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Israel “far worse” than Apartheid

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    Israel far worse than apartheid South Africa http://last-straw.net/blog/2005/10/israel-far-worse-than-apartheid-south-africa/ The situation for Arabs in
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 13, 2005
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      Israel "far worse" than apartheid South Africa
      http://last-straw.net/blog/2005/10/israel-far-worse-than-apartheid-south-africa/


      The situation for Arabs in Israel & Palestine is "far worse" than that
      of the blacks in what was apartheid South Africa. This was Ronnie
      Kasrils' response to the question of whether Israel could be compared
      to South Africa during its apartheid era. He offered this during a
      speech he gave at an international conference I attended on Palestine,
      Israel and International Law at the Institute of Education in London
      last weekend.

      Ronnie Kasrils, who happens to be a Jew, was active in the fight
      against apartheid in South Africa from the 60's onwards. He became a
      military leader around the time the ANC concluded that the methods of
      non-violence such as those utilised by Gandhi against the British
      Empire during their colonisation of India were not suitable against
      the brutal apartheid system. Along with Nelson Mandela, he was a
      terrorist and a hero. He is currently Minister of Intelligence and
      Deputy Minister of Defence in South Africa.

      The conference included some other great speakers, including many
      intelligent and witty Jewish lawyers fighting for the human rights of
      Palestinian Arabs. The conference was quite a buzz and gave me real
      hope that there is a growing campaign to increase awareness of the
      plight of Arab Palestinians, and hence the prospect of Arabs and Jews
      living side by side again in peace, stepping back from the precipice
      of world war.

      On the other hand it's extremely disheartening that so many
      intelligent people are still unwilling to speak out against the crimes
      of Israel and political Zionism for fear of being labeled anti-Jew (or
      anti-Semitic as the misleading term goes). And this because of the
      Nazi Holocaust. But some truths are so obvious that they often remain
      unstated, which doesn't help the cause of understanding. As Alan Hart
      write's in volume one of Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews:

      One such unstated truth is this: It was not the Arabs who slaughtered
      six million Jews, it was Europeans in Europe. But it was the Arabs as
      a whole, and the Arabs of Palestine in particular, who, in effect,
      were pubished for a European crime.

      In my analysis the insufferable self-righteousness that is the
      hallmark of Zionism is a mask for suppressed guilt on account of the
      injustice done to the Palestinians and, also, fear rooted in the past
      of the future.

      One of Zionism's greatest achievements for the first five decades of
      Israel's existence was convincing the Western world that anti-Zionism
      and anti-Semitism are the same thing. They are not.

      As Lenni Brenner, the anti-Zionist Jewish writer put it in 1983:
      Zionism is not now, nor was it ever, co-extensive with either Judaism
      or the Jewish people.

      I remember when I was reasonably young and I was hearing a lot about
      Israel and the Arab Palestinians on the television. At the time I
      remember thinking to myself that these people were all as bad as each
      other; always attacking and counter-attacking each other. As a young
      ignorant mind this is how it appeared to me through my television, but
      when my curiosity got the better of me I eventually took just a
      cursory look at the situation away from the television; what struck me
      was the overwhelming injustice that had been dealt to the Arab
      Palestinian people by way of dispossesion of their land and their
      cruel oppression.

      Subsequently I remember debating the situation with someone and being
      called anti-Semitic for my troubles. What was most interesting, such
      was my ignorance at the time, is that I didn't even really know what a
      Jew was, or even what really happened in the Nazi Holocaust, let alone
      why anyone would want to be anti-Semitic.

      So I was looking at the situation as a young person can with truly
      fresh eyes for what it was. Alas not any more. To this day I remember
      that and realise how easy and unjust it is to demonise one's opponent
      simply by labeling them. For now I've come to an uneasy acceptance
      that articulating anti-Zionist views and being labeled anti-Semitic is
      part and parcel. For some Zionists even writing that last sentence
      makes me an anti-Semite, or a new anti-Semite, as they call it.

      One day, I hope, reason will prevail. On both sides.

      The hollow rhetoric of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—that
      Israel must be wiped from the map—should come as no surprise to
      anyone. This kind of damaging rhetoric has been common place in Iran
      since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Twentysix years and now there's
      a commotion about it? This is just another notch in the propaganda war
      to create a pretext for invading Iran. Many are going to be sucked
      into this bullshit, just as they were sucked into all the bullshit
      required to invade Iraq. And we'll be one more step closer to
      Armageddon. Great.

      The Democrats Diary puts it all in perspective, while in a letter to
      The Guardian, Dr Nur Masalha of the University of Surrey writes:

      The appalling comments on Israel made by Iranian President Mahmoud
      Ahmadinejad (Israel should be wiped off map, October 27) are both
      empty rhetoric and highly damaging to the Palestinian cause. I believe
      we (Palestinian Muslims and Christians) should always make a clear
      distinction between our political struggle against institutionalised
      racism and ethnic cleaning in Palestine-Israel and the fact that we
      and the Israelis would, ultimately, have to live together as equal
      citizens under some form of secular democracy - and not wipe each
      other out.

      Muslim fundamentalists (Ahmadinejad included) have miserably failed to
      understand the reality in historic Palestine: in the process of brutal
      colonisation of the country, a Hebrew-speaking "nation" has emerged,
      with its own distinct language, culture and flourishing literature.
      There are 5-6 million Hebrew-speaking Israelis and no one has the
      right to talk about wiping them out.

      Acknowledging the current bi-national reality is something completely
      different from legitimising the colonial process by which this reality
      has come about. The fact that the Israelis are trying quietly, but
      systematically (although not always successfully), on the ground to do
      to Palestinians in the West Bank what Ahmadinejad seems to suggest
      should be done to Israel should only encourage us to seek an
      alternative vision, away from political Zionism and Islamic
      fundamentalism.

      And to return to silly rhetoric we have Tony Blair asking us if we can
      imagine a State [that has the sentiment to wipe another from the map]
      having nuclear weapons? Well we don't need to imagine. We only need to
      look across the map to Israel to find a country that is founded on the
      displacement and oppression of another people, is classified as an
      occupying power, is probably the only country in the Middle East to
      possess a nuclear arsenal, refuses to sign the Nuclear
      Non-Proliferation Treaty, and has flouted international law for decades.

      While I believe Ahmadinejad's hollow rhetoric is damaging I understand
      the anger and frustration of the Arabs. Their Arab brothers and
      sisters in Palestine have been truly fucked over by the inherent
      injustice and brutality that is political Zionism.

      As freelance journalist Ben White writes:

      Since Israel's inception in 1948, Palestinian towns have been
      demolished, Arabic names replaced by Hebrew ones, the very existence
      of the Palestinian people has been called into question, and Israel
      has drawn up its own map based on annexed territory and unpunished
      occupation. But of course, Iran is the real threat to regional peace
      and stability. Right?

      *********************************************************************

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