been working with him since he left Pink Floyd, and a Hungarian butler, Csaba Kralik, whos been with him for 15 years. The latter doesnt live with the couple, but attends to all their needs and accompanies them on their travels.

Peace activist Nurit Peled-Elhanan, daughter of the late Israeli Maj. Gen. Matti Peled, keeps Waters regularly updated on whats happening with the occupation. He also has a friend in Bilin who sends him weekly pictures from the protests there. After the Neve Shalom concert, he visited Israel and the territories once more as a guest of UNRWA, and made a point of putting his signature on the West Bank separation barrier. He feels that The Wall is Pink Floyds best album.

In recent years, Waters has devoted a lot of his time to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. Every artist who wants to perform in Israel receives a letter of rebuke from him. Neil Young ended up canceling during last summers Gaza war, but Waters says no artist ever admits they canceled because of him. Cyndi Lauper, Robbie Williams and even Pink Floyds old sound engineer, Alan Parsons to name a few did not heed his entreaties and performed in Israel. But theres no question hes created a new international mood.

Waters involvement in the struggle against Israel actually began after his performance here nine years ago. At the time, he, too, received letters urging him not to perform, but he ignored them. Initially, he was supposed to perform in Tel Aviv, but then he shifted the venue to Neve Shalom, with the idea that it would be an Arab and Jewish audience. But the Arabs didnt come, and he was disappointed. Today, he would refuse to perform anywhere in Israel.

I was so unaware then, he says. Artists today are more aware.

Some of the artists he addresses think hes off his rocker; others are worried about hurting their livelihood, while some say politics and music should be kept separate. Waters doesnt accept this. Hes determined to fight the occupation and what he sees as an apartheid state.

Believe whatever you like, but Waters does not hate Israel. Hes deeply outraged at the injustices it perpetrates. When he talks about Israel, its with pain, criticism and anger, but not hatred. And anti-Semitism is not part of the picture here, despite the show in which he placed a pig on a Star of David, along with other religious symbols, during his 2013 European tour, which raised that suspicion.

Waters has Jewish grandchildren from his Jewish daughter-in-law. The number tattooed on the forearm of a friend of his mothers, a French-Jewish Holocaust survivor, left a strong impression on him as a child. He recalls her constant anxiety: I remember she was terrified for her children. Her kids were not allowed to come out in a canoe with us. You can imagine. Well, you cant, none of us can imagine. But I remember that, I remember thinking, Why is this woman scared of the river? You know, she was scared of everything; she was scared of her own shadow.

Why Israel?

Its hard not to believe him, with his candidness and openness. His house is unlocked; even late at night the doors are wide open. He feels strongly that the injustice done to the Palestinians must be remedied, and he believes he is toiling on behalf of this cause. By doing so, he believes he is also working for the sake of Israelis.

Why this particular injustice and not other, even worse ones? Waters says that during the apartheid era in South Africa, there were plenty of other atrocities happening in the world, but no one asked, why South Africa. Why Israel? Because things can be remedied and changed there, just like in South Africa.

Maybe it all began with his father, a communist and pacifist who was a volunteer ambulance driver during the London Blitz, eventually enlisted in the British Army to fight the Nazis, and was killed by a tank shell in Italy. His body was never found.

In a new film debuting in September, Roger Waters: The Wall, Waters is seen playing the trumpet at the spot in southern Italy where his father died, next to a memorial tablet there. From letters his father wrote to his grandmother, Waters learned that his father studied in Jerusalem for two years. His grandfather was also a casualty of war: He was killed in World War I and is buried in France.

Waters never met his father, Eric Fletcher Waters; he was just five and a half months old when Eric was killed in 1944. His mother, Mary, raised him and his brother as a single mother in Cambridge. She was also a communist and taught her children to pursue justice. His brother is a retired cab driver; their mother died six years ago at 96. Roger would sometimes bring her to Pink Floyd concerts, and says the other band members used to bring their parents, too.

Waters will turn 72 in September. As a child, he thought about becoming a veterinarian, and later studied architecture. Hes a very warm and charming fellow, and fond of drinking white wine. When he does so, he opens up even more and becomes very amusing: You have to see his imitation of Mikhail Gorbachev, whom he once met. He loves to cook, and does so every day. The linguine he made for lunch was spicy enough to make the eyes water. In the evening, he baked a superb tarte tatin. He attached a little yellow note to the baking pan, Caution, hot. Dont touch.

For dinner, which was prepared by two young cooks, he invited a dozen or so friends, many of them Jewish. One, a relative of Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, mistakenly thought the meal was going to take place in Manhattan. When he realized his error, he simply hired a helicopter to bring him to The Hamptons. A senior American television reporteralso joined us.

Antiwar songs

Everything Waters has written in the last few years has a political, mainly antiwar, aspect to it. In one of the new songs hes still working on, Waters sings in French: Je suis Charlie, Je suis Juif. The song was written after the terror attacks in Paris last January. Thats what happens when your father and grandfather were both killed in war.

We sat in the studio until 2 A.M., listening to his new songs. His desk in the studio is piled with papers new songs with lots of notes and revisions. Late in the morning hes a late riser I saw him sitting in the kitchen half-dressed, writing down lines on a little scrap of paper. In the studio itself, theres no trace of Pink Floyd. Waters is not nostalgic or sentimental. Hes not a collector of memorabilia. He doesnt even have a guitar from those days.

Hes in the process of writing an autobiography, played at the Newport Folk Festival last week, and plans to go on another world tour next year. Hes a busy and active man. Once in a while, he plays golf. He also has a pool table in his studio; the Hungarian butler says Waters beats all his guests.

I told Waters that back in my student days, my roommate and I had a strict rule: When one of us was playing Pink Floyd, the other had to stay out of the house. Dark Side of the Moon was the soundtrack to many nights of new loves, heart-to-heart talks and personal confessions.

In the hotel back in Manhattan, before setting out for The Hamptons, I had listened to the album once more and found that the magic was still there, even after all these years.

Over the two days I was a guest in his home, we went up to his recording studio twice for long interview sessions. Waters willingly answered every question. At one point, we stopped to watch several fawns that had pranced into the garden to graze.

When and how did your political involvement in the Middle East begin?

I got an offer to play in Israel, and thats where it really started. It really started for me without thinking because this is how nave I was in 2006. I didnt think about it. When my agent did the deal with Shuki Weiss and accepted the gig in [Hayarkon Park] in Tel Aviv, I was engaged in other things, to my eternal shame but then I started getting emails.

From whom?

There were hundreds of different organizations, mainly from the Middle East and North Africa. But there were other places, Europeans, and people saying, Are you sure about this? Do you know about this new organization? Because it was new in 2006, BDS. But their voice was very measured and persuasive, and I engaged in a dialogue with them.

They were telling you not to go?

Yes, telling me not to come. They said Id be enabling the occupation. How nave I mustve been Certainly living here in the United States and presumably its the same in the U.K. the hasbara [Israeli public diplomacy] is extremely powerful.

Eventually, I canceled that gig but went to Neve Shalom instead.

Who suggested Neve Shalom? Whose idea was that?

I have no idea. I cant remember. But I mustve done a lot of research and I heard about this place where Jewish people and Christians and Muslims try to live together in an agricultural community, and they educate their children together through all the trials and tribulations that that kind of inclusive society necessarily demands of its citizens. It was and still is a beautiful experiment, and should be encouraged in all possible ways.

The gig was fantastic. But and its a big but at the end, I made a short political speech, and suddenly it was as if I was from Mars when I suggested this was the generation of young Israelis that should make peace with their neighbors. They went very, very quiet. Afterward, I thought about the implications of travel restrictions and realized it was pretty unlikely that there were any Palestinians or Arabs in the audience, and I felt really bad about that.

But during the concert itself, what did you feel?

Concerts are very seductive, especially if youre standing on the stage with people going Whoa, how cool are you!

Did you feel all the love directed at you?

Yes, it was fantastic, I could feel it. Maybe I shouldnt tell you this story, but I will. When I visited Jenin [in 2009], I met Ismail, the father whose son was at the center of the movie The Heart of Jenin, about the Palestinian boy who was shot

And his organs were donated to Israelis.

And they donated his organs, so it was very emotional. And then they said to me in Jerusalem, Will you come and talk to the students at the film school? And I thought: What a great opportunity.

So I turn up one day, and everyones all bubbling and theres a room with about 150 young people and all their teachers standing around, and it couldnt have been more welcoming. I thanked them for having me and asked what we should talk about. And they were silent, so I said, Alright, Ill tell you what we should talk about. How many of you have seen the documentary Heart of Jenin? And they might just as well have had stainless-steel shutters behind their eyelids.

I started to talk about it, but it was like I had turned into a Martian or something. Suddenly, you could see the distaste and horror that I would be mentioning this. And I got quite angry. I didnt shout at them but I said: There is something wrong with this picture. So as wonderful and as full of love as playing to that audience of young people was, this was horrific.

Im not a prophet

Do you think youve found the truth concerning the Middle East?

I dont know, Im not a prophet. Nobodys handed me a bunch of tablets and said, This is the truth. Im having to figure this out for myself. What I do know is, whosoever it might be, from any side of any war, if anybody is dropping bombs and killing children I know Im on the other side. So, I live in the United States and I could not be more passionately opposed to the War on Terror drone warfare in particular.

And here we get to the core of the issue, because in Israel many people ask: Why Israel, when there are so many other countries that do the same?

Well, if youre determined to stand on the side of truth, justice, liberty, human rights, individual freedoms, political equality, and freedom to worship whatever you want, all of that from time to time, situations crop up that demand your attention more than other situations, because theyre blatant and theyve been going on for a very long time. People also complain about anybody making comparisons between apartheid South Africa and Israel. But particularly in the occupied territories but also in Israel, in my view the comparisons are valid.

In the 1970s and 80s, there was no question we all focused on South Africa because it was the obvious place to focus. It was a place where it looked like all of us who took part in the Anti-Apartheid Movement, as it was called then, might have an effect, and might cause changes in policy in that small part of the world. Israel is that bit of the world now. Whether Israelis or anyone else like it or not, it just is.

In Israel, you are described as not listening to both sides. Do you listen to the Israeli side?

Okay, tell me what it is and Ill listen. I mean, youre the perfect person to tell me what it is, because Ive read your work and I sense we have a great deal in common. In a way, though, maybe I shouldnt be talking to you; maybe I should be talking to [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu. Well, obviously not. I couldnt. Once I was put on the phone with [Israeli ambassador to the U.S.] Ron Dermer. Maybe he thought he could turn me. It was like having a conversation with a pit bull.

What did Dermer say to you?

He just went, Hey, we all want peace, and I said if we can make peace then that would be fantastic. He told me peace would happen instantaneously if there was a single person on the other side he could speak to.

And what did you say to him?

Nothing. Thats not a conversation I should have. Where can the conversation happen? Because its a very difficult conversation to have. We saw the news recently with Hillary Clintons letter [to Haim Saban] promising to help destroy the BDS movement if shes elected president. I said, What? Is this democracy at work?! You give me money and then I destroy BDS? Where might there be a sensible conversation? Nobody knows whats going to happen. But what we do know is that throwing more armaments at it is not going to help anybody.

So maybe BDS should be aimed at the United States, and you should stop performing at Carnegie Hall?

At some point, it might become the correct thing to try to start a boycott movement of some sort in the United States. But that time is not now. Im part of this BDS movement, which is spreading fast through the universities which is why people are pouring millions of dollars into the universities to try to buy [the students]. You cant buy them! Theyre young people. Theyre not for sale.

In an article I wrote a year ago, I was talking about [pro-Israel lobby] AIPAC: When Netanyahu spoke to AIPAC two years ago, he mentioned BDS 17 times in his speech. The year before that, it was never mentioned to anyone, anywhere. Thats a huge change.

Isnt there a danger that BDS will unite Israelis and make them even more nationalistic?

I dont think so. I think it will give power to Israeli people who are not happy with their domestic and foreign policy, knowing that they have friends and supporters outside the country who are standing with them and applauding them, admiring the bravery it takes to be an Israeli and to stand up for what is right and proper, humane and full of value.

Im not religious, but my suspicion is that, what actually relates much more to Judaism and the humane principles Judaism is based upon, is that those people are not insignificant. It is a small number, but it is a significant number. They are at least being active in some way.

What is our alternative? Will someone give me an alternative to nonviolent protest, if we believe that the occupation is wrong and if we believe that the Palestinian citizens of Israel should operate under the same laws as Jewish citizens of Israel.

Ending the occupation

Here we come to the question of the goals of BDS, which are presented in Israel in a vague way by the Israeli government.

Will the end of occupation mean the dismantling of BDS? Is this enough of a goal?

Yeah, were talking about equality under the law.

And the [Palestinian] Right of Return it also includes this, correct?

Yeah, of course.

On the basis of equality?

Yeah, on the basis of equality. I would say to people like Ron Dermer: Whats your solution? What would you do? Well, we know they have one, but they still cant quite get it out. A Greater Israel I suspect thats their solution, to preserve the apartheid.

A two-state solution or a one-state solution? Do you have a preference?

Because Im a radical atheist, my personal preference would be a democratic, secular state with equal rights for all its citizens with a universal franchise, equal property rights, freedom to practice whatever religion you want. Im very against theocracies.

But it hasnt worked in many parts of the world, including Northern Ireland.

Okay, thats an interesting point. I agree with you that a divided Ireland may never work. But we dont know what is going to work. At a certain point, it was decided it was going to be a two-state solution. That that little bit [in the north] was going to stay part of the United Kingdom, and the rest was going to be a democratic republic.

If there were two secular states, why not? I care just as much about Jewish children as I do about Arab children. I care about people not having a future where they can work, earn a living, sit around a table with their family and plan for the future, and make decisions about water or the things that are really starting to crop up all over the world with what were doing with the oceans. Or broader questions of conservation and ecology or global warming, or this and that. You cant focus on any of that stuff when youre lobbing bombs at each other over a wall. Theres no time to do anything sensible or grown-up.

So, I dont know what the answer is but I know this isnt the answer. This status quo is not the answer and you cannot, in my view, maintain a status quo that is built on the idea that its okay to expel people from their homes whether its peoples homes in East Jerusalem now, or people who lived in villages during the Nakba [the Palestinian term for the creation of Israel in 1948]. Both things are wrong, and its very difficult to sustain a country based upon invasion and colonization.

Do you understand the sentiment of many Israelis that the Jewish people have the right to their own country after everything they have gone through? And that the one-state solution for them means extermination?

Well thats just nonsense! People are always saying, BDS is trying to delegitimize Israel. No, its not. Its trying to stop the oppression of the Palestinian, Bedouin and other Arab peoples of the region you are oppressing. Its trying to stop you oppressing your fellow human beings. Its not trying to delegitimize Israel.

An Israeli de Klerk?

So give me the scenario where you come back to perform in Israel again. What has to happen and I mean this symbolically.

When you and I can sit down together over a glass of wine and look each other in the eye and hold each others hands and go, Wow! We, they, us everybody did it. We can see that we did it: Everyone has equal rights, nobody is killing anybody. Then I promise you I will come and play The Wall in its entirety.

Will we ever reach that moment?

I had conversations with [Mikhail] Gorbachev in 2002 or 2003. If in the mid-1980s you and I had asked, Are we going to see the Berlin Wall come down within our lifetime? it would have been a very difficult question to answer. But we didnt know Gorbachev then. He is the most remarkable man my two huge heroes since Gandhi are Nelson Mandela and Gorbachev. So who wouldve known? Things can happen. Maybe theres a Mandela somewhere in an Israeli prison.

Maybe we need a F.W. de Klerk?

If you look through one of my recent op-eds, it says, It may be far easier to find the Palestinian Mandela than it will be to find the Israeli De Klerk. But we cannot give up hope. We cannot say its too difficult, because even to abandon one child is one child too many. And the pictures we see coming out of Gaza are so disgusting and so heart-wrenching that those people and Im not saying its not heart-wrenching if a suicide bomber blows themselves up on a bus in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem of course it is, its equally horrific.

Should artists and academic institutions really be at the top of the boycott list?

No. There are a number of Israeli politicians [Shimon] Peres might well be one who cant come to England because theyll be arrested the second they step foot there, as war criminals. Because there is a legal apparatus that, once you define an act as a war crime, even in the opinion of the International Criminal Court, then you have grounds for detaining somebody. There have been a number of Israeli politicians whove had to turn around and go home because they didnt want to risk being sent to prison in the United Kingdom.

Should Khaled Meshal, the political head of Hamas, be arrested if he comes to the U.K.?

I dont know. I would need to be legally advised to know if there is evidence that Meshal has committed war crimes. I havent seen evidence to that effect.

But youve seen Shimon Peres commit war crimes?

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Roger Waters sets the record straight: I hate apartheid …

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Disaster Expert: FEMA’s Response in Puerto Rico More ‘Herculean’ Than in Texas and Florida

FEMA Navy rescue Puerto Rido (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Taylor King/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)
Former Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services Tevi Troy told Breitbart News: Sunday Edition that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had actually done an even better job managing Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico than it had in dealing with Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida recently.

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Disaster Expert: FEMA’s Response in Puerto Rico More ‘Herculean’ Than in Texas and Florida

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The case for US government sanctions on Israel Mondoweiss

United States government diplomatic, economic, and military support has been critical for Israel to maintain its post-1967 occupations of Gaza, East Jerusalem, and West Bank, and to transform these occupations into a permanent apartheid state. The role of the U.S. government in facilitating Israeli apartheid, however, will eventually fade for multiple geopolitical reasons, and that development will create opportunities to turn an apartheid state into as an equitable democratic state or two separate states. The sooner United States government for Israeli apartheid ends, the sooner this transformation could occur. The waning of U.S. government support for Israel may take the form of conditions on military aid or comprehensive government sanctions, even though either development strikes many people as unimaginable. Nevertheless, a December 2016 Brookings public opinion poll reveals that nearly half of the U.S. public supports sanctions on Israel including a majority of self-identifying Democrats. This increased support for U.S. government sanctions indicates that now is the time for political groups committed to a just resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict to lead public opinion, not follow or ignore it. They need to become advocates for official U.S. government sanctions on Israel, such as an update to the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986. Instead of sanctioning South African apartheid, this updated legislations new goal should be to end Israeli apartheid. While there have previously been short-term, minor sanctions on Israel, like President G.H.W. Bushs withholding loan guarantees in 1991, and there are several groups calling for partial sanctions, this is not enough. Full sanctions are needed, and its case rests on three principles: Emerging Trends: Advocacy of U.S. sanctions on Israel will be aided by many emerging geopolitical trends, several of which we previously described in a Countercurrents article. While some of these trends are beyond our control, we can play a role in advancing others. Especially effective may be calls for U.S. government sanctions on Israel and anti-apartheid political mobilizations by the U.S, Israeli, and Palestinian publics for a viable and just one- or two-state solution. We should have no illusions about the intensity of Israeli opposition to any campaign to finally implement U.S. government sanctions. And, even when U.S. sanctions are enacted, Israels democratic transformation will be lengthy, contested, and could face many setbacks, including new expulsions and atrocities. Furthermore, we must also learn an important lesson from South Africa and address the economic equity issues that have undermined that countrys efforts to end apartheid. The battle of ideas is at the core of the political struggle for government sanctions on Israel. To that end we must carefully describe how the Israeli occupations have transformed into an apartheid state, how apartheid violates international laws, and how Israeli apartheid could, in turn, be transformed into a democratic state or states. This intellectual effort must be coupled with political organization since even the most carefully drafted anti-apartheid proposals will become shelf documents unless a well-organized and strategic movement supports them. To succeed that movement needs to be fully aware of both local and global geo-political trends because these, and only these, will create openings for a successful campaign to impose U.S. government sanctions on Israel. Once sanctions finally take their toll, the chances that either a viable and democratic one- or two-state solution will emerge dramatically increase.

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Why Israel is an apartheid state – jonathan-cook.net

More than a decade ago, US President Jimmy Carter warned that Israel was practising apartheid in the occupied Palestinian territories. But in truth, it would be more accurate to say Israel itself is an apartheid state AMEU March-April 2018 To read this essay on the Americans for Middle East Understanding website, click here For a PDF version, click here North from Nazareths city limits, a mile or so as the crow flies, is to be found an agricultural community by the name of Tzipori Hebrew for bird. It is a place I visit regularly, often alongside groups of activists wanting to learn more about the political situation of the Palestinian minority living in Israel. Tzipori helps to shed light on the core historic, legal and administrative principles underpinning a Jewish state, ones that reveal it to be firmly in a tradition of non-democratic political systems that can best be described as apartheid in nature. More than a decade ago, former US president Jimmy Carter incurred the wrath of Israels partisans in America by suggesting that Israeli rule over Palestinians in the occupied territories was comparable to apartheid. While his bestseller book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid broke a taboo, in many ways it added to the confusion surrounding discussions of Israel. Since then, others, including John Kerry, when US secretary of state, and former Israeli prime ministers Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak, have warned that Israeli rule in the occupied territories is in danger of metamorphosing into apartheid though the moment of transformation, in their eyes, never quite seems to arrive. It has been left to knowledgeable observers, such as South Africas Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to point out that the situation for Palestinians under occupation is, in fact, worse than that suffered by blacks in the former South Africa. In Tutus view, Palestinians under occupation suffer from something more extreme than apartheid what we might term apartheid-plus. There is a notable difference between the two cases that hints at the nature of that plus. Even at the height of apartheid, South Africas white population understood that it needed, and depended on, the labor of the black majority population. Israel, on the other hand, has a far more antagonistic relationship to Palestinians in the occupied territories. They are viewed as an unwelcome, surplus population that serves as a demographic obstacle to the political realization of a Greater Israel. The severe economic and military pressures Israel imposes on these Palestinians are designed to engineer their incremental displacement, a slow-motion ethnic cleansing. Not surprisingly, Israels supporters have been keen to restrict the use of the term apartheid to South Africa, as though a political system allocating key resources on a racial or ethnic basis has only ever occurred in one place and at one time. It is often forgotten that the crime of apartheid is defined in international law, as part of the 2002 Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court at The Hague. An apartheid system, the statute says, is 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. In short, apartheid is a political system, or structure, that assigns rights and privileges based on racial criteria. This definition, it will be argued in this essay, describes the political regime not only in the occupied territories where things are actually even worse but in Israel itself, where Jewish citizens enjoy institutional privileges over the 1.8 million Palestinians who have formal Israeli citizenship. These Palestinians are the remnants of the Palestinian people who were mostly dispersed by the 1948 war that established a Jewish state on the ruins of their homeland. These Palestinian citizens comprise about a fifth of Israels population. Although it is generally understood that they suffer discrimination, the assumption even of many scholars is that their treatment in no way undermines Israels status as a western-style liberal democracy. Most minorities in the west for example, blacks and Hispanics in the U.S., Asians in the U.K., Turks in Germany, and Africans in France face widespread prejudice and discrimination. Israels treatment of its Palestinian minority, it is claimed, is no different. This is to profoundly misunderstand the kind of state Israel is, and how it relates to all Palestinians, whether they are under occupation or Israeli citizens. The discrimination faced by Palestinians in Israel is not illegal, informal, unofficial, or improvised. It is systematic, institutional, structural and extensively codified, satisfying very precisely the definition of apartheid in international law and echoing the key features of South African apartheid. It was for this reason that the United Nations Economic Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) published a report in 2017 concluding that Israel had established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole, including its Palestinian citizens. Under severe pressure from Israel and the US, that report was quickly retracted but the reality of apartheid in Israeli law and practice persists. This argument is far more controversial than the one made by President Carter. His position suggests that Israel developed a discrete system of apartheid after the occupation began in 1967 a kind of add-on apartheid to democratic Israel. On this view, were Israel to end the occupation, the apartheid regime in the territories could be amputated like a gangrenous limb. But if Israels treatment of its own Palestinian citizens fits the definition of apartheid, then it implies something far more problematic. It suggests that Jewish privilege is inherent in the Israeli polity established by the Zionist movement in 1948, that a Jewish state is apartheid-like by its nature, and that dismantling the occupation would do nothing to end Israels status as an apartheid state. Tzipori was founded by Romanian and Bulgarian Jews in 1949 as a moshav, a socialist agricultural collective similar to the kibbutz. It specialized in dairy production, though most of its inhabitants long ago abandoned farming, as well as socialism: today its 1,000 residents work in offices in nearby cities such as Haifa, Tiberias and Afula. Tziporis Hebrew name alludes to a much older Roman city called Sephoris, the remains of which are included in a national park that abuts the moshav. Separating the moshav from ancient Sephoris is a large pine forest, concealing yet more rubble, in some places barely distinguishable from the archeological debris of the national park. But these ruins are much more recent. They are the remnants of a Palestinian community of some 5,000 souls known as Saffuriya. The village was wiped out in 1948 during the Nakba, the Arabic word for catastrophe how Palestinians describe the loss of their homeland and its replacement with a Jewish state. The Palestinians of Saffuriya an Arabized version of Sephoris were expelled by Israel and their homes razed. The destruction of Saffuriya was far from an isolated incident. More than 500 Palestinian villages were ethnically cleansed in a similar fashion during the Nakba, and the ruins of the homes invariably covered with trees. Today, all Saffuriyas former residents live in exile most outside Israels borders, in camps in Lebanon. But a proportion live close by in Nazareth, the only Palestinian city in what became Israel to survive the Nakba. In fact, according to some estimates, as much as 40 percent of Nazareths current population is descended from Saffuriyas refugees, living in their own neighborhood called Safafri. Nowadays, when observers refer to Palestinians, they usually think of those living in the territories Israel occupied in 1967: the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Increasingly, observers (and the various peace processes) overlook two other significant groups. The first are the Palestinian refugees who ended up beyond the borders of partitioned Palestine; the second are the 20 percent of Palestinians who managed to remain on their land. In 1948, some 150,000 survived the Nakba a figure far higher than intended by Israels founders. They included 30,000 in Nazareth both the original inhabitants and refugees like those from Saffuriya who sought sanctuary in the city during the fighting. They avoided expulsion only because of a mistake. The commander who led the attack on Nazareth, a Canadian Jew called Ben Dunkelman, disobeyed an order to empty the city of its inhabitants. One can guess why: given the high profile of Nazareth as a center of Christianity, and coming in the immediate wake of the war crimes trials of Nazis at Nuremberg, Dunkelman presumably feared that one day he might end up in the dock too. There were other, unforeseen reasons why Palestinians either remained inside Israel or were brought into the new state. Under pressure from the Vatican, a significant number of Palestinian Christians maybe 10,000 were allowed to return after the fighting finished. A further 35,000 Palestinians were administratively moved into Israel in 1949, after the Nakba had ended, when Israel struck a deal with Jordan to redraw the ceasefire lines to Israels territorial, but not demographic, advantage. And finally, in a far less technologically sophisticated age, many refugees who had been expelled outside Israels borders managed to slip back hoping to return to villages like Saffuriya. When they found their homes destroyed, they blended into surviving Palestinian communities like Nazareth, effectively disappearing from the Israeli authorities view. In fact, it was this last trend that initiated a process that belatedly led to citizenship for the Palestinians still in Israel. The priority for Israeli officials was to prevent any return for the 750,000 Palestinians they had ethnically cleansed so successfully. That was the only way to ensure the preservation of a permanent and incontrovertible Jewish majority. And to that end, Palestinians in surviving communities like Nazareth needed to be marked out branded, to use a cattle-ranching metaphor. That way, any infiltrators, as Israel termed refugees who tried to return home, could be immediately identified and expelled again. This branding exercise began with the issuing of residency permits to Palestinians in communities like Nazareth. But as Israel sought greater international legitimacy, it belatedly agreed to convert this residency into citizenship. It did so through the Citizenship Law of 1952, four years after Israels creation. Citizenship for Palestinians in Israel was a concession made extremely reluctantly and only because it served Israels larger demographic purposes. Certainly, it was not proof, as is often assumed, of Israels democratic credentials. The Citizenship Law is better understood as an anti-citizenship law: its primary goal was to strip any Palestinians outside the new borders the vast majority after the ethnic cleansing of 1948 of a right ever to return to their homeland. Two years before the Citizenship Law, Israel passed the more famous Law of Return. This law effectively opened the door to all Jews around the world to immigrate to Israel, automatically entitling them to citizenship. Anyone familiar with modern US history will be aware of the Supreme Court decision of 1954 in the famous civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education. The judges ruled that the creation of separate public schools for white and black pupils was unconstitutional, on the grounds that separate is inherently unequal. It was an important legal principle that would strike a decisive blow against Jim Crow, the Deep Souths version of apartheid. If separate is inherently unequal, Israels segregated structure of citizenship is the most profound form of inequality imaginable. Citizenship is sometimes referred to as the foundational right offered by states because so many other basic rights typically depend on it: from suffrage to residency and welfare. By separating citizenship rights on an ethnic basis, creating an entitlement to citizenship for Jews with one law and denying most Palestinians citizenship with another, Israel institutionalized legal apartheid at the bedrock level. Adalah, a legal rights group for Palestinians in Israel, has compiled an online database listing Israeli laws that explicitly discriminate based on ethnicity. The Law of Return and the Citizenship Law are the most significant, but there are nearly 70 more of them. Ben Gurion was prepared to award the remnants of the Palestinians in Israel this degraded version of citizenship because he assumed this population would pose no threat to his new Jewish state. He expected these Palestinian citizens or what Israel prefers to term generically Israeli Arabs to be swamped by the arrival of waves of Jewish immigrants like those that settled Tzipori. Ben Gurion badly miscalculated. The far higher birth rate of Palestinian citizens meant they continue to comprise a fifth of Israels population. Palestinian citizens have maintained this numerical proportion, despite Israels strenuous efforts to gerrymander its population. The Law of Return encourages with free flights, financial gifts, interest-free loans and grants any Jew in the world to come to Israel and instantly receive citizenship. More than three million Jews have taken up the offer. The Citizenship Law, on the other hand, effectively closed the door after 1952 on the ability of Palestinians to gain citizenship. In fact, since then there has been only one way for a non-Jew to naturalize and that is by marrying an Israeli citizen, either a Jew or Palestinian. This exception is allowed only because a few dozen non-Jews qualify each year, posing no threat to Israels Jewish majority. In practice, Palestinians outside Israel have always been disqualified from using this route to citizenship, even if they marry a Palestinian citizen of Israel, as became increasingly common after Israel occupied the rest of historic Palestine in 1967. During the Oslo years, when Palestinians in Israel launched a legal challenge to force Israel to uphold the naturalization of their spouses from the occupied territories, the government hurriedly responded by passing in 2003 the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law. It denied Palestinians the right to qualify for Israeli residency or citizenship under the marriage provision. In effect, it banned marriage across the Green Line formally separating Palestinians in Israel from Palestinians under occupation. The measure revealed that Israel was prepared to violate yet another fundamental right to fall in love and marry the person of ones choice to preserve its Jewishness. Most citizens of the United States correctly assume that their citizenship and nationality are synonymous: American or US. But the same is not true for Israelis. Israel classifies its citizens as holding different nationalities. This requires rejecting a common Israeli nationality and instead separating citizens into supposed ethnic or religious categories. Israel has recognized more than 130 nationalities to deal with anomalous cases, myself included. After I married my wife from Nazareth, I entered a lengthy, complex and hostile naturalization process. I am now an Israeli citizen, but my nationality is identified as British. The vast majority of Israeli citizens, on the other hand, hold one of two official nationalities: Jewish or Arab. The Israeli Supreme Court has twice upheld the idea that these nationalities are separate from and superior to citizenship. This complex system of separate nationalities is not some arcane, eccentric practice: it is central to Israels version of apartheid. It is the means by which Israel can both institutionalize a separation in rights and obscure this state-sanctioned segregation from the view of outsiders. It allows Israel to offer different rights to different citizens depending on whether they are Jews or Palestinians, but in a way that avoids too obvious a comparison with apartheid South Africa. Here is how. All citizens, whatever their ethnicity, enjoy citizenship rights. In this regard, Israel looks at least superficially much like a western liberal democracy. Examples of citizenship rights include health care, welfare payments, the domestic allocation of water, and education although, as we shall see, the picture is usually far more complex than it first appears. In reality, Israel has managed covertly to subvert even these citizenship rights. Consider medical care. Although all citizens are entitled to equal health provision, hospitals and major medical services are almost always located in Jewish communities, and difficult for Palestinian citizens to access given the lack of transport connections between Palestinian and Jewish communities. Palestinian citizens in remote communities, such as in the Negev (Naqab), are often denied access to basic medical services. And recently it emerged that Israeli hospitals were secretly segregating Jewish and Palestinian women in maternity clinics. Dr Hatim Kanaaneh, a Palestinian physician in Israel, documents these and many other problems with health care in his book A Doctor in Galilee. More significantly, Israel also recognizes national rights, and reserves them almost exclusively for the Jewish population. National rights are treated as superior to citizenship rights. So if there is a conflict between a Jews national right and a Palestinians individual citizenship right, the national right must be given priority by officials and the courts. In this context, Israels rightwing justice minister, Ayelet Shaked, observed in February 2018 that Israel should ensure equal rights to all citizens but not equal national rights. She added: Israel is a Jewish state. It isnt a state of all its nations. The simplest illustration of how this hierarchy of rights works can be found in Israels citizenship laws. The Law of Return establishes a national right for all Jews to gain instant citizenship as well as the many other rights that derive from citizenship. The Citizenship Law, on the other hand, creates only an individual citizenship right for non-Jews, not a national one. Palestinian citizens can pass their citizenship downwards to their offspring but cannot extend it outwards, as a Jew can, to members of their extended family in their case, Palestinians who were made refugees in 1948. My wife has relatives who were exiled by the Nakba in Jordan. But with only an individual right to citizenship, she cannot bring any of them back to their homes now in Israel. This distinction is equally vital in understanding how Israel allocates key material resources, such as water and land. Let us consider land. Israel has nationalized almost all of its territory 93 percent. Palestinian communities in Israel have been able to hold on to less than 3 percent of their land mostly the built-up areas of their towns and villages after waves of confiscation by the state stripped them of at least 70 percent of their holdings. It is not unprecedented in western democracies for the state to be a major land owner, even if Israels total holdings are far more extensive than other states. But Israel has successfully masked what this nationalization of land actually means. Given that there is no recognized Israeli nationality, Israel does not hold the land on behalf of its citizens as would be the case elsewhere. It does not even manage the land on behalf of Jewish citizens of Israel. Instead the land is held in trust for the Jewish people around the globe, whether they are citizens or not, and whether they want to be part of Israel or not. In practice, Jews who buy homes in Israel effectively get long-term leases on their property from a government body known as the Israel Lands Authority. The state regards them as protecting or guarding the land on behalf of Jews collectively around the world. Who are they guarding it from? From the original owners. Most of these lands, like those in Tzipori, have been either seized from Palestinian refugees or confiscated from Palestinian citizens. The political geographer Oren Yiftachel is among the growing number of Israeli scholars who reject the classification of Israel as a liberal democracy, or in fact any kind of democracy. He describes Israel as an ethnocracy, a hybrid state that creates a democratic faade, especially for the dominant ethnic group, to conceal its essential, non-democratic structure. In describing Israels ethnocracy, Yiftachel provides a complex hierarchy of citizenship in which non-Jews are at the very bottom. It is notable that Israel lacks a constitution, instead creating 11 Basic Laws that approximate a constitution. The most liberal component of this legislation, passed in 1992 and titled Freedom and Human Dignity, is sometimes referred to as Israels Bill of Rights. However, it explicitly fails to enshrine in law a principle of equality. Instead, the law emphasizes Israels existence as a Jewish and democratic state an oxymoron that is rarely examined by Israelis. A former Supreme Court judge, Meir Shamgar, famously claimed that Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people was no less democratic than France as the nation-state of the French people. And yet, while it is clear how one might naturalize to become French, the only route to becoming Jewish is religious conversion. Jewish and French are clearly not equivalent conceptions of citizenship. Netanyahus government has been trying to draft a 12th Basic Law. Its title is revealing: it declares Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People. Not the state of Israeli citizens, or even of Israeli Jews, but of all Jews around the world, including those Jews who are not Israeli citizens and have no interest in becoming citizens. This is a reminder of the very peculiar nature of a Jewish state, one that breaks with the conception of a civic citizenship on which liberal democracies are premised. Israels ethnic idea of nationality is closely derived from and mirrors the ugly ethnic or racial ideas of citizenship that dominated Europe a century ago (and are in places being revived). Those exclusive, aggressive conceptions of peoplehood led to two devastating world wars, as well as providing the ideological justification for a wave of anti-semitism that swept Europe and culminated in the Holocaust. Further, if all Jewish nationals in the world are treated as citizens of Israel real or potential ones what does that make Israels large minority of Palestinian citizens, including my wife and two children? It seems that Israel regards them effectively as guest workers or resident aliens, tolerated so long as their presence does not threaten the states Jewishness. Ayelet Shaked, Israels justice minister, implicitly acknowledged this problem during a debate on the proposed Nation-State Basic Law in February. She said Israel could not afford to respect universal human rights: There is a place to maintain a Jewish majority even at the price of violation of rights. The hierarchy of citizenship Yiftachel notes is helpful because it allows us to understand that Israeli citizenship is the exact opposite of the level playing field of formal rights one would expect to find in a liberal democracy. Another key piece of legislation, the Absentee Property Law of 1950, stripped all Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war of their right to any property they had owned before the Nakba. Everything was seized land, crops, buildings, vehicles, farm implements, bank accounts and became the property of Israel, passed on to Jewish institutions or Jewish citizens in violation of international law. The Absentee Property Law applied equally to Palestinian citizens, such as those from Saffuriya who ended up in Nazareth, as it did to Palestinian refugees outside Israels recognized borders. In fact, as many as one in four Palestinian citizens are reckoned to have been internally displaced by the 1948 war. In the Orwellian terminology of the Absentee Property Law, these refugees are classified as present absentees present in Israel, but absent from their former homes. Despite their citizenship, such Palestinians have no more rights to return home, or reclaim other property, than refugees in camps in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. Although Tzipori was built on land confiscated from Palestinians some of them Israeli citizens living close by in Nazareth not one of its 300 or so homes, or its dozen farms, is owned by a Palestinian citizen. In fact, no Palestinian citizen of Israel has ever been allowed to live or even rent a home in Tzipori, seven decades after Israels creation. Tzipori is far from unique. There are some 700 similar rural communities, known in Israel as cooperative communities. Each is, and is intended to be, exclusively Jewish, denying Palestinian citizens of Israel the right to live in them. These rural communities control much of the 93 percent of land that has been nationalized, effectively ensuring it remains off-limits to the fifth of Israels population that is non-Jewish. How is this system of ethnic residential segregation enforced? Most cooperative communities like Tzipori administer a vetting procedure through an admissions committee, comprising officials from quasi-governmental entities such as the Jewish Agency, the Jewish National Fund and the World Zionist Organization, which are there to represent the interests of world Jewry, not Israeli citizens. These organizations effectively interest groups that enjoy a special, protected status as agents of the Israeli state are themselves a gross violation of the principles of a liberal democracy. The state, for example, has awarded the Jewish National Fund, whose charter obligates it to discriminate in favor of Jews, ownership of 13 percent of Israeli territory. A Jew from Brooklyn has more rights to land in Israel than a Palestinian citizen. For most of Israels history, there was little need to conceal what the admissions committees were doing. No one noticed. If a Palestinian from Nazareth had applied to live in Tzipori, the admissions committee would simply have rejected the applicant on the grounds that they were an Arab. But this very effective mechanism for keeping Palestinian citizens off most of their historic homeland hit a crisis two decades ago when the case of the Kaadan family began working its way through Israels court system. Adel Kaadan lived in a very poor Palestinian community called Baqa al-Ghabiyya, south of Nazareth and quite literally a stones throw from the West Bank. Kaadan had a good job as a senior nurse in nearby Hadera hospital, where he regularly treated Jewish patients and had on occasion, he told me when I interviewed him in the early 2000s, helped to save Israeli soldiers lives. He assumed that should entitle him to live in a Jewish community. Kaadan struck me as stubborn as he was nave a combination of personality traits that had got him this far and ended up causing Israel a great deal of legal and reputational trouble. Determined to give his three young daughters the best opportunities he could manage, Kaadan had built the family an impressive villa in Baqa al-Ghabiyya. While I sat having coffee with him, one of his daughters played the piano with a proficiency that suggested she had a private tutor. But Kaadan was deeply dissatisfied with his lot. His home was grand and beautiful, but Baqa was not. As soon as the family stepped outside their home, they had to wade into the reality of Palestinian life in Israel. Kaadan was proof that it was possible for some Palestinian citizens, if they were determined and lucky enough to surmount the many obstacles placed in their way, to enjoy personal success, but they could not so easily escape the collective poverty of their surroundings. Like many other Palestinian citizens, Kaadan was trapped by yet another piece of legislation: the Planning and Building Law of 1965. It advanced a core aim of Zionism: Judaizing as much land as possible. It achieved this in two main ways. First, communities in Israel were only recognized by the state if they were listed in the Planning Law. Although nearly 200 Palestinian communities had survived the Nakba, the law recognized just 120 or them. The most problematic communities, from Israels point of view, were the dispersed Bedouin villages located among the remote, dusty hills of the semi-desert Negev, or Naqab, in Israels south. The Negev was Israels biggest land reserve, comprising 60 percent of the countrys territory. Its vast, inaccessible spaces had made it the preferred location for secretive military bases and Israels nuclear program. Israel wanted the Bedouin off their historic lands, and the Planning Law was the ideal way to evict them by de-recognizing their villages. Today the inhabitants of dozens of unrecognized villages home to nearly a tenth of the Palestinian population in Israel are invisible to the state, except when it comes to the enforcement of planning regulations. The villagers live without state-provided electricity, water, roads and communications. Any homes they build instantly receive demolition orders, forcing many to live in tents or tin shacks. Israels aim is to force the Bedouin to abandon their pastoral way of life and traditions, and relocate to overcrowded, state-built townships, which are the poorest communities in Israel by some margin. In addition to creating the unrecognized villages, the Planning and Building Law of 1965 ensures ghetto-like conditions for recognized Palestinian communities too. It creates residential segregation by confining the vast majority of Palestinian citizens to the 120 Palestinian communities in Israel that are officially listed for them, and then tightly limits their room for growth and development. Even in the case of Palestinian citizens living in a handful of so-called mixed cities Palestinian cities that were largely Judaized after the Nakba they have been forced into their own discrete neighborhoods, on the margins of urban life. The Planning Law also drew a series of blue lines around all the communities in Israel, determining their expansion area. Jewish communities were awarded significant land reserves, while the blue lines around Palestinian communities were invariably drawn close to the built-up area half a century ago. Although Israels Palestinian population has grown seven or eight-fold since, its expansion space has barely changed, leading to massive overcrowding. This problem is exacerbated by Israels failure to build a single new Palestinian community since 1948. Like the other 120 surviving Palestinian communities in Israel, Baqa had been starved of resources: land, infrastructure and services. There were no parks or green areas where the Kaadan children could play. Outside their villa, there were no sidewalks, and during heavy rains untreated sewage rose out of the inadequate drains to wash over their shoes. Israel had confiscated all Baqas land for future development, so houses were crowded around them on all sides, often built without planning permits, which were in any case almost impossible to obtain. Illegal hook-ups for electricity blotted the view even further. With poor refuse collection services, the families often burnt their rubbish in nearby dumpsters. Adel Kaadan had set his eyes on living somewhere better and that meant moving to a Jewish community. When Israel began selling building plots in Katzir, a small Jewish cooperative community located on part on Baqas confiscated land, Kaadan submitted his application. When it was rejected because he was an Arab, he turned to the courts. In 2000, the Kaadans case arrived at the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court. Aharon Barak, the courts president who heard the petition, was the most liberal and respected judge in Israels history. But the Kaadans case was undoubtedly the most unwelcome he ever adjudicated. It placed an ardent Zionist like himself in an impossible situation. On one hand, there was no practice in Israel more clearly apartheid-like than the ethnic-based residential exclusion enforced by the admissions committees. It was simply not something Barak could afford to be seen upholding. After all, he was a regular lecturer at Yale and Harvard law schools, where he was feted, and had often been cited by liberal counterparts on the US Supreme Court as a major influence on their judicial activism. But while he could not be seen ruling in favor of Katzir, at the same time he dared not rule in the Kaadans favor either. Such a decision would undermine the core rationale of a Zionist Jewish state: the Judaization of as much territory as possible. It would create a legal precedent that would throw open the doors to other Palestinian citizens, allowing them also to move into these hundreds of Jewish-only communities. Barak understood that much else hung on the principle of residential separation. Primary and secondary education are also segregated and largely justified on the basis of residential separation. Jewish children go to Hebrew-language schools in Jewish areas; Palestinian children in Israel go to Arabic-language schools in Palestinian communities. (There are only a handful of private bilingual schools in Israel.) This separation ensures that educational resources are prioritized for Jewish citizens. Arab schools are massively underfunded and their curriculum tightly controlled by the authorities, as exemplified by the 2011 Nakba Law. It threatens public funding for any school or institution that teaches about the key moment in modern Palestinian history. Additionally, teaching posts in Arab schools have historically been dictated by the Shin Bet, Israels secret police, to create spies and an atmosphere of suspicion in classrooms and common-rooms. A side-benefit for Israel of separation in residency and education is that Palestinian and Jewish citizens have almost no chances to meet until they reach adulthood, when their characters have been formed. It is easy to fear the Other when you have no experience of him. The success of this segregation may be measured in intermarriages between Jewish and Palestinian citizens. In the year 2011, when the Israeli authorities last issued statistics, there were only 19 such marriages, or 0.03 percent. Israeli Jews openly oppose such marriages as miscegenation. In fact, Israel is so opposed to intermarriages, that it prohibits such marriages from being conducted inside Israel. Mixed couples are forced to travel abroad and marry there typically in Cyprus and apply for the marriage to be recognized on their return. Notably, the 1973 United Nations Convention on Apartheid lists measures prohibiting mixed marriages as a crime of apartheid. Residential separation has also allowed Israel to ensure Jewish communities are far wealthier and better provided with services than Palestinian ones. Although all citizens are taxed on their income, public-subsidized building programs are overwhelmingly directed at providing homes for Jewish families in Jewish areas. Over seven decades, hundreds of Jewish communities have been built by the state, with ready-made roads, sidewalks and public parks, with homes automatically connected to water, electricity and sewage grids. All these communities are built on state land in most cases, lands taken from Palestinian refugees and Palestinian citizens. By contrast, not one new Arab community has been established in that time. And the 120 recognized Palestinian communities have been largely left to sink or swim on their own. After waves of confiscation by the state, they are on the remnants of private Palestinian land. Having helped to subsidize housing and building programs for millions of Jewish immigrants, Palestinian communities have mostly had to raise their own money to install basic infrastructure, including water and sewage systems. Meanwhile, segregated zoning areas and separate planning committees allow Israel to enforce much tougher regulations on Palestinian communities, to deny building permits and to carry out demolition orders. Some 30,000 homes are reported to be illegally built in the Galilee, almost all of them in Palestinian communities. Similarly, most of the states budget for local authorities, as well as business investment, is channeled towards Jewish communities rather than Palestinian ones. This is where industrial areas and factories are built, to ensure greater employment opportunities for Jewish citizens and to top up Jewish communities municipal coffers with business rates. Meanwhile, a central government balancing grant intended to help the poorest local authorities by redistributing income tax in their favor is skewed too. Even though Palestinian communities are uniformly the poorest in Israel, they typically receive a third of the balancing grant received by Jewish communities. Residential segregation has also allowed Israel to create hundreds of national priority areas (NPAs), which receive preferential government budgets, including extra funding to allow for long school days. Israeli officials have refused to divulge even to the courts what criteria are used to establish these priority areas, but it is clearly not based on socio-economic considerations. Of 557 NPAs receiving extra school funding, only four tiny Palestinian communities were among their number. The assumption is that they were included only to avoid accusations that the NPAs were designed solely to help Jews. Israel has similarly used residential segregation to ensure that priority zoning for tourism chiefly benefits Jewish communities. That has required careful engineering, given that much of the tourism to Israel is Christian pilgrimage. In the north, the main pilgrimage destination is Nazareth and its Basilica of the Annunciation, where the Angel Gabriel reputedly told Mary she was carrying the son of God. But Israel avoided making the city a center for tourism, fearing it would be doubly harmful: income from the influx of pilgrims would make Nazareth financially independent; and a prolonged stay by tourists in the city would risk exposing them to the Palestinian narrative. Instead the norths tourism priority zone was established in nearby Tiberias, on the Sea of Galilee, a once-Palestinian city that was ethnically cleansed during the Nakba and is now a Jewish city. For decades investors have been encouraged to build hotels and tourist facilities in Tiberias, ensuring that most coachloads of pilgrims only pass through Nazareth, making a brief hour-long stop to visit the Basilica. Although Nazareth was very belatedly awarded tourism priority status in the late 1990s in time for the Popes visit for the millennium little has changed in practice. The city is so starved of land that there is almost no room for hotels. Those that have been built are mostly located in the citys outer limits, where pilgrims are unlikely to be exposed to Palestinian residents. Public transport links have also privileged Jewish communities over Palestinian ones. The national bus company Egged the main provider of public transport in Israel has established an elaborate network of bus connections between Jewish areas, ensuring that Jewish citizens are integrated into the economy. They can easily and cheaply reach the main cities, factories and industrial zones. Egged buses, however, rarely enter Palestinian communities, depriving their residents of employment opportunities. This, combined with the lack of daycare services for young children, explains why Palestinian women in Israel have long had one of the lowest employment rates in the Arab world, at below 20 percent. Palestinian communities have felt discrimination in the provision of security and protection too. Last November the government admitted there was woefully inadequate provision of public shelters in Palestinian communities, even in schools, against missile attacks and earthquakes. Officials have apparently balked at the large expense of providing shelters, and the problem of freeing up land in Palestinian communities to establish them. Similarly, Israel has been loath to establish police stations in Palestinian communities, leading to an explosion of crime there. In December Palestinian legislator Yousef Jabareen pointed out that there had been 381 shootings in his hometown of Umm al-Fahm in 2017, but only one indictment. He said the towns inhabitants had become hostages in the hands of a small group of criminals. In all these different ways, Israel has ensured Palestinian communities remain substantially poorer than Jewish communities. A study in December 2017 found that the richest communities in Israel all Jewish received nearly four times more welfare spending from the government than the poorest communities all Palestinian. A month earlier, the Bank of Israel reported that Palestinian citizens had only 2 percent of all mortgages, in a sign of how difficult it is for them to secure loans, and they had to pay higher interest charges on the loans. Among the 35 member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Israel has the highest poverty rate. This is largely because of high rates among Palestinian citizens, augmented by the self-inflicted poverty of Israels ultra-Orthodox community, most of whose men refuse to work, preferring religious studies. In evidence of how Israel has skewed welfare spending to benefit poor Jews like the ultra-Orthodox, rather than Palestinian citizens, only a fifth of Jewish children live below the poverty line compared to two-thirds of Palestinian children in Israel. Back at the Supreme Court, Aharon Barak was still grappling with the conflicting burden of Zionist history and the expectations of American law schools. The judge understood he needed to fudge a ruling. He had to appear to be siding with the Kaadan family without actually ruling in their favor and thereby creating a legal precedent that would let other Palestinian families follow in their path. So he ordered Katzir to rethink its decision, warning that it could not keep them out on religious or national grounds. The Jewish community did rething its policy, but not in a way that helped Barak. Katzir responded that they were no longer rejecting the Kaadans because they were Arab, but because they were socially unsuitable. Barak knew that would not wash at Yale or Harvard either it too obviously sounded like code for Arab. He ordered Katzir to come back with a different decision regarding the Kaadans. The case and a few others like it dragged on over the next several years, with the court reluctant to make a precedent-setting decision. Quietly, behind the scenes, Adel Kaadan finally received a plot of land from Katzir. Unnerved, cooperative communities across the Galilee started to pass local bylaws insisting on a social suitability criterion for applicants to pre-empt any decision by the Supreme Court in favor of the Palestinian families banging at their doors. By 2011, it looked as if the Supreme Court was running out of options and would have to rule on the legality of the admissions committees. At that point, the government of Benjamin Netanyahu stepped in to help out the court. There was no statutory basis for the admissions committees; they were simply an administrative practice observed by all these hundreds of Jewish-only cooperative communities. The Netanyahu government, therefore, pushed through an Admissions Committee Law that year. It finally put the committees on a statutory footing, but also made them embarrassingly visible for the first time. As the parliament backed the legislation, reports in the western media labeled it an apartheid law conveniently ignoring the fact that this had been standard practice in Israel for more than six decades. A petition from the legal group Adalah against the new law reached the Supreme Court in 2014. Barak had by this time retired. But in line with his aversion to issuing a ruling that might challenge the racist underpinnings of Israel as a Jewish state, the judges continued not to make a decision. They argued that the law was too new for the court to determine what effect the admissions committees would have in practice or in the language of the judges, they declined to act because the law was not yet ripe for adjudication. The ripeness argument was hard to swallow given that the effect of the admissions committees in enforcing residential apartheid after so many decades was only too apparent. Even so, the legal challenge launched by the Kaadans left many in the Israeli leadership worried. In February 2018, referring to the case, the justice minister Ayelet Shaked averred that in the argument over whether its all right for a Jewish community to, by definition, be only Jewish, I want the answer to be, Yes, its all right. It is time to address more specifically the nature of the apartheid regime Israel has created and how it mirrors the essence of South Africas apartheid without precisely replicating it. Close to the forest planted over the ruins of the Palestinian homes of Saffuriya is a two-storey stone structure, an Israeli flag fluttering atop its roof. It is the only Palestinian home not razed in 1948. Later, it was inhabited by Jewish immigrants, and today serves as a small guest house known as Tzipori Village. Its main customers are Israeli Jews from the crowded, urban center of the country looking for a weekend break in the countryside. Scholars have distinguished between two modes of South African apartheid. The first was what they term trivial or petty apartheid, though visible apartheid conveys more precisely the kind of segregation in question. This was the sort of segregation that was noticed by any visitor: separate park benches, buses, restaurants, toilets, and so on. Israel has been careful to avoid in so far as it can this visible kind of segregation, aware that this is what most people think of as apartheid. It has done so, even though, as we have seen, life in Israel is highly segregated for Jewish and Palestinian citizens. Residence is almost always segregated, as is primary and secondary education and much of the economy. But shopping malls, restaurants and toilets are not separate for Jewish and Palestinian citizens. The same scholars refer to grand or resource apartheid, which they consider to have been far more integral to apartheid South Africas political project. This is segregation in relation to the states key material resources, such as land, water and mineral wealth. Israel has been similarly careful to segregate the main material resources to preserve them for the Jewish majority alone. It does this through the establishment of hundreds of exclusively Jewish communities like Tzipori. As noted previously, almost all of Israels territory has been locked up in these cooperative communities. And in line with its Zionist sloganeering about making the desert bloom, Israel has also restricted the commercial exploitation of water to agricultural communities like the kibbutz and moshav. It has provided subsidized water to these Jewish-only communities and denied it to Palestinian communities by treating the commercial use of water as a national right for Jews alone. A thought experiment using Tzipori Village guest house neatly illustrates how Israel practices apartheid but in a way that only marginally differs from the South African variety. Had this bed and breakfast been located in a white community in South Africa, no black citizen would have been allowed to stay in it even for a night, and even if the owner himself had not been racist. South African law would have forbidden it. But in Israel any citizen can stay in Tzipori Village, Jew and Palestinian alike. Although the owner may be racist and reject Palestinian citizens, nothing in the law allows him to do so. But and this is crucial Tziporis admissions committee would never allow a Palestinian citizen to buy the guest house or any home in the moshav, or even rent a home there. The right a Palestinian citizen has to spend a night in Tzipori Village is trivial or petty when compared to Israels sweeping exclusion of all Palestinian citizens from almost all the countrys territory. That is the point the scholars of South African apartheid highlight in distinguishing between the two modes of apartheid. In this sense, Israels apartheid may not be identical to South Africas, but it is a close relative or cousin. This difference is also apparent in Israels treatment of suffrage. The fact that all Israeli citizens Jews and Palestinians have the vote and elect their own representatives is often cited by Israels supporters as proof that Israel is a normal democratic country and cannot therefore be an apartheid state. There are, however, obvious problems with this claim. We can make sense of the difference by again examining South Africa. The reason South African apartheid took the form it did was because a white minority, determined to preserve its privileges, faced off against a large black majority. It could not afford to give them the vote because any semblance of democracy would have turned power over to the black population and ended apartheid. Israel, on the other hand, managed to radically alter its demographic fortunes by expelling the vast majority of Palestinians in 1948. This was the equivalent of gerrymandering the electoral constituency of the new Jewish state on a vast, national scale. The exclusion of most Palestinians from their homeland through the Citizenship Law, and the open door for Jews to come to Israel provided by the Law of Return, ensured Israel could tailor-make a Jewish ethnocracy in perpetuity. The Israeli-Palestinian political scientist Asad Ghanem has described the Palestinian vote as purely symbolic and one can understand why by considering Israels first two decades, when Palestinian citizens were living under a military government. Then, they faced greater restrictions on their movement than Palestinians in the West Bank today. It would be impossible even for Israels keenest supporters to describe Israel as a democracy for its Palestinian citizens during this period, when they were under martial law. And yet Palestinians in Israel were awarded the vote in time for Israels first general election in 1949 and voted throughout the military government period. In other words, the vote may be a necessary condition for a democratic system but it is far from a sufficient one. In fact, in Israels highly tribal political system, Jews are encouraged to believe they must vote only for Jewish Zionist parties, ones that uphold the apartheid system we have just analyzed. That has left Palestinian citizens with no choice but to vote for contending Palestinian parties. The one major Jewish-Arab party, the Communists, was in Israels earliest years a significant political force among Israeli Jews. Today, they comprise a tiny fraction of its supporters, with Palestinian citizens dominating the party. With politics so tribal, it has been easy to prevent Palestinians from gaining even the most limited access to power. Israels highly proportional electoral system has led to myriad small parties in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. All the Jewish parties have at various times participated in government in what are effectively rainbow coalitions. But the Palestinian parties have never been invited into an Israeli government, or had any significant impact on the legislative process. Israels political system may allow Palestinian citizens to vote, but they have zero political influence. This is why Israel can afford the generosity of allowing them to vote, knowing it will never disturb a tyrannical Jewish-majority rule. Palestinian parliament member Ahmed Tibi has expressed it this way: Israel is a democratic state for Jewish citizens, and a Jewish state for Arab citizens.

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May 9, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

Its time to admit that Israel is an apartheid state …

One of the facts about Israel that is often disputed is its status as an apartheid state. There are, obviously, some differences between the Israeli regime occupying Palestine and the former white supremacist regime in South Africa. On that basis, apologists for Israel reject the label of apartheid. Worse still, Israels propagandists around the world even sometimes claim cynically that it is anti-Semitic to apply the term. There are differences and there are similarities between apartheid Israel and apartheid South Africa. The white supremacist regime that once ruled South Africa, for example, did not tend to bomb into submission with fighter jets and attack helicopters the puppet Bantustan homeland enclaves that it controlled. Israel, however, regularly bombs the civilian population in the Gaza ghetto, using the pretext of self-defence against terrorist groups. Its for this reason, and others, that some South African anti-apartheid struggle veterans have said that the Israeli regime is actually a worse form of apartheid than the late, unlamented regime in South Africa. The main point to remember, though, is that this entire debate is a red herring. According to international law, Israel can unequivocally be defined as an apartheid state. A 1976 United Nations document, the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, defines the term unambiguously, and Israels occupation regime in Palestine very much falls into the A-word category. READ:Apartheid land theft is an explosive issue in South Africa and Palestine Israels treatment of Palestinians Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor] The UN document points out that, although the word apartheid is of Afrikaans origin, the wider practice is a more general one of systemic racism which applies to regimes beyond South Africa. For a start, other white supremacist regimes in Africa had extremely similar practices, such as Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was once called. The definition of apartheid under the convention makes it clear that Israels occupation regime in the West Bank is an apartheid model. One example of the definition that fits the Israeli occupation is the arbitrary arrest and illegal imprisonment of the members of a racial group. Israels military justice system in the West Bank has a conviction rate of 99.7 per cent, and is targeted at Palestinian Arabs only. The Jewish settlers illegally colonising the same territory have recourse to Israels civilian courts system, from which Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem are barred. While it has become more accepted in recent years, at least among many on the left, that Israels is an apartheid occupation regime, some still reject the term. They point to the supposedly democratic nature of Israel within its pre-1967 borders, an inaccurate term, since Israel has never once defined its own borders and the so-called Green Line of 1949 is more accurately described as the Armistice Line, not a border. The recent news from an Israeli town in the Galilee region is a very good illustration that the whole of Israel is in fact an apartheid regime designed deliberately to discriminate racially against Palestinian Arabs, who are both historically and (once again) presently the majority population between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea. Last month, the Israeli authorities in Kfar Vradim which was founded in 1984 on land annexed from the nearby Palestinian village of Tarshiha halted the sale of building plots in the town after they learned that half of the buyers were Arabs. These are the Palestinian citizens of Israel who supposedly have equal rights under Israeli law; one-fifth of all Israelis are Palestinian Arabs. READ:Palestinians file complaint to UN over Israel violation of anti-racism convention The leader of the local council, Sivan Yehiel, explained to Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz that because he is entrusted to preserve what he called the Zionist-Jewish-secular character of the town, he decided to cancel the sales to Arabs in order to create solutions that will enable the preservation of demographic balances. The term demographic balances is a racist euphemism. Clearly, what Yehiel meant was that the sales would mean too many Palestinian babies being born in the town that is supposed to be a part of the self-declared Jewish state. Demographic balances (or demographic threats as Israeli officials often put it) is a euphemism very much akin to apartheid, a word which means separateness in Afrikaans. The idea behind South Africas apartheid government propaganda was that the Black population would benefit from separate development. This, of course, was a lie, and the Black population was exploited and repressed most brutally. While the UN convention makes it clear that the decision of the Israeli council leader in Kfar Vradim falls very obviously under the crime of apartheid, Yehiels action was anything but unique. Israels Palestinian citizens face discrimination on many levels simply because they are not Jews. The convention states that the term the crime of apartheid applies to acts including measures calculated to prevent a racial group or groups from participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country including [by violating] the right to freedom of movement and residence. Its time for people in the West to wake up to these facts and admit that Israel is, root and branch, an apartheid state. The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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April 24, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

Video: A Black South African, Israel & Apartheid – aish.com

Fix Yourself Want to make the world a better place? Start by bettering yourself, the only person you can actually change. Should kids be given trophies for playing sports, even when they don’t win? Former Olympian and LA Galaxy soccer star Cobi Jones thinks theyre destructive.

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April 5, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

Hopkins Students for Justice in Palestine | Blue Jays for …

As the Israeli bombardment and invasion of Gaza continues to claim Palestinian lives, Baltimore activists have been organizing protests and engaging in direct action in solidarity with the Palestinian people.We join cities cities across the world, from Toronto and Berlin to Istanbul and Durban, in condemning Israeli aggression and demanding an end to the killing. The IDF deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for unimaginable restraint says Israeli Ambassador to US On Monday, a group of Baltimore activists, several from Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and Hopkins Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), joined an action organized by JVP and Code Pink in Washington DC. Activists posed as conference attendees to disrupt Ron Dermer, Israeli ambassador and keynote speaker in front of 5,000 supporters at Christians United for Israels (CUFI) A Night to Honor Israel event. Dermer shared the stage with John Hagee, Founder of CUFI, Lindsey Graham, a US senator from South Carolina, and a personalized message from Benjamin Netanyahu, each of whom delivered a terrifying message, demanding uncompromising support for Israeli aggression and settlement expansion. Protesters gathered outside the convention center to denounce the Israeli attacks on Gaza and CUFIs hateful rhetoric. Inside, members of the crowd hit, spit on and choked activists, who shortly after disrupting Dermer were dragged from the convention center by security. The same day in Baltimore, several JVP activists met outside the Jewish Community Center in Owings Mills to engage with attendeesand protest the presence of an Israeli embassy official. Baltimore says Hey-ho, Israeli troops have got to go! On Thursday JVP, SJP and other local activists organized a rally on the corner of 33rd and St. Paul. The demonstration coincided with a National Day of Action, with Baltimore joininghundreds of actions in cities across the United States. Nearly 150 people, representing a diverse range of political, religious and community affiliations, joined the demonstration. For several hours, protesters took over the four corners the busy cross-street, waving signs and Palestinian flags and demanding an end to the assault on Gaza. Check out more photos and videos on our Facebook page. The demonstration received wideTV, radio and print coverage, including The Baltimore Sun, City Paper, WBAL TV, WBAL 1090 AM, CBS Baltimore, and the Baltimore PostExaminer. There was also a considerablepolice presence, but with the exception of an officer who prevented activists from hanging a banners on a fence, there was little interference. Present at the demonstration were family members of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, who was kidnapped and burnt alive by Israeli nationalists in Jerusalem, and Tariq Abu Khdeir, the Baltimore-native who was savagely beaten by Israeli police. The large numbers of supporters that came out evidence that a growing number of people in the United States stand with Palestinian people to demand an end to Israeli occupation, colonization and apartheid. Not yet done As of this writing, the bombing and ground invasion has killed more than 1000 men, women and children. Protests will continue as long as Israeli aggression does not cease. Join us this Wednesday, 5:30, at Penn Station for a solidarity march and rally at Charles St. and North Ave. And on August 2nd, come to DC for a mass demonstration at the White House.

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March 1, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

Haaretz Editor: I’m Anti-Zionist and Yes, Israel=Apartheid …

Yes, you read that headline right. In a series of Tweets, Asaf Ronel,world news editor of Haaretz, declared that he is an anti-Zionist. No, hes not some off-the-wall opinion writer thrown into the newspaper for shock value: hes the worldnews editor. Ronelfollowed up his initial statement (above) by calling apartheid in Israel reality, and clarifying that such apartheid began in 1948. In case you dont have Twitter, or in the event this conversation gets subsequently deleted, you can follow some of theconversation in these screen shots: The anti-Israel activist agenda at Haaretz is not limited to its international news editor: HonestReporting previously addressedthe statements of the newspapers owner, Amos Schocken that Haaretz is striving not for objective and accurate reporting but for promoting a political and campaigning agenda. News breaks fast. GetHonestReporting alerts by e-mail and never miss a thing. Free Sign Up Zionism is commonly understood to be the support for Jewish self-determination in the land of Israel. Which begs the question, if Ronel opposes Zionism, is there any way to understand his statementsother than that he opposes the existence of Israel, or at least the existence of a Jewish homeland in Israel? And if Ronel represents the editorial policy of Haaretz, is there any possible conclusion other than that it is Haaretz policy to oppose Israels very existence? The person debating against Ronel in the above Twitter conversation is Dr. Emmanuel Navon,an International Relations expert who teaches at Tel-Aviv University and at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Centerand is a Senior Fellow at the Kohelet Policy Forum. Navon weighed in on the topic saying: What is the difference between blaming the Jewish people and blaming the Jewish state for the worlds ills? and: Denying sovereignty only to the Jews is discriminatory. So is saying that only Jewish sovereignty intrinsically immoral. Mainstream Israeli journalist Haviv Rettig Gur (Senior Analyst for Times of Israel) also weighed in via Twitter: Gur adds on his Facebook page in relevant part: Something dishonest is happening at Haaretz, and its a damn shame. We need a progressive voice in this country that doesnt let itself turn into a fawning parrot for the latest anti-Zionist fashion abroad, but speaks to us Israelis, to our experience and concerns, and tries to convince us its vision is better. Thats not Haaretz, at least not anymore. Asaf even took a crack at HonestReporting in the following tweet: In light of Ronels reply invoking the concept of free speech, we simply have to ask: if the best you can say about your writing is that it isnt outright illegal, isnt that setting the bar a little low for a professional journalist? Put another way, just because youhavethe right to say something, that doesnt mean youare right to say it. Of course, Ronel is not even a journalist at all: by his own admission, he is really an agenda driven activist. And while free speech means that disguising activism as journalism cannot get you thrown in jail, it should certainly get you thrown out of a newspaper office. Unlikecommentary or opinion writing, a professionalnews editor must embody the values of openness and impartiality. This is essential in orderto convey accurate information to news readers. Can an anti-Zionist editor who believes Israel is an apartheid state really be capable of reporting on Israel in a manner that is accurate and impartial? Unfortunately, foreign news outlets often quote Haaretz, misrepresenting it asa mainstream Israeli voice, even though Haaretzscirculation isonly 3.9% of Israeli news readers. This gives news readers around the world an inaccurate understanding of Israel and of Israelis. Haaretzs ownership and international news editors not only fail to embody the values of professional journalism, but are publicly statingthat they do not even wish to. There is nothing wrong with having a personal agenda, but disguising an agenda as journalism, is misleading and harmful to news audiences, as wellto the news profession itself. Simon Plosker, HRs Managing Editor, comments: While a tenacious and free Israeli media are a vital part of Israels democracy, Haaretz, and particularly its English-language site, plays a significant role in the demonization of Israel. Many foreign journalists find the most negative stories to publish straight from Haaretz. Its time that they acknowledge that Haaretz is wholly unrepresentative of Israel and Israeli society. This appalling rant by Asaf Ronel on Twitter is further confirmation of Haaretzs openly hateful agenda that permeates from editorial all the way to its owner Amos Schocken. In short, if Haaretz truly cannot bring itself to start behaving like an actual newspaper, then it should stop calling itself one. Perhaps the Haaretz Anti-Zionism Advocacy Organization, would be a good name. At least it would be honest. While you’re here, help us continue producing the analyses, articles, videos and hot news reaching thousands of viewers and holding the media accountable. Support us by Donating Here

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February 2, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

Pro-Palestinian Groups Compare Chris Rocks Show in Israel …

Chris Rock performs his stand-up comedy routine during a stop of his Total Blackout Tour on June 10, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images) Much to the dismay of pro-Palestinian groups, it looks like Chris Rock will be following through on a scheduled performance in Tel Aviv, Israel. Following months of urging from activists and fans to cancel the Jan. 9 performance, Rock is currently in Tel Aviv for the next stop of his stand-up Total Blackout Tour. The Electronic Intifada, a Chicago-based website that covers the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, reports that nearly 4,000 people signed a petition asking Rock to boycott apartheid Israel. A group of 20 Palestinian performing arts organizations also wrote Rock an open letter pleading with him to reconsider his show in Tel Aviv, likening the event to performing in apartheid South Africa. The letter, which was published on the Palestinian human rights website BDS Movement (the BDS stands for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions), references the renowned comics history of speaking out against racial injustice. You were born into a society which spelled out with brutal clarity and in as many ways as possible The letter writers also note that although Rock may never explicitly condone Israels treatment of Palestine, his show would be used by the Israeli government as a tacit endorsement: As the recent performance by Radiohead, in defiance of Palestinian and international appeals, has lucidly shown, what matters most is not whether artists performing in Tel Aviv support Israels grave crimes against the Palestinian people or not but how Israel will irrespectively use their performances to portray a false image for itself, covering up its human rights violations. Dozens of tweets from Israeli officials and Israel lobby groups, as well as US right-wing pundits, gloated over Radioheads decision to violate the cultural boycott, with a leading right-wing Israeli newspaper describing the bands decision to cross the Palestinian boycott picket line as the best gift of hasbara [propaganda] Israel has received lately. Israel, after all, sees culture as a hasbara tool of the first rank, as a ranking Israeli official once admitted. The letter compares the current cultural boycott of Israel to those that occurred during the time when the fight against Jim Crow laws was at its peak. It also lists notable entertainers and speakers who have decided to avoid any engagement in Israel, like Angela Davis, Alice Walker, Lauryn Hill and Archbishop Desmond Tutu: Of the twenty six Oscar nominees in 2016, none has accepted an all-expense-paid Israeli propaganda junket, and out of eleven NFL players, six turned down a similar offer by the Israeli government in 2017. The open letter ends with a comparison to Black Lives Matter in the U.S., which Rock has openly supported: We take to heart Baldwins advice to his nephew, Please try to remember that what they believe, as well as what they do and cause you to endure, does not testify to your inferiority, but to their inhumanity and fear. We shall continue to resist Israels dehumanization of us just as the Movement for Black Lives resists racial violence and institutionalized oppression in the US. The conflict between Israel and Palestine has entered into a state of uncertainty in recent months as a two-state solution over control of the West Bank seems less and less viable. It will be Rocks first appearance in Israel, according to the Jerusalem Post. He will play at the Menora Mivtachim Arena with fellow comedian Jeffrey Ross as his opening act.

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February 2, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

Roger Waters sets the record straight: I hate apartheid …

The tires of the taxicab crunch softly along the gravel driveway leading up to the house. The gray building, hidden from the street like all the houses here, isnt so large for Southampton, this very affluent suburb on Long Island, New York. A tiny house-number sign, by the side of the entrance to the driveway, is the only way you know youve reached your destination. The taxi driver who picked me up at the local bus station tells me Paris Hilton has a house nearby. He doesnt know who lives in the gray house. I ring the doorbell at the appointed time, and hear a dog barking. Roger Waters opens the door, barefoot, in shorts and a faded polo shirt. His cheeks are covered with white stubble, his blue-gray eyes seem a little weary and his gray hair is disheveled. He shuffles a little as he walks, but his body is youthful and his smile endearing. Hours of wavering over whether to greet this idol of my youth with a handshake or a hug are dispensed with instantly: He embraces me. Weve never met before. I follow him back into the two-story house. An American home with paintings on the walls and broad carpets on the floors, a grand piano in the living room. Outside is a heated swimming pool, whose water is kept surprisingly warm, even early on a chilly morning. Next to the pool is a small gym. There are a number of bedrooms, some just for guests. And, of course, a recording studio. The garden is impeccably maintained, and vases of freshly cut blue flowers can be found throughout the house. Every window looks out on a gorgeous view: a big pond with wide green marshes behind it and, beyond that, the ocean, whose waves can be heard clearly. The closest house is a good distance away, and the tennis court of the Swedish neighbor lies in between. On the two-hour bus ride from Manhattan, people were talking about the new helicopter service to the town: just $400 each way, a real bargain. Laurie Durning, Waters fourth wife, welcomes me with a friendly handshake and we sit down on the garden patio, their 11-year-old white dog joining us too. Laurie is very knowledgeable about whats happening in the Middle East, and she accompanied Roger on his unforgettable concert in Israel in the summer of 2006. She says she could feel the audiences love, maybe even more than her husband did. A lot of chickpeas have since grown in the fields of Neve Shalom, where the concert took place before a crowd of 54,000 Israelis. Waters says he remembers all the lavish goodies that producer Shuki Weiss arranged to have backstage. I remember that incredible, magical night, but its difficult to tell Waters that he doesnt like hearing fans gush about How you changed my life, blah, blah, blah. To him, Pink Floyd the band responsible for the mysterious and legendary soundtrack of our youth, the greatest-band-of-all-time, in my view is primarily a job he left behind 30 years ago. His 20 years with the band, especially the latter ones, became a nightmare for him, mainly due to a rancorous relationship with guitarist David Gilmour. The masterpiece Shine on You Crazy Diamond, about initial lead singer, Syd Barrett, is a heartbreaking tale of mental illness and the drugs that precipitated it. Waters says that if Barrett hadnt become ill and stopped writing, he may never have started writing songs himself. Barretts premature retirement spurred Roger to write what became the bulk of Pink Floyds work. An Englishman in New York On his right hand, Waters wears a ring he hasnt taken off since 1968. The wedding band on his other hand has been replaced several times over the years. He has three children from two of his previous marriages (his first wife died). Durning, with whom he does not have children, is a film producer from New York. For many years now, Waters has been an Englishman in New York, as Sting once sang. I tell him this as he leads me upstairs to my room, and he smiles. The couple is currently building a new summer house, not far from this one. It will be much larger, in the hope that the kids and grandkids will come to visit more often. The man who once sang Money, its a crime lives well. He also has a townhouse in midtown Manhattan and a vacation home in England, which he doesnt use much. Two shiny black Mercedes sedans are parked out front; one is a convertible. Still, he comes across as a modest guy, devoid of rock-star pretensions. Here at home, at least. He has a British personal manager, Mark Fenwick, whos been working with him since he left Pink Floyd, and a Hungarian butler, Csaba Kralik, whos been with him for 15 years. The latter doesnt live with the couple, but attends to all their needs and accompanies them on their travels. Peace activist Nurit Peled-Elhanan, daughter of the late Israeli Maj. Gen. Matti Peled, keeps Waters regularly updated on whats happening with the occupation. He also has a friend in Bilin who sends him weekly pictures from the protests there. After the Neve Shalom concert, he visited Israel and the territories once more as a guest of UNRWA, and made a point of putting his signature on the West Bank separation barrier. He feels that The Wall is Pink Floyds best album. In recent years, Waters has devoted a lot of his time to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. Every artist who wants to perform in Israel receives a letter of rebuke from him. Neil Young ended up canceling during last summers Gaza war, but Waters says no artist ever admits they canceled because of him. Cyndi Lauper, Robbie Williams and even Pink Floyds old sound engineer, Alan Parsons to name a few did not heed his entreaties and performed in Israel. But theres no question hes created a new international mood. Waters involvement in the struggle against Israel actually began after his performance here nine years ago. At the time, he, too, received letters urging him not to perform, but he ignored them. Initially, he was supposed to perform in Tel Aviv, but then he shifted the venue to Neve Shalom, with the idea that it would be an Arab and Jewish audience. But the Arabs didnt come, and he was disappointed. Today, he would refuse to perform anywhere in Israel. I was so unaware then, he says. Artists today are more aware. Some of the artists he addresses think hes off his rocker; others are worried about hurting their livelihood, while some say politics and music should be kept separate. Waters doesnt accept this. Hes determined to fight the occupation and what he sees as an apartheid state. Believe whatever you like, but Waters does not hate Israel. Hes deeply outraged at the injustices it perpetrates. When he talks about Israel, its with pain, criticism and anger, but not hatred. And anti-Semitism is not part of the picture here, despite the show in which he placed a pig on a Star of David, along with other religious symbols, during his 2013 European tour, which raised that suspicion. Waters has Jewish grandchildren from his Jewish daughter-in-law. The number tattooed on the forearm of a friend of his mothers, a French-Jewish Holocaust survivor, left a strong impression on him as a child. He recalls her constant anxiety: I remember she was terrified for her children. Her kids were not allowed to come out in a canoe with us. You can imagine. Well, you cant, none of us can imagine. But I remember that, I remember thinking, Why is this woman scared of the river? You know, she was scared of everything; she was scared of her own shadow. Why Israel? Its hard not to believe him, with his candidness and openness. His house is unlocked; even late at night the doors are wide open. He feels strongly that the injustice done to the Palestinians must be remedied, and he believes he is toiling on behalf of this cause. By doing so, he believes he is also working for the sake of Israelis. Why this particular injustice and not other, even worse ones? Waters says that during the apartheid era in South Africa, there were plenty of other atrocities happening in the world, but no one asked, why South Africa. Why Israel? Because things can be remedied and changed there, just like in South Africa. Maybe it all began with his father, a communist and pacifist who was a volunteer ambulance driver during the London Blitz, eventually enlisted in the British Army to fight the Nazis, and was killed by a tank shell in Italy. His body was never found. In a new film debuting in September, Roger Waters: The Wall, Waters is seen playing the trumpet at the spot in southern Italy where his father died, next to a memorial tablet there. From letters his father wrote to his grandmother, Waters learned that his father studied in Jerusalem for two years. His grandfather was also a casualty of war: He was killed in World War I and is buried in France. Waters never met his father, Eric Fletcher Waters; he was just five and a half months old when Eric was killed in 1944. His mother, Mary, raised him and his brother as a single mother in Cambridge. She was also a communist and taught her children to pursue justice. His brother is a retired cab driver; their mother died six years ago at 96. Roger would sometimes bring her to Pink Floyd concerts, and says the other band members used to bring their parents, too. Waters will turn 72 in September. As a child, he thought about becoming a veterinarian, and later studied architecture. Hes a very warm and charming fellow, and fond of drinking white wine. When he does so, he opens up even more and becomes very amusing: You have to see his imitation of Mikhail Gorbachev, whom he once met. He loves to cook, and does so every day. The linguine he made for lunch was spicy enough to make the eyes water. In the evening, he baked a superb tarte tatin. He attached a little yellow note to the baking pan, Caution, hot. Dont touch. For dinner, which was prepared by two young cooks, he invited a dozen or so friends, many of them Jewish. One, a relative of Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, mistakenly thought the meal was going to take place in Manhattan. When he realized his error, he simply hired a helicopter to bring him to The Hamptons. A senior American television reporteralso joined us. Antiwar songs Everything Waters has written in the last few years has a political, mainly antiwar, aspect to it. In one of the new songs hes still working on, Waters sings in French: Je suis Charlie, Je suis Juif. The song was written after the terror attacks in Paris last January. Thats what happens when your father and grandfather were both killed in war. We sat in the studio until 2 A.M., listening to his new songs. His desk in the studio is piled with papers new songs with lots of notes and revisions. Late in the morning hes a late riser I saw him sitting in the kitchen half-dressed, writing down lines on a little scrap of paper. In the studio itself, theres no trace of Pink Floyd. Waters is not nostalgic or sentimental. Hes not a collector of memorabilia. He doesnt even have a guitar from those days. Hes in the process of writing an autobiography, played at the Newport Folk Festival last week, and plans to go on another world tour next year. Hes a busy and active man. Once in a while, he plays golf. He also has a pool table in his studio; the Hungarian butler says Waters beats all his guests. I told Waters that back in my student days, my roommate and I had a strict rule: When one of us was playing Pink Floyd, the other had to stay out of the house. Dark Side of the Moon was the soundtrack to many nights of new loves, heart-to-heart talks and personal confessions. In the hotel back in Manhattan, before setting out for The Hamptons, I had listened to the album once more and found that the magic was still there, even after all these years. Over the two days I was a guest in his home, we went up to his recording studio twice for long interview sessions. Waters willingly answered every question. At one point, we stopped to watch several fawns that had pranced into the garden to graze. When and how did your political involvement in the Middle East begin? I got an offer to play in Israel, and thats where it really started. It really started for me without thinking because this is how nave I was in 2006. I didnt think about it. When my agent did the deal with Shuki Weiss and accepted the gig in [Hayarkon Park] in Tel Aviv, I was engaged in other things, to my eternal shame but then I started getting emails. From whom? There were hundreds of different organizations, mainly from the Middle East and North Africa. But there were other places, Europeans, and people saying, Are you sure about this? Do you know about this new organization? Because it was new in 2006, BDS. But their voice was very measured and persuasive, and I engaged in a dialogue with them. They were telling you not to go? Yes, telling me not to come. They said Id be enabling the occupation. How nave I mustve been Certainly living here in the United States and presumably its the same in the U.K. the hasbara [Israeli public diplomacy] is extremely powerful. Eventually, I canceled that gig but went to Neve Shalom instead. Who suggested Neve Shalom? Whose idea was that? I have no idea. I cant remember. But I mustve done a lot of research and I heard about this place where Jewish people and Christians and Muslims try to live together in an agricultural community, and they educate their children together through all the trials and tribulations that that kind of inclusive society necessarily demands of its citizens. It was and still is a beautiful experiment, and should be encouraged in all possible ways. The gig was fantastic. But and its a big but at the end, I made a short political speech, and suddenly it was as if I was from Mars when I suggested this was the generation of young Israelis that should make peace with their neighbors. They went very, very quiet. Afterward, I thought about the implications of travel restrictions and realized it was pretty unlikely that there were any Palestinians or Arabs in the audience, and I felt really bad about that. But during the concert itself, what did you feel? Concerts are very seductive, especially if youre standing on the stage with people going Whoa, how cool are you! Did you feel all the love directed at you? Yes, it was fantastic, I could feel it. Maybe I shouldnt tell you this story, but I will. When I visited Jenin [in 2009], I met Ismail, the father whose son was at the center of the movie The Heart of Jenin, about the Palestinian boy who was shot And his organs were donated to Israelis. And they donated his organs, so it was very emotional. And then they said to me in Jerusalem, Will you come and talk to the students at the film school? And I thought: What a great opportunity. So I turn up one day, and everyones all bubbling and theres a room with about 150 young people and all their teachers standing around, and it couldnt have been more welcoming. I thanked them for having me and asked what we should talk about. And they were silent, so I said, Alright, Ill tell you what we should talk about. How many of you have seen the documentary Heart of Jenin? And they might just as well have had stainless-steel shutters behind their eyelids. I started to talk about it, but it was like I had turned into a Martian or something. Suddenly, you could see the distaste and horror that I would be mentioning this. And I got quite angry. I didnt shout at them but I said: There is something wrong with this picture. So as wonderful and as full of love as playing to that audience of young people was, this was horrific. Im not a prophet Do you think youve found the truth concerning the Middle East? I dont know, Im not a prophet. Nobodys handed me a bunch of tablets and said, This is the truth. Im having to figure this out for myself. What I do know is, whosoever it might be, from any side of any war, if anybody is dropping bombs and killing children I know Im on the other side. So, I live in the United States and I could not be more passionately opposed to the War on Terror drone warfare in particular. And here we get to the core of the issue, because in Israel many people ask: Why Israel, when there are so many other countries that do the same? Well, if youre determined to stand on the side of truth, justice, liberty, human rights, individual freedoms, political equality, and freedom to worship whatever you want, all of that from time to time, situations crop up that demand your attention more than other situations, because theyre blatant and theyve been going on for a very long time. People also complain about anybody making comparisons between apartheid South Africa and Israel. But particularly in the occupied territories but also in Israel, in my view the comparisons are valid. In the 1970s and 80s, there was no question we all focused on South Africa because it was the obvious place to focus. It was a place where it looked like all of us who took part in the Anti-Apartheid Movement, as it was called then, might have an effect, and might cause changes in policy in that small part of the world. Israel is that bit of the world now. Whether Israelis or anyone else like it or not, it just is. In Israel, you are described as not listening to both sides. Do you listen to the Israeli side? Okay, tell me what it is and Ill listen. I mean, youre the perfect person to tell me what it is, because Ive read your work and I sense we have a great deal in common. In a way, though, maybe I shouldnt be talking to you; maybe I should be talking to [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu. Well, obviously not. I couldnt. Once I was put on the phone with [Israeli ambassador to the U.S.] Ron Dermer. Maybe he thought he could turn me. It was like having a conversation with a pit bull. What did Dermer say to you? He just went, Hey, we all want peace, and I said if we can make peace then that would be fantastic. He told me peace would happen instantaneously if there was a single person on the other side he could speak to. And what did you say to him? Nothing. Thats not a conversation I should have. Where can the conversation happen? Because its a very difficult conversation to have. We saw the news recently with Hillary Clintons letter [to Haim Saban] promising to help destroy the BDS movement if shes elected president. I said, What? Is this democracy at work?! You give me money and then I destroy BDS? Where might there be a sensible conversation? Nobody knows whats going to happen. But what we do know is that throwing more armaments at it is not going to help anybody. So maybe BDS should be aimed at the United States, and you should stop performing at Carnegie Hall? At some point, it might become the correct thing to try to start a boycott movement of some sort in the United States. But that time is not now. Im part of this BDS movement, which is spreading fast through the universities which is why people are pouring millions of dollars into the universities to try to buy [the students]. You cant buy them! Theyre young people. Theyre not for sale. In an article I wrote a year ago, I was talking about [pro-Israel lobby] AIPAC: When Netanyahu spoke to AIPAC two years ago, he mentioned BDS 17 times in his speech. The year before that, it was never mentioned to anyone, anywhere. Thats a huge change. Isnt there a danger that BDS will unite Israelis and make them even more nationalistic? I dont think so. I think it will give power to Israeli people who are not happy with their domestic and foreign policy, knowing that they have friends and supporters outside the country who are standing with them and applauding them, admiring the bravery it takes to be an Israeli and to stand up for what is right and proper, humane and full of value. Im not religious, but my suspicion is that, what actually relates much more to Judaism and the humane principles Judaism is based upon, is that those people are not insignificant. It is a small number, but it is a significant number. They are at least being active in some way. What is our alternative? Will someone give me an alternative to nonviolent protest, if we believe that the occupation is wrong and if we believe that the Palestinian citizens of Israel should operate under the same laws as Jewish citizens of Israel. Ending the occupation Here we come to the question of the goals of BDS, which are presented in Israel in a vague way by the Israeli government. Will the end of occupation mean the dismantling of BDS? Is this enough of a goal? Yeah, were talking about equality under the law. And the [Palestinian] Right of Return it also includes this, correct? Yeah, of course. On the basis of equality? Yeah, on the basis of equality. I would say to people like Ron Dermer: Whats your solution? What would you do? Well, we know they have one, but they still cant quite get it out. A Greater Israel I suspect thats their solution, to preserve the apartheid. A two-state solution or a one-state solution? Do you have a preference? Because Im a radical atheist, my personal preference would be a democratic, secular state with equal rights for all its citizens with a universal franchise, equal property rights, freedom to practice whatever religion you want. Im very against theocracies. But it hasnt worked in many parts of the world, including Northern Ireland. Okay, thats an interesting point. I agree with you that a divided Ireland may never work. But we dont know what is going to work. At a certain point, it was decided it was going to be a two-state solution. That that little bit [in the north] was going to stay part of the United Kingdom, and the rest was going to be a democratic republic. If there were two secular states, why not? I care just as much about Jewish children as I do about Arab children. I care about people not having a future where they can work, earn a living, sit around a table with their family and plan for the future, and make decisions about water or the things that are really starting to crop up all over the world with what were doing with the oceans. Or broader questions of conservation and ecology or global warming, or this and that. You cant focus on any of that stuff when youre lobbing bombs at each other over a wall. Theres no time to do anything sensible or grown-up. So, I dont know what the answer is but I know this isnt the answer. This status quo is not the answer and you cannot, in my view, maintain a status quo that is built on the idea that its okay to expel people from their homes whether its peoples homes in East Jerusalem now, or people who lived in villages during the Nakba [the Palestinian term for the creation of Israel in 1948]. Both things are wrong, and its very difficult to sustain a country based upon invasion and colonization. Do you understand the sentiment of many Israelis that the Jewish people have the right to their own country after everything they have gone through? And that the one-state solution for them means extermination? Well thats just nonsense! People are always saying, BDS is trying to delegitimize Israel. No, its not. Its trying to stop the oppression of the Palestinian, Bedouin and other Arab peoples of the region you are oppressing. Its trying to stop you oppressing your fellow human beings. Its not trying to delegitimize Israel. An Israeli de Klerk? So give me the scenario where you come back to perform in Israel again. What has to happen and I mean this symbolically. When you and I can sit down together over a glass of wine and look each other in the eye and hold each others hands and go, Wow! We, they, us everybody did it. We can see that we did it: Everyone has equal rights, nobody is killing anybody. Then I promise you I will come and play The Wall in its entirety. Will we ever reach that moment? I had conversations with [Mikhail] Gorbachev in 2002 or 2003. If in the mid-1980s you and I had asked, Are we going to see the Berlin Wall come down within our lifetime? it would have been a very difficult question to answer. But we didnt know Gorbachev then. He is the most remarkable man my two huge heroes since Gandhi are Nelson Mandela and Gorbachev. So who wouldve known? Things can happen. Maybe theres a Mandela somewhere in an Israeli prison. Maybe we need a F.W. de Klerk? If you look through one of my recent op-eds, it says, It may be far easier to find the Palestinian Mandela than it will be to find the Israeli De Klerk. But we cannot give up hope. We cannot say its too difficult, because even to abandon one child is one child too many. And the pictures we see coming out of Gaza are so disgusting and so heart-wrenching that those people and Im not saying its not heart-wrenching if a suicide bomber blows themselves up on a bus in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem of course it is, its equally horrific. Should artists and academic institutions really be at the top of the boycott list? No. There are a number of Israeli politicians [Shimon] Peres might well be one who cant come to England because theyll be arrested the second they step foot there, as war criminals. Because there is a legal apparatus that, once you define an act as a war crime, even in the opinion of the International Criminal Court, then you have grounds for detaining somebody. There have been a number of Israeli politicians whove had to turn around and go home because they didnt want to risk being sent to prison in the United Kingdom. Should Khaled Meshal, the political head of Hamas, be arrested if he comes to the U.K.? I dont know. I would need to be legally advised to know if there is evidence that Meshal has committed war crimes. I havent seen evidence to that effect. But youve seen Shimon Peres commit war crimes?

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November 23, 2017   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed

Disaster Expert: FEMA’s Response in Puerto Rico More ‘Herculean’ Than in Texas and Florida

Former Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services Tevi Troy told Breitbart News: Sunday Edition that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had actually done an even better job managing Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico than it had in dealing with Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida recently.

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October 3, 2017   Posted in: Israel Apartheid  Comments Closed


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