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Posts Tagged ‘apartheid’

Apartheid: The Big Lie

Monday, May 21st, 2012

The time is now long overdue to recognize that Adolf Hitler’s contribution to political wisdom — the Big Lie – has reappeared in the Palestinian narrative of the state of Israel as an “apartheid state.” “[T]he broad masses of a nation,” Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf, “will more readily fall victim to the big lie than to the small lie.” The constant repetition of the Big Lie, he explained, made it acceptable, especially when it could be manipulated to appear to have a certain credibility. The world is all too familiar with the success of Hitler’s Big Lie narrative that the Jews were internationally powerful, responsible for World War I – and, in his view – for most of the problems of the world. This new Big Lie about Israel being an “apartheid state” that has been trumpeted by the Palestinian narrative of Middle Eastern history and politics has, in recent years, been accepted not only been accepted by “the broad masses,” but also by more educated and supposedly politically sophisticated individuals in the media, the churches, and academia.

The official definition of the crime of “apartheid” was first formulated in the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on November 30, 1973. The definition was “inhumane acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group…over another racial group…and systematically oppressing them.” A later version of the definition was included in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, of July 17, 1998 which came into force in July 2002. The definition became inhumane acts concerning an identifiable group on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious grounds “committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”

The change in legal terminology is important for political reasons. Israelis and Palestinians can be considered as “identifiable groups” and therefore the provisions of international law in the 1973 Convention and the 1998 Statute can be applied to them, thus opening the opportunity for a legal charge of the crime of apartheid against Israel.

Yet this legal issue has little to do with the real life political attempt to bring the charge against Israel. That action began in the 1970s when the Soviet Union, for its own political purposes, organized a coalition with Arab states and other willing countries in what was then considered the group of “non-aligned” countries of the world. The greatest success of the coalition was to obtain an overwhelming majority, 72-35-32, for the infamous UN General Assembly Resolution 3379 of November 10, 1975 which defined Zionism as a form of racism and racial discrimination, and years later repealed only after great efforts by American diplomats, including, finally, the future US Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton.

Similar declarations followed. The most forthright was the Declaration of the first Durban conference (The UN World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance) in September 2001 that “We declare Israel as a racist, Apartheid state in which Israel’s brand of Apartheid as a crime against humanity has been characterized by separation and segregation, dispassion, restricted land access, denationalization, ‘bantustanization’ and inhumane acts.” Since then an “Israel Apartheid Week” has become an annual event on many college campuses in the United States and elsewhere.

The declaration of Durban 1, which reads as an indictment, was certainly applicable to the old, unlamented South Africa where blacks were indeed segregated in many ways by legal and other restrictions, and were treated as inferior human beings; but it has no application to the state and society of Israel. Within the state of Israel, Israeli Arabs, 20% of the population, have: equal political and social rights as Jews; full citizenship members of the Israeli Parliament – called the Knesset; a seat on the Supreme Court; diplomatic representation at the most senior levels; a free press in Arabic, which is – along with Hebrew – an official language; the capacity to move freely; equal opportunity to enter universities, to be employed, and to enter freely into marital relations with fellow Arabs or with Jews. If Jews and Arabs do live in different areas of the country it is not through a state-imposed segregation, enforced by legal means, but by choice. There are no segregated roads, as there are in Saudi Arabia, and there are no segregated schools, housing, drinking fountains, buses or any officially imposed limits whatsoever. Discrimination does not exist on the basis of race, religion, or sex; and all groups have legal protection of the law. Unlike Muslim countries, Israel has no state religion, but rather contains some 15 recognized religions. Israel, unlike the old South Africa, is a multiracial society.

Hebron: Facts on the Ground

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

When Sigmar Gabriel wrote that Hebron was “an apartheid regime for which there is no justification,” on his Facebook page (March 14), the chairman of Germany’s main opposition party sparked an outcry that reverberated beyond his virtual wall. Gabriel, the leader of Germany’s Social Democratic Party and a likely challenger to Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2013, was not the first European politician to associate Israel with apartheid– nor will he be the last.

While the comment may have been particularly surprising coming from a high ranking German politician, the truth is that Gabriel simply echoed an oft repeated statement made in international discourse about Israel–one that has rarely been questioned in the past. In 2008, the former president of the UN General Assembly Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann likened Israel’s policies to “an apartheid of an earlier era.” In 2002, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu accused Israel of apartheid policies towards Palestinians.

Other notable officials who have joined in the Israel apartheid chorus include Former UN Special Rapporteur, John Dugard, former US President Jimmy Carter, Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, University of Chicago political science professor, John Mearshimer, prominent Israeli media commentators and South African activists, including anti-apartheid veteran Reverend Allan Boesak who in November 2011 stated that Israeli apartheid is “more terrifying” than South Africa.

Such a conclusion is inevitable when the above-mentioned figures rely on sources and organizations that present Hebron in an extremely skewed light. One of the most active is the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), the group that guided Gabriel during his visit to Hebron recently. Established in 1994, TIPH representatives, who hail from Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey and Denmark, patrol Hebron and provide situation analysis with the aim of ensuring that residents are upholding human rights law while providing “a feeling of security to the Palestinians of Hebron.”

TIPH, whose members enjoy diplomatic immunity and wear special ‘observer’ badges during their Hebron patrols, has given numerous tours to ambassadors, government officials, ministers and diplomats from across Europe. Israeli Foreign Ministry officials have accused TIPH personnel of compiling false reports against IDF soldiers and Jewish settlers, while ignoring violent acts by Palestinians, thereby “vilifying Israel.”

What is most unfortunate about these tours is that they do not provide an all-encompassing perspective of Hebron, rather one that distorts its history and promotes a propaganda campaign that leads to the demonization of Israel.

The tours do not highlight the fact that the Jewish presence in Hebron dates to Biblical times from King David’s monarchy and continued for centuries after, throughout the Babylonian, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Mamluk and Ottoman periods. Following the Hebron Massacre in 1929, where 67 Jews were murdered, their synagogues and homes ransacked by Arabs, the remaining survivors (who were saved by 19 local Arab families) fled. For the next 38 years, Hebron had no Jewish community until after the 1967 Six Day War, when the Jewish community was reestablished again.

Nor do these tours make clear that Hebron today is divided into two areas—H1 and H2– following the Hebron Accords in 1997, which were signed by Israel, the US, and the Palestinian Authority. The accords offered international recognition for the existence of the city’s Jewish community and its entitlement to security and development. The accords ceded some 80% of the area to the Palestinian Authority and left Israel responsible for the remaining 20%.

The majority of Hebron’s Arabs – approximately 120,000 – live in H1, which is the larger, thriving area of the city, full of factories, businesses, and continued construction. Palestinian Police Forces exercise full control while the IDF is not allowed to enter unless they are escorted. H1 is under Palestinian Authority rule and remains completely off-limits to Jews.

The only area in Hebron that Jews are permitted to live in is H2, the smaller and poorer area of the city, which makes up 20% of the municipal territory. Jewish residents however, have access to only 3% of the city, which entails one street along which several Jewish neighborhoods are located. The 600 Jewish people, who live among 30,000 Arabs, are not permitted to travel into H1.

Furthermore, although Israel’s security measures in Hebron have been questioned, they are crucial for the protection of Jewish residents living in the city and for residents across the country. Stabbing attacks against Jewish worshippers in the vicinity of the Cave of Patriarchs have been attempted numerous times since 2010. And one of the most dangerous Hamas terrorist groups during the Second the Intifada was the Jihad Soccer Club, considered the best soccer team in Hebron, whose players and coach carried a wave of suicide attacks against Israelis, the most recent in 2008 which killed a woman and wounded 11 others in Dimona.

In reality, the best way to gain an objective view of Hebron is to tour the city independently, just as Stefanie Galla, a German lawyer from Cologne did in December 2011. Gala travelled to Hebron and visited the city without a tour guide. She recently wrote about her experience in the German liberal daily newspaper, Der Tagesspiegel, where she called Gabriel’s view of Hebron “one-sided.” “The Hebron I have experienced is another,” wrote Galla who described the Jewish quarter in Hebron as “seeming to be a very small area, sheltered by high walls and barbed wire.” According to Gala’s perspective, Hebron was a “ghetto,” with “Jews included.”

Brandeis Students Disrupt Meeting with Israeli Lawmakers

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Brandeis University students disrupted a panel discussion at a Boston-area synagogue featuring Israeli lawmakers and Jewish community leaders.

The students, members of the Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine group, removed their shirts Monday night in Temple Emanuel in Newton, Mass., to uncover T-shirts that read “apartheid” in Hebrew. They also chanted “Free, free Palestine” and “Israel is an apartheid state and the Knesset is an apartheid parliament!”

Police and security guards removed the students; one student was arrested.

The five lawmakers — Ofir Akunis of the Likud Party; Lia Shemtov and Faina Kirschenbaum of the Yisrael Beiteinu Party; Ilan Gilon of the Meretz Party; and Ghaleb Majadele of the Labor Party — were in Boston as part of the Ruderman Fellowship, which educates Israeli politicians about Jewry in America.

The protesters singled out Akunis and Kirshenbaum for “sponsoring fascist legislation in the Knesset” that limits international funding to nongovernmental organizations, and Kirshenbaum for living in a West Bank settlement.

Global March to Jerusalem Organizer Can’t Answer Radio Host Aaron Klein’s $50,000 Question

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Aaron Klein, WABC Radio host and Jewish Press Contributor, offered an organizer of the upcoming Global March to Jerusalem (March 30th, 2012) $50,000 if he could name a single city in the Middle East outside of Israel that has more freedom than Jerusalem.

Klein was discussing the upcoming event and responding to a claim by organizer Frank Romano that Israel is an apartheid state. Klein started with an offer of $100, but when Romano obfuscated, Klein sweetened the offer. Romano continued to argue about definitions, goading Klein into gradually raising the offer to $50,000. “You should be protesting Syria, you should be protesting Saudi Arabia, you should be protesting real apartheid,” Klein concluded. “Shame on you.”

The organizers of the Global March to Jerusalem intend to initiate a number of  simultaneous and coordinated marches to Israel’s borders from surrounding Arab countries and territories, and hope that millions of demonstrators from across the globe will converge to breach the borders. Another aim of the march, according to their official website, is to “confirm that the policies and practices of the racist Zionist state of Israel against Jerusalem and its people are a crime not only against Palestinians but against all humanity.”

According to CiF Watch, an organization that monitors anti-Semitism and attacks on Israel’s legitimacy, “[t]he organisers are a conglomerate of people representing the ‘red-green alliance’ the world over. Radical Leftists, Muslim Brotherhood-connected Islamists and representatives of and sympathisers with the Iranian regime.” A report by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center corroborates the Iranian involvement in “organizational preparations for the marches,” but states that Iran’s presence is disconcerting more because it reveals the truly extremist nature of the event.

The Big Lie: ‘Israel Apartheid’

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Campuses across Canada engaged in Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) events last week amid justified rebukes by the federal government. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney linked IAW to anti-Semitism and accused organizers of using “the cover of academic freedom to demonize and delegitimize the state of Israel” and paint it as racist. In pointing to Israel being the only liberal democracy in the Middle East and singled out for condemnation, Kenney also stated that organizers of IAW ignore the brutal slaughter of the Al-Assad regime of its own people and the suppression of basic human rights throughout many countries in the Middle East. Israel Apartheid Week began in Toronto in 2005 after Palestinian organizations called for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against the state of Israel. The groups erroneously compared Israel ‘s treatment of the Palestinians to the treatment of South African blacks, when powerful campus movements had lobbied for divestments and boycotts against South Africa for black liberation. In 1983, the UN levied its condemnation of the practice of apartheid at the World Conference against Racism, where over two dozen countries took part in trade sanctions against South Africa. At the 2001 Durban I Anti-Racism Conference, the agenda was hijacked by Israeli antagonists, led by Iran and then Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat. Israel was singled out as a racist regime and a similar course followed as in the South African anti-apartheid movements, only it was a demonization of Israel that was unjustified. Adding fuel was that South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu spuriously compared the conditions of which the Palestinians live to those of South Africa under apartheid.

The goal of Israel Apartheid Week is to erode Zionism and delegitimize the state of Israel. The strategy is a protraction of the Arab nationalist movement and that of Palestinian Radicalism which strives to work against Israel and the Jewish people, evidenced in the collaboration between Adolph Hitler, Adolph Eichmann and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem during World War II. In an open letter, Palestinian students urge fellow students worldwide to unite for Israel Apartheid Week in widespread harassment, bullying and intimidation of Jewish students. Organizers also call for BDS. Nowhere is the mention of the Palestinian call for Israel’s destruction as outlined in both the PA and Hamas Charters.

Even before the state of Israel was established, Israel was sensitive to human rights, and Jewish leaders sought to avoid any situation similar to South Africa, as David Ben-Gurion expressed to Palestinian nationalist Musa Alami in 1934. Today, this commitment can be clearly seen in Israel where Arabs are full citizens with the right to vote, the right to establish their own political parties, the right to hold top positions, as they do in Israel’s supreme court, its diplomatic corps, all of Israel’s hospitals and universities, and even as members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. Under apartheid, black South Africans were not even allowed to hold citizenship or vote in the very country in which they held the demographic majority. The Palestinian experience in the territories along the separation fence and in the so-called “occupied territories” is a result of the determination of Palestinians – both in the PLO and Hamas to destroy Israel – as could be seen before the fence was built by the bombings of hotels, discotheques, cafes, and buses. The territories under dispute were taken by Israel in wars in 1947 and 1967, in which Israel – the size of Vancouver Island – was forced to defend itself: both times, five neighboring countries invaded Israel in efforts to destroy it. Israel still needs to defend itself, not only from rocket-fire and other attacks, but most recently from continued threats of genocide by Iran, especially should it acquire nuclear capability.

Even after the South African Judge, Richard Goldstone, later retracted his own, UN-sponsored Goldstone report, Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon said that Israel, like any country, would defend its citizens against Gaza attacks. This is a very different situation than under South African apartheid. Egypt too erected a wall of separation from the Gaza Strip; the barrier was dubbed the Wall of Shame by Arab writers and leaders for isolating 1.5 million Palestinians, yet Egypt has not been branded “apartheid” by their Muslim “brothers.”

While the propaganda of Israel Apartheid Week spreads, the economic growth in the West Bank stands at 4%, compared to 3% in the US, and an astronomical 28% in Gaza. The IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in Judea and Samaria, Major General Eitan Dangot noted that every day, Israel transfers luxuries into Gaza, including LCD screens, Mercedes and Hyundai jeeps, modern refrigerators, and whirlpool bathtubs. He added that Israel has invested over 50 million shekels, or over USD $10 million, in renovating and expanding the Kerem Shalom crossing through which most of the goods enter Gaza. Any segregation of the Palestinians is based entirely on Israeli security needs, not on racism.

MK Uri Ariel Unveils His ‘One State’ Plan

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

National Union MK Uri Ariel’s speech during the Jerusalem Conference this week turned a few heads. Ariel unveiled his political alternative to the peace process, calling on Israel to annex 100% of Judea and Samaria. He said that under his plan all residents, Jews and Arabs, could be granted full citizenship.

Ariel said five Israeli Prime Ministers have tried to pursue a land for peace approach, and each have failed. He declared that it was time to present the alternative to the two-state solution: the one-state solution. He went on to discuss the three main concerns of the plan: demographics, democracy and apartheid.

He stated that the demographic concern – that Arabs would outnumber Jews under such a plan – is a false scare tactic and anyone who looks at the numbers knows that. He pointed out that over the last decade the Arab birth rate has been falling and the Jewish birth rate has been rising. He added that many demographic tables leave out the annual numbers of Jewish immigrants who make aliyah.

He said Israel will remain a democratic country under the plan and will move towards a district election system. He explained that his plan would divide up the lines so Kalkilya would vote in the Kfar Saba district, Jenin would vote with Afula, and Ramallah with Jerusalem. He conceded that the Arabs would have more Knesset representation under the plan; however, it won’t be as much as most people expect. He noted that out of the 280,000 Arabs who have resident status in eastern Jerusalem, only 10,000 have accepted Israeli citizenship, of which only 3,000 voted in the last elections.

He stressed that apartheid is against Jewish values and that the plan would not lead to an apartheid state. He revealed the Arabs would get the same full services as Jews, which would include access to schools and hospitals. He said that higher education and cooperation will lead to economic growth for both sides.

Returning to the ‘land for peace’ paradigm, he quoted former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin from a meeting they had in the late 1970′s during which Rabin promised Ariel that if a million Jews immigrated to Israel from Russia, he would be the number one supporter of Gush Emunim and the settler movement. Additionally, he revealed that President Shimon Peres once told him once that if a million Jews immigrated to Israel, bushes would grow on the palm of his hand.

He added that the citizenship process of Arabs will include a loyalty oath and passing a Hebrew test. He concluded that this plan will lead to real, true peace.

Award Winning Documentary Exposes Anti-Israel Incitement Heading for US Campuses

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

(NEW YORK – February 16, 2012) JerusalemOnlineU.com’s ‘STEP UP FOR ISRAEL’ initiative is countering the activities designed to vilify Israel on college campuses during the 8th annual “Israel Apartheid Week” (Feb. 27-March 3) with an educational campaign to strengthen parents’ and students’ support for Israel. As part of this effort, Crossing the Line: The Intifada Comes to Campus, a powerful, award-winning film, will be available free for a limited time at http://www.stepupforisrael.com/ctl/.

“Israel Apartheid Week” is a well-organized political assault designed to delegitimize and demonize Israel by falsely portraying it as an apartheid state and applying double standards of moral conduct. During this week, events will be held on dozens of college campuses and in cities around the world in an attempt to build support for the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Crossing the Line details shocking hate-filled acts by Apartheid Week activists and identifies actions and resources students can utilize to counter these disturbing anti-Semitic activities.

“Parents assume the universities they send their children to, provide enlightened educational environments that promote honest and open debate,” says Amy Holtz, President of JerusalemOnlineU.com. “Yet students are often confronted with a biased one-sided and hateful perspective on Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.”

STEP UP FOR ISRAEL is an international, grassroots campaign that connects individuals and communities to Israel by providing a strong foundation in Israel education and activist opportunities. The campaign is chaired by Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz and former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Dore Gold.

“Parents and students alike must first recognize and understand the nature of this disturbing anti-Israel trend, if we are to strengthen our resolve and ‘Step Up for Israel.’ “We urge individuals, schools, synagogues and communities to watch Crossing the Line, and to engage in the Israel educational initiatives offered by StepUpForIsrael.com.” Holtz added.

“Films like Crossing the Line play a critical role in the information process by spotlighting basic truths about the Arab-Israeli conflict that are often ignored,” says Professor Dershowitz. “When students hear false allegations of apartheid or human rights disasters that don’t exist, they will now have the resources to respond in an informed and effective manner.”

“Propaganda against Israel and its right to exist as a sovereign Jewish state has become the norm on many college campuses, not the exception,” says Eric Schorr from Columbia University and President of LionPAC. “If students don’t have the resources to defend against such hateful rhetoric before they first arrive on campus, the battle for the truth is extremely difficult to win.”

“When applying to schools and choosing a university, the farthest thing from my mind was the idea that I’d constantly have to be on the defensive to stand up for my beliefs and values, Israel among them,” said Barbara Efraim, a UCLA senior. “It’s frustrating to have to sit through class and watch videos calling Israel an apartheid state. JerusalemOnlineU.com has provided me with the information I need to better educate myself and counter the propaganda presented in the classroom.”

 

Give ‘Em Heck, Prof. Dershowitz!

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

In early February, Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz addressed a full house at the Zellerbach Theater at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Pennsylvania, to add his contribution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict debate brewing on campus. The event was presented by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, Hillel of Greater Philadelphia and Penn Hillel.

Dershowitz was invited to speak in anticipation of the National Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions conference, which was planned for that weekend on The University of Pennsylvania’s campus. According to the conference’s website, BDS’ goal is to “boycott, divest from and sanction (BDS) the State of Israel until it complies with its obligations under international and human rights law.”

According to the Daily Pennsylvanian, Dershowitz made “the 80-percent case for Israel.” He advocated supporting Israel’s right to exist but expressed willingness to criticize Israeli policies with which he disagreed.

Dershowitz called the implication that Israel is a apartheid regime “absurd.” He challenged Israel’s critics to name another country that, faced with comparable threats, had a better human rights record. He said that Israel was the only liberal democracy and nation that recognizes women’s rights and the rights of the gay community in the Middle East. And at one point, he even said that University of Pennsylvania professors who support BDS werre “complacent with evil.”

They didn’t like that. This week, one Stephen Lendman went after Dershowitz with a vengeance: “Inviting him was disgraceful. He’s a shameless bigot, a longstanding Islamophobe, a perverter of fundamental U.S. and international law, an advocate of war, torture targeted assassinations and collective punishment, as well as a committed Zionist and apologist for Israel’s worst crimes.”

Lendman even cited Law Professor Francis Boyle, who wrote that Dershowitz is “a self-incriminated war criminal who publicly admitted that he serves on a Mossad Committee that authorizes the murder and assassination of Palestinians,” and is “also infamous around the world for being this country’s foremost advocate for torture.”

Then Lendman added this pearl: “Throughout its century-long history, ADL hyped unfounded anti-Semitism hysteria as a cover for backing Jewish supremacy and rights of Israelis over Arabs. They include militarized occupation and belligerently enforced apartheid.”

We apologize for the unfounded anti-Semitism hysteria of the past 100 years, and will now return quietly to our gas chambers.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/jewish-news/give-em-heck-prof-dershowitz/2012/02/14/

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